A Holiday Gift Guide with Reynolds' Director of Retail Caroline Basarab

Written by Story Impact Media

We all want to be that person. The one whose name excites friends and family members whenever they see it printed after “From:” on a gift tag. To be that person during the holidays, we’ll go all the way to Athens, Atlanta, or Amazon.

Alert to Reynolds shoppers: There’s no need to go anywhere.

The retail shops at the golf courses, at the tennis clubhouses, and the fitness centers are nationally acclaimed. There are products for kitchens and living rooms, moms and dads, yards and dogs. Which leads to the question: “Where do I start?”

The answer: Caroline Basarab, Reynolds’ Director of Retail. Caroline is a two-time winner of the PGA of America’s Merchandiser of the Year. She knows her products because, in some way, she’s has had her hands in them for most of her life.

What’s the pre-retail Caroline story? I grew up at a country club in Houston. Dad and I would play golf after he came home from work, and I remember how it felt when I finally started to hit the ball in the air consistently. Eventually, I earned a scholarship to Texas A&M and was named the team MVP twice. When I commit to something, in golf or retail, I’m all in.

Was it the game or the fashion that hooked you? Both. We’d say that if you don’t play well, at least you can look good. Women are social. We enjoy playing golf, but we also like to share shopping ideas and comment on each other’s gear and clothes. It’s part of the experience.

Were you tempted to pursue a career on the LPGA Tour? No. The summer before my senior year, I traveled for two months on an amateur circuit. A lot goes into the travel — arranging flights and hotels, changing reservations, packing, repacking. It exhausted me before I got to the course.

What’s the worst that can happen in retail? Falling for trends that come out of nowhere, like wild prints on shirts. A pro golfer might win a major tournament and, suddenly, everyone wants that style … for a week or two. A little while ago, retailers in another region were going nuts over shirts with octopi and seaweed. I said, “I knew that particular pattern probably wouldn’t be a big hit with Reynolds Members.”

How is your retail approach similar to your golf game? I’ll take a risk if there’s a good chance I can make the shot. Listening helps minimize risk — that’s the purpose of caddies and mentors. The world’s best merchandisers would say: know your Members. Offer what they want before they even know they want it.

View the Reynolds Lake Oconee Online Retail Shop

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