Retail & Relaxation
Scandinavian design was the earliest influence on Orange Tree Imports’ buying philosophy, and the owners still pay close attention to the marriage of good design and function. The store carries many tools and specialty items for the kitchen, as well as gourmet foods and chocolates. In addition to practical items, gifts, toys and cards to delight the giver and recipient can be found in the store. Sometimes beauty or whimsy alone are reason enough to carry a product. Some products are made of recycled materials, and special attention is paid to avoiding excessive packaging on the products carried. Almost all of the shipping materials coming into the Orange Tree Imports are later recycled.
Orange Tree Imports is a child of the 70s, born of a desire to create a wonderful shopping experience, a meaningful workplace, and to give back to the community. With these business goals, it made sense for co-owners Carol “Orange” and Dean Schroeder, who founded the store in 1975, to help support many local organizations, such as the Monroe Street branch of the Madison Public Library and the Henry Vilas Zoo. They also use low-energy and recycled products in their store whenever feasible. Orange and Dean work closely with fellow merchants to maintain Monroe Street as a viable neighborhood, and take an active role in encouraging other locally owned businesses.
Since that time the store opened, it has expanded twice, and is now managed by a staff of about 30, who use a participative democracy form of management. Orange has written a book entitled Specialty Shop Retailing: How to Run Your Own Store, which has sold over 30,000 copies in the US, Canada, England and Russia. The book includes a chapter on doing good through your business, and running a retail store using basic principles of recycling and energy stewardship.
Orange Tree Imports was one of the first members of Dane Buy Local and continues its support to this day. In fact, one of the first slogans of Dane Buy Local, "Friendly Faces, Neighborhood Places" can be seen on a poster in their store. Congratulations Orange Tree Imports.