Sarah Johnson-Markve

I am originally from Minneapolis and our family (husband Ben, kids Ellis + Mae) relocated to Orlando eleven years ago for my husband’s job and we fell in love with College Park. We have never lived in any other neighborhood as this one felt the most like home. We feel lucky to have met friends who have become our family here. Thankfully our Minnesotan families + friends have visited often over the years to escape the long winters. When I decided to finally open a gift shop, I knew it had to be here in College Park. I wanted to bring to my own neighborhood something unique – a gift shop with loads of personality.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your family.
My husband Ben, kids and I have dance parties in our kitchen every night while we make dinner – Hamilton, Queen, Lizzo, Prince, etc. That’s maybe not what you had in mind, but that’s our family, for sure. Also, because our daughter Mae has Down syndrome, we are passionate about advocating for individuals with Down syndrome. Our annual Step Up Walk fundraising team “Mae’s 3-Ring Circus” is one of the ways we connect our family, our friends and our community.

Q: Please tell us about your current, past, or future career. What do you love most about what you do?
I’m a graphic designer with an event planning + technology background. My very first job ever was in retail and I worked retail all throughout college. It’s something I’ve always loved and because of my design background, I’m a sucker for good packaging + design…but the product has to be just as good.

Q: What are a couple of your favorite restaurants in our community?
I’m in love with Infusion Tea’s California Cobb Salad, Cafe Linger’s Avocado Toast + Rusteak’s (to die for) Bistro Fries

Q: How long have you lived or worked in our community?
We moved to College Park from Minneapolis, via Miami + Augusta, GA in 2009.

Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in our community?
Mackenzie Weise! She is not only a super talented and personable jewelry designer who I carry in my shop, but she is also an epidemiologist – so she is busy these days helping us understand all things COVID.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
We had hoped to go to Morocco for our 20th anniversary…but COVID. So let’s transport us there now!

Q: What is your go to band when you cant decide what to listen to?
Is Hamilton a band? No? Then bring out the disco.

Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
Years ago, my friend Christina invited me to take a trapeze lesson with her and I’ve been hooked ever since. In fact, watch out. I may invite you next!

Q: What is the most beautiful place you have ever been?
Taj Mahal + Machu Picchu. Both totally live up to the hype.

Q: What is one or two of your favorite smells?
The smell of Good Crowd. Everyone tells me it has a good one, but I’m immune. So that, and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

Q: Finally, what 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
Ben. Ellis. Mae.