Small Business Spotlight: Token 249 sells tokens of appreciation

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Token 249 focuses on ‘sense of humor and heart’ with their product line. (Photo courtesy of Token 249 Facebook)

Isabella Gaglione, Staff Writer

Tucked away and almost hidden on Northampton Street is a shop called Token 249. Decorated with fairy lights and a crow above the window, the shop sells colorful knick-knacks like jewelry, tote bags and candles.

The shop’s icon, a crow, was inspired by a 2015 story about a girl who fed crows and in return received gifts from the birds. The tiny objects, including a damaged Lego piece and a paperclip, were “tokens” of the bird’s appreciation. While you will not find rusty nails and broken zippers in Token 249, the idea of small things being made meaningful encapsulates the store’s message.

“My sister and I had a small design business and we often had to ship parcels back and forth and always included a little something in the box…a funny or motivational quote, a piece of candy, pictures,  handwritten notes…little things,” shop owner Inger Olsen wrote in an email. “I always find those things most heartfelt. And that was the premise behind Token. That it doesn’t have to be a big or expensive or ‘serious’ gift to be meaningful.” 

Olsen opened the shop in November of 2015 when her previous home decor store in Bethlehem closed after 12 years of business. She picked Easton as the location for her new shop because of what she called the “city’s charm.”

Token 249’s wide array of products include candles, noodle bowls, stationery, totes, jewelry and popcorn. Many of the products feature witty phrases such as “Smash the Patriarchy,” “Big Snack Energy” and “Gratitude Is My Attitude.”

“I think what makes Token unique is the sense of humor and heart. Customers really respond to the sharp, sassy wit and the heartfelt sentiment all mixed together. Though we do lean a little towards the salty,” Olsen wrote.

Everything found inside Token 249 has been hand-selected by Olsen.

“I just kind of buy whatever makes me laugh or smile or think of someone I know,” Olsen said. “I just buy what I like. Whatever catches my eye.”

Like many other small businesses, Token 249 was affected by the Covid pandemic. The shop closed its doors completely for about three months. However, when Olsen returned, she was greeted by an outpouring of support from the community.

“When we reopened, my best customers were there in support and we’ve had two of the best years ever. I think people appreciate and want to support their local shops and restaurants more than ever since the pandemic. I hope that continues,” Olsen wrote.

Olsen believes that there is value in making an effort to shop at local small businesses, especially in the Easton area. 

“I think it’s important to shop local because local businesses are what make the downtowns unique. Hometown pride,” she wrote. “It’s important to keep money local. Small business owners are definitely more appreciative of our customers than the big box stores.” 

In 2022, Olsen looks forward to expanding her line of products and benefiting from the exposure that Easton’s Winter Village gave her business.

“I always look forward to finding new goods for the shop. We saw a lot of new faces this past holiday season [and] I look forward to seeing them again,” she wrote.

Customers can shop in-store at 249 Northampton Street or online at https://www.token249.com