Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | July 15, 2022 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER
for Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers delivers practical, ready-to-implement content to gift shop managers, retailers, and volunteers across the country. We help our readership of over 3,000 retailers optimize shop operations, grow revenue, and connect with one another. The newsletter is published monthly and free since 2001.

Have you paid your dues this quarter?

The value and richness of this newsletter comes from your participation. Do your part by submitting two comments per quarter, at minimum. Reply to reader’s questions listed throughout the newsletter (in green) or simply share what is working or isn’t working in your shop, a great selling product, a helpful website or resource, an operating question, your biggest challenge right now, a terrific vendor you’ve come across recently, tips on managing volunteers, or tips on managing yourself!

LEAVE A COMMENT! Click the green comment tags throughout the newsletter, enter it in the comment section, or send to cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com.


JULY 15, 2022

Thomas Hospital, Fairhope, AL


You need an awful lot of heart

Managing and successfully running a hospital gift shop takes an awful lot of heart. You must have patience, be able to accept criticism and be willing to change certain things you thought you knew. But if you have passion for what you’re doing, a vision for how you want it to look, and the means to persevere through trials and tribulations, well then, you’re on the right track.
 
The key to managing, surviving and thriving in a hospital gift shop environment is perseverance and the willingness to make changes that meet your customers’ ever-changing needs. Besides taking some risks, you must be diligent and open to adjustments and alterations!


The service you do for others

is the rent you pay

for the time you spend on earth.


Name your shop’s top categories with the best profit margins. Go!

Quick: Name your shop’s top three categories with the best profit margins. Go!

What are your top merchandise categories by sales so far this year? That’s probably something you know instinctively. But, do you know which categories have the best profit margins? They may not be the same.

Extra points if you know top sales by category by month. If you don’t have this information for 2022, put a system in place moving forward so that you have this information when you need it in 2023. 

It’s all about the margins! What were your average margins for 2022? When computing your margins did you add in shipping charges and any packaging costs? Did you take into account what you put on sale and which reduced your margins. Remember, pricing is an art and a science and profitability is in maintaining your margins and controlling costs not just about increasing sales.

A great strategy for hitting your goals is to think of them in 90-day segments. It keeps them manageable, fresh in everyone’s mind and reachable. Good luck and have a great remaining months heading into 2023!


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A: What gift markets do you attend?

Hello! I’m a new shop manager. I’m trying to decide which gift shows I should attend or, are you mainly shopping online now? What markets does everyone attend? Should I go to a few small shows or one large show? What is your travel budget? I am in the midwest, but can go anywhere. Thanks! – Lindsey. 6/2/22

The January show in Atlanta is a must for me and I complete the majority of my Fall and Holiday buying at that show. I also attend 1-2 smaller regional shows at the Minneapolis Gift Mart. For apparel, I attend the Atlanta apparel market. – Sabra Shields, Sanford USD Medical Center, Sioux Falls, SD. 450 beds. 6/22/22

I go to the Atlanta Mart in January and buy all of my fall and Christmas for the year and some everyday as well. I get great display ideas and seeing the items in person vs. a catalog makes a big difference. I look for companies that offer less minimums on items as we are a smaller shop. I know that I can usually sell 6 or 8 pieces of one item but not 12. – Diane Honsberger, Director of Volunteers & Gift Shop, Mercy St. Anne Hospital, Toledo, OH. 150 beds. 6/21/22

We attend the Americas Mart Gift Show in Atlanta. – Laura Keipert, Supervisor, Retail Services, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, GA 6/20/22

We generally go to Las Vegas, for three days. Our budget for two people was around $800. Show specials more than made up for those costs. Haven’t had travel budget for two years though and hope to go next January. The summer gift show usually coincides with the ASD show, so it is a two-for-one trip. – Karla Glanzman, Gift Shop Manager at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, WA. 407 beds. 6/17/22 

We try to do one gift show a year. We have done Dallas, Atlanta and Vegas. Set-up at Vegas was amazing. LOVED IT! Atlanta was the best so far though. – Tricia Rochman, Carbondale Memorial Hospital, Carbondale, IL. 154 beds. 4/21/22

We send about three volunteers to Atlanta every January for about five days. This has made all the difference in our gift shop. They shop primarily for the holidays throughout the year but do order some everyday items as well. It really saves on meeting with the vendors on a regular basis. – Ramona Kennedy, Lifeline Program Manager & Auxiliary Liaison, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, Ogdensburg, NY. 115 beds. 6/16/22

Atlanta Gift Market. The main one to go to is January, but I’ve also gone to the last two in July. I usually stay 3-4 nights, but don’t have a monetary budget for the exact amount. – Roberta Gilbert, Gift Shop Coordinator, St.Claire Regional Medical Center. Morehead, KY. 159 beds. 6/16/22

We have attended the Las Vegas Gift Show and have found great success. Over several years, we have met up with great suppliers, reinforced current relationships and had a lot of fun. This show has a wide range of merchants and the options are fantastic for whatever you might be looking for. Personally I love seeing the FULL range of a product line. Go to shows, they make a world of difference in your buying habits. – Lorene Oates, Volunteer Coordinator, West Valley Medical Center, Caldwell, ID. 150 beds. 6/15/22

I have attended the Las Vegas World Market’s January show for about six years. I previously attended the Atlanta show. The airfare is better for me on the West Coast and the hotels are less expensive than even Seattle. My travel budget is $2,000 or less and I stay the full time. I can accomplish more in 5 days than I could in a month of seeing reps in the shop or ordering on line. Not to mention seeing product in person can completely change your perspective. It also gives you a chance to meet other gift shop buyers and learn from each other. I’ve made connections that are on going. – Molly Forni, Gift Shop Manager, St. John Providence Health System, Portland, OR. 266 beds. 6/15/22

Thanks to everyone who submitted a comment!
✈️


National Candle Association: Fire hazard warning ⚠️

The National Candle Association (NCA) has become aware of a growing number of candles on the market that contain flammable materials including dried flowers, leaves, herbs, and wood embedded in the wax near the flame. These materials become exposed to the candle’s heat and flame in the liquid wax pool. It also coats them in wax allowing the materials to sustain flame themselves.

NCA tested several candles and the results were dramatic with safety failures in every case. The candles exhibiting multiple and large flames with potential to ignite a home fire.

SOURCE: NCA’s Report on Botanical Candles


UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

AUGUST
Back-To-School Season
Aug 3 – Ntnl Watermelon Day
Aug 8 – Intrnl Cat Day
Aug 9 – Book Lovers Day
Aug 15 – Ntnl Relaxation Day
Aug 21 – Senior Citizens’ Day
…fill with fun off-season sales/events!
SEPTEMBER
Back-To-School Season
Sep 5 – Labor Day
Sep 9 – Star Trek Day
Sep 11 – Grandparents Day
Sep 22 – First Day of Fall
Sep 25-27 – Rosh Hashanah
OCTOBER
Oct 4 – Yom Kippur begins
Oct 10 – Ntnl Handbag Day
Oct 10 – Columbus Day
Oct 13 – No Bra Day 🤣
Oct 15 – Sweetest Day
Oct 17 – Boss’s Day
Oct 31 – Halloween

Sometimes we include some pretty unique “holidays”. Use them to help generate off-season sales. “National Sunglasses Day – 15% Today Only!”. Build some fun displays. Be creative! Put all umbrellas on sale for National Pina Colada Day! ⛱️


12-Month Action Plan for Hospital Gift Shops

Summer is a great time to get your leadership team together to develop your shop’s 12-month promotional plan. Preplanning is more important than ever before!

It is never too late to pencil in your calendar of events, promotions, and sales. Look closely at what you did (or didn’t) accomplish last year, how it really turned out and what you might want to change for this year. Remember: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. 

Your shop’s success will take vision, creativity and lots of perseverance to be successful. Customers these days are very savvy. They know that retailers will jump through hoops to get their dollars. So, plan lots of in-shop promotions, coupons, buy one-get one free, funny holiday sales (e.g. National Pina Colada Day) and special discounts for preferred customers.


A Twelve-Month Action Plan for Gift Shop Managers and Buyers

Take the guesswork out of developing your shop’s annual plan. The Twelve-Month Action Plan is a 50-page guide that will keep you and your shop running on schedule.  View a sample page or purchase now for $69.00.

  • 30+ sales event and promo ideas
  • Monthly to-do list
  • What to buy and when
  • Sign templates
  • What to display and when
  • Mark down schedules
  • Tradeshow reminders
  • Tips to move merchandise
  • Display solutions
  • Operating best practices
  • Staff and volunteer management
12 Month Action Plan for Hospital Gift Shops
Click to view a sample page

A: Is there a better method than handwriting POs?

How do managers/buyers purchase goods for their shop? We hand write purchase orders then send them to our in-hospital purchasing agent. In some instances orders can be up to 11 handwritten purchase orders. Would love to know if there is a way to minimize writing all these POs? Thanks! – Sarah Folio, Volunteer Coordinator/Gift Shop Manager, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Oakland, MD. 4/24/22

If you do not have a computer system that manages inventory and has a purchase order module, I would recommend that you create a template in Excel where you can easily type all of your line items. In creating a template you can put in all of your store information, terms etc. so as not to have to rewrite that with each order. – Lisa Garland, Woman’s Hospital, Baton Rouge, LA. 6/21/22

We also use an electronic PO system for our larger vendors. However, due to the nature of our business and many of our vendors that are not huge entitles, we still use handwritten PO’s most of the time – Lee Patterson, Ascension St Vincent’s, Birmingham. 400 beds. 6/16/22

We still hand write POs – Nancy Williams, Director Volunteer Services, Piedmont Healthcare, Atlanta, GA. 6/20/22

Still use handwritten POs – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 5/18/22

Our hospital uses an electronic PO system through a company called Lawson. We prepare a blanket PO for the year in advance for most of our vendors. When it’s time to order we already have a PO in place so ordering is quick and easy. – Judy Stallings. 5/16/22


Q. ISO a “hip kits” vendor for hip replacement patients?

Q. Has anyone found a good source for “hip kits” for post-hip replacement patients? They contain assistive items like sock aid, dressing stick, long handled sponge? – Jill Dugaw, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Spartanburg, SC. 500 beds. 6/22/22

What’s a good vendor for “hip kits” for post-hip replacement patients? <- CLICK TO COMMENT

Get HIP! Lend Jill a hand. Leave a comment! ☺︎

Comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡

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Why have a monthly buyer’s meetings

Apart from learning/education, there are only three good reasons for a group of people to meet at work, whether face-to-face or online. The first reason is to create a forum—an opportunity for individuals with different values, ideas and experiences to share their perspectives.

The second reason to meet is to make decisions. A decision-making meeting produces direction for the organization or unit. The subject of such a meeting may range from strategy formulation to tactical problem-solving.

The third reason to meet is to build/strengthen a team. A team-building meeting has to do with developing collective capabilities, especially interpersonal and organizational skills. Such a meeting may also help instill a sense of togetherness and a commitment to collective performance.

These three types of meetings form a kind of food chain: a forum identifies issues and options that provide the grist for a decision-making meeting, at which the group selects a course of action from among the possibilities. Aided by team building, the group then implements the chosen path.

Managers should ask themselves which of the three legitimate meeting designs—forum, decision making, or team building—they have in mind before bringing employees together. They also might ask, at the close of a meeting, which of these purposes was served. If the answer is “none of the above,” then they missed a valuable opportunity to save their gift shop money—and save themselves and others time and energy.


10 Commandments of Good Customer Service

  1. Greet each customer like a guest.
  2. Smile at the customer.
  3. Call the customer by name.
  4. Let each customer know you value them.
  5. Listen to the customer.
  1. Assist the customer with product information.
  2. Compliment the customer.
  3. Be considerate of the customer.
  4. Exceed the customer’s expectations.
  5. Look the customer in the eye and sincerely thank them.

Advertising: IRS rules for hospital gift shops

Tax rules permit a hospital gift shop to advertise, but the advertisement must be related to the hospital’s exempt purpose of promoting the health of its patients. It must be directed toward patients, the medical staff, employees, or visitors and explicitly state that proceeds go toward supporting the hospital.

“All of the proceeds from the gift shop directly benefit patient care at Ascension Via Christi Manhattan and the Mercy Auxiliary.”

Sample ad exemption language

When a hospital gift shop serves this limited market, its activities are furthering the hospital’s exempt purpose. But when the hospital gift shop serves a market outside of the hospital, then it is serving a purpose unrelated to the hospital’s exempt purpose.

Advertising in a general circulation newspaper or on television suggests that the gift shop’s activities extend beyond the hospital’s exempt purpose, and will likely attract the attention of an IRS auditor. For example, if a hospital gift shop’s advertising seeks to attract “outsiders” such as local residents, then that “external” advertising is a sign that the gift shop’s activities are unrelated to the hospital’s exempt purpose, and that its income is taxable as unrelated business income.

Advertising for a hospital gift shop can be risky for another reason. The advertisements might catch the attention of local businessmen who are competing with the shop. For-profit stores often sell the same merchandise. This can be viewed as unfair competition. It might spur a merchant to call the IRS toll-free number and report the shop.

While advertising your hospital gift shop in your local paper can jeopardize your tax-exempt status, there is a way around that. Always structure your advertisement to emphasize support of the auxiliaries purpose, that is, to promote the welfare of the patient and patient care.


Stanford Health Care Gift Shop wins Retail Excellence Award!

The Stanford Health Care Gift Shop is the Gifts & Decorative Accessories magazine 2022 Retail Excellence Award recipient for #1 Top Specialty Store! Congratulations!

The Retailer Excellence Awards hosted in Dallas, TX recognized the SHC Gift Shop for their unique product offerings and customer experience. The Gift Shop’s vision has focused directly on the community’s needs while highlighting sustainability, diversity, and patient care needs.

Retail team members (left) Teresa Cheung, Shellee Laubersheimer, Khatra Latifi, and (right) Mamta Kaur at the Retailer Excellence Awards Gala in Dallas, TX.

The winners of seven retail award categories, as well as the 2022 Manufacturer of the Year and Sales Representative of the Year were announced during the ceremony. The winners received an engraved platter by Beatriz Ball and are as follows:


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💮 GIFT MARKET CALENDAR 💮

**Always double-check show dates**Jul 19-22, 2022
Faire Summer Market VIRTUAL EVENT
Jul 24-28, 2022
Las Vegas Market
Aug 14-17, 2022
NY NOW, New York
Aug 18-21, 2022
New Orleans Gift & Jewelry Show
Aug 23-26, 2022
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market
Sep 13-15, 2022
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Oct 3-5, 2022
LA Mart
Jan 4-10, 2023
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Jan 10-17, 2023
Atlanta Market
Visit Gift Shop Mag Trade Show Calendar for smaller local and regional shows.

JUNE 2022 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #631
Did you miss last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions?

  • What actually constitutes shoplifting
  • Twig Gift Shop celebrates 75 years
  • Q. What gift markets do you attend?
  • Job Openings
  • Top most useful retail formulas
  • Q. Is there a better method than handwriting POs?
  • Gift Shop Manager Salaries
  • An auxiliary fundraiser idea
  • Hospital gift shop design, con’t
  • Gift Market Calendar

DISCUSSION


LIVE FLOWERS ALTERNATIVE

Q. What are some alternatives to live flowers? We are located in a small town with two flower shops and neither want to partner with us. We currently are offering gift baskets but we still have people that want flowers. Thank you in advance! – Lanie Ray, Fairfield Medical Center, Lancaster, OH. 222 beds. 3/28/22

FreshCut Paper has been a phenomenal alternative for live plants/flowers – specifically for our patients in ICU and TLC. I find myself reordering twice a month. -Meggen Heuss, University of WI Hospital & Clinics, Madison WI. 650 beds. 4/25/22

We have a family member of a volunteer who makes “arrangements” using multi colored buttons, colored wire, and fabrics shaped like flowers and flower buds. They are very popular. – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 4/21/22

We do well with Sullivan Gift for artificial flowers and succulents. Great selection.  – Cherie Towers, Redlands Community Hospital, Redlands, CA. 229 beds. 4/21/22

K&K Interiors has amazing real-touch silk flowers. They are the best flowers we have seen on the silk side. Also, Evergreen has a single lilly in a mini vase that is amazing. Otherwise, the selection is small.  – Tricia Rochman, Carbondale Memorial Hospital, Carbondale, IL. 154 beds. 4/21/22

We use 1800 flowers. They come in a box already arranged. We open them up, clip the ends and put them in vases. We use cello wrap and bows to decorate. It works really well! – Amy, 4/21/22

Spotted at CGH Medical Center: Lego Flower Bouquets. Expensive, but very unique! – Nicole, Cindy Jones Associates. 4/19/22

FreshCut Paper flowers have done well for us. They are beautiful and last forever!  – Dawn Shumaker, Clinton Memorial Hospital, Wilmington, OH. 4/18/22

Live plants or felt flowers.  – Sarah McManus. 4/15/22

We sell FreshCut Paper flowers. They are easy to sell for phone orders when a room can’t have fresh flowers. and hospital staff buys them to mail as they come with an envelope also. Admin staff also buy them to have on their desks.  – Linda Armstrong, Gift Shop Supervisor, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, Tacoma, WA. 4/15/22

Nothing replaces real flowers but silk flowers are at least something to let the patient know you are thinking about them, this is what I tell our customers. We do well with Primitives by Kathy or the bendable flowers we buy at Kelli’s. – Sophia, Community Memorial Health System, Ventura, CA. 4/15/22

Our shop used to sell silk flowers. These were great especially for ICU patients that couldn’t have live flowers. The biggest expense is the flowers themselves, but if you can hit up sales from different craft shops, it’s a great value. Kerri Clark, Community Hospital, Munster, IN. 498 beds. 4/15/22

Natural Fragrance Roses – live fragrant flowers but hydrated to last 4 months. The “no hassle” flowers + fragrance. – Petrus Persoon, CEO, Natural Fragrance Rose. 4/15/21

We sell live flowers, but also sell FreshCut Paper flowers as a cheaper alternative. They can even be mailed for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. We just received our second order. – Craig McKneely, Scripps Health, San Diego, CA. 4/15/22

Ganz has acrylic Posey Pots! – Suzanne, Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital, Sayre, PA. 4/15/21

Do you know of a good alternatives to live flowers? You can still respond to the question here.

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


PERSONAL WHOLESALE BUYS

Q. Do you allow buyers AND managers to purchase merchandise at wholesale at gift markets for personal use?

Volunteers receive a 15% discount on all items except greeting cards and candy. – Peter Waugh. 5/18/22

Staff and volunteers get a 30% discount on most items in the store – exclusions are flowers, food, books. They can purchase for themselves or as gifts, but cannot resell. Someone else in permanent staff needs to ring the purchase. People here for longer periods are grandfathered into higher discounts available at that time. Sorry this is IN-STORE % off retail, not wholesale – Mary, University of Michigan Hospital, Ann Arbor MI. 1100 beds. 5/17/22

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


DECLINE IN VOLUNTEERS

Q. Have others encountered losses in the number of volunteers through the pandemic? We started out with over 30 non-gift shop volunteers and are now down to 7. In our gift shop, we had 17, now 3, one of which started mid-COVID (God bless her!). We are currently thinking of hiring a part-time employee to man the front desk from 1-5pm. What have you done to remedy staffing and volunteer issues during the pandemic? Did anyone hire paid personnel? Thanks! – Sarah Folio, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Oakland, MD. 55 beds. 12/22/21

We have had our gift shop volunteers for two years now – starting the front desk this week. – Tricia Rochman, Carbondale Memorial, Carbondale, IL. 70 beds. 3/18/21

We had about 65 volunteers in the gift shop before the pandemic. I now have about 35-40 in the shop today. I am blessed to have some very dedicated volunteers who worked all but the 3 months we were closed. Even then when we were closed we thought outside the box and started doing FB Live shows twice a month and continue with today. They are a ton of work, but truly saved our gift shop. Other volunteers stayed home but made mask for the hospital and our community in the time of need. Our Auxiliary as a whole never really stopped fundraising during the pandemic and overall our numbers grew about a dozen last year. – Ramona Kennedy. 3/17/21

We reduced our hours in the gift shop and have been able to get enough volunteers, but the traffic is not there. Hospital has been remodeling and we have been closed quite a bit. We no longer have foot traffic from front entrance of hospital. Thankfully the employees still shop with us. Our problem lately has been elderly volunteers who refuse to read manual, consequently the computer is often not turned on correctly, they don’t use the scanner to ring up items, they basically sit on their chairs and hope no one comes in. We are all volunteers so we don’t have paid staff. I end up having to drive to hospital quite often to straighten out a situation. I held trainings on 2 different Saturdays and only 2 people came. I don’t want to offend the volunteers but they don’t seem to get it. Hopefully things will pick up and we can do more business. – Martha Burke. 2/17/22

We started with 10 volunteers and now have 4 sometimes 5. We were open 5 days per week with 2 shifts, now open 3 days per week 10-2. – Helen Travis. 2/16/22

We too have fewer volunteers since the pandemic. We are open a shorter timeframe each day. M-F & Sun 10-3. In order to keep all our gift shop volunteers informed, we have a spiral notebook we write updates in. Our volunteers also write notes to us to let us know if they have any needs or something special needs to be ordered or if they have suggestions. Works well for us! – Brenda Welcher,  AdventHealth Zephyrhills, Zephyrhills, FL. 59 beds. 2/16/22

Our store is open five days a week, 12-4pm. We had a good December! Visitors are so few now with no outsiders. I had 13 people working for us but now only 5-6.
Hope you all are healthy, Harold. – Harold Shiffman, St. Catherian Hospital, Smithtown, NY. 550 beds. 1/31/22

Our Gift Shop has remained closed since November 2020. Overall, we have lost some folks but we have also gained some. Currently they are not cleared to serve in the hospital due to COVID restrictions. However, some have been assisting at the Vaccine Clinic along with over 30 additional new volunteers who are at the Clinic. I believe a good portion of those 30 will continue to serve at the hospital once given the word to do so. – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 1/18/22

Internally, I am devastated! Externally, I move on and work with what I have. We are open two shifts during the week. Happy and grateful to have volunteers that will staff the shop. I went from 200 volunteers to about 45 in the overall program. I have about 13 in the gift shop. – Connie Slingluff, Blount Memorial, Maryville, TN. 201 beds. 1/17/22

We have been blessed with willing volunteers who have made it possible to remain open. Although the hospital shut us down for a few months in 2020, we have been able to come back and remain busy. Our Holiday Extravaganza of 3 days did not happen but we held special 12 Days of Christmas sales to encourage employees to shop with us. It was gratifying to see the staff regularly and hear them thank us for being there for them. We enter 2022 with a healthy bottom line and interested buyers, we’re keeping it simple and hoping that our current path is the right one to be on. – Marilynne Field, MercyOne, Dubuque, IA. 263 beds. 1/17/22

We went from two volunteers to one volunteer per shift and are doing ok. But this takes away the buffer if someone can’t come in for their shift. We have had to be closed at random times due to no substitutes. Looking to hire a PT person to cover those shift and help manage stock. – Christie Delbridg, Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center, Bolivia, NC. 74 beds. 1/17/22

Most of mine did come back. I had about 30 with teens. I have 14 adults and 2 teens. Our hours are limited Mon-Fri 9-5. We were on a role and then Omicon hit and no more visitors. I spilt the volunteers shifts to two hours instead of their four hours. – Margaret Legut, Elmhurst Hospital, Elmhurst, IL. 258 beds. 1/17/22

We lost about 20 volunteers. We have reduced our hours and days of operation. – Ginger Taylor, CoxHealth, Springfield, MO. 1014 beds. 1/17/22

We’ve lost many of our volunteers. Our shop is closed on weekends. We are open some days from 9-5, but on days we can’t get enough volunteers we’re open 10-4. This eliminates 1 volunteer per day. We are lucky to have some volunteers picking up more shifts to fill the gaps. We ask people to call before they come to see if we’re open and we post our hours on FB. – Debbie B, Bell Hospital, Ishpeming, MI. 1/17/22

We have had approximately 1/3 of volunteers return, 1/3 not return, and 1/3 defer return. Our volunteers are dedicated and a special part of our success! Also, being part of a university, we have also added student volunteers to our Shops as of December. The students had been volunteering in patient areas before the pandemic, but with that not yet possible, they are helping the Shops! The students are professional, eager, and energetic! We’ve gone from 45-50% of shifts with at least one volunteer, to over 80% of shifts with at least one volunteer! – Mary, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI. 1000 beds. 1/16/22

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


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Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | June 15, 2022 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER
for Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers delivers practical, ready-to-implement content to gift shop managers, retailers, and volunteers across the country. We help our readership of over 3,000 retailers optimize shop operations, grow revenue, and connect with one another. The newsletter is published monthly and free since 2001.

Have you paid your dues this quarter?

The value and richness of this newsletter comes from your participation. Do your part by submitting two comments per quarter, at minimum. Reply to reader’s questions listed throughout the newsletter (in green) or simply share what is working or isn’t working in your shop, a great selling product, a helpful website or resource, an operating question, your biggest challenge right now, a terrific vendor you’ve come across recently, tips on managing volunteers, or tips on managing yourself!

LEAVE A COMMENT! Click the green comment tags throughout the newsletter, enter it in the comment section, or send to cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com.


JUNE 15, 2022

Texas Health Huguley Hospital, Burleson, TX

Texas Health Huguley Hospital, Burleson, TX


What actually constitutes shoplifting

Generally, someone suspected of shoplifting may be detained only if the store has “probable cause” to believe that a crime has occurred. Probable cause can be established through personal observations of the crime occurring, statements from customers, or actions recorded on surveillance video cameras. Mere suspicion that someone has been shoplifting is not sufficient. 

To establish a solid base for probable cause, and reduce false arrest claims, there are a few universally accepted steps that a merchant should follow before detaining someone suspected of shoplifting. However, the law in most states does not require all precautionary steps to prove criminal intent.

  1. You must see the shoplifter approach and select the merchandise.
  2. You must see the shoplifter hide or conceal the merchandise.
  3. You must see the shoplifter fail to pay for the merchandise.
  4. You must see the shoplifter exit the store with the merchandise to prove they had no intention of paying for it or you must prove “willful concealment” if they haven’t exited.

Twig Gift Shop celebrates 75 years

The Twig Gift Shop recently celebrated its 75th anniversary year of providing retail therapy for visitors, patients, and staff of Rochester General Hospital (RGH). The Gift Shop’s profits served RGH since 1947! The celebration included an array of Silent Auction gift baskets ranging in value from $100 – $1000, donated by Board Members, Twigs, gift shop volunteers, and friends of Twigs. All proceeds benefit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at RGH.

Linda Leary and Anne Trocano, Twig Gift Shop, Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, NY
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Q. What gift markets do you attend?

Hello! I’m a new shop manager. I’m trying to decide which gift shows I should attend or, are you mainly shopping online now? What markets does everyone attend? Should I go to a few small shows or one large show? What is your travel budget? I am in the midwest, but can go anywhere. Thanks! – Lindsey. 6/2/22

What is your gift show schedule and travel budget? <br> <- CLICK HERE TO COMMENT

What is your gift show schedule and travel budget?

Do your part and leave a comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

JULY
Jul 4 – Independence Day
Jul 7 – World Chocolate Day
Jul 10 – National Pina Colada Day
Jul 14 – National Mac & Cheese Day
AUGUST
Back-To-School Season
Aug 3 – Ntnl Watermelon Day
Aug 8 – International Cat Day
Aug 9 – Book Lovers Day
Aug 15 – National Relaxation Day
Aug 21 – Senior Citizens’ Day
…fill with fun off-season sales/events!
SEPTEMBER
Back-To-School Season
Sep 5 – Labor Day
Sep 11 – Grandparents Day
Sep 22 – First Day of Fall
Sep 25-27 – Rosh Hashanah

Sometimes we include some pretty unique “holidays”. Use them to help generate off-season sales. “National Sunglasses Day – 15% Today Only!”. Build some fun displays. Be creative! Put all umbrellas on sale for National Pina Colada Day! ⛱️


Job Openings

Gift Shop Manager
Rush University Medical Center, Oak Park, IL

Gift Shop Manager
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Ctr, New York, NY

Gift Shop Assistant Manager
Milford Regional Medical Center, Milford, MA

Gift Shop Assistant Manager
MacArthur Beach State Park, Palm Beach, FL
$35,000 – $40,000

Gift Shop Manager
Rush-Copley Medical Center, Aurora, IL

Hospital Gift Shop Manager
Guadalupe Regional Medical Center, Seguin, TX

Store Operations Director
Georgia Aquarium Gift Shops, Atlanta, GA

Gift Shop Supervisor
Audubon Institute, New Orleans, LA

Gift Shop Supervisor
Intermountain Healthcare, Ogden, UT

Supervisor, Gift Shop
Cook Children’s Health Care System, Prosper, TX

Gift Shop Assistant Manager
Mary Greeley Medical Center, Ames, IA


Top most useful retail formulas

Retail math is used daily in various ways by store owners, managers, buyers, and other retail employees to evaluate inventory purchasing plans, analyze sales figures, add-on markup, and apply markdown pricing to plan stock levels in the store. Although most accounting programs do the math for you, you should know the most common retail math formulas that are used to track merchandise, measure sales performance, determine profitability, and help create pricing strategies.

Average Inventory

This can be figured by taking an item price and subtracting discounts, plus freight and taxes. The average is found by adding the beginning cost inventory for each month plus the ending cost inventory for the last month in the period.

Example: If a clothing retailer has an average inventory of $100,000 and the cost of goods sold is $200,000, then you would divide $200,000 by $100,000 to give you a ratio of 2:1, which can be expressed simply as 2.

Average Inventory (Month) = (Beginning of Month Inventory + End of Month Inventory) ÷ 2

Cost of Goods Sold

This is the price paid for a product, plus any additional costs necessary to get the merchandise into inventory and ready for sale, including shipping and handling. A shop’s “cost of goods sold” should not go above 55%. Aim to keep the “cost of goods” as low as possible!

Cost of Goods Sold = (Beginning Inventory (at cost) + Purchases – Ending Inventory (at cost))

Gross Margin

This is simply the difference between what an item cost and the price for which it sells. For example, if Store A and B have the same sales, yet Store A’s gross margin is 50% and Store B’s gross margin is 55%, it’s easy to see which store is faring better.

Gross Margin = Total Sales - Cost of Goods

Gross Margin Return on Investment (GMROI)

GMROI calculations assist buyers in evaluating whether a sufficient gross margin is being earned by the products purchased, compared to the investment in inventory required to generate those gross margin dollars. For example, if your store has a sales volume of $1 million a year on an average inventory of $500,000, that would be pretty good. But $1 million on an average inventory of $200,000 (though uncommon) would be even better. 

GMROI = Gross Margin $ ÷ Average Inventory Cost

Inventory Turnover (Stock Turn)

Inventory turnover is how many times during a certain calendar period a retailer sells its inventory and replaces it.

Turnover = Net Sales ÷ Average Retail Stock

Margin

This is the amount of gross profit a business earns when an item is sold. For example, if you have to pay $15 for each sweater and you then sell it to customers for $39, your retail margin equals $24.

Margin % = (Retail Price - Cost) ÷ Retail Price

Net Sales

Net sales is the number of sales generated by a business after the deduction of returns, allowances for damaged or missing goods, and any discounts allowed.

Net Sales = Gross Sales - Returns and Allowances

Open to Buy

Open to Buy is the difference between how much inventory is needed and how much is available. That includes inventory on hand, in transit, and any outstanding orders.

OTB (retail) = Planned Sales + Planned Markdowns + Planned End of Month Inventory - Planned Beginning of Month Inventory

Stock-to-Sales Ratio

Stock-to-sales ratio is the beginning-of-the-month-stock to the number of sales for the month. The key takeaway is that this ratio is a monthly metric.

Stock-to-Sales = Beginning of Month Stock ÷ Sales for the Month

Cindy’s full Guide To Calculating Shop Profitability walks you through the formula’s to determine your shop’s profitability including Annual Gross Sales Per Square Foot, Net Profit Margin, Gross Profit Margin, what affects profitability, and more.

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Q. Is there a better method than handwriting POs?

How do managers/buyers purchase goods for their shop? We hand write purchase orders then send them to our in-hospital purchasing agent. In some instances orders can be up to 11 handwritten purchase orders. Would love to know if there is a way to minimize writing all these POs? Thanks! – Sarah Folio, Volunteer Coordinator/Gift Shop Manager, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Oakland, MD. 4/24/22

Still use handwritten POs – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 5/18/22

Our hospital uses an electronic PO system through a company called Lawson. We prepare a blanket PO for the year in advance for most of our vendors. When it’s time to order we already have a PO in place so ordering is quick and easy. – Judy Stallings. 5/16/22

Do you still use handwritten POs or another, more efficient, method? <- CLICK TO COMMENT

Do you have an alternative process to handwritten POs? Have you found a more efficient method?

Caring is sharing all your knowledge helping others grow their shops!

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


Salary Data: Gift Shop Manager

How does your salary compare to other gift shop managers? In case you missed it, here are published salaries of 12 gift shop managers in last month’s issue. We know salary data is always of interest!

Gift Shop Manager Newsletter, May 15, 2022


An auxiliary fundraiser idea

Everyone loves a yard sale! The Auxiliary at Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, MA hosts a two-day “yard” sale full of gently used, donated merchandise including furniture, jewelry and housewares. The Yard Sale is free and open to the public Saturday to Sunday, and All proceeds benefit nursing and health career scholarships for local students graduating in a health-related field. Approximately $40,000 is awarded every spring to deserving students.

“We are so grateful to each of our Auxilians, volunteers and donors for helping to make our special Yard Sale a success,” said Diane Field, President of the Mid Coast Hospital Auxiliary. “This year, we are particularly excited to greet the hundreds of attendees who will once again enjoy a wonderful shopping experience in support of local health care and our front-line health care heroes.” Read more….


💮 GIFT MARKET CALENDAR 💮

GIFT MARKETS

**Always double-check show dates**Jun 26-28, 2022
Minneapolis Mart Gift, Home, Apparel & Accs Show
Jul 12-18, 2022
Atlanta Home & Gift Market
Jul 19-22, 2022
Faire Summer Market VIRTUAL EVENT
Jul 24-28, 2022
Las Vegas Market
Aug 14-17, 2022
NY NOW, New York
Aug 18-21, 2022
New Orleans Gift & Jewelry Show
Aug 23-26, 2022
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market
Sep 13-15, 2022
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Oct 3-5, 2022
LA Mart
Jan 4-10, 2023
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Jan 10-17, 2023
Atlanta Market
Visit Gift Shop Mag Trade Show Calendar for smaller local and regional shows.

Hospital gift shop design, con’t

by Cindy Jones, Editor 💮

Customer behavior has forever changed because of the pandemic. Today’s floor plan has to offer flexibility and meet the needs of an ever-changing merchandise mix and customer. A shop must be designed to attract customers and create a buying atmosphere in a small amount of space.

Remember the mini-department store approach discussed in April’s article Shop renovations: A mini-department store approach. Utilize every square inch of available floor space to display related merchandise together with designated areas for each category. If necessary, shrink the stockroom space to provide more selling space.

Shop’s must maintain Americans with Disabilities Act regulations that require aisles be a minimum width of 36 inches.
 
Design for growth and change. No one floor plan or layout is forever!
  
Limit the amount of storage inside the shop. A shop’s selling space is primary! Merchandise stored in cabinets and drawers will not sell! 
 
The cashier counter should have two phone lines and a cell phone: one for general use and one for the POS system or credit card authorization system.
 
There should be multiple electrical outlets at the cashier counter. 
 
Include a generous quantity of electrical outlets or strip outlets throughout the shop, preferably 2-3 feet up from the floor. Include a few recessed floor outlets.
 
Excellent lighting is crucial to a successful gift shop design. Feature lighting over the cashier counter is recommended.
 
Install a “panic/alert button” in the cash register area linked to the Security Department for emergency purposes. 
 
Install electronic security cameras and a monitor at the shop entrance. The cameras should rotate and have a light indicating it is operating and ‘real’ to your customers. Post professionally produced signage that state: “This Shop is Electronically Monitored. Shoplifters will be Prosecuted.”
 
Adequate temperature control is important. Extensive lighting, a large number of customers and the flower cooler all contribute to heat build-up.
 
Shop flooring should reduce sound, add comfort for volunteers and reduce breakage. Color should coordinate with the laminate of fixture bases and the cashier counter.
 
Music piped into a gift shop creates an upbeat shopping atmosphere and helps sell merchandise. But, never too loud or it will have the opposite affect on shoppers.
 
For the highest level of space utilization and to maximize display and merchandising space, install slat wall floor to ceiling on all walls. The slat wall should be in a neutral color.
 
Gift shop design should focus on showing off the merchandise and not the shop itself. The actual display fixtures and color scheme should be as minimal as possible. Let the merchandise provide the color.
 
Vertical and horizontal shelves (for easy access to bags, tissue, etc.) can be built into the cashier counter. Two or more flat drawers for tissue will be included. It should also include one lockable drawer.
 
Professionally made signage, that is grammatically correct, is important. 
 
Use ceiling space for additional merchandise display. Skyhooks can be hung for ornaments, throws and sun catchers. Be sure to get approval from your hospital’s fire marshal.
 
To maximize display space on the walls, plan display shelves to extend above the customer’s reach. This space can be used for displaying larger items. Ensure that the prices are visible.
 
Plan and locate an off-site display case in a high-traffic area of the hospital. Include an electrical outlet inside the case to display lighted merchandise. Slat wall is an ideal interior wall surface for display.
 
The way you arrange your shop and the merchandise affects the way your customer shops your store. An effective traffic pattern is crucial. It must keep the customer moving into the store, then to the back and then up to the front. Customers today want a quick, efficient in and out. The shop should have a logical traffic flow with free flowing lanes that are easy to negotiate. Defined aisles create store discipline and give customers the idea they can always find their way out – like the safety of the yellow brick road.


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MAY 2022 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #630
Did you miss last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions?

  • SALARY DATA: Hospital Gift Shop Manager
  • Gift shop reopens after two-year COVID closure
  • RESPONSES: Do you sell any alternatives to live flowers?
  • Free Guide: Cash-and-Carry Wholesale Warehouses
  • Payroll deduction for online stores
  • Q. Do you allow personal (wholesale) purchases?
  • Early holiday 2022 preview
  • Buyers’ personal purchases (at wholesale)
  • Q. Is there a better process than handwriting POs?
  • Are your sales in line with your shop’s total square feet?
  • Gift Market Calendar

DISCUSSION


MADE IN USA

Q. We’re looking to carry mostly made in America items. What vendors are you guys using for American made products? 🇺🇸 – Carol Myers, Ascension Providence Hospital, Rochester, MI. 250 beds. 2/18/22

Wind River Chimes, Manassas Park, Virginia. windriverchimes.com – Janet Sherwood, 5/20/22

My Word by Pleasant Street Designs are Made in the USA. They have home decor type items. Their porch boards are one of our top sellers. – Kerri C, Community Healthcare System, IN. 5/17/22

Faire has an area on their site devoted to Made in USA products. Also Town Pride makes custom  – state, town, city, zip code – wholesale goods. Everything from knit sweaters to candles, stationery, drinkware, serve ware and jewelry.  – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc, 4/16/22

Duke Cannon men’s products. – Cyrielle. 3/28/22

Silver Forest Spirit earrings, made in Vermont. Renaissance Glass earrings and pendants made in South Carolina (maybe North.) – Michelle Suggs. 3/21/22

What’s your favorite MADE IN USA product? You can still leave a comment.  Click here!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


NEW JEWELRY LINES

Q. We are looking to freshen up our jewelry. We currently use Periwinkle but looking for something new along the same price point. Any suggestions? – Tracy Torres, St. Augustine. 1/20/22

Silver Forest and their Spirit earrings, made in Vermont. Renaissance Glass earrings and pendants made in South Carolina (maybe North.) – Michelle Suggs. 3/21/22

We do very well with Silver Forest and Anju Jewelry. – Cherie Towers. 3/18/22

Accessorize Me always performs well. Megan Brown designs is trending up for Spring. – Kevin Shaw, Methodist Hospital Gift Shop, St. Louis Park, MN. 3/17/21

Main Street Earrings are a big hit for us. Great quality, great price. We sell them for $8.99! – Lanie Ray, Fairfield Medical Center, Lancaster, OH. 2/28/22

Canvas has some great pieces at great price points. – Holly Weiss. 2/17/22

We do well with Periwinkle and Coronet – Helen Travis. 2/16/22

Rain Jewelry is performing very good for us as well! – Sabra Shields. 2/16/22

I love Rain jewelry. It flies off the shelf. – Stephanie Barnes. 2/16/22

We also do really well with Coronet and Accessorize Me jewelry. – Tamara Szarszewski, Gift Shop Manager, Logansport Memorial Hospital Gift Shop, 83 beds. 1/17/22

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


DECLINE IN VOLUNTEERS

Q. Have others encountered losses in the number of volunteers through the pandemic? We started out with over 30 non-gift shop volunteers and are now down to 7. In our gift shop, we had 17, now 3, one of which started mid-COVID (God bless her!). We are currently thinking of hiring a part-time employee to man the front desk from 1-5pm. What have you done to remedy staffing and volunteer issues during the pandemic? Did anyone hire paid personnel? Thanks! – Sarah Folio, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Oakland, MD. 55 beds. 12/22/21

We have had our gift shop volunteers for two years now – starting the front desk this week. – Tricia Rochman, Carbondale Memorial, Carbondale, IL. 70 beds. 3/18/21

We had about 65 volunteers in the gift shop before the pandemic. I now have about 35-40 in the shop today. I am blessed to have some very dedicated volunteers who worked all but the 3 months we were closed. Even then when we were closed we thought outside the box and started doing FB Live shows twice a month and continue with today. They are a ton of work, but truly saved our gift shop. Other volunteers stayed home but made mask for the hospital and our community in the time of need. Our Auxiliary as a whole never really stopped fundraising during the pandemic and overall our numbers grew about a dozen last year. – Ramona Kennedy. 3/17/21

We reduced our hours in the gift shop and have been able to get enough volunteers, but the traffic is not there. Hospital has been remodeling and we have been closed quite a bit. We no longer have foot traffic from front entrance of hospital. Thankfully the employees still shop with us. Our problem lately has been elderly volunteers who refuse to read manual, consequently the computer is often not turned on correctly, they don’t use the scanner to ring up items, they basically sit on their chairs and hope no one comes in. We are all volunteers so we don’t have paid staff. I end up having to drive to hospital quite often to straighten out a situation. I held trainings on 2 different Saturdays and only 2 people came. I don’t want to offend the volunteers but they don’t seem to get it. Hopefully things will pick up and we can do more business. – Martha Burke. 2/17/22

We started with 10 volunteers and now have 4 sometimes 5. We were open 5 days per week with 2 shifts, now open 3 days per week 10-2. – Helen Travis. 2/16/22

We too have fewer volunteers since the pandemic. We are open a shorter timeframe each day. M-F & Sun 10-3. In order to keep all our gift shop volunteers informed, we have a spiral notebook we write updates in. Our volunteers also write notes to us to let us know if they have any needs or something special needs to be ordered or if they have suggestions. Works well for us! – Brenda Welcher,  AdventHealth Zephyrhills, Zephyrhills, FL. 59 beds. 2/16/22

Our store is open five days a week, 12-4pm. We had a good December! Visitors are so few now with no outsiders. I had 13 people working for us but now only 5-6.
Hope you all are healthy, Harold. – Harold Shiffman, St. Catherian Hospital, Smithtown, NY. 550 beds. 1/31/22

Our Gift Shop has remained closed since November 2020. Overall, we have lost some folks but we have also gained some. Currently they are not cleared to serve in the hospital due to COVID restrictions. However, some have been assisting at the Vaccine Clinic along with over 30 additional new volunteers who are at the Clinic. I believe a good portion of those 30 will continue to serve at the hospital once given the word to do so. – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 1/18/22

Internally, I am devastated! Externally, I move on and work with what I have. We are open two shifts during the week. Happy and grateful to have volunteers that will staff the shop. I went from 200 volunteers to about 45 in the overall program. I have about 13 in the gift shop. – Connie Slingluff, Blount Memorial, Maryville, TN. 201 beds. 1/17/22

We have been blessed with willing volunteers who have made it possible to remain open. Although the hospital shut us down for a few months in 2020, we have been able to come back and remain busy. Our Holiday Extravaganza of 3 days did not happen but we held special 12 Days of Christmas sales to encourage employees to shop with us. It was gratifying to see the staff regularly and hear them thank us for being there for them. We enter 2022 with a healthy bottom line and interested buyers, we’re keeping it simple and hoping that our current path is the right one to be on. – Marilynne Field, MercyOne, Dubuque, IA. 263 beds. 1/17/22

We went from two volunteers to one volunteer per shift and are doing ok. But this takes away the buffer if someone can’t come in for their shift. We have had to be closed at random times due to no substitutes. Looking to hire a PT person to cover those shift and help manage stock. – Christie Delbridg, Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center, Bolivia, NC. 74 beds. 1/17/22

Most of mine did come back. I had about 30 with teens. I have 14 adults and 2 teens. Our hours are limited Mon-Fri 9-5. We were on a role and then Omicon hit and no more visitors. I spilt the volunteers shifts to two hours instead of their four hours. – Margaret Legut, Elmhurst Hospital, Elmhurst, IL. 258 beds. 1/17/22

We lost about 20 volunteers. We have reduced our hours and days of operation. – Ginger Taylor, CoxHealth, Springfield, MO. 1014 beds. 1/17/22

We’ve lost many of our volunteers. Our shop is closed on weekends. We are open some days from 9-5, but on days we can’t get enough volunteers we’re open 10-4. This eliminates 1 volunteer per day. We are lucky to have some volunteers picking up more shifts to fill the gaps. We ask people to call before they come to see if we’re open and we post our hours on FB. – Debbie B, Bell Hospital, Ishpeming, MI. 1/17/22

We have had approximately 1/3 of volunteers return, 1/3 not return, and 1/3 defer return. Our volunteers are dedicated and a special part of our success! Also, being part of a university, we have also added student volunteers to our Shops as of December. The students had been volunteering in patient areas before the pandemic, but with that not yet possible, they are helping the Shops! The students are professional, eager, and energetic! We’ve gone from 45-50% of shifts with at least one volunteer, to over 80% of shifts with at least one volunteer! – Mary, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI. 1000 beds. 1/16/22

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


2021 BEST SELLERS

Wow! We asked, you answered! Thanks to everyone who shared their best sellers from 2021. Here are all the responses. A great variety of products. Some surprising ones too!

Apparel, especially plaid jackets and gnomes were very popular. – Ann Bergmann, Cumberland Healthcare, Cumberland, WI. 25 beds. 1/21/22

Covenant Rings. We have a display of 60 rings and every 6-9 months, new rings are added and slow sellers are removed. I’ve had lots of luck and consistently sold them for over 7 years.  – Jennifer Stuber. 1/21/22

Yes, Covenant Rings have been good, consistent sellers for many years! – Cindy

Clothing is my best category and loungewear from DM was my best seller during the holiday season and beyond. They have great price points and a huge margin builder. I received the floor display and I had to rearrange the entire shop to fit it in my space, but worth it. Strongly recommend the fixture as it keeps the product well organized and easy to shop. – Carol Colpitts. 2/20/22

One product line that we dropped was a CBD line. Just did not sell. Melissa & Doug eductional/toy items have done very well for us as well as hospital logo wear. Snack and personal care baskets that we create have worked out well for call-in orders. – Greg Holtgrewe. 2/19/22 

Q. What all do you put in your personal care baskets? I am new to this position so extra help is awesome!! Thanks in advance – Jaci, Hays Medical Center Gift Shop, Hays, KS. 1/20/22

Usually hand and body lotions, lip balms, decorative nail files, shower gels, fancy soaps, body sprays and bath bombs. Some of the vendors are Naked Bee, Inis, Duke Cannon, Ganz, San Francisco Soap and Bomb Cosmetics. We get our celophane bags, ribbon and packaging supplies from Nashville Wraps. Most of the time we do not use a basket but a clear desert plate for a base so that all of the items are easily seen. Sometimes you have to get creative during construction to get everything to stand up maybe using a ribbon to group things. We suggestive sell snack bags that we put together and balloons to go along. – Greg Holtgrew

The Ganz Crystal Expressions colored birds of any kind are a huge seller for us. I always think the popularity will fizzle out but it hasn’t and we have customers buy multiple at a time. Light up snow globes/lanterns this past Christmas were the best thing I have brought into the Gift Shop. I sold 11 in one day (we are only open to staff & patients 6 hours a day Mon-Fri) and my total stock of 63 were sold within 3 weeks. – Sarah Ryan. 1/18/21

Sarah, where do you source the light up lanterns from? – Cindy

I order the snow globes/lanterns from a couple of companies, but the best place I found was Razimports.com. They have a wide selection of both globes and lanterns and a great price range of everything. They have small options with a lower price point all the way to large options and high price points. A lot play music, which is always a big hit. The variety of options was the best in my option as well. Search their website for Water Globe or Water Lantern and it will bring up all the options in both categories. Please let me know if there is anything else I can help with! I love getting your newsletter, it is always full of great information! — Sarah Ryan. 1/18/21

We too sold out of the light up water lanterns in less than a week. Retail prices were from $50 up. We will certainly buy again from either Roman or Raz. – Kathy Kramer, Carousel Gift Shop Driscoll Children’s Hospital, Corpus Christi. 1/21/22

Brief Insanity brand lounge pants – it was insane how well they sell! – Jill Dugaw. 1/18/22

Who was your vendor? Thanks in advance!! – Jaci, Hays Medical Center Gift Shop, Hays, KS. 1/20/22

SE Marketplace – Jill Dugaw. 1/26/22

Worlds Softest Sock Company (Crescent Socks) were huge for us fourth quarter. You have to order now for inventory for fourth quarter this year. If you don’t, you will miss out as they sell out every year. – Sabra Shields. 1/18/22

Anything with a cardinal on it. – Margaret Legut 1/17/22

Warmies! The slippers, neck wraps, and all of their animals. We also sell them over the phone like crazy. Customers love the thought of something warm and comforting going to their loved one. – Linda Armstrong. 1/17/22

See’s Candy! We brought them in late, but they moved really quickly. It was great to have options for holiday candy for our staff. – Justin. 1/17/21

Wicked Minis crackers are a popular snack and they come in several flavors. Our top seller is the Dill flavor. Itzy Ritzy is a great baby line! They have a wonderful selection of trendy designs and moms love the variety of teethers, toys, pactifiers and lovies! Last June we picked up a new line of sun glasses and readers from DM Merchandising. The brand name is Optimum Optical. They have awesome displays where the extra boxes of sunglasses are stored next to the sunglasses which keep our volunteers from going to the back so much. The displays have a modern, sleek design. Our employees love the designs! We have restocked twice so far! You can’t go wrong with Funky Freshies car scents made by Funky Fleur De Lis. We have used them for about 2 years and always sell out. Cute designs and great scents! – Betty Beck. 1/17/22

Our winners for 2021 was an increase in clothing sales. Staff who were not willing to hit the malls during COVID were shopping in our Gift Shop! – Lynn, Misericordia Health Centre Gift Shop, Winnipeg. Manitoba, Canada. 1/17/22

Santoki Lego Keychain LightsRoman light up holiday lanterns.  Cardigans from Davi & Dani and Rose N Mary. – Stephanie, San Juan Regional Medical Center, Farmington, NM. 1/17/22.

We’ve done great with Paint by Sticker books for adults and Kids from Workman Publishing. They were a great find for us during the pandemic! – Keri Schwartz. 1/17/22 

Loungewear particularly sleep/blanket hoodies did great! Careful for 2022, the cost on the blanket hoodies have increased tremendously with certain vendors!! Giftcraft, Simply Southern, LazyOnes. – Connie Slingluff. 1/17/22

Umgee USA clothing and Myra handbags – Ginger Taylor. 1/17/22 

Our Jen & Co purses were great sellers this past year. We also do really well with Coronet and Accessorize Me jewelry. Our Evergreen’s Sassafras Mats and garden flags are also top sellers. Crazy as it sounds, our Ganz mini glass animals are an item we can hardly keep in stock. They sell so well for us at $1.95. For books, we are very pleased with Choice Book Distributors. Other surprising best sellers are the satin pillowcases and microfiber hair towels from Morning Glamour. We sold out of these over the holidays and just got more back in, due to the continuing requests. – Tamara Szarszewski, Gift Shop Manager, Logansport Memorial Hospital Gift Shop, 83 beds. 1/17/22

TY Squish-A-Boos are great sellers for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Gift Shops. -Traci G. 1/16/22

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


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Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | May 15, 2022 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER
for Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers delivers practical, ready-to-implement content to gift shop managers, retailers, and volunteers across the country. We help our readership of over 3,000 retailers optimize shop operations, grow revenue, and connect with one another. The newsletter is published monthly and free since 2001.

Have you paid your dues this quarter?

The value and richness of this newsletter comes from your participation. Do your part by submitting two comments per quarter, at minimum. Reply to reader’s questions listed throughout the newsletter (in green) or simply share what is working or isn’t working in your shop, a great selling product, a helpful website or resource, an operating question, your biggest challenge right now, a terrific vendor you’ve come across recently, tips on managing volunteers, or tips on managing yourself!

LEAVE A COMMENT! Click the green comment tags throughout the newsletter, enter it in the comment section, or send to cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com.


MAY 15, 2022

The Hospitals of Providence, El Paso, TX


Gift shop reopens after two-year COVID closure

The Daily Herald / Apr 24, 2022

The retail therapy department is back in business at the hospital. Everett’s Providence Regional Medical Center gift shops reopened to building visitors after two years of pandemic closure. The Twig Shop on the Colby campus and the Pacific Pavilion Boutique offer more than get well cards, baby clothes and stuffed toys.

Many goods have nothing to do with hospital stays. The shelves have holiday decor, purses, earrings, garden art, hats, sports team novelties and kitchen items.

The shops are open limited hours, for now. Hospital spokesperson Casey Calumusa said shoppers must be hospital visitors or have medical appointments. “We hope to open the gift shops more in the future,” he said in an email. “The ability to do so depends on COVID case rates in the community and the number of volunteers we can have in the hospital to staff the gift shops.”

Dianne Easley, left, and Pam Thomas take care of customers at the gift shop at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Prices are as low as possible because there are no employees to pay, or overhead expenses.

“The hospital is great to us. They don’t charge us anything to be here,” Twig Shop co-manager Linda Jubie said.

The supply shortage didn’t hinder stocking the shelves. Managers had gone to a gift show in Las Vegas to select the merchandise before the pandemic shutdown. “We’d already ordered for the year,” Jubie said. Those items had a long shelf life. Snacks had to be put to use.

Instead of letting the candy and chips expire, volunteers put it in baskets to give to employees working long hours to care for COVID patients.

The shop is a popular spot for hospital workers. “A lot of times they don’t have money with them and they can use their badge (to pay) so they can swing in and get something,” Mackay said.

SOURCE: The Daily Herald


RESPONSES: Do you sell any alternatives to live flowers?

What are some alternatives to live flowers? We are located in a small town with two flower shops and neither want to partner with us. We currently are offering gift baskets but we still have people that want flowers. Thank you in advance! – Lanie Ray, Fairfield Medical Center, Lancaster, OH. 222 beds. 3/28/22

FreshCut Paper has been a phenomenal alternative for live plants/flowers – specifically for our patients in ICU and TLC. I find myself reordering twice a month. -Meggen Heuss, University of WI Hospital & Clinics, Madison WI. 650 beds. 4/25/22

We have a family member of a volunteer who makes “arrangements” using multi colored buttons, colored wire, and fabrics shaped like flowers and flower buds. They are very popular. – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 4/21/22

We do well with Sullivan Gift for artificial flowers and succulents. Great selection.  – Cherie Towers, Redlands Community Hospital, Redlands, CA. 229 beds. 4/21/22

K&K Interiors has amazing real-touch silk flowers. They are the best flowers we have seen on the silk side. Also, Evergreen has a single lilly in a mini vase that is amazing. Otherwise, the selection is small.  – Tricia Rochman, Carbondale Memorial Hospital, Carbondale, IL. 154 beds. 4/21/22

We use 1800 flowers. They come in a box already arranged. We open them up, clip the ends and put them in vases. We use cello wrap and bows to decorate. It works really well! – Amy, 4/21/22

Spotted at CGH Medical Center: Lego Flower Bouquets. Expensive, but very unique! – Nicole, Cindy Jones Associates. 4/19/22

FreshCut Paper flowers have done well for us. They are beautiful and last forever!  – Dawn Shumaker, Clinton Memorial Hospital, Wilmington, OH. 4/18/22

Live plants or felt flowers.  – Sarah McManus. 4/15/22

We sell FreshCut Paper flowers. They are easy to sell for phone orders when a room can’t have fresh flowers. and hospital staff buys them to mail as they come with an envelope also. Admin staff also buy them to have on their desks.  – Linda Armstrong, Gift Shop Supervisor, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, Tacoma, WA. 4/15/22

Nothing replaces real flowers but silk flowers are at least something to let the patient know you are thinking about them, this is what I tell our customers. We do well with Primitives by Kathy or the bendable flowers we buy at Kelli’s. – Sophia, Community Memorial Health System, Ventura, CA. 4/15/22

Our shop used to sell silk flowers. These were great especially for ICU patients that couldn’t have live flowers. The biggest expense is the flowers themselves, but if you can hit up sales from different craft shops, it’s a great value. Kerri Clark, Community Hospital, Munster, IN. 498 beds. 4/15/22

Natural Fragrance Roses – live fragrant flowers but hydrated to last 4 months. The “no hassle” flowers + fragrance. – Petrus Persoon, CEO, Natural Fragrance Rose. 4/15/21

We sell live flowers, but also sell FreshCut Paper flowers as a cheaper alternative. They can even be mailed for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. We just received our second order. – Craig McKneely, Scripps Health, San Diego, CA. 4/15/22

Ganz has acrylic Posey Pots! – Suzanne, Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital, Sayre, PA. 4/15/21

Do you know of a good alternatives to live flowers? You can still respond to the question here. 🌸 🌷 🌼

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


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Free Guide: Wholesale Cash-and-Carry Warehouses

Smart Retailer recently published their free Cash-and-Carry WholesaleWarehouse Guide. This is a terrific resource for those finding it difficult to obtain merchandise lately. More and more cash-and-carry warehouses are opening up across the country. Dan Brownell, editor pointed out, “If you live within driving distance of one or more of them, you can make a quick trip to fill up a vehicle with product and save a huge amount on shipping costs that take such a big bite out of profits.” Many smaller or all-volunteer shops don’t have buyers.

Cash-and-Carry Wholesale Warehouse Guide by Smart Retailer

Benefits of Shopping at a Wholesale Cash-and-Carry Warehouse

  • Immediate access to products for fast stocking of store shelves
  • One-stop shopping of a wide range of vendors and product lines
  • No shipping charges
  • Convenient checkout at one location
  • No backorders or delayed deliveries
  • No minimums, which allows storeowners to test small quantities of a wider range of products and manage cash-flow more effectively
  • Personally inspect features and quality of products
  • Access 5-6 days a week, so shop owners can shop when their store is closed
  • Year-round availability allows storeowners to shop at leisure, rather than be rushed because of limited show hours
  • Less planning needed than attending a show
  • Possible same-day trips or choose to stay overnight and visit local attractions for a working vacation

The Cash-and-Carry Wholesale Warehouse Guide from Smart Retailer includes 14 east coast cash-and-carry warehouses, including contact info, website, social media, and location info, as well as a brief Q&A with each.


Payroll deduction for online stores

Last month we discussed possible solutions to the question submitted by Jill Dugaw at Spartanburg Regional in Spartanburg, SC: Does anyone accept payroll deduction on their online gift shop? If so, how do you authenticate the buyer (i.e., how do you verify they are using their employee number)?You can read the article in last month’s issue, including possible solutions and reader comments.

The ideal solution is to create a custom payout option for “Payroll Deduction” in your ecommerce platform. But, they will likely charge a customization fee unless your IT department can implement it. To briefly recap alternatives:

  • Native integration, such as ARBA POS which includes a payroll deduction option, standard.
  • In this online shop employees enter the coupon code “Payroll Deduction” at checkout.
  • Employees at the U of M online tech shop select “Pay In Store” and complete the payroll deduction process at pick up.
  • Find out if your scrub vendor or the hospital pharmacy have a payroll deduction solution.
  • eComitize is an eCommerce consulting firm that can build a payroll deduction option.
  • Magento can accept payroll deduction using an extension (could not located extension).
  • NCR Counterpoint will integrate a shop’s ecommerce site and have the option to use payroll deduction. Any credit limits in place for Payroll Deduction will also flow to the website and restrict employees from exceeding their credit limit.

Gold Coast Promotions has incorporated payroll deduction in to their online fundraising events using Shopify. Here are some payroll deduction examples from UMHS and Memorial Hospital Gulfport. Marc Kravetz from Gold Coast informed us that his IT team customized the interface to accept payroll deduction. Employee numbers are entered at checkout and Gold Coast send a spreadsheet to the hospital for deductions. Gold Coast Promotions has been holding in-person fundraisers in hospitals for over 40 years. Many of you may be familiar with their name.

With all that transpired within hospitals due to the pandemic, they totally changed their fundraising format to an online format, holding over 100 online events in 2021. They have a huge array of products, provide all promotional materials, QR codes and custom website, as well as pull, pack, and ship all purchases to the customer. Although this is not a permanent online store and the inventory is different, it might be a good way to test the level of demand for online shopping with your employee base and also help familiarize yourself with online platforms.

**SEEKING SHOPS**
Do you want an online store but don’t have the expertise, staffing, or time to do it?

We are looking for shops that are interested in possibly outsourcing their online store through a new option from Gold Coast Promotions. Read more below and contact us here.

~~

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Gold Coast Promotions is looking into building branded online stores for hospital gift shops. This is an option if you don’t have the time, technical know-how or are an all-volunteer shop. It would include a unique web address for your shop, branded website, nationwide shipping, gift shop pick-up, curb-side, in-hospital delivery, and of course, payroll deduction. They would handle all the setup, operations, and technical requirements. Outsourcing your online store might be viable option for many shops. Specific fees and details to be determined.


UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

JUNE
Graduation Season
Jun 14 – Flag Day
Jun 19 – Father’s Day
Jun 19 – Juneteenth
Jun 21 – Summer Solstice
Jun 27 – National Sunglasses Day
JULY
Jul 4 – Independence Day
Jul 7 – World Chocolate Day
Jul 10 – National Pina Colada Day
Jul 14 – National Mac & Cheese Day
AUGUST
Back-To-School Season
Aug 3 – Ntnl Watermelon Day
Aug 8 – International Cat Day
Aug 9 – Book Lovers Day
Aug 15 – National Relaxation Day
Aug 21 – Senior Citizens’ Day
…fill with fun off-season sales/events!

**Sometimes we include some pretty unique “holidays”. Use them to help generate off-season sales. “It’s National Sunglasses Day – 15% Today Only”. Build some fun displays. Be creative! Put all umbrellas on sale for National Pina Colada Day.


Early holiday 2022 preview

by Debbie Eisele / Gift Shop Mag

Angel Sitters from burton + BURTON
Angel Sitters. burton + BURTON.

With a record fourth quarter wrapping up, retail holiday sales are predicted to repeat next year. The inventory and shipping shortages of 2021 will prove to be a cautionary tale for everyone in 2022. Retailers can get a jump on holiday merchandise with careful planning and an eye for the hot trends.

“Soft browns, golds and beige are very popular — this matches any décor,” Jamie Adler, marketing manager for Kurt S. Adler, explained. “People are investing in high quality merchandise (and) people are really taking pride in their holiday décor and want it to look as nice as possible.”

According to Kacie Carswell, marketing manager for burton + BURTON, varying textures and patterns such as “puffy white wool, ribbed wood and reflective metals will be a focus for the 2022 holiday season.”

“Gifts and décor for the holiday season that have a purpose and a treasured message will resonate with all generations … such as decorative containers, entertainment serveware and uniquely shaped mugs,” explained Carswell.

“Lighted items continue to be incredibly popular. As dark December evenings descend on us, there is nothing more inviting than twinkling lights and shimmering candle glow,” noted Ingrid Liss, vice president product development and innovation for GANZ Midwest-CBK. Also trending into 2022 is a mix of modern and glam and GANZ Midwest-CBK is offering a Holiday Glam collection that illustrates both of these characteristics. Read more…

SOURCE: Gift Shop Mag

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by Cindy Jones, Editor

Many hospital gift shops have policies in place for ‘personal purchases’ made at gift markets by paid or volunteer buyers. Most shops permit their volunteer and paid buyers to include their own personal purchases (at wholesale pricing plus shipping costs) in orders while at market. The reasoning is showrooms and vendors require ‘minimum order amounts’ for certain lines. Buyers ‘personal purchases’ help meet that minimum amount.

For example, after serving as a buyer for three months, they may purchase personal merchandise at a 45% discount. This privilege is in appreciation to the buyer for their extra time and effort for the shop. The tradeoff in goodwill for the buyer’s efforts more than justifies the barely negligible reduced profit that the shop might realize.

Guidelines to consider:

  • Buyer must pay shipping for their items.
  • All ‘personal’ merchandise ordered must also be ‘for sale’ in the gift shop. If a buyer wants to order a toaster at wholesale and the minimum is two toasters, how will the shop will ever sell the other toaster? So, all items ordered through the gift shop must also be for sale in the shop.
  • All items must be processed and shipped to the gift shop (not to the buyer’s home) and only then can the items be purchased by the buyer at cost plus shipping. 
  • The merchandise cannot leave the shop until it is paid for.
  • Gift shop paid employees are allowed to hold merchandise for 10 days. All holds are checked.

Hospital Policy

The hospital itself may have its own policies and may frown on this practice. Be sure to know your hospital’s policy on ‘personal purchases’, particularly if the orders are processed through the hospital accounting and shipping department.

Tax Exempt Policy

It is up to each shop to determine if buying personal items at wholesale (plus shipping) would be considered a misuse of the shop’s tax-exemption status. The small amount of lost profits should not affect the shop’s status, however, each shop should do their due diligence regarding this issue.

The shop’s Policy and Procedure Handbook should state:

“All purchases must be entered into the POS system by another employee/volunteer. The purchase/s are placed in a bag and stapled shut. The receipt is attached to the outside of the bag and initialed by the employee/volunteer who transacted the item/s.”

Q. What is your buyer/manager policy for personal (wholesale) purchases?

Do you have a policy for personal (wholesale) purchases? <- CLICK TO COMMENT

Do you allow personal (wholesale) purchases? What is the discount %? How long do they have to be with the shop?

Comment here or enter it in the comment box at the end of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


Q. Is there a better process than handwriting POs?

How do managers/buyers purchase goods for their shop? We hand write purchase orders then send them to our in-hospital purchasing agent. In some instances orders can be up to 11 handwritten purchase orders. Would love to know if there is a way to minimize writing all these POs? Thanks! – Sarah Folio, Volunteer Coordinator/Gift Shop Manager, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Oakland, MD. 4/24/22

Do you still use handwritten POs or another, more efficient, method? <- CLICK TO COMMENT

Do you have an alternative process to handwritten POs? Have you found a more efficient way for buyers to operate?

Caring is sharing all your knowledge helping others grow their shops! Comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


Are your sales in line with your shop’s total square feet?

Retail sales per square footage equals your store’s average revenue for every foot of sales space.

🎯 FORMULA: Total in-store sales / Selling area in square feet.
 
A minimum of $800 per square foot (at retail-not at cost) in sales annually is doable for most hospital shops. A number of shops around the country are generating over $2,000+ in sales per square foot per year. Let us know what your sales per square foot are for your shop/store.
 
NOTE: This benchmark applies to shops that are proportionate in size to their hospital (number of employees and beds). A small shop in a big hospital should generate higher sales per square foot. A disproportionately large shop in a small hospital will generate lower sales per square foot.
 
To maximize every square foot of a shop’s selling space:

  • There should be very little storage (drawers or cupboards) in the selling space.
  • The merchandise must turn fast.
  • Appropriate pricing structures must be maintained to receive the maximum profit on the merchandise. Good profit margins are the key to success.

This information is based upon Cindy’s general experience and knowledge of hospital gift shop management and information gathered through her national surveys.

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


💮 CALENDAR 💮

GIFT MARKETS

**Always double-check show dates**Jun 14-17, 2022
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market
Jun 22-28, 2022
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Jun 26-28, 2022
Minneapolis Mart Gift, Home, Apparel & Accs Show
Jul 12-18, 2022
Atlanta Home & Gift Market
Jul 24-28, 2022
Las Vegas Market
Aug 18-21, 2022
New Orleans Gift & Jewelry Show
Aug 23-26, 2022
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market
Sep 13-15, 2022
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Jan 4-10, 2023
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Jan 10-17, 2023
Atlanta Market
Visit Gift Shop Mag Trade Show Calendar for smaller local and regional shows.

SALARY DATA: Hospital Gift Shop Manager

Q. Can you or any of the readers share the salary for the Gift Shop Managers? I’m redeveloping the job description for my Gift Shop Manager to reflect that they now have responsibility for more than one shop location, and I’d like to bring their salary more in line with industry standards. Extra points for those located in the Southeast. – Jill Dugaw, Manager, Volunteer Services & Gift Shop, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Spartanburg, SC. 4/17/22

FROM CINDY

The last salary survey we ran was back in 2011. At this time, the average salary, reported by 163 shop managers, was $42,170 nine years ago. Adjusted for inflation, the BLS inflation calculator indicated a salary of $55,360 for 2022. Alternatively, using the benchmark annual increase of 3%,  the adjusted 2022 salary would be $55,022. Although this is not a scientific method and does not account for variables such as hospital size or geography, it does provide some insight. 

We also pulled gift shop manager salaries from a sampling of university affiliated shops. Being state funded, they are required to publish their salaries. The information is not readily available and requires some digging online, but it is public.

Mgr, Gift Shop (2020)
Univ of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (710 beds)
$63,562 

Gift Shop Manager (2020)
CGH Medical Center Auxiliary (98 beds)
$36,264 

Medical Gift Shop Manager (2021)
Univ of Arkansas for Medical Center (434 bed)
$48,092 

Medical Gift Shop Assistant Manager (2021)
Univ of Arkansas for Medical Center (434 bed)
$34,342 

Gift Shop – Finance Mnger, Social Media, Volunteer Coor (2020)
Univ of Michigan (1107 beds)
$46,542 

Merchandising Manager (2020)
Univ of Michigan (1107 beds)
$65,100 
Assistant Director- Gift Shops (2018)
Ohio State Univ Wexner Medical Center (1032 beds) 
$75,712 

Assoc Manager (2018)
Ohio State Univ Wexner Medical Center (1032 beds) 
$58,743

Assoc Manager (2018)
Ohio State Univ Wexner Medical Center (1032 beds)
$53,485 

Assoc Manager (2018)
Ohio State Univ Wexner Medical Center (1032 beds)
$50,555 

Assoc Manager (2018)
Ohio State Univ Wexner Medical Center (1032 beds)
$44,794 

**All salary information provided is publicly available.


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APRIL 2022 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #629
Did you miss last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions?

  • What have we learned in recent years
  • Q. Alternatives to live flowers?
  • Most wanted for Mother’s Day
  • GiftBeat’s top sellers for April
  • Shop renovations: Mini-department store approach
  • Q. Does your online store have payroll deduction?
  • May Action Plan
  • PART 2: Do you have a loyalty program or keytags?
  • Teacher Appreciation Week | May 2-6, 2022
  • NRF annual retail forecast: 6-8% growth
  • Q. Do you have a resource for African-American Santas?
  • New jewelry lines, Made In USA products, 2021 Best Sellers
  • Gift Market Calendar

DISCUSSION


NEW JEWELRY LINES

Q. We are looking to freshen up our jewelry. We currently use Periwinkle but looking for something new along the same price point. Any suggestions? – Tracy Torres, St. Augustine. 1/20/22

Silver Forest and their Spirit earrings, made in Vermont. Renaissance Glass earrings and pendants made in South Carolina (maybe North.) – Michelle Suggs. 3/21/22

We do very well with Silver Forest and Anju Jewelry. – Cherie Towers. 3/18/22

Accessorize Me always performs well. Megan Brown designs is trending up for Spring. – Kevin Shaw, Methodist Hospital Gift Shop, St. Louis Park, MN. 3/17/21

Main Street Earrings are a big hit for us. Great quality, great price. We sell them for $8.99! – Lanie Ray, Fairfield Medical Center, Lancaster, OH. 2/28/22

Canvas has some great pieces at great price points. – Holly Weiss. 2/17/22

We do well with Periwinkle and Coronet – Helen Travis. 2/16/22

Rain Jewelry is performing very good for us as well! – Sabra Shields. 2/16/22

I love Rain jewelry. It flies off the shelf. – Stephanie Barnes. 2/16/22

We also do really well with Coronet and Accessorize Me jewelry. – Tamara Szarszewski, Gift Shop Manager, Logansport Memorial Hospital Gift Shop, 83 beds. 1/17/22

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


MADE IN USA

Q. We’re looking to carry mostly made in America items. What vendors are you guys using for American made products? 🇺🇸 – Carol Myers, Ascension Providence Hospital, Rochester, MI. 250 beds. 2/18/22

Faire has an area on their site devoted to Made in USA products. Also Town Pride makes custom  – state, town, city, zip code – wholesale goods. Everything from knit sweaters to candles, stationery, drinkware, serve ware and jewelry.  – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc, 4/16/22.

Duke Cannon men’s products. – Cyrielle. 3/28/22

Silver Forest Spirit earrings, made in Vermont. Renaissance Glass earrings and pendants made in South Carolina (maybe North.) – Michelle Suggs. 3/21/22

What’s your favorite MADE IN USA product? You can still leave a comment.  Click here!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


CHRISTMAS MERCH VENDORS

Q. Have you been able to source Christmas merchandise? Anyone know of a vendor for “out of the box” Christmas merchandise? – Jill A Dugaw (She/Her), Spartanburg Regional, Spartanburg, OH. 1/19/22

Opportunities has great Christmas merch at good prices. There is a $400 fee each year to join this group but the prices for the exact same items that many other vendors carry are much lower. They carry everyday and seasonal merchandise. clothing, candles, etc. – Diane Honsberger, Mercy Health St. Anne Hospital. 2/18/22

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


DECLINE IN VOLUNTEERS

Q. Have others encountered losses in the number of volunteers through the pandemic? We started out with over 30 non-gift shop volunteers and are now down to 7. In our gift shop, we had 17, now 3, one of which started mid-COVID (God bless her!). We are currently thinking of hiring a part-time employee to man the front desk from 1-5pm. What have you done to remedy staffing and volunteer issues during the pandemic? Did anyone hire paid personnel? Thanks! – Sarah Folio, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Oakland, MD. 55 beds. 12/22/21

We have had our gift shop volunteers for two years now – starting the front desk this week. – Tricia Rochman, Carbondale Memorial, Carbondale, IL. 70 beds. 3/18/21

We had about 65 volunteers in the gift shop before the pandemic. I now have about 35-40 in the shop today. I am blessed to have some very dedicated volunteers who worked all but the 3 months we were closed. Even then when we were closed we thought outside the box and started doing FB Live shows twice a month and continue with today. They are a ton of work, but truly saved our gift shop. Other volunteers stayed home but made mask for the hospital and our community in the time of need. Our Auxiliary as a whole never really stopped fundraising during the pandemic and overall our numbers grew about a dozen last year. – Ramona Kennedy. 3/17/21

We reduced our hours in the gift shop and have been able to get enough volunteers, but the traffic is not there. Hospital has been remodeling and we have been closed quite a bit. We no longer have foot traffic from front entrance of hospital. Thankfully the employees still shop with us. Our problem lately has been elderly volunteers who refuse to read manual, consequently the computer is often not turned on correctly, they don’t use the scanner to ring up items, they basically sit on their chairs and hope no one comes in. We are all volunteers so we don’t have paid staff. I end up having to drive to hospital quite often to straighten out a situation. I held trainings on 2 different Saturdays and only 2 people came. I don’t want to offend the volunteers but they don’t seem to get it. Hopefully things will pick up and we can do more business. – Martha Burke. 2/17/22

We started with 10 volunteers and now have 4 sometimes 5. We were open 5 days per week with 2 shifts, now open 3 days per week 10-2. – Helen Travis. 2/16/22

We too have fewer volunteers since the pandemic. We are open a shorter timeframe each day. M-F & Sun 10-3. In order to keep all our gift shop volunteers informed, we have a spiral notebook we write updates in. Our volunteers also write notes to us to let us know if they have any needs or something special needs to be ordered or if they have suggestions. Works well for us! – Brenda Welcher,  AdventHealth Zephyrhills, Zephyrhills, FL. 59 beds. 2/16/22

Our store is open five days a week, 12-4pm. We had a good December! Visitors are so few now with no outsiders. I had 13 people working for us but now only 5-6.
Hope you all are healthy, Harold. – Harold Shiffman, St. Catherian Hospital, Smithtown, NY. 550 beds. 1/31/22

Our Gift Shop has remained closed since November 2020. Overall, we have lost some folks but we have also gained some. Currently they are not cleared to serve in the hospital due to COVID restrictions. However, some have been assisting at the Vaccine Clinic along with over 30 additional new volunteers who are at the Clinic. I believe a good portion of those 30 will continue to serve at the hospital once given the word to do so. – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 1/18/22

Internally, I am devastated! Externally, I move on and work with what I have. We are open two shifts during the week. Happy and grateful to have volunteers that will staff the shop. I went from 200 volunteers to about 45 in the overall program. I have about 13 in the gift shop. – Connie Slingluff, Blount Memorial, Maryville, TN. 201 beds. 1/17/22

We have been blessed with willing volunteers who have made it possible to remain open. Although the hospital shut us down for a few months in 2020, we have been able to come back and remain busy. Our Holiday Extravaganza of 3 days did not happen but we held special 12 Days of Christmas sales to encourage employees to shop with us. It was gratifying to see the staff regularly and hear them thank us for being there for them. We enter 2022 with a healthy bottom line and interested buyers, we’re keeping it simple and hoping that our current path is the right one to be on. – Marilynne Field, MercyOne, Dubuque, IA. 263 beds. 1/17/22

We went from two volunteers to one volunteer per shift and are doing ok. But this takes away the buffer if someone can’t come in for their shift. We have had to be closed at random times due to no substitutes. Looking to hire a PT person to cover those shift and help manage stock. – Christie Delbridg, Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center, Bolivia, NC. 74 beds. 1/17/22

Most of mine did come back. I had about 30 with teens. I have 14 adults and 2 teens. Our hours are limited Mon-Fri 9-5. We were on a role and then Omicon hit and no more visitors. I spilt the volunteers shifts to two hours instead of their four hours. – Margaret Legut, Elmhurst Hospital, Elmhurst, IL. 258 beds. 1/17/22

We lost about 20 volunteers. We have reduced our hours and days of operation. – Ginger Taylor, CoxHealth, Springfield, MO. 1014 beds. 1/17/22

We’ve lost many of our volunteers. Our shop is closed on weekends. We are open some days from 9-5, but on days we can’t get enough volunteers we’re open 10-4. This eliminates 1 volunteer per day. We are lucky to have some volunteers picking up more shifts to fill the gaps. We ask people to call before they come to see if we’re open and we post our hours on FB. – Debbie B, Bell Hospital, Ishpeming, MI. 1/17/22

We have had approximately 1/3 of volunteers return, 1/3 not return, and 1/3 defer return. Our volunteers are dedicated and a special part of our success! Also, being part of a university, we have also added student volunteers to our Shops as of December. The students had been volunteering in patient areas before the pandemic, but with that not yet possible, they are helping the Shops! The students are professional, eager, and energetic! We’ve gone from 45-50% of shifts with at least one volunteer, to over 80% of shifts with at least one volunteer! – Mary, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI. 1000 beds. 1/16/22

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


2021 BEST SELLERS

Wow! We asked, you answered! Thanks to everyone who shared their best sellers from 2021. Here are all the responses. A great variety of products. Some surprising ones too!

Apparel, especially plaid jackets and gnomes were very popular. – Ann Bergmann, Cumberland Healthcare, Cumberland, WI. 25 beds. 1/21/22

Covenant Rings. We have a display of 60 rings and every 6-9 months, new rings are added and slow sellers are removed. I’ve had lots of luck and consistently sold them for over 7 years.  – Jennifer Stuber. 1/21/22

Yes, Covenant Rings have been good, consistent sellers for many years! – Cindy

Clothing is my best category and loungewear from DM was my best seller during the holiday season and beyond. They have great price points and a huge margin builder. I received the floor display and I had to rearrange the entire shop to fit it in my space, but worth it. Strongly recommend the fixture as it keeps the product well organized and easy to shop. – Carol Colpitts. 2/20/22

One product line that we dropped was a CBD line. Just did not sell. Melissa & Doug eductional/toy items have done very well for us as well as hospital logo wear. Snack and personal care baskets that we create have worked out well for call-in orders. – Greg Holtgrewe. 2/19/22 

Q. What all do you put in your personal care baskets? I am new to this position so extra help is awesome!! Thanks in advance – Jaci, Hays Medical Center Gift Shop, Hays, KS. 1/20/22

Usually hand and body lotions, lip balms, decorative nail files, shower gels, fancy soaps, body sprays and bath bombs. Some of the vendors are Naked Bee, Inis, Duke Cannon, Ganz, San Francisco Soap and Bomb Cosmetics. We get our celophane bags, ribbon and packaging supplies from Nashville Wraps. Most of the time we do not use a basket but a clear desert plate for a base so that all of the items are easily seen. Sometimes you have to get creative during construction to get everything to stand up maybe using a ribbon to group things. We suggestive sell snack bags that we put together and balloons to go along. – Greg Holtgrew

The Ganz Crystal Expressions colored birds of any kind are a huge seller for us. I always think the popularity will fizzle out but it hasn’t and we have customers buy multiple at a time. Light up snow globes/lanterns this past Christmas were the best thing I have brought into the Gift Shop. I sold 11 in one day (we are only open to staff & patients 6 hours a day Mon-Fri) and my total stock of 63 were sold within 3 weeks. – Sarah Ryan. 1/18/21

Sarah, where do you source the light up lanterns from? – Cindy

I order the snow globes/lanterns from a couple of companies, but the best place I found was Razimports.com. They have a wide selection of both globes and lanterns and a great price range of everything. They have small options with a lower price point all the way to large options and high price points. A lot play music, which is always a big hit. The variety of options was the best in my option as well. Search their website for Water Globe or Water Lantern and it will bring up all the options in both categories. Please let me know if there is anything else I can help with! I love getting your newsletter, it is always full of great information! — Sarah Ryan. 1/18/21

We too sold out of the light up water lanterns in less than a week. Retail prices were from $50 up. We will certainly buy again from either Roman or Raz. – Kathy Kramer, Carousel Gift Shop Driscoll Children’s Hospital, Corpus Christi. 1/21/22

Brief Insanity brand lounge pants – it was insane how well they sell! – Jill Dugaw. 1/18/22

Who was your vendor? Thanks in advance!! – Jaci, Hays Medical Center Gift Shop, Hays, KS. 1/20/22

SE Marketplace – Jill Dugaw. 1/26/22

Worlds Softest Sock Company (Crescent Socks) were huge for us fourth quarter. You have to order now for inventory for fourth quarter this year. If you don’t, you will miss out as they sell out every year. – Sabra Shields. 1/18/22

Anything with a cardinal on it. – Margaret Legut 1/17/22

Warmies! The slippers, neck wraps, and all of their animals. We also sell them over the phone like crazy. Customers love the thought of something warm and comforting going to their loved one. – Linda Armstrong. 1/17/22

See’s Candy! We brought them in late, but they moved really quickly. It was great to have options for holiday candy for our staff. – Justin. 1/17/21

Wicked Minis crackers are a popular snack and they come in several flavors. Our top seller is the Dill flavor. Itzy Ritzy is a great baby line! They have a wonderful selection of trendy designs and moms love the variety of teethers, toys, pactifiers and lovies! Last June we picked up a new line of sun glasses and readers from DM Merchandising. The brand name is Optimum Optical. They have awesome displays where the extra boxes of sunglasses are stored next to the sunglasses which keep our volunteers from going to the back so much. The displays have a modern, sleek design. Our employees love the designs! We have restocked twice so far! You can’t go wrong with Funky Freshies car scents made by Funky Fleur De Lis. We have used them for about 2 years and always sell out. Cute designs and great scents! – Betty Beck. 1/17/22

Our winners for 2021 was an increase in clothing sales. Staff who were not willing to hit the malls during COVID were shopping in our Gift Shop! – Lynn, Misericordia Health Centre Gift Shop, Winnipeg. Manitoba, Canada. 1/17/22

Santoki Lego Keychain LightsRoman light up holiday lanterns.  Cardigans from Davi & Dani and Rose N Mary. – Stephanie, San Juan Regional Medical Center, Farmington, NM. 1/17/22.

We’ve done great with Paint by Sticker books for adults and Kids from Workman Publishing. They were a great find for us during the pandemic! – Keri Schwartz. 1/17/22 

Loungewear particularly sleep/blanket hoodies did great! Careful for 2022, the cost on the blanket hoodies have increased tremendously with certain vendors!! Giftcraft, Simply Southern, LazyOnes. – Connie Slingluff. 1/17/22

Umgee USA clothing and Myra handbags – Ginger Taylor. 1/17/22 

Our Jen & Co purses were great sellers this past year. We also do really well with Coronet and Accessorize Me jewelry. Our Evergreen’s Sassafras Mats and garden flags are also top sellers. Crazy as it sounds, our Ganz mini glass animals are an item we can hardly keep in stock. They sell so well for us at $1.95. For books, we are very pleased with Choice Book Distributors. Other surprising best sellers are the satin pillowcases and microfiber hair towels from Morning Glamour. We sold out of these over the holidays and just got more back in, due to the continuing requests. – Tamara Szarszewski, Gift Shop Manager, Logansport Memorial Hospital Gift Shop, 83 beds. 1/17/22

TY Squish-A-Boos are great sellers for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Gift Shops. -Traci G. 1/16/22

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


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Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | April 15, 2022 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER
for Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers delivers practical, ready-to-implement content to gift shop managers, retailers, and volunteers across the country. We help our readership of over 3,000 retailers optimize shop operations, grow revenue, and connect with one another. The newsletter is published monthly and free since 2001.

Have you paid your dues this quarter?

The value and richness of this newsletter comes from your participation. Do your part by submitting two comments per quarter, at minimum. Reply to reader’s questions listed throughout the newsletter (in green) or simply share what is working or isn’t working in your shop, a great selling product, a helpful website or resource, an operating question, your biggest challenge right now, a terrific vendor you’ve come across recently, tips on managing volunteers, or tips on managing yourself!

LEAVE A COMMENT! Click the green comment tags throughout the newsletter, enter it in the comment section, or send to cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com.


APRIL 15, 2022

CGH Medical Center, Sterling, IL


What have we learned in recent years

by Cindy Jones, Editor

What have we learned over the past two years? More than we ever imagined, but here are a few takeaways:

We’ve learned that the shop with the most inclusive approach and team work wins! Utilize everyone’s talents and help foster new ones. Give credit where due and speak in “We” not “I”.We’ve learned that the shop with the best ideas and ingenuity wins. The new challenge is to keep your mind open to new possibilities – and your ears open to new ways of thinking.
We’ve learned that the shop with the best leadership wins. But not the old, command-and-control style. Be a leader, not a boss.We’ve learned that the shop with the clearest sense of purpose wins! Pull out you shop’s mission statement and update it to reflect your shop’s goals for 2022.

Q. Alternatives to live flowers?

What are some alternatives to live flowers? We are located in a small town with two flower shops and neither want to partner with us. We currently are offering gift baskets but we still have people that want flowers. Thank you in advance! – Lanie Ray, Fairfield Medical Center, Lancaster, OH. 222 beds. 3/28/22

What are some alternatives to live flowers? CLICK TO COMMENT

Leave your comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Do you sell any alternatives to live flowers? Felt flower, paper, fabric, feather, dried, pop-up card, candy, cookie and balloon bouquets? 🌸 🌷 🌼

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡

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Most wanted for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday, May 8!

What do shoppers buy most?


Q. Does your online store have payroll deduction?

Does anyone accept payroll deduction on their online gift shop? If so, how do you authenticate the buyer (i.e., how do you verify they are using their employee number to make the purchase)? – Jill Dugaw, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Spartanburg, SC. 400 beds. 3/17/22

umichsale.com

We visited this topic in our four-part series Creating an Online Store. Several of the shops we interviewed were still trying to construct a solution for online payroll deduction. Hopefully some managers have found solutions since then and can SHARE them here.

We were only able to find one POS with a built-in ecommerce module that includes payroll deduction as a payment option – ARBA POS. This online shop created a workaround for accepting payroll deduction, though it’s a bit tedious. The employee enters a coupon code named “Payroll Deduction” at checkout and the price reduces to $0.00. The shop collects the employee number via email afterwards and completes the order. They use “Other payment” in the terminal. The site uses Square.

The University of Michigan Tech Shop has a different workaround that seems feasible. At checkout, employees select “Pay In Store” and they complete the payroll deduction process at pick up. Employees are notified via email when the order is ready. Orders not picked up within 3 days after email notification are cancelled.

“Please note that payroll deduction will not be offered as a payment option when you select in-store pickup; simply choose “Pay In Store,” and we will complete your payroll deduction process when you pick up. This allows you to make changes and/or add in-stock items to your purchase at the time of sale! You’ll be notified via email when your order is ready (usually within one business day). Orders not picked up within 3 days after email notification are cancelled and products released; however, please let us know if you need extra time.”

The best solution is to add a custom payment option for payroll deduction to your online store. This requires the addition of a custom “Payroll Deduction” button and a custom “Employee Number” field to the checkout page. Your e-commerce company will likely charge a customization fee. Your IT department may be able to implement these and avoid any fees.

We were able to add these customizations fairly easily to the our own online store powered by Shopify, but it did require some coding. We also found this example of an online store that has payroll deduction. You can step through the entire checkout process to demo how it works.

Many contracted scrub and uniform vendors or hospital pharmacies offer payroll deduction on their online stores. This may also be a good point to reference when starting the discussion with your IT and payroll departments.

By the way, if you don’t have payroll deduction for your in-store traffic, it’s time to implement it. The value of payroll deduction goes without saying. In a recent survey, 76% of shop managers reported having payroll deduction. Sales from payroll deduction averages between 40% – 65% of revenue.

Have you been successful adding payroll deduction to your shop’s online store? Or, do you have an idea or a workaround? Please let us know here. We’ll share your feedback in next month’s issue!


UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

MAY
May 2-6 – Teacher Appreciation Week
May 5 – Cinco de Mayo
May 6 – Nurses Day
May 7- Kentucky Derby
May 8 – Mother’s Day
May 19 – Senior Citizens Day
May 30 – Memorial Day
Graduation Season Begins
JUNE
Graduation Season
Jun 14 – Flag Day
Jun 19 – Father’s Day
Jun 19 – Juneteenth
Jun 21 – Summer Solstice
Jun 27 – National Sunglasses Day
JULY
Jul 4 – Independence Day
Jul 7 – World Chocolate Day
Jul 10 – National Pina Colada Day
Jul 14 – National Mac & Cheese Day

**Sometimes we include some pretty unique “holidays”. Use them to help generate off-season sales. “It’s National Sunglasses Day – 15% Today Only”. Build some fun displays. Be creative! Put all umbrellas on sale for National Pina Colada Day.


GiftBeat’s top sellers for April

Corkcicle held the #1 top spot for the mugs and tumblers category in GiftBeat’s April issue.

Silver Forest Jewelry held the #1 top spot for the earrings category in GiftBeat’s April issue.

Warmies held the #1 top spot for the plush category in Giftbeat’s April issue.


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Market research shows that a shop renovation can impact sales by as much as 35%
 
Hospital gift shops require special design experience. Your unique customer’s have unique needs that must be incorporated into the design plans, often in a limited amount of space. The goal is to provide an exciting, updated and clean palette in which to display and sell the shop’s merchandise.
 
A mini-department store approach is sometimes required. Best practices in shop design include:

  • Develop a conceptual floor plan and elevations indicating fixturing specifications, their locations and operational considerations.
  • Determine project cost estimation and comprehensive budget. Include prepared orders for fixtures, slatwall, hardware and other display needs. Use the most up-to-date custom fixturing, design elements and features.
  • Determine the color of the walls and fixture laminate.
  • Determine design recommendations for lighting, flooring, and laminate colors.

Don’t know where to start with your hospital administrator? Here is a sample letter requesting additional gift shop space, including square feet : net revenue gains.

🎯 TIP: Maintain a transparent storefront, creating lots of visibility through and into the store. Then present them with a great display right in the heart of the shop. 


May Action Plan

Buy

Buy lines where you can take a higher markup. Don’t dabble when buying. Buy enough to make a statement.

Buy what your customer will like, not what you like! Base buying decisions on research, past performance, price points and budget allowance. Not on impulse or instinct.

If an invoice comes in before the merchandise, do not pay it! Only pay after you have checked in all the merchandise.

If a manufacturer sends your order in two shipments, don’t pay the shipping on the second shipment. It was not your fault that they couldn’t ship your order all at once. Why should the shop have to pay the extra shipping that two shipments entail? Many shops are just not paying the shipping on the second invoice.

🧸 Display

Display all Mother’s Day related merchandise and a large display of potted plants.

Promote and display garden and home decorating items.

Promote and display graduation and Father’s Day. ⛳ 🎓

📝 Plan

Meet to discuss and write out your summer display plans.

To maintain adequate staffing over the summer, request that volunteer and paid staff submits vacation dates now.

National Nurses Day is May 6. Plan a 30% OFF NURSES DAY SALE just for nurses! Ask nursing department Chair or HR Director to email the sale to all nurses. 🎉

National Nurses Day

Begin planning a summer “refresher” for your shop. This includes a thorough cleaning but goes well beyond general clean up. Here’s where to start; replace scratched glass on the jewelry case, clean shop windows, clean vents and grills, dust top-to-bottom fixtures and spinners, replace burned-out light bulbs, re-do signage if necessary, organize and stock cashier station. Be like Spiderman; give your shop a once-over, looking for areas that need upgrading. 🧹

Many state auxiliary conferences are held in May. Most of them have gift shop seminars. Try to attend one. While there, take advantage of the many networking opportunities. 📅

Make travel arrangements to attend a major gift market in June and July. ✈️

If asked at a conference or by a hospital exec, could you state your shop’s sales, net profit, sales per square foot and average inventory? These are basic shop statistics that you should commit to memory. 💲 Get the formulas in our Guide to Calculate Shop Profitability

Total Sales $ _________
Net Profit $ _________
Sale per Sq Ft. $ _________
Average Inventory $ _________

This is an excerpt from the Twelve-Month Action Plan for Gift Shop Managers and Buyers.
Get the 50-page planning and operating guide for just $69.00.


PART 2: Do you have a loyalty program or keytags?

Does your shop offer a loyalty program or key tags to hospital employees? What company do you use for your customer loyalty program? What do you like, or dislike, about the service? Is it expensive?

Simplicity is the key to generating loyalty and creating a great customer ‘loyalty’ experience. It is the first step to getting your customers on board. The program has to be easy to understand. The more complicated, the more you will lose people.

Take the math out of the rewards equation for your customers. They don’t want to do mental gymnastics to figure out the value. For example, begin with 10% of however much a shopper spends. That money is then put into their rewards, which can be used toward future purchases. It’s a direct reward for their continued business.

Hospital employees shop at many places, so give your hospital employees a chance to consolidate their purchases in your shop.

Hospital employees are your shop’s largest customer base. It’s critical to nurture and retain their loyalty with such programs.

SUBSCRIBER RESPONSES

We are just bringing our loyalty program back after the pandemic. We have had so many asking, so I hope it really helps our sales.  – Jodi L Babineau, Lakeview Medical Center, Sunshine Gift Shop, Rice Lake, WI. 39 beds. 3/24/22

We have stamp/punch cards. For every $5 you get one punch.  After $150 you get $5 off. We have a volunteer who prints them on the business card stock sheets you can get at your local store. Our “sister” store uses their local printer. – Tricia Rochman, Carbondale Memorial Hospital, Carbondale, IL. 70 beds. 3/18/22

We do not have a loyalty program but might be a great idea since we lost payroll deduction in November, 2021. – Traci Gerdes, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. 3/17/22

Stanford Health Care Gift Shop offers a customer loyalty program and is managed through our POS VEND/Lightspeed. For every $10 spent, a $1 is earned towards customers next purchase. Customers are tracked via phone number provided at time of sign-up. Customers appreciate this as loyalty can be saved and used on small or large purchases. – Shellee Laubersheimer, Stanford Health Care, Stanford, CA. 600 beds. 3/17/22

We don’t as of now, but a great idea. – Helen Travis, Ascension. 3/17/22

Archived replies from 2021:

We have a punch card that I got through Vista Print. For every $5.00 spent they get a punch. It takes $100.00 to fill. Once full, they get 30% off 1 items. It works well and the employees love it. As we require a minimum of $5.00 purchase to use payroll deduct, this is another encouragement to spend at least that amount. – Ginger Taylor, Gift Shop Manager, Volunteer Services, Springfield, MO. 6/22/21

We do punch cards for every 5$ spent they get a punch, after the card is full, 9 punches, they get 10% off one item with that card. – Ann Payne. 6/17/21

We currently utilize MM Hayes Quickcharge POS. They have a built in Loyalty system that has several options and customizations. – Shea Fowler, Unity Point. 6/16/21

You can still leave your response.  Click here!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


Teacher Appreciation Week | May 2-6, 2022

Say ‘thank you’ this week, and throughout the year, to the extraordinary educators who have worked tirelessly with our students and families to keep things moving forward, despite such an unpredictable year.

Many parents give “teacher gifts” at the end of the school year. Display appropriately themed items and you will be surprised at how much you will sell in May and early June for teachers.

Help you and your customers show them our love and appreciation for all that they do during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 2-6!


💮 CALENDAR 💮

GIFT MARKETS

**Always double-check show dates**May 3-5, 2022
Atlanta Spring Cash & Carry, AmericasMart
Jun 14-17, 2022
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market
Jun 22-28, 2022
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Jun 26-28, 2022
Minneapolis Mart Gift, Home, Apparel & Accs Show
Jul 12-18, 2022
Atlanta Home & Gift Market
Jul 24-28, 2022
Las Vegas Market
Aug 18-21, 2022
New Orleans Gift & Jewelry Show
Aug 23-26, 2022
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market
Sep 13-15, 2022
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Jan 4-10, 2023
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Jan 10-17, 2023
Atlanta Market
Visit Gift Shop Mag Trade Show Calendar for smaller local/regional shows.

NRF annual retail forecast: 6-8% growth

The National Retail Federation (NRF) issued its annual forecast, anticipating that retail sales will grow between 6% and 8% to more than $4.86 trillion in 2022. The announcement was made during NRF’s annual State of Retail & the Consumer virtual event where retail industry leaders discussed the strength of the consumer economy and the future of retail.

“Consumers are ready to spend and have the resources to do so,” Matthew Shay, president and CEO for NRF said. “We should see durable growth this year given consumer confidence to continue this expansion, notwithstanding risks related to inflation, COVID-19 and geopolitical threats.”

The 2022 figure compares with 14% annual growth rate in 2021, the highest growth rate in more than 20 years. This year’s sales forecast is notably above the 10-year, pre-pandemic growth rate of 3.7%

SOURCE: National Retail Federation


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Call your local rep or our in-house specialist at 252-650-7000 ext 206


Q. Do you have a resource for African-American Santas?

I’m searching for African American Santas. Do any of you have a resource? – Kathy, Forrest General Hospital, Hattiesburg, MS. 512 beds. 3/17/21

Do you have a resource for African-American Santas?

Do you have a resource for African-American Santas? Comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


MARCH 2022 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #628
Did you miss last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions?

  • Inflationary pressures are coming
  • New gift shop construction at Trinity Health
  • National Healthcare Volunteer Week: Apr 17-23
  • Trends and predictions for 2022
  • RESPONSES: What are some fresh new jewelry lines?
  • Q. Does your shop offer loyalty program keytags?
  • Single-channel, omnichannel and multichannel retailing
  • Generating non-seasonal sales
  • Job Openings
  • Q. What vendors sell products made in America?
  • 2021 Best Sellers, Christmas Vendors, Volunteer Decline, Snack Vendor
  • Gift Market Calendar

DISCUSSION


NEW JEWELRY LINES

Q. We are looking to freshen up our jewelry. We currently use Periwinkle but looking for something new along the same price point. Any suggestions? – Tracy Torres, St. Augustine. 1/20/22

Silver Forest and their Spirit earrings, made in Vermont. Renaissance Glass earrings and pendants made in South Carolina (maybe North.) – Michelle Suggs. 3/21/22

We do very well with Silver Forest and Anju Jewelry. – Cherie Towers. 3/18/22

Accessorize Me always performs well. Megan Brown designs is trending up for Spring. – Kevin Shaw, Methodist Hospital Gift Shop, St. Louis Park, MN. 3/17/21

Main Street Earrings are a big hit for us. Great quality, great price. We sell them for $8.99! – Lanie Ray, Fairfield Medical Center, Lancaster, OH. 2/28/22

Canvas has some great pieces at great price points. – Holly Weiss. 2/17/22

We do well with Periwinkle and Coronet – Helen Travis. 2/16/22

Rain Jewelry is performing very good for us as well! – Sabra Shields. 2/16/22

I love Rain jewelry. It flies off the shelf. – Stephanie Barnes. 2/16/22

We also do really well with Coronet and Accessorize Me jewelry. – Tamara Szarszewski, Gift Shop Manager, Logansport Memorial Hospital Gift Shop, 83 beds. 1/17/22

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


MADE IN USA

Q. We’re looking to carry mostly made in America items. What vendors are you guys using for American made products? 🇺🇸 – Carol Myers, Ascension Providence Hospital, Rochester, MI. 250 beds. 2/18/22

Faire has an area on their site devoted to Made in USA products. Also Town Pride makes custom  – state, town, city, zip code – wholesale goods. Everything from knit sweaters to candles, stationery, drinkware, serve ware and jewelry.  – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc, 4/16/22.

Duke Cannon men’s products. – Cyrielle. 3/28/22

Silver Forest Spirit earrings, made in Vermont. Renaissance Glass earrings and pendants made in South Carolina (maybe North.) – Michelle Suggs. 3/21/22

What’s your favorite MADE IN USA product? You can still leave a comment.  Click here!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


CHRISTMAS MERCH VENDORS

Q. Have you been able to source Christmas merchandise? Anyone know of a vendor for “out of the box” Christmas merchandise? – Jill A Dugaw (She/Her), Spartanburg Regional, Spartanburg, OH. 1/19/22

Opportunities has great Christmas merch at good prices. There is a $400 fee each year to join this group but the prices for the exact same items that many other vendors carry are much lower. They carry everyday and seasonal merchandise. clothing, candles, etc. – Diane Honsberger, Mercy Health St. Anne Hospital. 2/18/22

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


DECLINE IN VOLUNTEERS

Q. Have others encountered losses in the number of volunteers through the pandemic? We started out with over 30 non-gift shop volunteers and are now down to 7. In our gift shop, we had 17, now 3, one of which started mid-COVID (God bless her!). We are currently thinking of hiring a part-time employee to man the front desk from 1-5pm. What have you done to remedy staffing and volunteer issues during the pandemic? Did anyone hire paid personnel? Thanks. – Sarah Folio, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Oakland, MD. 55 beds. 12/22/21

We have had our gift shop volunteers for two years now – starting the front desk this week. – Tricia Rochman, Carbondale Memorial, Carbondale, IL. 70 beds. 3/18/21

We had about 65 volunteers in the gift shop before the pandemic. I now have about 35-40 in the shop today. I am blessed to have some very dedicated volunteers who worked all but the 3 months we were closed. Even then when we were closed we thought outside the box and started doing FB Live shows twice a month and continue with today. They are a ton of work, but truly saved our gift shop. Other volunteers stayed home but made mask for the hospital and our community in the time of need. Our Auxiliary as a whole never really stopped fundraising during the pandemic and overall our numbers grew about a dozen last year. – Ramona Kennedy. 3/17/21

We reduced our hours in the gift shop and have been able to get enough volunteers, but the traffic is not there. Hospital has been remodeling and we have been closed quite a bit. We no longer have foot traffic from front entrance of hospital. Thankfully the employees still shop with us. Our problem lately has been elderly volunteers who refuse to read manual, consequently the computer is often not turned on correctly, they don’t use the scanner to ring up items, they basically sit on their chairs and hope no one comes in. We are all volunteers so we don’t have paid staff. I end up having to drive to hospital quite often to straighten out a situation. I held trainings on 2 different Saturdays and only 2 people came. I don’t want to offend the volunteers but they don’t seem to get it. Hopefully things will pick up and we can do more business. – Martha Burke. 2/17/22

We started with 10 volunteers and now have 4 sometimes 5. We were open 5 days per week with 2 shifts, now open 3 days per week 10-2. – Helen Travis. 2/16/22

We too have fewer volunteers since the pandemic. We are open a shorter timeframe each day. M-F & Sun 10-3. In order to keep all our gift shop volunteers informed, we have a spiral notebook we write updates in. Our volunteers also write notes to us to let us know if they have any needs or something special needs to be ordered or if they have suggestions. Works well for us! – Brenda Welcher,  AdventHealth Zephyrhills, Zephyrhills, FL. 59 beds. 2/16/22

Our store is open five days a week, 12-4pm. We had a good December! Visitors are so few now with no outsiders. I had 13 people working for us but now only 5-6.
Hope you all are healthy, Harold. – Harold Shiffman, St. Catherian Hospital, Smithtown, NY. 550 beds. 1/31/22

Our Gift Shop has remained closed since November 2020. Overall, we have lost some folks but we have also gained some. Currently they are not cleared to serve in the hospital due to COVID restrictions. However, some have been assisting at the Vaccine Clinic along with over 30 additional new volunteers who are at the Clinic. I believe a good portion of those 30 will continue to serve at the hospital once given the word to do so. – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 1/18/22

Internally, I am devastated! Externally, I move on and work with what I have. We are open two shifts during the week. Happy and grateful to have volunteers that will staff the shop. I went from 200 volunteers to about 45 in the overall program. I have about 13 in the gift shop. – Connie Slingluff, Blount Memorial, Maryville, TN. 201 beds. 1/17/22

We have been blessed with willing volunteers who have made it possible to remain open. Although the hospital shut us down for a few months in 2020, we have been able to come back and remain busy. Our Holiday Extravaganza of 3 days did not happen but we held special 12 Days of Christmas sales to encourage employees to shop with us. It was gratifying to see the staff regularly and hear them thank us for being there for them. We enter 2022 with a healthy bottom line and interested buyers, we’re keeping it simple and hoping that our current path is the right one to be on. – Marilynne Field, MercyOne, Dubuque, IA. 263 beds. 1/17/22

We went from two volunteers to one volunteer per shift and are doing ok. But this takes away the buffer if someone can’t come in for their shift. We have had to be closed at random times due to no substitutes. Looking to hire a PT person to cover those shift and help manage stock. – Christie Delbridg, Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center, Bolivia, NC. 74 beds. 1/17/22

Most of mine did come back. I had about 30 with teens. I have 14 adults and 2 teens. Our hours are limited Mon-Fri 9-5. We were on a role and then Omicon hit and no more visitors. I spilt the volunteers shifts to two hours instead of their four hours. – Margaret Legut, Elmhurst Hospital, Elmhurst, IL. 258 beds. 1/17/22

We lost about 20 volunteers. We have reduced our hours and days of operation. – Ginger Taylor, CoxHealth, Springfield, MO. 1014 beds. 1/17/22

We’ve lost many of our volunteers. Our shop is closed on weekends. We are open some days from 9-5, but on days we can’t get enough volunteers we’re open 10-4. This eliminates 1 volunteer per day. We are lucky to have some volunteers picking up more shifts to fill the gaps. We ask people to call before they come to see if we’re open and we post our hours on FB. – Debbie B, Bell Hospital, Ishpeming, MI. 1/17/22

We have had approximately 1/3 of volunteers return, 1/3 not return, and 1/3 defer return. Our volunteers are dedicated and a special part of our success! Also, being part of a university, we have also added student volunteers to our Shops as of December. The students had been volunteering in patient areas before the pandemic, but with that not yet possible, they are helping the Shops! The students are professional, eager, and energetic! We’ve gone from 45-50% of shifts with at least one volunteer, to over 80% of shifts with at least one volunteer! – Mary, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI. 1000 beds. 1/16/22

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


2021 BEST SELLERS

Wow! We asked, you answered! Thanks to everyone who shared their best sellers from 2021. Here are all the responses. A great variety of products. Some surprising ones too!

Apparel, especially plaid jackets and gnomes were very popular. – Ann Bergmann, Cumberland Healthcare, Cumberland, WI. 25 beds. 1/21/22

Covenant Rings. We have a display of 60 rings and every 6-9 months, new rings are added and slow sellers are removed. I’ve had lots of luck and consistently sold them for over 7 years.  – Jennifer Stuber. 1/21/22

Yes, Covenant Rings have been good, consistent sellers for many years! – Cindy

Clothing is my best category and loungewear from DM was my best seller during the holiday season and beyond. They have great price points and a huge margin builder. I received the floor display and I had to rearrange the entire shop to fit it in my space, but worth it. Strongly recommend the fixture as it keeps the product well organized and easy to shop. – Carol Colpitts. 2/20/22

One product line that we dropped was a CBD line. Just did not sell. Melissa & Doug eductional/toy items have done very well for us as well as hospital logo wear. Snack and personal care baskets that we create have worked out well for call-in orders. – Greg Holtgrewe. 2/19/22 

Q. What all do you put in your personal care baskets? I am new to this position so extra help is awesome!! Thanks in advance – Jaci, Hays Medical Center Gift Shop, Hays, KS. 1/20/22

Usually hand and body lotions, lip balms, decorative nail files, shower gels, fancy soaps, body sprays and bath bombs. Some of the vendors are Naked Bee, Inis, Duke Cannon, Ganz, San Francisco Soap and Bomb Cosmetics. We get our celophane bags, ribbon and packaging supplies from Nashville Wraps. Most of the time we do not use a basket but a clear desert plate for a base so that all of the items are easily seen. Sometimes you have to get creative during construction to get everything to stand up maybe using a ribbon to group things. We suggestive sell snack bags that we put together and balloons to go along. – Greg Holtgrew

The Ganz Crystal Expressions colored birds of any kind are a huge seller for us. I always think the popularity will fizzle out but it hasn’t and we have customers buy multiple at a time. Light up snow globes/lanterns this past Christmas were the best thing I have brought into the Gift Shop. I sold 11 in one day (we are only open to staff & patients 6 hours a day Mon-Fri) and my total stock of 63 were sold within 3 weeks. – Sarah Ryan. 1/18/21

Sarah, where do you source the light up lanterns from? – Cindy

I order the snow globes/lanterns from a couple of companies, but the best place I found was Razimports.com. They have a wide selection of both globes and lanterns and a great price range of everything. They have small options with a lower price point all the way to large options and high price points. A lot play music, which is always a big hit. The variety of options was the best in my option as well. Search their website for Water Globe or Water Lantern and it will bring up all the options in both categories. Please let me know if there is anything else I can help with! I love getting your newsletter, it is always full of great information! — Sarah Ryan. 1/18/21

We too sold out of the light up water lanterns in less than a week. Retail prices were from $50 up. We will certainly buy again from either Roman or Raz. – Kathy Kramer, Carousel Gift Shop Driscoll Children’s Hospital, Corpus Christi. 1/21/22

Brief Insanity brand lounge pants – it was insane how well they sell! – Jill Dugaw. 1/18/22

Who was your vendor? Thanks in advance!! – Jaci, Hays Medical Center Gift Shop, Hays, KS. 1/20/22

SE Marketplace – Jill Dugaw. 1/26/22

Worlds Softest Sock Company (Crescent Socks) were huge for us fourth quarter. You have to order now for inventory for fourth quarter this year. If you don’t, you will miss out as they sell out every year. – Sabra Shields. 1/18/22

Anything with a cardinal on it. – Margaret Legut 1/17/22

Warmies! The slippers, neck wraps, and all of their animals. We also sell them over the phone like crazy. Customers love the thought of something warm and comforting going to their loved one. – Linda Armstrong. 1/17/22

See’s Candy! We brought them in late, but they moved really quickly. It was great to have options for holiday candy for our staff. – Justin. 1/17/21

Wicked Minis crackers are a popular snack and they come in several flavors. Our top seller is the Dill flavor. Itzy Ritzy is a great baby line! They have a wonderful selection of trendy designs and moms love the variety of teethers, toys, pactifiers and lovies! Last June we picked up a new line of sun glasses and readers from DM Merchandising. The brand name is Optimum Optical. They have awesome displays where the extra boxes of sunglasses are stored next to the sunglasses which keep our volunteers from going to the back so much. The displays have a modern, sleek design. Our employees love the designs! We have restocked twice so far! You can’t go wrong with Funky Freshies car scents made by Funky Fleur De Lis. We have used them for about 2 years and always sell out. Cute designs and great scents! – Betty Beck. 1/17/22

Our winners for 2021 was an increase in clothing sales. Staff who were not willing to hit the malls during COVID were shopping in our Gift Shop! – Lynn, Misericordia Health Centre Gift Shop, Winnipeg. Manitoba, Canada. 1/17/22

Santoki Lego Keychain LightsRoman light up holiday lanterns.  Cardigans from Davi & Dani and Rose N Mary. – Stephanie, San Juan Regional Medical Center, Farmington, NM. 1/17/22.

We’ve done great with Paint by Sticker books for adults and Kids from Workman Publishing. They were a great find for us during the pandemic! – Keri Schwartz. 1/17/22 

Loungewear particularly sleep/blanket hoodies did great! Careful for 2022, the cost on the blanket hoodies have increased tremendously with certain vendors!! Giftcraft, Simply Southern, LazyOnes. – Connie Slingluff. 1/17/22

Umgee USA clothing and Myra handbags – Ginger Taylor. 1/17/22 

Our Jen & Co purses were great sellers this past year. We also do really well with Coronet and Accessorize Me jewelry. Our Evergreen’s Sassafras Mats and garden flags are also top sellers. Crazy as it sounds, our Ganz mini glass animals are an item we can hardly keep in stock. They sell so well for us at $1.95. For books, we are very pleased with Choice Book Distributors. Other surprising best sellers are the satin pillowcases and microfiber hair towels from Morning Glamour. We sold out of these over the holidays and just got more back in, due to the continuing requests. – Tamara Szarszewski, Gift Shop Manager, Logansport Memorial Hospital Gift Shop, 83 beds. 1/17/22

TY Squish-A-Boos are great sellers for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Gift Shops. -Traci G. 1/16/22

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


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As an incentive, we are happy to donate the amount purchased to your pediatric oncology department.

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Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | March 15, 2022 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER
for Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers delivers practical, ready-to-implement content to gift shop managers, retailers, and volunteers across the country. We help our readership of over 3,000 retailers optimize shop operations, grow revenue, and connect with one another. The newsletter is published monthly and free since 2001.

Have you paid your dues this quarter?

The value and richness of this newsletter comes from your participation. Do your part by submitting two comments per quarter, at minimum. Reply to reader’s questions listed throughout the newsletter (in green) or simply share what is working or isn’t working in your shop, a great selling product, a helpful website or resource, an operating question, your biggest challenge right now, a terrific vendor you’ve come across recently, tips on managing volunteers, or tips on managing yourself!

LEAVE A COMMENT! Click the green comment tags throughout the newsletter, enter it in the comment section, or send to cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com.


MARCH 15, 2022

Sparrow Hospital, Lansing, MI


Inflationary pressures are coming

by Cindy Jones, Editor

Retail sales powered through COVID-19, inflation and other challenges to post strong increases in January, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said. “January’s numbers show that 2022 is starting very strong for consumers and retailers, especially on the heels of a record holiday season and record sales in 2021,” Matthew Shay, president and CEO for NRF said.

Despite inflationary pressures stemming from labor shortages, COVID-19 impacts and uncertainty related to international tensions in Russia and China, consumers are spending, and the economy remains in good shape. Shay is “confident that retail sales growth and overall consumer financial health can continue” unless there are “political policy decisions that compound the challenges our economy is already facing.”

Trends are showing customers are returning to stores. This is good news for hospital gift shops. Unfortunately, shops still need to pass on price increases to offset inflationary pressures in the months ahead. This will be the challenge for 2022!

Here are some pricing strategies to consider using during inflation: 

  • Implement more sophisticated pricing strategies that present consumers with a more balanced cart. Prices will have to go up on some key items, but there will be room for prices to go down on other items. Leverage smart pricing to improve your shop’s price perception during inflation.
  • Households will cut back on volumes and spending, being very selective where they spend their money. Have the most compelling products that people want to buy.
  • Disguise price increases with different formulations, package deals or added-value elements. Instead of simply bumping up prices to cover inflation, embellish the products with package deals or low-cost add-ons, say $1.50 and then raise the price by $5. “Buy one and get a free greeting card.”
  • Partner with vendors on ways to decrease costs. Don’t “squeeze” the vendor, but instead find ways that won’t impact either side’s bottom line. For example, one vendor worked with their overnight shipping company to save money on shipping. That savings – at least part of it – was used to offset price increases.
  • Be transparent about price increases and communicate this to consumers. customers half-expect retailers to boost their pricing whenever there is inflationary pressure. Keep customers informed about changes in pricing and give reasons for these actions.
  • Shift price points with small increments over time.
  • Offer programs with reward coupons on a monthly basis, to generate consistent traffic. Promotions will be the key when trying to create loyalty.

The best retailers are using a balanced approach which offers better prices on the items their customers care about the most while surgically finding margin elsewhere – a win-win for consumers and retailers alike.


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New gift shop construction at Trinity Health

Trinity Health’s medical campus in southwest Minot, North Dakota is at about 75% completion and is on track to open in the spring of 2023, according to hospital officials. The new hospital will be roughly three times the size of the current downtown hospital. The gift shop is managed by Sheril Maragos, Director of Volunteer Services & Gift Shop.

The gift shop in Trinity’s new hospital is nearing construction completion Friday. The gift shop will be near the hospital’s main entrance.

Coming into the hospital atrium, a visitor will encounter the chapel, gift shop, coffee shop and cafeteria. We’re excited to see the shop in its completion and learn all about it from Sheril!

The shop is also hiring a Gift Shop Volunteer Assistant!

SOURCE: MinotDaily News


UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

APRIL
Apr 1 – April Fool’s Day
Apr 9 – National Unicorn Day
Apr 17 – Easter Sunday
Apr 18 – Tax Day
Apr 22 – Earth Day
Apr 27 – Admin Prof Day
MAY
May 5 – Cinco de Mayo
May 6 – Nurses Day
May 7- Kentucky Derby
May 8 – Mother’s Day
May 30 – Memorial Day
Graduation Season Begins
JUNE
Graduation Season
Jun 14 – Flag Day
Jun 19 – Father’s Day
Jun 19 – Juneteenth
Jun 21 – Summer Solstice
Jun 27 – National Sunglasses Day

National Healthcare Volunteer Week: Apr 17-23, 2022

National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 to recognize and celebrate the efforts of volunteers across the country. AHVRP (acquired by The Beryl Institute in July 2020) expands upon National Volunteer Week with National Health Care Volunteer Week. It was designed to recognize the support that volunteers and auxilians provide to hospital staff, their patients, their family members and the community. 

Below is a list of ideas, both big and small, to celebrate and show appreciation to your volunteers (SOURCE: Celebrate Volunteer Week: Beryl Institute).

Ideas to Celebrate Volunteers

  • Luncheon or breakfast
  • Create and recognize volunteers for awards or hours of service
  • Zoom social
  • Social media posts and shout outs to recognize volunteers on a broad platform
  • Newsletter at the end of the volunteer week summarizing the awards, pictures and highlights from the volunteers
  • Emails to keep volunteers up to date on what is happening at the hospital, including challenges to be active and engage
  • Create a collage of HOPE: a big picture of the word of HOPE filled in with pictures of people 
  • Virtual opportunities
  • Mail gift cards to encourage attendance or participation in volunteer week activities
  • E-card
  • Outdoor picnics
  • Pen pal program where patients write about themselves and a volunteer writes back to them
  • Department managers or executive leaders send notes to volunteers
  • Offer opportunity for the community to adopt a unit and show their support for staff by bringing in snacks, lunch, thank you cards, etc.
  • Appreciation cards: Teens write cards of encouragement for the hospital staff and place the cards on windshields of employee cars in the garage
  • Volunteer week: Trivia Tuesday with questions about the hospital; Wellness Wednesday focusing on how to stay safe during the pandemic; Thankful Thursday celebrates them on social media; Flashback Friday shares memories and stories from over the years.
  • Offer services to help volunteers: errands, childcare, tutoring
  • Hospital board directors call volunteers to personally thank them for their service.

Gift Ideas

  • Plant (succulent) with a note that says “Thanks for tending to our patients.”
  • T-shirts (welcome back gift when volunteers return)
  • Socks with a saying on the bottom (ex: If you can read this, I am off duty.)
  • Donate to a foundation in honor of the volunteers
  • Battery operated lanterns
  • Mask lanyards / Masks
  • Insulated grocery tote
  • Flashlight
  • Branded magnets
  • Girl scout cookies
  • Fleece vests
  • Fitness trackers
  • Journals
  • Blankets
  • Umbrellas
  • Scratch offs with prizes

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Each year Gifts & Decorative Accessories conducts an online consumer survey about gift products and home decorating. The results are published in their 2022 Gift Book. Are you finding their predictions to be true for your 2022 sales so far?

In Demand

Candles, casual home decor, decorative outdoor accessories, comfortable and fashionable legwear, edible bee products, puzzles, cute loungewear, new home fragrances.

Trends

Customers seek self-expression items: stickers, messaged mugs, etc
Beer and wine tumblers as the rise in outdoor get-togethers continues
Wellness gifts to help shed pandemic pounds
Gnomes! Yes, gnomes are still trending…..for now.

HOME

  • #1 Decorative accents. #2 Soft home accessories (pillows, throws, rugs).
  • Decorative accents are quick & easy way to change up a room without shopping for all new furniture.
  • 80% described their home décor style as “casual comfort”. 
  • Trending colors? All of them! 🌈 The elevated mood we all crave is coming out in full color. Note the change from muted and neutral tones of past years. 

FASHION

  • Earrings are top accessory consumers plan to buy (64%).
  • Lightweight, natural, boho, rattan, raffia, shell, cork, wood, shells, pearls
  • Over 20% of all consumers expect to spend $100-$149 on a handbag. 
  • For return to office – large handbags to carry laptops, water bottles, lunch, wallet, keys, etc.

CANDLES

  • 73% of consumers say they are likely to purchase a candle in 2022.
  • Top scent profile: floral/botanical.
  • Nontraditional, experimental, freefrom shapes.
  • Candles with lids that self extinguish.

GOURMET

  • Top gourmet gift: chocolate and candy
  • Top chocolate flavors: tropical bites, fruity centers, sweet-n-spicy
  • Kitchenware gifts: #1 Coffee/tea accessories. #2 Baking accessories
  • Bee pollen: the new trending health food!
  • Shelf-stable goods: james, crackers, honey, sauces

KIDS

  • Toy category: #1 Games and puzzles. #2 Books
  • Licensed characters are less important when choosing kids items
  • DIY kits, puzzles, STEM/STEAM, building toys

SOURCE: Gifts & Dec 2022 Gift Book and Exploring Key Trends for 2022 webinar


RESPONSES: What are some fresh new jewelry lines?

We are looking to freshen up our jewelry. We currently use Periwinkle but looking for something new along the same price point. Any suggestions? – Tracy Torres, St. Augustine. 1/20/22

 

Silver Forest and their Spirit earrings, made in Vermont. Renaissance Glass earrings and pendants made in South Carolina (maybe North.) – Michelle Suggs. 3/21/22

We do very well with Silver Forest and Anju Jewelry. – Cherie Towers. 3/18/22

Accessorize Me always performs well. Megan Brown designs is trending up for Spring. – Kevin Shaw, Methodist Hospital Gift Shop, St. Louis Park, MN. 3/17/21

Main Street Earrings are a big hit for us. Great quality, great price. We sell them for $8.99! – Lanie Ray, Fairfield Medical Center, Lancaster, OH. 2/28/22

Canvas has some great pieces at great price points. – Holly Weiss. 2/17/22

We do well with Periwinkle and Coronet – Helen Travis. 2/16/22

Rain Jewelry is performing very good for us as well! – Sabra Shields. 2/16/22

I love Rain jewelry. It flies off the shelf. – Stephanie Barnes. 2/16/22

We also do really well with Coronet and Accessorize Me jewelry. – Tamara Szarszewski, Gift Shop Manager, Logansport Memorial Hospital Gift Shop, 83 beds. 1/17/22

Do you know of a fresh, new, hot jewelry lines for 2022?! You can still respond to the question here.

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


Q. Does your shop offer loyalty program keytags?

Does your shop offer scannable keytags with a customer loyalty program to hospital employees? Customers earn a point for every dollar spent in the gift shop and receive coupons that spend like cash once a certain point tier is reached. Loyalty program members can also receive other special offers. These programs are managed online and integrate with your POS. Some POS systems have built-in loyalty programs, such as Square, Vend, Lightspeed.

With your shop’s loyalty key tag on your customer’s key chain, they’ll have a daily visual reminder of your store!

Studies show that your previous customers are nine times more likely to buy from you compared to a new customer. What’s more, your existing customers spend 31% more on average than new ones. A customer rewards system is a must-have to guarantee customer loyalty and increase revenue through repeat purchases.

A well-thought-out loyalty program can:

  • Attract new customers;
  • Retain existing customers;
  • Reactivate dormant customers; and
  • Nudge them to spend more.

Payroll Deduction is also an important convenience for hospital employees and increases total gift shop revenue. Employee payroll deduction works through your POS or utilizes a program the hospital may already be using elsewhere on campus.

Does your shop offer a loyalty key tag program to hospital employees? CLICK TO COMMENT

What company do you use for your customer loyalty program? What do you like, or dislike, about the service? Is it expensive? Is it working?!

Be a loyal reader and leave your input. Do your part and leave a comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


Single-channel, omnichannel and multichannel retailing

Get “in the know” on todays’ industry lingo.

Single-channel is the traditional retail model. It uses one single channel to sell goods and a single distribution system. The single channel is typically a brick-and-mortar store.

Multichannel retail is the practice of selling or listing products on more than one channel. For example, your online store (ecommerce), a Facebook Shop, your brick-n-mortor store, phone orders, and platforms like Amazon. The channels can be digital, physical or a combination of both. Simply implementing an online store makes your shop a multichannel operation.

Omnichannel retail is a step up from multichannel commerce. It synchronizes sales and operating data – such as inventory, customer data, product data, or pick-up orders – across all your selling channels. This is a fully-integrated approach to commerce, providing shoppers a unified experience across all channels or touchpoints. For consumers, it means a “seamless” experience moving between online and offline channels; for retailers, it means a single platform that offers coordinated digital and physical options that allow channels to complement one another rather than compete.

Most hospital gift shops are single-channel operations, though with the advent of user-friendly ecommerce platforms and the recent pandemic, we’re more and more hospital gift shops becoming multichannel operations. These shops see the benefits of making multiple buying channels available to their customers. They are no longer limited to in-store foot traffic for sales.

If you don’t have an online store, check out the four-part series on Creating an Online Store!


💮 CALENDAR 💮

GIFT MARKETS

*Always double-check show dates for changes*Apr 4-5, 2022
Seattle Mart Spring Buying Event
Apr 8-10, 2022
Los Angeles Spring Cash & Carry Show
May 3-5, 2022
Atlanta Spring Cash & Carry
Jun 14-17, 2022
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market
Jun 22-28, 2022
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Jun 26-28, 2022
Minneapolis Mart Gift, Home, Apparel & Accsry Show
Aug 23-26, 2022
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market
Sep 13-15, 2022
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Jan 4-10, 2023
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Jan 10-17, 2023
Atlanta Market
Visit Gift Shop Mag Trade Show Calendar for smaller local/regional shows.

Generating non-seasonal sales

by Cindy Jones, Editor

Non-seasonal sales can be tricky because you don’t want to train customers to wait for monthly sales. Identify your slow sellers on a quarterly basis and move them out as necessary. Or, create a permanent clearance corner and add products as you see fit to move them out.

Click to enlarge

Keep your inventory lean, your cash flow positive, merchandise fresh, and your displays and merchandising new and inviting.

Buy right, buy often, and keep your inventory fresh and new. When something doesn’t move, move it out!

Don’t get emotionally attached to products that just don’t sell. Another 60-90 days usually makes no difference.

The last thing you want is to have your shop become one of those where discounted goods and clearance events are the status quo. A great way to avoid this is by strategically planning clearance events. These are not the twice-a-year markdown sales when you place all the season’s leftover items on a table with a “Reduced” sign. Instead, you need a specially orchestrated promotion that can have a significant impact on sales. By planning several of these events each year, you’re giving customers a reason to return to the shop on a regular basis.

Focus on your strategy before rushing into a price-cutting extravaganza, which could hurt your bottom line in the long run. Also, carefully consider how low you can reasonably go on your pricing. You want to go low enough to draw customers, but still make money for your business.

Markdowns must be significant and well signed. Depending upon the number of sales, the initial price reductions will vary. 25% off if the product is still selling but slowly. If the product is not selling take 40% off at the first markdown. Lastly, take a second markdown to 50% off or more. Create a sense of urgency—”Buy now!” signage helps.


Job Openings

Customer Care Specialist, Gift Shop
Stanford Health Care, Stanford, CA

Guest Experience Manager, Gift Shop
Waterbury Factory, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Waterbury, VT

Gift Shop Coordinator
Piedmont Healthcare, Columbus, GA

Gift Shop Manager
Mercy Health, Willard, OH

Gift Shop Assistant Manager
Milford Regional Medical Center, Milford, MA

Gift Shop Coordinator
Southern Ohio Medical Center, Portsmouth, OH

Gift Shop Manager
Mount Sinai Health System, New York, NY

Manager, Gift Shop
Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL

Gift Shop Manager
Carteret Health Care, Morehead City, NC

Assistant Gift Shop Manager
HighPoint – Sumner Regional Medical Center, Gallatin, TN

Gift Shop Manager
Central Vermont Medical Center, Berlin, VT

Gift Shop Manager
Mayo Clinic, Barron, WI

Gift Shop Coordinator
Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, Tallahassee, FL

Gift Shop Coordinator
Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH

Gift Shop Manager
Lexington Medical Center, West Columbia, SC

Gift Shop Buyer/Merchandiser
New Hanover Regional Medical Center, Wilmington, NC


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Q. What vendors sell products made in America?

We’re looking to carry mostly made in America items. What vendors are you guys using for American made products? 🇺🇸 – Carol Myers, Ascension Providence Hospital, Rochester, MI. 250 beds. 2/18/22

What vendors sell products made in America?CLICK TO COMMENT

MADE IN AMERICA is always appealing to shoppers. 🇺🇸 Also, with supply chains low, domestic merchandise often arrives faster while helping local economies.

What vendors sell products made in America?

Click the green chat icon to leave a comment or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

A red, white & blue thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


FEBRUARY 2022 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #627
Did you miss last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions?

  • Solutions to common cash wrap/checkout counter problems
  • 2022 fashion trends + Color of the Year
  • RESPONSES: What were your best sellers in 2021?
  • How to deliver negative feedback well: 4 things good managers do
  • Q. What are some fresh new jewelry lines for 2022?
  • RESPONSES: How have you dealt with the decline in volunteers during the pandemic?

  • 100 Retail Blogs
  • Three keys to continual retail growth
  • RESPONSES: What snack vendor do you use?
  • Shrinkage | PART 2. Preventing inventory shortages
  • Q. Need a vendor to source Christmas merchandise?
  • Q. What book distributors sell current best sellers? 
  • Gift Market Calendar

DISCUSSION


CHRISTMAS MERCH VENDORS

Q. Have you been able to source Christmas merchandise? Anyone know of a vendor for “out of the box” Christmas merchandise?

My buyer just returned from the AmericasMart in Atlanta and was surprised by how limited the Christmas merchandise was, particularly ornaments. I understand that ongoing supply chain issues will be felt for a while, in addition to 25-50% increase in wholesale prices across the board. So, that said, does anyone have suggestions for “out of the box” sourcing for Christmas merchandise? Perhaps a vendor that doesn’t go to the buyers’ markets? – Jill A Dugaw (She/Her), Spartanburg Regional, Spartanburg, OH. 1/19/22

Opportunities has great Christmas merch at good prices. There is a $400 fee each year to join this group but the prices for the exact same items that many other vendors carry are much lower. They carry everyday and seasonal merchandise. clothing, candles, etc. – Diane Honsberger, Mercy Health St. Anne Hospital. 2/18/22

Do you know of a vendor for out-of-the-box Christmas merchandise? CLICK TO COMMENT

Have you been able to source Christmas merchandise? Who’s your vendor?

Leave a comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


DECLINE IN VOLUNTEERS

Q. Have others encountered losses in the number of volunteers through the pandemic? We started out with over 30 non-gift shop volunteers and are now down to 7. In our gift shop, we had 17, now 3, one of which started mid-COVID (God bless her!). We are currently thinking of hiring a part-time employee to man the front desk from 1-5pm. What have you done to remedy staffing and volunteer issues during the pandemic? Did anyone hire paid personnel? Thanks. – Sarah Folio, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Oakland, MD. 55 beds. 12/22/21

We reduced our hours in the gift shop and have been able to get enough volunteers, but the traffic is not there. Hospital has been remodeling and we have been closed quite a bit. We no longer have foot traffic from front entrance of hospital. Thankfully the employees still shop with us. Our problem lately has been elderly volunteers who refuse to read manual, consequently the computer is often not turned on correctly, they don’t use the scanner to ring up items, they basically sit on their chairs and hope no one comes in. We are all volunteers so we don’t have paid staff. I end up having to drive to hospital quite often to straighten out a situation. I held trainings on 2 different Saturdays and only 2 people came. I don’t want to offend the volunteers but they don’t seem to get it. Hopefully things will pick up and we can do more business. – Martha Burke. 2/17/22

We started with 10 volunteers and now have 4 sometimes 5. We were open 5 days per week with 2 shifts, now open 3 days per week 10-2. – Helen Travis. 2/16/22

We too have fewer volunteers since the pandemic. We are open a shorter timeframe each day. M-F & Sun 10-3. In order to keep all our gift shop volunteers informed, we have a spiral notebook we write updates in. Our volunteers also write notes to us to let us know if they have any needs or something special needs to be ordered or if they have suggestions. Works well for us! – Brenda Welcher,  AdventHealth Zephyrhills, Zephyrhills, FL. 59 beds. 2/16/22

Our store is open five days a week, 12-4pm. We had a good December! Visitors are so few now with no outsiders. I had 13 people working for us but now only 5-6.
Hope you all are healthy, Harold. – Harold Shiffman, St. Catherian Hospital, Smithtown, NY. 550 beds. 1/31/22

Our Gift Shop has remained closed since November 2020. Overall, we have lost some folks but we have also gained some. Currently they are not cleared to serve in the hospital due to COVID restrictions. However, some have been assisting at the Vaccine Clinic along with over 30 additional new volunteers who are at the Clinic. I believe a good portion of those 30 will continue to serve at the hospital once given the word to do so. – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 1/18/22

Internally, I am devastated! Externally, I move on and work with what I have. We are open two shifts during the week. Happy and grateful to have volunteers that will staff the shop. I went from 200 volunteers to about 45 in the overall program. I have about 13 in the gift shop. – Connie Slingluff, Blount Memorial, Maryville, TN. 201 beds. 1/17/22

We have been blessed with willing volunteers who have made it possible to remain open. Although the hospital shut us down for a few months in 2020, we have been able to come back and remain busy. Our Holiday Extravaganza of 3 days did not happen but we held special 12 Days of Christmas sales to encourage employees to shop with us. It was gratifying to see the staff regularly and hear them thank us for being there for them. We enter 2022 with a healthy bottom line and interested buyers, we’re keeping it simple and hoping that our current path is the right one to be on. – Marilynne Field, MercyOne, Dubuque, IA. 263 beds. 1/17/22

We went from two volunteers to one volunteer per shift and are doing ok. But this takes away the buffer if someone can’t come in for their shift. We have had to be closed at random times due to no substitutes. Looking to hire a PT person to cover those shift and help manage stock. – Christie Delbridg, Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center, Bolivia, NC. 74 beds. 1/17/22

Most of mine did come back. I had about 30 with teens. I have 14 adults and 2 teens. Our hours are limited Mon-Fri 9-5. We were on a role and then Omicon hit and no more visitors. I spilt the volunteers shifts to two hours instead of their four hours. – Margaret Legut, Elmhurst Hospital, Elmhurst, IL. 258 beds. 1/17/22

We lost about 20 volunteers. We have reduced our hours and days of operation. – Ginger Taylor, CoxHealth, Springfield, MO. 1014 beds. 1/17/22

We’ve lost many of our volunteers. Our shop is closed on weekends. We are open some days from 9-5, but on days we can’t get enough volunteers we’re open 10-4. This eliminates 1 volunteer per day. We are lucky to have some volunteers picking up more shifts to fill the gaps. We ask people to call before they come to see if we’re open and we post our hours on FB. – Debbie B, Bell Hospital, Ishpeming, MI. 1/17/22

We have had approximately 1/3 of volunteers return, 1/3 not return, and 1/3 defer return. Our volunteers are dedicated and a special part of our success! Also, being part of a university, we have also added student volunteers to our Shops as of December. The students had been volunteering in patient areas before the pandemic, but with that not yet possible, they are helping the Shops! The students are professional, eager, and energetic! We’ve gone from 45-50% of shifts with at least one volunteer, to over 80% of shifts with at least one volunteer! – Mary, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI. 1000 beds. 1/16/22

How are you dealing with the decrease in volunteers through the pandemic?CLICK HERE TO COMMENT

How many volunteers did your shop lose during the pandemic? How are you overcoming this?

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


SNACK VENDOR

Can you recommend a wholesale distributor for snacks (popcorn, chips, pretzels, etc.)? Thank you! – Sarah Folio, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Oakland, MD. 55 beds. 12/5/21

I use HT Hackney and Sam’s Club, I have to go and pick up from both. Chips, I use Route 11 Chips, 540-477-9664 in Mt Jackson, VA. Popcorn, I use Jody’s Popcorn 757-422-8646 in Norfolk, VA. Pretzels, Famous Amos cookies, Gordetto’s and Chex Mix have come up hard to find in my area. I have a Sam’s Plus card and some of the items I have to order online. – Greg Holtgrewe. 1/19/22

Wicked Minis crackers are a popular snack and they come in several flavors. Our top seller is the Dill flavor. – Betty Beck. 1/17/22

We have a local supplier – ACC Wholesaler plus we also use Kelli’s Gifts, Tropical Foods (Bulk), Sam’s Club and Costco – Traci Gerdes. 1/16/22

We use several as it is difficult to only have one vendor. Kelli’s Gift Shop Suppliers – Texas, Sam’s Club – local, and Truly Good Foods (Tropical Foods) online. – Marla Baker, Atrium Health Floyd, Rome, GA. 304 beds. 1/16/22

We use our Nutrition Services food vendors, which have had good prices. Is that an option for you? – Justin Alcanter, Salem Health, Salem, OR. 484 beds. 12/6/21

We purchase our snacks/candy/chocolate from either BJ’s or Sam’s. – Peter Waugh. 2/16/22


2021 BEST SELLERS

Wow! We asked, you answered! Thanks to everyone who shared their best sellers from 2021. Here are all the responses. A great variety of products. Some surprising ones too!

Apparel, especially plaid jackets and gnomes were very popular. – Ann Bergmann, Cumberland Healthcare, Cumberland, WI. 25 beds. 1/21/22

Covenant Rings. We have a display of 60 rings and every 6-9 months, new rings are added and slow sellers are removed. I’ve had lots of luck and consistently sold them for over 7 years.  – Jennifer Stuber. 1/21/22

Yes, Covenant Rings have been good, consistent sellers for many years! – Cindy

Clothing is my best category and loungewear from DM was my best seller during the holiday season and beyond. They have great price points and a huge margin builder. I received the floor display and I had to rearrange the entire shop to fit it in my space, but worth it. Strongly recommend the fixture as it keeps the product well organized and easy to shop. – Carol Colpitts. 2/20/22

One product line that we dropped was a CBD line. Just did not sell. Melissa & Doug eductional/toy items have done very well for us as well as hospital logo wear. Snack and personal care baskets that we create have worked out well for call-in orders. – Greg Holtgrewe. 2/19/22 

Q. What all do you put in your personal care baskets? I am new to this position so extra help is awesome!! Thanks in advance – Jaci, Hays Medical Center Gift Shop, Hays, KS. 1/20/22

Usually hand and body lotions, lip balms, decorative nail files, shower gels, fancy soaps, body sprays and bath bombs. Some of the vendors are Naked Bee, Inis, Duke Cannon, Ganz, San Francisco Soap and Bomb Cosmetics. We get our celophane bags, ribbon and packaging supplies from Nashville Wraps. Most of the time we do not use a basket but a clear desert plate for a base so that all of the items are easily seen. Sometimes you have to get creative during construction to get everything to stand up maybe using a ribbon to group things. We suggestive sell snack bags that we put together and balloons to go along. – Greg Holtgrew

The Ganz Crystal Expressions colored birds of any kind are a huge seller for us. I always think the popularity will fizzle out but it hasn’t and we have customers buy multiple at a time. Light up snow globes/lanterns this past Christmas were the best thing I have brought into the Gift Shop. I sold 11 in one day (we are only open to staff & patients 6 hours a day Mon-Fri) and my total stock of 63 were sold within 3 weeks. – Sarah Ryan. 1/18/21

Sarah, where do you source the light up lanterns from? – Cindy

I order the snow globes/lanterns from a couple of companies, but the best place I found was Razimports.com. They have a wide selection of both globes and lanterns and a great price range of everything. They have small options with a lower price point all the way to large options and high price points. A lot play music, which is always a big hit. The variety of options was the best in my option as well. Search their website for Water Globe or Water Lantern and it will bring up all the options in both categories. Please let me know if there is anything else I can help with! I love getting your newsletter, it is always full of great information! — Sarah Ryan. 1/18/21

We too sold out of the light up water lanterns in less than a week. Retail prices were from $50 up. We will certainly buy again from either Roman or Raz. – Kathy Kramer, Carousel Gift Shop Driscoll Children’s Hospital, Corpus Christi. 1/21/22

Brief Insanity brand lounge pants – it was insane how well they sell! – Jill Dugaw. 1/18/22

Who was your vendor? Thanks in advance!! – Jaci, Hays Medical Center Gift Shop, Hays, KS. 1/20/22

SE Marketplace – Jill Dugaw. 1/26/22

Worlds Softest Sock Company (Crescent Socks) were huge for us fourth quarter. You have to order now for inventory for fourth quarter this year. If you don’t, you will miss out as they sell out every year. – Sabra Shields. 1/18/22

Anything with a cardinal on it. – Margaret Legut 1/17/22

Warmies! The slippers, neck wraps, and all of their animals. We also sell them over the phone like crazy. Customers love the thought of something warm and comforting going to their loved one. – Linda Armstrong. 1/17/22

See’s Candy! We brought them in late, but they moved really quickly. It was great to have options for holiday candy for our staff. – Justin. 1/17/21

Wicked Minis crackers are a popular snack and they come in several flavors. Our top seller is the Dill flavor. Itzy Ritzy is a great baby line! They have a wonderful selection of trendy designs and moms love the variety of teethers, toys, pactifiers and lovies! Last June we picked up a new line of sun glasses and readers from DM Merchandising. The brand name is Optimum Optical. They have awesome displays where the extra boxes of sunglasses are stored next to the sunglasses which keep our volunteers from going to the back so much. The displays have a modern, sleek design. Our employees love the designs! We have restocked twice so far! You can’t go wrong with Funky Freshies car scents made by Funky Fleur De Lis. We have used them for about 2 years and always sell out. Cute designs and great scents! – Betty Beck. 1/17/22

Our winners for 2021 was an increase in clothing sales. Staff who were not willing to hit the malls during COVID were shopping in our Gift Shop! – Lynn, Misericordia Health Centre Gift Shop, Winnipeg. Manitoba, Canada. 1/17/22

Santoki Lego Keychain LightsRoman light up holiday lanterns.  Cardigans from Davi & Dani and Rose N Mary. – Stephanie, San Juan Regional Medical Center, Farmington, NM. 1/17/22.

We’ve done great with Paint by Sticker books for adults and Kids from Workman Publishing. They were a great find for us during the pandemic! – Keri Schwartz. 1/17/22 

Loungewear particularly sleep/blanket hoodies did great! Careful for 2022, the cost on the blanket hoodies have increased tremendously with certain vendors!! Giftcraft, Simply Southern, LazyOnes. – Connie Slingluff. 1/17/22

Umgee USA clothing and Myra handbags – Ginger Taylor. 1/17/22 

Our Jen & Co purses were great sellers this past year. We also do really well with Coronet and Accessorize Me jewelry. Our Evergreen’s Sassafras Mats and garden flags are also top sellers. Crazy as it sounds, our Ganz mini glass animals are an item we can hardly keep in stock. They sell so well for us at $1.95. For books, we are very pleased with Choice Book Distributors. Other surprising best sellers are the satin pillowcases and microfiber hair towels from Morning Glamour. We sold out of these over the holidays and just got more back in, due to the continuing requests. – Tamara Szarszewski, Gift Shop Manager, Logansport Memorial Hospital Gift Shop, 83 beds. 1/17/22

TY Squish-A-Boos are great sellers for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Gift Shops. -Traci G. 1/16/22


BOOK DISTRIBUTOR

Q. Can anyone recommend a book distributor that sells current best sellers? We have suppliers for other types of books like Harvest House and Harper Collins, but not for popular fiction. – Sabra Shields, Sanford USD Medical Center, Sioux Falls, SD. 450 beds. 12/8/21

We have a Choice Books rack that has mostly inspirational and religious titles that they update on a regular basis and sell very well for us 1-877-598-7759. I also get some books from our local Sam’s Club; children’s, adult and puzzle. – Greg Holtgrewe. 1/19/22

I used to buy my paperbacks from Costco. – Margaret Legut. 1/17/22

Choicebooks – Marla Baker, Atrium Health Floyd, Rome, GA. 304 beds

We order from Ingram on their Ipage website and directly from publishers when able. – Karla Glanzman, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, WA. 360 beds.

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


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Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | February 15, 2022 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER
for Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers delivers practical, ready-to-implement content to gift shop managers, retailers, and volunteers across the country. We help our readership of over 3,000 retailers optimize shop operations, grow revenue, and connect with one another. The newsletter is published monthly and free since 2001.

Have you paid your dues this quarter?

The value and richness of this newsletter comes from your participation. Do your part by submitting two comments per quarter, at minimum. Reply to reader’s questions listed throughout the newsletter (in green) or simply share what is working or isn’t working in your shop, a great selling product, a helpful website or resource, an operating question, your biggest challenge right now, a terrific vendor you’ve come across recently, tips on managing volunteers, or tips on managing yourself!

LEAVE A COMMENT! Click the green comment tags throughout the newsletter, enter it in the comment section, or send to cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com.


FEBRUARY 15, 2022

Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH


Solutions to common cash wrap/checkout counter problems

by Cindy Jones, Editor

Cash wraps, also known as a checkout counter, should be thoughtful, well-designed points-of-sale and the cornerstone in your shop. It is where you create impulse buys and solidify the customer experience, not where the sales staff hide. The cash counter isn’t a hang out.

Most shops have contactless payment and distance shopping so the function of a cash wrap varies. However, it must have three considerations: security, function and design.

The register itself needs to be in full view with easy access as customers enter your shop. There must be adequate room for product, bags, elbows, etc. ADA guidelines call for it to extend 9 feet from a wall. Also, it should be more than 36 inches from the floor and 36 inches long. Consider the ease of handing items back and forth, card readers, payment methods and more.

Consistency + Maintenance

With a multitude of team members working different shifts, you’ve got a problem with people all organizing and putting things away differently. Establish a routine checklist for opening and closing. The routine ensures that everything including your cash counter is being checked and replenished multiple times a day.

Use a whiteboard or dry-erase clipboards for daily goal setting, team “check-ins”, and messages. Using permanent marker, write up your daily checklists, open and closing routine, sales outline – the things that never change. Then, using dry-erase marker, staff fill in the whiteboard with the necessary information for each day.

Once your cash counter is set photograph it, make a map of the counter and place that standardized tool in your SOP binder for easy reference and training.

Space + Clutter

Everyone has space issues when it comes to the cash counter, and prioritizing what should take up prime real estate and what should not. A cluttered counter gives a bad impression to the customer and can slow down transactions. Have a standard routine for cleaning or clearing counter space at the end of every shift or transaction. Give everything a designated home with a label where it’s easy to locate, grab, go, finish, return and get back to the customer. It will be easier to notice when supplies are running low too.

Take advantage of any space on the back wall (behind the register). Installing a second counter, shelves or a narrow table can provide so much extra storage.

Use vertical storage. Hang supplies vertically helps eliminate clutter. Each item has a home versus left piled on top of each other. Pegboard storage systems easily install under your cash counter or inside a back counter cabinet.

Post a “Five Spare Minutes” checklist whenever staff find they have five minutes of down time.

Inefficiency

Walking away to go get more bags, boxes, or receipt tape while your customer waits will negatively impact their experience. Less time-in-store is one of the top consumer demands today. Everything you need to complete a transaction – and the backup supply – should be within an arm’s reach.

Use horizontal dowels for gift wrap and hanger storage under or alongside the cash counter. It frees space and prevents trips to the supply room.

Some helpful resources

6 Retail Cash Wrap Tips to Help You Increase Sales at the Checkout Counter

Set Up Your Cash Wrap to Drive Sales in 4 Steps

How to Use Your Checkout Counter to Make More Sales


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2022 Fashion Trends

by Cindy Jones, Editor

Let’s kick off the new year by focusing on up-and-coming fashion trends. If you sell apparel, it’s what’s trending in fashion 2022.

  • Hoodies under blazers.
  • Loose trousers tucked into boots.
  • Statement socks.
  • Tights or socks with open-toes sandals, styled with a maxi skirt.  
  • Cable-knit sweaters will be big!

Also trending, fashionable fisherman shoulder-padded oversized jackets and laid-back blazers paired with oversized deconstructed baggy wide-leg trousers and jeans. Fashion apparel is a tough business for any hospital gift shop, given powerful e-commerce competition and the effects of the pandemic. Buy the trends!

What is the color of the year for 2022?

Different shades of soft, pale green are the color for 2022. And, everyone choose the same color! Benjamin Moore’s 2022: October Mist (1495). Sherwin-Williams’ 2022: Evergreen Fog (SW 9130). Behr Paint’s 2022: Breezeway (MQ3-21). Glidden’s Guacamole (PPG1121- 5). PPG’s Olive Sprig (PPG1125-4). Valspar’s Blanched Thyme (6001-4A).

Why did everyone choose the same color? Sentiment is that it’s a non-controversial generally well-liked tone that feels safe. The major paint players are likely not thrilled they all chose similar colors, but by the time they realized what was happening, it was too late to change their plans. Sage green has rooted, organic, and comforting qualities….just what we need for 2022!

2022 Color of the Year: Sage Green

UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

MARCH
Mar 1 – Paczki Day & Mardi Gras
Mar 2 – Ash Wednesday
Mar 8 – Int’l Women’s Day
Mar 17 – St. Patrick’s Day
Mar 30 – Doctor’s Day
APRIL
Apr 1 – April Fool’s Day
Apr 9 – National Unicorn Day
Apr 17 – Easter Sunday
Apr 18 – Tax Day
Apr 22 – Earth Day
Apr 27 – Admin Prof Day
MAY
May 5 – Cinco de Mayo
May 6 – Nurses Day
May 7- Kentucky Derby
May 8 – Mother’s Day
May 30 – Memorial Day
Graduation Season Begins

RESPONSES: What were your best sellers in 2021?

Q. What were your best sellers in 2021?

Wow! We asked, you answered! Thanks to everyone who shared their best sellers from 2021. Here are all the responses. A great variety of products. Some surprising ones too!

Apparel, especially plaid jackets and gnomes were very popular. – Ann Bergmann, Cumberland Healthcare, Cumberland, WI. 25 beds. 1/21/22

Covenant Rings. We have a display of 60 rings and every 6-9 months, new rings are added and slow sellers are removed. I’ve had lots of luck and consistently sold them for over 7 years.  – Jennifer Stuber. 1/21/22

Yes, Covenant Rings have been good, consistent sellers for many years! – Cindy

Clothing is my best category and loungewear from DM was my best seller during the holiday season and beyond. They have great price points and a huge margin builder. I received the floor display and I had to rearrange the entire shop to fit it in my space, but worth it. Strongly recommend the fixture as it keeps the product well organized and easy to shop. – Carol Colpitts. 2/20/22

One product line that we dropped was a CBD line. Just did not sell. Melissa & Doug eductional/toy items have done very well for us as well as hospital logo wear. Snack and personal care baskets that we create have worked out well for call-in orders. – Greg Holtgrewe. 2/19/22 

Q. What all do you put in your personal care baskets? I am new to this position so extra help is awesome!! Thanks in advance – Jaci, Hays Medical Center Gift Shop, Hays, KS. 1/20/22

Usually hand and body lotions, lip balms, decorative nail files, shower gels, fancy soaps, body sprays and bath bombs. Some of the vendors are Naked Bee, Inis, Duke Cannon, Ganz, San Francisco Soap and Bomb Cosmetics. We get our celophane bags, ribbon and packaging supplies from Nashville Wraps. Most of the time we do not use a basket but a clear desert plate for a base so that all of the items are easily seen. Sometimes you have to get creative during construction to get everything to stand up maybe using a ribbon to group things. We suggestive sell snack bags that we put together and balloons to go along. – Greg Holtgrew

The Ganz Crystal Expressions colored birds of any kind are a huge seller for us. I always think the popularity will fizzle out but it hasn’t and we have customers buy multiple at a time. Light up snow globes/lanterns this past Christmas were the best thing I have brought into the Gift Shop. I sold 11 in one day (we are only open to staff & patients 6 hours a day Mon-Fri) and my total stock of 63 were sold within 3 weeks. – Sarah Ryan. 1/18/21

Sarah, where do you source the light up lanterns from? – Cindy

I order the snow globes/lanterns from a couple of companies, but the best place I found was Razimports.com. They have a wide selection of both globes and lanterns and a great price range of everything. They have small options with a lower price point all the way to large options and high price points. A lot play music, which is always a big hit. The variety of options was the best in my option as well. Search their website for Water Globe or Water Lantern and it will bring up all the options in both categories. Please let me know if there is anything else I can help with! I love getting your newsletter, it is always full of great information! — Sarah Ryan. 1/18/21

We too sold out of the light up water lanterns in less than a week. Retail prices were from $50 up. We will certainly buy again from either Roman or Raz. – Kathy Kramer, Carousel Gift Shop Driscoll Children’s Hospital, Corpus Christi. 1/21/22

Brief Insanity brand lounge pants – it was insane how well they sell! – Jill Dugaw. 1/18/22

Who was your vendor? Thanks in advance!! – Jaci, Hays Medical Center Gift Shop, Hays, KS. 1/20/22

SE Marketplace – Jill Dugaw. 1/26/22

Worlds Softest Sock Company (Crescent Socks) were huge for us fourth quarter. You have to order now for inventory for fourth quarter this year. If you don’t, you will miss out as they sell out every year. – Sabra Shields. 1/18/22

Anything with a cardinal on it. – Margaret Legut 1/17/22

Warmies! The slippers, neck wraps, and all of their animals. We also sell them over the phone like crazy. Customers love the thought of something warm and comforting going to their loved one. – Linda Armstrong. 1/17/22

See’s Candy! We brought them in late, but they moved really quickly. It was great to have options for holiday candy for our staff. – Justin. 1/17/21

Wicked Minis crackers are a popular snack and they come in several flavors. Our top seller is the Dill flavor. Itzy Ritzy is a great baby line! They have a wonderful selection of trendy designs and moms love the variety of teethers, toys, pactifiers and lovies! Last June we picked up a new line of sun glasses and readers from DM Merchandising. The brand name is Optimum Optical. They have awesome displays where the extra boxes of sunglasses are stored next to the sunglasses which keep our volunteers from going to the back so much. The displays have a modern, sleek design. Our employees love the designs! We have restocked twice so far! You can’t go wrong with Funky Freshies car scents made by Funky Fleur De Lis. We have used them for about 2 years and always sell out. Cute designs and great scents! – Betty Beck. 1/17/22

Our winners for 2021 was an increase in clothing sales. Staff who were not willing to hit the malls during COVID were shopping in our Gift Shop! – Lynn, Misericordia Health Centre Gift Shop, Winnipeg. Manitoba, Canada. 1/17/22

Santoki Lego Keychain LightsRoman light up holiday lanterns.  Cardigans from Davi & Dani and Rose N Mary. – Stephanie, San Juan Regional Medical Center, Farmington, NM. 1/17/22.

We’ve done great with Paint by Sticker books for adults and Kids from Workman Publishing. They were a great find for us during the pandemic! – Keri Schwartz. 1/17/22 

Loungewear particularly sleep/blanket hoodies did great! Careful for 2022, the cost on the blanket hoodies have increased tremendously with certain vendors!! Giftcraft, Simply Southern, LazyOnes. – Connie Slingluff. 1/17/22

Umgee USA clothing and Myra handbags – Ginger Taylor. 1/17/22 

Our Jen & Co purses were great sellers this past year. We also do really well with Coronet and Accessorize Me jewelry. Our Evergreen’s Sassafras Mats and garden flags are also top sellers. Crazy as it sounds, our Ganz mini glass animals are an item we can hardly keep in stock. They sell so well for us at $1.95. For books, we are very pleased with Choice Book Distributors. Other surprising best sellers are the satin pillowcases and microfiber hair towels from Morning Glamour. We sold out of these over the holidays and just got more back in, due to the continuing requests. – Tamara Szarszewski, Gift Shop Manager, Logansport Memorial Hospital Gift Shop, 83 beds. 1/17/22

TY Squish-A-Boos are great sellers for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Gift Shops. -Traci G. 1/16/22

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡

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How to deliver negative feedback well: 4 things that good managers do

by Claire Lew / Oct 15 2018

The most common question I get asked by a manager who doesn’t want to become a bad boss is: “How do I give negative feedback to a coworker?”

Giving honest feedback is the most deceptively difficult thing for a manager to do. A survey of nearly 8,000 people, in fact, found that 21% of managers avoid giving negative feedback entirely. In our heads, it seems straightforward enough. We know it’s the right thing to do. We know it’s important. We should just get on with it. But it’s never that simple. We don’t want to demotivate an employee with our feedback. We don’t want an employee to think we’re out to get them. We don’t want our feedback to backfire.

All is not lost. It’s possible to give honest feedback and not feel stressed — and not have it blow up in our face. Here are the four things that good managers do when delivering negative feedback:

Come from a place of care. You’re giving feedback because you care. You deeply care about this person’s personal and career growth. You deeply care about the project’s success. You want both the person and the company to thrive. Communicate these things. Ask yourself: “What can I say to let this person know that this feedback is coming from a place of care and helpfulness? How do I let this person know I have good intentions, and that I’m not trying to spite them or be rude?” As you deliver the piece of critical feedback, make this clear.

For example, you could say something like: “I’m saying this because I believe in you and I want you to succeed…” or “This is important to me because I care about the company’s direction as a whole…” or “This matters to me because I only want to ensure that we perform well as a team…”

Come from a place of observation. We’re often worried that the person is going to take any negative feedback personally. This is a big reason why we avoid giving feedback or sugarcoat our feedback. It’s to say, “Hey look, I don’t think you’re a bad person…” or “I don’t want you to be mad at me…” Instead, look to communicate your feedback more objectively. Come from a place of observation. Focus on the actions and the situation of what happened — what you observed — and not the personal attributes or characteristics of the person.

For example, if you think a coworker wrote a sloppy email to the client, instead of saying: “I think you’re careless and sloppy”… you could say, “I noticed that in the email you wrote, there were a few careless mistakes that seemed sloppy.” See the difference? The former makes it about the person, while the latter makes it about your observations on what has happened.

Come from a place of fallibility. Your feedback is not infallible. Don’t forget that your feedback is only an interpretation of what you observed, and your own perspective of how things can improve going forward. Your perspective is not a universal truth. You could be wrong. Be willing to admit that your feedback, while it’s something you strongly believe in, is colored by your own personal lens. Ask yourself: “How can I remind this person that this feedback is only my opinion? That this isn’t the word of God, that mistakes happen, that there may be information I’m missing?”

A few examples of how you can do this is to say directly: “I might be off…” or to ask, “Is there any information that you think I might be missing?”

Come from a place of curiosity. When you give feedback, it should feel like a conversation. No one likes being talked at. Your time to give feedback also is a time to listen to what the other person thinks, as well. Be curious. Consider: “How does this person feel about my feedback? Was there anything I might have misinterpreted or overlooked? Is there anything that I can be doing better to help support the other person?” During a one-on-one meeting, you want to invite the person to give their side of their story.

To do this, simply ask after sharing your feedback: “What do you think?” When you’re curious, you’re signaling that you value hearing their perspective on what happened. You’re not mad, upset, or resentful. You see the moment of giving feedback as an opportunity to learn and get better as a leader, yourself.

Sure, all the tactics I’m describing are a little more nuanced than other ways you might be familiar with to give feedback — especially the catchy “Shit Sandwich” moniker, in particular. And yes, they require a bit more intention and thought prior to do well. But when you come from a place of care, observation, fallibility, and curiosity — it makes for a much more honest and productive conversation. You’re going to get a better result. The person on the other side is going to feel like you’re really trying to help them. And that’s the whole point of giving feedback, after all.

Source: Know Your Team

Are you a boss or a leader?

BOSS

Demands
Commands

Talks first
Knows how it’s done

Inspires fear
Says “I”
Uses people
Takes credit
Places the blame
Says “Go”

LEADER

Coaches
Asks
Listens first

Shows how it’s done
Generates enthusiasm
Says “We”
Develops people
Gives credit
Accepts blame
Says “Let’s Go”


100 Retail Blogs

Here’s a source for retail blogs from thousands of blogs on the web ranked by traffic, social media followers, domain authority & freshness:

blog.feedspot.com/retail_blogs/


Q. What are some fresh new jewelry lines for 2022?

We are looking to freshen up our jewelry. We currently use Periwinkle but looking for something new along the same price point. Any suggestions? – Tracy Torres, St. Augustine. 1/20/22

Main Street Earrings are a big hit for us. Great quality, great price. We sell them for $8.99! – Lanie Ray, Fairfield Medical Center, Lancaster, OH. 2/28/22

What are some fresh new jewelry lines for 2022? CLICK HERE TO COMMENT

ISO fresh, new, hot jewelry lines for 2022! What jewelry lines are the movers and shakers right now? What is their price point? What rep do you like?

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


RESPONSES: How have you dealt with the decline in volunteers during the pandemic?

Q. Have others encountered losses in the number of volunteers through the pandemic? We started out with over 30 non-gift shop volunteers and are now down to 7. In our gift shop, we had 17, now 3, one of which started mid-COVID (God bless her!). We are currently thinking of hiring a part-time employee to man the front desk from 1-5pm. What have you done to remedy staffing and volunteer issues during the pandemic? Did anyone hire paid personnel? Thanks. – Sarah Folio, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Oakland, MD. 55 beds. 12/22/21

Our store is open five days a week, 12-4pm. We had a good December! Visitors are so few now with no outsiders. I had 13 people working for us but now only 5-6.
Hope you all are healthy, Harold. – Harold Shiffman, St. Catherian Hospital, Smithtown, NY. 550 beds. 1/31/22

Our Gift Shop has remained closed since November 2020. Overall, we have lost some folks but we have also gained some. Currently they are not cleared to serve in the hospital due to COVID restrictions. However, some have been assisting at the Vaccine Clinic along with over 30 additional new volunteers who are at the Clinic. I believe a good portion of those 30 will continue to serve at the hospital once given the word to do so. – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 1/18/22

Internally, I am devastated! Externally, I move on and work with what I have. We are open two shifts during the week. Happy and grateful to have volunteers that will staff the shop. I went from 200 volunteers to about 45 in the overall program. I have about 13 in the gift shop. – Connie Slingluff, Blount Memorial, Maryville, TN. 201 beds. 1/17/22

We have been blessed with willing volunteers who have made it possible to remain open. Although the hospital shut us down for a few months in 2020, we have been able to come back and remain busy. Our Holiday Extravaganza of 3 days did not happen but we held special 12 Days of Christmas sales to encourage employees to shop with us. It was gratifying to see the staff regularly and hear them thank us for being there for them. We enter 2022 with a healthy bottom line and interested buyers, we’re keeping it simple and hoping that our current path is the right one to be on. – Marilynne Field, MercyOne, Dubuque, IA. 263 beds. 1/17/22

We went from two volunteers to one volunteer per shift and are doing ok. But this takes away the buffer if someone can’t come in for their shift. We have had to be closed at random times due to no substitutes. Looking to hire a PT person to cover those shift and help manage stock. – Christie Delbridg, Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center, Bolivia, NC. 74 beds. 1/17/22

Most of mine did come back. I had about 30 with teens. I have 14 adults and 2 teens. Our hours are limited Mon-Fri 9-5. We were on a role and then Omicon hit and no more visitors. I spilt the volunteers shifts to two hours instead of their four hours. – Margaret Legut, Elmhurst Hospital, Elmhurst, IL. 258 beds. 1/17/22

We lost about 20 volunteers. We have reduced our hours and days of operation. – Ginger Taylor, CoxHealth, Springfield, MO. 1014 beds. 1/17/22

We’ve lost many of our volunteers. Our shop is closed on weekends. We are open some days from 9-5, but on days we can’t get enough volunteers we’re open 10-4. This eliminates 1 volunteer per day. We are lucky to have some volunteers picking up more shifts to fill the gaps. We ask people to call before they come to see if we’re open and we post our hours on FB. – Debbie B, Bell Hospital, Ishpeming, MI. 1/17/22

We have had approximately 1/3 of volunteers return, 1/3 not return, and 1/3 defer return. Our volunteers are dedicated and a special part of our success! Also, being part of a university, we have also added student volunteers to our Shops as of December. The students had been volunteering in patient areas before the pandemic, but with that not yet possible, they are helping the Shops! The students are professional, eager, and energetic! We’ve gone from 45-50% of shifts with at least one volunteer, to over 80% of shifts with at least one volunteer! – Mary, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI. 1000 beds. 1/16/22

How are you dealing with the decrease in volunteers through the pandemic?CLICK HERE TO COMMENT

How many volunteers did your shop lose during the pandemic? How are you overcoming this? Leave a comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


Three keys to continual retail growth

Everything is different now. COVID changed consumer behavior, overnight. Stay onboard to bring them back in-store.

RetailCustomerExperience.com recently discussed the three keys to continual retail growth in today’s retail environment where the lines between e-commerce and in-store retail continue to shrink. Brick-and-mortar shops must retain their unique appeal, from smiling store attendants to design features, that digital storefronts can’t replicate.

Their 2021 report found that 48% of shoppers still prefer to shop in-store when all other factors are equal. While at the same time e-commerce sales that are set to surpass the $4 trillion mark. 75% of customers shop online at least once a month and 20% at least once a week.

convenience-driven SHOPPING
Mobile POS systems
Contactless payment
BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick-up In-Store)
BORIS (Buy Online, Return In-Store)
Self-checkout kiosks
Interactive digital signage
Assisted selling
Buy-now-pay-later service

The three keys to continual retail growth, according to their research and first-hand observations where: convenience, personalization, and digitization. Here are some take-aways on each of them.

Convenience
Convenience will be the critical driver in the retail experience for 2022 and beyond. Customers are coming back to the stores, but they will seek out retailers that shorten their time in store. “Shoppers told us that the speed and convenience of shopping online are the number one reason that they choose digital retailers over brick-and-mortar locations. Providing your shoppers convenience-driven features—curbside pickup, buy online, pickup in-store, self-checkout — is the only way to outpace online competitors. Retailers that haven’t implemented omnichannel will be left behind.

They also found that, “58% of in-store shoppers say it’s quicker to look up product information on their phone than to ask an associate; 64% of associates agree.

More retailers are transitioning to mobile POS systems to enable associates to check out customers on the sales floor and look up product features quickly.

Personalization
Unique retail experiences will prevail. The era of errand-shopping in person is coming to an end. It’s generally more convenient for consumers to place orders for necessary items online for delivery or pick-up. In 2022, you will need to earn foot traffic by providing the customer with a unique experience they cannot get elsewhere.

42% of consumers have said a lack of personalization in their shopping experiences will drive them away from making a purchase. If customers continually receive personalized discounts when they shop at your store, they’ll eventually associate your brand with savings.

Experiences can come in the form of in-store events or in the form of one-on-one (and highly personalized) interactions with associates. Retailers need to discern what their customers truly value. Figure out what types of experiences resonate most with your target audience and find ways to bring them to life in-store.

Digitization
Their 2021 report found that 85% of consumers see self-checkout as a faster means of purchasing goods than cashier-led checkout, which shoppers associate with longer lines and wait times. This is just one example of how consumers see digitization of the in-store experience as a conduit of convenience. A digital product display here or a scannable discount code there can provide immense value to your customers in a way that preserves the brick-and-mortar ethos.

SOURCE: RetailCustomerExperience.com


Mark Down

The most important tool you have to move a mistake out the door! 

Buying a bad style, bad colors, bad fit, wrong sizes, wrong timing, etc. happens!

Don’t fret!

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RESPONSES: What snack vendor do you use?

Can you recommend a wholesale distributor for snacks (popcorn, chips, pretzels, etc.)? Thank you! – Sarah Folio, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Oakland, MD. 55 beds. 12/5/21

I use HT Hackney and Sam’s Club, I have to go and pick up from both. Chips, I use Route 11 Chips, 540-477-9664 in Mt Jackson, VA. Popcorn, I use Jody’s Popcorn 757-422-8646 in Norfolk, VA. Pretzels, Famous Amos cookies, Gordetto’s and Chex Mix have come up hard to find in my area. I have a Sam’s Plus card and some of the items I have to order online. – Greg Holtgrewe. 1/19/22

Wicked Minis crackers are a popular snack and they come in several flavors. Our top seller is the Dill flavor. – Betty Beck. 1/17/22

We have a local supplier – ACC Wholesaler plus we also use Kelli’s Gifts, Tropical Foods (Bulk), Sam’s Club and Costco – Traci Gerdes. 1/16/22

We use several as it is difficult to only have one vendor. Kelli’s Gift Shop Suppliers – Texas, Sam’s Club – local, and Truly Good Foods (Tropical Foods) online. – Marla Baker, Atrium Health Floyd, Rome, GA. 304 beds. 1/16/22

We use our Nutrition Services food vendors, which have had good prices. Is that an option for you? – Justin Alcanter, Salem Health, Salem, OR. 484 beds. 12/6/21

What snack vendor do you recommend?CLICK HERE TO COMMENT

Who’s your favorite snack vendor? Leave your comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


💮 CALENDAR 💮

GIFT MARKETS

*Always double-check show dates for changes*Mar 2-4, 2022
Atlanta Spring Market
Apr 4-5, 2022
Seattle Mart Spring Buying Event
Apr 8-10, 2022
Los Angeles Spring Cash & Carry Show
Jun 14-17, 2022
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market
Jun 22-28, 2022
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Jun 26-28, 2022
Minneapolis Mart Gift, Home, Apparel & Accessory Show
Aug 23-26, 2022
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market
Sep 13-15, 2022
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Jan 4-10, 2023
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Jan 10-17, 2023
Atlanta Market
Visit Gift Shop Mag Trade Show Calendar for smaller local/regional shows.

Shrinkage | PART 2. Preventing inventory shortages

by Cindy Jones, Editor

This month we revisit the topic of inventory shrinkage or shortages. With so many opportunities for shrinkage, not just customer theft or transaction errors, it’s important to realize how many there. Each and every one, when added up, can significantly – even drastically – cut into your net profit. Last month, in Part 1. Preventing inventory shortages, we provided a list of useful shoplifting deterrents and how to spot a potential theft when customer’s exhibit shoplifting behavior.

In the second part of this series, we’ll dive into employee theft – which accounts for roughly equivalent shrinkage as shoplifting – and how to reduce shipping errors, and a few shop security tips.

Employee dishonesty, whether volunteer or paid, usually occurs when there are few, if any, internal controls. It is important to maintain cash handling controls and procedures. Clearly written job descriptions that state policies and procedures are crucial.

Inventory
shrinkagE
Shoplifting
Price tag switching
Employee theft
Shipping errors
Weak shop security
Incorrect price tags
Breakage
Sloppy record keeping
Incomplete POS transactions
Orders/shipment shortages

Reduce employee theft

  • Spot-check your inventory/drawer. During unannounced visits, inform staff: “I’m just double-checking inventory numbers and doing a register check.” Pick a few products and check physical inventory against inventory sheets/POS inventory figures. If possible, run a cash drawer reconciliation. Couple it with: “I’ll be back again soon to run through this again.” This lets employees know management is keeping its eye on the ball.
  • Use an inventory-tracking system. Use a POS system that tracks inventory automatically or, at a minimum, use paper-based inventory-tracking sheets to send a signal to employees that inventory is indeed being monitored.
  • Check the z-tape numbers. If yesterday’s z-tape was number 24 and today’s is 27, what happened to 25 and 26?
  • Encourage anonymous tips. Publish a email or number employees can call to leave an anonymous message if they suspect a co-worker of stealing product or cash. If employees are aware their co-workers are watching and could report them, they will be less inclined to get sticky fingers.
  • Check cash-to-credit purchase ratios. If the typical purchase ratio is 30% cash to 70% credit, and then suddenly the ratio is 10 to 90, it’s time to ask a few questions.
  • Watch the “no-sales.” Many shop managers know that the leading indicator of theft is a single piece of data on your x-tape: the “no sale” number. If a typical day’s no-sale tally is four, but every time a particular employee works the tally is 10, there may be a problem.

Of course, there’s no way to completely protect yourself against shoplifting and employee theft, but if you make customers and employees aware that you’re keeping a close eye on your business, experts say that’s the first and most-critical step in shrinking your shrinkage.

Reduce shipping errors

  • Establish procedures for checking-in merchandise
  • Use purchase orders for all inventory purchases.
  • Buyer should check-in all goods received. Then match goods received with the purchase order and packing slip.
  • The implementation of a perpetual inventory system (POS) helps greatly in determining the areas/categories where shortages are occurring. A perpetual inventory system assists management with the purchasing function and would provide beneficial information as to items being sold.
  • When an invoice arrives, it should be matched with the purchase order and packing slip. Manager or shop chairman should approve invoices for payment.

Shop security

Keys to the gift shops should not be given to anyone except the administrator, the Manager/Chair and the Director of Security. The Director of Security should be requested to monitor the shop key carefully (even to his own staff) and release it only on a sign-out basis. No one should be allowed to enter the shop after hours unless accompanied by the supervisor or manager. Weekend staff should sign out the shop key from the hospital security office. Most gift shops now have digital keypad locks. Housekeeping (vacuuming and general cleaning) can only be done while gift shop personnel are present

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Shrinkage | PART 1: Preventing inventory shortages


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JANUARY 2022 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #626
Did you miss last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions?

  • Try setting New Year Goals, instead of resolutions
  • What is your shop’s niche category?
  • ARBA POS releases fully integrated online store
  • Q. How have you dealt with the decline in volunteers during COVID?
  • Canada hospital opens pop-up gift shop in local mall
  • Best Sellers of 2021

  • Q. Which book distributors offer current best sellers?
  • How to escape your comfort zone
  • Our volunteers are the epitome of humankindness
  • Q. What snack vendor do you use?
  • Shrinkage | PART 1. Preventing inventory shortages
  • Calendar: Gift Markets

DISCUSSION


CHRISTMAS MERCH VENDOR

Q. Have you been able to source Christmas merchandise? Anyone know of a vendor for “out of the box” Christmas merchandise?

My buyer just returned from the AmericasMart in Atlanta and was surprised by how limited the Christmas merchandise was, particularly ornaments. I understand that ongoing supply chain issues will be felt for a while, in addition to 25-50% increase in wholesale prices across the board. So, that said, does anyone have suggestions for “out of the box” sourcing for Christmas merchandise? Perhaps a vendor that doesn’t go to the buyers’ markets? – Jill A Dugaw (She/Her), Spartanburg Regional, Spartanburg, OH. 1/19/22

Do you know of a vendor for out-of-the-box Christmas merchandise? CLICK TO COMMENT

Have you been able to source Christmas merchandise? Who’s your vendor?

Leave a comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


BOOK DISTRIBUTOR

Q. Can anyone recommend a book distributor that sells current best sellers? We have suppliers for other types of books like Harvest House and Harper Collins, but not for popular fiction. – Sabra Shields, Sanford USD Medical Center, Sioux Falls, SD. 450 beds. 12/8/21

We have a Choice Books rack that has mostly inspirational and religious titles that they update on a regular basis and sell very well for us 1-877-598-7759. I also get some books from our local Sam’s Club; children’s, adult and puzzle. – Greg Holtgrewe. 1/19/22

I used to buy my paperbacks from Costco. – Margaret Legut. 1/17/22

Choicebooks – Marla Baker, Atrium Health Floyd, Rome, GA. 304 beds

We order from Ingram on their Ipage website and directly from publishers when able. – Karla Glanzman, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, WA. 360 beds.

Do you know a book distributor that sells the current best sellers?CLICK HERE TO COMMENT

Are book and magazine distributors are dwindling? Who do you use? Comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


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Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | January 15, 2022 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER
for Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers delivers practical, ready-to-implement content to gift shop managers, retailers, and volunteers across the country. We help our readership of over 3,000 retailers optimize shop operations, grow revenue, and connect with one another. The newsletter is published monthly and free since 2001.

Have you paid your dues this quarter?

The value and richness of this newsletter comes from your participation. Do your part by submitting two comments per quarter, at minimum. Reply to reader’s questions listed throughout the newsletter (in green) or simply share what is working or isn’t working in your shop, a great selling product, a helpful website or resource, an operating question, your biggest challenge right now, a terrific vendor you’ve come across recently, tips on managing volunteers, or tips on managing yourself!

LEAVE A COMMENT! Click the green comment tags throughout the newsletter, enter it in the comment section, or send to cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com.


JANUARY 15, 2022

Vail Health Gift Shop, Vail, CO

Vail Health Hospital Gift Shop, Vail, CO


Try setting New Year Goals, instead of resolutions

by Cindy Jones, Editor

I’ve been thinking that making New Year’s resolutions is a paradox. If we had the discipline to keep resolutions, we probably wouldn’t need to make them in the first place!
 
But goals are different. They are not a heavy chain around the neck but, instead, a bright challenge. Resolutions are forever – you’re not supposed to gain weight, smoke or live off your credit card ever again. But goals – aha! They last only as long as it takes to meet them and then set the next one – like organize your files, run a seven-minute mile, write a book, master a celestial chocolate cake, prepare a shop budget for 2022 and so on.
 
Have you set your New Years Goals for 2022?!



UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

FEBRUARY
Feb 2 – Groundhog Day
Feb 4 – World Cancer Day
Feb 13 – Super Bowl Sunday
Feb 14 – Valentine’s Day
Feb 21 – President’s Day
Black History Month
MARCH
Mar 1 – Paczki Day & Mardi Gras
Mar 2 – Ash Wednesday
Mar 8 – Int’l Women’s Day
Mar 17 – St. Patrick’s Day
Mar 30 – Doctor’s Day
APRIL
Apr 1 – April Fool’s Day
Apr 9 – National Unicorn Day
Apr 17 – Easter Sunday
Apr 18 – Tax Day
Apr 22 – Earth Day
Apr 27 – Admin Prof Day

What is your shop’s niche category?

by Cindy Jones, Editor

I recently visited a hospital gift shop that had a considerably big jewelry department. A large percentage of their shop’s sales came from jewelry. They offered an exciting and tempting assortment of jewelry and the shop became the place for hospital employees to buy their jewelry. I watched in amazement as employees flocked into the shop to purchase their favorite earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.

A smart buyer determines the size of a category by its sales. If sales increase, then the buying and inventory should increase to meet the growing sales. Using an open-to-buy plan (OTB) is the sure way to know how much to buy. Open to Buy (OTB) is the difference between how much inventory is needed and how much is available. That includes inventory on hand, in transit, and any outstanding orders.

Many hospital gift shops have a “niche specialized category” that is hugely successful. Niche categories are usually the result of a very dedicated, attentive and talented buyer. The buyer researches then searches for the very best selling merchandise at the very best prices. They have one finger on the pulse of the shop’s unique customer (hospital employees) and another finger on what’s hot in the general retailing world.

If you’re using a POS system, sales per category numbers are automatically calculated usually. The information will help you determine available spending dollars and space allocations for each category.


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ARBA POS releases fully integrated online store

ARBA Online Store

ARBA Technology is rolling out online retail gift shop solutions that could work as apps on mobility devices as well as portals accessible from desktop devices. ARBA is responding to the hospital gift shop market and current Covid-19 pandemic which is impacting their revenues and demand. Healthcare providers that have a gift store on their medical campus more frequently leverage retired employees/volunteers to operate their gift shops.

ARBA Online Store accesses and updates customer inventory items the same way as the customer’s onsite POS kiosks. Periodic and daily revenue reports can also be run on online and onsite sales, along with inventory reports. Both the onsite and online applications access the same inventory databases, preventing rework in a dual inventory scenario which most other vendors offer.

ARBA’s Online Store is integrated with cashless payments to reduce the number of errors and eliminate cash handling altogether. Real-time inventory sync-up between the online store and the database will give back valuable time. ARBA Online Store can be added to your company’s existing website and use the same look and feel of your color schemes, fonts, and layouts.

  • Real-time sync online inventory to POS System
  • Payroll deductions
  • Designate areas for pick up
  • Declining balance accounts
  • Department charges 
  • Company charges

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Canada hospital opens pop-up gift shop in local mall

The gift shop at Great War Memorial Hospital in Ontario, Canada has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic. The closure has been a financial punch for the 123 volunteers who tried to find a way to raise funds for the hospital. They figure they have lost some $150,000 since the start of the pandemic, and more than 20,000 volunteer hours per year.

So, they decided to open a pop-up shop in the local shopping mall. Marilyn Litle, volunteer, said she hopes to extend their lease agreement past the end of January 2022.

The hospital intends to reopen the gift shop. “Unfortunately, it is difficult to establish a timeline for this return — especially when the increased prevalence of the COVID Omicron variant.

FULL ARTICLE/SOURCE: InsideOttowaValley


BEST SELLERS OF 2021

Q. What were your best sellers in 2021? Share your WINNERS AND LOSERS

It only takes a minute to share a few of your BEST sellers. Help your fellow shop managers succeed. Many are still struggling through the pandemic. Some are young or new to retail and just learning the job. You’ll benefit learning from others, as well. Feel free to share your WORST sellers too! : )

What were your best sellers in 2021?CLICK HERE TO COMMENT

Don’t just take, give back!

Do your part and leave a comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


How to escape your comfort zone

by Dave Wendland / Dec 30 2021

One of my favorite quotes is usually credited to Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” The same can be said for a business.
A primary way to accelerate decision-making, rethink strategies and drive transformation is to move out of your comfort zones.

The comfort zone is the known, the familiar. It’s our default and what we can do automatically, without too much thought or difficulty. It feels comfortable, sheltered, reliable and pleasant, while keeping us out of danger. It’s also where we seldom need to try especially hard or expend much energy. Extending beyond one’s comfort zone is not for the faint of heart. It takes intentional effort. Here are four ways to think differently.

  1. Take a new route. I like to think of it similarly to Robert Frost’s famous words: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” The discovery along this new pathway can open your imagination, provide new points of reference and free your mind up to invite new knowledge in.
  2. Read voraciously. It doesn’t have to be a book about your industry or leadership or any other business topic. Simply expanding your thinking with fresh words and different circumstances allows you to stretch beyond your comfort zone.
  3. Meditate. I have found that sitting quietly and granting myself permission to just be still is not only refreshing but also enlightening. Breaking away, in any way you can, opens your ability to invite invigorating thoughts in.
  4. Build your network. Learning from others and broadening your network can certainly pave the way to creativity.

My last piece of advice is to solicit ideas from your staff. They likely have more firsthand knowledge about what changes will actually improve their jobs or enhance your deliverables. Don’t dismiss ideas that don’t come from the top. Gathering ideas from all levels of your organization can further push it outside of its comfort zone and inspire you to accelerate growth.

FROM CINDY

Change is hard, and inertia can become a real barrier to change and discovery. The last piece of advice noted about engaging all staff for ideas is really powerful. Leadership does not mean that your ideas are the best. It takes humility and an open mind to be willing to engage all levels of staff for input and ideas.

Embracing change is difficult for most people, whether in their personal or professional lives. Speaking about retail in particular, it’s too easy to function along the lines of “we’ve always done it this way” or “we’re up against these sales from last year.” That sort of mindset leads retailers down the road of complacency, stagnation or worse.

Is there a tool that imposes the sort of self-discipline necessary for retailers to avoid these traps? The “product life cycle” concept provides an objective way to track businesses as they trend downward from their peak. It takes some of the emotion out of the change management process.

Consider:

  • Be gentle with yourself, especially when the learning curve is steep.
  • Get a “coach.” Seek out and embrace some kind of external accountability that will always be able to challenge your internal rationalizations and procrastination. The best athletes in the world have a coach. They might have some insight worth paying attention to.
  • You must create an environment that values and encourages creative ideation, and constantly ask “if we were starting X today, how would you build it now?”

SOURCE: RetailWire


Q. How have you dealt with the decline in volunteers during the pandemic?

Have others encountered losses in the number of volunteers through the pandemic? We started out with over 30 non-gift shop volunteers and are now down to 7. In our gift shop, we had 17, now 3, one of which started mid-COVID (God Bless her!). We are currently thinking of hiring a part-time employee to man the front desk from 1-5pm. What have you done to remedy staffing and volunteer issues during the pandemic? Did anyone hire paid personnel? Thanks. – Sarah Folio, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Oakland, MD. 55 beds. 12/22/21

How are you dealing with the decrease in volunteers through the pandemic?CLICK HERE TO COMMENT

How many volunteers did your shop lose during the pandemic? How are you overcoming this? Leave a comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


Our volunteers are the epitome of humankindness

by Leslie Smart, Guest Columnist, The Sentinel Echo / Jan 5 2022

Over the past year, we at CHI Saint Joseph Health have formally recognized “A Year of Humankindness”. The special year served as a launch of our new brand promise, Hello humankindness, and celebrated the simple acts of kindness across our hospitals and clinics carried out by our employees and our communities.

Our volunteers are the epitome of humankindness. They so selflessly give of their time and their experience within the walls of our hospitals, but also, especially during the time of COVID, out in their homes and the communities. They brighten the days of our patients and staff – playing piano in some facilities, helping our cancer care teams, connecting with patients and escorting them to their destinations, and working in our gift shops.

As we have paused volunteer services in our hospitals during surges in the pandemic, our volunteers continue to serve. Our crafters contribute handmade hope – making stuffed animals, cancer hats, prayer shawls and pocket prayer quilts to share with our patients. This allows them to stay connected to our ministry and to our community.

Our volunteers manage the gift shops in the hospitals throughout the ministry and, starting in February, will assume responsibility for our gift shops at Saint Joseph Hospital and Saint Joseph East. This new opportunity will allow our volunteers to give back even more to our community as they make decisions about how to use proceeds in our facilities. For instance, at Saint Joseph London, our volunteers use proceeds from the gift shop, which they staff, to award scholarships for students of our employees. At Saint Joseph Mount Sterling, they’ve contributed to Giraffe Omnibeds to care for our youngest patients. The Flaget Memorial Hospital Auxiliary provided funding for 3D mammography.

We have around 300 volunteers across CHI Saint Joseph Health, many of whom are retired. Our numbers typically grow in the summer, as we welcome teen volunteers into our hospitals. Our volunteers say their work at our hospitals give them the opportunity to remain active and to give back to their communities. It gives them that human connection that we all need, especially as we continue to navigate a global pandemic.

We expect the same is true for volunteers at other organizations in our community. These interconnections are more than just a transaction of activity given by the volunteer, received by an organization. They highlight an important piece of the fabric of our society – allowing us to work together for a common cause of improving our communities and recognize the humankindness that lives inside all of us.

It’s been a difficult few years as we’ve navigated the pandemic, and we are grateful for our volunteers and for those who serve in other ways in our community. As we start a new year and you reflect on your New Year’s resolutions, consider finding a way to give back to the community. Whether it’s at our hospitals, your church, your school or another community organization, volunteering is humankindness.

SOURCE: The Sentinel Echo London, KY


Q. What snack vendor do you use?

Can you recommend a wholesale distributor for snacks (popcorn, chips, pretzels, etc.)? Thank you! – Sarah Folio, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Oakland, MD. 55 beds. 12/5/21

We use our Nutrition Services food vendors, which have had good prices. Is that an option for you? – Justin Alcanter, Salem Health, Salem, OR. 484 beds. 12/6/21

What snack vendor do you recommend?CLICK HERE TO COMMENT

Who’s your favorite snack vendor? Leave your comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


Check out this creative Valentine’s Day post from Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, NC.



Shrinkage | PART 1. Preventing inventory shortages

by Cindy Jones, Editor

Inventory shortages is caused by multiple reasons: shoplifting, price tag switching, employee theft, shipping errors, lack of shop security, incorrect price tags, breakage, sloppy record keeping, items paid for but not received, and when sales are not rung-up. They all increase the cost of goods sold and shrink net profit!

watch for customers who:
Avoid eye contact
Appear nervous
Wander the store without buying
Carry item around for a long time
Leave and return repeatedly
Linger in a hidden/remote area that’s hard to monitor
Keep an eye on staff and other customers
Bundle items into smaller shapes
Wear bulky clothing
Take offense to offers of assistance

…stick with them like glue until they leave the shop!

Prevent shoplifting by having well-trained and alert employees who know how to spot a potential shoplifter. Remember, theft occurs because the opportunity presents itself. Curtail the opportunities and you’ll reduce theft dramatically.

Shoplifting Deterrents

  • Greet all customers as they enter the shop. Roam the shop.
  • Ask lingering customers if they need help.
  • Ask if you could assist by keeping the item(s) at the register until they have finished shopping.
  • Be aware of ploys, diversions and teams of shoplifters.
  • Know where shoplifting is most likely to occur in your shop.
  • Display signs that “Shoplifters will be prosecuted.” Hospital gift shops must make the decision that shoplifters will be prosecuted. Then they must stick with that decision and train all volunteers and paid staff the procedure to follow when they spot a shoplifter.
  • Reverse apparel hangers to prevent “grab and run”.
  • Maintain an adequate number (two or more) of well-trained, alert cashiers to be on duty during each shift.
  • Provide regular training sessions on how to deter shoplifting.
  • Consider installing electronic detection equipment at the entrance if evidence of high theft occurs.
  • Invest in rotating cameras and monitors.
  • Install a panic button near the cash register that will alert security officers.
  • The hospital security department and gift shop leadership or management team must have a detailed plan of action clarifying how to proceed in the apprehension of shoplifters.
  • Imprint the shop’s name on the price stickers to ensure that returned merchandise came from your shop. The printed name also personalizes your shop to the customer. Use the break-away (perforated) price label. Break-away labels tear apart if price switching is attempted.

When shoplifting is suspected, it’s crucial for your volunteers and employees to know how to handle incidents. Never try to physically stop a shoplifter. Call security! Never directly accuse anyone of stealing. Call security, instead. Give the person a chance to pay for the item they “forgot” to pay for by asking, “Are you ready to pay for that?” or “Can I ring you up?” Cooperate fully with security and the prosecutor if/when the time comes.

Click to enlarge

NEXT ARTICLE: February 15, 2022

Shrinkage | PART 2: Preventing inventory shortages


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DECEMBER 2021 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #625
Did you miss last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions!

  • To our loyal readers
  • Do this the last 12 days of December
  • We are now on LinkedIN!
  • To-Dos for the first week in January
  • 12 last-minute tips to grow your holiday sales

  • Survey Results: Gift show travel budgets
  • TCMH gift shop reopens for staff, patient visitors
  • RESPONSES: Good scrub vendors or fundraisers
  • Tips for maximizing Atlanta market from past attendees
  • Calendar: Gift Markets and Regional Conferences

DISCUSSION


BOOK DISTRIBUTOR

Q. Can anyone recommend a book distributor that sells current best sellers? We have suppliers for other types of books like Harvest House and Harper Collins, but not for popular fiction. – Sabra Shields, Sanford USD Medical Center, Sioux Falls, SD. 450 beds. 12/8/21

Do you know a book distributor that sells the current best sellers?CLICK HERE TO COMMENT

Are book and magazine distributors are dwindling? Who do you use? Comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


SCRUB VENDOR

Q. I am looking for information on scrub sales. Are there any good scrub vendors or fundraisers? I would rather go through a wholesale company. Thank you! – Cathy Taschler, Marshfield Medical Center, Marshfield, WI. 319 beds. 10/16/21

I sent out a survey to all hospital employees and Cherokee won by a landslide! Black was the top color as well! – Jenny Turner, UH Portage Medical Center, Ravenna, OH. 300 beds. 11/22/21

We use Scrubs on Wheels out of Fort Wayne, Indiana. They give back 15% for on-site fundraisers. They order items for employees who need something outside of what they brought with them that ship free to the gift shop. It’s easy for us, because all we do is process the payroll deduction! – Kerri Clark, Community Hospital, Munster, IN. 498 beds. 11/16/21

I have a vendor, Alexander’s Uniforms, I use where I don’t have any stock in store. The customers order online and the items ship here to the shop where the customer, if an employee in the hospital, uses payroll deduction to pay. We get 20% and all we do is ring it up!! – Christine Parker, Kent Hospital, Warwick. 11/4/21

We do very well with Cherokee (Carismatic), Dickies and Med Couture. These allow us to cover a good range of price points and styles. – Lisa Garland, Woman’s Hospital, Baton Rouge, LA. 168 beds. 10/18/21

Q. To everyone that responded, do you purchase directly from Cherokee, Dickies, etc. or do you have a middle man supplier? If middle man supplier, please provide name. – Marla Baker, Atrium Health Floyd, Rome, GA. 304 beds. 12/19/21

Do you have a good scrub vendor?  Comment here


PANDEMIC UPDATE

How are you and your shop doing with the pandemic? How are sales? How are you!?

We’re actually doing very well. Our hospital employees were ready to shop and they felt very comfortable coming into the gift shop. I try and carry every need they might have so they’re very satisfied! Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! – Jenny Turner. 11/22/21

Sales are slow with employees. As patient families are allowed into the hospital our sales have increased significantly. – Lisa. 11/22/21

We are now on one year of having volunteers in the shop, but getting ready to have them out front. Time will tell if we are ahead of COVID or not. We fear we have lost 50% of them. The shop is doing ok but still 80% reliant on employees. We do lots of drawings for them. We use GemPay receipts; their name is already on there :) – Tricia Rochman, Pink Geranium Gift Shop, Carbondale Memorial Hospital, Carbondale, IL. 154 beds. 11/17/21

Our shop was closed for five months and reopened August 2020 with only myself and assistant working limited hours. We’re finally allowing volunteers to cashier but are still short of some coming back. Our sales are finally increasing and we are still doing our own floral as phone orders helped when visitors were not allowed. Looking for a much better Christmas and Valentines. – Karen Ferguson, Manager of St. David’s SAMC Auxiliary Gift Shop, Austin, TX. 334 beds. 11/16/21

We opened to allow our patients and staff the ability to shop M-F 10am to 2pm. Sales are definitely not where they were but it was expected. The difficulty we have now is that some of the vendors we had done business with cannot be reached. – Nancy Collins, New London Hospital, New London, NH. 24 beds. 11/16/21

We are slowly recovering…we are not opened on the weekends yet. Sales are bouncing back and outsiders are returning. Right now candles are really selling!! – Christine Parker, Kent Hospital, Warwick, RI. 359 beds. 11/4/21

We reopened in September 2020, to restricted hours 9 a.m.-1 p.m., our volunteers returned April 2021, so we are open most days from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Visitor restrictions went from no visitors, currently it is one visitor, have made a difference in customer count. Sales are down from 2019, by about $100 per day, viewing all the issues from merchandise complications, visitor restrictions, I think we are doing well. We have been to one Gift Show in Oct. 2021. – Mary Robinson, Gift Shop Coordinator, Mayo Clinic Health System, Mankato, MN. 10/29/21

Our Gift Shop has and continues to thrive since we reopened in July of 2020. Our employees find it a ‘place to take a break and breathe some fresh air of course with their masks on!’. We are very blessed and looking forward to a great Christmas season! – Alice Whisnant, Director, Volunteer Services, Caldwell UNC Health Care, Hickory, NC. 110 beds. 10/25/21

Our Shop has been closed since November, 2020. No sales at all since then. – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 10/18/21

Unfortunately, our gift shop was closed again in September due to increased COVID numbers in our area. We hope to reopen by November as we had just received our Christmas inventory. – Robin Truax, Gouverneur Hospital, Gouveneur, NY. 77 beds. 10/15/21

Struggling, we were a very new shop before Covid hit. I have kept it open myself and was able to allow volunteers to come back April 2021, however right now only two have come back so it is still mostly myself running the shop. That being said, we are not even back to full open hours yet, only open about 3-4 days per week. – Kasey B, Volunteer/Gift ShopCoordinator, Tomah Health, Tomah, WI. 29 beds. 10/2/21


PROMOTIONS


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annekoplikwholesale.com
info@annekoplik.com
800-542-3134

*Valid on orders $200+ through 3/31/2022.
Cannot be combined with any other offer.


SPONSOR

Open The Joy
Bring joy to your hospital…

Carefully crafted activity kits to bring joy and fun to children. Gifts for hospitalized kids like activity boxes, kits with items to decorate a hospital room, conversation starters and much more.

Feel Better Room Decor Kit | Feel Better Putty | The Feel Better Kit! | The Feel Better Bag! | The Feel Better Box! | Bordom Busters | Magic Activity Kit | STEAM Activity Kit | Origami Activity Kit

Featured on Good Morning America. Sold in Target, Nordstrom, Walmart, Amazon.

for Hospital Gift Shops | OpenTheJoy.com | Wholesale Catalog


SPONSOR

NodpodTM
#damngoodsleep

  • Weighted sleep masks for the exhausted doctors, nurses, and, frankly, just about anyone!
  • Lay softly across your head to apply gentle, evenly distributed pressure.
  • One side features a cooling jersey cotton which can be placed in the freezer, the other a warm microfiber.

Like a hug for the head.

Winner: Good Housekeeping’s 2021 Best Bedding Award
Featured in Oprah Magazine, Women’s Health Magazine, Rolling Stone. Sold in Crate&Barrel, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, Whole Foods, Barnes&Noble

hello@nodpod.com | 888-486-4224 | NodPod.com | Wholesale

My Garden of Flowers


SPONSOR

MY GARDEN OF FLOWERS
Miracles in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

This award-winning beautifully illustrated book, My Garden of Flowers: Miracles in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, by Dr. Manjeet Kaur is perfect for the hospital gift shop!

This invaluable resource for worried families gives parents knowledge and reassurance that their critically ill infants will typically grow to adulthood and lead normal, healthy lives.


SPONSOR

BRAVEHOODS
More than just a hoodie…

These inspirational shirts make great gifts for anyone needing a smile. For each shirt sold, one is donated to a kiddo fighting cancer. Sizing: 6 mo – 4XL

As an incentive, we are happy to donate the amount purchased to your pediatric oncology department.

Featured in Gift Shop and Wired Magazines

www.bravehoods.org
shanna@bravehoods.org


SPONSOR

BOOGIE TOES – AWARD WINNING BABY RATTLE SOCKS

The cutest baby socks on the planet are perfect for 3 early stages of baby’s development.

– Adorable rattle socks with plush toys.
– Rattling sound stimulates hand-eye-ear coordination.
– Busy moms can keep a tab on adventuring crawlers.
– Eco-friendly anti-slip sole for early walkers and runners.
– More than 80 styles to choose from!

844-548-3684
office@pieroliventi.com

SPECIAL DISCOUNTS for Cindy’s Newsletter readers:
www.pieroliventi.com/cindy-gift-shops (Pswrd: cindy2021)

Jose Madrid Salsa

SPONSOR

JOSE MADRID SALSA

Hand-crafted, All Natural,
Southwestern Style Gourmet Salsa

Assortment of 25 Delicious Flavors
Mild, Medium, Hot, X-Hot
Sweet, Savory, and Smooth

www.josemadridsalsa.com

For more information contact us at:
mike@josemadridsalsa.com
Phone: 740-521-4304
Samples available on request


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fully posable, officially licensed LEGO minifigure flashlight keychains are for LEGO fans of all ages.

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World’s most beloved brands, LEGO!

By Santoki, the exclusive US distributor of LEGO
Contact Nikki at nikki@santoki.com to order

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | December 15, 2021 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER
for Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers delivers practical, ready-to-implement content to gift shop managers, retailers, and volunteers across the country. We help our readership of over 3,000 retailers optimize shop operations, grow revenue, and connect with one another. The newsletter is published monthly and free since 2001.

Have you paid your dues this quarter?

The value and richness of this newsletter comes from your participation. Do your part by submitting two comments per quarter, at minimum. Reply to reader’s questions listed throughout the newsletter (in green) or simply share what is working or isn’t working in your shop, a great selling product, a helpful website or resource, an operating question, your biggest challenge right now, a terrific vendor you’ve come across recently, tips on managing volunteers, or tips on managing yourself!

LEAVE A COMMENT! Click the green comment tags throughout the newsletter, enter it in the comment section, or send to cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com.


DECEMBER 15, 2021

Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital, Dover, OH


To our loyal readers

Happy Holidays from my family to yours.

Wishing you the gifts of love, joy and smiles throughout the season and the new year. May your days be filled with everything and everyone you love.

Today is a good day to say THANK YOU!
Thank you for being a valued subscriber.
Thank you for telling others about my Newsletter.
Thank you for trusting me to deliver valuable content to you.
Thank you for clicking on the recommended links.
Thank you for all your wonderful comments and responses.
Thank you for being YOU!

Here’s wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah!! And, my warmest wishes to those celebrating Kwanzaa.

After Christmas, take a few days of well-deserved rest to prepare for another challenging year of retailing.
 
Cindy & Nicole



UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

JANUARY
Jan 1 – New Year’s Day
Jan 12 – Kiss a Ginger Day
Jan 17 – Martin Luther King Day
FEBRUARY
Feb 2 – Groundhog Day
Feb 4 – World Cancer Day
Feb 13 – Super Bowl Sunday
Feb 14 – Valentine’s Day
Feb 21 – President’s Day
Black History Month
MARCH
Mar 2 – Ash Wednesday
Mar 17 – St. Patrick’s Day
Mar 30 – Doctor’s Day

Click to expand image.

Do this the last 12 days of December

Send out an ‘email blast’ each morning to alert your hospital staff of the sale item for the day. Makes break time pretty exciting!!!  

Do things like, all snowmen one day, then all reindeer another, all items with green, all items with a tree, all ornaments, all mugs and drinking items. This makes hunting through the merchandise interesting and keeps hospital employees coming back. It also keeps buyers busy planning ahead and watching the merchandise very carefully.

Here is a great example email from Stanford Health Care gift shop. It was sent out December 1st and showcases 22 days of promotions. They even included an online Promotion Calendar.

Click to view the calendar on Stanford’s website.

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800-348-5545
www.mmhayes.com/giftshopPOS


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Follow us on LinkedIn for more FREE content!


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to publish the newsletter on LinkedIn,
bringing more ways to access it online!


Please follow us and THANKS!


To-Dos for the first week in January

First week in January, put all Christmas merchandise on sale at 40% off. Hallmark did a study and found customers did not purchase differently whether the discount is 40% versus 50% off on after Christmas sales. So, just do 40% off for the first week after Christmas, and then go down from there.

Make judgment calls on certain lines whether or not to discount further after the first week. Then pack leftovers away or donate. Try not to hold over any product. If it didn’t sell this year, chances are it won’t sell next year. However, you might hold over items that sold well but perhaps you were a little too optimistic in your ordering. 

Here are additional sale ideas to jump start your planning for the year!

📆
Plan Now
Relax Later

🎉 FIFTH FRIDAY $5 OFF SALE
Get out your 2022 calendar. Mark the months with five Fridays and hold a “FIFTH FRIDAY $5 OFF SALE”. Qualify it by taking $5 off any purchase totaling $25 or more. That way you are only giving a 20% discount at the most, but usually it is less than 20% off because they often spend more than the $25. It’s also a good incentive to add on to a sale that might only be $20 initially. It helps to have a ‘$ off’ button setup on your POS register which pro-rates the discount off each item purchased. If a customer returns just one item, the sale price is listed by item on the receipt. Remember to advertise this event over email to all hospital employees.

🎉 SPEND $13 & GET 13% OFF
Mark every Friday the 13th with a “SPEND $13 | GET 13% OFF ” sale.

ncr pos point of sale system

SPONSOR

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Take your gift shop to the next level!
Ask for a FREE copy of our “Hospital Gift Shops:
Tips for Success” booklet.

887-809-9980
www.i3pos.com


12 last-minute tips to grow your holiday sales

Pre- and post-holiday sales can be the difference between a profitable holiday season or a bust. Here are some tips to grow your holidays sales!

#1 Survival Tip: Keep it light. Keep it funny. Keep things in perspective.
  • As we get closer to Christmas, have separate tables with bundled items along with a card, last minute grab and go items that make it easy for people to buy.
  • Get them in the door! Make sure to send out a reminder on Friday talking about the last weekend of the year to save big.
  • Greet them at the counter. You want to minimize customer returns as much as possible so train your cashiers to always ask the customer if they would like to look around for exchange items first.
  • Give in. Don’t plant your feet and refuse to give a refund if a customer has a receipt – especially if they paid with a credit card. They will get their money back either in front of you with a smile or behind your back with a chargeback. It isn’t worth the aggravation – give them a refund if there is any way possible.
  • Greet customers when they come in, and again as they browse, to let them know what is on sale.
  • For one week only after Christmas, neatness does not count. You will get a different customer after Christmas – the customer who enjoys the hunt for a bargain. But, cleanliness counts throughout the rest of the year. There is no excuse for a sales floor that looks like a herd of elephants just ran through. Rotate staff to do a “clean sweep” of the floor every couple hours.
  • After a hectic December, shops often look tired and worn out. Pack away the old merchandise and bring out fresh new merchandise. Brighten up your shop!
  • Sell! Sell! Sell! If all your prep work was done in advance, nothing should stop you from being on the floor helping customers and selling merchandise.
  • Stock and restock!
  • Schedule additional staffing to work from 10am – 2pm to handle the increased business during the last busy weeks before Christmas.
  • Give lots of ‘pats on the back’, words of thanks and showings of gratitude to all the workers in the shop (volunteer and paid).
  • December 27, take a well-deserved rest. Soak your feet, read a good book and relax!

Survey Results: Gift show travel budgets

Does your budget include travel expenses to a major gift show in January? ✈️

Missed the survey? Submit your response


TCMH gift shop reopens for staff, patient visitors

Houston Herald / Dec 6, 2021

The welcoming aroma of coffee and a sweet treat of cookies greeted patrons at the Texas County Memorial Hospital Gift Shop last Wednesday. The occasion was its reopening since COVID-19 forced a closure in March 2020.

There is much to choose from, including floral arrangements, apparel, pillows, throws, coffee and cups, home décor, books, bags, jewelry and more. “It’s fantastic to be back,” said TCMH volunteer Doris Scheuer. “The gift shop has helped support the hospital auxiliary for the past 30 years. The auxiliary has contributed approximately $60,000 to different projects for the hospital, which were not in the hospital budget,” said Reese Bucher, president of the hospital auxiliary. Ammie Williams and daughter, Courtney Traw, of 2 Kinds of Krazy, a mobile boutique, provide and stock the inventory.

“Without their input, the re-open would have been difficult,” said Renina Pearce, executive assistant and volunteer services director at the hospital. Scheuer added, “And they make beautiful bouquets.”

The gift shop is open to employees and patient visitors; however it is still closed to the public. They do accept phone orders and a website will soon be available. The shop needs volunteers to help staff it from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

SOURCE: The Houston Herald

Texas County Memorial Hospital Gift Shop, Houston, MO

RESPONSES: Good scrub vendors or fundraisers

Q. I am looking for information on scrub sales. Are there any good scrub vendors or any good fundraisers? I would rather go through a wholesale company. Thank you! – Cathy Taschler, Marshfield Medical Center, Marshfield, WI. 319 beds. 10/16/21

I have a vendor, Alexander’s Uniforms, I use where I don’t have any stock in store. The customers order online and the items ship here to the shop where the customer, if an employee in the hospital, uses payroll deduction to pay. We get 20% and all we do is ring it up!! Christine Parker, Kent Hospital, Warwick. 11/4/21

We do very well with Cherokee (Carismatic), Dickies and Med Couture. These allow us to cover a good range of price points and styles. – Lisa Garland, Woman’s Hospital, Baton Rouge, LA. 168 beds. 10/18/21

I sent out a survey to all hospital employees and Cherokee won by a landslide! Black was the top color as well! – Jenny Turner, UH Portage Medical Center, Ravenna, OH. 300 beds. 11/22/21

We use Scrubs on Wheels out of Fort Wayne, Indiana. They give back 15% for on-site fundraisers. They order items for employees who need something outside of what they brought with them that ship free to the gift shop. It’s easy for us, because all we do is process the payroll deduction! – Kerri Clark, Community Hospital, Munster, IN. 498 beds. 11/16/21

Do you have a good scrub vendor?  Comment here.


Tips for maximizing Atlanta market from past attendees

Smart Retailer

Travel takes time and money, so when you visit Atlanta Market, you need to maximize that investment. We’ve compiled the best advice we can find, starting with what AmericasMart says. Here is a summary of the best tips assembled in two different articles.

1. Use the Market Magazine’s floor plans, feature stories and advertising to plan your trip. In summary, here are three links you need:

2. Start building relationships 

  • Remember that you are the purchasing agent for your customer and not the selling agent for the manufacturer. Keep your consumer in mind.

3. Make writing orders your first order of business

  • Don’t forget to do the retail conversion: sales in your store are always at retail prices. Always remember to “think retail.”
  • Most importantly, follow the steadfast rule: buy what sells… not sell what you buy. Keep your consumer in mind.

4. Pack smart

  • Your business cards and registration details.
  • A calculator.
  • A simple appointment schedule.
  • All credit information, including the name of your bank and financial trade references.
  • Your resale business license or local sales tax number.
  • A schedule of desired product delivery dates.
  • Comfortable shoes to wear while walking the showrooms.
“If you have a trusted business partner, divide and conquer. The market is huge, and you’ll need a detailed plan of action to accomplish your goals. Also, download the market app on your phone to make it easier.” – Maggie Hanus, A Wild Soap Bar“Have a buying plan, often called an open to buy. Know how much you plan to buy at wholesale by category. Do not overspend. Have a list of vendors and lines by category. Walk the first day and take notes. Try to stay in the section that has the categories that you carry.” – James Nola, Maggie Lane
“Pre-shop showrooms prior to placing orders. It’s the key to building complete statements between multiple vendors. Preselecting what you want also makes it much easier for both you and your sales rep when you return to place your order.” – Richard Hahn, The 800 Shop, Northwest Community Hospital“Book early. The cheapest and the best hotel deals are > here. Never stay south toward the airport or at the airport and plan to take the MARTA. It’s not safe unless you are always in a large group. Find your rep in each showroom. They can tell you what sells best in your area and who else close by may have that product.” – Setys Kelly, Copper Willow Gifts
“Avoid driving in Atlanta if possible. The shuttle service to and from the Mart is a great perk as well. Uber costs less than a taxi. It’s important to book way ahead for the best rates.” – Barb Miller, Interior Expressions by Design“However long you think you want to be at AmericasMart, add on one day or even two. You’ll be happy you did once you return back to your store.” – Gina Lempa, Gina Lempa & Associates
“Have a rolling bag to put catalogs, handouts, and a bottle of water in. Wear comfortable clothes and sneakers. This is not a fashion show; it is a test of endurance.” – Thelma Hamilton, Thelma L. Hamilton Designs“Study the building maps, review the category layouts, and map out your agenda by building. Download and use the app. It will help you do your work prior to arrival.” – Annette Conwell, Annettes Emporium

SOURCE: Smart Retailer


How are you and your shop doing post pandemic? How are sales? How are you!?

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡

We’re actually doing very well. Our hospital employees were ready to shop and they felt very comfortable coming into the gift shop. I try and carry every need they might have so they’re very satisfied! Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! – Jenny Turner. 11/22/21

Sales are slow with employees. As patient families are allowed into the hospital our sales have increased significantly. – Lisa. 11/22/21

We are now on one year of having volunteers in the shop, but getting ready to have them out front. Time will tell if we are ahead of COVID or not. We fear we have lost 50% of them. The shop is doing ok but still 80% reliant on employees. We do lots of drawings for them. We use GemPay receipts; their name is already on there :) – Tricia Rochman, Pink Geranium Gift Shop, Carbondale Memorial Hospital, Carbondale, IL. 154 beds. 11/17/21

Our shop was closed for five months and reopened August 2020 with only myself and assistant working limited hours. We’re finally allowing volunteers to cashier but are still short of some coming back. Our sales are finally increasing and we are still doing our own floral as phone orders helped when visitors were not allowed. Looking for a much better Christmas and Valentines. – Karen Ferguson, Manager of St. David’s SAMC Auxiliary Gift Shop, Austin, TX. 334 beds. 11/16/21

We opened to allow our patients and staff the ability to shop M-F 10am to 2pm. Sales are definitely not where they were but it was expected. The difficulty we have now is that some of the vendors we had done business with cannot be reached. – Nancy Collins, New London Hospital, New London, NH. 24 beds. 11/16/21

We are slowly recovering…we are not opened on the weekends yet. Sales are bouncing back and outsiders are returning. Right now candles are really selling!! – Christine Parker, Kent Hospital, Warwick, RI. 359 beds. 11/4/21

We reopened in September 2020, to restricted hours 9 a.m.-1 p.m., our volunteers returned April 2021, so we are open most days from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Visitor restrictions went from no visitors, currently it is one visitor, have made a difference in customer count. Sales are down from 2019, by about $100 per day, viewing all the issues from merchandise complications, visitor restrictions, I think we are doing well. We have been to one Gift Show in Oct. 2021. – Mary Robinson, Gift Shop Coordinator, Mayo Clinic Health System, Mankato, MN. 10/29/21

Our Gift Shop has and continues to thrive since we reopened in July of 2020. Our employees find it a ‘place to take a break and breathe some fresh air of course with their masks on!’. We are very blessed and looking forward to a great Christmas season! – Alice Whisnant, Director, Volunteer Services, Caldwell UNC Health Care, Hickory, NC. 110 beds. 10/25/21

Our Shop has been closed since November, 2020. No sales at all since then. – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 10/18/21

Unfortunately, our gift shop was closed again in September due to increased COVID numbers in our area. We hope to reopen by November as we had just received our Christmas inventory. – Robin Truax, Gouverneur Hospital, Gouveneur, NY. 77 beds. 10/15/21

Struggling, we were a very new shop before Covid hit. I have kept it open myself and was able to allow volunteers to come back April 2021, however right now only two have come back so it is still mostly myself running the shop. That being said, we are not even back to full open hours yet, only open about 3-4 days per week. – Kasey B, Volunteer/Gift ShopCoordinator, Tomah Health, Tomah, WI. 29 beds. 10/2/21


Aultman Health, Canton, OH



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See all the snoozies!®Sherpa sock collections at snoozies.com

Call our in house specialist at 252-650-7000 ext 206


NOVEMBER 2021 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #624
Did you miss last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions!

  • Be prepared for the holiday onslaught
  • Record retail sales predicted for holidays
  • MHS Caring Hearts Gift Shop reaches sales goal
  • Truly creative holiday displays. Truly!
  • SURVEY: Does your budget include travel expenses to a major gift show in January?
  • Anti-anxiety toys are high on Christmas lists this year

  • Q: What are some good scrub vendors?
  • Retailers dial back this year’s holiday promos
  • The ideal hospital gift shop manager, according to management
  • Top 6 hospital gift shop Facebook pages
  • Calendar: Gift Markets and Regional Conferences

PROMOTION


Anne Koplik Jewelry


SPONSOR

Anne Koplik Designs Jewelry

American artisans making heirloom quality jewelry with 💜 ,
enamel and brilliant crystals since 1981.

Jewelry made with lead/nickel-free metal.

10% OFF your first purchase with code SHINE10

annekoplikwholesale.com
info@annekoplik.com
800-542-3134

*Valid on orders $200+ through 3/31/2022.
Cannot be combined with any other offer.


SPONSOR

Open The Joy
Bring joy to your hospital….

Carefully crafted activity kits to bring joy and fun to children. Gifts for hospitalized kids like activity boxes, kits with items to decorate a hospital room, conversation starters and much more.

Feel Better Room Decor Kit
Feel Better Putty
The Feel Better Kit!
The Feel Better Bag!
The Feel Better Box!
Bordom Busters
Magic Activity Kit
STEAM Activity Kit
Origami Activity Kit
I’m A Fighter Cape

Featured on Good Morning America. Sold in Target, Nordstrom, Walmart, Amazon.

for Hospital Gift Shops
OpenTheJoy.com
Wholesale Online Catalog
timmy@openthejoy.com

My Garden of Flowers


SPONSOR

MY GARDEN OF FLOWERS
Miracles in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

This award-winning beautifully illustrated book, My Garden of Flowers: Miracles in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, by Dr. Manjeet Kaur is perfect for the hospital gift shop!

This invaluable resource for worried families gives parents knowledge and reassurance that their critically ill infants will typically grow to adulthood and lead normal, healthy lives.


SPONSOR

NodpodTM
#damngoodsleep

Weighted sleep masks for the exhausted doctors, nurses, and, frankly, just about anyone!

Lay softly across your head to apply gentle, evenly distributed pressure.

One side features a cooling jersey cotton which can be placed in the freezer, the other a warm microfiber.

Like a hug for the head.

Winner: Good Housekeeping’s 2021 Best Bedding Award
Featured in Oprah Magazine, Women’s Health Magazine, Rolling Stone
Sold in Crate&Barrel, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, Whole Foods, Barnes&Noble


hello@nodpod.com
888-486-4224

NodPod.com
Wholesale


SPONSOR

BRAVEHOODS
More than just a hoodie…

These inspirational shirts make great gifts for anyone needing a smile. For each shirt sold, one is donated to a kiddo fighting cancer. Sizing: 6 mo – 4XL

As an incentive, we are happy to donate the amount purchased to your pediatric oncology department.

Featured in Gift Shop and Wired Magazines

www.bravehoods.org
shanna@bravehoods.org


SPONSOR

BOOGIE TOES – AWARD WINNING BABY RATTLE SOCKS

The cutest baby socks on the planet are perfect for 3 early stages of baby’s development.

– Adorable rattle socks with plush toys.
– Rattling sound stimulates hand-eye-ear coordination.
– Busy moms can keep a tab on adventuring crawlers.
– Eco-friendly anti-slip sole for early walkers and runners.
– More than 80 styles to choose from!

844-548-3684
office@pieroliventi.com

SPECIAL DISCOUNTS for Cindy’s Newsletter readers:
www.pieroliventi.com/cindy-gift-shops (Pswrd: cindy2021)

Jose Madrid Salsa

SPONSOR

JOSE MADRID SALSA

Hand-crafted, All Natural,
Southwestern Style Gourmet Salsa

Assortment of 25 Delicious Flavors
Mild, Medium, Hot, X-Hot
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Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | November 15, 2021 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER
for Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers delivers practical, ready-to-implement content to gift shop managers, retailers, and volunteers across the country. We help our readership of over 3,000 retailers optimize shop operations, grow revenue, and connect with one another. The newsletter is published monthly and free since 2001.

Have you paid your dues this quarter?

The value and richness of this newsletter comes from your participation. Do your part by submitting two comments per quarter, at minimum. Reply to reader’s questions listed throughout the newsletter (in green) or simply share what is working or isn’t working in your shop, a great selling product, a helpful website or resource, an operating question, your biggest challenge right now, a terrific vendor you’ve come across recently, tips on managing volunteers, or tips on managing yourself!

LEAVE A COMMENT! Click the green comment tags throughout the newsletter, enter it in the comment section, or send to cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com.


NOVEMBER 15, 2021


Be prepared for the holiday onslaught

With Thanksgiving and Christmas occurring in rapid succession, savvy hospital gift shop managers must take steps now to prepare for an onslaught of business. They must have the agility to shift directions quickly and seamlessly as one holiday morphs into the next. 

Flexibility is the key. Boxing heavyweight champion Mike Tyson could not have put it better: “Everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth.” No matter how meticulous your plan, be ready to shift gears at a moment’s notice. How quickly can you respond to a rush on an unexpectedly hot item? 

Recognize your mistakes early and take quick and immediate action. Remember the first markdown is the best markdown. Keep marking it down until it is out of the shop!   

Spend as much time on the sales floor as humanly possible. Set an example in greeting people that come in the store. Set an example with your salesmanship and customer service. 

Do you know which item(s) are expected to fly off the shelves and be in high demand? Experience and past reports will help indicate which products are traditionally in high demand. But be warned that even the most tried-and-true products have a lifecycle and their popularity will eventually wane. 

What’s the next big thing? What is this year’s hot new item? 

What level of demand is projected? If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to get this information and stock up. 

Create back-up plans for everything. Cross-train of your volunteers and staff so that operations will continue to run seamlessly in the face of an unexpected absence. This includes you. Make sure that you can perform all the duties yourself and that someone is capable of handling your duties as well.

Reconfiguration your floor space to maximize room for popular items to be  in the best locations.

Avoid carrying over anything from one season to the next!  It will not be worth as much next year! 

Buy Easter plush now. Include an over-sizedEaster bunny for a drawing just before Easter. (Remember that you have to register raffles with the state and they can cause tax issues).

Ensure that all Valentine merchandise has been ordered.



UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

November
Nov 11 – Veterans Day
Nov 25 – Thanksgiving
Nov 26 – Black Friday
Nov 28 – Hanukkah Begins
Nov 29 – Cyber Monday
December
Dec 4 – National Sock Day
Dec 6 – Hanukkah Ends
Dec 25 – Christmas
Dec 31 – New Year’s Eve
JANUARY
Jan 1 – New Year’s Day
Jan 12 – Kiss a Ginger Day
Jan 17 – Martin Luther King Day
FEBRUARY
Feb 2 – Groundhog Day
Feb 4 – World Cancer Day
Feb 13 – Super Bowl Sunday
Feb 14 – Valentine’s Day
Feb 21 – President’s Day
Black History Month

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Record retail sales predicted for holidays

NRF Predicts Highest Holiday Retail Sales on Record
WASHINGTON, October 27, 2021 – Holiday spending has the potential to shatter previous records, as the National Retail Federation forecast that holiday sales during November and December will grow between 8.5% to 10.5% over 2020 to between $843.4 billion and $859 billion. The numbers, which exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants, compare with a previous high of 8.2% in 2020 to $777.3 billion and an average increase of 4.4% over the past five years.

SOURCE: National Retail Federation

Deloitte: Holiday Retail Sales Expected to Increase 7-9%
NEW YORK, Sept. 14, 2021 – Holiday retail sales are likely to increase between 7% and 9% in 2021, according to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast. Overall, Deloitte’s retail and distribution practice projects that holiday sales will total $1.28 to $1.3 trillion during the November to January timeframe. Deloitte also forecasts that e-commerce sales will grow by 11-15%, year-over-year, during the 2021-2022 holiday season. This will likely result in e-commerce holiday sales reaching between $210 billion and $218 billion this season.

SOURCE: Deloitte

 


MHS Caring Hearts Gift Shop reaches sales goal

Abilene Reflector Chronicle / Nov 9, 2021

Caring Hearts Gift Shop, located in the lobby of Memorial Hospital [25 beds] in Abilene, MO, achieved its goal of reaching $4,500 in sales for the month of October. It surpassed the goal by reaching an amount of $5,535.06. This was the gift shop’s highest month of sales for 2021.

Leading the charge was McKenzie Funston, Volunteer Services Director and her volunteers. The gift shop offered weekly sales that helped bring business in. “The second Tuesday of every month, we have a sheet sale offering 20% off. For the month of October we sold over $1,000 dollars in sheets,” Funston said. There was also a Light-Up sale where they offered 20% off everything in the store that lit up.

Funston said the goal was born from a need to make room in her storage closet. “After starting as the Volunteer Services Director, I spent the first few months getting to know the customers and their wants and needs during the day. I had inventory that I wanted to move to make room for new items, and so I decided it would be exciting and challenging to set a sales goal for the month of October and watch the dollar amount rise. I was able to see what customers liked and what other items would be great to have in the shop.”

To help reach their $4,500 sales goal, Funston and her volunteers promised buyers that Christmas items would be put on the shelves starting November 1 if it were reached. To keep the enthusiasm going, Funston placed a Christmas tree on the gift shop door where all could see; as the sales grew, the tree was colored in. Customers found themselves participating in the fun to reach the goal and see the tree colored in.

“Around the first of November you start seeing Christmas décor out in stores, and people are in the mood to make a few purchases to start decorating their homes or use for gifts too!” After talking with other gift shop managers and listening to their advice, Funston knew that the incentive to put Christmas items out would help the gift shop meet their sales goal.

When asked how crazy the month of October was, Funston said, “Busy and exciting would be my choice to describe October in the gift shop. I had many new and returning customers in. It was nice to see so much activity in the shop as well as an opportunity to meet many people in our community. I was able to evaluate the items and make some decisions on additions to our inventory.”

Although the month was crazy busy for Funston and her volunteers, she commented, “Reaching a goal is always very satisfying, but overall I was proud of what we accomplished and I’m excited to try new things to continue the growth of our Caring Hearts Gift shop.”

SOURCE: Abilene Reflector Chronicle

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Truly creative holiday displays. Truly.

Unique, clever, and humorous displays are powerful ways to draw shoppers in. They evoke emotion and entertain, which is marketing gold. We love these ideas! Many of them are DIY and cost little to make. We’ve included links to how-to guides below, when available.

Don’t go boring, typical, been-there-done-that-decor and displays this season. Pandemic-weary shoppers are prone and ready to soak up the “shopping experience”. Capitalize on this moment and wow them!

Click to enlarge


SURVEY: Does your budget include travel expenses to a major gift show in January?

Does your budget include travel expenses to a major gift show in January? ✈️

(Atlanta, Dallas, Las Vegas, New York)


Anti-anxiety toys are high on Christmas lists this year

Anti-anxiety toys are high on Christmas lists this year. Toys that are focused on emotional and social development have been big sellers during the pandemic and the trend appears to be remaining strong heading into the holidays.

“Right now the focus is on products that can help kids express their feelings, name their feelings and react appropriately,” said Sari Winick, chief marketing officer for hand2mind. “We’ve gone into overdrive developing toys to meet the needs of the times.”  

Big Feelings Pineapple by Hand2mind 

TeeTurtle reversible plushies 

Pawz the Calming Pup

Breathe With Me Barbie by Mattel

Pop It!

SOURCE: The Washington Post 


Q: What are some good scrub vendors or fundraisers?

Q. I am looking for information on scrub sales. Are there any good scrub vendors or any good fundraisers? I would rather go through a wholesale company.
Thank you! – Cathy Taschler, Marshfield Medical Center, Marshfield, WI. 319 beds. 10/16/21

I have a vendor, Alexander’s Uniforms, I use where I don’t have any stock in store. The customers order online and the items ship here to the shop where the customer, if an employee in the hospital, uses payroll deduction to pay. We get 20% and all we do is ring it up!! Christine Parker, Kent Hospital, Warwick. 11/4/21

We do very well with Cherokee (Carismatic), Dickies and Med Couture. These allow us to cover a good range of price points and styles. – Lisa Garland, Woman’s Hospital, Baton Rouge, LA. 168 beds. 10/18/21

Who is a good scrub vendor?

Which SCRUB VENDOR do you use? What is good about the vendor? Are the prices high or low?

Scrubs of thanks!

Retailers dial back this year’s holiday promos

Retailers are reducing the number of promotions they run and the depth of their discounts in response to inflation, tight supply chains and a desire to rebuild profits previously lost during the pandemic.

Katrina O’Connell, Gap Inc.’s chief financial officer, said, “We’re already quite pleased with the fact that we’ve been able to really pull back on discounting in all of our brands.” 

SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal

<span style=”font-size: revert; color: initial; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, "Segoe UI", Roboto, Oxygen-Sans, Ubuntu, Cantarell, "Helvetica Neue", sans-serif;”>How are you and your shop doing post pandemic? How are sales?</span>

How are you and your shop doing post pandemic? How are sales? Are any shops still closed? Leave a comment. Share a story.

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡

We are slowly recovering…we are not opened on the weekends yet. Sales are bouncing back and outsiders are returning. Right now candles are really selling!! – Christine Parker, Kent Hospital, Warwick, RI. 359 beds. 11/4/21

We reopened in September 2020, to restricted hours 9 a.m.-1 p.m., our volunteers returned April 2021, so we are open most days from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Visitor restrictions went from no visitors, currently it is one visitor, have made a difference in customer count. Sales are down from 2019, by about $100 per day, viewing all the issues from merchandise complications, visitor restrictions, I think we are doing well. We have been to one Gift Show in Oct. 2021. – Mary Robinson, Gift Shop Coordinator, Mayo Clinic Health System, Mankato, MN. 10/29/21

Our Gift Shop has and continues to thrive since we reopened in July of 2020. Our employees find it a ‘place to take a break and breathe some fresh air of course with their masks on!’. We are very blessed and looking forward to a great Christmas season! – Alice Whisnant, Director, Volunteer Services, Caldwell UNC Health Care, Hickory, NC. 110 beds. 10/25/21

Our Shop has been closed since November, 2020. No sales at all since then. – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 10/18/21

Unfortunately, our gift shop was closed again in September due to increased COVID numbers in our area. We hope to reopen by November as we had just received our Christmas inventory. – Robin Truax, Gouverneur Hospital, Gouveneur, NY, 77 beds. 10/15/21

Struggling, we were a very new shop before Covid hit. I have kept it open myself and was able to allow volunteers to come back April 2021, however right now only two have come back so it is still mostly myself running the shop. That being said, we are not even back to full open hours yet, only open about 3-4 days per week. – Kasey B, Volunteer/Gift ShopCoordinator, Tomah Health, Tomah, WI. 29 beds. 10/2/21


The ideal hospital gift shop manager, according to management

FROM CINDY

I used to ask my audiences at hospital gift shop management seminars to describe the ideal hospital gift shop manager.

Here is what they said:

The ideal manager is service oriented, cheerful, self-motivated, open to new ideas, energetic, organized, responsible and forward thinking. They are risk-takers, good trainers, visionaries, delegators, sensitive, supportive and patient. They are proactive, change agents, bridge builders, financial wizards, Mother Teresas and they possess a keen sense of humor.


Top 6 hospital gift shop facebook pages!

Check out these terrific hospital gift shop Facebook pages! We’ve selected a few of the top pages using best practices for gaining followers and showcasing merchandise.

Nearly 80% of your customers will have a social media account on either Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. shop. Get your shop online and get on their feed so you’re “pushing” product to them on a regular basis.

Sprout Gift Co. at Pattison Children’s Hospital

Thomas Hospital Gift Shop

May Clinic Gift Shop

Heart Strings Gift Shop, Princeton Community Hospital (7,927 followers!)

Stanford Health Care Gift Shop

University of Michigan Health System Gift Shop

Honorable mention: Carris Health Gift Gallery, Rice Memorial Hospital

It goes without saying that the majority of your posts should showcase your merchandise. Just like highway billboards, you have 1-2 seconds of the viewer attention. Sometimes even less on social media, as they scroll feeds. Follow these general guidelines:

  1. Be concise. Use short, direct sentences. Include pertinent information only. (Remember, billboard)
  2. Don’t go overboard with emojis. Use no more than 2-3 in a post.
  3. Be creative, clever and even humorous.
  4. Convey excitement and energy, but don’t go overboard and look unprofessional, like this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  5. Posts should grab viewer’s attention, create interest and, hopefully, translate into action.
  6. Always use proper grammar and correct spelling. Triple check. Nothing will detract customers more quickly, especially your highly-educated patrons like MDs and PhDs!

Here is a fantastic video of the hospital’s President welcoming shoppers and showing their products:

Learn how to take professional-grade photos of your merchandise to post on social media. See how to make animated “scroll-stopping” videos of your products.



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Hot Tip!

Earn frequent flyer miles for air travel to gift markets by charging merchandise purchases, at wholesale, to the shop’s credit card. 


OCTOBER 2021 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #623
Did you miss last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions!

  • How to create animated product videos + Free template!
  • All that you are to your hospital
  • When should holiday merchandise be displayed?
  • Do this one thing everyday before opening your shop
  • Is it time to renovate: Sample request letter

  • RESPONSES: Do you use HospitalGiftShop for your online store?
  • Reopening after the pandemic: One shop’s story
  • Post-holiday inventory: stock up now
  • Shop Sign: 12 Days of Savings. Free Download
  • Calendar: Gift Markets and Regional Conferences

DISCUSSION


VACCINATION CARD HOLDERS

I just ran across vaccination card holder/protectors, and it made me wonder if anyone has tried them and how they sell for you? – Jamie Lee Hernandez, St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings, MT. 289 beds. 7/15/21

Yes, we currently offer a vaccination card holder. – Tana Taylor. 8/22/21

I’ve wondered the same; it seems as though no one is requiring the card to be seen for any purpose, so I’m not sure that consumers would see a reason to carry a holder. – Lauren. 8/20/21 

No, we are not, but what a great idea! Who is the vendor? – Nancy Collins, Volunteer Services Manager, London Hospital, New London, NH. 8/18/21

Hi Nancy, I noticed them on Faire.com. – Jamie Lee Hernandez, St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings, MT. 289 beds. 7/15/21

We have been selling a clear inexpensive holder from Specialist ID. – Greg Holtgrewe, Baptist Health Paducah, Paducah, KY. 300 beds. 8/17/21


POST-PANDEMIC

How are you and your shop doing post pandemic?

We are slowly recovering…we are not opened on the weekends yet. Sales are bouncing back and outsiders are returning. Right now candles are really selling!! – Christine Parker, Kent Hospital, Warwick, RI. 359 beds. 11/4/21

We reopened in September 2020, to restricted hours 9 a.m.-1 p.m., our volunteers returned April 2021, so we are open most days from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Visitor restrictions went from no visitors, currently it is one visitor, have made a difference in customer count. Sales are down from 2019, by about $100 per day, viewing all the issues from merchandise complications, visitor restrictions, I think we are doing well. We have been to one Gift Show in Oct. 2021. – Mary Robinson, Gift Shop Coordinator, Mayo Clinic Health System, Mankato, MN. 10/29/21

Our Gift Shop has and continues to thrive since we reopened in July of 2020. Our employees find it a ‘place to take a break and breathe some fresh air of course with their masks on!’. We are very blessed and looking forward to a great Christmas season! – Alice Whisnant, Director, Volunteer Services, Caldwell UNC Health Care, Hickory, NC. 110 beds. 10/25/21

Our Shop has been closed since November, 2020. No sales at all since then. – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 10/18/21

Unfortunately, our gift shop was closed again in September due to increased COVID numbers in our area. We hope to reopen by November as we had just received our Christmas inventory. – Robin Truax, Gouverneur Hospital, Gouveneur, NY, 77 beds. 10/15/21

Struggling, we were a very new shop before Covid hit. I have kept it open myself and was able to allow volunteers to come back April 2021, however right now only two have come back so it is still mostly myself running the shop. That being said, we are not even back to full open hours yet, only open about 3-4 days per week. – Kasey B, Volunteer/Gift ShopCoordinator, Tomah Health, Tomah, WI. 29 beds. 10/2/21


POST-COVID MARKUP

Wondering what your markup is on items right now? We have been limited to mostly our hospital staff as shoppers and are noticing a decline in sales. Thank you! – Gina Richmond, Sunshine Gift Shop Unity Point Hospital, Dubuque, IA. 126 beds. 8/10/21

I manage the flower shop in a hospital gift shop. I am a certified florist and used to work at a traditional flower shop. I saw that the markup for flowers is recommended 30%-35%. I personally think that is low if the arrangements are designed in-house. Flower shops mark up flowers x3 and hard goods (containers) at least keystone and then add another 30%-40% for the labor. If an order is placed at a flower shop and delivered to the hospital there is a delivery charge of $5-$10 per arrangement not per stop. We operate under the hospital’s umbrella and don’t charge tax. Free delivery and no tax are our selling points. We do well with flowers sales. I worked in a traditional shop for quite some time but I’m sure the mark-up and delivery have not deceased. I keystone everything at a minimum. As a paid staff member, if I am the one designing and not a volunteer I add a few $ for labor. – Noelle Boardman, St. Luke’s Floral & Gifts, Cedar Rapids. 300 beds. 9/21/21

Cost + shipping x 2 across the board, excluding candy that is not specialty. If purchasing a discounted item or receiving a discount, the regular price is factored in and then the price is doubled. – Jamie Lee Hernandez, The Gift Corner/Loose Ends, Billings. 289 beds. 9/10/21

I have been doing the same markup as I did pre-COVID (x2). There are some items that I am able to mark up more (x 2.4 or more) depending on if I purchased them on sale or if they are just an inexpensive wholesale item that is great quality that I can markup for. With the added surcharges and increased wholesale prices across the board I am leaning towards a x 2.3 markup in the near future. – Sarah Ryan, Rutland Regional Medical Center, Rutland, VT 9/7/21

Glad to hear that, Sarah. Be sure to include shipping charges into the retail. – Cindy, Cindy Jones Associates

We are a small critical access hospital in Northwest Wisconsin. Due to the population we serve, I cannot always do the 2.3% markup on items in our gift shop, The Corner Boutique. I try, but am always mindful of the price point, yet there are times I can price an item higher because of the purchase price (on sale) and quality. It truly is a game of chance! Thank you everyone for sharing. – Ann Bergmann, Cumberland Healthcare, Cumberland, WI. 25 beds. 8/30/21

The gift shop I manage is located in a rural area where almost 50% of our population is Amish (LaGrange, Indiana). I typically cannot get away with marking up more than x2 and sometimes it’s less than that depending on the wholesale cost. – Christina Blaskie, Parkview LaGrange Hospital, LaGrange, IN. 8/23/21

We are using the same calculation we did pre-COVID. Mark up of 50% then the cost of shipping and handling. – Nancy Collins, New London Hospital, New London, NH. 8/18/21

Cost x 2.5 to 2.6 on most items. Candy/snacks are around 35%. – Angela Quinn, UNC Lenoir Health Care, Kinston, NC. 8/17/21

Except for candy & flowers our current markup is minimum 2.5. – Kerri Clark, Community Hospital, Munster, IN. 8/17/21

I haven’t changed my pricing post-COVID. I have kept it the same. I will however up my pricing for Christmas only because I feel like Christmas decorations are going to sell fast and customers are not going to mind the prices going up a little because prices are up for everything. – Lauri Huffman, Indiana University Health. 8/17/21

Good thinking Lorrie. As a past department store buyer for May/Macy’s, I can say that asking yourself “What would my customer be willing to pay” is very important. Value, uniqueness, quality will guide you to price. But my feeling is that if it is not food or flowers, you should never, ever only double the price of your products. When you DO have to mark items down, take a very close look at the product you are marking down and honestly ask yourself, why didn’t it sell? Was it color or quality, size, or value or did it come in too late in the season or was it poorly displayed or maybe, it just wasn’t for your customer base? What can you learn from a “markdown”? Trust me, it will be a good learning tool for future buys when a vendor says, “Everyone is selling this”. – Anne Obarski, Merchandise Concepts, Mt. Pleasant, MI. 8/17/21

I usually stick to about a 2.4 markup. A little less if I got a free freight special and sometimes I go up a little more. – Juli Chrisman, WPR Cancer Institute, Little Rock, AR. 8/17/21

Ours is normally 2.5 but with the rise in shipping and surcharges we have recently been going up a little more if the product can validate the price. – Cheryl, Novant Health, Charlotte, NC, 637 beds. 8/17/21

We double the cost plus shipping. – Robin Truax, Gouverneur Hospital, Gouveneur, NY, 77 beds. 8/17/21

65-70%  – Margaret Legut, Elmhurst Hospital, Elmhurst, IL. 259 bed/ 9/16/21

FROM CINDY

Gina, markups should remain the same! Do not change your markups! Once COVID is gone and life and retailing get back to normal, you will want to go back to your usual markups and pricing standards, but then your customers will walk out saying ‘everything is overpriced in the gift shop’!

If you are not taking at least a keystone markup (50% above wholesale) plus shipping on most of your merchandise, it is unlikely that your shop is profitable. Hospital gift shops cannot make a profit on an initial 2x times mark on plus shipping. After mark downs, the gross margin is reduced even more. Profitability is based on many things but one of the most important is markup.

Instead, look for hidden opportunities to earn a little extra profit. Consider buying merchandise at closeout or negotiating discounts on your purchases. Some items will need to be marked down because they are slow sellers. However, discounting everything, such as a “20% off everything” sale, is not recommended. Keep in mind, a mark down is the most important tool a retailer has to move a mistake out the door. We all make buying mistakes. It happens with the best buyers! Buying a bad style, wrong colors, wrong sizes, wrong timing, too many, bad fit, etc. Just don’t fret, recognize mistakes early and mark down immediately!

STANDARD MARKUPS BY CATEGORY

GIFTS, TOYS, APPAREL, CARDS, PLUSH, BABY, ACCESSORIESCANDY, SUNDRIES
Double price + 6-10% for shipping 
🎯 Formula: cost x 2.5 or more
30-33% markup
🎯 Formula: cost x 1.4 or more
**Higher for specialty candy
JEWELRYFLOWERS
60-70% markup
🎯 Formula: cost x 2.4 or more
**Most jewelry comes pre-priced.
33-35% markup
🎯 Formula: cost x 1.5 or more

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Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | October 15, 2021 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER
for Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers delivers practical, ready-to-implement content to gift shop managers, retailers, and volunteers across the country. We help our readership of over 3,000 retailers optimize shop operations, grow revenue, and connect with one another. The newsletter is published monthly and free since 2001.

Have you paid your dues this quarter?

The value and richness of this newsletter comes from your participation. Do your part by submitting two comments per quarter, at minimum. Reply to reader’s questions listed throughout the newsletter (in green) or simply share what is working or isn’t working in your shop, a great selling product, a helpful website or resource, an operating question, your biggest challenge right now, a terrific vendor you’ve come across recently, tips on managing volunteers, or tips on managing yourself!

LEAVE A COMMENT! Click the green comment tags throughout the newsletter, enter it in the comment section, or send to cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com.


OCTOBER 15, 2021


How to create animated product videos + free template

In this guide, we’ll show you a simple way (yes, simple) to create a social media post similar to this one by Sprout Gift Co. Using our free template, you’ll simply drag-n-drop your own merchandise image into the animation, instead of starting from scratch!

Click to start animation

There is a common expression in marketing: “You can’t buy a product that you don’t know exists”. It makes a brutally logical, straightforward case for marketing. So, if you aren’t regularly promoting your shop’s merchandise over social media, email, or website, we encourage you to start now. Even more since the ability to create eye-catching, professional content is incredibly easy with Canva, no design skills required. Yes, it’s actually that powerful! This stop-motion style animation makes for a great social media post.

Thank you to Sprout Gift Shop at Jim Pattison Hospital who created this post for their Twelve Days of Christmas sale (see template signage below). It was the inspiration for this tutorial. View the post directly in Facebook.

Canva’s intuitive interface, template selection, and built-in features make it easy for the average user to create social media posts, flyers, posters, coupons, gift certificates, basic photo edits, invoices, product tags, and more. They have free templates for all of these!

We mentioned Canva in our recent four-part series on how to Create an Online Store. The entire platform is web-based and the free version has plenty of pre-formatted templates for creating quick and easy social media posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more. You can even publish your designs directly to these platforms from within Canva, or download them for use on your shop’s website or promo emails. Canva also offers an array of simple animation options, out-of-the-box.

We’ve also included a second template to get you off and running! 


In this example, we’re going to be replacing Deglingos’ Rototos Panda with their Kezakos Weekend Bag. We downloaded these images directly from the Deglingos website by right clicking on the image and selecting Save Image As.

Continue with the steps below using an image of your shop’s merchandise.

  1. Create an account at canva.com if you don’t have one already. Select the Pro plan for the full set of animations and features. You can downgrade at any time.
  2. Go to Home > All your folders > Uploads. Then click the grey Upload button (top right of screen) and upload the image of the product you want to animate. Always use professional images. Learn how to photograph merchandise correctly, get them from the vendor, or download from their website. Images require a transparent background for this design. You can use the Background Remover tool in Canva (requires Canva Pro).
  3. Next, get the template design. Click the link below or cut-and-paste into a separate browser window.

Product Animation #1
https://tinyurl.com/drywydk3

  1. Click Use Template at the bottom. The design will open in Canva’s editor window. (Be sure you are still logged in or you’ll just get a preview.)
  2. The design is automatically given the default name Copy of Product Animation #1. You will need to rename it with something describing your product. In this example, we use’d Deglingos Weekend Bag – Animation. Click in the title box above the editor to rename it. Note, changes are automatically saved as you work in Canva.
Renaming the design
  1. Select Uploads along the left of screen to view the product images you uploaded in Step #2.
  2. Next, click your product image and drag it directly over the template image. It will snap into place when you unclick. Scroll down to the next slide (Page 2). Repeat by dragging your product image over the current image. It will snap in place with the same tilt applied. Repeat on the remaining slides (Page 1 – 9). Leave the last one, Page 10, blank. Click the play icon ▶️ to preview your design. It is 3.5 seconds long, perfect for social media posts.
  1. Your short product animation is now ready to post using the Publish to Facebook button. To publish on Instagram, Twitter, or other platforms click the ••• button on the top corner of the toolbar above the editor and select a platform. Alternatively, to download the design click See all > Download > GIF and save it on your device. Then add it to your website, marketing emails, or blog.

Duplicate and use with other merchandise

Create a copy of the design to use for other merchandise. Go to Home > All your designs. Hover your mouse over the design you want to duplicate. Click the ••• button that appears. Select Make a copy and rename it (e.g., BeeLine Jewelry Ring – Animation). Repeat the steps above to add the new product image.

🎯 TIP Create shortcuts to your “Uploads” folder for easy navigation. Canva’s navigation isn’t that great. Go to Home > All your folders > Uploads. This is where your uploaded images are stored. Click the star ✩ near the word Uploads, just above the images. It will turn yellow ⭐️ . A shortcut to your images will appear at bottom left.

TEMPLATE #2

Here is an additional design to use with a group of products. Edit the text and replace the images to customize it as you like for your shop.

Click on the link or cut-and-paste into a separate browser window. Remember, you must be logged into Canva for it to open in the editor. Continue from step #4 above.

Product Animation #2
https://tinyurl.com/fjzd4ms2

Product Animation 2
Click to start animation

FAQ

Where are the images I uploaded? Go to Home > Folders > Uploads

Where are my designs? Go to Home > All your designs

I’m in the edit screen, where are the images I uploaded? Click on Uploads on the far left of screen.

How do I replace an image in my design? Go to Uploads. Then, click and drag the new image over the one you want to replace. Unclick and it will snap into place. Note, if you drag the image over anywhere else in the design it will snap into place there.

I made a mistake! How do I undo it?! Click the undo icon ⟲ in the toolbar at top. Click repeatedly to go back more than one step.

Leave your questions or comments on product animations, Canva, or social media marketing.

How did it go? Do you have questions or got stuck? Let us know where you need help and we’ll answer here!

Share your designs! Provide the link to your animation.


UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

October
Oct 10 – Handbag Day
Oct 11 – Columbus Day
Sep 15 – Yom Kippur
Oct 16 – Boss’s Day
Oct 16 – Sweetest Day
Oct 31 – Halloween
November
Nov 11 – Veterans Day
Nov 25 – Thanksgiving
Nov 26 – Black Friday
Nov 28 – Hanukkah Begins
Nov 29 – Cyber Monday
December
Dec 4 – National Sock Day
Dec 6 – Hanukkah Ends
Dec 25 – Christmas
Dec 31 – New Year’s Eve
JANUARY
Jan 1 – New Year’s Day
Jan 3 – Martin Luther King Day

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All that you are to your hospital

Submitted by Myke Ondek, former Gift Shop Manger, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

I hope you all remember how important you are to the hospital you represent. I often feel that hospitals are not truly aware of just what it is we do.  On a personal level I know more people by name than most other hospital personnel.  I see people from every department every single day of the year.  We help make our employees feel connected to the medical center by being the “common ground” where they can all meet and run into one another. I also feel that shop workers have the ability to do more for the image of the facility than just about any other staff does on a regular basis. 

Let’s face it, we answer more questions than most hospital departments do. We are located right in the middle and people look to us for information. When it comes to compassion, we are key to making patients and families feel they have had a good experience at our hospital. We are here morning, noon, and night and seven days a week. 

There is always a kind and polite shop worker to guide, assist, suggest. Sometimes we are the only people that many family members ever come in contact with. When I hear one of our clerks approach a family member and say, “You doing ok”? I know in my heart that they mean it. If it takes them a few extra minutes to help somebody, then the rest of us can cover the register. We are all about compassion. We are the human side, the contacts, the point persons, and while we may not know all the medical stuff, we suffer along with each and every person who comes in here.

Phoenix Children's Hospital, Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Phoenix, AZ

I am so very proud of the work we all do. We make a difference in many peoples’ stay at our facilities. I want to have “everything” (within reason) that somebody might ask for because it reminds me that part of doing a good job is listening to what customers want. It makes good business sense, too. 

Don’t ever feel that you are not just as important as any other professional in the hospital. We may see 3-500 people a day. A huge impact is inevitable. Big smiling faces, a warm touch on a crying shoulder. That’s what we do!

Plus, we have the satisfaction of knowing that the money we raise is going to a greater cause.  A patient program, research, or whatever the case may be, it is not just going into a fat cat’s pocket! I am proud to do what I do and I know what some people go through in life.

Sometimes, we feel hand-tied by administration. Sometimes we feel left out but I am finding that my facility treats me with the same respect they treat all other department managers. I am lucky to have a boss who goes the extra mile to get things done on our behalf. It makes it all worthwhile.

While I have been here for many hours this week and on both my days off, I still look forward to showing up bright and early tomorrow morning to face another day at a worthwhile job

Thank you Myke!

 

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When should holiday merchandise be displayed?

Remember, you want at least eight weeks of regular price selling to maximize profits. So, begin displaying holiday merchandise (your higher priced items) at the end of October.


Do this one thing everyday before opening your shop

Inspect your shop every morning before you unlock the doors for business. It only takes about five minutes to complete and can prove to be invaluable. Make it a requirement. The first few times you won’t notice much, but the more you do it the more things that need attention will pop out. Store associates should also do this exercise each day at the beginning of their shift. Here’s how: 

  1. Begin outside of your shop. Is the common area outside the shop cluttered or in need of clean up? Can customers easily see your window and exterior signing? Are your windows clean? Are the window displays current, neat, and fully accessorized? Does the shop require paint or repair?
  2. Assess the decompression zone. This is the 5’ to 15’ area just inside the front door of the store. Its job is to slow down rushed and distracted customers so they can concentrate on shopping. It should be inviting and not cluttered.
  3. Walk through each area of your shop. This includes the checkout and service areas. Make sure that each area is clean and neat and properly set to reflect the caring professionalism of your store. 

Is it time to renovate: Sample request letter

You might find that, regardless of all your efforts, your shop looks tired and outdated. Or, maybe it’s also just too small. Sometimes, the only solution is a shop renovation. It is best to plan shop renovations for January or February when sales are slow.

Here is a sample letter requesting additional gift shop space:

Dear Hospital Administrator,

The ____ Hospital Gift Shop requests additional space to meet their customer’s needs and wants. With almost ____#____ employees working in the hospital, the potential for increased sales and service is great. In a recent survey, ____% of the hospital employees commented on the limited size and crowded conditions in the existing shop. It is also important that we become ADA compliant.

The Gift Shop’s actual selling space is presently ______ square feet. During the past fiscal year, gross sales were $_______. Annual sales per square foot were $_______. Therefore, a shop of 1,200 square feet can feasibly generate approximately $___________ in gross sales.

This past year the shop’s net profit was _________% of gross sales. With ______ square feet in selling space, the gift shop could provide the hospital with approximately $_________ in net revenue annually. Over a period of many years, revenue to the hospital would be substantial.

Thank you for your consideration.

Regards,
<name>
<title>


RESPONSES: Do you use HospitalGiftShop for your online store?

Q. Our shops have struggled with our online presence, especially through the pandemic and for a variety of other reasons. We are considering outsourcing to HospitalGiftShop to provide online access to our customers. Does anyone have experience with them? Have you used hospitalgiftshop.com for your online store? What are the pros and cons? What have you heard about them? What are the costs? Thank you! – Judi S, Gift Shops/Espresso Cafes. 7/8/21

No, we do not use a 3rd party website, but do operate online in house. It was work on the front end loading photos/descriptions, but has paid for itself 100x over in sales. – Michaela Kanoski, CHI Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy, Omaha, NE. 390 beds. 9/27/21

We do not use them however I receive calls quite often from upset customers who have ordered through them thinking they ordered directly from our hospital’s gift shop. They call because the patient did not receive their gift. – Linda Armstrong, 9/21/21 

We have not used HospitalGiftShop for our shop. I would be interested in finding out more and reading comments. Thank you.  – Michelle Suggs, The Shop at WhidbeyHealth 9/18/21

I’d love to learn more about them, too! – Ali McCrary, Good Samaritan Gift Shop, Vincennes, IN. 158 beds. 10/11/21

I have not used HospitalGiftShop for online service, however, my goal for 2021 will be to start up an online shop to cater to family & friends of our patients, in-house employees, employees from our offsite clinics as well as our immediate neighborhood & local/rural community. There is much work to do, but I am willing to pull up my sleeves. – Jamie Lee Hernandez, The Gift Corner/Loose Ends, Billings. 289 beds. 9/24/21

We do not have an online presence yet but are planning to keep it in house. Getting capital money next year! – Traci Gerdes, Children’s Hospital of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA. 500 beds. 9/18/21

Hospital Gift Shop is a Healthy Commerce company based in San Diego, California. We mention hospitalgiftshop.com in our recent article Creating and Online Store: Parts 1-4 as a way to outsource your entire online operation. But, there are pros and cons to doing so. We’d like to hear from any shops that are using their service!

Do you use hospitalgiftshop.com? Why or why not?

Are you – our would you – use hospitalgiftshops.com for an online store? What is your experience? Leave a comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Reopening after the pandemic: One shop’s story

Submitted by Deb McKenzie, General Manager, Moose Ledge Gift Shop, Littleton Regional Healthcare, New Hampshire

Deb McKenzie, Shop Manager

Our gift shop, located in a 25-bed, critical access hospital, was abruptly closed on March 11, 2020 due to the ensuing pandemic. For the next 16 months, staff and patients would walk by the windows and see everything just as it was the day we closed. St. Patrick’s Day merchandise was still displayed on the shelves and our old, aging cash register sat collecting dust as well as everything else in the dark, seemingly abandoned shop. We were so happy when we learned we could finally reopen!

We learned in early May that we would be allowed to reopen July 1st. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to take the shop to a 2.0 status, so we made plans for a major shop makeover. The walls were painted in fresh, new colors. A new sign was installed. Our old clunker cash register was replaced with a new Square Register POS. A training video on using the new POS was created and a link to that video was emailed to all the volunteers so they could gain some familiarity with it prior to hands-on training, which was hugely successful and very appreciated!

During July and August (typically our slowest months of the year), we held a massive and very successful clearance sale of all the old shop merchandise that the hospital employees and patients had watched sitting on those dark shelves for so many months. We began with a 40% off price reduction and added weekly reductions until it was gone. We were also able to clear out old merchandise from our stockroom as well, giving us a clean slate to begin our buying for the coming months.

Following an event such as the pandemic, we knew there would likely be changes requiring us to make adjustments. Our gift shop is 100% staffed by volunteers, including our buyer/merchandiser and myself as general manager. Since reopening, we have lost about half of the shop staff we had prior to the shutdown requiring us to reduce shop hours and days we are able to open.

Since the hospital is still limiting visitors and other activity on campus, we are currently seeing a reduction in foot traffic into the shop from the pre-Covid days. This is compounded by some restructuring that has occurred in the hospital which re-routes some patients to areas away from the shop, thus creating the challenge of keeping the gift shop visible as well as adjusting inventory levels to volume without over-buying and being left with surplus. We are constantly trying to think outside the box and come up with solutions for these new challenges.

Our volunteer staff is so happy to be back in the shop and hospital staff and patients are thrilled to have the gift shop open once again!

Out of the ashes a new day is born!

Thank you Deb!

How are you and your shop doing post pandemic?

How are you and your shop doing post pandemic? How are sales? Are any shops still closed? What’s your best seller right now? Are you going to gift shows? Leave a comment. Share a story.

Connect. Share. Grow.

Post-holiday inventory: stock up

⏳ BUY

Nothing looks worse and hurts business more than a shop with left over remnants.

Don’t forget to have fresh, new merchandise in stock for right after Christmas!

Purchase adequate quantities and assortments of new merchandise so your shop looks full two days after Christmas (which is a Monday this year).



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Shop Sign: 12 Days of Savings (download)

Click to download. Created using Canva

Get more sale ideas in the 50-page Twelve Month Action Plan for Gift Shop Managers.


SEPTEMBER 2021 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #622
Did you miss last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions!

  • October action plan
  • Trend report for Spring/Summer 2022
  • RESPONSES: What is your markups in this post-COVID market?
  • Men’s holiday gifts
  • Q. Do you use HospitalGiftShop for your online store?
  • SURVEY RESULTS: Do you have staff payroll deduction?

  • 5 ways to get a bigger share of the holiday sales pie
  • RESPONSES: Is anyone selling vaccination card holders/protectors?
  • Social Media Tip: Create animated product videos like this!
  • Calendar: Gift Markets and Regional Conferences

DISCUSSION


VACCINATION CARD HOLDERS

I just ran across vaccination card holder/protectors, and it made me wonder if anyone has tried them and how they sell for you? – Jamie Lee Hernandez, St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings, MT. 289 beds. 7/15/21

Yes, we currently offer a vaccination card holder. – Tana Taylor. 8/22/21

I’ve wondered the same; it seems as though no one is requiring the card to be seen for any purpose, so I’m not sure that consumers would see a reason to carry a holder. – Lauren. 8/20/21 

No, we are not, but what a great idea! Who is the vendor? – Nancy Collins, Volunteer Services Manager, London Hospital, New London, NH. 8/18/21

Hi Nancy, I noticed them on Faire.com. – Jamie Lee Hernandez, St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings, MT. 289 beds. 7/15/21

We have been selling a clear inexpensive holder from Specialist ID. – Greg Holtgrewe, Baptist Health Paducah, Paducah, KY. 300 beds. 8/17/21


POST-COVID MARKUP

Wondering what your markup is on items right now? We have been limited to mostly our hospital staff as shoppers and are noticing a decline in sales. Thank you! – Gina Richmond, Sunshine Gift Shop Unity Point Hospital, Dubuque, IA. 126 beds. 8/10/21.

I manage the flower shop in a hospital gift shop. I am a certified florist and used to work at a traditional flower shop. I saw that the markup for flowers is recommended 30%-35%. I personally think that is low if the arrangements are designed in-house. Flower shops mark up flowers x3 and hard goods (containers) at least keystone and then add another 30%-40% for the labor. If an order is placed at a flower shop and delivered to the hospital there is a delivery charge of $5-$10 per arrangement not per stop. We operate under the hospital’s umbrella and don’t charge tax. Free delivery and no tax are our selling points. We do well with flowers sales. I worked in a traditional shop for quite some time but I’m sure the mark-up and delivery have not deceased. I keystone everything at a minimum. As a paid staff member, if I am the one designing and not a volunteer I add a few $ for labor. – Noelle Boardman, St. Luke’s Floral & Gifts, Cedar Rapids. 300 beds. 9/21/21

Cost + shipping x 2 across the board, excluding candy that is not specialty. If purchasing a discounted item or receiving a discount, the regular price is factored in and then the price is doubled. – Jamie Lee Hernandez, The Gift Corner/Loose Ends, Billings. 289 beds. 9/10/21

I have been doing the same markup as I did pre-COVID (x2). There are some items that I am able to mark up more (x 2.4 or more) depending on if I purchased them on sale or if they are just an inexpensive wholesale item that is great quality that I can markup for. With the added surcharges and increased wholesale prices across the board I am leaning towards a x 2.3 markup in the near future. – Sarah Ryan, Rutland Regional Medical Center, Rutland, VT 9/7/21

Glad to hear that, Sarah. Be sure to include shipping charges into the retail. – Cindy, Cindy Jones Associates

We are a small critical access hospital in Northwest Wisconsin. Due to the population we serve, I cannot always do the 2.3% markup on items in our gift shop, The Corner Boutique. I try, but am always mindful of the price point, yet there are times I can price an item higher because of the purchase price (on sale) and quality. It truly is a game of chance! Thank you everyone for sharing. – Ann Bergmann, Cumberland Healthcare, Cumberland, WI. 25 beds. 8/30/21

The gift shop I manage is located in a rural area where almost 50% of our population is Amish (LaGrange, Indiana). I typically cannot get away with marking up more than x2 and sometimes it’s less than that depending on the wholesale cost. – Christina Blaskie, Parkview LaGrange Hospital, LaGrange, IN. 8/23/21

We are using the same calculation we did pre-COVID. Mark up of 50% then the cost of shipping and handling. – Nancy Collins, New London Hospital, New London, NH. 8/18/21

Cost x 2.5 to 2.6 on most items. Candy/snacks are around 35%. – Angela Quinn, UNC Lenoir Health Care, Kinston, NC. 8/17/21

Except for candy & flowers our current markup is minimum 2.5. – Kerri Clark, Community Hospital, Munster, IN. 8/17/21

I haven’t changed my pricing post-COVID. I have kept it the same. I will however up my pricing for Christmas only because I feel like Christmas decorations are going to sell fast and customers are not going to mind the prices going up a little because prices are up for everything. – Lauri Huffman, Indiana University Health. 8/17/21

Good thinking Lorrie. As a past department store buyer for May/Macy’s, I can say that asking yourself “What would my customer be willing to pay” is very important. Value, uniqueness, quality will guide you to price. But my feeling is that if it is not food or flowers, you should never, ever only double the price of your products. When you DO have to mark items down, take a very close look at the product you are marking down and honestly ask yourself, why didn’t it sell? Was it color or quality, size, or value or did it come in too late in the season or was it poorly displayed or maybe, it just wasn’t for your customer base? What can you learn from a “markdown”? Trust me, it will be a good learning tool for future buys when a vendor says, “Everyone is selling this”. – Anne Obarski, Merchandise Concepts, Mt. Pleasant, MI. 8/17/21

I usually stick to about a 2.4 markup. A little less if I got a free freight special and sometimes I go up a little more. – Juli Chrisman, WPR Cancer Institute, Little Rock, AR. 8/17/21

Ours is normally 2.5 but with the rise in shipping and surcharges we have recently been going up a little more if the product can validate the price. – Cheryl, Novant Health, Charlotte, NC, 637 beds. 8/17/21

We double the cost plus shipping. – Robin Truax, Gouverneur Hospital, Gouveneur, NY, 77 beds. 8/17/21

65-70%  – Margaret Legut, Elmhurst Hospital, Elmhurst, IL. 259 bed/ 9/16/21

FROM CINDY

Gina, markups should remain the same! Do not change your markups! Once COVID is gone and life and retailing get back to normal, you will want to go back to your usual markups and pricing standards, but then your customers will walk out saying ‘everything is overpriced in the gift shop’!

If you are not taking at least a keystone markup (50% above wholesale) plus shipping on most of your merchandise, it is unlikely that your shop is profitable. Hospital gift shops cannot make a profit on an initial 2x times mark on plus shipping. After mark downs, the gross margin is reduced even more. Profitability is based on many things but one of the most important is markup.

Instead, look for hidden opportunities to earn a little extra profit. Consider buying merchandise at closeout or negotiating discounts on your purchases. Some items will need to be marked down because they are slow sellers. However, discounting everything, such as a “20% off everything” sale, is not recommended. Keep in mind, a mark down is the most important tool a retailer has to move a mistake out the door. We all make buying mistakes. It happens with the best buyers! Buying a bad style, wrong colors, wrong sizes, wrong timing, too many, bad fit, etc. Just don’t fret, recognize mistakes early and mark down immediately!

STANDARD MARKUPS BY CATEGORY

GIFTS, TOYS, APPAREL, CARDS, PLUSH, BABY, ACCESSORIESCANDY, SUNDRIES
Double price + 6-10% for shipping 
🎯 Formula: cost x 2.5 or more
30-33% markup
🎯 Formula: cost x 1.4 or more
**Higher for specialty candy
JEWELRYFLOWERS
60-70% markup
🎯 Formula: cost x 2.4 or more
**Most jewelry comes pre-priced.
33-35% markup
🎯 Formula: cost x 1.5 or more

ONLINE STORE

I am currently working on launching an online store. It has been several months in the making but this topic came up at the best time and has helped me so much with all the other shops providing information, tips and tricks. I will be look in to purchasing a photo box and using canva! I have saved all the previous articles to continually reference. Thank you to everyone for all the great information that has been provided. – Sarah, 7/30/21

Hi Sarah, we’re happy to hear that the article was helpful! Please let us know how the launch of your online store goes. On the interim, let us know what issues you run into…or questions. I’ll answer what I can and put it out for comment in the next issue. Good luck! – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc

First of all, thank you for deep diving into this subject. I wanted to know if having a POS is imperative to having an online presence? Is there a work around? Currently we do not have a POS, but we would love to explore the online possibility. Thank you. – Jamie Lee Hernandez, 5/20/21

A POS is not required to have an online store. You can sell, process payment, and fulfill orders entirely through your eCommerce software. You’ll need to coordinate your in-store and online sales, plus financials, and inventory. – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc

Cindy, this is absolutely the best newsletter that you have published. I will use as a reference over and over. We too realized that we were fortunate to have an online shop. We continue to update it as part of our hospital website. The big website will be new and fresher soon. We have been waiting a long time for this. Our on line business continues to grow even as we have opened our gift shop. We will send in our good news for you to publish. Have a great weekend – Kathryn, Carousel Gift Shop, Driscoll Childrens Hospital, Corpus Christi, TX. 191 bed. 4/19/21

Congratulations on launching your online shop. It is terrific. The landing page image with the teddy bear is really effective. Did you set up and launch it yourself? What software are you using? Several managers are wondering how to coordinate online with in-shop inventory. Are you having the same issue? – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc

Our gift shop is part of the hospital website. We are continuing to upgrade our part, as well as, the hospital having a new site. We do struggle with the inventory—as we are on Arba systems. We continue to keep up with inventory the old fashioned way, counting each week. We do keep the inventory separate from the shop back stock. Hope this part helps. – Kathryn, Carousel Gift Shop, Driscoll Children’s Hospital, Corpus Christi, TX. 191 bed. 4/19/21

We do not have a web site but will be building one this summer. My question is, I do not want to offer delivery beyond our campus (no shipping). Anyone had success doing this? – Kevin Shaw, Methodist Hospital Gift Shop, St Louis Park, MN. 4/16/21

Yes! Our sole purpose of an online store is for Patient Delivery Only and our opening welcome message on the site reads: Through this site, you may order gifts for delivery to patients staying at our hospitals”. We advertise “pre made bundles” to simplify options. We have a binder kept at the register that lists all of our online gift bundles and what items are needed to fulfill the order so that all staff members can work on gift building. We recently added phone chargers as an option online as we get a lot of phone calls from customers looking to send a charger to a patient. Well now they can order that charger online as an “add-on” item!
For inventory purposes, we ring up each item at the point of sale and use “eHit” as our mode of tender; it’s an arbitrary tender that has its own line on our reports so that these sales are not getting mixed into credit card or cash sales. – Meggen Heuss, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison, WI. 500 bed. 4/21/21

We do not yet have an online store however, this information is quite timely in that I am just beginning to explore one. I look forward to the next parts of the series as I am sure there are so many parts and pieces to consider. Without question, I believe it would be worth it, but getting it up and running and having manpower to keeping it going may prove to be more difficult. The shipping pieces is something that really worries me… Thank you all for your time to compile this information, it is appreciated. – Jamie Lee Hernandez 4/16/21

Remember, you don’t have to offer shipping. You can limit your fulfillment options to only those you feel are feasible: Patient Room Delivery, Office Delivery, In Store Pickup and, Lobby Pickup, Curbside Pickup. Phase in additional options, like shipping, later on when ready or not at all. We’ll discuss fulfillment methods in Part III. – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc

I am so interested to hear what others are doing, the pro’s and the con’s to having an online store. Who are you targeting? What merchandise will you sell? Where will the merchandise be stored? Delivery, mail out, curbside pick up etc. Who will manage it? Who will manage it when you are on vacation, nights and weekends etc. – Jamie Lee Hernandez 3/18/21

I’m not 100% sure so maybe Cindy could help us, but someone told me that if you are not for profit that you have to be very careful with online shopping because it could forfeit your nonprofit status. Cindy, can you help? Is this true? – Ali McCrary, Good Samaritan, Vincennes, IN. 232 beds. 2/16/21

FROM CINDY
It is a myth that 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations can‘t make a profit. Most hospitals and their subsequent gift shops are for profit. They charge sales tax and operate as a business. The shops then donate all their profits to the hospital for patient benefit and equipment. Look for our upcoming article on how to start an online store. We’ve found some terrific online gift shops and currently interviewing their managers to share with our readers. In the meantime, here is a helpful article on launching an on-line store Overcome Common Problems Launching a Hospital Gift Store Website  2/17/21

We are a volunteer only hospital gift shop. No visitors in almost a year. We we closed for 7 months and now are only open in the afternoons. We’ve been having a 30% off sale and the store is still full! An online shop would be great but it would fall on one person to create it and manage and would be a full time job.  – Martha Burke, Rome Hospital, Rome, NY. 130 beds. 2/9/21


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– Adorable rattle socks with plush toys.
– Rattling sound stimulates hand-eye-ear coordination.
– Busy moms can keep a tab on adventuring crawlers.
– Eco-friendly anti-slip sole for early walkers and runners.
– More than 80 styles to choose from!

844-548-3684
office@pieroliventi.com

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