Bell , 55, who opened her shop on Dec. 16, noted that the string of snowfalls hurt her startup, but is thankful that the Laurel Health Food store, directly next door, has generated solid foot traffic. Bell , who lives in Laurel Lakes, said she worked for Comcast for 18 years. "I was tired. I took the retirement package and asked the Lord, `don't ever let me work for anybody else again.' I also asked the Lord for an old town setting like Mayberry, and I got it, right on Main Street. I got both."
Bell said she's on the road a lot, traveling to gem shows at places like National Harbor, Timonium and Chantilly, Va. "When I go, I take a few thousand dollars, and believe you me, I spend it all."
Each individual piece, she said proudly, is crafted at her office inside her Laurel Lakes home. Bell knows goodwill is a key part of any business. "I've got a few people who say, `hey, Miss Vicki, I don't have money, can you put this on layaway?' I'll work with them. I'm holding a piece item for a lady who said she can't pay me for two months. That's OK." And if, at the end, the customer ends up not buying it, "I'll put it back in the window. I'll sell it."
Beginning with her early days in Upper Marlboro, Streets said she has worked hard building up a portfolio of loyal customers who crave her galaxy of gourmet products. One of her longtime patrons, Keisha McIntire, remarked that she hired Streets to do the dessert table at her wedding last fall.
"We had strawberry apples, all different kinds of goodies," said McIntire, 41, who works for the District of Columbia attorney general's office. "I can't even begin to describe what she does, and I'm a classy person! She takes it to a whole other level. Her things are a work of art." McIntire also said she is planning to use Streets again for her daughter's 16th birthday party, "and to help me at a few more events."
McIntire said she was impressed with the selection that Bell offered. "I had never met her mom. I was at the grand opening and I went across the street and found some great handmade earrings for my daughter's godmother. The pieces were really good."
"We have waited a long time for a business like Basket Treats to brighten up Main Street," said Alicia Fields, business services coordinator for the city Main Street." Streets' interior décor, with all of the gumballs, candy treats and soon to come candy-covered apples and cupcakes, likens itself to Being in Charlie's Chocolate Factory; literally, a kid in a candy store.
Fields said with the approval earlier this week of the shop's signage by the Historic District Commission, Streets may have the signage up "as early as Friday, just in time for the Main Street Festival. And her mother does have a beautiful hand-crafted jewelry store across the street. It is also appropriate for Main Street. It is a great sign that we have creative proprietors establishing their businesses in downtown Laurel ," Fields added.
The enthusiastic Streets said she looks ahead to the installation of new signs announcing her arrival. She expects a bakery case and an ice cream case. And she is ready for Saturday's Main Street Festival -- and every day after that.
"I want to make some noise here, bring life back to his area of Main Street. And I want to help my mom do it, too."