A bedazzled, customized bottle of bubbly? A basket bursting with flowers, chocolates and personalized balloons? A charcuterie and cheese box in the shape your beloved’s first initial? Yeah, Paola Patino’s Bon Amour can handle that—and so much more.
Patino spent nearly all of her life in Hampton Bays, but her family was originally from Colombia. When they’d take trips home to visit relatives, Patino would gravitate to the special gift stores she’d see there; a kind that didn’t exist back in the States.
“It all started because, in Colombia, these kinds of stores are super popular. So when I’d go back with my parents and we’d walk into one, the feeling I’d get was so amazing, like I was in a whole different world,” she says. “It smelled so nice and there were all these stuffed animals and presents; just so super cute and lovey dovey! I was like, when I grow up, I’d like to have one of these stores.”
And so she did. This past December, Patino and her husband, Santiago Garcia, opened the doors of Bon Amour at 48 West Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays, a dream three years in the making. It seemed like a big entrepreneurial step to take, but Patino had a cheering section in the form of her favorite Valentine, Santiago.
“When I met my husband, we would talk about our future plans and what we wanted to do,” she says. “When I told him my idea, he said, ‘Let’s do it!’ He gave me the little push to start it.”
The business launched online via Instagram in 2019, and found a solid niche for itself during the height of the pandemic when stores were closed and many people turned to e-commerce based businesses to celebrate and mark special occasions from afar.
Meanwhile, the young couple searched for a brick-and-mortar shop. They finally found the right location in Hampton Bays, thanks to a friend of Patino’s mom.
Bon Amour specializes in Pelana stuffed animals, which Patino favors for their super plush, soft fur, sweet expressions, and other special details that can be personalized. “They are very popular all over Colombia and you really can’t find them anywhere else in the U.S.,” she says. “Their faces, bodies, feet are very paritular. And they all have names. And a scent, if you like!” Aromas like watermelon, passion fruit, baby powder, strawberry and blueberry can be added to each animal for a sweet-smelling bonus.
And then there are customizable gift baskets and boxes that Patino creates for each of her customers. “We personalize everything and we work with people’s budgets and build around them,” she says, allowing clients to add special touches to each gift.
If you’re a last-minute gift giver, though, don’t worry; Patino has some options that she makes up ahead of time—something a storefront now allows her to do.
“Now that we have a store, we have some baskets ready at all times, so if someone is in a rush for a birthday, anniversary, etc., it’s ready to go,” she says, adding, “We can even still personalize those in less than 10 minutes.”
Patino and Santiago are expecting Valentine’s to be a big holiday for Bon Amour, and have around 40 different options for the February celebration, starting at around $30 for a 36-inch clear, personalized Bobo balloon filled with smaller 12-inch colored balloons, and going all the way up to an extravagant 18-inch round floral box finished in gold trim that holds 50 premium roses, 50 Ferrero Roche chocolates, plus a giant Ferrero Roche truffle and a plush teddy bear for $399.
“We have a little of everything for everybody.”
Check out Bon Amour on Saturday, February 4th at 11 a.m. for their official ribbon cutting ceremony (and perhaps to get your orders in early). 48 Montauk Highway, Hampton Bays, 631-702-0386.