The Penguin Gallery serves tourists but also loves giving to locals.

July 3, 2024

Wrapped in a mystery

In the quaint New Hampshire village of North Conway, The Penguin Gallery has been offering unique gifts in the community for over 50 years.

“We’re that destination of, if you don’t know what you want to get someone, you’ll find it at The Penguin,” says Owner Tiga Brault. While the store may cater to an influx of visitors, the local community never takes a back seat.

Local giving. Brault and her mother took over the store about 10 years ago and have always supported local nonprofits. When the local American Cancer Society chapter dissolved, a local cancer charity called Jen’s Friends became the forerunner of the many local causes the store supports.

“I think it is important, since we are a tourism-driven town, that locals know we still care about them.”— Tiga Brault

Brault says, “It’s 100% volunteer based so every dime they get goes directly to helping these local families who are battling cancer.”

Brault also found a fun way to support a cause she’s passionate about with unique finds in her store — and that also creates excitement for her merchandise.

All proceeds from The Penguin’s mystery bags benefit local cancer nonprofit, Jen’s Friends.

A “Fun”draiser. “We sell mystery bags,” explains Brault. “We put in some products from the store — some swag, whatever we can, and we sell them for $5, so we donate the product and the full $5 to the organization.”

Customers will buy five or six of the bags for the thrill of seeing what’s inside like jewelry or toys.

At the end of the mystery bag periods, which take place from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day and during the month of November, the store writes a check directly to Jen’s Friends for all the money it collects. The store pledged 200 bags at $5 for its most recent fundraiser and collected donations on top of that.

In the five years the store has been holding these mystery bag fundraisers, it has raised $19,000 for Jen’s Friends — pretty impressive for a penguin.

Sunshine Awards recognize retail stores in our industry that are making a difference through charitable donations and efforts. Is your store worthy of an award? We’d love to hear from you! Complete an entry form at