A Gift Inside began in 2009 as an online gift shop known as Golden State Fruit. It then expanded to the East Coast in 2013 and set up shop in a 40,000-square-foot production facility located in the heart of Lancaster County. After purchasing an artisan confections company in 2015, A Gift Inside added a full-service chocolate kitchen to both of its facilities, where many chocolates are handcrafted. Many products are made in the Lancaster County area, but east meets west when the company adds in the bountiful variety of its own California orchards gift-grade pears and citrus, with more locally sourced premium fruit, handmade dried fruit trays that include dried pears from their orchards, California-grown nuts and area gourmet foods. The company was rebranded as A Gift Inside in 2015 to better showcase the brand’s offerings and to add emphasis to the company’s philosophy—that beyond offering delicious gourmet foods, the company wants every recipient to receive “a gift inside” each basket and gift box.
In 2020, Houston First Corp. (HFC) reported that the city was slated to host 252 meetings and 611,000 room nights. By March 14, the Bayou City had already hosted 115 conventions and 137,400 room nights. Then the pandemic hit, and meetings and events across the country came to a screeching halt.
We asked Michael Heckman, acting president and CEO of Houston First Corp. (HFC) how the health crisis has influenced the organization’s business model moving forward.