Le Bon Gifts has everything for everyone

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Le Bon Gifts, nestled along Becker Avenue in the Heart of Belen, is a cozy cottage of a shop with a neat little yard and a welcoming entryway.

Once inside the store, customers are greeted with the fruity aroma wafting off the essential oil lamps, and owner and shop keeper Bonnie Montoya’s generous smile.

Ungelbah Daniel-Davila-News-Bulletin photo: Bonnie Montoya works on one of her custom-made floral arrangements at Le Bon Gifts in Belen where she offers a wide variety of gift and craft items.

Anyone visiting the shop will want to be sure and have plenty of time set aside to wander the small, two-room store, which has an almost overwhelming variety of gifts and craft supplies.

Montoya, who owned a craft store on Main Street in 1994, decided to open the shop in May to be able to set her own hours and spend time with her newly adopted baby.

“I came in and this was a perfect space,” Montoya says.

The cornerstone of the shop, she says, are her custom floral arrangements. The back room of the shop has the words “Berlie’s Room” above the door, dedicating the craft room to Montoya’s best friend, who passed away.

Anyone with an inner crafter will swoon over the contents of Berlie’s Room, where skeins of colorful lace and ribbon dominate the walls, including something called pull ribbon that quickly and easily produces a bow by pulling its metallic edges.

A multi-colored array of silk and wooden flowers also fill the room, along with various other craft items, such as beads, decorative hats and fans awaiting a crafter’s imagination and glue gun.

From this room Montoya creates her one-of-a-kind floral arrangements for occasions such as weddings, baby showers and Valentine’s Day.

“They’re personalized, custom, whatever you want me to make, I’ll do my best,” says Montoya. “I like working on special occasion floral arrangements.”

She says she will even hand paint flowers if there is a color a customer needs that she doesn’t have, such as emerald green roses that were recently requested for a wedding. She took each flower apart and painted each petal.

But, she says, her favorite part of the store are the religious icons and items because they are the things she knows the most about and mean the most to her personally.

“My favorite part is the spiritual, Catholic items,” she says, adding that she grew up with the Catholic faith and with churches outside of her and her family members’ homes.

Serene pictures of La Virgen de Guadalupe, haloed in gold, and Jesus, glowing in radiance, look down on the shop from the walls, while retablos, rosaries and statues of santos adorn one wall.

She knows it’s not for everybody and has seen some people go so far as to cross the street to avoid it, but she makes no apologies.

“Faith is very strong,” she says. “The faith is here, whether it’s mine or somebody else’s.”

But Montoya’s talents and the shop’s contents don’t stop there. One wall tinkles with wind chimes, another sports rows of charms that customers can choose from for the personalized bracelets that she makes.

A corner glows softly with the fragrant oil lamps, the glass case by the register contains an extensive collection of fun and funky costume jewelry, and yet another wall is filled with wood cut-out helmets featuring every team you can imagine.

Care and patience are required to notice every item available in Le Bon, a name derived from the owner’s first name as well as the French word for “good.”

Make Le Bon a one-stop-shop for all your holiday decorative and gift shopping needs this season at 208 Becker Ave., or call 864-4828 for more information.


-- Email the author at udavila@news-bulletin.com.