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Gift & consignment shop opens
Nita Shaneck and Mary Applebaum of Aman Gifts prep a Hearts Desire Doll sold at their new Manteca gift and consignment shop to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation before its put on display. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL

There was just something about flowing dresses on mannequins and racks and cosmetics on shelves that always appealed to Mary Louise Applebaum.

Her eBay business that focused on jewelry and collectibles had done quite well, and she and her sister Nita Shaneck always considered a retail a shop something they’d like to cross off of their “bucket list.”

With their mom Ruth searching for something to do in retirement, the three decided to take the plunge last month with Aman Gifts – a full service retail boutique for ladies and young women next to Mountain Mike’s Pizza that offers everything from unique, hard-to-find items to bridesmaid dresses and accessories.

Now that the store has been able to generate business and attract customers, Applebaum is thrilled with the possibilities.

“I love being in business and love the social aspect of it – getting to talk to the customers and getting to know them and what they like,” she said. “I think this is a great opportunity for our community because we don’t have a unique boutique like this in our community.”

Applebaum was able to turn to a mentor in Sacramento that put her in touch with vendors from all over the country – New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas – and allowed her to help outfit the store with the latest in fashion and accessories.

And the displays are seasonal.

Right now the racks are full of dresses perfect for high school juniors and seniors looking for something for the upcoming prom or for graduation, and the summer stock is just about ready to hit the shelves.

But the store is also a consignment center, and by allowing people to display and sell their wares the family is able to let talented individuals from their church – Christian Worship Center – make some extra money and possibly even spark a business of their own.

“There are a lot of people out there, especially at our church, that have great skills and talents and we’re able to put that on display in our store,” Applebaum said. “It’s something we’re glad that we’re able to play a part in.”

Other community services include selling items that benefit both the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the American Cancer Society as well as a Health Passport designed and created by Applebaum – an item intended to be used for either traveling individuals to outline their health history or seniors to be able to provide paramedics or emergency personnel with an inventory of special precautions or a list of medications.

The proceeds from the sale of the health passport – 10,000 have been printed and will be sold at $10 each – will go to the Christian Worship Center.

Her biggest accomplishment at the end of the day, she says, is being able to come up with something that allows her mother to stay active and involved.

“I enjoy seeing my mother active again,” Applebaum said. “She has more energy and it’s great for her to get out of the house. I really think she enjoys doing this, and we enjoy seeing her here.”

Aman Gifts is located at 1140 N. Main Street and is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 7 p.m. For more information call (209) 629-8295, or visit