DAD AND I RUN OUR FAMILY BUSINESS THAT GRANDADDY BEGAN BACK IN 1947. On a little slab of land in the heart of Savannah, sits two homes that we've turned into our offices. My office is a beautiful house from the 1940s, with old wooden floors, original windows, and doors with glass knobs. My parents actually lived in my office as their first home when they were married in 1980. Almost all of my aunts and uncles have lived here, with the foyer floor being a gift for my aunt's wedding. Even I lived here when my son was first born. It is such a blessing to breathe yet another chapter in this family home with my business. If you look out the kitchen window, you can see our chicken coop with about fifteen chickens running around the property. With all of the noise from our rooster, Andy Griffith, it is amazing I ever get any work finished!
Grandaddy began Dixie News Company back in 1947 selling newspapers to the Savannah area. Later on, he added guidebooks and postcards. In the late 80s, my father took over the business after marriage, discarding the newspapers and focusing solely on souvenir related items. Fast forward a few decades and after having my child, I decided to join the family business with my own line of giftware. To say I am proud to follow in my grandaddy's and father's footsteps is an understatement. Family is so important to us and the joy of being able to bring my son to work and have him help is a joy.
Amanda Blair Padgett
Amanda is both an owner of Giftware + Dixie and creative director. She works with her father on his side of the business, designing catalogs and keeping the business present with the times. A local to Savannah, she knows her way around the city including every spot to grab a good cup of coffee. She enjoys the simple things, like cooking from scratch and waking up early to enjoy quiet mornings.
In 2014, Amanda joined the family business with her own line of souvenirs. A year into working, she came up with the idea to make a map design of Savannah. After years of trying to get the design just right, she released the first item of the Savannah Map Collection, the café mug. Quickly a line of items followed including one of her best sellers, the kitchen towel. The success of this line caused Amanda to begin shifting towards the giftware category, shying away from her souvenir roots. Giftware + Dixie has now opened doors to clothing items as well as housewares.
When she is home, she is usually cleaning. Amanda has a guilty pleasure of organizing everything, and it shows most in her pantry. Her typical favorite night is one by the fire with good food, and even better company.
Ben is the owner of Dixie Postcards & Souvenir Sales, the father company of Giftware + Dixie. He is a Savannah native along with his wife of forty years. If you can get him to stop working for a bit and travel, you can find him always spinning postcard racks in gift stores.
Ben bought the business from his father-in-law back in 1987. He quickly began to grow the business, making local stores forever family friends. His wife, Cynthia, proofs all guidebooks and recipe books, as well as their annual Savannah calendar that is loved by so many. He takes pride in every item he sells, and had rather work with his hands than learn a computer.
If you walk in on him at work, there is a good chance he has Andy Griffith playing on the tv. He's been playing the same episodes since he started the business and knows them by heart. Oh, and ask him anything you've ever wanted to know about Disney World. He will have an answer for you.
Shannon Zaller has been our photographer since the summer of 2018, but her career began long before then. She is a well known photographer, now bi-coastal. Born in Texas, she moved to Savannah to work as a performer at the Historic Savannah Theatre. In recent months, she and her family relocated to California.
Shannon can usually be seen with a camera around her neck, pastry in one hand, and a cup of coffee in the other. She has four magical children who are models by birth, making it easy to fill her portfolio. Her eye for photos is more than knowledge, as you can see passion in every snap. She is able to capture ordinary moments and turn them into memories.
Be sure to see Shannon's website for more information.