CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. -- You may know his name, FOX 17 first brought Donnie Whipple's story to West Michigan December 2014: he's the man many feel brought back the spirit of Christmas when he received more than 4,000 cards worldwide. Now his sister has a growing business, Treasure Me World, on Amazon, expected to launch on Amazon Prime in two weeks.
Many know Whipple for his joy, especially after his sister Spring Hobbs reached out on Facebook asking a few friends to remember him during Christmas three years ago.
"It's been an exciting journey," said Hobbs.
An exciting journey for their family with Whipple who continues to receive gifts by mail, and now Hobbs who sells gifts worldwide.
Whipple enjoyed Hobbs' storefront downtown Cedar Springs with FOX 17 Monday: Treasure Me World (TMW) showcases her handmade wooden home decor. The business, located at 34 N. Main St., is growing after being accepted onto the handmade section of Amazon in October.
With all the production happening on site, Hobbs says she's thankful to have this space. Until last fall she and her 9-person staff were working around the clock inside her home.
"It's amazing," said Hobbs. "Now I have a place to go to work. My husband likes it because I’m actually home sometimes now and not working."
Seeds were sown for her business when Hobbs says she designed her signature piece for a friend, a birthday or family celebration reminder sign. When it was shared on Facebook, she says the interest took off.
Now anticipating a major boost in business, Hobbs says Amazon invited her to join Amazon Prime: an Amazon membership that provides free overnight shipping. Hobbs plans to double her staff to 18 by this September and says she's honored to join a select group of handmade vendors on Prime.
“It’s been very flattering, and it’s amazing," said Hobbs. "It’s an amazing feeling.”
Hobbs started Treasure Me World in 2013, after retiring from her human resources career. Since then she's had a storefront in Shipshewana, Ind., then opened this second store downtown Cedar Springs Feb. 4.