2020 Newsletter Issues

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | December 15, 2020 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER

for

Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter provides its readership of over 3,000 gift shop professionals “actionable content” to help optimize their shop operation, grow revenue, and connect with one another. LEAVE A COMMENT: Click the colored comment tags throughout the newsletter or email Cindy at cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com


DECEMBER 15, 2020

 

COVID-19 can’t cancel the holidays!

COVID-19 is playing on shoppers’ psyches as they weigh its impact on their health and finances. But as we’ve seen with previous periods of recession, as well as those of growth, consumers are resilient and will adjust their habits to adapt. So, have faith that the remainder of 2020 will be positive and look towards 2021 to be the best year ever! 

Me with my daughters, Tracy and Nicole. 

To our loyal subscribers:

Today is a good day to say “thank you”…
Thank you for being one of our valued subscribers.
Thank you for telling others about my Newsletter.
Thank you for trusting me to deliver valuable content to you.
Thank you for all your wonderful comments and responses.
Thank you for clicking on the recommended links.
Thank you for being YOU!

Wishing you a most joyous 2021 full of abounding love, renewed connections, and moments that fill your soul!

– Cindy


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SURVEY: Where do you find best sellers?

Where do you go to discover the current best sellers and hottest products? Results from our ongoing survey indicate:

Survey Results 2020.12.15 Where do you go to discover best sellers?
Other: Vendor reps, trade publications, Purchasing Power Plus, FAIRE, and word of mouth. 

Q. With markets cancelled and travel limited due to COVID-19, how do you find best sellers and hot products?

<– Click to comment

Product Pick: Nodpod

For the exhausted doctors, nurses, and, frankly, just about anyone! Here’s a product that recently came across our desk. Nodpods would be great to sell in hospital gift shops.

Nodpod’s lay softly across your head to apply gentle, evenly distributed pressure for a comforting fit and soothing experience. The NodPod is like a hug for the head. One side features a cooling jersey cotton which can be placed in the freezer, the other a warm microfiber. The product is designed to lay freely over the eyes and can also be secured with a pull-through slit. It contours to the face for total light-blocking comfort. (nodpod.com)

 

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Payroll Deduction and Inventory Management available.
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Ask for a FREE copy of our “Hospital Gift Shops:
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How two shops are driving sales through COVID

Gift Shop Magazine recently wrote about two hospital gift shops and how they are coping through COVID. These shops are using new and creative methods to “remain relevant to their customers” and adjusting their store operations to accommodate the new “normal”. Kudos to the shop managers and volunteers!

St. Vincent’s Hospital Gift Shop, Birmingham, AL

St. Vincent’s Hospital Gift Shop, located in Birmingham, Alabama is part of Ascension Health and never stopped selling to its customers during the pandemic. Instead it found creative ways to continue to provide what its customers needed. Lee Patterson, retail services manager for St. Vincent’s Hospital Gift Shop, shared how adaptations to operations allowed it to continue with business, albeit in a different way. “Even though we closed completely — only for a few short weeks — our hospital remains closed to visitors. As a result, our current sales volume is one-third of our expected sales volume,” noted Patterson.

Since the hospital is closed to visitors, the staff found ways to communicate and merchandise. “We utilize posters around the hospital and send ‘everyone’ emails that reach our entire staff,” Patterson said. “Emails are successful and have been, even before all this. We cannot use social media to advertise the gift shop.”

“Since most hospital gift shops give all, or most, of their proceeds back to the hospital — and have no overhead — it is expected that our mark-ups are usually not on par with a competitor. It is our hospital’s opinion that if we advertise and uncut our competitors pricing, and there was a complaint, we could jeopardize our tax-free status,” Patterson explained.

Overall COVID-19 has impacted St. Vincent’s Gift Shop’s business in several ways. “We have to limit the number of customers in the shop at any given time. We maintain social distancing, must wear masks (hospital mandate) and use plexi-screens at the registers,” Patterson said. “We allow clothing to be tried on in store, but are not allowing any clothing returns at this time.”

When the retail shop was closed, it still offered purchases through email and by phone with a credit card. “We bagged and placed items for pick up outside our door for ‘touchless’ delivery. In delivering to a patient in the hospital we now only deliver to the nurses station, and do not deliver to any restricted areas,” shared Patterson. The store was rearranged — some fixtures were removed as well as displays — to accommodate social distancing guidelines. “We have already begun discussions about limiting the amount of Christmas merchandising, trees and displays to maintain hospital guidelines,” described Patterson.

For inventory control, Patterson has relied on current sales volume stats as a guide for purchasing and has adjusted to handle the new “normal.” She has learned that things can change on a daily basis.

So, what is the biggest challenge St. Vincent’s Gift Shop has faced during the pandemic? “Trying to remain relevant to our customers. Hospitals are not in the top places to shop right now!,” emphasized Patterson.

Although the brick-and-mortar store is “different” in this new retail climate, it still has its best-sellers. According to Patterson, there are three categories — ladies ready-to-wear department, baby boutique, food and beverages — that top the list in terms of volume. Its best vendors are Mud Pie, EASEL, Burton + Burton, Kellis and DM Merchandising. “Take one day at a time. Be glad that you are healthy. We are thankful everyday that we work for an organization that cares about our well-being and that is able to sustain our jobs,” Patterson advised.

SOURCE: “Ascension St. Vincent’s Hospital Gift Shop” by Debbie Eisele, Gift Shop Magazine

HSHS St. Vincent Gift Shop, Green Bay, WI

Mary Ann Brunett, manager, volunteer services, HSHS St. Vincent Gift Shop in Green Bay, Wisconsin, discussed how the pandemic has affected its retail business and how it has handled operating in such challenging times. Brunett shared that as of the writing of this article, the store has been closed to shoppers since March 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the onset of the virus and closures, the gift store has been unable to operate. “We are waiting for approval to open, even if on a limited basis to colleagues only,” Brunett said.

According to Brunett, communication with shoppers via social media, emails, or other forms of marketing has been nonexistent since the closure of the retail environment. Although the store had been closed to visitors, the staff was not idle. “We have done inventory, purged expired items and cleaned,” shared Brunett. She also shared that all buying activity occurred in January and as of the publishing of this article, the store had not yet restocked.

Brunett noted some of the other HSHS hospital gift shops opened for business in late August for takeout services for colleagues and volunteers only. Retail locations allow staff and volunteers to order with a payroll deduction or credit card, via phone or email, then purchases can be picked up.

“We are giving 35% off until Dec. 30, 2020 at all three shops,” she said. “We also created a catalog of clothing and purses.

We got the idea from the Purchasing Power Plus group newsletter — they featured a hospital in Pennsylvania.”“We gave all our candy bars, soda and chips to the colleagues as a thank you and with an announcement of the takeout concept,” Brunett elaborated. When asked what the biggest challenge the store faced in the current retail climate, Brunett said: “We have not gotten permission to open due to the risk of spreading the virus.”

Brunett advised: “Prepare as much as you can while you are not open, look at online sales. You also need to work with Infection Prevention and Administration and take cues from them.”

SOURCE: “HSHS St. Vincent Gift Shop” by Debbie Eisele, Gift Shop Magazine



Q. How do multi-site shops coordinate purchasing, deliveries, and accounting?

I want to say thank you for all the effort you put into the newsletter. It’s been a huge resource for my department. I have a question for other shop managers:

For hospital systems that have more than one gift shop location, how do you coordinate ordering, delivery, and accounting for all locations? How is the department itself set up? Are all of the financials separated? – Shea Parazine, Volunteer Services Specialist, White County Medical Center, Searcy, AR. 193 beds

<– Click to comment

Virtual Tradeshows and Online Showrooms

NY NOW Digital Market
October 3 – December 31, 2020 
NY NOW Digital Market was developed to enable brands and retailers to pivot from the in-person event to a digital environment while ensuring a premium, interactive user experience. Retailers can expect enhanced search capabilities across product categories, communities, and trends; best-in-class digital functionality including video calls and appointment setting; and a machine learning layer that curates personalized brand recommendations specific to their buying needs. FREE

Specialty Food LIVE! 
January 19 – 22, 2021
Access new and trending specialty food products as well as best-sellers.  Buyers are welcome to come for one, two, three, or all four days. The virtual event will include Virtual Product Tasting Experience sessions, on-demand chat, videoconferencing, and fun virtual networking events. FREE

IMC Virtual Market Center
Features ShopZio, an online B2B marketplace that enables buyers and sellers to connect during this time of unprecedented business disruption. Catalog Connexion offers over 550 catalogs from High Point resources to search, browse, contact vendors and now select brands are shoppable.  Product Search and Discovery provides access thousands of furniture and home décor products through our exclusive line-up of digital search and discovery tool.

MELROSE 360˙ Showroom
Shop by collections, walk the entire showroom, make wish lists, and even place an order. 

Sullivans Virtual Market
Sullivans, a designer and marketer of home décor products, permanent botanicals, and giftware, revealed a new way to shop this market season through its new virtual marketplace. Sullivans is excited to present its showroom, virtually. It features seven new themes and over 750 new spring and everyday products, including on-trend containers, wall décor, textiles, florals and botanicals, and more.


💮 CALENDAR 💮

GIFT MARKETS

Updated Dec 15. Always double-check show dates for changes.Jan 6-12, 2021
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (Winter) 🔗
Jan 11-15 and 18-22, 2021
LA Mart (Winter). Los Angeles 🔗 **by appointment only
Jan 12-15, 2021
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market 🔗
Jan 12-19, 2021
Atlanta Market (Winter) 🔗
Jan 19-22, 2021
Denver Apparel & Accessory Market 🔗
VIRTUAL SHOW
Feb 4-12, 2021
NY NOW Digital Winter Market🔗
Feb 2-6, 2021
Atlanta Apparel Market 🔗
CANCELLED
Feb 7-10, 2021
NY NOW (Winter), New York 🔗
Feb 18-21, 2021
TransWorld’s Jewelry, Fashion & Acces Show (Winter), Rosemont, IL 🔗
Feb 26-28, 2021
Denver Apparel & Accessory Market 🔗
Mar 3-5, 2021
Atlanta Spring Mini Market 🔗
Mar 23-26, 2021
Dallas Apparel & Acces Market + Total Home & Gift Market 🔗
Apr 11-13, 2021
Denver Apparel & Accessory Market 🔗
RESCHEDULED for
Apr 11-15, 2021
Las Vegas Market (Winter) 🔗
Jan 24-28, 2021
May 3-6, 2021
Atlanta Spring Cash & Carry 🔗
RESCHEDULED for
Jun 5-9, 2021
High Point Spring Market 🔗
Apr 17-20, 2021
Jun 6-7, 2021
Denver Apparel & Accessory Market 🔗
Jun 9–12, 2021
June Atlanta Apparel 🔗
Jul 13-19, 2021
Atlanta Market (Summer) 🔗
Aug 7–10, 2021
International Home + Housewares Show Chicago IL 🔗
Aug 8-11, 2021
NY NOW Market (Summer) Jacob Javits Center, NY 🔗
RESCHEDULED for
Aug 22-26, 2021
Las Vegas Market (Summer) 🔗
Jul 25-29, 2021
Visit Gift Shop Mag Trade Show Calendar or Smart Retailer TradeShow Calendar for smaller local/regional shows.

How to conduct a physical inventory

Hospital gift shops are required by tax and, often, accounting rules to provide an accurate on-hand value of the merchandise in its shop. Although the shop may be using a perpetual inventory system or other software to keep track of all items, it may still be required to physically count all inventory.

Here are the basics on how to conduct a physical inventory with as little disruption, and as much accuracy, as possible.

  • Replenish shelves with merchandise from the stockroom. Try to clear as much inventory from the backroom as possible. Be sure there is no merchandise under cash wraps, in the office, or any other location. If an inventory service has been hired to do the physical inventory, follow the guide they provide and prepare the shop according to their instructions. If the physical inventory is being conducted by shop employees, meet with staff to explain the inventory counting process.

    From the guide “How to Conduct a Physical Inventory”

  • Assign each employee a location and provide a pre-numbered inventory Counting Worksheet (available in How to Conduct a Physical Inventory). Those conducting the inventory should count each item on their sheet and only record the exact quantities.
    When the physical inventory count is completed, compare the physical count to the perpetual inventory record. Discrepancies should be further investigated and resolved. A recount may be required by a different counting team for any major discrepancy.
  • At the end of the inventory process, adjust the perpetual inventory record for each line item to reflect the quantity and value of the physical inventory.

Get these steps in complete detail and the extended guide on How to Conduct a Physical Inventory. Includes inventory preparation checklist, worksheet templates, Per Category and Total Shop Inventory calculations, formulas for Cost of Goods Sold, best-practices, and more.

Straighten the shop so products are neat and orderly for easy counting.

Schedule inventory when sales are slow and inventory levels are down.

Order lunch on Inventory Day for your staff and volunteers!

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December to January Checklist

 

DECEMBER

✂ Mark Down

  • December 19: Mark down slow-moving items.
  • December 28: The last week of December, put all holiday merchandise on sale at 40% off. A Hallmark study  found that customers did not purchase differently whether the discount is 40 or 50% off for post-holiday 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.

📝 Plan

  • Create a 2021 Buying and Planning calendar. Know where you’re going. Know when to buy. Ensure that the shop’s physical inventory process is organized and in place for the beginning of the fiscal year.
  • Confirm plans to attend a major Winter gift market, if possible. ✈️
  • Keep a “Brainstorm Book” at the checkout counter so cashiers can jot down customer’s requests. Invite everyone to write down their ideas on how to revamp displays or other suggests they thought of while they were working their shift.

Sell! Sell! Sell!  If all your preparatory work was done in advance – nothing should stop you from being on the floor helping customers and selling merchandise. Stock and restock!christmas retail display

Schedule additional staffing to work 10am-2pm to handle the increased business during the last busy weeks before the holidays.

When you first arrive in the morning, do a daily “walk-about.” Visually scan each display. Remove tired or worn products. Which items need to be restocked, reordered or re-merchandised? Are your product faces turned forward? What products need signage? Take notes when necessary.

Promote gift certificates as the perfect co-worker gift. Submit a reminder to the hospital’s weekly e-blast, or newsletter. Train cashiers to suggest them to hospital

 

employees.

Check bags, boxes, and wrapping supplies. You may need to reorder after the holiday rush.

Give lots of ‘pats on the back’, words of thanks, and gestures of gratitude to all paid and volunteer staff. Give them a 20-30% discount on shop merchandise for their own personal purchase. This won’t hurt your bottom line in the least. On the contrary, since they wear, use, and gift just about everything in the shop, they are walking billboards for the merchandise. Staff/volunteer discounts are also an excellent recruiting tool.

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. Clean and reorganize stockroom while inventory is down.

TAKE INVENTORY! If your fiscal year ends in December, take physical inventory now. Use the step-by-step guide How to Conduct a Physical Inventory 🔗.

⏳ Buy

  • Buy Spring merchandise that focuses on garden, pick-up gifts, and collectibles. Think color!
  • Buy remaining Easter and Mother’s Day merchandise. 🐰
  • Order gift items for upcoming Mother’s Day, Administrative Professionals Day, and Nurses’ Day.
  • Make sure to reorder fast-selling merchandise BEFORE you run out.

🧸 Display

  • Promote picture frames for family holiday photos.
  • Give your customers a wonderful feeling with fresh spring merchandise and displays. Brighten up your shop with flowers and plants. Fresh products will get customers into your shop. Sentiment and cheer sells!  🌼 🌿 🌸
  • Place calendars and date books in the cash register area for quick sales. 📆
  • Begin displaying Valentine cards and merchandise in early January so hospital employees can be thinking about their purchases. Valentine’s Day is the shortest major gift-selling season of the year. The majority of purchases occur one to three days before the holiday itself. For some gift shop managers, it can be a nightmare. For those that do it right, it’s worth every effort. 💘 

📝 Plan

  • FIFTH FRIDAY $5 OFF SALE: 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 is 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. Be sure to advertise this event with emails to all hospital employees. 🎉 
  • Get more sale ideas like the DOCTOR’S DAY SALE, 20% OFF GREEN, and the GET KISSED EVENT in the 12 Month Action Plan for Gift Shop Managers 🔗
Upcoming 2021 HOLIDAYS
JANUARY
New Year’s Day [1st]
Martin Luther King Day [3rd Monday]
FEBRUARY
Groundhog Day [2nd]
Super Bowl Sunday
Valentine’s Day [14th]
President’s Day [3rd Monday]
Black History Month
MARCH
St. Patrick’s Day [17th]
Doctor’s Day [30th]
APRIL
April Fool’s Day [1st]
Easter Sunday [varies]
Tax Day [15th]
Admin Professionals Day [4th Wednesday]
Earth Day [22nd]
MAY
Graduation Season
Cinco de Mayo [5th]
Nurses Day [6th]
Kentucky Derby [1st Sat]
Mother’s Day [2nd Sunday]
Senior Citizens’ Day [19th]
Memorial Day [last Monday]

Say a special thank you to all workers in your gift shop. Serve honey buns with coffee under a sign reading “Thanks for working your buns off!”

Rearrange and freshen up your inventory. Mix new merchandise with old to spruce it up. This has to be done carefully so as not to devalue your new merchandise.

Review your Valentine orders to ensure timely deliveries.

 If you haven’t developed a yearlong budget for the shop, the time is now! Project expected sales for each month. Estimate your shop’s operating costs for each month. 💲

Prepare a 2020 Merchandise Report to document your successes and failures throughout the year. Record what was packed away to sell the following year. Know what sold well and what did not to avoid repeating the same mistakes. This information will be important when buying for next year’s holiday season. 

2020 Resolution:  Keep the register counter free of clutter throughout the year.

Vow to make cashier training and retraining a priority. There is only one thing worse than training your volunteers and having them leave: not training them and having them stay.

Keep volunteers and staff aware of each month’s sales goals and new products.

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


NOVEMBER 2020 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #611
Check out last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions.

  • What I learned as a gift shop manager
  • Q. Can paid staff also volunteer?
  • Survey Results: Do you have an online store?
  • Q. What vendors offer baby apparel that sells well?
  • ‘Open The Joy’ gifts for pediatric patients
  • Replace volunteers with employed staff
  • December Action Plan
  • Diffuse the combustible customer
  • Sometimes, even gift shops hire dishonest people
  • Q. Holiday gourmet food line?
  • Job Description: Gift Shop Manager [Download]
  • Virtual tradeshows and online showrooms
  • Calendar: Gift Markets and Regional Conferences

DISCUSSION


BABY APPAREL VENDOR

Q. I manage a gift shop in a 99-bed facility and we deliver babies. What vendors offer baby apparel that sells well? Thank you – Patty Cummings, Inventory Procurement Specialist, Fisher-Titus Medical Center, Norwalk, OH. 9/28/20

Mudpie and Gund sells for us. – Ali McCrary, 11/3/20

Halo is a must and Swinging on a Star has great big brother and sister items. – Christine Parker, Kent Hospital, Warwick, RI. 359 beds. 10/22/20 

We do really well with Mud Pie baby. – Mary Hays, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center, Round Rock, TX. 167 beds. 10/19/20

We have Magnetic Me sleepers, Halo swaddle/sleep sacks, Mason Chic and Bunnies By the Bay. Magnetic Me is our best seller. – Barb Shafer, 10/17/20

BabyVision has a great line of inexpensive clothing including preemie items, newborn gift sets, infant headbands, socks, etc. Kellis Gifts can be a nice resource if you need only a handful items. – Lynne T. 10/16/20

I’ve sold thousands of fun leggings from Doodle Pants, and Pea pod hats by Margareta Horn Design, and drop ship monogram towels/blankets from Monograms of Distinction, musical toys from Cuddle Barn, soft toys from Unipak DesignsElaine Boaman. 10/16/20

Mudpie is our best brand for baby clothing sales. We also order from a small company we found in cash and carry at the Atlanta Market called Cozy Cottage Boutique. – Shea Parazine 10/16/20


REPLACING VOLUNTEERS WITH PAID STAFF

Q. We have a decreasing auxiliary membership, as well as an aging one. Besides COVID, it is becoming more and more difficult to keep our hospital gift shop hours attended by volunteers. We are toying with the idea of hiring a paid employee to work the shifts that aren’t covered by an auxiliary member and to do tasks that our elderly volunteers cannot. Any experience – Teri Nixon, Manager, Los Alamos Medical Center, Los Alamos, NM. 50 beds  10/14/20   

Teri, here at our hospital we have both volunteers and paid staff. Volunteers are clearly more profitable to the gift shops and paid staff fill in the rest of the shifts. Our hospital has been in locked down to the public since July unless they have appointments. Unfortunately gift shops in hospitals have been effected financially since COVID-19. We have called our volunteers back that feel comfortable volunteering in the gift shop and fill the rest of the shifts with paid staff. We have also cut back our hours to be opened during the day and closed evenings and weekends. For example Monday 9am-1pm and Tuesday-Friday 9am-4pm. -Louisa Gosgnach, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, Thunder Bay ON. 11/20/20

Because of COVID, our volunteers are not back yet, so I have an assistant that works in the Gift Shop and I cover her lunch and breaks. There’s just two of us to keep up with the shop, pricing, etc. I know that it’s getting harder to recruit volunteers, especially in a hospital setting, but I would keep trying to recruit them! Volunteer recruitment might look different than it used to. For example, are you trying every avenue to recruit? Word of mouth, radio, facebook, instagram, etc.? Are you targeting all ages of volunteers? The typical retiree, but what about the college aged students that need hours for class, the stay-at-home mom that needs a break? I would keep trying before you go that route and make that your last resort! – Ali McCrary, Volunteer Services, Gift Shop and Auxiliary Manager at Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes, IN. 11/20/20

The good news: paid management offers a continuity of service to customers by keeping the shop open during posted shop hours. The not so good news: salaries cut into your shop’s profit. This is a tough decision. We’d love to hear from volunteer managers who have the same issue.  – Cindy, Editor


CAN PAID STAFF ALSO VOLUNTEER

Q. I understand the rule that a volunteer can’t be paid for the same job that they are volunteering for. You can have separate paid staff and volunteers work together though. It’s done in many hospital gift shops. But, where you can run into a problem is if a paid staff member is asked to volunteer their time doing the same duties that they are normally paid for. Is that correct? – A gift shop manager  10/12/20

FROM CINDY: OSHA does not regulate the use of volunteers, however,  FLSA laws do. FLSA regulations state that a paid employee cannot volunteer (or be required to volunteer) for the same organization to do the same job in which he/she is paid to do. This means that your paid employee cashier who works three days a week cannot be expected to work a fourth day without compensation and be called a “volunteer” on that day. People who volunteer their services for charitable or civic causes without expectation of compensation can do the same job as a paid employee and they can work together in the workspace as paid employees. This rule applies for non-profit organizations. For-profit organizations cannot use volunteers. For-profit organizations can develop internships that are time-delineated and have specific learning outcomes and sometimes a modest monetary compensation associated with them (such as, work-study students). Shop managers can meet with the hospital volunteer resources manager to help clarify the engagement of volunteers from their legal department.


NET PROFIT MARGIN

Q. I recall that in one of your Newsletters you gave a “net profit benchmark” figure for hospital gift shops. It was like a 30% or 35% profit margin. Is that still accurate? Thanks! – Shop Manager, Volunteer Manager, Tulsa, OK. 11/3/20

FROM CINDY: Maintaining a good profit margin is the key to success. A shop may have very high sales, but if their net profit is low, something is eating up the profits along the way. It could be: high salary expenses, high cost of goods, or high operating costs and markdowns. A good manager must keep these factors in control.

An all-volunteer operated shop should achieve at least a 25% of gross sales net profit margin.

The net profit margin percent should be higher in an all-volunteer operated shop than in a shop with a paid manager due to salary expenses. A shop with a paid manager should realize at least a 20% of the gross sales net profit margin.


HOW IS THE SHUTDOWN AFFECTING YOUR GIFT SHOP?

October was a very slow month, being open 10 to 3 Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I even canceled Saturday as 4 to 5 customers in a five hour frame was not worth it. A lot of merchandise was being received also, a lot of back orders, especially masks, so many. The employees get a 20% discount. The masks I’ve been selling at 30%.

For November on Election day and Veterans day, I had sale 30% off all regular price items. Our sales were very good. Slowly putting out Christmas items. This will help our sales. December, many of the volunteers that were out due to COVID are coming back. We’ll be open everyday except Sunday and I’ll have sales throughout the month for the employees and volunteers. Also longer hours, broken up by half day shifts.

I will have my volunteer coordinator put out an employee wide email of specials, sales, featured items, etc. – Grace Hutchinson, Piedmont Medical Center, Rock Hill, SC. 150 beds. 11/16/20

We finally opened this week for the first time in 6 months. Our hours are 3 times a week for four hours a day. Needless to say the staff is so excited. Concerns are how long we will stay open at this point. Covid numbers are skyrocketing. Not sure I will carry fall or Christmas items at this point. – Elizabeth Stringham, Volunteer Manager for Gift Shop, ThedaCare Regional Medical Center, Appleton, WI 10/6/20

Elizabeth, where are you located? Bravo for that glimmer of hope for your staff to be open just a short period of time. It is important for the hospital to see your “value” to the hospital as people start to come in and pick up necessities. As you know the hospital staff look to you for something different to look at other than masks and soda and candy. There are cute necklaces out there that clip on to masks so that you can avoid losing your mask and it looks like jewelry hanging around your neck. Unusual and fun items even in really small quantities lets people know that you are still an important part of the hospital and you are open! Just one small table display at the entrance that makes your “guests” smile…is worth the minor investment. Everyone is watching the seasons go so that we can move on into a new year!! – Anne Obarski, Merchandise Concepts, Mount Pleasant, MI. 10/9/20

We reopened the week that all retail establishments were permitted to open. It’s been going pretty well and the employees are so thankful that they can come in and shop. During the shutdown we were only selling via emails and phone calls. Patients are only permitted one visitor per day so we definitely are loosing there but our screeners will permit the public to come into the hospital to shop at our store so that’s a definite plus. Still only open limited hours. Mon–Thu 9-4 and Fri 9-2. No weekends. Snoozies masks have been our BIGGEST seller! Yes, they are more expensive but, after the employees tried them, they realized how comfortable they were. I sell them for $14.99 and get a second 25% off. We are a small community hospital too so we’re not selling to the rich and famous A much less expensive alternative is Wine Onion I’ve always bought jewelry from them but now you can get masks for less than $3 each and they’re selling really well at $6.99. And always, DM Merchandising has excellent prices! Their Comfort Care masks are $2.90 cost and sell for $6.99. I’ve reordered so many times. -Jenny Turner, UH Portage Medical Center, Ravenna, OH 10/7/20

Hi Jenny! I’m a grad of KSU and was tickled to see your hospital turn up here. I am happy you are offering a few different price points for your masks. What is even more interesting are your comments about Snoozies! It is important to take away from your comments that even though you may think the price point is high, the “value” your customer receives out weighs the retail price. I am sure you have a group of cheerleaders at your hospital who tell everyone that comfort is worth it. I know we all can agree when it comes to masks, comfort and quality say it all. – Anne Obarski, Merchandise Concepts, Mount Pleasant, MI. 10/9/20

25% of the HGS in California are open for business in several modes of operation.Almost all of the HGS based on my research are also open with their county health and hospital restrictions. – Lilly Stamets 10/12/20

We are open to limited hours. Monday thru Friday, 10am to 4pm, closed Saturday and Sunday. The week of our employee holiday event, November 16th, we will be re open on Saturday’s from 10am to 2pm for our weekend employees and guests. This will continue through the holidays and hopefully, into 2021. Thank you. -Kim DeBord, Riverside Medical, Kankakee, IL, 336 beds 10/6/20

We have opened up this week with limited hours. We do not plan to place any orders for the balance of 2020. – Barbara Reynolds, Roseville, CA 10/6/20

We are still closed… -Pinecone Gift Shop 10/2/20



© Cindy Jones Associates, 2020. COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. Redistribution, copying, reselling, re-renting, or republishing is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Cindy’s Newsletter may not to be forwarded, redistributed, reproduced, reprinted, or posted online without prior permission from Cindy Jones Associates. Subscribers may share one issue with a fellow manager. Thereafter, the manager may subscribe here to receive future issues.

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | November 15, 2020 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER

for

Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter provides its readership of over 3,000 gift shop professionals “actionable content” to help optimize their shop operation, grow revenue, and connect with one another. LEAVE A COMMENT: Click the colored comment tags throughout the newsletter or email Cindy at cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com


NOVEMBER 15, 2020


From Cindy Jones, Editor 💮

I hope all of you shop managers remember just how very important you are to your hospital! You know more people by name than most of the hospital personnel. You are there morning, noon and night seven days a week, guiding, assisting and helping people.

You see people from every department every single day of the year. Your shop is the ‘common ground’ where hospital employees run into one another and feel connected. You have a lot of influence just because you probably answer more questions than most other areas of your hospital. And, when it comes to compassion, you are key to making patients and families feel they have had a good experience.

Like the medical staff, you carry compassion and a desire to make a difference. You may not have medical training, but you’re right there being as professional as those who do. Never feel that you are not as ‘important’ as any other employee in the hospital.

You have the great opportunity to have a positive influence on countless people, every single day. I find that amazing!

Stay safe. Be kind. Smile often.

– Cindy


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Survey Results: Do you have an online store?

We ask “Does your shop have an ecommerce store on your organization’s website, a separate website, or any other platform?” As online sales have skyrocketed during the pandemic, it comes as no surprise that the majority (60%) of consumers say they plan to purchase holiday items online this year. Nearly all (91%) online shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping, while another 44% plan to buy online, pick up in store, and 16% plan to use same-day delivery. (NRF, October 2020)

Do you have an online store?

Survey Results: Do you have an online store?
November, 2020


Q. What vendors offer baby apparel that sells well?

I manage a gift shop in a 99-bed facility and we deliver babies. What vendors offer baby apparel that sells well? Thank you – Patty Cummings, Inventory Procurement Specialist, Fisher-Titus Medical Center, Norwalk, OH. 9/28/20

Mudpie and Gund sells for us. – Ali McCrary, 11/3/20

Halo is a must and Swinging on a Star has great big brother and sister items. – Christine Parker, Kent Hospital, Warwick, RI. 359 beds. 10/22/20 

We do really well with Mud Pie baby. – Mary Hays, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center, Round Rock, TX. 167 beds. 10/19/20

We have Magnetic Me sleepers, Halo swaddle/sleep sacks, Mason Chic and Bunnies By the Bay. Magnetic Me is our best seller. – Barb Shafer, 10/17/20

BabyVision has a great line of inexpensive clothing including preemie items, newborn gift sets, infant headbands, socks, etc. Kellis Gifts can be a nice resource if you need only a handful items. – Lynne T. 10/16/20

I’ve sold thousands of fun leggings from Doodle Pants, and Pea pod hats by Margareta Horn Design, and drop ship monogram towels/blankets from Monograms of Distinction, musical toys from Cuddle Barn, soft toys from Unipak DesignsElaine Boaman. 10/16/20

Mudpie is our best brand for baby clothing sales. We also order from a small company we found in cash and carry at the Atlanta Market called Cozy Cottage Boutique. – Shea Parazine 10/16/20


Can paid staff also volunteer

Q. I understand the rule that a volunteer can’t be paid for the same job that they are volunteering for. You can have separate paid staff and volunteers work together though. It’s done in many hospital gift shops. But, where you can run into a problem is if a paid staff member is asked to volunteer their time doing the same duties that they are normally paid for. Is that correct? – A gift shop manager  10/12/20

FROM CINDY: OSHA does not regulate the use of volunteers, however,  FLSA laws do. FLSA regulations state that a paid employee cannot volunteer (or be required to volunteer) for the same organization to do the same job in which he/she is paid to do. This means that your paid employee cashier who works three days a week cannot be expected to work a fourth day without compensation and be called a “volunteer” on that day. People who volunteer their services for charitable or civic causes without expectation of compensation can do the same job as a paid employee and they can work together in the workspace as paid employees. This rule applies for non-profit organizations. For-profit organizations cannot use volunteers. For-profit organizations can develop internships that are time-delineated and have specific learning outcomes and sometimes a modest monetary compensation associated with them (such as, work-study students). Shop managers can meet with the hospital volunteer resources manager to help clarify the engagement of volunteers from their legal department.

Replace volunteers with employed staff 

Q. We have a decreasing auxiliary membership, as well as an aging one. Besides COVID, it is becoming more and more difficult to keep our hospital gift shop hours attended by volunteers. We are toying with the idea of hiring a paid employee to work the shifts that aren’t covered by an auxiliary member and to do tasks that our elderly volunteers cannot. – Teri Nixon, Manager, Los Alamos Medical Center, Los Alamos, NM. 50 beds  10/14/20   

FROM CINDY: That is a tough decision. I hope we hear from volunteer managers who have the same issue. The good news: paid management offers a continuity of service to customers by keeping the shop open during posted shop hours. The not so good news: salaries cut into your shop’s profit. Has anyone tried replacing volunteers with paid employees?  

What should my net profit margin be?

Q. I recall that in one of your Newsletters you gave a “net profit benchmark” figure for hospital gift shops. It was like a 30% or 35% profit margin. Is that still accurate? Thanks! – Shop Manager, Volunteer Manager, Tulsa, OK. 11/3/20

FROM CINDY: Maintaining a good profit margin is the key to success. A shop may have very high sales, but if their net profit is low, something is eating up the profits along the way. It could be: high salary expenses, high cost of goods, or high operating costs and markdowns. A good manager must keep these factors in control.

An all-volunteer operated shop should achieve at least a 25% of gross sales net profit margin.

The net profit margin percent should be higher in an all-volunteer operated shop than in a shop with a paid manager due to salary expenses. A shop with a paid manager should realize at least a 20% of the gross sales net profit margin.

 

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Q. Do you have a job description for a Gift Shop Manager?

I am looking for a sample job description for a Gift Shop Manager. Can you recommend one? – Peggy H. 11/4/2020

FROM CINDY: Our sample Gift Shop Manager job description is a free download here.  


Diffuse the combustible customer

by Cindy Jones, Editor 💮

The holiday season can turn from joyful to stressful in a hurry. And sometimes the stress can create some pretty cranky customers. Luckily, there are a few simple things salespeople can keep in mind to help them navigate the harried holidays and diffuse potentially combustible customer situations.

Forget you’re a salesperson and be a partner
Customers who are stressed want to know you have their best interest in mind first, and not your shop’s bottom line. By proving that you’re a partner, you can work with your customer to find the solution that’s best for them.

Keep your ears open
It’s not uncommon to encounter a customer who truly just wants to vent. Maybe they had a bad experience or they couldn’t find what they were looking for right away. No matter their problem, you need to listen to what they’re saying. The worst thing you can do in a stressful situation like this is to dismiss their complaints. Be open to what they have to say and take everything with a grain of salt.

Remove your personal feelings
It’s hard to not take complaints personally, but by eliminating your feelings from the equation, you can relieve a situation of a lot of stress. Even if a customer is complaining about something that directly relates to your performance, it still doesn’t mean they’re complaining about you as a person. Take a deep breath and represent the shop like you know you can. This also makes it a whole lot easier to apologize—even when you don’t think you should. A simple ‘sorry’ can go a long way.


What I learned as a Gift Shop Manager

by Cindy Jones, Editor 💮

In today’s gift shop, you have to be open to alternative kinds of thinking if you are ever to be anything but mediocre. This means approaching problems from a different perspective. It means thinking differently about yourself. All too many shop managers still don’t realize their true worth. Consequently, it’s no surprise when others don’t realize it either.

Unfortunately, some hospital administrators do not put a high value on their gift shop manager. They sometimes forget that a good manager (along with volunteers) brings in large sums of revenue for patient care and equipment.

It is important for shop managers to create a strong profile in the hospital community. This can be done by asking your supervisor to recommend you to serve on various hospital task forces, committees or forums that discuss hospital issues and protocols. As a retail manager, you can bring to the table expertise from a different perspective than most other hospital employees.

Many hospitals and medical centers offer skill development opportunities, such as, workshops in computer programs, leadership development, financial operations, conflict management, supervision skills, etc. Take the initiative and ask your supervisor if you can improve your skills by attending training programs such as these.

I have found that hospital gift shop managers are very good at buying and display, but weak at financial management. If that is you, resolve to take a community college course in financial management.

How are you at your annual performance reviews? Do you keep records on your accomplishments? You have to “put it out there!” Here’s one way to do that: Keep a file labeled “I’m Good” and stock it with notes detailing all the positive contributions you make. Two weeks before your annual performance evaluation, give it to your supervisor and say, “Thought you’d like some info for my evaluation.” Supervisors tend to remember more negative than positive things.

These days you have to have the strength to work outside of comfort zones and to develop innovative ways of doing things to continue successfully. Be confident. Begin by identifying your beliefs – “I am competent”, “I am good at (fill in the blank).” With beliefs like these, you can take on challenging projects with confidence and remain focused. These positive feelings/beliefs should be transferred to day-to-day work situations. But if you believe that you may not be able to do a good job or do not have control over the challenge, then you will hesitate, fearing mistakes, criticism and failure.

Bottom line – beliefs govern attitudes, and in turn, attitudes govern behavior. If we stay mentally “centered”, we essentially reorient our perceptions and eliminate the blame game with those in authority. We can give respect when faced with a supervisor’s negativity – which translates, in turn, into receiving respect.

Lastly, get rid of the blame system or those excuses you use for why you haven’t met your goals: too little time, an unreasonable boss, or unproductive co-workers. Don’t let it become a me-them syndrome.

Peak performers share these characteristics:

• They take responsibility for their actions.
• They think in terms of solutions.
• They are self-motivated.
• They ask for help.
• They share generously.
• They have a rich personal life.

These characteristics make for an individual who seems in command of every situation. We are perceived by others by how much control we seem to have over our lives.


‘Open the Joy’ products for hospitalized children

We’ve have had great success with Open the Joy, selling out in around 30 days. They make gifts for hospitalized kids like activity boxes, kits with items to decorate a hospital room, conversation starters and much more. So adorable and well received. Open the Joy best sellers are The Feel Better Kits, Boredom Busters, Let’s Talk: Conversation Starters, Room Decoration Kits. They also return some of the profits to their Spread the Joy Foundation.  – Debbie Kerr, Director of Gift Shop Operations, Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, MO. 325 beds 10/16/20



Q. Holiday gourmet food line?

We are considering ordering some holiday gourmet dips, soups, and drink mix products to sell. Any recommendations?  8/23/20  

Wind & Willow and Gourmet Village were recommended. 

Captain Rodney’s Boucan Glaze. Honestly, anything from that line sells well. We also order hot chocolate from Ticket Chocolate and set up and hot chocolate gift bar every holiday. The pick out their chocolate flavor, a mug and any add-ins and we make a small gift basket out of it. Piper and Leaf Tea Co out of Alabama has some great teas and will also work with you to create a custom blend for your shop. The General’s Hot Sauce has been a favorite for the guys here. – Shea Parazine, Unity Health, Searcy, AR. 400 bed. 10/16/20 

We have purchased cocoa, ciders, etc from McSteven’s. Cocoa pouches are .71-.80 each. We also purchased from Great Scot which has jellies and preserves. – Ginger Taylor, Cox Health Medical, Springfield, MO. 502 beds. 10/8/20



Virtual Tradeshows and Online Showrooms

NY NOW Digital Market
October 3 – December 31, 2020 

NY NOW Digital Market will open on October 3, 2020, with 5 Live Show Days and will unite NY NOW’s unparalleled community of retailers, brands, and makers for live events, experiences, connection, reactivation, and holiday buying. This cutting-edge digital solution was developed to enable brands and retailers to pivot from the in-person event to a digital environment while ensuring a premium, interactive user experience. Retailers can expect enhanced search capabilities across product categories, communities, and trends; best-in-class digital functionality including video calls and appointment setting; and a machine learning layer that curates personalized brand recommendations specific to their buying needs.

One of a Kind Holiday Show
November 12 – December 6, 2020

One of a Kind Holiday Show is going virtual this year. One of a Kind’s Virtual Holiday Market is available on its website 24/7 from Nov. 12 through Dec 6. Attendees will have access to more than 300 artists, learn about the artists, have access to online programming and special promotions, and will have the opportunity to view a selection of products and link directly to artisan’s websites to shop the merchandise.

IMC Virtual Market Center
Permanent tool featuring ShopZio, an online B2B marketplace that enables buyers and sellers to connect during this time of unprecedented business disruption. Catalog Connexion offers over 550 catalogs from High Point resources to search, browse, contact vendors and now select brands are shoppable.  Product Search and Discovery provides access thousands of furniture and home décor products through our exclusive line-up of digital search and discovery tool.

MELROSE 360˙ Showroom
Melrose International announces the premier of their virtual showrooms. They are launching a new way to shop this market season through MELROSE 360˙ Showrooms. Customers will be able to shop by collections, walk the entire showroom, make wish lists, and even place an order. The Home & Holiday showroom is available now and the 2021 Home & Garden showroom will be available in mid-August. The MELROSE 360˙ Holiday Showroom has an all new shopping experience designed for you.  This showroom will feature 12 holiday collections from our 2020 line, for those who weren’t able to shop earlier this season! In addition, all the items featured in this showroom are immediately shipped from our warehouse.


💮 CALENDAR 💮

GIFT MARKETS

Updated Nov 15. Always confirm show dates with the market directly before making travel plans. Dates change frequently and often.CANCELLED
Nov 19-22, 2020
International Jewelry and Merchandise Show New Orleans, LA 🔗
Dec 3-6, 2020
TransWorld’s Spring Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (Holiday) Schaumburg, IL 🔗
Jan 6-12, 2021
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (Winter) 🔗
Jan 11-15 and 18-22, 2021
LA Mart (Winter). Los Angeles 🔗 **by appointment only
Jan 12-15, 2021
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market 🔗
Jan 12-19, 2021
Atlanta Market (Winter) 🔗
Jan 19-22, 2021
Denver Apparel & Accessory Market 🔗
Jan 24-28, 2021
Las Vegas Market (Winter) 🔗
VIRTUAL SHOW
Feb 4-12, 2021
NY NOW Digital Winter Market🔗
Feb 2-6, 2021
Atlanta Apparel Market 🔗
CANCELLED
Feb 7-10, 2021
NY NOW (Winter), New York 🔗
Feb 18-21, 2021
TransWorld’s Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (Winter), Rosemont, IL 🔗
Feb 26-28, 2021
Denver Apparel & Accessory Market 🔗
Mar 3-5, 2021
Atlanta Spring Mini Market 🔗
Mar 23-26, 2021
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market + Total Home & Gift Market 🔗
Apr 11-13, 2021
Denver Apparel & Accessory Market 🔗
Apr 17-20, 2021
High Point Spring Market 🔗
May 4-6, 2021
Atlanta Spring Cash & Carry 🔗
Jun 6-7, 2021
Denver Apparel & Accessory Market
Visit Gift Shop Mag Trade Show Calendar or Smart Retailer TradeShow Calendar for smaller local/regional shows.

STATE AUXILIARY CONFERENCES

Mar 8-10, 2021 Georgia Society of Volunteer and Retail Professionals (GSVRP) VIRTUAL

Mar 21-23, 2021 Society for Healthcare Volunteer Leaders (SHVL) Annual Convention & Vendor Market Nashville, TN

May 12-15, 2021 Michigan Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals (MHVRP) Spring Conference Shelbyville, MI

June 10-11, 2021 Wisconsin Assoc of Directors of Volunteer Services (WADVS) Annual Conference & Vendor Market Pewaukee, WI


Sometimes, even gift shops hire dishonest people

The best defense against employee theft is to hire honest employees. No one sets out to hire a dishonest employee but some hospital gift shop managers fall into the trap of complete trust. A little skepticism can be a good thing and can be the difference between profit and closing the doors of the business. Every time you hire, do a face-to-face interview and check every reference listed. Many perspective employees will list impressive references that they believe will never be checked. Call former employers. Most will only confirm dates worked and position but ask if the employee is eligible for re-hire. Listen to the tone of their voice. In some states you can require a credit check and criminal background check. There is a cost, but generally this cost is less than what a dishonest employee can steal over time. Here’s a fact from Statistics Brain: The average time office fraud lasts before detection is two years! The average amount stolen a cross the US is $175,000 in each instance. 

If you do accidentally hire a dishonest person (remember 75% have stolen from an employer once, 34% have stolen twice), your best defense is good internal controls. Separation of duties is a must. It is important to constantly rotate duties giving each employee an opportunity to learn many tasks. This could also be beneficial when the owner takes a much-needed vacation. Managers have a responsibility to be diligent to ask bookkeepers for backup for checks and the bookkeeper should never be the person to receive and open the bank statement. Keep in mind that most employee theft is used for living a higher lifestyle, like a nicer vacation or driving a better car. If part-time employees can afford African safari vacations, one wonders where their income comes from.

If you find yourself intimidated by numbers, keep in mind that you are the shop manager. Checking someone else’s work is the manager’s job and responsibility. Occasionally come in early to open the store or come back in to close up. Count the cash for yourself and research any overages or shorts. If, when reviewing checks written for the month you fail to recognize a vendor, ask for the back-up. 

One of the most common plots for employee theft now utilizes the return of merchandise. In this case, imaginary merchandise is returned with no cash refund issued. Instead, the excess cash is processed to the employee’s (cashier’s) credit card. The cash drawer will balance with the cash register tape so nothing is detected. Require refunds to have a second person to sign off and beware of shrink.

At what point do people decide that taking things that do not belong to them is acceptable. Many will attempt in vain to justify inappropriate conduct with the Robin Hood thought process of taking from the ‘haves’ by the ‘have nots’ as being the way life is. How would you answer the question, “Are you honest?”

National Retail Federation says average shrink for a small retail store should be less than 1.38%, preferably around 0.5% to 0.8% of total sales for specialty retailers. Sadly, hospital gift shops have a higher than average shrink amount.

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December Action Plan 🎄

⏳ Buy Soon

  • Review Valentine orders to ensure timely deliveries.
    Gift shop

    Myrtue Medical Center, Harlan, IA

✂ Mark Down

  • December 19: Mark down slow-moving items.
  • Take selective markdowns on slow moving items.

🧸 Display

  • Put calendars and date books in a prime selling space for fast sales. There are only five to six weeks left to sell them. 📆

📝 Plan

  • Ensure that the shop’s physical inventory process is organized and in place for the beginning of the fiscal year.
  • If all your preparatory work was done in advance, nothing should prevent 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.
  • Ensure that shop hours are consistently maintained during these busy times.
  • KWANZA is December 26 – January 1. 🎯
  • Limit vacation days by mid-December — everyone is needed from now until Christmas.
  • Say a special thank you to all workers in your gift shop. Serve Honey Buns under a sign reading “Thanks for working your buns off!”
  • Give lots of ‘pats on the back’, words of thanks and showings of gratitude to all the workers in the shop (volunteer and paid).

40% of annual sales are in November and December.
 35% of candle sales are in December.

  • Train cashiers to suggest GIFT CERTIFICATES to hospital employees. Promote them as the perfect co-worker gift. 🚀
    • Gift Certificates generate immediate cash. They represent an interest-free loan, don’t require floor space, and customers often purchase more than the face amount of the certificate.
    • For the customer, they are a risk-free gift and eliminate the decision-making process.
    • Gift certificates should include who authorized the gift certificate, whom it is from and whom it’s for. Include name, address, expiration date, and additional conditions, such as being non-redeemable for cash. Gift certificates are like money, so good record keeping is essential.

OCTOBER 2020 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #610
Check out last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions.

  • Welcome to the Golden Quarter
  • SURVEY: Do you have an online store?
  • SURVEY RESULTS: Have you recently attended or plan to attend a gift market?
  • Q. What vendors offer baby apparel that sells well?
  • Create videos of your merchandise
  • Q. Holiday gourmet food line?
  • Start planning holiday events now!
  • Coronado Gift Shop adapts and innovates around COVID-19
  • Podcast: Stale Inventory, Fear of Selling, Fear of Buying
  • How we lead: acknowledging and encouraging
  • Comparing your shop’s sales with others
  • Virtual Tradeshows and Online Showrooms
  • Calendar: Gift Markets and Regional Conferences

DISCUSSION


VOLUNTEERS, GIFT SHOPS, FAIR LABOR LAW

I have a question regarding volunteers, gift shops and fair labor laws. The paragraph below is taken from an overview from FLSA website. In particular, I am interested in the part stating volunteers in commercial activity are not allowed in non-profit organizations. Can you tell me exactly what that means? – Beth Meadows, Advisor, Philanthropy & Volunteer Services, Marion General Hospital, Marion, IN. 9/25/20

Volunteers
The FLSA recognizes the generosity and public benefits of volunteering and allows individuals to freely volunteer in many circumstances for charitable and public purposes. Individuals may volunteer time to religious, charitable, civic, humanitarian, or similar non-profit organizations as a public service and not be covered by the FLSA. Individuals generally may not, however, volunteer in commercial activities run by a non-profit organization such as a gift shop. A volunteer generally will not be considered an employee for FLSA purposes if the individual volunteers freely for public service, religious or humanitarian objectives, and without contemplation or receipt of compensation. Typically, such volunteers serve on a part-time basis and do not displace regular employed workers or perform work that would otherwise be performed by regular employees. In addition, paid employees of a non-profit organization cannot volunteer to provide the same type of services to their non-profit organization that they are employed to provide.

 
FROM CINDY
Thank you for your question and your concern about FLSA’s statement regarding volunteers.

Hospital gift shops are considered ‘for profit’ since they sell products for a profit even though they exist inside a non-profit or for-profit hospital. The status of the hospital is not the issue. Shop profits are typically given back to the hospital or to an entity within the hospital for medical equipment or patient benefit. A hospital gift shop missions statement will typically reflect this. Note the descriptors “retail business” and “service center”. Keep in mind that most hospital gift shops exist primarily to serve hospital employees working on site.

Gift Shop Mission Statement [Sample]
The ________ Hospital Gift Shop’s mission is to ensure satisfaction and value for our customers through fair-market pricing, service excellence, and quality merchandise. By meeting our customers’ needs, we will prosper as a retail business and meet the expectations of our employees and volunteers. As a service center, all profits from the gift shop are used to support patient care, programs, and medical equipment at ________ Hospital.

I hope this answers your question!


HOW IS THE SHUTDOWN AFFECTING YOUR GIFT SHOP?

We finally opened this week for the first time in 6 months. Our hours are 3 times a week for four hours a day. Needless to say the staff is so excited. Concerns are how long we will stay open at this point. Covid numbers are skyrocketing. Not sure I will carry fall or Christmas items at this point. – Elizabeth Stringham, Volunteer Manager for Gift Shop, ThedaCare Regional Medical Center, Appleton, WI 10/6/20

Elizabeth, where are you located? Bravo for that glimmer of hope for your staff to be open just a short period of time. It is important for the hospital to see your “value” to the hospital as people start to come in and pick up necessities. As you know the hospital staff look to you for something different to look at other than masks and soda and candy. There are cute necklaces out there that clip on to masks so that you can avoid losing your mask and it looks like jewelry hanging around your neck. Unusual and fun items even in really small quantities lets people know that you are still an important part of the hospital and you are open! Just one small table display at the entrance that makes your “guests” smile…is worth the minor investment. Everyone is watching the seasons go so that we can move on into a new year!! – Anne Obarski, Merchandise Concepts, Mount Pleasant, MI. 10/9/20

We reopened the week that all retail establishments were permitted to open. It’s been going pretty well and the employees are so thankful that they can come in and shop. During the shutdown we were only selling via emails and phone calls. Patients are only permitted one visitor per day so we definitely are loosing there but our screeners will permit the public to come into the hospital to shop at our store so that’s a definite plus. Still only open limited hours. Mon–Thu 9-4 and Fri 9-2. No weekends. Snoozies masks have been our BIGGEST seller! Yes, they are more expensive but, after the employees tried them, they realized how comfortable they were. I sell them for $14.99 and get a second 25% off. We are a small community hospital too so we’re not selling to the rich and famous A much less expensive alternative is Wine Onion I’ve always bought jewelry from them but now you can get masks for less than $3 each and they’re selling really well at $6.99. And always, DM Merchandising has excellent prices! Their Comfort Care masks are $2.90 cost and sell for $6.99. I’ve reordered so many times. -Jenny Turner, UH Portage Medical Center, Ravenna, OH 10/7/20

Hi Jenny! I’m a grad of KSU and was tickled to see your hospital turn up here. I am happy you are offering a few different price points for your masks. What is even more interesting are your comments about Snoozies! It is important to take away from your comments that even though you may think the price point is high, the “value” your customer receives out weighs the retail price. I am sure you have a group of cheerleaders at your hospital who tell everyone that comfort is worth it. I know we all can agree when it comes to masks, comfort and quality say it all. – Anne Obarski, Merchandise Concepts, Mount Pleasant, MI. 10/9/20

25% of the HGS in California are open for business in several modes of operation.Almost all of the HGS based on my research are also open with their county health and hospital restrictions. – Lilly Stamets 10/12/20

We are open to limited hours. Monday thru Friday, 10am to 4pm, closed Saturday and Sunday. The week of our employee holiday event, November 16th, we will be re open on Saturday’s from 10am to 2pm for our weekend employees and guests. This will continue through the holidays and hopefully, into 2021. Thank you. -Kim DeBord, Riverside Medical, Kankakee, IL, 336 beds 10/6/20

We have opened up this week with limited hours. We do not plan to place any orders for the balance of 2020. – Barbara Reynolds, Roseville, CA 10/6/20

We are still closed… -Pinecone Gift Shop 10/2/20

Our hospital had not been allowing visitors other than special circumstances since March. We had been allowed to reopen the gift shops for limited hours a day. This week they are changing the visitor policy to allow a visitor per patient, but visitors and patients have to remain in their rooms when possible and they are not allowed to enter the gift shops or dine in the café. We are concerned about policing this, as our doors have been open and we have two rooms so the door isn’t always in sight. We are going back closed doors/no entry and text orders. We will continue using our private employee group to sell to employees. I’m looking at ecommerce sites for the possibility of this continuing deep into fourth quarter. – Shea Parazine 7/7/20



© Cindy Jones Associates, 2020. COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. Redistribution, copying, reselling, re-renting, or republishing is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Cindy’s Newsletter may not to be forwarded, redistributed, reproduced, reprinted, or posted online without prior permission from Cindy Jones Associates. Subscribers may share one issue with a fellow manager. Thereafter, the manager may subscribe here to receive future issues.

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | October 15, 2020 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER

for

Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter provides its readership of over 3,000 gift shop professionals “actionable content” to help optimize their shop operation, grow revenue, and connect with one another. LEAVE A COMMENT: Click the colored comment tags throughout the newsletter or email Cindy at cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com


OCTOBER 15, 2020


Welcome to the Golden Quarter

by Cindy Jones, Editor 💮

This is the time of year when retailers can expect to generate between 50-70% of their annual revenue. Making the Golden Quarter work for you requires careful planning that, in reality, should have begun back in January. But even if you haven’t be able to lay the ground-work due to COVID-19, you can still reap the benefits of a solid holiday season. Planning, using resources like an online shop, and knowing your retail goals will help with Q4 preparation and work towards a successful year-end push.

  • All Christmas merchandise should be in the shop by mid-October. About 50-65% of your shop should be holiday merchandise by the last week of October. 
  • Display your more expensive holiday merchandise first. You never know how much your customer is willing to spend unless you dangle the carrot in front of him or her. If you leave your inventory in the stockroom, you will lose sales. And, this leads to markdowns!
  • Put up your artificial Christmas tree and display all your ornaments. Add clear mini-lights for sparkle and drama! 🎄
  • Keep windows unobstructed and open for customers to see into your wonderful shop unless they are filled with terrific displays!
  • String clear twinkle lights around shop windows. Play holiday music and set the mood!
  • Post pictures of your beautiful shop on your social media sites.
  • All decorations and display props should be “for sale”.
  • All summer merchandise goes on clearance. ✂️
  • Order bag and wrap supplies for the holidays. 
  • Assign someone to restock the register area from now to December 25. 
  • Change window displays every 3-4 weeks. 
  • Integrate cross-merchandising into displays
  • Begin displaying higher-priced holiday merchandise and Christmas collectibles.
  • Begin displaying Halloween merchandise.
  • Order 2021 planners and calendars. 
  • Mark down slow selling merchandise to acquire space for just-arrived items.✂️
  • Ensure that monthly meetings are held for advance merchandise buying and planning.
  • Discuss the importance of checking in, pricing, and restocking merchandise in a timely way throughout October, November, and December. 
  • Discuss everyone’s vacation schedules so all areas of responsibility are covered during these crucial times.
  • Encourage buyers to think in terms of “total shop success” instead of just their own category and turf. Working in harmony as a team will produce profitable results for your gift shop. 🏆
  • Schedule buyers’ meetings to review job descriptions and responsibilities. Emphasize how important their commitment is to the shop – especially during the holidays. 🏆
  • This is a crucial time to develop your shop’s holiday marketing plan. Write and schedule submissions to the hospital newspaper/newsletter to run every week or so throughout the holidays announcing all your exciting holiday merchandise.
  • Request that all staff and volunteers report when they will be out of town during the holidays. Ensure that their job responsibilities are covered while they are gone.
  • Present a short training session on proper phone etiquette, “What Should I Say?”
  • Train cashiers procedures to follow when a shoplifter is spotted or caught. 🎯 
  • Be the first to say, “Hello! Good to see you.” Smile at everyone you meet.


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SURVEY: Do you have an online store?

Do you have an online store?Does your shop have an ecommerce store on your organization's website, a separate website, or any other platform.


SURVEY RESULTS: Have you recently attended or plan to attend a gift market?

Current results to the survey, as of October 15, 2020, show most are not attending gift shows yet.

October 2020


Q. What vendors offer baby apparel that sells well?

I manage a gift shop in a 99- bed facility and we deliver babies. What vendors offer baby apparel that sells well? Thank you – Patty Cummings, Inventory Procurement Specialist, Fisher-Titus Medical Center, Norwalk, OH. 9/28/20


Create videos of your merchandise

Create great videos of your merchandise and post on your shop’s social media account to help drive traffic! They don’t have to be elaborate or large productions. Select a high-demand item and “walk your customers through it”. Highlight the items functionality, materials, colors, and options or varieties. Show all angles and sides of the item, demonstrate use when applicable or pair with other items to upsell! Keep the video short, succinct, and lighthearted. Videos are a great way to tell your customers about newly discounted or promotional items, as well.

Here’s a terrific merchandise video created by shop manager, Judy, and her team at Rice Hospital Gift Shop!

Having trouble viewing the video? Here’s the direct link https://www.facebook.com/RiceGiftShop/posts/2778950519001672



Q. Holiday gourmet food line?

We are considering ordering some holiday gourmet dips, soups, and drink mix products to sell. Any recommendations?  8/23/20  

We have purchased cocoa, ciders, etc from McSteven’s. Cocoa pouches are .71-.80 each. We also purchased from Great Scot which has jellies and preserves. – Ginger Taylor, Cox Health Medical, Springfield, MO. 502 beds. 10/8/20

FROM CINDY
Wind & Willow and Gourmet Village were recommended. 

 


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Start planning holiday events now!🎄

by Cindy Jones, Editor 💮

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS SALE

Offer 20% – 30% off merchandise over twelve days from varied categories or fun identifiers. There are several great variations to this event. Be creative! All Santa’s, all stuffed animals with a tail, food smelling candles, snowmen items, jewelry that could pick ice with or skewer a snowball, ornaments with dogs. For example; all snowmen one day, then all reindeer another, all items with green, all items with a tree, all mugs and drinking items.

Another variation is a COLORFUL CHRISTMAS event with discounts by color: all items with Rudolph Red, then items with Grinch Green, items with Winter White, items with Stocking Coal Black, items with Pumpkin Orange, items with Yellow Snow, etc. : ) Note that items must contain at least 75% of the color.

Count back 12 business days from December 23 or 24 to determine the first first day of the sale (the weekend days are the same as the preceding Friday). The sale ends on Dec. 23 or 24 with holiday items marked at 40% off until January 1. That is when they are moved to your clearance area to make way for new merchandise. Alternatively, start the event on December 1, thereby giving you the opportunity to offer 30% discount the week previous to Christmas and 50% the week following Christmas.

Prepare twelve fliers that promote only the discounted merchandise for that specific day. Do not post an advance list of sale items. Withholding the sale item will encourage shoppers to come in daily to see what’s on the list. Post fliers each morning on the shop door, as well as social media and your website.

This makes hunting through the merchandise interesting and keeps customers coming back. It also keeps your buyers busy planning ahead and watching the merchandise carefully. This promotion may take a day or two to catch on, but the following year you will really see increased sales.

Get more holiday ideas and full planning schedule in the 50-page guide Twelve Month Action Plan

Retailing in current times is just like any other.
You have to be agile. You also have to be flexible.
Times are tough and may get tougher before things improve,

especially if a second COVID-19 surge comes this fall.
But, as the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy advises: ‘Don’t panic!”
You may need to reinvent and reimagine your future gift shop!


Coronado Gift Shop adapts and innovates around COVID-19

Coronado Hospital Gift Shop implements new online shop, pharmacy space, touchless payment, doorside pickup, room delivery.

The Coronado Times / Sep 16, 2020

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unique challenges and our teams have risen to meet them in creative ways,” comments Stone. The Auxiliary team was challenged when they were required to close the hospital Gift Shop and thrift store, Second Best Shop. In response, they have created new and innovative ways to support the Auxiliary.

Space has been dedicated in the Coronado Community Pharmacy featuring Gift Shop items for purchase. In addition, a phone-in option is now available to purchase items from an online Gift Shop where people can view items and click on the link or just call to make a purchase and have a gift delivered directly to a patient’s room.

In addition, Second Best Shop is pleased to announce the grand opening of its virtual thrift shop. The online Second Best Shop features a variety of offerings, including clothes and household items, for purchase directly on the website and then the team will coordinate with customers for a touchless pick up.

Coronado, CA

Excerpt from The Coronado Times


Podcast: Stale Inventory, Fear of Selling, Fear of Buying

We are loving the series Tackling Fear Before Q4 by the Savvy ShopkeeperCheck them out!

Getting Rid of Stale Inventory – Episode 39

The fear of getting rid of inventory sitting in your store for way too long is common in retailers. I’ve seen this fear for years, with clients, group members, and through my conversations with shopkeepers. I want to stress that sitting on old inventory is one of the worst things you can do in your retail business. It. Can. Break. You! It really can.

The Fear of Selling – Episode 40

All shopkeepers should be selling right now. And when I say all shopkeepers, I mean the makers should be selling to the brick and mortar stores, the brick and mortar stores should be selling to their customers, and online shopkeepers should be selling in their online shops. We should ALL be selling!

The Fear of Buying – Episode 41

When the pandemic hit and many of us were mandated to close, there were lots of questions around when we could open again and what would happen once we opened. It caused many independent retailers to either suspend the merchandise orders for their stores or cancel them completely.  

Personally, at my own store, we didn’t cancel any orders. We just delayed a few. For several reasons—and I think one is just a bit of luck—we were really conservative in our buying when we went to AmericasMart in Atlanta in January.

Now, most stores are open again. Customers are shopping. But we have no idea what to expect in Q4! Unless you’re in a seasonal location, quarter four is the biggest season of the year. 

SOURCE: Savvy Shopkeeper.com


How we lead: acknowledging and encouraging

by Ken Blanchard / Sep 20, 2020

Most leaders genuinely intend to manage people well. Unfortunately, many of them fail to engage and motivate others. Why? I believe it’s because you can’t just hope to be a good leader; you have to consistently practice proven leader behaviors.

 Acknowledging Is a Learned Skill

Too often people feel they are working in a vacuum, because no matter how well they perform, nobody notices. Or, if their manager notices, they make overly general comments, such as, “I appreciate your efforts” or “thanks for the good job.” While that’s better than saying nothing, it doesn’t do a whole lot to motivate the person or help that person feel valued.

Do it quickly and in detail. For acknowledgment to be effective, it needs to be immediate and specific. When you notice a job well done, tell the person as soon as possible exactly what they did right. For example: “When I was called away last week and couldn’t lead the department meeting, you stepped up, asked me for the agenda, and led the team through each item.” State your feelings. Next, tell the person how what they did impacted you. Don’t intellectualize. State your gut feelings: “We didn’t miss a single deliverable. I felt so relieved and supported. You made me and the whole department look good. Thank you!” Notice how much more effective that is than merely saying, “Thanks. Good job.”

To Encourage, Try Praising People

I ask audiences all the time: “How many of you are sick and tired of all the praisings you get at work?” Everybody laughs, because to most of us, praising does not come naturally. Thousands of years of evolution have wired our brains to search for what isn’t right: Is that a stick on the trail or a venomous snake? Is the wind moving that bush or is it a bear? Our tendency to focus on what isn’t right is a protective mechanism. Unfortunately, it makes us more likely to catch each other doing things wrong.

Take marriage, for example. When you first fall in love, your partner can do no wrong. But after a time you notice what bugs you and you start saying things like, “I can’t believe you could make such a stupid mistake!” Far from motivating your partner, comments like these discourage and shut them down.

Praise, on the other hand, is inherently motivating. Research has shown that praise triggers the hypothalamus and releases dopamine, the feel-good chemical in our brains. Being close counts.

You don’t have to wait for exactly the right behavior before praising someone. Even if a person is doing something approximately right, it’s important to recognize their effort.

Suppose your child is just learning to speak and you want to teach him to say, “Give me a glass of water, please.” If you wait until he says the whole sentence before you give him any water, your kid is going to die of thirst! So you start off by saying, “Water! Water!” And when your kid says “waller,” you jump up and down, kiss the boy, and get Grandma on the phone so she can hear him say “waller.” It isn’t “water” but at this stage, you praise him anyway. You don’t want your kid going into a restaurant at age 21 and asking for a glass of waller, so after a while you only accept the word “water” and then you start on “please.”

Think of encouragement in the same way. In the beginning, catch people doing things approximately right. As their skills develop, gradually move them toward higher levels of competence.

A Positive Cycle

The importance of acknowledging people’s efforts and encouraging their progress cannot be overstated. These leader behaviors set up a positive cycle: Your praise helps people feel good about themselves. People who feel good about themselves produce good results—and people who produce good results feel good about themselves.

So generate some positive energy and help people reach their full potential. Catch people doing things right!

SOURCE: Ken Blanchard, How We Lead


Virtual Tradeshows and Online Showrooms

NY NOW Digital Market
October 3 – December 31, 2020 

NY NOW Digital Market will open on October 3, 2020, with 5 Live Show Days and will unite NY NOW’s unparalleled community of retailers, brands, and makers for live events, experiences, connection, reactivation, and holiday buying. This cutting-edge digital solution was developed to enable brands and retailers to pivot from the in-person event to a digital environment while ensuring a premium, interactive user experience. Retailers can expect enhanced search capabilities across product categories, communities, and trends; best-in-class digital functionality including video calls and appointment setting; and a machine learning layer that curates personalized brand recommendations specific to their buying needs.

Virtual New York Tabletop Show
Oct 13-20, 2020

41Madison.com will host a dedicated New York Tabletop Show hub with new digital features designed to help visitors better connect with brands from afar. Registrants can expect to enjoy upgraded showroom pages, dedicated brand pages will conveniently offer downloadable sell sheets, interactive 3-D virtual tours of showrooms, direct lines of communication with showrooms.

MELROSE 360˙ Showroom
Melrose International announces the premier of their virtual showrooms. They are launching a new way to shop this market season through MELROSE 360˙ Showrooms. Customers will be able to shop by collections, walk the entire showroom, make wish lists, and even place an order. The Home & Holiday showroom is available now and the 2021 Home & Garden showroom will be available in mid-August. The MELROSE 360˙ Holiday Showroom has an all new shopping experience designed for you.  This showroom will feature 12 holiday collections from our 2020 line, for those who weren’t able to shop earlier this season! In addition, all the items featured in this showroom are immediately shipped from our warehouse.


💮 CALENDAR 💮

GIFT MARKETS

Updated Oct 15. Always confirm show dates with the market directly before making travel plans. Dates change frequently and often.VIRTUAL SHOW
Oct 13-20, 2020
New York Tabletop Market
Oct 13 – 17, 2020
Atlanta Apparel Market (Fall) 🔗
Oct 17-21, 2020
High Point Market (Fall). Highpoint, NC 🔗
CANCELLED
Oct 18-20, 2020
NY NOW (Fall). New York 🔗
CANCELLED
Oct 18 – 20, 2020
National Stationery Show, New York
Oct 20-23, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market (Fall) 🔗
Oct 22-25, 2020
TransWorld’s Spring Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (Fall) Rosemont, IL 🔗
Oct 27 – 29, 2020
AmericasMart Fall Cash & Carry, Atlanta 🔗
Nov 4 – 7, 2020
Smoky Mountain Gift Show. Gatlinburg, TN 🔗
Dec 3-6, 2020
TransWorld’s Spring Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (Holiday) Schaumburg, IL 🔗
Jan 6 – 12, 2021
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (Winter) 🔗
Jan 11-15 and 18- 22, 2021
LA Mart (Winter). Los Angeles 🔗 **by appointment only
Jan 12 – 19, 2021
Atlanta Market (Winter) 🔗
Jan 19 – 22, 2021
January Denver Market 🔗
Jan 24 – 28, 2021
Las Vegas Market (Winter) 🔗
Feb 2 – 6, 2021
Atlanta Apparel Market 🔗
CANCELLED
Feb 7-10, 2021
NY NOW (Winter), New York 🔗
Feb 18-21, 2021
TransWorld’s Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (Winter), Rosemont, IL 🔗
Feb 25-28, 2021
Denver Apparel & Accessory Market 🔗

For a list of local and regional shows we recommend Gift Shop Mag Trade Show Calendar or Smart Retailer TradeShow Calendar

STATE AUXILIARY CONFERENCES

VIRTUAL
Nov 4-6, 2020
Missouri Hospital Assoc (MHA) Annual Convention & Vendor Market. Osage Beach, MO 🔗 
RESCHEDULED for
Nov 4-6, 2020

Michigan Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals (MHVRP) Spring Conference. Shelbyville, MI🔗
Mar 21-23, 2021
Society for Healthcare Volunteer Leaders Annual Convention & Vendor Market. Nashville, TN 🔗
May 12 – 15, 2021
Michigan Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals Spring Conference. Shelbyville, MI 🔗

 


Comparing your shop’s sales with others

When comparing your shop’s ‘sales per square foot’ or your shop’s ‘net profit percent of your gross sales’ to other shops or to national benchmarks, remember that all variables must be equal!

Comparing ‘sales per square foot’ is a valuable measurement tool for success but you have to compare apples to apples. The shop has to be proportionate in physical size to the number of employees and patient beds. While a large-sized shop in a small hospital will generate less ‘sales per square foot’ than a small shop with a large number of employee customers.

Is comparing the net profit percent of a shop’s gross sales a fair way to judge a shop’s success? Not necessarily. Some shops have a large number of volunteers instead of paid staff. While some shops have to pay salaries which reduces the bottom line.

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SEPTEMBER 2020 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #609
Check out last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions.

  • Your shop & COVID-19
  • A holiday season like no other
  • Q. Is anyone using lobby kiosks/vending machines during shutdown?
  • SURVEY: Have you recently attended or plan to attend a gift market?
  • Q. Looking for COVID-19 novelty items?
  • These calculations show if you have excess inventory
  • Q. What are some good holiday gourmet food line?
  • Space and size benchmarks
  • Virtual Tradeshows and Online Showrooms
  • Plush. Plush. Plush
  • Forecasting…and facemasks
  • Q. Candle line recommendations?
  • Calendar: Gift Markets and Regional Conferences

DISCUSSION


CANDLE LINE RECOMMENDATIONS

Q. I need to bring in another jar candle line quickly. There are so many out there that I don’t know where to start. Any recommendations? – Volunteer Buyer, Madison, WI 9/12/20

FROM CINDY
Yes, there are so many great candle lines available right now. Here are a few suggestions. Swan Creek Candle Co. and  MAME Soy Candles

We sell a lot of Habersham Wax Vessels. They don’t need to be lighted and no danger of fire—great in patient rooms. – Ginger Taylor, Cox Health Medical, Springfield, MO. 502 beds. 10/8/20.

I picked up a new line of candles, Root Candles, at January’s Atlanta Market and they are fantastic!  -Jenny Turner, UH Portage Medical Center, Ravenna, OH 10/7/20

What candle line do you recommend? 


HIKE IN CHOCOLATE AND CANDY PRICES

Q. We have notice a major increase in chocolate and candy prices. Is any one else experiencing this? – Anonymous 7/7/20 

Yes. But I do have a vendor that sometimes have clearance sales on candy and snacks, but be careful with the expiration dates. Kellies Gifts. They are my biggest vendor I deal with. – Grace Hutchinson, Volunteer Manager and Buyer, Piedmont Medical Center Gift Store, Rock Hill, SC, 7/16/20

Have you noticed an increase in chocolate and candy prices?
 


VOLUNTEERS, GIFT SHOPS, FAIR LABOR LAW

I have a question regarding volunteers, gift shops and fair labor laws. The paragraph below is taken from an overview from FLSA website. In particular, I am interested in the part stating volunteers in commercial activity are not allowed in non-profit organizations. Can you tell me exactly what that means?

Volunteers
The FLSA recognizes the generosity and public benefits of volunteering and allows individuals to freely volunteer in many circumstances for charitable and public purposes. Individuals may volunteer time to religious, charitable, civic, humanitarian, or similar non-profit organizations as a public service and not be covered by the FLSA. Individuals generally may not, however, volunteer in commercial activities run by a non-profit organization such as a gift shop. A volunteer generally will not be considered an employee for FLSA purposes if the individual volunteers freely for public service, religious or humanitarian objectives, and without contemplation or receipt of compensation. Typically, such volunteers serve on a part-time basis and do not displace regular employed workers or perform work that would otherwise be performed by regular employees. In addition, paid employees of a non-profit organization cannot volunteer to provide the same type of services to their non-profit organization that they are employed to provide.

– Beth Meadows, Advisor, Philanthropy & Volunteer Services, Marion General Hospital, Marion, IN. 9/25/20
 
FROM CINDY
Thank you for your question and your concern about FLSA’s statement regarding volunteers.

Hospital gift shops are considered ‘for profit’ since they sell products for a profit even though they exist inside a non-profit or for-profit hospital. The status of the hospital is not the issue. Shop profits are typically given back to the hospital or to an entity within the hospital for medical equipment or patient benefit. A hospital gift shop missions statement will typically reflect this. Note the descriptors “retail business” and “service center”. Keep in mind that most hospital gift shops exist primarily to serve hospital employees working on site.

Gift Shop Mission Statement [Sample]
The ________ Hospital Gift Shop’s mission is to ensure satisfaction and value for our customers through fair-market pricing, service excellence, and quality merchandise. By meeting our customers’ needs, we will prosper as a retail business and meet the expectations of our employees and volunteers. As a service center, all profits from the gift shop are used to support patient care, programs, and medical equipment at ________ Hospital.

I hope this answers your question!



HOW IS THE SHUTDOWN AFFECTING YOUR GIFT SHOP?

idayWe finally opened this week for the first time in 6 months. Our hours are 3 times a week for four hours a day. Needless to say the staff is so excited. Concerns are how long we will stay open at this point. Covid numbers are skyrocketing. Not sure I will carry fall or Christmas items at this point. – Elizabeth Stringham, Volunteer Manager for Gift Shop, ThedaCare Regional Medical Center, Appleton, WI 10/6/20

Elizabeth, where are you located? Bravo for that glimmer of hope for your staff to be open just a short period of time. It is important for the hospital to see your “value” to the hospital as people start to come in and pick up necessities. As you know the hospital staff look to you for something different to look at other than masks and soda and candy. There are cute necklaces out there that clip on to masks so that you can avoid losing your mask and it looks like jewelry hanging around your neck. Unusual and fun items even in really small quantities lets people know that you are still an important part of the hospital and you are open! Just one small table display at the entrance that makes your “guests” smile…is worth the minor investment. Everyone is watching the seasons go so that we can move on into a new year!! – Anne Obarski, Merchandise Concepts, Mount Pleasant, MI. 10/9/20

We reopened the week that all retail establishments were permitted to open. It’s been going pretty well and the employees are so thankful that they can come in and shop. During the shutdown we were only selling via emails and phone calls. Patients are only permitted one visitor per day so we definitely are loosing there but our screeners will permit the public to come into the hospital to shop at our store so that’s a definite plus. Still only open limited hours. Mon–Thu 9-4 and Fri 9-2. No weekends. Snoozies masks have been our BIGGEST seller! Yes, they are more expensive but, after the employees tried them, they realized how comfortable they were. I sell them for $14.99 and get a second 25% off. We are a small community hospital too so we’re not selling to the rich and famous A much less expensive alternative is Wine Onion I’ve always bought jewelry from them but now you can get masks for less than $3 each and they’re selling really well at $6.99. And always, DM Merchandising has excellent prices! Their Comfort Care masks are $2.90 cost and sell for $6.99. I’ve reordered so many times. -Jenny Turner, UH Portage Medical Center, Ravenna, OH 10/7/20

Hi Jenny! I’m a grad of KSU and was tickled to see your hospital turn up here. I am happy you are offering a few different price points for your masks. What is even more interesting are your comments about Snoozies! It is important to take away from your comments that even though you may think the price point is high, the “value” your customer receives out weighs the retail price. I am sure you have a group of cheerleaders at your hospital who tell everyone that comfort is worth it. I know we all can agree when it comes to masks, comfort and quality say it all. – Anne Obarski, Merchandise Concepts, Mount Pleasant, MI. 10/9/20

25% of the HGS in California are open for business in several modes of operation.Almost all of the HGS based on my research are also open with their county health and hospital restrictions. – Lilly Stamets 10/12/20

We are open to limited hours. Monday thru Friday, 10am to 4pm, closed Saturday and Sunday. The week of our employee holiday event, November 16th, we will be re open on Saturday’s from 10am to 2pm for our weekend employees and guests. This will continue through the holidays and hopefully, into 2021. Thank you. -Kim DeBord, Riverside Medical, Kankakee, IL, 336 beds 10/6/20

We have opened up this week with limited hours. We do not plan to place any orders for the balance of 2020. – Barbara Reynolds, Roseville, CA 10/6/20

We are still closed… -Pinecone Gift Shop 10/2/20

Our hospital had not been allowing visitors other than special circumstances since March. We had been allowed to reopen the gift shops for limited hours a day. This week they are changing the visitor policy to allow a visitor per patient, but visitors and patients have to remain in their rooms when possible and they are not allowed to enter the gift shops or dine in the café. We are concerned about policing this, as our doors have been open and we have two rooms so the door isn’t always in sight. We are going back closed doors/no entry and text orders. We will continue using our private employee group to sell to employees. I’m looking at ecommerce sites for the possibility of this continuing deep into fourth quarter. – Shea Parazine 7/7/20

Thank for all you do, Cindy. Reading Hospital is choosing to not open their gift shops any time in the near future. My last day is June 30th. – Eric Wininger, Gift Shops Manager, Reading Hospital 6/19/20

We’ve been open with reduced hours up until yesterday when we returned to regular weekday hours. No weekend hours yet. During our reduced hours we sold t-shirts that said “I’m sorry for what I said during Quarantine” and the staff LOVED them! Nothing insensitive to the seriousness of the situation, but our employees relish getting away for some retail therapy. They’ve been buying hand sanitizer and we’re finally getting masks in that we ordered. – Vicki Holcombe 6/16/20

Vicki, May I ask what company you bought your masks from? Are you happy with them and were they a reasonable price? Thank you!– Pam 6/16/20

They are cloth masks from Couture Tee Company out of Farmville, LA. Cost is $3.50 each. We just got them in but our manager reports they are already selling. She bought one herself and said it’s comfortable to wear. We also have some that just shipped from Calla Products out of Diablo, CA. Cost is $4.00 each for those. Both are vendors we already had a relationship with. I hope this helps.  – Vicki Holcombe 6/17/20

We finally opened this week for the first time in 6 months. Our hours are 3 times a week for four hours a day. Needless to say the staff is so excited. Concerns are how long we will stay open at this point. Covid numbers are skyrocketing. Not sure I will carry fall or Christmas items at this point.My company, Hospitalgiftshop.com, provides hospitals with E-Commerce, online shops…for almost 12 years…that’s all we do. We’re very popular and I’d be happy to discuss our services. Please email me or call any time. In this time of reduced foot traffic, an online shop is a great way to keep patients and their loved ones connected. Our website is http://www.hospitalgiftshop.com Kind regards JIM jimthomas@hospitalgiftshop.com – Jim Thomas 6/16/20

Currently we are open 11 to 1:30 mainly for employees since our hospital is still closed. Limited visitors are now allowed. We’ve been having fun selling when people call the shop. We don’t have fresh flowers but offer a plush and a balloon. We ask what the person may like and how much they want to spend. We deliver to the nurses on the floor, not the patient. Since the sales are time consuming, we have two volunteers each shift. Callers are so happy to get a thoughtful gift to a coworker or patient. I text them a copy of the receipt and sometimes a picture of the item sent. They love it. – Connie Slingluff 6/16/20



© Cindy Jones Associates, 2020. COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. Redistribution, copying, reselling, re-renting, or republishing is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Cindy’s Newsletter may not to be forwarded, redistributed, reproduced, reprinted, or posted online without prior permission from Cindy Jones Associates. Subscribers may share one issue with a fellow manager. Thereafter, the manager may subscribe here to receive future issues.

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | September 15, 2020 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER

for

Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter provides its readership of over 3,000 gift shop professionals “actionable content” to help optimize their shop operation, grow revenue, and connect with one another. LEAVE A COMMENT: Click the colored comment tags throughout the newsletter or email Cindy at cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com


SEPTEMBER 15, 2020


YOUR SHOP & COVID-19 😷

🎉 Reopened! What policies have you put in place? Are they working?

👎🏼 Still Closed. What’s the biggest concern you have about reopening?

😕 Any difficulties or unforeseen challenges reopening?

What helpful tips can you share with other retailers during these unprecedented times? It’s difficult to stay afloat right now, but we encourage you to stay positive. Keep showing up to work every day, keep finding new and creative ways to continue turning merchandise, and keep supporting your community. They need you! <– Click to comment
Is your gift shop open, closed, or some variant?

Great news! We’re definitely seeing a trend in the right direction. Poll results show a 25% increase in shops reopening since last month.

September 15, 2020


How to go from good to remarkable in retail

by Steven Dennis /

There is a select group of good retailers that meet their customers’ expectations. They are retailers that carry the products customers expect, at the prices they expect, and have staff in the store who service them like they expect.

Then there are the few remarkable retailers who do something quite different. They over deliver customers’ needs in unexpected ways, exceeding all expectations.

At every turn, they do the unexpected, offer products customers didn’t know they needed, and provide customer service that surprises and delights. When retailers are remarkable, price doesn’t enter the picture because that elusive quality called value is more important.

The gulf between the two – unremarkable and remarkable retailers – is vast and the world is filled with way too many of the former and too few of the latter.

What’s more, the price retailers pay by being unremarkable in the post-COVID marketplace is high; the growing numbers of once remarkable and now clearly unremarkable retailers are filling bankruptcy courts proves the point.

When distinguishing between unremarkable and remarkable retail, it usually comes down to “I know it when I see it,” famously said by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart when he tried to articulate the difference between constitutionally protected pornography and obscenity.

That same intuitive filter is how the shopper, not to mention retail professionals, recognize remarkable retail. The many intersecting components that transform mundane retail into a truly remarkable experience can be quantified. The key is to look at remarkable retail as a series of data points that become an evidence-based playbook for change.

The companies that did not deal with all the disruptive trends of the past 10-to-20 years are even more vulnerable to be wiped out or severely impacted in this time. Retailers need to be fundamentally more agile and build that culture of experimentation. The fear coming out of this pandemic is it may make companies more risk-averse.

SOURCE: Steve Dennis, author of Remarkable Retail  (LifeTree Media, 2020)


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Q. Is anyone using lobby kiosks or vending machines during shutdown?

Does anyone have any information on lobby kiosks or automated retail ‘vending machines’ to sell gift shop items during times when the gift shop is not open? I have seen flower kiosks and there are similar vending services in airports. <em>-Judi Stallings, UNM Hospital Gift Shop, Albuquerque, NM. 600 beds</em>. 8/24/20 <– Click to comment

SOURCE: Trade Show News Network

THIS MONTH’S SURVEY

Have you recently attended or plan to attend a gift market?

LAST MONTH’S SURVEY

Survey shows most of our readers are not attending gift shows yet. Only 6 out of 75 readers who voted in August said they were attending gift shows. Check out our section on virtual tradeshows and online showrooms in recent issues to learn how and where to buy remotely. Search for “online showrooms” on this website.



Q. Is anyone selling COVID-19 novelty items?

What COVID-19 novelty items is everyone selling? We are trying to find fun pandemic, social distancing, covid-19 gifts to sell in our shop? Thanks and stay safe!!! <em>- Anonymous in Arizona 9/1/20</em> <– Click to comment


A holiday season like no other

The coronavirus pandemic is upending the way U.S. consumers shop and the holidays will be no exception as major retailers and shippers roll out their earliest-ever shopping season.

[Big box retailers] have moved winter holiday promotions up to as early as October.  Walmart is announcing store closures on Thanksgiving and plans to bypass the midnight Black Friday door-buster sales that traditionally mark the start of the holiday season but are incompatible with the pandemic’s social distancing recommendations.

Kohl’s Chief Executive Michelle Gass said on Tuesday that “a holiday season like no other” means emphasizing comfortable apparel, home essentials and kids’ toys, all categories that have performed well as shoppers largely opt to remain at home.

Retailers are struggling to keep their shelves stocked for any holiday purchases while avoiding getting stuck with too much unsold merchandise if anxious shoppers decline to open their wallets.

By starting promotions early – in some cases before Halloween – retailers risk giving shoppers holiday fatigue. But analysts and investors say the idea could help draw shoppers back.

One supplier to a big box retailer told Reuters that the chain is bracing for a 30% decline in holiday spending this year, though the National Retail Federation (NRF) trade group has yet to release its holiday forecast.

Excerpts from Reuters  / Aug 22, 2020



Q. Holiday gourmet food line?

We are considering ordering some holiday gourmet dips, soups, and drink mix products to sell. Any advice or recommendations?  8/23/20 <– Click to comment

FROM CINDY
Wind & Willow and  Gourmet Village were recommended.


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Space and size benchmarks for your shop

by Cindy Jones, Editor 💮

As a hospital gift shop consultant and designer, I am often asked for recommendations on space and size in new shops. In this process, benchmarks based on the number of beds, hospital employees, and sales can assist in determining the size of a future gift shop.

SHOP SIZE
I recommend that a hospital with 2,000 or more employees have at a minimum of 1,000 square feet of selling space. Without the appropriate square footage the shop cannot adequately meet the retail needs of patients, visitors, and employees. This results in lower sales and less money back to the hospital.

Recently, I have seen a significant increase in shop size for those that are raising a substantial amount of money for the hospital.

STOCKROOM SPACE
There are no figures available for average stockroom size, however, a shop can’t operate at a high level without an adjacent office and stockroom/workroom. Additional storage can be located at various locations in the facility.

FORMULA FOR INVENTORY LEVELS 🎯
Inventory should be approximately 25% of annual sales. If annual sales are $600,000, then the average inventory (at retail) should be approximately $150,000. The stockroom and shop needs to accommodate that amount of merchandise.

SALES PER SQUARE FOOT
In evaluating both successful and failing shops, I have found that a minimum of $400-500* per square foot (at retail) in sales annually is doable for most shops.

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.
– 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!

*Many shops around the country are generating well over $1,500 in sales per square foot per year.

Information is based on the consultant’s general experience, knowledge of gift shop management, and data from sponsored national surveys.


Plush

by Cindy Jones, Editor 💮

Regardless of what comes and goes, plush will always remain a viable retail staple in hospital gift shops. That doesn’t mean that they don’t still follow trends, and having the “it” items in all shapes and sizes are key.

gift shop plushWhether designs are realistic, whimsical, semi-realistic or licensed, soft and cuddly plush is always a win. This year we’ll see more innovative trims and fabrics that are used as accessories and accents on plush pieces.

While pinks and purples are always hot for girls, pastels with a tone-on-tone pop of color, earth tones and bright colors continue to be popular overall. Top plush categories include bears, dogs, cats and jungle, and popular themes include princesses, sea life, iridescent and hombre.

It is important to have an array of price points for plush to cover impulse buys in small, medium, and large sizes. It’s also important not to lose sight of the extra large statement pieces for impact and Q4 sales.

Get a full markup on plush. Plush should be one of your highest sales categories. Cost x 2.4% and 6% or so for shipping


These calculations show if you have excess inventory

by Cindy Jones, Editor 💮

Excess inventory can increase the cost of goods by 25-30%. Determining poor performers can be accomplished by calculating space-to-sales ratio.

Say you have 13 feet of shelving devoted to gifts. Gift sales generate $700 a month. That gives you sales of nearly $54 per month. (Measure display space in linear feet.)

On the other hand, let’s say you devote 20 feet of display space to jewelry but sell only $500 per month. That amounts to sales of $25 per square foot, suggesting that the gift department may be far more productive than the jewelry department.

Note: Space-to-sales ratio alone does not give enough data for a final decision. Also factor gross margin in each category.

Once you have targeted the poor performers, get rid of them. But before marking them down, try moving them to another spot. If that doesn’t work, take a markdown.

When evaluating your shop’s performance, you need to analyze inventory turns. Inventory turns are calculated by dividing total annual sales by average monthly inventory at retail. Compare your current turns with those from previous years. Also, compare your shop’s turn rate with the hospital gift shop benchmark – which ranges from 4-5.

Then, to stock your shop for the desired inventory turn, follow these steps 🎯:

  1. Divide ideal turnover figure into 52 weeks to calculate the number of weeks in each turn, or in your selling period. So, if your ideal turn rate is 4, then your goal is to turn your shop’s entire inventory once every 13 weeks.
  2. Then, project your sales for the number of weeks (13) in the turn. This will give you the precise level of inventory (at retail) you will need at the beginning of the selling period.
  3. Achieve and maintain that level.

Let’s face it, vendors will happily sell you more than you need. It’s your job to buy no more than you can sell.

Get the complete 10-page step-by-step Guide to Calculating Shop Inventory including worksheets, checklists, and calculations. 


Virtual Tradeshows and Online Showrooms

NY NOW Digital Market
Oct 3-7, 2020

NY NOW Digital Market will be held Oct. 3-7, 2020. The Digital Market offers live events, community engagements, and live chat and video conferences with brands. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore brands, new products and collections, and to experience personalized recommendations through the live chats and video conferencing. Registration is open now for the NY NOW’s Digital Market.

Virtual New York Tabletop Show
Oct 13-20, 2020

41Madison.com will host a dedicated New York Tabletop Show hub with new digital features designed to help visitors better connect with brands from afar. Registrants can expect to enjoy upgraded showroom pages, dedicated brand pages will conveniently offer downloadable sell sheets, interactive 3-D virtual tours of showrooms, direct lines of communication with showrooms.

MELROSE 360˙ Showroom
Melrose International announces the premier of their virtual showrooms. They are launching a new way to shop this market season through MELROSE 360˙ Showrooms. Customers will be able to shop by collections, walk the entire showroom, make wish lists, and even place an order. The Home & Holiday showroom is available now and the 2021 Home & Garden showroom will be available in mid-August. The MELROSE 360˙ Holiday Showroom has an all new shopping experience designed for you.  This showroom will feature 12 holiday collections from our 2020 line, for those who weren’t able to shop earlier this season! In addition, all the items featured in this showroom are immediately shipped from our warehouse.

Do you know of any virtual markets or online showrooms? <– Click to comment

💮 CALENDAR 💮

GIFT MARKETS

Updated Sept 15. Always confirm show dates with the market directly before making travel plans. Dates change frequently and often. Sep 23-25, 2020
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (Fall) 🔗
VIRTUAL MARKET
Oct 3-7, 2020
NY NOW’s Digital Market
**Oct 5–7, 2020
LA Mart (Fall). Los Angeles 🔗 **by appointment only
Oct 5–6, 2020
Seattle Gift Show (Fall) 🔗
CANCELLED
Oct 7 – 10, 2020
Las Vegas Souvenir & Resort Gift Show 🔗
VIRTUAL SHOW
Oct 13-20, 2020
New York Tabletop Market
Oct 13 – 17, 2020
Atlanta Apparel Market (Fall) 🔗
Oct 17-21, 2020
High Point Market (Fall). Highpoint, NC 🔗
CANCELLED
Oct 18-20, 2020
NY NOW (Fall). New York 🔗
CANCELLED
Oct 18 – 20, 2020
National Stationery Show, New York
Oct 20-23, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market (Fall) 🔗
ON HOLD
Oct 22-25, 2020
TransWorld’s Spring Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (Fall) Rosemont, IL 🔗
Oct 27 – 29, 2020
AmericasMart Fall Cash & Carry, Atlanta 🔗
Nov 4 – 7, 2020
Smoky Mountain Gift Show. Gatlinburg, TN 🔗
Dec 3-6, 2020
TransWorld’s Spring Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (Holiday) Schaumburg, IL 🔗
Jan 6 – 12, 2021
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (Winter) 🔗
Jan 11-15 and 18- 22, 2021
LA Mart (Winter). Los Angeles 🔗 **by appointment only
Jan 12 – 19, 2021
Atlanta Market (Winter) 🔗
Jan 19 – 22, 2021
January Denver Market 🔗
Jan 24 – 28, 2021
Las Vegas Market (Winter) 🔗
Feb 2 – 6, 2021
Atlanta Apparel Market 🔗
Feb 7-10, 2021
NY NOW (Winter), New York 🔗
Feb 18-21, 2021
TransWorld’s Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (Winter), Rosemont, IL 🔗
Feb 25-28, 2021
Denver Apparel & Accessory Market 🔗

For a more complete list, including small and regional shows, we recommend Gift Shop Mag Trade Show Calendar or Smart Retailer TradeShow Calendar

STATE AUXILIARY CONFERENCES

VIRTUAL
Nov 4-6, 2020
Missouri Hospital Assoc (MHA) Annual Convention & Trade Show. Osage Beach, MO 🔗 
RESCHEDULED for
Nov 4-6, 2020

Michigan Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals (MHVRP) Spring Conference. Shelbyville, MI🔗

2021

When is your 2021 state auxiliary conference?

 

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WEBINAR
Hospital Gift Shop Best Sellers

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AUGUST 2020 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #608
Check out last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions.

  • Coronavirus discussion
  • Fall Checklist
  • Q. Would an online store work for your shop?
  • Survey: Have you recently attended, or plan to attend, a gift market?
  • Survey Results: Is it in bad taste to sell COVID-19 novelty items?
  • Four Trends: How COVID-19 will shape holiday retail shopping in 2020
  • Best practices on combating theft and shrinkage
  • Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Gift Shop donates $350,000
  • Two big, but simple, changes for your shop
  • Virtual Tradeshows and Online Showrooms
  • Gift Market Calendar
  • Build a Creative Thinking Environment in Your Shop
  • Mill House Gifts opens in Russell Medical

DISCUSSION


CANDLE LINE RECOMMENDATIONS

Q. I need to bring in another jar candle line quickly? There are so many out there that I don’t know where to start. Any recommendations? <em>- Volunteer Buyer, Madison, WI 9/12/20</em> <<< Click to comment

FROM CINDY
Yes, there are so many great candle lines available right now. Here are a few suggestions. Swan Creek Candle Co. and  MAME Soy Candles


HIKE IN CHOCOLATE AND CANDY PRICES

Q. We have notice a major increase in chocolate and candy prices. Is any one else experiencing this? – <em>Anonymous 7/7/20</em> 

Yes. But I do have a vendor that sometimes have clearance sales on candy and snacks, but be careful with the expiration dates. Kellies Gifts. They are my biggest vendor I deal with. – Grace Hutchinson, Volunteer Manager and Buyer, Piedmont Medical Center Gift Store, Rock Hill, SC, 7/16/20 


FORECASTING…and facemasks

Not knowing what to forecast this year has been difficult but I decided to work with an open budget, not buy too much ahead. We recently expanded hours to 11 to 5 Monday-Friday with 2 shifts of volunteers a day. Number one best seller is masks!!!!! They are bigger than TY beanie babies seriously! I checked sales for the last 15 days in July and we are up $4,000 over same month last year. I made a list the other day and have 17 suppliers I am working with to keep mask in the shop. Our doors are locked to the public so most of our clientele is staff.

I am having my first virtual sale next week. It will last one week and the vendor is going to send daily email blasts and take the orders. At the end of the week I will enter the payroll deduction. I had another vendor contact me yesterday wanting to do a virtual sale. So anxious to see how this works! It’s a way I can add sales to the shop and not risk the inventory. The ways I advertise are email blasts to the organization and take preorders or let them know masks are in. I hope this is helpful. – Connie Slingluff 7/16/20

Connie, I am curious on what face masks you are selling? – Margaret Legut 7/29/20 

I have tried 3 different vendors for masks and our favorite are from Evergreen. I have customers on a waiting list for them however I have others in the shop. Have worn many of the masks myself and I too like the Evergreen ones. 

Snoozies masks www.buyersdirect.com have been our BIGGEST seller! Yes, they are more expensive but, after the employees tried them, they realized how comfortable they were. I sell them for $14.99 and get a second 25% off. We are a small community hospital too so we’re not selling to the rich and famous A much less expensive alternative is www.wineonion.com I’ve always bought jewelry from them but now you can get masks for less than $3 each and they’re selling really well at $6.99. And always, DM Merchandising  dmmerchandising.com has excellent prices! Their Comfort Care masks are $2.90 cost and sell for $6.99. I’ve reordered so many times! -Jenny Turner, UH Portage Medical Center, Ravenna, OH 10/7/20


HOW IS THE SHUTDOWN AFFECTING YOUR GIFT SHOP?

How is the pandemic shutdown affecting your gift shop. Has your gift shop closed or reduced hours? What about volunteers? Are you sanitizing product? If your hospital does close the gift shop will they deploy you to another department? Are you able to work from home? <– Click to comment

Our hospital had not been allowing visitors other than special circumstances since March. We had been allowed to reopen the gift shops for limited hours a day. This week they are changing the visitor policy to allow a visitor per patient, but visitors and patients have to remain in their rooms when possible and they are not allowed to enter the gift shops or dine in the café. We are concerned about policing this, as our doors have been open and we have two rooms so the door isn’t always in sight. We are going back closed doors/no entry and text orders. We will continue using our private employee group to sell to employees. I’m looking at ecommerce sites for the possibility of this continuing deep into fourth quarter. – Shea Parazine 7/7/20

Thank for all you do, Cindy. Reading Hospital is choosing to not open their gift shops any time in the near future. My last day is June 30th. – Eric Wininger, Gift Shops Manager, Reading Hospital 6/19/20

We’ve been open with reduced hours up until yesterday when we returned to regular weekday hours. No weekend hours yet. During our reduced hours we sold t-shirts that said “I’m sorry for what I said during Quarantine” and the staff LOVED them! Nothing insensitive to the seriousness of the situation, but our employees relish getting away for some retail therapy. They’ve been buying hand sanitizer and we’re finally getting masks in that we ordered. – Vicki Holcombe 6/16/20

Vicki, May I ask what company you bought your masks from? Are you happy with them and were they a reasonable price? Thank you!– Pam 6/16/20

They are cloth masks from Couture Tee Company out of Farmville, LA. Cost is $3.50 each. We just got them in but our manager reports they are already selling. She bought one herself and said it’s comfortable to wear. We also have some that just shipped from Calla Products out of Diablo, CA. Cost is $4.00 each for those. Both are vendors we already had a relationship with. I hope this helps.  – Vicki Holcombe 6/17/20

My company, Hospitalgiftshop.com, provides hospitals with E-Commerce, online shops…for almost 12 years…that’s all we do. We’re very popular and I’d be happy to discuss our services. Please email me or call any time. In this time of reduced foot traffic, an online shop is a great way to keep patients and their loved ones connected. Our website is http://www.hospitalgiftshop.com Kind regards JIM jimthomas@hospitalgiftshop.com – Jim Thomas 6/16/20

Currently we are open 11 to 1:30 mainly for employees since our hospital is still closed. Limited visitors are now allowed. We’ve been having fun selling when people call the shop. We don’t have fresh flowers but offer a plush and a balloon. We ask what the person may like and how much they want to spend. We deliver to the nurses on the floor, not the patient. Since the sales are time consuming, we have two volunteers each shift. Callers are so happy to get a thoughtful gift to a coworker or patient. I text them a copy of the receipt and sometimes a picture of the item sent. They love it. – Connie Slingluff 6/16/20

We are not open yet. I think the hardest part was that I went in got all the Easter out, did a deep clean, got all Of Mother’s Day out and displayed and we still aren’t open. I have ordered nothing in 2 months. I can’t order until there is money coming in again. I have a store room full of summer apparel that I will put out since the spring apparel is still hanging there. So sad!! – Vickie Bailey 5/22/20

It really is sad, Vickie! What a shame! Sending warm wishes to all you managers that are facing this same dilemma. – Cindy

Our Governor is slowly reopening the state of Arkansas and our CEO Allowed us to reopen with limited traffic and reduced hours week before last in time for Mother’s day. We have a sanitizing station at the door for people to sanitize upon entry and masks are required. Our employees have been very excited to have a bit of normalcy again and its reducing some stress. No volunteers back yet so my supervisor and I are trading off shifts. We are open 10-3 Monday through Friday. I had set up a private employees only Facebook group while we were closed so I could still sell things to the employees that way and we have found they love live videos of new merch so we are continuing posting in that group as well.  – Shea Parazine 5/18/20

Thank you for sharing, Shea. Glad to hear you have opened, even with limited hours. Also, thanks for sharing that you set up a private Facebook group using live videos of your products. Please share the link if it goes public. – Cindy

All our Volunteers LOA but myself and my wife continued to keep the gift shop open for the employees.  – James Padgett 5/18/20

So glad to hear your shop is open. What hospital are you with? – Cindy

We are closed but open to email & phone orders so that employees can get any type of item. We’ve been selling a lot of pop and candy but also cards & gifts. – Jenny Turner 4/15/20

We were told to close our Shop on March 16th until further notice (Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, NY) – 337 Beds. Our Association decided to donate all perishable snacks, bagged candy and even our Gourmet Chocolates to the Hospital Staff and it was distributed by their Senior Leaders. – Anne Trocano/Linda Leary

We donated all our Easter candy and any candy/snacks which will expire by June, to our staff as a Thank You for their hard work. – Anonymous

We did the same! – Anonymous

We have had to shutter our doors as of March 18. After our closing, as the manager, I decided I would call each employee or volunteer on the day they would have worked as a way to stay in contact with everyone. Some of the paid staff (myself included) have been placed in the labor pool, and do other jobs throughout the hospital, but I still make the effort each week to call and check on everyone to discuss how absolutely bored they are, do they have enough toilet paper, the puzzle they are working on, or just how much their spouse is driving them nuts! I have to say it has been beneficial to both them and me. We are bonded through our common goal, The Gift Shop, and our lives are just not the same without it.
We all anxiously await the day we can reunite and “do our job again”  – David Munger

David, this is wonderful! Thank you for sharing! – Cindy Jones

We are now taking phone orders with delivery to our patients, in-town delivery, pickup, and mail out! Business has been very slow, but I felt like I had to try something…  -Jamie Lee Hernandez

We closed the shop on March 6. We donated flowers in stock to patients and staff. Fortunately, we had not decorated for Easter yet and had little expressly Easter inventory as we don’t do very well with it. I have plenty of general inventory for Spring and Summer when we do reopen but have been leery about ordering ahead of that as I just don’t know what things will look like. In the meantime, our auxiliary has decided to donate a substantial amount of money to the hospital to be used as they see fit rather than asking for ideas and then choosing projects or equipment to fund. This seemed like the expedient as well as the more critical response to the needs of the hospital at this point but we hope to still be able to fund the scholarships we usually award to hospital employees. I made and sent Easter cards to all my volunteers and try to stay in touch with them, as many are struggling with their own or spouse’s health issues, independent of the virus. – Sandra Oldfield

I am at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. Both of our gift shops are still open. The Get Well shop in open 8 am to 8 pm M-F and 11-3 Sat and Sun, and our Baby Shop is open, but for reduced hours. We are mainly selling staff t-shirts and tons of snacks. Fortunately we have an e-commerce site and it is doing well, especially for baby gifts and flowers because no one is allowed to visit. Obviously revenues are way down, but we are still making enough to cover employee salaries and the cost of goods we are selling. The staff is very grateful that we are here, as it provides a bit of normalcy in an otherwise unthinkable situation. We have added numerous safety measures, such as a large plexiglass shield across the counter, masks, and hand sanitizer everywhere. Fortunately all of our Easter candy sold, and the rest of our Easter and spring merchandise will just be put away for next year. Since few people saw it, it will seem new to everyone. I hope you are all well and surviving this ultra-trying time! – Shauna Cox

Our shop is closed and has been since about March 16. The volunteers were all “paused” a week or so earlier and I opened a few hours for a couple days and then we were asked to close completely for a while. In a hospital, the gift shop is respite for our staff. No family members have been allowed in the building for a while now, so only staff, but they are our main customer anyway. The staff really miss the shop being open. Especially with all the stress right now, they would really love to be able to wander through the shop just to get their minds off their job for a little while. I’m hoping we will get the green light to open again soon.
I know of some hospital shops opening for a couple hours a day and only two customers at a time in the shop. Some are allowing “window shopping” and then pay via payroll deduct and what they choose is put outside the shop for them…they don’t actually get to come in the shop.
I’m really anxious to hear more from other hospital gift shops to see what they are doing and how they are doing it. The i3POS webinar yesterday had some interesting points. We all need to learn from each other and share ideas as much as we can during these difficult times. – Vesta Smith

When the time comes, consider having a ‘soft opening’ with limited hours and only allowing 10-15 shoppers in at a time. And, they must practice social distancing. Keep a box of rubber gloves and wipes at the front door and cashier counter. Good luck! – Cindy Jones

I have changed my shop into a mini mart. We have made our shop as an Essential business for our employees who are covering the Covid units. We open at 7 a.m. and close at 9p.m. I receive deliveries of food, toilet paper. I have partnered with Costco for deliveries, I moved and boxed all of our seasonal gift items. This has been a huge success. I did this with 3 of my shops. – Anonymous

As of today (3/16), our gift is closed indefinitely. We are sad. – Melodie Christal

As of 3/10 our gift shop was closed indefinitely due to the virus. Nothing we can do!! – Nan Healy

Our gift shop has been closed down, and we have no idea for how long. – Nancy Klein

All of our volunteers have been placed on LOA. I am opening the shop 10-2 M-F and paid staff 11-4 and 1-5 on weekends. I am responsible for all vending services as well so I am spending the rest of each day ordering, stocking, etc. We feel this is probably short term as we expect to be closed at some point. Sales are only on snacks, drinks, and candy so sales are definitely lower. – Anonymous

I am operating our gift shop on a limited schedule, as I am the only paid staff member and our volunteers are also on LOA. Planning to sanitize while I’m up there. Hot spots daily (if not multiple times per day). Going to see how traffic is this week and determine if I need to stay open next week as well. We have strict visitor limitations in place, expecting mainly employee traffic. – Anonymous

Our Gift shop is also closed. Volunteers are on LOA and as manager I am the only employee in Gift Shop. I am taking this time to do stock work and assist at Information Desk as needed. I plan to donate and deliver candy and popcorn to our hardworking clinical staff. – Anonymous

Our volunteers has been asked to stay home for their safety. That leaves me with 3 paid employees. We have a pharmacy in our gift shop so we cannot close, so, we have changed our hours to match the pharmacy. So, we are closing earlier Monday through Saturday and now are closed on Sunday until this passes. Stay safe everyone. – Kim DeBord

As of Saturday our Gift shop is closed. We have Easter and Spring clothes to sell – Sandy Eiffert

Members of the community should not come to the hospital unless there is a medical reason for the visit. This includes coming to the hospital solely to eat in the cafeteria or shop in the gift shop. – Janet Long, Public Relations Manager at Morris Hospital, IL

Our gift shop is closed until further notice. – Anonymous

Our shop is closed to walk in traffic. We have posted on the door and hospital site we will accept orders email, fax and by phone. They can come to the door and pick up. Only credit card and payroll payments. We will continue to accept phone orders for patient gifts. We have redone our windows to better view our products. We hope this is just for a couple weeks. Good Luck everyone. – Mary Claire

We are open but only with limited hours. All volunteers have been mandated to stay home. It is just me the manger and my assistant. Yes, we are sanitizing product and our store and our self’s and we are required to do so every hour! Yes they are saying they will deploy us to another department, we will not be able to work from home. The hospital is not allowing any visitors. Sales have been just for candy and snacks and only employees. – Colleen

We have reduced our hours to M-F 9-5 and Saturday 12-4. We don’t have any Covid-19 positive tests in our County yet. I’m sure as soon as we do, we’ll be shut down. Volunteers, at this point are able to determine for themselves if they wish to come in. – Anonymous

Our two hospital gift shops are closed indefinitely since Monday, 3/16. We only had two volunteers under the age of 60 and myself, a paid manager that would have been eligible to work. I will take this time to clean and organize our office/pricing area. I will clean and reset both shops and set up new displays. I will refresh any worn out display pieces such as repainting the racks from our fresh flower case that once the flowers were removed looked quite shabby, and not in the chic way!. I can work from home if needed, pricing smaller items, writing up future orders with catalogs or ordering online by holding the orders etc. This is a totally helpless feeling, I anxiously await our reopening! Stay healthy! – Jamie Lee Hernandez

Dignity Health Central Coast limits their hospital visitations due to flu and COVID-19 concerns All hospital gift shops are closed until further notice. Washington Health System is suspending some services, including closing the gift shop.  – Cindy Jones

Has your gift shop closed or reduced hours? Has you volunteer department closed? If so, are you as a gift shop manager able to work from home? If your hospital does close the gift shop will they deploy you to another department? Thanks! – Colleen DeSimone, Gift Shop Coordinator,Orange Regional Medical Center Gift Shop

We have been closed for over a week now as we’re staffed entirely by volunteers who are not allowed at the hospital. All visitors except end of life situations or parents of young patients are banned. We distributed the flowers, our only perishable item, to patients who would enjoy them before closing our doors. Our health fair, regional auxiliary meeting and volunteer appreciation lunch are all cancelled and we have no idea when we will re-open. Our hospital is a small rural one with 19 beds. – Sandra Oldfield

We have been closed since Monday. The President felt that if someone who was infected came in contact with multiple items it would be very difficult to disinfect everything they touched. I sent out a mass email to all employees and let them know that if they wanted to buy anything I can get it together and just charge their badge and meet them at the back door. No need to step foot into the shop. It’s working out really well. – Anonymous

What is everyone doing about all of their spring merchandise, just taking a loss?  I am in the process of removing all the Easter merchandise, plush, etc. and storing them for next year. I plan to keep the spring items in the shop. BTW, we have been closed since March 10th. All volunteers on LOA. As the only paid employee among our volunteers I am performing all tasks that our volunteers were doing, mail, surveys, front desk, etc. Stay well everyone. – Sarah F

We are still open, with only two paid employees disinfecting everything we can. We are only selling drinks, food and candy also. – Anonymous

Our gift shop closed officially 3/17 after all the volunteers called off. I am the only paid employee and am currently working from home because I have a sinus infection and am not allowed back into the hospital until I am 100%. Once I am 100% I will be allowed back into the hospital to work on various projects in the hospital and help in other areas where there are shortages. I feel helpless being at home and know that under any other situation I would have already been back to work with the tail end of an infection. Stay safe everyone. – Anonymous

We have a paid staff person in our gift shop so between her and a few die-hard volunteers, it has been open with reduced hours. Our volunteer services is not paused except for the teen program. We will keep it open as long as we can for our staff. We have been told that all staff are essential and no one will be staff reduced at this time, we will be deployed to help elsewhere. – Nichole

Are any of you doing delivery service to hospital employees in various departments and to patient floors? If so, how is that working? – Cindy Jones, Editor

So we have been closed since 3/13. Volunteers are on LOA. I am still here because we do flowers. The shop is closed. I have tried to let employees know that we have gifts if they need them. Very sad. No traffic on our main street. Stay Healthy! – Anonymous

We had to close the Gift Shop per our Executive Team Leaders on March 24. I’m wondering what everyone else, that has had to close, is doing with your Easter product, especially Easter candy? My thought is to hold it over until next year since I hadn’t had it out long enough to sell much of it. I’m pretty sure we won’t be open before Easter at this point. We plan to move to a new location in August and will have limited storage at the new location. – Vickie Bailey, Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital. 90 beds



© Cindy Jones Associates, 2020. COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. Redistribution, copying, reselling, re-renting, or republishing is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Cindy’s Newsletter may not to be forwarded, redistributed, reproduced, reprinted, or posted online without prior permission from Cindy Jones Associates. Subscribers may share one issue with a fellow manager. Thereafter, the manager may subscribe here to receive future issues.

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | August 15, 2020 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER

for

Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter provides its readership of over 3,000 gift shop professionals “actionable content” to help optimize their shop operation, grow revenue, and connect with one another. LEAVE A COMMENT: Click the colored comment tags throughout the newsletter or email Cindy at cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com


AUGUST 15, 2020


CORONAVIRUS DISCUSSION 😷

👍🏼Reopened : what policies have you put in place? Are they working?

👎🏼Still Closed: what’s the biggest concern you have about reopening?

😕Are you experiencing difficult or uncooperative customers?

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your gift shop. Has your gift shop closed or reduced hours? What about volunteers? Are you sanitizing product? If your hospital does close the gift shop will they deploy you to another department? If your hospital does close the gift shop will they deploy you to another department?

LAST MONTH’S COMMENTS
We reopened on July with limited hours. M-F 11am – 3pm. On July 13th the hospital opened for visitors from 1pm – 4pm. With only one visitor per patient per day. We have Plexiglas at the register and lots of signage with a hand sanitizing station at the entrance of the shop. We also have a limit of five people in the shop at once due to square footage. The hospital is preparing in advance for another shut down, we are in New York State and the gift shop is creating an online store for hospital employees so we can have curb side pick up if have to close again. We were closed for three months.  We have notice a major increase in chocolate and candy prices is any one else experiencing this? – Anonymous 7/7/20  

Yes. But I do have a vendor that sometimes have clearance sales on candy and snacks, but be careful with the expiration dates. Kellies Gifts. They are my biggest vendor I deal with. – Grace Hutchinson, Volunteer Manager and Buyer, Piedmont Medical Center Gift Store, Rock Hill, SC, 7/16/20

Would love to know what your top sellers are? – Anne Obarski 8/5/20

We reopened July 6th. I had to adjust the shop hours due to the shortage of volunteers. we are open M-F 830am-5pm. I’m thankful that I do have 3 part-time paid employees. Business is really slow because the traffic of the hospital has been reduced tremendously! I have a lot of merchandise in stock from before we closed in March. So I’m not really buying anything major. I’m going to be more conservative on spending because everything is so uncertain right now.

We reopened on July 6th with reduced hours, M-F 9a-3p and 10a-1p on Saturday, closed on Sunday. Visitors are still not allowed at the hospital, but we are open for the convenience of staff and those who come in for the Outpatient procedures. No more than 3 customers allowed in at once, hand sanitizing and masks required.  – Anonymous 7/16/20

Congratulations! It sounds like you are doing everything you need to. Providing “smiling eyes” is so important. It’s also amazing that you have 3/4 of your staff back! Great job! – Anne Obarski 8/5/20

We have opened our Pinkadilly Gift Shop on June 1st. We use plexi-glass at the register, everyone wears a mask, all people who enter hospital are screened and have to wear a mask. About 3/4 of my volunteer staff have returned, but enough to stay open Monday thru Friday. Customers/Nursing staff have all expressed thankfulness and gratitude that we have re-opened. It is working fine. – Anonymous 7/16/20

We reopened first week of June with one day a week reduced hours. Father’s Day I got human resources to open Saturday for two days a week. The following week for some reason we had a record day, more than our highest day at Christmas. I got the okay from human resources to open a third day. Our sales most days have been above average. The hospital employees are so forever grateful to have the gift store open again. I try to keep the shop fresh and have cost points with my vendors. Customers are grateful too for trying to keep prices just right. Another thing, since I took over over a year ago, I have added a small men’s section. This has helped also. – Grace Hutchinson, Volunteer Manager and Buyer, Piedmont Medical Center Gift Store, Rock Hill, SC 7/16/20

Hello! We have been open for 2 months and we can see our business growing. We are open 7:30 -2:00 Monday -Friday and for the month of June we did almost half of what we did last June. We sold about $10,000.00 and gave a contribution check to the Auxiliary for $5000.00 not too bad. So that is a great start. Considering I can’t send out my own emails anymore and have to count on the marketing department to put us in the daily newsletter that is sent out each day. And the front door right outside our gift shop is blocked and closed so we only get hallway traffic! But, we have jumped the first hurtle.
Hope all is well with you and your working team. Thank you. – Bobbi Berry Memorial Gift Shop Manager 8/5/20

We’ve been open with reduced hours up until yesterday when we returned to regular weekday hours. No weekend hours yet. During our reduced hours we sold t-shirts that said “I’m sorry for what I said during Quarantine” and the staff LOVED them! Nothing insensitive to the seriousness of the situation, but our employees relish getting away for some retail therapy. They’ve been buying hand sanitizer and we’re finally getting masks in that we ordered. – Vicki Holcombe 6/16/20

Vicki, may I ask what company you bought your masks from? Are you happy with them and were they a reasonable price? Thank you!– Pam 6/16/20

They are cloth masks from Couture Tee Company out of Farmville, LA. Cost is $3.50 each. We just got them in but our manager reports they are already selling. She bought one herself and said it’s comfortable to wear. We also have some that just shipped from Calla Products out of Diablo, CA. Cost is $4.00 each for those. Both are vendors we already had a relationship with. I hope this helps.  – Vicki Holcombe 6/17/20


Is your gift shop open, closed, or some variant?

We are keeping an eye on shop closing and reopenings. This poll has been running live since April, 2020. Now, here in August, the trend is definitely starting to move up!

August 15, 2020

⬅︎ VOTE NOW!


Fall Checklist

by Cindy Jones, Editor 💮

Even though we don’t know what fall will look like, make your shop a “Happy Place!” now, more than ever.

  • Deep clean your shop. We’re talking about down to the fixtures here. Remove every box, bag or tag. Sweep or mop every floor surface. Get your carpets cleaned. The whole goal is to look as new and fresh as possible. 
  • Repair, repaint and relight. Once everything is clean, you will notice the chipped paint, broken furniture, and yellowed signage. Customers notice these things! It’s time to fix them. They blight your overall shop image.
  • Put your new fall merchandise out. Bring in assortments that set the mood, i.e., potpourri, votives, sprays, gift candles, ornamental pumpkins, fall flags, and artificial fall florals. 
  • Clean out storage areas for Fall and Christmas deliveries.
  • Pull losers together for your ‘Dog Days of Summer Sale’.
  • Begin fall-into-holiday marketing and merchandising planning.
  • Begin displaying your high-priced holiday items that need more time to sell.
  • Ensure that all customer policies are reviewed, in place, and posted  before the season begins.
  • Ensure that all staff is trained and knowledgeable about policies and merchandise. Provide ‘customer service’ refresher training as the holidays approach.
  • Begin displaying the coming year’s calendars and date books.
  • Review buyer’s job description. Meet with buyers to discuss basic job responsibilities. This is crucial to laying the groundwork for a successful holiday season.
  • As you begin pricing incoming holiday merchandise, make sure you take the markup necessary to make an adequate profit. In this economically stressed time, just double the price and add shipping. 
  • Cautiously finish buying Fall and holiday apparel (sweatshirts, sweaters, warm-ups). Begin buying Spring ladies apparel.
  • Make sure you’ve ordered a small selection of gifts for men (ties, key rings, wallets) and seniors for the holidays. 
  • Order tissue, boxes, and bags.
  • Use smaller round tables nested around each other to create dramatic display area for high-profit items throughout your store.
  • Reassess your shop’s hours. Limited hours mean limited sales and service. Good customer service means being open at the right time. Once shop hours have been determined, maintain them. The quickest way to turn customers off is to have irregular hours.


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Q. Do you think online platforms, like Facebook Shops, would work for your gift shop?

Yes- If I can get my approval. I think I could make a significant impact with millennial employees in particular. – Debra Johnson 6/23/20

I am in the process of adding an online store and have looked at Shopify and BigCommerce. Not sure about Facebook because the clientele has really changed and not for the good. Instagram is still ok. I do realize that FB represents the attitude of the world also so very unsure. – Connie Slingluff 6//16/20

<strong>Do you have an online store? What software do you use? Is it generating revenue?</strong>

SOURCE: Trade Show News Network

THIS MONTH’S SURVEY

Many are wondering what attendance will be like now that gift markets are slowly reopening. Are you at the Atlanta Summer Market right now? Take the survey

Have you recently attended or plan to attend a gift market?

LAST MONTH’S SURVEY

Is it in bad taste to sell COVID-19 novelty items?

Last month, we asked, is it in poor taste to sell COVID-19 novelty items. Obviously, nothing tacky, insensitive, or inappropriate. But a light-hearted t-shirt, mugs, teddy bears with face masks. Or, would it put off the doctors and nurses who see the tragedy of coronavirus, first hand, everyday.

“I do sell some Covid products. Simply Southern had some great tee-shirts that were in very good taste ~ I reordered 4 times! Masks are great ~ but ~ I sell for no more than $5.99…so my profit isn’t great always ~ but ~ it is good for associates to know we are not ALL about profit during this time, and everyone likes a cute mask!!” – Anonymous July 16, 2020

“….we sold t-shirts that said “I’m sorry for what I said during Quarantine” and the staff LOVED them! Nothing insensitive to the seriousness of the situation, but our employees relish getting away for some retail therapy. They’ve been buying hand sanitizer and we’re finally getting masks in that we ordered.” – Vicki Holcombe 6/ 16/20

How do you feel about selling COVID-19 pandemic novelty items?

Four Trends: How COVID-19 will shape holiday retail shopping in 2020

from Inc.com /  Jul 22, 2020

While Black Friday is still months away, a few predictions are safe to make now. Chief among them: For many households, consumers will be spending for the holidays no matter what.

“There’s always room somehow to find [the budget] for either Christmas or Hanukkah or for the holidays. But it will be a challenging one,” says Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the National Retail Federation, a trade group.

Here are four other trends you can expect to see this coming holiday season, according to Kleinhenz.

IN-AND-OUT FLOOR PLANS

Optimize your store layout for a quick in-and-out visit. Adapting to consumers’ changing shopping habits is more important than ever. When shoppers venture into stores, they’re on a mission. Brick-and-mortar stores need to convince shoppers that it is healthy and safe to come in. Have staff readily available to quickly point customers in the right direction.

EXTRA SHOPPING HELP

You may want to hire plenty of shopping assistants, those employees who run through the store to get items people want for curbside pickup or delivery. Staff up early since competition for this help could be stiff. The hiring surge could be so significant that it could affect temporary employment statistics in the fourth quarter, says Kleinhenz.

MORE FOR THE HOMEBODY, LESS FOR PARTIES

People will want to buy products that align with social distancing lifestyles, even continuing into November. Kleinhenz expects a big uptick in the home entertainment category, such as remote-learning tools like iPads and laptops, and in other gifts that reflect stay-in-place routines.

In contrast, food spending will be down if people can’t gather for big meals, Kleinhenz predicts. The fewer dollars going to big fancy meals or traveling may mean more going toward gifts, he says.

MORE RETURNS

Prepare for more returns than usual. If customers do buy online, they’ll likely buy more than what they need since they can’t go into the store to try things on or see the product in real life, eventually returning a lot of those items. Plus, you likely have additional sanitization processes to think about. Be prepared to handle those returns in a timely way.

Don’t count the consumer out this holiday shopping season, Kleinhenz says. He still has faith in consumers, all things considered, and that they’ll want to spend money this year, even if their buying patterns look different than last year. It’s up to you to meet those consumers where they are.

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GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Best practices on combating theft and shrinkage

by Alec Overly, National Account Executive, i3 POS / Aug 15, 2020

Have you ever thought that you may have an issue with theft? You are probably right. Theft is a huge problem in the retail environment. Studies have shown that shrinkage costs businesses more than $36 billion each year. In simple terms, dishonest employees are reaching into your pocket, via merchandise on the shelf and cash in your till, and stealing your gift shop’s hard earned money. It is estimated that one in four employees steals and that 50% of them are repeat offenders. Also, on average, the value of merchandise and cash taken by employees is approximately 5.5% more than that which is stolen by shoplifters.

What can you do to prevent the theft and embezzlement that may be happening right in front of you? I3 Point of Sale has put together this list of BEST PRACTICES that you can begin to implement today to regain control and reduce shrinkage of inventory and cash assets.

SEPARATION OF DUTIES
Balance your cash drawers at the end of each shift. The cashier who initiates the cash drawer count at the beginning of a shift should not be the person who certifies the cash drawer count at the end of a shift. Each cashier should conduct a blind count, and the manager should reconcile the drawer.

DO NOT BE AFRAID TO AUDIT
Conduct regular and irregular audits. Audits will help you detect theft and fraud. In a small business retail environment, employees may feel that they are being singled out and that they do not have the trust of the shop manager. However, regular audits may serve to decrease theft and fraud by reducing the opportunity for such activities. Implement a practice of random cash drawer counts. Random drawer counts serve to decrease the opportunities for employees to steal cash.

EDUCATE YOUR STAFF 
Have policies and procedures in place to deal with theft and fraud. Inform your employees of these policies and procedures. Your employees should have copies of and know the organization’s code of conduct and ethics policies and the attendant consequences and disciplinary actions for violations. Every employee should sign a form acknowledging receipt of the documents and understanding of the content. Conduct annual training on these policies and procedures, and have each employee sign an acknowledgement of recertification and retraining.

KEEP A VIRTUAL EYE ON EMPLOYEES
Install security cameras. By actively monitoring your sales floor and your register areas, you will reduce the opportunities for employees to commit theft and fraud. Post signs that the premises are being monitored. Display signs which inform of your intention to prosecute all shoplifters.

SECURE THE PREMISES
Limit unauthorized access and entrance to your shop. Keys or codes should be issued only to Shop Managers and Security Directors. Keys should be signed for when issued, and the list must be kept up to date by noting when keys are returned. No one should enter the shop after hours without being accompanied by a manager or security employee. Consider digital keypads which can be configured with different entry codes for each specified employee. The system can track who entered the shop and when. Housekeeping should be done only when shop personnel are present.

ORDERING AND RECEIVING
Establish procedures for ordering and receiving merchandise. Audit these procedures regularly. Always use a purchase order to fulfill merchandise purchases. The buyer should check all merchandise received against the purchase order and the packing slip. The manager should check the purchase orders against inventory reports and approve all invoice payments.

MONITOR “NO SALE”
Retail managers know that a leading indicator of possible theft and fraud is the number of times “No Sale” appears on their drawer report. Know if a particular employee is frequently performing this action and follow up on the activity.

INSTALL SECURITY TECHNOLOGY
Install an alarm on each cash drawer. An alarm can be used to prevent employees from leaving cash drawers open. It should also sound when someone attempts to open the drawer when there is no transaction in process

SALES RATIOS – CASH TO CREDIT
Know your usual ratio of cash sales to credit sales. An increase on either side of the equation should trigger an investigation. Such an investigation will likely reveal indicators pointing to an increase in returns.

INVENTORY INTELLIGENCE
Know what is going on with your inventory. Conduct frequent spot checks of inventory in the various merchandise departments. Does a decrease in the inventory of a particular product correlate to increased sales of that particular item? Know which items in your store are at a higher risk for theft and locate them in a more visible area in your store.

CREATE A REPORTING SYSTEM
Implement a reporting system to receive anonymous reports of theft, fraud or violations of your Code of Conduct and Ethics Policies. Promote and encourage the use of a reporting system by investigating all reports.


Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Gift Shop donates $350,000

WALB News, Albany, GA / Aug 6, 2020

 Gifts from the Heart, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital’s gift shop, presented Phoebe Foundation with a check for $350,000 on Thursday. After operating costs are covered, all proceeds from the store go to support the foundation each year.

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Gift Shop

“We are incredibly grateful to the dedicated staff and volunteers who operate our gift shop, and to all our visitors and Phoebe Family members who support Gifts from the Heart. This is the largest donation we’ve ever received from the shop, and it will allow us to purchase equipment and support services that will benefit Phoebe patients,” said Carolyn Higgins, Phoebe Foundation president and chief fundraising officer.

Congratulations to Ginger Jenkins, Gift Shop Manager at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital!

  🎉🎉🎉

Even though the gift shop was closed for a month during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and still has not returned to normal hours of operation, fiscal year 2020 was the store’s most successful year ever, according to Phoebe. Phoebe officials said this year’s donation represents a 60% increase over last year’s gift shop proceeds.

“We try to make this a fun place for people to visit and shop, and we work hard to stock a wide variety of popular merchandise. We did a 12 Days of Christmas promotion during the holidays that was extremely successful, and customers have really supported us lately, even though we only have limited hours. Their loyalty allowed us to have such a successful year, and we’re pleased to assist our patients by providing this large donation to the foundation,” Ginger Jenkins, gift shop manager, said.

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital CEO Joe Austin praised the gift shop staff for the safe and welcoming atmosphere they create. “People come in here for a reason. People are ready to shop because it feels normal. The staff has done a great job of following safety protocols and encouraging customers to return since reopening. It takes a lot of hard work to run a gift shop this successfully, and they’ve done a great job,” Austin said.

Phoebe volunteers usually play a vital role in operating the shop, but volunteers have been asked to stay away from the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Phoebe. The gift shop will return to full operation once volunteers return. Currently, the shop is open Monday-Friday, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

SOURCE: WALB News

Get details on running a 12 Days of Christmas Sale in Cindy’s Twelve Month Action Plan


Two big, but simple, changes for your shop

ELIMINATE GIFT WRAPPING

Gift-wrap costs money! It takes valuable counter space And it takes valuable cashier time. Instead, offer gift bags. Stock three to four different size craft bags  with curly ribbon on the handles and colored tissue inside. Now you have a quick gift wrap service for a small cost. Use recycled bubble wrap (save it from shipments) so cashiers can package up delicate or breakable items. Your cashiers will love how more efficient the gift bags are and welcome the change.

TIP: To keep operating costs down, consider charging 75¢ if the purchase is under $10.

STOP SAVING ORIGINAL PACKAGING

I have visited shops where the stockroom was overloaded with a maze of original packaging boxes. The cashiers said they need them, but they can never match the item with its original box. So, what is the use of keeping them? Who wants to receive a lovely “angel” in a box that says “frog”! With the exception of collectibles, throw those boxes out! You’re not in the “box business”. Don’t waste valuable stockroom space with empty boxes. Your stockroom should be full of exciting merchandise – not boxes!


Virtual Tradeshows and Online Showrooms

SHOPPE ON Virtual Trade Show
Aug 24 – 27, 2020

SHOPPE ON is bringing Shoppe Object’s singular community to life online. SHOPPE ON will launch a year-round wholesale e-commerce platform to the desktops and phones of top-tier buyers and editors around the world, 24-7, providing discovery and replenishment in a format that is simple, attractive, and robust.

SHOPPE ON will introduce live, virtual event days with dynamic editorial content and interactive, real-time engagement to illuminate our exceptional brand curation, and to complement our biannual shows in NYC. SHOPPE ON will attract both industry and consumer attention to the most vital, exquisite, and design driven brands and makers of the day, forging community and connection, facilitating commerce and communication.

Faire Summer Market Online Trade Show
Aug 26 – 27, 2020

Faire is holding its first online trade show event to kick off the holiday buying season: Faire Summer Market, coming to Faire.com Aug. 26-27. The cancellation and postponement of trade shows across the country have created a significant need for both brands and retailers to find an alternative to the 2020 buying holiday season. According to Faire’s July survey data, half of retailers and brands report that trade show cancellations have interrupted their business plans this year, with 70% of retailers and brands cancelling all business related travel. Faire Summer Market is designed to solve some of the immediate challenges related to in-person events by providing a safe and meaningful start to the holiday season while enriching the marketplace year-round with new buying tools.

During the two-day event, more than 25 brands from a diverse set of categories including TeaDrops, S’well, Twisted Wares, 1818 Farms, and Larissa Loden Jewelry will showcase their lines through live streaming, accessible to all retailers on the platform. Registration and a full schedule of the Faire Summer Market live streaming program is available online. 

IndieMe Virtual Expo
Sep 9-15, 2020

IndieMe Marketplace, LLC, an online marketplace for retailers to source handmade American and Canadian artist-made craft for over 22 years, announced that it will hold its second Virtual Expo from Sep. 9-15, 2020.

The IndieMe Marketplace has over 22 years in the handcrafted wholesale industry marketing and managing the online platform. In addition, the company has produced over 20 physical trade shows. This Virtual Expo is another option to the traditional trade shows.

<strong>Please tell us about other virtual gift markets or online showrooms?</strong>

💮 CALENDAR 💮

GIFT MARKETS

Updated August 15. Always confirm show dates with the market directly before making travel plans. Dates change frequently and often. RESCHEDULED for Aug 18-24, 2020
Seattle Gift Show (Summer/Fall) 🔗 Jul 21-25, 2020
RESCHEDULED for
Aug 19-25, 2020
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (Summer) 🔗
Aug 20-24, 2020
LA Mart (Summer). Los Angeles 🔗 Jul 9-13, 2020 **by appointment only
VIRTUAL SHOW
Aug 24 – 27
SHOPPE ON Virtual Gift Show 🔗
Aug 25-28, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market (Summer) + KidsWorld Market + Western Market 🔗
Aug 28-30, 2020
Rocky Mountain Gift Show. Denver 🔗
RESCHEDULED for Aug 30 – Sep 3, 2020
Las Vegas Market (Summer) 🔗 Jul 26-30, 2020
Sep 23-25, 2020
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (Fall) 🔗
CANCELLED
Oct 7 – 10, 2020
Las Vegas Souvenir & Resort Gift Show 🔗
Oct 4–6, 2020
LA Mart (Fall). Los Angeles 🔗
Oct 5–6, 2020
Seattle Gift Show (Fall) 🔗
Oct 13 – 17, 2020
Atlanta Apparel Market (Fall) 🔗
Oct 17-21, 2020
High Point Market (Fall). Highpoint, NC 🔗
CANCELLED
Oct 18-20, 2020
NY NOW (Fall). New York 🔗
CANCELLED
Oct 18 – 20, 2020
National Stationery Show. New York
Oct 20-23, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market (Fall) 🔗
ON HOLD
Oct 22-25, 2020
TransWorld’s Spring Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (Fall) Rosemont, IL 🔗
Nov 4 – 7, 2020
Smoky Mountain Gift Show. Gatlinburg, TN 🔗
Dec 3-6, 2020
TransWorld’s Spring Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (Holiday) Schaumburg, IL 🔗

For a more complete list, including small and regional shows, we recommend Gift Shop Mag Trade Show Calendar or Smart Retailer TradeShow Calendar

STATE AUXILIARY CONFERENCES

CANCELLED
Aug 22-25 2020
52nd Annual AHVRP Conference & Exposition. Denver, CO 🔗
Nov 4-6, 2020
Missouri Hospital Assoc (MHA) Annual Convention & Trade Show. Osage Beach, MO 🔗 
RESCHEDULED for
Nov 4-6, 2020

Michigan Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals (MHVRP) Spring Conference. Shelbyville, MI🔗

 

<strong>When is your next state auxiliary conference?</strong>

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Build a creative thinking environment in your shop

by Anne M. Obarski / Aug 12, 2020

Would you not agree that in these days, attitude is everything?

The attitude of your staff in your shop and those who walk through your doors can sometimes drag you down. It does not have to be that way!  Let us put some “creativity” to work in your shop!

Creativity is a valuable workplace skill. It is a way of looking at problems or situations from a fresh perspective.  First, we need to work hard on having a positive attitude everyday as soon as you walk through the door of the shop, and one you share with everyone you meet.  It is a mindset, and everyone must be onboard.

There are three ways to experience “creativity” at work.

MAKE CONNECTIONS

Face masks do not make it easy to communicate.  So, work a little harder at it.  “Smile with your eyes”!  Make-up sales are soaring for eye makeup, false eyelashes, eyebrow pencils and more because that is what we are seeing when we greet someone.  They cannot see your smile so go for it in a BIG way with your eyes!  Just because you are wearing a mask does not mean they cannot hear your voice.  People can hear a “smile” in your voice!  Connections may be 6 feet away but the warmth you bring to that conversation can be just what the doctor ordered.

MAKE OBSERVATIONS

Face it. Your shop is not as busy as it once was.  Now is the time to really be aware of what your customers are looking at, picking up, asking for and ultimately buying.  This information is critical to share with your manager and other key staff members who monitor the inventory of your shop.  Now is not the time to make any mistakes when it comes to buying new merchandise for the store.  Every single piece of merchandise has had to earn its right to be in the store! Sales will not save you.

MAKE MERCHANDISING POP

Creativity shines in a store.  Be open-minded to others’ opinions when it comes to suggestions of where and how merchandise should be displayed.  Make changes frequently.  Try different ideas. Use unusual “found items” to jazz up a display.  Many of your hospital employees see your shop daily.  If you do not do anything else, make your changes for them.  Open your eyes to take a strategic look at your signing, lighting, traffic flow, window displays and overall inventory management. Want some really “out there” merchandising ideas? Go to Pinterest and search for merchandising ideas!! We all may not be HGTV savvy, but everyone can have an opinion as to what they like about how the shop looks.  The shop just might be the haven that the hospital workers appreciate more than you know.

Change your attitude and work hard on changing the space around you and you will see how you can stimulate you and others to think in creative, fresh ways about your work. 

Anne works with organizations and businesses who want to become CONTAGIOUS on purpose!  She provides strategic “contagious” ideas that will inspire your customers to refer others along the way! All as a result of their…infectious, enviable, repeatable, and remarkable, customer service. Contact her at anne@merchandiseconcepts.com or visit merchandiseconcepts.com

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Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you!
– Anne Lamontt, Writer


Mill House Gifts opens in Russell Medical

by Amy Passaretti / Aug 6, 2020

To benefit Russell Medical employees and support local businesses, the hospital gift shop has been revamped to feature items from local stores and artists.

Mill House Gifts officially opened Wednesday with a ribbon cutting. Russell Medical and Russell Medical Foundation employees, shop vendors, the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce and local artists were in attendance to honor the moment.

Russell Medical, Alexander City, AL

Russell Medical, Alexander City, AL

“We wanted to bring a piece of downtown, a piece of Lake Martin, to inside the hospital,” Russell Medical Foundation director Tammy Jackson said.

There are 13 vendors taking part in the gift shop and about five local artists’ works. Even some Russell Medical employees’ work is for sale at Mill House.

“It’s all local so we’re helping those businesses too,” Jackson said. “And I love the fact that some of our employees’ stuff is here.”  Read more…

 

SOURCE: The Outlook


WEBINAR
Hospital Gift Shop Best Sellers

presented by Lilly Stamets
Vendor Show & Special Offers
Recorded August 8, 2020

Lilly Stamets, renowned hospital gift and retail consultant, presents: “Hospital Gift Shop Best Sellers!”

Vendor Show & Special Offers from Macy’s, Ganz, Jose Madrid Salsa, and more!

Hosted by i3 Verticals POS


JULY 2020 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #607
Here are last month’s articles, polls and discussions.

  • Shops that have reopened
  • VIDEO: Reopening Your Store
  • POLL: Is your gift shop currently open, closed, or a variant?
  • POLL: Is it in bad taste to sell COVID-19 novelty items?
  • Q. What is your buyer policy for purchasing merchandise?
  • The influence of team cohesiveness
  • Gift Market Calendar
  • Sales Forecasting
  • Action In Retail Free Seminar
  • Seven reasons team meetings are a waste of time
  • Virtual Showrooms
  • WEBINAR: Digital Marketing for Hospital Gift Shops
  • Buying post COVID-19: What vendors are offering good discounts?
toilet paper roll cakes
Novelty toilet roll cakes by Ronttosrouva bakery in Helsinki! 🤣

DISCUSSION


BUYING POST CORONAVIRUS

<strong>Q. </strong>Our budget has been cut due to the Coronavirus. We are having troubles getting product and vendors don’t seem to be working with us on pricing. What vendors are offering good discounts? – Shop Manager, AZ 6/10/20

READER COMMENT: FORECASTING (and Facemasks)

Not knowing what to forecast this year has been difficult but I decided to work with an open budget, not buy too much ahead. We recently expanded hours to 11 to 5 Monday-Friday with 2 shifts of volunteers a day. Number one best seller is masks!!!!! They are bigger than TY beanie babies seriously! I checked sales for the last 15 days in July and we are up $4,000 over same month last year. I made a list the other day and have 17 suppliers I am working with to keep mask in the shop. Our doors are locked to the public so most of our clientele is staff.

I am having my first virtual sale next week. It will last one week and the vendor is going to send daily email blasts and take the orders. At the end of the week I will enter the payroll deduction. I had another vendor contact me yesterday wanting to do a virtual sale. So anxious to see how this works! It’s a way I can add sales to the shop and not risk the inventory. The ways I advertise are email blasts to the organization and take preorders or let them know masks are in. I hope this is helpful. – Connie Slingluff 7/16/20

Connie, I am curious on what face masks you are selling? – Margaret Legut 7/29/20 

Margaret, I have tried 3 different vendors for masks and our favorite are from Evergreen. I have customers on a waiting list for them however I have others in the shop. Have worn many of the masks myself and I too like the Evergreen ones. – Vickie Bailey  8/15/20


HOW IS THE CORONAVIRUS AFFECTING YOUR GIFT SHOP?

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your gift shop. Has your gift shop closed or reduced hours? What about volunteers? Are you sanitizing product? If your hospital does close the gift shop will they deploy you to another department? Are you able to work from home?

Our hospital had not been allowing visitors other than special circumstances since March. We had been allowed to reopen the gift shops for limited hours a day. This week they are changing the visitor policy to allow a visitor per patient, but visitors and patients have to remain in their rooms when possible and they are not allowed to enter the gift shops or dine in the café. We are concerned about policing this, as our doors have been open and we have two rooms so the door isn’t always in sight. We are going back closed doors/no entry and text orders. We will continue using our private employee group to sell to employees. I’m looking at ecommerce sites for the possibility of this continuing deep into fourth quarter. – Shea Parazine 7/7/20

Thank for all you do, Cindy. Reading Hospital is choosing to not open their gift shops any time in the near future. My last day is June 30th. – Eric Wininger, Gift Shops Manager, Reading Hospital 6/19/20

We’ve been open with reduced hours up until yesterday when we returned to regular weekday hours. No weekend hours yet. During our reduced hours we sold t-shirts that said “I’m sorry for what I said during Quarantine” and the staff LOVED them! Nothing insensitive to the seriousness of the situation, but our employees relish getting away for some retail therapy. They’ve been buying hand sanitizer and we’re finally getting masks in that we ordered. – Vicki Holcombe 6/16/20

Vicki, May I ask what company you bought your masks from? Are you happy with them and were they a reasonable price? Thank you!– Pam 6/16/20

They are cloth masks from Couture Tee Company out of Farmville, LA. Cost is $3.50 each. We just got them in but our manager reports they are already selling. She bought one herself and said it’s comfortable to wear. We also have some that just shipped from Calla Products out of Diablo, CA. Cost is $4.00 each for those. Both are vendors we already had a relationship with. I hope this helps.  – Vicki Holcombe 6/17/20

My company, Hospitalgiftshop.com, provides hospitals with E-Commerce, online shops…for almost 12 years…that’s all we do. We’re very popular and I’d be happy to discuss our services. Please email me or call any time. In this time of reduced foot traffic, an online shop is a great way to keep patients and their loved ones connected. Our website is http://www.hospitalgiftshop.com Kind regards JIM jimthomas@hospitalgiftshop.com – Jim Thomas 6/16/20

Currently we are open 11 to 1:30 mainly for employees since our hospital is still closed. Limited visitors are now allowed. We’ve been having fun selling when people call the shop. We don’t have fresh flowers but offer a plush and a balloon. We ask what the person may like and how much they want to spend. We deliver to the nurses on the floor, not the patient. Since the sales are time consuming, we have two volunteers each shift. Callers are so happy to get a thoughtful gift to a coworker or patient. I text them a copy of the receipt and sometimes a picture of the item sent. They love it. – Connie Slingluff 6/16/20

We are not open yet. I think the hardest part was that I went in got all the Easter out, did a deep clean, got all Of Mother’s Day out and displayed and we still aren’t open. I have ordered nothing in 2 months. I can’t order until there is money coming in again. I have a store room full of summer apparel that I will put out since the spring apparel is still hanging there. So sad!! – Vickie Bailey 5/22/20

It really is sad, Vickie! What a shame! Sending warm wishes to all you managers that are facing this same dilemma. – Cindy

Our Governor is slowly reopening the state of Arkansas and our CEO Allowed us to reopen with limited traffic and reduced hours week before last in time for Mother’s day. We have a sanitizing station at the door for people to sanitize upon entry and masks are required. Our employees have been very excited to have a bit of normalcy again and its reducing some stress. No volunteers back yet so my supervisor and I are trading off shifts. We are open 10-3 Monday through Friday. I had set up a private employees only Facebook group while we were closed so I could still sell things to the employees that way and we have found they love live videos of new merch so we are continuing posting in that group as well.  – Shea Parazine 5/18/20

Thank you for sharing, Shea. Glad to hear you have opened, even with limited hours. Also, thanks for sharing that you set up a private Facebook group using live videos of your products. Please share the link if it goes public. – Cindy

All our Volunteers LOA but myself and my wife continued to keep the gift shop open for the employees.  – James Padgett 5/18/20

So glad to hear your shop is open. What hospital are you with? – Cindy

We are closed but open to email & phone orders so that employees can get any type of item. We’ve been selling a lot of pop and candy but also cards & gifts. – Jenny Turner 4/15/20

We were told to close our Shop on March 16th until further notice (Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, NY) – 337 Beds. Our Association decided to donate all perishable snacks, bagged candy and even our Gourmet Chocolates to the Hospital Staff and it was distributed by their Senior Leaders. – Anne Trocano/Linda Leary

We donated all our Easter candy and any candy/snacks which will expire by June, to our staff as a Thank You for their hard work. – Anonymous

We did the same! – Anonymous

We have had to shutter our doors as of March 18. After our closing, as the manager, I decided I would call each employee or volunteer on the day they would have worked as a way to stay in contact with everyone. Some of the paid staff (myself included) have been placed in the labor pool, and do other jobs throughout the hospital, but I still make the effort each week to call and check on everyone to discuss how absolutely bored they are, do they have enough toilet paper, the puzzle they are working on, or just how much their spouse is driving them nuts! I have to say it has been beneficial to both them and me. We are bonded through our common goal, The Gift Shop, and our lives are just not the same without it.
We all anxiously await the day we can reunite and “do our job again”  – David Munger

David, this is wonderful! Thank you for sharing! – Cindy Jones

We are now taking phone orders with delivery to our patients, in-town delivery, pickup, and mail out! Business has been very slow, but I felt like I had to try something…  -Jamie Lee Hernandez

We closed the shop on March 6. We donated flowers in stock to patients and staff. Fortunately, we had not decorated for Easter yet and had little expressly Easter inventory as we don’t do very well with it. I have plenty of general inventory for Spring and Summer when we do reopen but have been leery about ordering ahead of that as I just don’t know what things will look like. In the meantime, our auxiliary has decided to donate a substantial amount of money to the hospital to be used as they see fit rather than asking for ideas and then choosing projects or equipment to fund. This seemed like the expedient as well as the more critical response to the needs of the hospital at this point but we hope to still be able to fund the scholarships we usually award to hospital employees. I made and sent Easter cards to all my volunteers and try to stay in touch with them, as many are struggling with their own or spouse’s health issues, independent of the virus. – Sandra Oldfield

I am at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. Both of our gift shops are still open. The Get Well shop in open 8 am to 8 pm M-F and 11-3 Sat and Sun, and our Baby Shop is open, but for reduced hours. We are mainly selling staff t-shirts and tons of snacks. Fortunately we have an e-commerce site and it is doing well, especially for baby gifts and flowers because no one is allowed to visit. Obviously revenues are way down, but we are still making enough to cover employee salaries and the cost of goods we are selling. The staff is very grateful that we are here, as it provides a bit of normalcy in an otherwise unthinkable situation. We have added numerous safety measures, such as a large plexiglass shield across the counter, masks, and hand sanitizer everywhere. Fortunately all of our Easter candy sold, and the rest of our Easter and spring merchandise will just be put away for next year. Since few people saw it, it will seem new to everyone. I hope you are all well and surviving this ultra-trying time! – Shauna Cox

Our shop is closed and has been since about March 16. The volunteers were all “paused” a week or so earlier and I opened a few hours for a couple days and then we were asked to close completely for a while. In a hospital, the gift shop is respite for our staff. No family members have been allowed in the building for a while now, so only staff, but they are our main customer anyway. The staff really miss the shop being open. Especially with all the stress right now, they would really love to be able to wander through the shop just to get their minds off their job for a little while. I’m hoping we will get the green light to open again soon.
I know of some hospital shops opening for a couple hours a day and only two customers at a time in the shop. Some are allowing “window shopping” and then pay via payroll deduct and what they choose is put outside the shop for them…they don’t actually get to come in the shop.
I’m really anxious to hear more from other hospital gift shops to see what they are doing and how they are doing it. The i3POS webinar yesterday had some interesting points. We all need to learn from each other and share ideas as much as we can during these difficult times. – Vesta Smith

When the time comes, consider having a ‘soft opening’ with limited hours and only allowing 10-15 shoppers in at a time. And, they must practice social distancing. Keep a box of rubber gloves and wipes at the front door and cashier counter. Good luck! – Cindy Jones

I have changed my shop into a mini mart. We have made our shop as an Essential business for our employees who are covering the Covid units. We open at 7 a.m. and close at 9p.m. I receive deliveries of food, toilet paper. I have partnered with Costco for deliveries, I moved and boxed all of our seasonal gift items. This has been a huge success. I did this with 3 of my shops. – Anonymous

As of today (3/16), our gift is closed indefinitely. We are sad. – Melodie Christal

As of 3/10 our gift shop was closed indefinitely due to the virus. Nothing we can do!! – Nan Healy

Our gift shop has been closed down, and we have no idea for how long. – Nancy Klein

All of our volunteers have been placed on LOA. I am opening the shop 10-2 M-F and paid staff 11-4 and 1-5 on weekends. I am responsible for all vending services as well so I am spending the rest of each day ordering, stocking, etc. We feel this is probably short term as we expect to be closed at some point. Sales are only on snacks, drinks, and candy so sales are definitely lower. – Anonymous

I am operating our gift shop on a limited schedule, as I am the only paid staff member and our volunteers are also on LOA. Planning to sanitize while I’m up there. Hot spots daily (if not multiple times per day). Going to see how traffic is this week and determine if I need to stay open next week as well. We have strict visitor limitations in place, expecting mainly employee traffic. – Anonymous

Our Gift shop is also closed. Volunteers are on LOA and as manager I am the only employee in Gift Shop. I am taking this time to do stock work and assist at Information Desk as needed. I plan to donate and deliver candy and popcorn to our hardworking clinical staff. – Anonymous

Our volunteers has been asked to stay home for their safety. That leaves me with 3 paid employees. We have a pharmacy in our gift shop so we cannot close, so, we have changed our hours to match the pharmacy. So, we are closing earlier Monday through Saturday and now are closed on Sunday until this passes. Stay safe everyone. – Kim DeBord

As of Saturday our Gift shop is closed. We have Easter and Spring clothes to sell – Sandy Eiffert

Members of the community should not come to the hospital unless there is a medical reason for the visit. This includes coming to the hospital solely to eat in the cafeteria or shop in the gift shop. – Janet Long, Public Relations Manager at Morris Hospital, IL

Our gift shop is closed until further notice. – Anonymous

Our shop is closed to walk in traffic. We have posted on the door and hospital site we will accept orders email, fax and by phone. They can come to the door and pick up. Only credit card and payroll payments. We will continue to accept phone orders for patient gifts. We have redone our windows to better view our products. We hope this is just for a couple weeks. Good Luck everyone. – Mary Claire

We are open but only with limited hours. All volunteers have been mandated to stay home. It is just me the manger and my assistant. Yes, we are sanitizing product and our store and our self’s and we are required to do so every hour! Yes they are saying they will deploy us to another department, we will not be able to work from home. The hospital is not allowing any visitors. Sales have been just for candy and snacks and only employees. – Colleen

We have reduced our hours to M-F 9-5 and Saturday 12-4. We don’t have any Covid-19 positive tests in our County yet. I’m sure as soon as we do, we’ll be shut down. Volunteers, at this point are able to determine for themselves if they wish to come in. – Anonymous

Our two hospital gift shops are closed indefinitely since Monday, 3/16. We only had two volunteers under the age of 60 and myself, a paid manager that would have been eligible to work. I will take this time to clean and organize our office/pricing area. I will clean and reset both shops and set up new displays. I will refresh any worn out display pieces such as repainting the racks from our fresh flower case that once the flowers were removed looked quite shabby, and not in the chic way!. I can work from home if needed, pricing smaller items, writing up future orders with catalogs or ordering online by holding the orders etc. This is a totally helpless feeling, I anxiously await our reopening! Stay healthy! – Jamie Lee Hernandez

Dignity Health Central Coast limits their hospital visitations due to flu and COVID-19 concerns All hospital gift shops are closed until further notice. Washington Health System is suspending some services, including closing the gift shop.  – Cindy Jones

Has your gift shop closed or reduced hours? Has you volunteer department closed? If so, are you as a gift shop manager able to work from home? If your hospital does close the gift shop will they deploy you to another department? Thanks! – Colleen DeSimone, Gift Shop Coordinator,Orange Regional Medical Center Gift Shop

We have been closed for over a week now as we’re staffed entirely by volunteers who are not allowed at the hospital. All visitors except end of life situations or parents of young patients are banned. We distributed the flowers, our only perishable item, to patients who would enjoy them before closing our doors. Our health fair, regional auxiliary meeting and volunteer appreciation lunch are all cancelled and we have no idea when we will re-open. Our hospital is a small rural one with 19 beds. – Sandra Oldfield

We have been closed since Monday. The President felt that if someone who was infected came in contact with multiple items it would be very difficult to disinfect everything they touched. I sent out a mass email to all employees and let them know that if they wanted to buy anything I can get it together and just charge their badge and meet them at the back door. No need to step foot into the shop. It’s working out really well. – Anonymous

What is everyone doing about all of their spring merchandise, just taking a loss?  I am in the process of removing all the Easter merchandise, plush, etc. and storing them for next year. I plan to keep the spring items in the shop. BTW, we have been closed since March 10th. All volunteers on LOA. As the only paid employee among our volunteers I am performing all tasks that our volunteers were doing, mail, surveys, front desk, etc. Stay well everyone. – Sarah F

We are still open, with only two paid employees disinfecting everything we can. We are only selling drinks, food and candy also. – Anonymous

Our gift shop closed officially 3/17 after all the volunteers called off. I am the only paid employee and am currently working from home because I have a sinus infection and am not allowed back into the hospital until I am 100%. Once I am 100% I will be allowed back into the hospital to work on various projects in the hospital and help in other areas where there are shortages. I feel helpless being at home and know that under any other situation I would have already been back to work with the tail end of an infection. Stay safe everyone. – Anonymous

We have a paid staff person in our gift shop so between her and a few die-hard volunteers, it has been open with reduced hours. Our volunteer services is not paused except for the teen program. We will keep it open as long as we can for our staff. We have been told that all staff are essential and no one will be staff reduced at this time, we will be deployed to help elsewhere. – Nichole

Are any of you doing delivery service to hospital employees in various departments and to patient floors? If so, how is that working? – Cindy Jones, Editor

So we have been closed since 3/13. Volunteers are on LOA. I am still here because we do flowers. The shop is closed. I have tried to let employees know that we have gifts if they need them. Very sad. No traffic on our main street. Stay Healthy! – Anonymous

We had to close the Gift Shop per our Executive Team Leaders on March 24. I’m wondering what everyone else, that has had to close, is doing with your Easter product, especially Easter candy? My thought is to hold it over until next year since I hadn’t had it out long enough to sell much of it. I’m pretty sure we won’t be open before Easter at this point. We plan to move to a new location in August and will have limited storage at the new location. – Vickie Bailey, Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital. 90 beds





© Cindy Jones Associates, 2020. COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. Redistribution, copying, reselling, re-renting, or republishing is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Cindy’s Newsletter may not to be forwarded, redistributed, reproduced, reprinted, or posted online without prior permission from Cindy Jones Associates. Subscribers may share one issue with a fellow manager. Thereafter, the manager may subscribe here to receive future issues.

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | July 15, 2020 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER

for

Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter provides its readership of over 3,000 gift shop professionals “actionable content” to help optimize their shop operation, grow revenue, and connect with one another. HOW TO COMMENT Click the comment tags throughout the newsletter to comment or email them to cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com


JULY 15, 2020


👇🏼 CLICK TO COMMENT 👇🏼

CORONAVIRUS DISCUSSION 😷

Has your gift shop reopened?!

What’s your best experience since reopening?

What’s working? What isn’t?

We strive to provide a place here where managers can come together, gain a sense of community, and exchange valuable insights from one another through this time. Thank you to everyone who’s commented and shared over the last few months. As the saying goes, “We’ve got this!”


REOPENING POLL

Is your gift shop open, closed, or some variant?

Shops that have reopened

Many of our readers are watching to see if other gift shops have reopened and how they are going about it. Here are a few from across the country. If one of these is your gift shop, please comment and let us know how it’s going?!

Elkhart General and Memorial Hospital, Elkhart, IN
To support the CDC recommendations and the visitor restrictions put in place at the hospitals, the gift shops at Elkhart General and Memorial Hospital are open Monday, Wednesday & Friday from 10 AM – 2 PM.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati, OH
Our Gift Shops are now open at Liberty and Burnet Campus. We are taking precautions to provide a safe environment for visitors and staff. Some restrictions are in place including reduced occupancy, distancing stickers and a minimum age requirement of 18 years for shoppers. Starting June 15, 2020, the Gift Shop will resume deliveries to inpatient rooms. Please call the stores to find out more about delivery schedules and restrictions. Shop Hours: Liberty Campus 8:30am – 4pm M-F. Burnet Campus – M-F 9am – 5pm

Russell Medical, Alexander City, AL Re-Opened to Hospital Staff Only
Visitors are still not allowed inside the hospital due to the coronavirus pandemic. Because Russell Medical (81 beds) cannot utilize volunteers at this time, the staff is running the Auxiliary Gift Shop, which will reopen with a new name and fresh inventory July 6. “We’re bringing in local vendors and artists for new products and opportunities,” Jackson said.  The auxiliary gift shop is hosting a 60% off sale next week and will reopen after the Fourth of July under hospital management. “A lot of the staff works 7 (a.m.) to 7 (p.m.) and don’t get to shop downtown,” Jackson said. “The employees are (the gift shop’s) main revenue.” Inventory will be from local downtown merchants. “We want to provide products for our employees and drive them to their downtown shops,” Jackson said. “Once the auxiliary is allowed back, they’ll take over running the gift shop again.” SOURCE: The Outlook

Northwest Community Hospital, Chicago, IL
Our Gift shop is reopening on Monday, June 1st with revised hours. Store hours will be 9:00 am–5:00 pm on weekdays, closed on Saturday and Sunday.

University of Vermont Health Network-CVPH Medical Center, Plattsburgh, NY
After a three-month hiatus due to COVID-19, the gift shop inside the University of Vermont Health Network-CVPH Medical Center has reopened. While visitors are not yet permitted inside, families and friends can now purchase items online and have them delivered directly to patients, staff, and hospital rooms. Customers can place orders online and over the phone seven days a week by calling 518-562-7992. Open M-F, 9am – 5pm and weekends 11am-3pm. SOURCE: The Sun

Rutland Regional Medical Center, Rutland City, VT
RRMC Gift Shop Re-Opens May 18, 2020. The RRMC Gift Shop is now open from 12:30-4:30pm, Monday-Friday. There is a limit of five customers in the Gift Shop and Pharmacy at any time. SOURCE: RRMC

Reading Hospital, West Reading, PA Closed Indefinitely
Reading Hospital will no longer operate their gift shops and are closing indefinitely. Myself and the entire staff have been let go. My last day is June 30. I am now unemployed and will be looking for another job. I really feel I have been successful the 8 years I have managed the shops. Sadly Covid-19 has hit finances hard. The hospital may use Lori’s or another 3rd party gift shop company in the future. – Eric Wininger, Gift Shops Manager

Eric has been a long-time reader and active contributor to this newsletter and the hospital gift shop community as a whole. We are grateful for all his insight and comments over the years. We wish him all the best in his job search! – Cindy Jones 


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VIDEO: Reopening Your Store

By Cathy Donovan Wagner  / May 21, 2020

Here is an excellent video by Cathy Donovan Wagner from RETAILMavens talking about what you need to know for reopening your store after COVID-19. Download Reopening Your Store by RetailMavens to follow along. 

Source: RetailMAVENS


THIS MONTH’S POLL

Is it in bad taste to sell COVID-19 novelty items?Obviously, nothing tacky, insensitive, or inappropriate. But a light-hearted t-shirt, mugs, teddy bears with face masks. Or, would it put off the doctors and nurses who see the tragedy of coronavirus, first hand, everyday.

We decided to leave this poll for another month! Please comment. What do you think about COVID-19 novelty products? Are there any you like?


👇🏼 CLICK TO COMMENT 👇🏼

Q. What is your buyer policy for purchasing merchandise?

I hope everyone is doing well during this difficult time! I am currently updating our very out-of-date gift shop policies and am hoping to get a little help from those of you that have policies in place.

I would love to see how your buyer policy for purchasing merchandise is written? Thanks in advance for your help! I hope you and your families are staying safe and healthy! – Jenny Inglett, Retail Coordinator, Volunteer Services, Gift Shop and Corner Stork Café, Yuma Regional Medical Center, Yuma, AZ.



The influence of team cohesiveness

by Cindy Jones, Editor and Publisher 💮

As managers and leaders, we make proposals and decisions that we hope others will support. While the majority of the group may support a proposal, there might be others who disagree. But, according to this research, they will cave in to agree with you about 40% of the time. 

So what does this mean to your shop? 
If we don’t celebrate diverse opinions, we may actually be leading our shop down a path of failure. New managers and volunteers may ask, “Why are you doing it this way?” Asking this question can be valuable in helping us break the trance of always doing things the same way. Our willingness to explore a multitude of points of view will be important in moving forward and attracting a balance of “today’s volunteers” and the “traditional volunteers.” 

Your shop may already be victim of this phenomenon. Many shops are struggling because they need more volunteers. They blame potential younger volunteers for not wanting to get involved. When, instead, it’s sometimes because they see a rigid environment where the existing volunteers are unwilling to explore new ways of doing things (i.e., “That’s not how we do it here.”) Younger volunteers may show up, but because they don’t find value, they move on to alternative areas.

As a manager and leader, you can use this social conformity research to help build the momentum so your shop can and will achieve something great together.  For example, you can take ownership of the belief that your shop will raise more money than ever before by doubling its sales.  Then, name the goal because that is what gets people excited! As everyone jumps on board and adds their force to the message, you’ll be able to bring 40% more of your volunteers along to endorse the belief of this exciting potential. 

With a critical mass believing in the potential, you’ll find people taking action to make it happen. 

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💮 CALENDAR 💮

GIFT MARKETS

Updated July 15. Always confirm show dates with the market directly before making travel plans. Dates change frequently and often. Jul 21-23, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories + Gift & Home Open House **select showrooms by appt 🔗
ON HOLD
Jul 23–26, 2020
TransWorld’s Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (now Summer). Chicago 🔗
SEE VIRTUAL SHOW: jfashow.com/buyers-resource-guide.html
CANCELLED
Aug 8-12, 2020
NY NOW (Summer). New York 🔗
CANCELLED Aug 9-12, 2020
Toronto Gift + Home Market (Fall) 🔗
RESCHEDULED for Aug 13-18, 2020
Atlanta Gift & Home Furnishings Market (Summer) 🔗 Jul 14–20, 2020
RESCHEDULED for Aug 18-24, 2020
Seattle Gift Show (Summer/Fall) 🔗 Jul 21-25, 2020
RESCHEDULED for
Aug 19-25, 2020
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (Summer) 🔗
RESCHEDULED for Aug 20-24, 2020
LA Mart (Summer). Los Angeles 🔗 Jul 9-13, 2020
Aug 25-28, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market (Summer) + KidsWorld Market + Western Market 🔗
Aug 28-30, 2020
Rocky Mountain Gift Show. Denver 🔗
RESCHEDULED for Aug 30 – Sep 3, 2020
Las Vegas Market (Summer) 🔗 Jul 26-30, 2020
Sep 23-25, 2020
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (Fall) 🔗
Oct 4–6, 2020
LA Mart (Fall). Los Angeles 🔗
Oct 5–6, 2020
Seattle Gift Show (Fall) 🔗
Oct 17-21, 2020
High Point Market (Fall). Highpoint, NC 🔗
Oct 18-20, 2020
NY NOW (Fall). New York 🔗
Oct 20-23, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market 🔗
Oct 22-25, 2020
TransWorld’s Spring Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (Fall) Rosemont, IL 🔗

For a more complete list, including small and regional shows, visit: Smart Retailer TradeShow Calendar

STATE AUXILIARY CONFERENCES

CANCELLED
Aug 22-25 2020
52nd Annual AHVRP Conference & Exposition. Denver, CO 🔗
Nov 4-6, 2020
Missouri Hospital Assoc (MHA) Annual Convention & Trade Show. Osage Beach, MO 🔗 
RESCHEDULED for
Nov 4-6, 2020

Michigan Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals (MHVRP) Spring Conference. Shelbyville, MI🔗

 


Sales Forecasting

by Cindy Jones, Editor and Publisher 💮

Sound financial management is based on facts, not feelings. You can’t manage numbers you don’t have and you can’t make good decisions with bad numbers. When you have good numbers, you will be able to plan, organize and control business activities. 

Through good financial management, you can trim expenses, eliminate waste, and increase your profits. When you misspend one dollar, you’ve already wasted two: the dollar you spent wrongly and the dollar you could have spent well.

To know how much to buy, you’ll need to know what you can sell.  Accurate sales forecasting will result in accurate buying.  Accurate buying will result in high profitability.  

Sales forecasting is creating a plan (i.e., a budget). Using historical sales data and existing economic conditions, estimate monthly sales for each category.  Prepare a twelve-month sales projection for each category. You now have an annual category and total sales forecast. Proper merchandise management isn’t rocket science, but it does require time and discipline.

It’s just like a dinner party. The first thing you need to know is how many people you’re going to feed. Then you can develop the budget, plan the menu, create the shopping list and lay out the seating. Can you imagine doing any of this without first knowing how may guests you are having?  Of course not!

How many hospital gift shop managers  – volunteer or paid – across the country buy merchandise and make other critical retail decisions without having made a sales forecast? Can you imagine the National Archers Association holding an event and forgetting to hang the targets?

Sales forecasting helps everyone stay focused. It provides a goal to work towards throughout the year. Sales forecasting can serve as a motivator by energizing everyone to strive to increase sales and grow! 


Action In Retail Free Seminar

July 22, 2020 9:30 – 5:30 PM EST

Connect with industry leaders offering real-time, expert insight into the current unprecedented retail landscape.

ACTION IN RETAIL will feature operational support, for both online and offline retailers, through interactive tools, educational panels, on-demand content and chat forums, as well as showcasing retail technology and services.

www.actioninretail.com


Seven reasons team meetings are a waste of time

by Cathy Donovan Wagner / July 15, 2020

Just last week, I had a retailer tell me that staff meetings were a waste of time. I was shocked. I have heard many excuses why retailers don’t do them – but never heard anyone say that they weren’t worth doing at all.

I asked why they thought so… and all the reasons were spewed out! Some were valid and some weren’t.

The biggest problem was in the perspective that they had about the people that worked for them. Notice that they called it a ‘staff meeting.’ I never had a staff. Ever. I always had a team and had ‘team meetings.’ The difference between those two words is huge and requires a separate post just about that. Trust me when I say that you want a team!!

There were seven key reasons that make even team meetings a waste of time. I don’t want you to make any of these mistakes – so I will outline them now for you.

1. Meetings that last longer than an hour. The brain can only absorb what the butt can withstand. And that is usually just about an hour of sitting! Keeping meetings short and sweet is crucial.

2. Feeding your team during the meeting. I never provided food – only drinks. This is a business meeting, folks! This is not a party. I want everyone focused on the content not on licking their fingers. If you feel you must feed them, then do it afterwards only.

3. Wasting everyone’s time by not having an agenda. You are paying for the team to show up and you owe it to them to be as productive as possible. That ONLY happens by having an agenda. Then you MUST act like the boss (team leader) and keep everyone on track.

4. Wasting meeting time by not using a “Parking Lot.” Tell your team that you are going to follow the agenda. Be proactive and introduce the concept of a “Parking Lot.” When someone brings up an issue that isn’t on the agenda, tell them that it will be put into the “Parking Lot.” It is a holding place where you “park” topics that will be addressed later. Write the topic down so that it isn’t forgotten about. Be sure to look the person in the eye and tell them that you will get back to them within 48 hours to tell them when you will be able to meet with them to discuss their concern.

5. Trying to cover too much information and being disrespectful by running over the allotted time. It is a common mistake. You will find that when you run regular team meetings you will know how much content is needed to fill an hour. Because you are holding them regularly, you know you can cover the information next time.

6. Allowing the team meeting to become a group whining session. Put your foot down and tell your team that this isn’t allowed. You care about them. You respect their time and attention. You want to know what their concerns are and put them into the “Parking Lot.” The purpose of a team meeting is to share information and do skill building that will result in growth. It is a “No Whining” zone. I believe that your store should be a “No Whining” zone. When my kids used to whine, I would say that I couldn’t hear them. I did the same thing with my team! It wasn’t a problem for long.

7. Ignoring the fact your team members are salespeople (and, sometimes volunteer salespeople). They are responsible for sales. Without exception every team meeting should include time dedicated to improving their skills. It is your responsibility as their leader to give them tools to help them do their job better! One good way of accomplishing this is to ask each team member to take one meeting and role play a common objection that they get from customers. It gets everyone involved and addresses the actual situations that they face.

A few other basic facts about team meetings that help make them easy: Make it clear during the hiring process that attendance at team meetings is nonnegotiable. Make it easy for them to attend by listing out the team meetings for the year in advance – or at least 4 months out. You want to reduce any objections.

Finally, tell new hires that they wouldn’t want to miss the meetings because they are fun!

Team meeting are an essential way to share information, build selling skills, and strengthen bonds. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to email her at cathy@retailmavens.com

Cathy Donovan-Wagner is the Founder and President of RETAILMavens. With over 29 years of experience in retail as both an owner and a consultant, Cathy has the unique position of having worked on both sides of the counter. She has seen firsthand the tremendous benefits that the paying attention to your numbers makes. It is what helped her to grow to 3 stores grossing in excess of 2.5 million dollars. As The Retail Maven, Cathy helps retailers develop action plans that increase sales, improve cash flow and create success…and love their life! 

 

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The ideal manager is a person who is service-oriented, cheerful, self-motivated, open to new ideas, energetic, organized, responsible and forward thinking. They are risk-takers, good at training, visionaries, delegators, sensitive, supportive and patient. They are pro-active, change agents, bridge builders, financial wizards, Mother Teresas and they possess a keen sense of humor!


Virtual Showrooms

We featured a list of virtual gift shows and online marketplaces in the May 15, 2020 issue. Here are some virtual showrooms we recently learned of. 

MELROSE360˙ Virtual Showroom

Melrose International announced the premier of its virtual MELROSE360˙ Showrooms, which offers a new way to shop this market season. Customers will be able to shop by collections, walk the entire showroom, make wish lists and even place orders. The Home & Holiday showroom is available now and the 2021 Home & Garden showroom will be available in mid-August.

Sullivans Virtual Market

Sullivans, a designer and marketer of home décor products, permanent botanicals, and giftware, revealed a new way to shop this market season through its new virtual marketplace. Sullivans is excited to present its showroom, virtually. It features seven new themes and over 750 new spring and everyday products, including on-trend containers, wall décor, textiles, florals and botanicals, and more.


WEBINAR: Digital Marketing for Hospital Gift Shops

Does Your Gift Shop Have a Digital Presence?
Digital Marketing for Hospital Gift Shops
Recorded July 9, 2020

Hosted by i3 Verticals POS

Join industry leaders to discuss best practices for your gift shop’s digital efforts. Learn ways to implement a gift shop website, e-commerce stores, and how to create a social media presence. We’ll be covering topics like:
– Ways to drive more sales in today’s digital age
– Best practices for social media
– Questions to ask when building a website
– eCommerce pitfalls and how to avoid them


JUNE 2020 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #606
Here are last month’s articles, polls and discussions.

  • Will the pandemic change how retailers buy?
  • This month’s poll: Is it in bad taste to sell COVID-19 novelty items?
  • Last month’s poll: What is the annual cost of your POS system?
  • Introducing Facebook Shops
  • Job openings
  • Part II: Why write your own purchase orders?
  • Your shop’s mission
  • Direct Ship Programs
  • How is the coronavirus affecting your gift shop?
  • Tradeshow Calendar
  • Selling behind a mask: connecting while social distancing
  • Looking for a new manager or clerk?
  • Buying post coronavirus. How?
gift shop display

DISCUSSION


BUYING POST CORONAVIRUS

Q. Our budget has been cut due to the Coronavirus. We are having troubles getting product and vendors don’t seem to be working with us on pricing.  What vendors are offering good discounts?  – Shop Manager, AZ 6/10/20


HOW IS THE CORONAVIRUS AFFECTING YOUR GIFT SHOP?

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your gift shop. Has your gift shop closed or reduced hours? What about volunteers? Are you sanitizing product? If your hospital does close the gift shop will they deploy you to another department? Are you able to work from home?

We are not open yet. I think the hardest part was that I went in got all the Easter out, did a deep clean, got all Of Mother’s Day out and displayed and we still aren’t open. I have ordered nothing in 2 months. I can’t order until there is money coming in again. I have a store room full of summer apparel that I will put out since the spring apparel is still hanging there. So sad!! – Vickie Bailey 5/22/20

It really is sad, Vickie! What a shame! Sending warm wishes to all you managers that are facing this same dilemma. – Cindy

Our Governor is slowly reopening the state of Arkansas and our CEO Allowed us to reopen with limited traffic and reduced hours week before last in time for Mother’s day. We have a sanitizing station at the door for people to sanitize upon entry and masks are required. Our employees have been very excited to have a bit of normalcy again and its reducing some stress. No volunteers back yet so my supervisor and I are trading off shifts. We are open 10-3 Monday through Friday. I had set up a private employees only Facebook group while we were closed so I could still sell things to the employees that way and we have found they love live videos of new merch so we are continuing posting in that group as well.  – Shea Parazine 5/18/20

Thank you for sharing, Shea. Glad to hear you have opened, even with limited hours. Also, thanks for sharing that you set up a private Facebook group using live videos of your products. Please share the link if it goes public. – Cindy

All our Volunteers LOA but myself and my wife continued to keep the gift shop open for the employees.  – James Padgett 5/18/20

So glad to hear your shop is open. What hospital are you with? – Cindy

We are closed but open to email & phone orders so that employees can get any type of item. We’ve been selling a lot of pop and candy but also cards & gifts. – Jenny Turner 4/15/20

We were told to close our Shop on March 16th until further notice (Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, NY) – 337 Beds. Our Association decided to donate all perishable snacks, bagged candy and even our Gourmet Chocolates to the Hospital Staff and it was distributed by their Senior Leaders. – Anne Trocano/Linda Leary

We donated all our Easter candy and any candy/snacks which will expire by June, to our staff as a Thank You for their hard work. – Anonymous

We did the same! – Anonymous

We have had to shutter our doors as of March 18. After our closing, as the manager, I decided I would call each employee or volunteer on the day they would have worked as a way to stay in contact with everyone. Some of the paid staff (myself included) have been placed in the labor pool, and do other jobs throughout the hospital, but I still make the effort each week to call and check on everyone to discuss how absolutely bored they are, do they have enough toilet paper, the puzzle they are working on, or just how much their spouse is driving them nuts! I have to say it has been beneficial to both them and me. We are bonded through our common goal, The Gift Shop, and our lives are just not the same without it.
We all anxiously await the day we can reunite and “do our job again”  – David Munger

David, this is wonderful! Thank you for sharing! – Cindy Jones

We are now taking phone orders with delivery to our patients, in-town delivery, pickup, and mail out! Business has been very slow, but I felt like I had to try something…  -Jamie Lee Hernandez

We closed the shop on March 6. We donated flowers in stock to patients and staff. Fortunately, we had not decorated for Easter yet and had little expressly Easter inventory as we don’t do very well with it. I have plenty of general inventory for Spring and Summer when we do reopen but have been leery about ordering ahead of that as I just don’t know what things will look like. In the meantime, our auxiliary has decided to donate a substantial amount of money to the hospital to be used as they see fit rather than asking for ideas and then choosing projects or equipment to fund. This seemed like the expedient as well as the more critical response to the needs of the hospital at this point but we hope to still be able to fund the scholarships we usually award to hospital employees. I made and sent Easter cards to all my volunteers and try to stay in touch with them, as many are struggling with their own or spouse’s health issues, independent of the virus. – Sandra Oldfield

I am at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. Both of our gift shops are still open. The Get Well shop in open 8 am to 8 pm M-F and 11-3 Sat and Sun, and our Baby Shop is open, but for reduced hours. We are mainly selling staff t-shirts and tons of snacks. Fortunately we have an e-commerce site and it is doing well, especially for baby gifts and flowers because no one is allowed to visit. Obviously revenues are way down, but we are still making enough to cover employee salaries and the cost of goods we are selling. The staff is very grateful that we are here, as it provides a bit of normalcy in an otherwise unthinkable situation. We have added numerous safety measures, such as a large plexiglass shield across the counter, masks, and hand sanitizer everywhere. Fortunately all of our Easter candy sold, and the rest of our Easter and spring merchandise will just be put away for next year. Since few people saw it, it will seem new to everyone. I hope you are all well and surviving this ultra-trying time! – Shauna Cox

Our shop is closed and has been since about March 16. The volunteers were all “paused” a week or so earlier and I opened a few hours for a couple days and then we were asked to close completely for a while. In a hospital, the gift shop is respite for our staff. No family members have been allowed in the building for a while now, so only staff, but they are our main customer anyway. The staff really miss the shop being open. Especially with all the stress right now, they would really love to be able to wander through the shop just to get their minds off their job for a little while. I’m hoping we will get the green light to open again soon.
I know of some hospital shops opening for a couple hours a day and only two customers at a time in the shop. Some are allowing “window shopping” and then pay via payroll deduct and what they choose is put outside the shop for them…they don’t actually get to come in the shop.
I’m really anxious to hear more from other hospital gift shops to see what they are doing and how they are doing it. The i3POS webinar yesterday had some interesting points. We all need to learn from each other and share ideas as much as we can during these difficult times. – Vesta Smith

When the time comes, consider having a ‘soft opening’ with limited hours and only allowing 10-15 shoppers in at a time. And, they must practice social distancing. Keep a box of rubber gloves and wipes at the front door and cashier counter. Good luck! – Cindy Jones

I have changed my shop into a mini mart. We have made our shop as an Essential business for our employees who are covering the Covid units. We open at 7 a.m. and close at 9p.m. I receive deliveries of food, toilet paper. I have partnered with Costco for deliveries, I moved and boxed all of our seasonal gift items. This has been a huge success. I did this with 3 of my shops. – Anonymous

As of today (3/16), our gift is closed indefinitely. We are sad. – Melodie Christal

As of 3/10 our gift shop was closed indefinitely due to the virus. Nothing we can do!! – Nan Healy

Our gift shop has been closed down, and we have no idea for how long. – Nancy Klein

All of our volunteers have been placed on LOA. I am opening the shop 10-2 M-F and paid staff 11-4 and 1-5 on weekends. I am responsible for all vending services as well so I am spending the rest of each day ordering, stocking, etc. We feel this is probably short term as we expect to be closed at some point. Sales are only on snacks, drinks, and candy so sales are definitely lower. – Anonymous

I am operating our gift shop on a limited schedule, as I am the only paid staff member and our volunteers are also on LOA. Planning to sanitize while I’m up there. Hot spots daily (if not multiple times per day). Going to see how traffic is this week and determine if I need to stay open next week as well. We have strict visitor limitations in place, expecting mainly employee traffic. – Anonymous

Our Gift shop is also closed. Volunteers are on LOA and as manager I am the only employee in Gift Shop. I am taking this time to do stock work and assist at Information Desk as needed. I plan to donate and deliver candy and popcorn to our hardworking clinical staff. – Anonymous

Our volunteers has been asked to stay home for their safety. That leaves me with 3 paid employees. We have a pharmacy in our gift shop so we cannot close, so, we have changed our hours to match the pharmacy. So, we are closing earlier Monday through Saturday and now are closed on Sunday until this passes. Stay safe everyone. – Kim DeBord

As of Saturday our Gift shop is closed. We have Easter and Spring clothes to sell – Sandy Eiffert

Members of the community should not come to the hospital unless there is a medical reason for the visit. This includes coming to the hospital solely to eat in the cafeteria or shop in the gift shop. – Janet Long, Public Relations Manager at Morris Hospital, IL

Our gift shop is closed until further notice. – Anonymous

Our shop is closed to walk in traffic. We have posted on the door and hospital site we will accept orders email, fax and by phone. They can come to the door and pick up. Only credit card and payroll payments. We will continue to accept phone orders for patient gifts. We have redone our windows to better view our products. We hope this is just for a couple weeks. Good Luck everyone. – Mary Claire

We are open but only with limited hours. All volunteers have been mandated to stay home. It is just me the manger and my assistant. Yes, we are sanitizing product and our store and our self’s and we are required to do so every hour! Yes they are saying they will deploy us to another department, we will not be able to work from home. The hospital is not allowing any visitors. Sales have been just for candy and snacks and only employees. – Colleen

We have reduced our hours to M-F 9-5 and Saturday 12-4. We don’t have any Covid-19 positive tests in our County yet. I’m sure as soon as we do, we’ll be shut down. Volunteers, at this point are able to determine for themselves if they wish to come in. – Anonymous

Our two hospital gift shops are closed indefinitely since Monday, 3/16. We only had two volunteers under the age of 60 and myself, a paid manager that would have been eligible to work. I will take this time to clean and organize our office/pricing area. I will clean and reset both shops and set up new displays. I will refresh any worn out display pieces such as repainting the racks from our fresh flower case that once the flowers were removed looked quite shabby, and not in the chic way!. I can work from home if needed, pricing smaller items, writing up future orders with catalogs or ordering online by holding the orders etc. This is a totally helpless feeling, I anxiously await our reopening! Stay healthy! – Jamie Lee Hernandez

Dignity Health Central Coast limits their hospital visitations due to flu and COVID-19 concerns All hospital gift shops are closed until further notice. Washington Health System is suspending some services, including closing the gift shop.  – Cindy Jones

Has your gift shop closed or reduced hours? Has you volunteer department closed? If so, are you as a gift shop manager able to work from home? If your hospital does close the gift shop will they deploy you to another department? Thanks! – Colleen DeSimone, Gift Shop Coordinator,Orange Regional Medical Center Gift Shop

We have been closed for over a week now as we’re staffed entirely by volunteers who are not allowed at the hospital. All visitors except end of life situations or parents of young patients are banned. We distributed the flowers, our only perishable item, to patients who would enjoy them before closing our doors. Our health fair, regional auxiliary meeting and volunteer appreciation lunch are all cancelled and we have no idea when we will re-open. Our hospital is a small rural one with 19 beds. – Sandra Oldfield

We have been closed since Monday. The President felt that if someone who was infected came in contact with multiple items it would be very difficult to disinfect everything they touched. I sent out a mass email to all employees and let them know that if they wanted to buy anything I can get it together and just charge their badge and meet them at the back door. No need to step foot into the shop. It’s working out really well. – Anonymous

What is everyone doing about all of their spring merchandise, just taking a loss?  I am in the process of removing all the Easter merchandise, plush, etc. and storing them for next year. I plan to keep the spring items in the shop. BTW, we have been closed since March 10th. All volunteers on LOA. As the only paid employee among our volunteers I am performing all tasks that our volunteers were doing, mail, surveys, front desk, etc. Stay well everyone. – Sarah F

We are still open, with only two paid employees disinfecting everything we can. We are only selling drinks, food and candy also. – Anonymous

Our gift shop closed officially 3/17 after all the volunteers called off. I am the only paid employee and am currently working from home because I have a sinus infection and am not allowed back into the hospital until I am 100%. Once I am 100% I will be allowed back into the hospital to work on various projects in the hospital and help in other areas where there are shortages. I feel helpless being at home and know that under any other situation I would have already been back to work with the tail end of an infection. Stay safe everyone. – Anonymous

We have a paid staff person in our gift shop so between her and a few die-hard volunteers, it has been open with reduced hours. Our volunteer services is not paused except for the teen program. We will keep it open as long as we can for our staff. We have been told that all staff are essential and no one will be staff reduced at this time, we will be deployed to help elsewhere. – Nichole

Are any of you doing delivery service to hospital employees in various departments and to patient floors? If so, how is that working? – Cindy Jones, Editor

So we have been closed since 3/13. Volunteers are on LOA. I am still here because we do flowers. The shop is closed. I have tried to let employees know that we have gifts if they need them. Very sad. No traffic on our main street. Stay Healthy! – Anonymous

We had to close the Gift Shop per our Executive Team Leaders on March 24. I’m wondering what everyone else, that has had to close, is doing with your Easter product, especially Easter candy? My thought is to hold it over until next year since I hadn’t had it out long enough to sell much of it. I’m pretty sure we won’t be open before Easter at this point. We plan to move to a new location in August and will have limited storage at the new location. – Vickie Bailey, Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital. 90 beds


QUALITY ITEMS FOR $15

Q. I work for a large hospital system that has a patient/guest service recovery program where our hospital employees can access an item for guests/patients. In an effort to remain compliant with the $15 Federal OIG (Office of Inspector General) limit recommendation for ‘patient gifting’ we would like to stock items that meet that price point and still remain “giftable”. What are other shops buying and stocking that are under this $15 limit while retaining a perception of quality?

With hospital gift shop’s being such a large part of the retail market, you would think that vendors know the federal regulations that we must adhere to and come up with some suggested items in their lines. At the Atlanta market last month, not one rep was familiar with this, (it began in 2017 with the Affordable Care Act), which I found surprising! – Michaela Kanoski, Volunteer & Guest Services Manager, CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy. 380 beds. 3/2/20

(OIG is the governmental agency that regulates and enforces the monetary value of things received by Medicate and state Medicaid patients.)


WHY MAINTAIN INVENTORY AND FINANCIALS ‘AT RETAIL’?

Q. I need to explain to our gift shop committee why our physical inventory reports should always be shown at the retail price rather than “at cost.” Can you give me a short and simple answer. Thanks much!! – Darielle H. 3/14/20

FROM CINDY

Advantages of the Retail Method of Inventory Valuation
The money your customer pays at point of purchase is the retail price. The retail sales figures are the retail value of the inventory. The retail price has the profit built into it and profit occurs when an item is sold (at retail)

    1. Maintaining inventory figures ‘at retail’ forces the you, the retailer, to ‘think retail’.
    2. Financial statements ‘at retail’ are essential to good financial planning. Frequent calculations at both cost and retail information allows the retailer to adjust quickly to changing conditions
    3. Physical inventories taken at retail prices eliminate the costly, time-consuming job of decoding cost prices. Recording physical inventory at retail prices greatly simplifies the process and encourages a more frequent physical count of inventory.
    4. The retail method facilitates planning and control of a department or category. Sales, purchases, inventories, and price-change information are recorded by department or category and can be used to evaluate each department’’s performance.
    5. By providing a ‘book’ or Point of Sale figure for what your inventory should be on hand, the retail method allows the retailer to determine shortages each time a physical inventory is taken.

The ‘retail method’ requires continuous recording of all transactions which change the unit status of the inventory. A running total must be kept by continuously recording all merchandise data. A Point of Sale system will automatically accomplish that for you!  3/15/20


CHANGE DISPLAYS

Q. Because we have many of the same customers everyday, how often should we change our displays? How often do you rotate merchandise to other locations?

FROM CINDY

To keep displays from growing stale, change them every 2-3 weeks. Strategic and successful displays connect with your customer in micro moments. Go above and beyond for your customers, anticipate their needs, infuse your merchandise story and empower your staff to go the extra mile.

Good displays should sell product! Signage will help sell product.

Display seasonal merchandise and smaller high margin items at the front of your store.
Prices should be displayed in a small size.
Make sure you have back-stock of items displayed. 4/15/20


SHOP YOUR OWN SHOP

Q. Have you shopped your own shop recently? The other night I was on my way out, purse in hand, when a friend walked into the store to browse.  I walked back in and “shopped” with her through her eyes. If you are like me, all I can see when surveying the floor is what needs to be done, what is missing, what needs dusting, etc. But shopping as the customer was a pleasant surprise. I enjoyed admiring and looking at things as much as she did and it was really fun!  It was a lesson to me  – after a harried day behind the scenes, I actually left feeling very good. I realized the pleasant experience that our shop offers to hospital guests and employees. I am going to walk out and come back in wearing a consumer hat more often!  – A shop manager. 228 beds. 3/10/20


CURTAIL DEEP-DISCOUNT CUSTOMERS

Q. I assist the director of volunteer services in managing three hospital gift shops. Our largest shop at our biggest campus does quite well. We have a shop at a sister hospital that we buy for and are waiting to see how the first year went. We also have a small shop at our long-term care and rehab facility. We struggle with staffing (all volunteer) as it’s a smaller shop and is on the opposite side of town from where many of the volunteers live. Most of the customers at that location also like to “wait things out” when it comes to buying product. They will not buy it until it is deeply discounted and then complain when the merchandise isn’t changed often. We are at a loss as to what to do with this particular shop. Does anyone have any suggestions? – Shea Parazine, Volunteer Services Specialist, The Shops at Unity Health, White County Medical Center, Searcy, AR. 193 beds. 3/11/20

FROM CINDY
Sounds like hospital employees have been trained to wait for markdowns so they can get it cheaper. I suggest you don’t reduce markdowns so soon, and see who out-waits who! Of course, the danger of waiting too long is that the shop may get stuck with too much aging merchandise. That is the “just in case”  philosophy.

As retailers, we never want to disappoint the customer. We can’t bear to hear a customer say they couldn’t find what they were looking for in our shop. On the other hand, we can’t carry everything in very limited floor space. Unfortunately, some shops carry huge inventories just in case that one customer comes in. That’s called ‘just in case’ thinking and buying and it simply doesn’t work! What happens if that one customer never comes in? You now have merchandise that feels old and stale….and may never sell. 3/15/20

We arranged our back room/office, for a small dressing room area. We hung a shower curtain on a tension pole rod, and they can also shut the door. It works great. – Sandy Eiffert. 2/15/20

We offer my office to our customers ~ they close and lock the door, and are happy to make sure it fits first! We also offer our nearest rest room…..this of course takes a lot of trust in your customers~~but~~ we’ve never had an item walk out yet! And the customers are very happy that we do trust them enough to offer this to them. Sometimes this trust makes the sale!! – Anonymous. 1/20/20

We have our restrooms across the hall, I offer for them to go try it on..so far no issues. I get worries but as I said not issues with that yet. Those who don’t we have an exchange policy that I let them know and ask that they keep tags and receipt. – Leslie Hollingsworth. 1/20/20

Regarding the question concerning no dressing room: we have a full length mirror on both sides of our back room area door. For sweaters, ponchos, etc. the one on the gift shop side works just fine. If someone needs to try on a top, we allow them to step into the back room to try it on and just wait outside. We have had no problems with this process. Occasionally someone will want to try on in a more private place (aka: bathroom). In these instances they will generally leave with us their car keys, or coat, etc. so we are comfortable with this. We can also see the bathroom entrance from our shop, so that helps us keep an eye out. For hospital staff, this is never a worry! – Nancy Johnsen. 1/16/20

We have a back room for receiving and office. We checked into a actual fitting room when we remodeled and it has to be ADA compliant. I did not feel it was a good trade off to give up the square footage in the shop for the fitting room, so had had a hospital curtain added to the back room. It works just fine when needed. There is a large mirror on one wall also. – Mary Robinson. 1/16/20




© Cindy Jones Associates, 2020. COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. Redistribution, copying, reselling, re-renting, or republishing is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Cindy’s Newsletter may not to be forwarded, redistributed, reproduced, reprinted, or posted online without prior permission from Cindy Jones Associates. Subscribers may share one issue with a fellow manager. Thereafter, the manager may subscribe here to receive future issues.

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | June 15, 2020 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER

for

Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter provides its readership of over 3,000 gift shop professionals “actionable content” to help optimize their shop operation, grow revenue, and connect with one another. LEAVE A COMMENT: Click the coral colored comment tags throughout the newsletter to comment or send them to cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com


JUNE 15, 2020

CARTI Cancer Center Gift Shop, Little Rock, AR
CARTI Cancer Center Gift Shop, Little Rock, AR

👇🏼CLICK TO COMMENT 👇🏼

CORONAVIRUS DISCUSSION 😷

Cindy Jones Assoc strives to provide a place here where managers can come together, gain a sense of community, and exchange valuable insights from one another through this time. Thank you to everyone who’s commented and shared over the last few months. As the saying goes, “We’ve got this!”

What’s been your experience since reopening?
What’s working? What should other managers beware of?

What vendors are offering the best discounts right now?
What is the reaction of medical staff coming into your shop?

Is your gift shop open, closed, or some variant?


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Will the pandemic change how retailers buy?

Once they re-open, around half of retailers expect to require inventory within the first four weeks, with all respondents indicating that they plan to buy within 18 weeks of re-opening. Sixty four percent of retailers expect sourcing to focus on core and best-selling products from vendors with whom they have a pre-existing relationship. Vendor selection will be also influenced by incentives (extended terms, free freight and discounts) as well as immediacy of product availability.

SOURCE: Earnshaw’s Magazine


THIS MONTH’S POLL

Is it in bad taste to sell COVID-19 novelty items?Obviously, nothing tacky, insensitive, or inappropriate. But a light-hearted t-shirt, mugs, teddy bears with face masks. Or, would it put off the doctors and nurses who see the tragedy of coronavirus, first hand, everyday.

LAST MONTH’S POLL

What is the annual cost of your POS system?

POS Cost


👇🏼CLICK TO COMMENT 👇🏼

Introducing Facebook Shops

Facebook Shops make it easy for businesses to set up a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram. Creating a Facebook Shop is free and simple. Businesses can choose the products they want to feature from their catalog and then customize the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colors that showcase their brand. This means any seller, no matter their size or budget, can bring their business online and connect with customers wherever and whenever it’s convenient for them.

And just like when customer’s are in a physical store and need to ask for help, in Facebook Shops they’ll be able to message the shop to ask questions, get support, track deliveries and more. 

Do you think Facebook Shops would work for your gift shop? Let us know.


Job Openings

Manager Gift Shop & Volunteer Program
Hackensack Meridian Health, Edison, NJ

Gift Shop Sales Associate
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Gift Shop Associate
Northwell Health, New York, NY

Gift Shop Assistant Manager
FirstHealth of the Carolinas, Pinehurst

Gift Shop Manager
Sheppard Pratt Health System, Baltimore, MD

Gift Shop Associate
Wyndham Destinations, Las Vegas, NV

Gift Shop Manager
Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH

Gift Shop/Volunteer Services Coordinator
Integris Health, Enid, OK

Gift Shop Sales Associate
Aultman Hospital, Canton, OH

Gift Shop Manager
JAARS, Waxhaw, NC

Manager – Gift Shop
Houston Methodist, Atascocita, TX

Gift Shop Coordinator
Lake District Hospital, Chicago, IL


PART II: Why write your own purchase orders?

by Cindy Jones, Editor and Publisher 💮

Last month we learned about the benefits of writing your own purchase orders, vital components, and the purchasing power that stems from having your own purchase orders. We continue with more helpful insights on writing and executing your own purchase orders. 

Terms & Conditions
While you may not be able to take advantage of all your ‘Terms & Conditions’, vendors will never refuse to take your order because of that. Be sure to know their “Terms & Conditions”. Make sure that the ‘Terms & Conditions’ on your Order Form are better than what you’ll see on your vendor’s order forms.

Make an extra copy of the order, one for ‘Receiving & Marking’ and one for the buyer to keep at their desk for quick and easy reference. Receiving and Marking will now have a familiar order form and will see clearly what is written, therefore, fewer mistakes. Since the order is already retailed, it can quickly and efficiently be deducted from your OTB.

Tired of Back Orders?
Be sure your purchase order includes your buying policy, especially as it relates to back orders. If you have a shop customized order form, you may want to add the following to it:

“Please honor cancellation dates. Notify us immediately if you are unable to complete the order by the specified date. Please ship complete. Shipper is responsible for freight charges on shipments with a wholesale merchandise value of less than $100.”

Of course, if you really don’t mind bits and pieces of your order straggling in, then you shouldn’t have to pay the shipping on each item shipped separately. After all, it isn’t your shop’s fault that they can’t ship the entire order all together. Just don’t pay it!

Mark up for Profit
Hospital gift shops today cannot make a profit on an initial overall 2.5 times mark on. After mark downs, the gross margin is reduced.

A profitable shop must have a greater gross margin than expenses. To accomplish this, shops must take a higher mark up from the beginning, purchase enough desirable off price merchandise or have less markdown to create a profit.

Buyers should take an average initial mark up of 3 times cost. You will not achieve this with every vendor, however, it is achievable.

Keep in mind, a mark down is the most important tool you have to move a mistake out the door. (Buying mistakes happen even with the best buyers.) Buying a bad style, color, size, quantity, wrong timing, or bad fit, will always happen. Don’t fret, recognize mistakes early and mark down immediately!

Inventory Turnover Ratio
The measurement of turns is an important retail calculation. Your total inventory should turn over at least 4 times annually.

Annual Turns 🎯
Sales (for period)  / Average Inventory (for same period)

Unfortunately a vast majority of shops’ turns are too low as evidenced by shop storage rooms bulging with unsold and tired looking merchandise.
High turns mean you are using your inventory dollars efficiently, your stock looks fresh, and you probably need less storage space. On the other hand, rapid turnover can put a strain on staff who need to unpack, price and process more purchase orders and receiving documents, and deal with all the activity associated with frequent deliveries.

Your shop’s square footage is also a factor affecting turns. A shop that is too big for the hospital’s customer traffic potential may have a slower turn rate because it requires excess inventory to keep the shop looking full and inviting.

Your inventory (at retail) should be approximately 20% of total sales. However, it is important to keep inventory as low as possible while still increasing sales. This means buying merchandise that will sell fast. Lower inventories can be maintained by turning the inventory fast.

Read  PART I: Why Write Your Own Purchase Orders?  in last month’s issue.


💮 CALENDAR 💮

GIFT MARKETS

Updated June 15. Always confirm show dates with the market directly before making travel plans. Dates change frequently and often. Jun 23-26, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market + KidsWorld Market + Gift & Home Open House **select showrooms only 🔗
Jul 9-13, 2020 RESCHEDULED for Aug 20-24, 2020
LA Mart (Summer). Los Angeles 🔗
Jul 14–20, 2020 RESCHEDULED for Aug 13-18, 2020
Atlanta Gift & Home Furnishings Market (Summer) 🔗
Jul 21-23, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories + Gift & Home Open House **select showrooms by appt 🔗
Jul 21-25, 2020 RESCHEDULED for Aug 18-24, 2020
Seattle Gift Show (Summer/Fall) 🔗
RESCHEDULED for
Jul 23–26, 2020
TransWorld’s Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (now Summer). Chicago 🔗
Jul 26-30, 2020 RESCHEDULED for Aug 30 – Sep 3, 2020
Las Vegas Market (Summer) 🔗
CANCELLED
Aug 8-12, 2020
NY NOW (Summer). New York 🔗
CANCELLED Aug 9-12, 2020
Toronto Gift + Home Market (Fall) 🔗
RESCHEDULED for
Aug 19-25, 2020
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (Summer) 🔗
Aug 25-28, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market (Summer) + KidsWorld Market + Western Market 🔗
Aug 28-30, 2020
Rocky Mountain Gift Show. Denver 🔗
Sep 23-25, 2020
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (Fall) 🔗
Oct 4–6, 2020
LA Mart (Fall). Los Angeles 🔗
Oct 5–6, 2020
Seattle Gift Show (Fall) 🔗
Oct 17-21, 2020
High Point Market (Fall). Highpoint, NC 🔗
Oct 18-20, 2020
NY NOW (Fall). New York 🔗
Oct 20-23, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market 🔗
Oct 22-25, 2020
TransWorld’s Spring Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (Fall) Rosemont, IL 🔗

STATE AUXILIARY CONFERENCES

CANCELLED
Aug 22-25 2020
52nd Annual AHVRP Conference & Exposition. Denver, CO 🔗
Nov 4-6, 2020
Missouri Hospital Assoc (MHA) Annual Convention & Trade Show. Osage Beach, MO 🔗 
RESCHEDULED for
Nov 4-6, 2020

Michigan Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals (MHVRP) Spring Conference. Shelbyville, MI🔗

 


Your shop’s mission

by Cindy Jones, Editor and Publisher 💮

A hospital gift shop is primarily an extension of the hospital and is an important source of income for the hospital. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the hospital administration and the hospital gift shop manager to collaborate on a policy that will reflect their community of interest and purpose.

The use of the term “hospital gift shop” has specific meaning and carries with it important obligations to the public to ensure quality merchandise and service excellence and to foster a climate of integrity within the hospital.

Management and Personnel
Since public perception of the hospital gift shop is closely tied to the hospital, it is the responsibility of gift shop personnel to be fully aware of the source, quality and worth of all items sold. All hospital gift shop personnel, whether paid or volunteer, are representatives of the hospital.

It is unethical for hospital gift shop personnel to use their hospital gift shop affiliation for personal profit or to engage in any activity that may compromise the integrity of the institution or undermine the confidence of the hospital gift shop staff and the public.

Diversity and the Hospital Gift Shop
A hospital gift shop enjoys a unique opportunity to serve a diverse clientele. For that reason, the shop is obligated to treat everyone with the highest level of respect and to offer products that are safe and of the highest quality.

Post your mission statement where it is visible to visitors and employees. Or post a sign that says, “Thank you for your patronage. Every purchase you make supports patient care at the hospital.” Some gift shops print their mission on shopping bags to remind customers of their mission.


Direct Ship Programs

GiftBEAT has compiled a comprehensive list of the vendors offering direct-ship programs for store owners, along with the program details and web links, on one convenient page. The Direct-Ship Vendor list is a free resource with over 50 different vendors and counting.


Selling behind a mask: Connecting while social distancing

by Liz Cichowski / Jun 16, 2020

How will you and your staff connect with your customers behind a mask? This may present several challenges, whether you’re open right now or reopening soon. Liz Cichowski, of Retail Customer Experience, writes about two very different shopping experiences at retail stores where employees were wearing face masks. She writes: 

“Going back to the two stores I visited, in both stores every employee was wearing a mask in proper fashion. That what’s changed since the CDC guidelines came out. Here’s the difference: In the one store I visited, I was sincerely greeted by every employee I encountered. They looked up from cleaning and stocking to say hello. I could tell they were happy to see me because they were smiling with their eyes. I returned the favor by asking them how they were doing, whether they were comfortable wearing a mask all day, etc. It felt good to connect! We were all happier as a result.

In the other store, I was ignored. This did not feel good. I don’t think the employees felt good either. Most humans are social beings, and we thrive on social connections. If you want YOUR customers to shop with and buy from you, your employees need to make human connections. This is true even when someone has ordered online and is simply doing curbside or in-store pickup.

Masks and social distancing are what’s changed as a result of COVID-19. What remains the same: Genuine connections are still required to create sales and to capture market share from your competition. The question is:How do you connect socially from behind a mask?

Tips for selling behind a mask

Here are some tips for engaging with customers from behind a mask, whether an employee is selling from six feet away, a cashier is ringing sales and selling loyalty programs, or someone is running curbside pickup and stocking shelves. Regardless of any technology you may have implemented (e.g., BOPIS or buy online-pick up in store, scheduling in-store appointments online, etc.), I believe these guidelines still apply.

  • Greet every customer with a genuine smile. In most cultures, a smile means you’re happy to see someone. When people can’t see your mouth, your eyes reveal a genuine smile. Look up from what you’re doing, smile, say “Hi!” or “Thanks for coming in!” and BE HAPPY TO SEE YOUR CUSTOMERS. They are the only reason your store is open. Period.
  • Speak clearly. There is now a door greeter at my local grocery store. I call this new role “the mask police.” One greeter, Tanner, greets me with a HUGE grin and a friendly “Hello. Welcome!” And I can understand everything Tanner says to me. The other greeters frown, and I can’t understand a word they say. I don’t like being greeted by the other greeters. But I LOVE being greeted by Tanner. I want to meet Tanner’s parents and congratulate them! The bottom line: It is EXTREMELY frustrating when customers can’t hear you. When customers CAN hear you, they are much happier.
  • Ask questions to check for understanding. A lot of customers may be too embarrassed (or in too much of a rush) to tell you they didn’t understand. Ask questions like, “Does this match up with what you were looking for?” “You said XYZ was important to you, I think this is great. What do you think?” “Hey, I know it may be hard to hear me from inside this mask. Am I missing anything?” Said with a smile, these kinds of questions WILL be appreciated.
  • Use body language to connect. Eye contact, people! Not staring, but making eye contact when speaking. Nod your head to indicate you’re listening. Don’t cross your arms, and relax your shoulders. If you are social distancing, you can still be social with your body language.

Consider incorporating these tips into any training or communication you have around requiring employees to wear face coverings. Make sure your managers help employees practice and are out on the sales floor, recognizing employees for a job well done. People tend to do what they get recognized for. And make sure people are recognized as often as possible. That way, when someone misses an opportunity to engage with a customer, they’ll be more receptive to a little corrective coaching.”

SOURCE: Retail Customer Experience



Looking for a new manager or clerk?

by Cindy Jones, Editor and Publisher 💮

Hiring the best team can mean the difference between your shop’s success or failure. Developing the skills to recognize, hire and retain good staff is essential. Whether you’re a seasoned recruiter or just starting to hon your HR skills, you’ll benefit from these hiring insights. 

Appearance is important because your employees interface with customers, but keep an open mind until you have a chance to see what candidates reveal during the interview.

Hire for attitude. Train for skills.

You’ll have problems with someone you hire who has a poor attitude, no matter how much experience and skills he or she has. If you hire someone with a great attitude, who’s willing to learn, and is energetic and enthusiastic (none of which is tied to age, by the way), you can teach that individual what he or she needs to know to be successful in your business.

Develop a list of questions in advance that will help you during the interview to determine a candidate’s attitude. Use behavior based, non-hypothetical questions that are written in the past tense, such as “Can you give me an example of a time in your last job when you were criticized by your supervisor. What happened?” The past is a reliable predictor of the future – the more recent the past, the more reliable the information is. You also get a more realistic response because you’re asking the candidate to give a real example. Other questions are:

“How do you keep yourself emotionally ‘up,’ even when you get discouraged?” (This speaks to attitude)
“Tell me about the last time you lost your cool with a customer.” (This helps you avoid those who are “loose cannons”)
“On a scale of 1 to 10, on average where’s your energy level?
“Give me three examples of what you are working on to improve about yourself.”

Don’t talk too much during an interview. Don’t spend the first 30 minutes telling the candidate all about the business before they start asking interview questions. That’s a mistake because you’ve given that candidate everything he or she needs to know to tell you exactly what you want to hear. That’s why some candidates appear to shine in an interview, but tarnish quickly after coming on board – you didn’t get a true reading of their attitude, behaviors and skills.

Use an agenda to tell the candidate that you’re going to spend a few minutes with him or her, asking questions from a list of prepared questions. Let the individual know that the questions are the same or similar to what you’ve asked other candidates for the position.

There are no “perfect 10” candidates. Determine a candidate’s weaknesses in the interview, which is even more important than their strengths.

Explain that when you’re done asking questions you’ll invite the candidate to ask you questions, too. Don’t tell candidates upfront that you’re going to spend an hour with them and then tour the store. If an interview goes well, a “few minutes” might turn into an hour, and that’s fine. But if you’re thinking “What a dud” five minutes into an interview, this gives you a graceful way to get out of the interview.

Check references. They are very easy to get. Put that responsibility on candidates, by telling them you need a minimum number of work-related references (you should determine that number). When calling for references, ask the same questions you asked the candidate during the interview. You want to find out how that person operated in a business environment. Small business owners will probably tell you anything you want to know about a candidate. Larger companies may have rules about references. If so, put the onus back on the candidate. Tell him or her, “I really want to hire you, but I need more than a verification that you worked at XYZ Company. I need to talk to people who knew you when you worked there.”

Happy hiring!

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MAY 2020 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #605
We don’t want you to miss a thing. Check out last month’s articles and features.

  • 7-Eleven opens hospital pop-up store
  • Checklist: No-Contact Shop Operations
  • POLL: What is the annual cost of your POS system?
  • Vendor Request: Please help us get paid
  • Virtual gift shows and online digital marketplaces
  • Operation Open Doors: a roadmap to reopening
  • Hospital employees make up 60-75% of a gift shop’s customer base
  • Direct Ship Programs
  • PART I: Why Write Your Own Purchase Orders?
  • Dallas Market Center reopens to buyers
  • Coronavirus discussion
  • COVID-19 Webinars

DISCUSSION


BUYING POST CORONAVIRUS

Q. Our budget has been cut due to the Coronavirus. We are having troubles getting product and vendors don’t seem to be working with us on pricing.  What vendors are offering good discounts?  – Shop Manager, AZ 6/10/20


COVID-19 THEMED PRODUCTS

Q. Is it in bad taste to sell COVID-19 novelty items? Obviously, nothing tacky. But, I’ve seen a few clever t-shirts, mugs, teddy bears with face masks. Our customers – the doctors and nurses on the front line  – see the tragedy of this illness everyday. Maybe not so humorous to them and don’t want to be reminded of it when they walk in our shop. Or, maybe not? – Lea 5/29/20


HOW IS THE CORONAVIRUS AFFECTING YOUR GIFT SHOP?

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your gift shop. Has your gift shop closed or reduced hours? What about volunteers? Are you sanitizing product? If your hospital does close the gift shop will they deploy you to another department? Are you able to work from home?

We are not open yet. I think the hardest part was that I went in got all the Easter out, did a deep clean, got all Of Mother’s Day out and displayed and we still aren’t open. I have ordered nothing in 2 months. I can’t order until there is money coming in again. I have a store room full of summer apparel that I will put out since the spring apparel is still hanging there. So sad!! – Vickie Bailey 5/22/20

It really is sad, Vickie! What a shame! Sending warm wishes to all you managers that are facing this same dilemma. – Cindy

Our Governor is slowly reopening the state of Arkansas and our CEO Allowed us to reopen with limited traffic and reduced hours week before last in time for Mother’s day. We have a sanitizing station at the door for people to sanitize upon entry and masks are required. Our employees have been very excited to have a bit of normalcy again and its reducing some stress. No volunteers back yet so my supervisor and I are trading off shifts. We are open 10-3 Monday through Friday. I had set up a private employees only Facebook group while we were closed so I could still sell things to the employees that way and we have found they love live videos of new merch so we are continuing posting in that group as well.  – Shea Parazine 5/18/20

Thank you for sharing, Shea. Glad to hear you have opened, even with limited hours. Also, thanks for sharing that you set up a private Facebook group using live videos of your products. Please share the link if it goes public. – Cindy

All our Volunteers LOA but myself and my wife continued to keep the gift shop open for the employees.  – James Padgett 5/18/20

So glad to hear your shop is open. What hospital are you with? – Cindy

We are closed but open to email & phone orders so that employees can get any type of item. We’ve been selling a lot of pop and candy but also cards & gifts. – Jenny Turner 4/15/20

We were told to close our Shop on March 16th until further notice (Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, NY) – 337 Beds. Our Association decided to donate all perishable snacks, bagged candy and even our Gourmet Chocolates to the Hospital Staff and it was distributed by their Senior Leaders. – Anne Trocano/Linda Leary

We donated all our Easter candy and any candy/snacks which will expire by June, to our staff as a Thank You for their hard work. – Anonymous

We did the same! – Anonymous

We have had to shutter our doors as of March 18. After our closing, as the manager, I decided I would call each employee or volunteer on the day they would have worked as a way to stay in contact with everyone. Some of the paid staff (myself included) have been placed in the labor pool, and do other jobs throughout the hospital, but I still make the effort each week to call and check on everyone to discuss how absolutely bored they are, do they have enough toilet paper, the puzzle they are working on, or just how much their spouse is driving them nuts! I have to say it has been beneficial to both them and me. We are bonded through our common goal, The Gift Shop, and our lives are just not the same without it.
We all anxiously await the day we can reunite and “do our job again”  – David Munger

David, this is wonderful! Thank you for sharing! – Cindy Jones

We are now taking phone orders with delivery to our patients, in-town delivery, pickup, and mail out! Business has been very slow, but I felt like I had to try something…  -Jamie Lee Hernandez

We closed the shop on March 6. We donated flowers in stock to patients and staff. Fortunately, we had not decorated for Easter yet and had little expressly Easter inventory as we don’t do very well with it. I have plenty of general inventory for Spring and Summer when we do reopen but have been leery about ordering ahead of that as I just don’t know what things will look like. In the meantime, our auxiliary has decided to donate a substantial amount of money to the hospital to be used as they see fit rather than asking for ideas and then choosing projects or equipment to fund. This seemed like the expedient as well as the more critical response to the needs of the hospital at this point but we hope to still be able to fund the scholarships we usually award to hospital employees. I made and sent Easter cards to all my volunteers and try to stay in touch with them, as many are struggling with their own or spouse’s health issues, independent of the virus. – Sandra Oldfield

I am at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. Both of our gift shops are still open. The Get Well shop in open 8 am to 8 pm M-F and 11-3 Sat and Sun, and our Baby Shop is open, but for reduced hours. We are mainly selling staff t-shirts and tons of snacks. Fortunately we have an e-commerce site and it is doing well, especially for baby gifts and flowers because no one is allowed to visit. Obviously revenues are way down, but we are still making enough to cover employee salaries and the cost of goods we are selling. The staff is very grateful that we are here, as it provides a bit of normalcy in an otherwise unthinkable situation. We have added numerous safety measures, such as a large plexiglass shield across the counter, masks, and hand sanitizer everywhere. Fortunately all of our Easter candy sold, and the rest of our Easter and spring merchandise will just be put away for next year. Since few people saw it, it will seem new to everyone. I hope you are all well and surviving this ultra-trying time! – Shauna Cox

Our shop is closed and has been since about March 16. The volunteers were all “paused” a week or so earlier and I opened a few hours for a couple days and then we were asked to close completely for a while. In a hospital, the gift shop is respite for our staff. No family members have been allowed in the building for a while now, so only staff, but they are our main customer anyway. The staff really miss the shop being open. Especially with all the stress right now, they would really love to be able to wander through the shop just to get their minds off their job for a little while. I’m hoping we will get the green light to open again soon.
I know of some hospital shops opening for a couple hours a day and only two customers at a time in the shop. Some are allowing “window shopping” and then pay via payroll deduct and what they choose is put outside the shop for them…they don’t actually get to come in the shop.
I’m really anxious to hear more from other hospital gift shops to see what they are doing and how they are doing it. The i3POS webinar yesterday had some interesting points. We all need to learn from each other and share ideas as much as we can during these difficult times. – Vesta Smith

When the time comes, consider having a ‘soft opening’ with limited hours and only allowing 10-15 shoppers in at a time. And, they must practice social distancing. Keep a box of rubber gloves and wipes at the front door and cashier counter. Good luck! – Cindy Jones

I have changed my shop into a mini mart. We have made our shop as an Essential business for our employees who are covering the Covid units. We open at 7 a.m. and close at 9p.m. I receive deliveries of food, toilet paper. I have partnered with Costco for deliveries, I moved and boxed all of our seasonal gift items. This has been a huge success. I did this with 3 of my shops. – Anonymous

As of today (3/16), our gift is closed indefinitely. We are sad. – Melodie Christal

As of 3/10 our gift shop was closed indefinitely due to the virus. Nothing we can do!! – Nan Healy

Our gift shop has been closed down, and we have no idea for how long. – Nancy Klein

All of our volunteers have been placed on LOA. I am opening the shop 10-2 M-F and paid staff 11-4 and 1-5 on weekends. I am responsible for all vending services as well so I am spending the rest of each day ordering, stocking, etc. We feel this is probably short term as we expect to be closed at some point. Sales are only on snacks, drinks, and candy so sales are definitely lower. – Anonymous

I am operating our gift shop on a limited schedule, as I am the only paid staff member and our volunteers are also on LOA. Planning to sanitize while I’m up there. Hot spots daily (if not multiple times per day). Going to see how traffic is this week and determine if I need to stay open next week as well. We have strict visitor limitations in place, expecting mainly employee traffic. – Anonymous

Our Gift shop is also closed. Volunteers are on LOA and as manager I am the only employee in Gift Shop. I am taking this time to do stock work and assist at Information Desk as needed. I plan to donate and deliver candy and popcorn to our hardworking clinical staff. – Anonymous

Our volunteers has been asked to stay home for their safety. That leaves me with 3 paid employees. We have a pharmacy in our gift shop so we cannot close, so, we have changed our hours to match the pharmacy. So, we are closing earlier Monday through Saturday and now are closed on Sunday until this passes. Stay safe everyone. – Kim DeBord

As of Saturday our Gift shop is closed. We have Easter and Spring clothes to sell – Sandy Eiffert

Members of the community should not come to the hospital unless there is a medical reason for the visit. This includes coming to the hospital solely to eat in the cafeteria or shop in the gift shop. – Janet Long, Public Relations Manager at Morris Hospital, IL

Our gift shop is closed until further notice. – Anonymous

Our shop is closed to walk in traffic. We have posted on the door and hospital site we will accept orders email, fax and by phone. They can come to the door and pick up. Only credit card and payroll payments. We will continue to accept phone orders for patient gifts. We have redone our windows to better view our products. We hope this is just for a couple weeks. Good Luck everyone. – Mary Claire

We are open but only with limited hours. All volunteers have been mandated to stay home. It is just me the manger and my assistant. Yes, we are sanitizing product and our store and our self’s and we are required to do so every hour! Yes they are saying they will deploy us to another department, we will not be able to work from home. The hospital is not allowing any visitors. Sales have been just for candy and snacks and only employees. – Colleen

We have reduced our hours to M-F 9-5 and Saturday 12-4. We don’t have any Covid-19 positive tests in our County yet. I’m sure as soon as we do, we’ll be shut down. Volunteers, at this point are able to determine for themselves if they wish to come in. – Anonymous

Our two hospital gift shops are closed indefinitely since Monday, 3/16. We only had two volunteers under the age of 60 and myself, a paid manager that would have been eligible to work. I will take this time to clean and organize our office/pricing area. I will clean and reset both shops and set up new displays. I will refresh any worn out display pieces such as repainting the racks from our fresh flower case that once the flowers were removed looked quite shabby, and not in the chic way!. I can work from home if needed, pricing smaller items, writing up future orders with catalogs or ordering online by holding the orders etc. This is a totally helpless feeling, I anxiously await our reopening! Stay healthy! – Jamie Lee Hernandez

Dignity Health Central Coast limits their hospital visitations due to flu and COVID-19 concerns All hospital gift shops are closed until further notice. Washington Health System is suspending some services, including closing the gift shop.  – Cindy Jones

Has your gift shop closed or reduced hours? Has you volunteer department closed? If so, are you as a gift shop manager able to work from home? If your hospital does close the gift shop will they deploy you to another department? Thanks! – Colleen DeSimone, Gift Shop Coordinator,Orange Regional Medical Center Gift Shop

We have been closed for over a week now as we’re staffed entirely by volunteers who are not allowed at the hospital. All visitors except end of life situations or parents of young patients are banned. We distributed the flowers, our only perishable item, to patients who would enjoy them before closing our doors. Our health fair, regional auxiliary meeting and volunteer appreciation lunch are all cancelled and we have no idea when we will re-open. Our hospital is a small rural one with 19 beds. – Sandra Oldfield

We have been closed since Monday. The President felt that if someone who was infected came in contact with multiple items it would be very difficult to disinfect everything they touched. I sent out a mass email to all employees and let them know that if they wanted to buy anything I can get it together and just charge their badge and meet them at the back door. No need to step foot into the shop. It’s working out really well. – Anonymous

What is everyone doing about all of their spring merchandise, just taking a loss?  I am in the process of removing all the Easter merchandise, plush, etc. and storing them for next year. I plan to keep the spring items in the shop. BTW, we have been closed since March 10th. All volunteers on LOA. As the only paid employee among our volunteers I am performing all tasks that our volunteers were doing, mail, surveys, front desk, etc. Stay well everyone. – Sarah F

We are still open, with only two paid employees disinfecting everything we can. We are only selling drinks, food and candy also. – Anonymous

Our gift shop closed officially 3/17 after all the volunteers called off. I am the only paid employee and am currently working from home because I have a sinus infection and am not allowed back into the hospital until I am 100%. Once I am 100% I will be allowed back into the hospital to work on various projects in the hospital and help in other areas where there are shortages. I feel helpless being at home and know that under any other situation I would have already been back to work with the tail end of an infection. Stay safe everyone. – Anonymous

We have a paid staff person in our gift shop so between her and a few die-hard volunteers, it has been open with reduced hours. Our volunteer services is not paused except for the teen program. We will keep it open as long as we can for our staff. We have been told that all staff are essential and no one will be staff reduced at this time, we will be deployed to help elsewhere. – Nichole

Are any of you doing delivery service to hospital employees in various departments and to patient floors? If so, how is that working? – Cindy Jones, Editor

So we have been closed since 3/13. Volunteers are on LOA. I am still here because we do flowers. The shop is closed. I have tried to let employees know that we have gifts if they need them. Very sad. No traffic on our main street. Stay Healthy! – Anonymous

We had to close the Gift Shop per our Executive Team Leaders on March 24. I’m wondering what everyone else, that has had to close, is doing with your Easter product, especially Easter candy? My thought is to hold it over until next year since I hadn’t had it out long enough to sell much of it. I’m pretty sure we won’t be open before Easter at this point. We plan to move to a new location in August and will have limited storage at the new location. – Vickie Bailey, Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital. 90 beds


QUALITY ITEMS FOR $15

Q. I work for a large hospital system that has a patient/guest service recovery program where our hospital employees can access an item for guests/patients. In an effort to remain compliant with the $15 Federal OIG (Office of Inspector General) limit recommendation for ‘patient gifting’ we would like to stock items that meet that price point and still remain “giftable”. What are other shops buying and stocking that are under this $15 limit while retaining a perception of quality?

With hospital gift shop’s being such a large part of the retail market, you would think that vendors know the federal regulations that we must adhere to and come up with some suggested items in their lines. At the Atlanta market last month, not one rep was familiar with this, (it began in 2017 with the Affordable Care Act), which I found surprising! – Michaela Kanoski, Volunteer & Guest Services Manager, CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy. 380 beds. 3/2/20

(OIG is the governmental agency that regulates and enforces the monetary value of things received by Medicate and state Medicaid patients.)


WHY MAINTAIN INVENTORY AND FINANCIALS ‘AT RETAIL’?

Q. I need to explain to our gift shop committee why our physical inventory reports should always be shown at the retail price rather than “at cost.” Can you give me a short and simple answer. Thanks much!! – Darielle H. 3/14/20

FROM CINDY

Advantages of the Retail Method of Inventory Valuation
The money your customer pays at point of purchase is the retail price. The retail sales figures are the retail value of the inventory. The retail price has the profit built into it and profit occurs when an item is sold (at retail)

    1. Maintaining inventory figures ‘at retail’ forces the you, the retailer, to ‘think retail’.
    2. Financial statements ‘at retail’ are essential to good financial planning. Frequent calculations at both cost and retail information allows the retailer to adjust quickly to changing conditions
    3. Physical inventories taken at retail prices eliminate the costly, time-consuming job of decoding cost prices. Recording physical inventory at retail prices greatly simplifies the process and encourages a more frequent physical count of inventory.
    4. The retail method facilitates planning and control of a department or category. Sales, purchases, inventories, and price-change information are recorded by department or category and can be used to evaluate each department’’s performance.
    5. By providing a ‘book’ or Point of Sale figure for what your inventory should be on hand, the retail method allows the retailer to determine shortages each time a physical inventory is taken.

The ‘retail method’ requires continuous recording of all transactions which change the unit status of the inventory. A running total must be kept by continuously recording all merchandise data. A Point of Sale system will automatically accomplish that for you!  3/15/20


CHANGE DISPLAYS

Q. Because we have many of the same customers everyday, how often should we change our displays? How often do you rotate merchandise to other locations?

FROM CINDY

To keep displays from growing stale, change them every 2-3 weeks. Strategic and successful displays connect with your customer in micro moments. Go above and beyond for your customers, anticipate their needs, infuse your merchandise story and empower your staff to go the extra mile.

Good displays should sell product! Signage will help sell product.

Display seasonal merchandise and smaller high margin items at the front of your store.
Prices should be displayed in a small size.
Make sure you have back-stock of items displayed. 4/15/20


SHOP YOUR OWN SHOP

Q. Have you shopped your own shop recently? The other night I was on my way out, purse in hand, when a friend walked into the store to browse.  I walked back in and “shopped” with her through her eyes. If you are like me, all I can see when surveying the floor is what needs to be done, what is missing, what needs dusting, etc. But shopping as the customer was a pleasant surprise. I enjoyed admiring and looking at things as much as she did and it was really fun!  It was a lesson to me  – after a harried day behind the scenes, I actually left feeling very good. I realized the pleasant experience that our shop offers to hospital guests and employees. I am going to walk out and come back in wearing a consumer hat more often!  – A shop manager. 228 beds. 3/10/20


CURTAIL DEEP-DISCOUNT CUSTOMERS

Q. I assist the director of volunteer services in managing three hospital gift shops. Our largest shop at our biggest campus does quite well. We have a shop at a sister hospital that we buy for and are waiting to see how the first year went. We also have a small shop at our long-term care and rehab facility. We struggle with staffing (all volunteer) as it’s a smaller shop and is on the opposite side of town from where many of the volunteers live. Most of the customers at that location also like to “wait things out” when it comes to buying product. They will not buy it until it is deeply discounted and then complain when the merchandise isn’t changed often. We are at a loss as to what to do with this particular shop. Does anyone have any suggestions? – Shea Parazine, Volunteer Services Specialist, The Shops at Unity Health, White County Medical Center, Searcy, AR. 193 beds. 3/11/20

FROM CINDY
Sounds like hospital employees have been trained to wait for markdowns so they can get it cheaper. I suggest you don’t reduce markdowns so soon, and see who out-waits who! Of course, the danger of waiting too long is that the shop may get stuck with too much aging merchandise. That is the “just in case”  philosophy.

As retailers, we never want to disappoint the customer. We can’t bear to hear a customer say they couldn’t find what they were looking for in our shop. On the other hand, we can’t carry everything in very limited floor space. Unfortunately, some shops carry huge inventories just in case that one customer comes in. That’s called ‘just in case’ thinking and buying and it simply doesn’t work! What happens if that one customer never comes in? You now have merchandise that feels old and stale….and may never sell. 3/15/20

We arranged our back room/office, for a small dressing room area. We hung a shower curtain on a tension pole rod, and they can also shut the door. It works great. – Sandy Eiffert. 2/15/20

We offer my office to our customers ~ they close and lock the door, and are happy to make sure it fits first! We also offer our nearest rest room…..this of course takes a lot of trust in your customers~~but~~ we’ve never had an item walk out yet! And the customers are very happy that we do trust them enough to offer this to them. Sometimes this trust makes the sale!! – Anonymous. 1/20/20

We have our restrooms across the hall, I offer for them to go try it on..so far no issues. I get worries but as I said not issues with that yet. Those who don’t we have an exchange policy that I let them know and ask that they keep tags and receipt. – Leslie Hollingsworth. 1/20/20

Regarding the question concerning no dressing room: we have a full length mirror on both sides of our back room area door. For sweaters, ponchos, etc. the one on the gift shop side works just fine. If someone needs to try on a top, we allow them to step into the back room to try it on and just wait outside. We have had no problems with this process. Occasionally someone will want to try on in a more private place (aka: bathroom). In these instances they will generally leave with us their car keys, or coat, etc. so we are comfortable with this. We can also see the bathroom entrance from our shop, so that helps us keep an eye out. For hospital staff, this is never a worry! – Nancy Johnsen. 1/16/20

We have a back room for receiving and office. We checked into a actual fitting room when we remodeled and it has to be ADA compliant. I did not feel it was a good trade off to give up the square footage in the shop for the fitting room, so had had a hospital curtain added to the back room. It works just fine when needed. There is a large mirror on one wall also. – Mary Robinson. 1/16/20


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Ask for a FREE copy of our “Hospital Gift Shops:
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© Cindy Jones Associates, 2020. COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. Redistribution, copying, reselling, re-renting, or republishing is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Cindy’s Newsletter may not to be forwarded, redistributed, reproduced, reprinted, or posted online without prior permission from Cindy Jones Associates. Subscribers may share one issue with a fellow manager. Thereafter, the manager may subscribe here to receive future issues.

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | May 15, 2020 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER

for

Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter provides its readership of over 3,000 gift shop professionals “actionable content” to help optimize their shop operation, grow revenue, and connect with one another. LEAVE A COMMENT: Click the colored comment tags throughout the newsletter or email Cindy at cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com


MAY 15, 2020

👇🏼CLICK TO COMMENT 👇🏼

CORONAVIRUS DISCUSSION 😷

We recognize the unprecedented situation hospital gift shops are experiencing right now, with some having already closed and others reopening, or have reduced hours. Everyone here is trying to balance the unique circumstances inherent to running a shop in a medical facility right now. How is everyone coping? Please share! 

Are you back at work and reopened your gift shop? Anyone!
How are things going? What’s been the hardest part? 
What’s driving sales since reopening?

Are you still closed? Is your shop serving a different function during this time?
When do you plan to start buying and placing orders again?

Is your gift shop open, closed, or some variant?

In case you missed it, here are the March or April coronavirus comments. We’ve received messages from many of you that the forum has been invaluable. Cindy Jones Assoc is striving to provide a place here where managers can come together, gain a sense of community, and exchange valuable insights from one another through this time. Gift Shop Managers are a remarkable group!


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7-Eleven opens hospital pop-up store

By Liz Parks  / May 5, 2020

The store at Children’s Medical Center Dallas provides convenient access to essentials for health care workers and patient families

In late April, 7-Eleven opened its first-ever hospital pop-up store at Children’s Medical Center Dallas.

The store provides foods, beverages and essential items for health care workers and patient families during the current health crisis. Offerings range from fresh foods and personal care items to groceries, cleaning supplies and phone chargers.

The store is located in an auditorium typically reserved for large meetings. Children’s Health food services team is working alongside 7-Eleven to operate the outlet by stocking shelves and checking out customers. 7-Eleven is also assisting stores near the two other local hospitals in the Children’s Health system; health care workers at Children’s Medical Center Plano (Texas) and Our Children’s House in Dallas can receive merchandise delivered to their work locations at no charge thanks to the 7NOW delivery app.

Joe DePinto, president and CEO of 7-Eleven, described the doctors, nurses and care teams at Children’s Health as “true heroes.”

“When Children’s Health asked us to provide their team members convenient access to essentials during this unprecedented time, our team rose to meet the challenge, opening this first-of-its-kind store in less than two weeks. We are proud to serve those on the front line of this pandemic.” Children’s Health is the eighth-largest pediatric health care provider in the nation.

Source: National Retail Federation


Checklist: No-Contact Shop Operations

It is important to be savvy and adapt quickly to a no-contact way of conducting business. Retailing is a high-touch industry! Look for any ways to make it safer and easier, and to minimize contact. Here’s a checklist to help get started.

  1. Provide sanitizer and wipes at shop entry, registers, shelves, etc.
  2. Cleaning (displays, door knobs, cash wrap, etc).
  3. Make face masks mandatory.
  4. Limit # of customers / sq ft (e.g., 3 customers per 1000 sq ft).
  5. Reduce customer capacity limit to 50% and strictly enforce.
  6. Mark 6′ lines for customers lines.
  7. Tape shop floors to indicate 6′ spacing.
  8. Widen aisles and displays.
  9. Post social distancing signs and markers. Try some fun and clever ones. 
  10. Install plexiglass at cash wraps, registers, etc.
  1. Establish a set of Daily Disinfecting Procedures for existing and new inventory.
  2. Discourage shoppers from touching merchandise. Again, clever shelf signage. 
  3. Use PPE, when available.
  4. ‘Quarantine’ returned items for 3-4 days before reselling.
  5. New normal: no fitting room. Or, clothes that are tried on or returned are to be cleaned and taken off the sales floor for 24 hours before being put back on display. 
  6. Consider selling masks, hand sanitizer, TP, tissues, etc.
  7. Reduce amount of merchandise displayed.
  8. Keep shop hours updated online, email notices, and other publications. 
  9. Create ‘curb-side’ hallway purchase pickups.
  10. Designate receptacles for discarded face masks and other PPE. 

COVID-19 has forced hospital gift shops to embrace new technology and other efficiencies.  Explore the silver lining of today’s transformations on the future of hospital gift shops, and how you should adapt your business model to elevate both your shop and customer experience. An online store or website is now invaluable for hospital gift shops! Many shops that already have online stores are seeing substantial sales even while being closed physically.


gift shop POS

THIS MONTH’S SURVEY

What is the annual cost of your POS system?

Vendor Request: Please help us get paid

Recently, we’ve been hearing that vendors are having problems getting paid by larger hospitals. It seems to be a logistical gap with an easy solution. So, we thought a quick ‘Gift Shop PSA’ might be in order to help bring about a solution.

The recent consolidation of smaller hospitals by larger management companies often means finance departments are further removed from any actual operations, both physically and logistically. Your accounts payable department might not even be in the same city, let alone building. This means your shop’s shipping and receiving address is likely different, as well. Multiple addresses and said disconnect can create all kinds of problems with invoicing, accounts payables, receivables, shipping, and returns. 

Seamless, Pain-Free, Looks Smart Buying

  • Include the email address, billing address, and phone number for your organization’s financial representative, so vendors know where to submit their invoices. 
  • Include the shipping and receiving address, on every order, even if it’s the same as your billing address. This eliminates any confusion for the vendor and avoids delays.
  • Always use PO numbers on every order. 

COVID-19 WEBINARS

How To Assess the Financial Health of
Your Hospital Gift Shop
May 20, 2020

Did you know there are seven numbers you should be looking at regularly that can help you determine the financial health of your gift shop? They are key to ensuring your gift shop is running at full health and quickly identify any deficiencies. The webinar uncovers the seven numbers, why they’re important, how to calculate them, things to consider, as well as operating tips.

COVID-19 Webinar for
Hospital Gift Shop Managers

April 16, 2020

Panelists Cindy Jones, along with Andee Williamson, Sales Consulting Engineer at NCR, Eric Wininger, Gift Shop Manager at Reading Hospital, Annha Britt, Gift Shop Manager at New Hanover Regional Medical Center and Lynda Waldron, Gift Shop Manager at Henry Ford Allegiance Health discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on hospital gift shops.

Hosted by i3 Verticals


Virtual gift shows and online digital marketplaces

We are seeing an increased interest in online marketplaces and virtual gift shows due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are few we’ve come across. Do you know of any others? Let us know and we’ll share it with our readers.

VIRTUAL GIFT SHOWS

The High Point Virtual Market three-week online event will provide product discovery opportunities and virtual connections for sourcing and lead generation. It will include Catalog Connexion, a keyword-searchable catalog library that connects buyers and sellers through product flipbooks. During the virtual market, buyers and suppliers can enjoy a multitude of digital inspirations and online connections such as blogs, live webinars, pop-up virtual market events, business intelligence sessions and social media programs. May 11-29

IndieMe Marketplace, an online marketplace for retailers to source handmade American and Canadian artist-made craft, announced its first Virtual Expo, which will be held from June 3-9, 2020.

Womenswear In Nevada Show, or WWIN Show, hosts WWINdow Shopping, an interactive and easy-to-use platform connecting buyers and suppliers to conduct business similar to meeting in person. Launching July 13 and running through October, WWINdow Shopping is a one-stop shop for retailers and brands to connect 24/7 from the comfort and safety of their own homes.

OneCoast, a nationwide sales and marketing services company, will relaunch its Virtual Show this summer to provide retailers an opportunity to shop online while accessing the new product introductions, show specials, giveaways, and the latest vendor catalogs. The Virtual Show is being launched to provide an on-line Trade Show experience for those who would not be comfortable traveling to, or able to, travel to see us in Atlanta, Dallas, or Las Vegas. Summer, 2020

ONLINE WHOLESALE MARKETPLACE

Faire is a wholesale marketplace taking a data-driven approach to connect local, independent retailers with the best brands, artisans, and makers to stock their shelves with the best goods. Faire offers retailers FREE RETURNS within 60 days if shoppers don’t bite! Faire is an innovative online marketplace that uses machine learning to match local retailers with the makers of products that uniquely fit their stores.

ShopZio Marketplace, powered by IMC_di, is an online marketplace comprised of top brands to new artisan vendors. ShopZio lets you browse products, view pricing, create wishlists, and place orders directly with brands. It is a perfect complement throughout the year to physical markets. Browse products and pricing, place orders directly with vendors, review previous orders, bookmarks and organize your favorite products by vendor

ModMart is the revolutionary shop-click-ship, one stop shop for the gift and décor retailers and brands. It gives gift/home retailers and vendors a modern new way to do business. ModMart provides an intuitive shopping experience, followed by an easy check out process, competitive terms, and quick shipping directly from the vendor.  

The virtual showroom at BESTofShowShop is an experience not to be missed. The virtual walk through is remarkable. Click here


Operation Open Doors is ‘like having a roadmap’ to reopening after COVID-19

Developed with input from hundreds of retailers brought together by NRF, Operation Open Doors provides operational guidelines and considerations in four areas: health and safety, people and personnel, logistics and supply chain, and litigation and liability. An online resource center includes an interactive map of coronavirus rules, regulations and other information from all 50 states down to the city and county levels including the status of stay-at-home orders. Visit Operation Open Doors or explore the Operation Open Doors Checklist.


💮 CALENDAR 💮

GIFT MARKETS

May 11-29, 2020
High Point Pop-Up VIRTUAL Market 🔗
CANCELLED
May 13–15, 2020
International Fashion Jewelry & Accessory Show (Spring). Orlando 🔗
Jun 2-5, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Open House **select showrooms by appt 🔗
RESCHEDULED for
Jun 10-13, 2020
Atlanta Apparel Market (Spring) **no temporary exhibits 🔗
CANCELLED
Jun 12-14, 2020
High Point Market (Spring). High Point 🔗
Jun 23-26, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market + KidsWorld Market + Gift & Home Open House **select showrooms only 🔗
Jul 9-13, 2020
LA Mart (Summer). Los Angeles 🔗
Jul 14–20, 2020 RESCHEDULED for Aug 13-18, 2020
Atlanta Gift & Home Furnishings Market (Summer) 🔗
Jul 21-23, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories + Gift & Home Open House **select showrooms by appt 🔗
Jul 21-25, 2020
Seattle Gift Show (Summer) 🔗
RESCHEDULED for
Jul 23–26, 2020
TransWorld’s Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (now Summer). Chicago 🔗
Jul 26-30, 2020 RESCHEDULED for Aug 30 – Sep 3, 2020
Las Vegas Market (Summer) 🔗
CANCELLED
Aug 8-12, 2020
NY NOW (Summer). New York 🔗
Aug 9-12, 2020
Toronto Gift + Home Market (Fall) 🔗
RESCHEDULED for
Aug 19-25, 2020
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (Summer) 🔗
Aug 25-28, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market (Summer) + KidsWorld Market + Western Market 🔗
Aug 28-30, 2020
Rocky Mountain Gift Show. Denver 🔗
Sep 23-25, 2020
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (Fall) 🔗
Oct 4–6, 2020
LA Mart (Fall). Los Angeles 🔗
Oct 5–6, 2020
Seattle Gift Show (Fall) 🔗
Oct 17-21, 2020
High Point Market (Fall). Highpoint, NC 🔗
Oct 18-20, 2020
NY NOW (Fall). New York 🔗
Oct 20-23, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market 🔗
Oct 22-25, 2020
TransWorld’s Spring Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (Fall) Rosemont, IL 🔗

STATE AUXILIARY CONFERENCES

CANCELLED
May 19-
21, 2020
New England Assoc Directors of Healthcare Volunteer Services (NEADHVS). Woodstock, VT 🔗 
CANCELLED
Jun 3-4, 2020
New York State Assoc of Volunteer Services Administrators (NYSAVSA) Professional Development Conference. Albany, NY🔗
CANCELLED
Jun 11-12, 2020

Wisconsin Assoc of Directors of Volunteer Services (WADVS) Annual Conference. Pewaukee, WI 🔗 
CANCELLED
Aug 22-25 2020
52nd Annual AHVRP Conference & Exposition. Denver, CO 🔗
Nov 4-6, 2020
Missouri Hospital Assoc (MHA) Annual Convention & Trade Show. Osage Beach, MO 🔗 
RESCHEDULED for
Nov 4-6, 2020

Michigan Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals (MHVRP) Spring Conference. Shelbyville, MI🔗

 


Hospital employees make up 60-75% of a gift shop’s customer base

by Cindy Jones, Editor and Publisher 💮

The primary customer at a hospital gift shop is a 35-45-year old female employee. She is a wife, a mother, and the family’s primary consumer. She buys all the gifts for family and friends. She writes the thank-you notes. She buys the stocking stuffers at Christmas.

She buys the impulse items when her children get good grades. She is the one who rushes into your shop on her lunch hour for a child’s gift because her daughter or son is attending a birthday party that night. She’s the one who wants an upbeat, trendy “way-to-go!” card for her co-worker who just got a promotion. She is the one who forgot to wear earrings that day or finds she’s out of lip balm.

Shops that cater to the hospital employees, while still meeting the needs of visitors and patients, will realize the most success.

Hospital gift shops provide those patients, families, and caregivers who are going through stressful times a small respite, whether it be stopping in for a snack, talking to our compassionate staff, or just looking around to take their minds off an illness for a few minutes. Hospitals believe in mind/body /spirit healing, and I like to think we do our part to help the healing process.


Direct Ship Programs

GiftBEAT has compiled a comprehensive list of the vendors offering direct-ship programs for store owners, along with the program details and web links, on one convenient page. The Direct-Ship Vendor list is a free resource with over 50 different vendors and counting.


retail shop display

PART I: Why Write Your Own Purchase Orders?

by Cindy Jones, Editor and Publisher 💮

Writing your own purchase order will make you more mindful of what you are ordering (style number, colors, sizes, quantity and price).

Managers and buyers who write their own orders (instead of the sales rep), must take the time to detail what they are selecting.
The more detail you put in your purchase orders the better. Don’t get caught fumbling in the dark; be clear and concise in your dealings. You’ll also eliminate the possibility of someone else making a mistake on the order.

Purchase orders are legally binding. They provide the details of the agreement and legal protection.

Purchase orders become vital in maintaining order in a potentially chaotic system of multiple suppliers. They also sets a clear expectation of when, where, and how delivery or execution of the purchase should happen. POs are a useful way of tracking business expenditure and accurate budgeting.

Always write your purchase orders on your own shop’s order forms with shop name, address, etc. at the top. Include your UPS Routing Number on the form. This will prevent being over charged by the vendor. Most vendors are honest; but some regularly add a few bucks here and there. Those few dollars add up when you receive several shipments a month.

💡Pay your UPS invoice with a credit card to get an additional 30 days to pay. You will also build travel reward points for gift markets.

Start Ship Date
A ‘Start Ship’ date allows you to decide timing for the merchandise to be shipped, based on when you want the items on the sales floor. Usually you will write in ASAP or A/R. There may be times when you’d prefer a delivery window that is later than when the vendor is ready to ship. Make your preferred shipping window clear!

Completion Date
You don’t want your merchandise arriving late. If the vendor ships more than five days late, you are in a position to claim refusal for late delivery or request a discount for keeping the late merchandise. Regarding terms, we’ve all become accustomed to “Net 30”

Pricing and Discounts
Writing your own orders opens the door to request better pricing. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by asking.

Keep in mind, buyers from large shops have ‘power’, because they purchase large quantities, and don’t pay the same price you were quoted. They may also get a break on shipping, a mark down allowance, advertising allowance, and better price on reorders.

By writing your own order, you can ask for discounts on each style or on specific styles, such as more costly, seasonal items, or items the rep is pushing.

Every item should be assigned a Retail Price at the time it is purchased and before the orders are deducted from your OTB (open-to-buy). Your shop’s OTB should always be at retail.

Buyers should always know what every item must retailed at, what they need to sell it for, and will it realistically bring that price. The time to make that pricing decision is when the order is being written, not when the merchandise arrives!

Read Part II: Why Write Your Own Purchase Orders?


Dallas Market Center reopens to buyers

May 4, 2020 – Dallas Market Center, the only complete lifestyle marketplace in North America and a hub of daily commerce for retailers and interior designers, has reopened to buyers. Details regarding the reopening and the rigorous health and safety measures now in place are available on the front page of the company’s website.

The company previously announced a shift of its summer Total Home & Gift Market to August 19-25 directly preceded by August Apparel & Accessories Market, KidsWorld, and Dallas Western Market, which are keeping their original dates of August 25-28. In addition to the August events, earlier summer buying events will offer retailers the opportunity to make appointments and place orders for immediate delivery items as well as fall and holiday delivery products to help refresh shelves and entice customers back into the store. The complete events schedule is posted on the company’s website and includes appointment-driven, limited exhibitor “Open House” events as well as markets. Read more…

SOURCE: Dallas Market Center


FAST FACT!
Hospitals fall into three financial categories.

  1. Fully private hospitals that mostly function like any other business.
  2. Public hospitals that are owned by state or local governments and have obligations to care for under-served populations.
  3. Private non-profit hospitals which include more than half of all hospitals.

Nearly all of the nation’s most prestigious hospitals are nonprofits. They are like medical meccas and offer the best of America’s medicine – Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Mass General. They are also exempt from federal and local taxes in exchange for providing a certain amount of community benefit.

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DISCUSSION


HOW IS THE CORONAVIRUS AFFECTING YOUR GIFT SHOP?

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your gift shop. Has your gift shop closed or reduced hours? What about volunteers? Are you sanitizing product? If your hospital does close the gift shop will they deploy you to another department? Are you able to work from home?

We are closed but open to email & phone orders so that employees can get any type of item. We’ve been selling a lot of pop and candy but also cards & gifts. – Jenny Turner

We were told to close our Shop on March 16th until further notice (Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, NY) – 337 Beds. Our Association decided to donate all perishable snacks, bagged candy and even our Gourmet Chocolates to the Hospital Staff and it was distributed by their Senior Leaders. – Anne Trocano/Linda Leary

We donated all our Easter candy and any candy/snacks which will expire by June, to our staff as a Thank You for their hard work. – Anonymous

We did the same! – Anonymous

We have had to shutter our doors as of March 18. After our closing, as the manager, I decided I would call each employee or volunteer on the day they would have worked as a way to stay in contact with everyone. Some of the paid staff (myself included) have been placed in the labor pool, and do other jobs throughout the hospital, but I still make the effort each week to call and check on everyone to discuss how absolutely bored they are, do they have enough toilet paper, the puzzle they are working on, or just how much their spouse is driving them nuts! I have to say it has been beneficial to both them and me. We are bonded through our common goal, The Gift Shop, and our lives are just not the same without it.
We all anxiously await the day we can reunite and “do our job again”  – David Munger

David, this is wonderful! Thank you for sharing! – Cindy Jones

We are now taking phone orders with delivery to our patients, in-town delivery, pickup, and mail out! Business has been very slow, but I felt like I had to try something…  -Jamie Lee Hernandez

We closed the shop on March 6. We donated flowers in stock to patients and staff. Fortunately, we had not decorated for Easter yet and had little expressly Easter inventory as we don’t do very well with it. I have plenty of general inventory for Spring and Summer when we do reopen but have been leery about ordering ahead of that as I just don’t know what things will look like. In the meantime, our auxiliary has decided to donate a substantial amount of money to the hospital to be used as they see fit rather than asking for ideas and then choosing projects or equipment to fund. This seemed like the expedient as well as the more critical response to the needs of the hospital at this point but we hope to still be able to fund the scholarships we usually award to hospital employees. I made and sent Easter cards to all my volunteers and try to stay in touch with them, as many are struggling with their own or spouse’s health issues, independent of the virus. – Sandra Oldfield

I am at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. Both of our gift shops are still open. The Get Well shop in open 8 am to 8 pm M-F and 11-3 Sat and Sun, and our Baby Shop is open, but for reduced hours. We are mainly selling staff t-shirts and tons of snacks. Fortunately we have an e-commerce site and it is doing well, especially for baby gifts and flowers because no one is allowed to visit. Obviously revenues are way down, but we are still making enough to cover employee salaries and the cost of goods we are selling. The staff is very grateful that we are here, as it provides a bit of normalcy in an otherwise unthinkable situation. We have added numerous safety measures, such as a large plexiglass shield across the counter, masks, and hand sanitizer everywhere. Fortunately all of our Easter candy sold, and the rest of our Easter and spring merchandise will just be put away for next year. Since few people saw it, it will seem new to everyone. I hope you are all well and surviving this ultra-trying time! – Shauna Cox

Our shop is closed and has been since about March 16. The volunteers were all “paused” a week or so earlier and I opened a few hours for a couple days and then we were asked to close completely for a while. In a hospital, the gift shop is respite for our staff. No family members have been allowed in the building for a while now, so only staff, but they are our main customer anyway. The staff really miss the shop being open. Especially with all the stress right now, they would really love to be able to wander through the shop just to get their minds off their job for a little while. I’m hoping we will get the green light to open again soon.
I know of some hospital shops opening for a couple hours a day and only two customers at a time in the shop. Some are allowing “window shopping” and then pay via payroll deduct and what they choose is put outside the shop for them…they don’t actually get to come in the shop.
I’m really anxious to hear more from other hospital gift shops to see what they are doing and how they are doing it. The i3POS webinar yesterday had some interesting points. We all need to learn from each other and share ideas as much as we can during these difficult times. – Vesta Smith

When the time comes, consider having a ‘soft opening’ with limited hours and only allowing 10-15 shoppers in at a time. And, they must practice social distancing. Keep a box of rubber gloves and wipes at the front door and cashier counter. Good luck! – Cindy Jones

I have changed my shop into a mini mart. We have made our shop as an Essential business for our employees who are covering the Covid units. We open at 7 a.m. and close at 9p.m. I receive deliveries of food, toilet paper. I have partnered with Costco for deliveries, I moved and boxed all of our seasonal gift items. This has been a huge success. I did this with 3 of my shops. – Anonymous

As of today (3/16), our gift is closed indefinitely. We are sad. – Melodie Christal

As of 3/10 our gift shop was closed indefinitely due to the virus. Nothing we can do!! – Nan Healy

Our gift shop has been closed down, and we have no idea for how long. – Nancy Klein

All of our volunteers have been placed on LOA. I am opening the shop 10-2 M-F and paid staff 11-4 and 1-5 on weekends. I am responsible for all vending services as well so I am spending the rest of each day ordering, stocking, etc. We feel this is probably short term as we expect to be closed at some point. Sales are only on snacks, drinks, and candy so sales are definitely lower. – Anonymous

I am operating our gift shop on a limited schedule, as I am the only paid staff member and our volunteers are also on LOA. Planning to sanitize while I’m up there. Hot spots daily (if not multiple times per day). Going to see how traffic is this week and determine if I need to stay open next week as well. We have strict visitor limitations in place, expecting mainly employee traffic. – Anonymous

Our Gift shop is also closed. Volunteers are on LOA and as manager I am the only employee in Gift Shop. I am taking this time to do stock work and assist at Information Desk as needed. I plan to donate and deliver candy and popcorn to our hardworking clinical staff. – Anonymous

Our volunteers has been asked to stay home for their safety. That leaves me with 3 paid employees. We have a pharmacy in our gift shop so we cannot close, so, we have changed our hours to match the pharmacy. So, we are closing earlier Monday through Saturday and now are closed on Sunday until this passes. Stay safe everyone. – Kim DeBord

As of Saturday our Gift shop is closed. We have Easter and Spring clothes to sell – Sandy Eiffert

Members of the community should not come to the hospital unless there is a medical reason for the visit. This includes coming to the hospital solely to eat in the cafeteria or shop in the gift shop. – Janet Long, Public Relations Manager at Morris Hospital, IL

Our gift shop is closed until further notice. – Anonymous

Our shop is closed to walk in traffic. We have posted on the door and hospital site we will accept orders email, fax and by phone. They can come to the door and pick up. Only credit card and payroll payments. We will continue to accept phone orders for patient gifts. We have redone our windows to better view our products. We hope this is just for a couple weeks. Good Luck everyone. – Mary Claire

We are open but only with limited hours. All volunteers have been mandated to stay home. It is just me the manger and my assistant. Yes, we are sanitizing product and our store and our self’s and we are required to do so every hour! Yes they are saying they will deploy us to another department, we will not be able to work from home. The hospital is not allowing any visitors. Sales have been just for candy and snacks and only employees. – Colleen

We have reduced our hours to M-F 9-5 and Saturday 12-4. We don’t have any Covid-19 positive tests in our County yet. I’m sure as soon as we do, we’ll be shut down. Volunteers, at this point are able to determine for themselves if they wish to come in. – Anonymous

Our two hospital gift shops are closed indefinitely since Monday, 3/16. We only had two volunteers under the age of 60 and myself, a paid manager that would have been eligible to work. I will take this time to clean and organize our office/pricing area. I will clean and reset both shops and set up new displays. I will refresh any worn out display pieces such as repainting the racks from our fresh flower case that once the flowers were removed looked quite shabby, and not in the chic way!. I can work from home if needed, pricing smaller items, writing up future orders with catalogs or ordering online by holding the orders etc. This is a totally helpless feeling, I anxiously await our reopening! Stay healthy! – Jamie Lee Hernandez

Dignity Health Central Coast limits their hospital visitations due to flu and COVID-19 concerns All hospital gift shops are closed until further notice. Washington Health System is suspending some services, including closing the gift shop.  – Cindy Jones

Has your gift shop closed or reduced hours? Has you volunteer department closed? If so, are you as a gift shop manager able to work from home? If your hospital does close the gift shop will they deploy you to another department? Thanks! – Colleen DeSimone, Gift Shop Coordinator,Orange Regional Medical Center Gift Shop

We have been closed for over a week now as we’re staffed entirely by volunteers who are not allowed at the hospital. All visitors except end of life situations or parents of young patients are banned. We distributed the flowers, our only perishable item, to patients who would enjoy them before closing our doors. Our health fair, regional auxiliary meeting and volunteer appreciation lunch are all cancelled and we have no idea when we will re-open. Our hospital is a small rural one with 19 beds. – Sandra Oldfield

We have been closed since Monday. The President felt that if someone who was infected came in contact with multiple items it would be very difficult to disinfect everything they touched. I sent out a mass email to all employees and let them know that if they wanted to buy anything I can get it together and just charge their badge and meet them at the back door. No need to step foot into the shop. It’s working out really well. – Anonymous

What is everyone doing about all of their spring merchandise, just taking a loss?  I am in the process of removing all the Easter merchandise, plush, etc. and storing them for next year. I plan to keep the spring items in the shop. BTW, we have been closed since March 10th. All volunteers on LOA. As the only paid employee among our volunteers I am performing all tasks that our volunteers were doing, mail, surveys, front desk, etc. Stay well everyone. – Sarah F

We are still open, with only two paid employees disinfecting everything we can. We are only selling drinks, food and candy also. – Anonymous

Our gift shop closed officially 3/17 after all the volunteers called off. I am the only paid employee and am currently working from home because I have a sinus infection and am not allowed back into the hospital until I am 100%. Once I am 100% I will be allowed back into the hospital to work on various projects in the hospital and help in other areas where there are shortages. I feel helpless being at home and know that under any other situation I would have already been back to work with the tail end of an infection. Stay safe everyone. – Anonymous

We have a paid staff person in our gift shop so between her and a few die-hard volunteers, it has been open with reduced hours. Our volunteer services is not paused except for the teen program. We will keep it open as long as we can for our staff. We have been told that all staff are essential and no one will be staff reduced at this time, we will be deployed to help elsewhere. – Nichole

Are any of you doing delivery service to hospital employees in various departments and to patient floors? If so, how is that working? – Cindy Jones, Editor

So we have been closed since 3/13. Volunteers are on LOA. I am still here because we do flowers. The shop is closed. I have tried to let employees know that we have gifts if they need them. Very sad. No traffic on our main street. Stay Healthy! – Anonymous

We had to close the Gift Shop per our Executive Team Leaders on March 24. I’m wondering what everyone else, that has had to close, is doing with your Easter product, especially Easter candy? My thought is to hold it over until next year since I hadn’t had it out long enough to sell much of it. I’m pretty sure we won’t be open before Easter at this point. We plan to move to a new location in August and will have limited storage at the new location. – Vickie Bailey, Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital. 90 beds


$15 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL (OIG) LIMIT

Q. I would like more information on the $15 Federal OIG recommendation. I am embarrassed to admit I knew nothing of this policy. I went to the website but I am obviously entering the wrong search criteria because I could find nothing on this subject. Can anyone help please? – Deborah Hood 3/17/20

FROM CINDY 
Please visit https://oig.hhs.gov/fraud/docs/alertsandbulletins/OIG-Policy-Statement-Gifts-of-Nominal-Value.pdf


QUALITY ITEMS FOR $15

Q. I work for a large hospital system that has a patient/guest service recovery program where our hospital employees can access an item for guests/patients. In an effort to remain compliant with the $15 Federal OIG (Office of Inspector General) limit recommendation for ‘patient gifting’ we would like to stock items that meet that price point and still remain “giftable”. What are other shops buying and stocking that are under this $15 limit while retaining a perception of quality?

With hospital gift shop’s being such a large part of the retail market, you would think that vendors know the federal regulations that we must adhere to and come up with some suggested items in their lines. At the Atlanta market last month, not one rep was familiar with this, (it began in 2017 with the Affordable Care Act), which I found surprising! – Michaela Kanoski, Volunteer & Guest Services Manager, CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy. 380 beds. 3/2/20

(OIG is the governmental agency that regulates and enforces the monetary value of things received by Medicate and state Medicaid patients.)


WHY MAINTAIN INVENTORY AND FINANCIALS ‘AT RETAIL’?

Q. I need to explain to our gift shop committee why our physical inventory reports should always be shown at the retail price rather than “at cost.” Can you give me a short and simple answer. Thanks much!! – Darielle H. 3/14/20

FROM CINDY

Advantages of the Retail Method of Inventory Valuation
The money your customer pays at point of purchase is the retail price. The retail sales figures are the retail value of the inventory. The retail price has the profit built into it and profit occurs when an item is sold (at retail)

    1. Maintaining inventory figures ‘at retail’ forces the you, the retailer, to ‘think retail’.
    2. Financial statements ‘at retail’ are essential to good financial planning. Frequent calculations at both cost and retail information allows the retailer to adjust quickly to changing conditions
    3. Physical inventories taken at retail prices eliminate the costly, time-consuming job of decoding cost prices. Recording physical inventory at retail prices greatly simplifies the process and encourages a more frequent physical count of inventory.
    4. The retail method facilitates planning and control of a department or category. Sales, purchases, inventories, and price-change information are recorded by department or category and can be used to evaluate each department’’s performance.
    5. By providing a ‘book’ or Point of Sale figure for what your inventory should be on hand, the retail method allows the retailer to determine shortages each time a physical inventory is taken.

The ‘retail method’ requires continuous recording of all transactions which change the unit status of the inventory. A running total must be kept by continuously recording all merchandise data. A Point of Sale system will automatically accomplish that for you!  3/15/20


CHANGE DISPLAYS

Q. Because we have many of the same customers everyday, how often should we change our displays? How often do you rotate merchandise to other locations?

FROM CINDY

To keep displays from growing stale, change them every 2-3 weeks. Strategic and successful displays connect with your customer in micro moments. Go above and beyond for your customers, anticipate their needs, infuse your merchandise story and empower your staff to go the extra mile.

Good displays should sell product! Signage will help sell product.

Display seasonal merchandise and smaller high margin items at the front of your store.
Prices should be displayed in a small size.
Make sure you have back-stock of items displayed. 4/15/20


SHOP YOUR OWN SHOP

Q. Have you shopped your own shop recently? The other night I was on my way out, purse in hand, when a friend walked into the store to browse.  I walked back in and “shopped” with her through her eyes. If you are like me, all I can see when surveying the floor is what needs to be done, what is missing, what needs dusting, etc. But shopping as the customer was a pleasant surprise. I enjoyed admiring and looking at things as much as she did and it was really fun!  It was a lesson to me  – after a harried day behind the scenes, I actually left feeling very good. I realized the pleasant experience that our shop offers to hospital guests and employees. I am going to walk out and come back in wearing a consumer hat more often!  – A shop manager. 228 beds. 3/10/20


CURTAIL DEEP-DISCOUNT CUSTOMERS

Q. I assist the director of volunteer services in managing three hospital gift shops. Our largest shop at our biggest campus does quite well. We have a shop at a sister hospital that we buy for and are waiting to see how the first year went. We also have a small shop at our long-term care and rehab facility. We struggle with staffing (all volunteer) as it’s a smaller shop and is on the opposite side of town from where many of the volunteers live. Most of the customers at that location also like to “wait things out” when it comes to buying product. They will not buy it until it is deeply discounted and then complain when the merchandise isn’t changed often. We are at a loss as to what to do with this particular shop. Does anyone have any suggestions? – Shea Parazine, Volunteer Services Specialist, The Shops at Unity Health, White County Medical Center, Searcy, AR. 193 beds. 3/11/20

FROM CINDY
Sounds like hospital employees have been trained to wait for markdowns so they can get it cheaper. I suggest you don’t reduce markdowns so soon, and see who out-waits who! Of course, the danger of waiting too long is that the shop may get stuck with too much aging merchandise. That is the “just in case”  philosophy.

As retailers, we never want to disappoint the customer. We can’t bear to hear a customer say they couldn’t find what they were looking for in our shop. On the other hand, we can’t carry everything in very limited floor space. Unfortunately, some shops carry huge inventories just in case that one customer comes in. That’s called ‘just in case’ thinking and buying and it simply doesn’t work! What happens if that one customer never comes in? You now have merchandise that feels old and stale….and may never sell. 3/15/20


We arranged our back room/office, for a small dressing room area. We hung a shower curtain on a tension pole rod, and they can also shut the door. It works great. – Sandy Eiffert. 2/15/20

We offer my office to our customers ~ they close and lock the door, and are happy to make sure it fits first! We also offer our nearest rest room…..this of course takes a lot of trust in your customers~~but~~ we’ve never had an item walk out yet! And the customers are very happy that we do trust them enough to offer this to them. Sometimes this trust makes the sale!! – Anonymous. 1/20/20

We have our restrooms across the hall, I offer for them to go try it on..so far no issues. I get worries but as I said not issues with that yet. Those who don’t we have an exchange policy that I let them know and ask that they keep tags and receipt. – Leslie Hollingsworth. 1/20/20

Regarding the question concerning no dressing room: we have a full length mirror on both sides of our back room area door. For sweaters, ponchos, etc. the one on the gift shop side works just fine. If someone needs to try on a top, we allow them to step into the back room to try it on and just wait outside. We have had no problems with this process. Occasionally someone will want to try on in a more private place (aka: bathroom). In these instances they will generally leave with us their car keys, or coat, etc. so we are comfortable with this. We can also see the bathroom entrance from our shop, so that helps us keep an eye out. For hospital staff, this is never a worry! – Nancy Johnsen. 1/16/20

We have a back room for receiving and office. We checked into a actual fitting room when we remodeled and it has to be ADA compliant. I did not feel it was a good trade off to give up the square footage in the shop for the fitting room, so had had a hospital curtain added to the back room. It works just fine when needed. There is a large mirror on one wall also. – Mary Robinson. 1/16/20


A SUCCESSFUL TOTE SALE

Something that worked extremely well for us was a Tote Sale. I bought holiday totes from Burton & Burton for $1.66 each, priced them at $4.99 which is a 66.73% mark-up. The promotion is, buy a tote at $4.99 and anything you can get in the tote is 25% off.  And our pitch is “We can make anything fit in a tote.” We sold out of the totes in 2 days and I bought a lot of them.  I do a tote sale two times a year and my customers/employees can’t wait for it. Thank you so much and happy holidays. – Kim DeBord, Marketplace Manager, Riverside Medical Center, Kankakee, IL. 325 beds. 12/4/19

narJust an FYI – if you’re buying something at a cost of $1.66 and selling it for $4.99, that is a 200% markup and a 67% gross margin….– Curt. 2/1/20

I tried this idea, and loved it. Our customers were loving it as well. Thanks for such a great idea. – Lisa Burney. 1/17/20


PROMOTIONS


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Ask for a FREE copy of our “Hospital Gift Shops:
Tips for Success” booklet.

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© Cindy Jones Associates, 2020. COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. Redistribution, copying, reselling, re-renting, or republishing is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Cindy’s Newsletter may not to be forwarded, redistributed, reproduced, reprinted, or posted online without prior permission from Cindy Jones Associates. Subscribers may share one issue with a fellow manager. Thereafter, the manager may subscribe here to receive future issues.

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | April 15, 2020 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER

for

Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter provides its readership of over 3,000 gift shop professionals “actionable content” to help optimize their shop operation, grow revenue, and connect with one another. LEAVE A COMMENT: Click the colored comment tags throughout the newsletter or email Cindy at cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com


APRIL 15, 2020

CLICK TO COMMENT 👇🏻

CORONAVIRUS DISCUSSION 😷

We recognize the unprecedented situation hospital gift shops are in right now, with some having already closed, others still open, or seeing reduced hours. All are trying to balance the unique circumstances inherent by your location in a medical facilities. We work to provide a place where managers can come together, gain a sense of community, and exchange valuable insights from one another through this time.

Click the orange comment button here to share with the community :

How will you handle seasonal inventory that you were unable to sell?
What strategies will you use to drive sales when your shop reopens?
Is your shop serving a different function during this time?
When do you plan to start buying and placing orders again?
Are you working in another department while your shop is closed?
Are you working from home?
What is your greatest concern right now?

We had over 30 comments last month regarding the Coronavirus pandemic and how it is impacting your gift shops. Thank you to everyone who commented and shared their experience!

Join Cindy and a group of panelists, tomorrow, April 16, for a special COVID-19 Webinar for Hospital Gift Shop Managers! Click to listen.

**Once the page opens, click the image at the top to view the webinar.


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Where to start? Returning to your gift shop after the coronavirus

by Cindy Jones, Publisher and Editor 💮

So much has changed in such a short time. I have been self-isolating since March 10. I hope you have also! I think that after we overcome this pandemic, the world of retailing may not be the same. I don’t know what it will look like, but I think the way we offer retail services in our hospitals will be different.

Today, I invite you to hit the comment button and share your struggles  – and triumphs! – during the coronavirus pandemic. We’re in this together.  

Below is the valuable feedback readers shared in last month’s discussion on the impact coronavirus is having on your gift shops.

SHOP HOURS OR CLOSINGS
The majority of paid gift shop managers were instructed to close their shop indefinitely and stay home. Most hospitals are not allowing visitors. 

We had to close the Gift Shop per our Executive Team Leaders on March 24. I’m wondering what everyone else, that has had to close, is doing with your Easter product, especially Easter candy? My thought is to hold it over until next year since I hadn’t had it out long enough to sell much of it. I’m pretty sure we won’t be open before Easter at this point. We plan to move to a new location in August and will have limited storage at the new location. Vickie Bailey, Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital. 90 beds. April 1, 2020

But, a few managers reported that they are still reporting to work as usual and the shop is open. Others have been told to reduce their gift shop hours. A small number reported that they are working from home. It appears that most volunteer shop managers and volunteer clerks were put on LOA status (Leave of Absence). Those that continue to work full-time are busy sanitizing and cleaning all areas of their shops, pricing and displaying merchandise, and writing orders.

I am in the process of removing all the Easter merchandise, plush, etc. and storing them for next year. I plan to keep the spring items in the shop. BTW, we have been closed since March 10th. All volunteers on LOA. As the only paid employee among our volunteers I am performing all tasks that our volunteers were doing, mail, surveys, front desk, etc. Stay well everyone. – Sarah F. March 30, 2020

Some shops are providing limited services (for hospital employees only) using email, phone or pickup orders. A few shops have even allowed a limited number of hospital employees into their shops for a short period of time.

Our hospital gift shops have been closed indefinitely . . .I am in the office working for today . . .How do, what does this look like when we get called back? The shop is stocked full of Easter merchandise and treats . . .Save it or try to sell it? – Brenda Deneau. March 18, 2020

I’m sure some are feeling a bit helpless, lost, and not sure where to start!

The emerging COVID-19 crisis made March a rough month financially for hospitals around the country. While revenues decreased, expenses did not. Procedures that help generate income for the hospital, like surgery and imaging, have declined significantly. Some are looking at 20-40% drop in overall revenue.

Healthcare systems are trying to avoid layoffs and furloughs. In one hospital, an operating room nurse is now running the hospitals’ gift shops, which are usually operated by volunteers.

So, where do you start when you return? Here’s a checklist for how to get your shop back up and running.

  • Your primary focus is on the safety of your customers and hospital employees.
  • Clean counters and doors inside and out and wipe off the credit and debit card machines.
  • Have gloves and wipes for those at the counters and at registers.
  • You need to have cleaning and sanitizing schedules in place, 24-7.
  • You may have to shorten your shop hours in order to clean as thoroughly as possible at night.
  • Remember to have everyone maintain ‘social distancing’.

What about all those boxes of unpacked merchandise in your stockroom? They need to be checked in, priced, and displayed in the shop?

You will most likely need to pack Easter merchandise away for next year (except Easter candy). Check it in, price it, submit the invoice for payment and repack it for Easter 2021. Place a “List of the Contents” sheet on top of the box. Then, at the time of your physical inventory, all you have to do is record the totals taped to the box.

Go directly to your files and open your ‘On Order’ sheet. Do you still want it? If not, cancel it!

Make up Lost Sales
It will be a challenge to make up for sales lost during the coronavirus shutdown. You will need to adjust your projected 2020 sales goals. Once your shop is up and running, take a hard look at your existing inventory and mark it down if needed. In this new economy it will have to work doubly hard to get sold. It is time to focus on new and innovative ways to generate sales.

While you were cleaning your shop top to bottom, you probably came across old, outdated merchandise that needs to go on sale. What do you do with it? Work to weed out those losers!

Sticker Sale
Mark down items using medical theme stickers (or, alternatively, colored dots):
    Band-Aid = 20% off
    Doctors Bag = 30% off
    Medicine = 40% off
Put red stickers on just a few items that are ‘free with a purchase’.  

Buying Product

As strange as it may seem, this is the time to begin buying Fall, Halloween and Christmas merchandise for 2021. It’s likely that vendors will be lowering their minimums following the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Several gift markets have been cancelled or rescheduled for summer. View our Gift Market Calendar for cancellations and new dates. Check back regularly for changes. 

Finally, we salute the healthcare workers – our valued customers and friends –  facing the frontline everyday. You are our heroes and cherished now, more than ever.  Thank you!


COVID-19 WEBINAR FOR
HOSPITAL GIFT SHOP MANAGERS

Thursday, April 16, 11am EST
Hosted by i3 Verticals

Tomorrow, April 16, i3 Verticals will be hosting a special live COVID-19 webinar to help hospital gift shop managers navigate through these unprecedented times.

The hospital gift shop community is unlike any other group. We all have the same goal in mind and it’s all about making a difference. We want to leverage this tight-knit community to help every hospital gift shop succeed.

A group of industry leaders will answer questions on managing hospital gift shops through the Coronavirus pandemic in this one-hour virtual conference. Panelists include:

  • Cindy Jones – Founder of Cindy Jones Associates and creator of Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers. Cindy has over 35 years of hospital gift shop experience.
  • Andee Williamson – Sales Consulting Engineer at NCR. Andee has been working with retailers for over 20 years.
  • Eric Wininger – Gift Shop Manager at Reading Hospital.
  • Annha Britt – Gift Shop Manager at New Hanover Regional Medical Center
  • Lynda Waldron – Gift Shop Manager at Henry Ford Allegiance Health

The conference will cover topics like:

  • What do I do with all my unsellable Easter merchandise?
  • What are some things I can do to help keep my volunteers engaged?
  • Should I do something special when the shop is able to reopen?

Please contact Alec Overly at aoverly@i3verticals.com with any questions or topics you’d like to cover.

In case you miss it, we hope to post a recording of the webinar on Cindy Jones Associates’ website. Stay tuned for the link!

COVID-19 Webinar for
Hospital Gift Shop Managers

Thursday, April 16, 11am EST


CALENDAR

GIFT MARKETS

May 1, 2020 12:00-2:30pm
*Noted: A Virtual Event. 🔗
CANCELLED
May 7-10, 2020
TransWorld’s Spring Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (Spring). Rosemont
May 11-29
High Point Pop-Up VIRTUAL Market @ Catalog Connexion Product Flipbook. Coming soon online 🔗
CANCELLED
May 13–15, 2020
International Fashion Jewelry & Accessory Show (Spring). Orlando
RESCHEDULED for
Jun 2-5, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market. Dallas 🔗
RESCHEDULED for
Jun 10-13, 2020
Atlanta Apparel Market (Spring). Atlanta 🔗
Jun 12-14, 2020
High Point Market (Spring). High Point. 🔗
Jun 24-30, 2020
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (Summer). Dallas 🔗
Jul 9-13, 2020
LA Mart (Summer). Los Angeles 🔗
Jul 14–20, 2020
Atlanta Gift & Home Furnishings Market (Summer). Atlanta 🔗
Jul 21-25, 2020
Seattle Gift Show (Summer). Seattle 🔗
RESCHEDULED for
Jul 23–26, 2020
TransWorld’s Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (now Summer). Chicago 🔗
Jul 26-30, 2020
Las Vegas Market (Summer). Las Vegas 🔗
Aug 8-12, 2020
NY NOW (Summer). New York 🔗
Aug 9-12, 2020
Toronto Gift + Home Market (Fall) Toronto 🔗
Aug 25-28, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market (Summer). Dallas 🔗
Aug 28-30, 2020
Rocky Mountain Gift Show. Denver 🔗
Sep 23-25, 2020
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (Fall). Dallas 🔗
Oct 4–6, 2020
LA Mart (Fall). Los Angeles 🔗
Oct 5–6, 2020
Seattle Gift Show (Fall). Seattle 🔗
Oct 17-21, 2020
High Point Market (Fall). Highpoint. 🔗

STATE AUXILIARY CONFERENCES

CANCELLED
Mar 22-24, 2020
 
Society for Healthcare Volunteer Leaders (SHVL) Education Conference. New Orleans, LA 🔗  
Apr 28–May 1, 2020 
Hospital Gift Shop Manager’s Assoc of the Carolinas. Myrtle Beach, FL. Contact acfarris@lexhealth.org 
CANCELLED
May 7-8, 2020

Ohio Healthcare Volunteer Management Assoc (OHVMA) Spring Conference 2020. Toledo, OH 🔗
May 14-15, 2020
Minnesota Health Care Gift Shop Assoc. (MHCGSA) Onamia, MN 🔗 
CANCELLED
May 19-
21, 2020
New England Assoc Directors of Healthcare Volunteer Services (NEADHVS). Woodstock, VT 🔗 
CANCELLED
Jun 3-4, 2020
New York State Assoc of Volunteer Services Administrators (NYSAVSA) Professional Development Conference. Albany, NY 🔗
CANCELLED
Jun 11-12, 2020

Wisconsin Assoc of Directors of Volunteer Services (WADVS) Annual Conference. Pewaukee, WI 🔗 
Aug 22-25 2020
52nd Annual AHVRP Conference & Exposition. Denver, CO. 🔗
Nov 4-6, 2020
Missouri Hospital Assoc Annual Convention & Trade Show. Osage Beach, MO 🔗 
RESCHEDULED for
Nov 4-6, 2020

Michigan Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals (MHVRP) Spring Conference. Shelbyville, MI

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Preparing your POS and resuming sales after the coronavirus

by Alex Overly, i3Verticals

If your gift shop was closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a few steps that you should take to start business back up on the right foot. 

First, clean your checkout station. Reach out to your POS vendor for the best methods for cleaning.

Once you have cleaned, power cycle your POS station. If it was off during the shutdown, start the station. If it was left on, it’s probably a good idea to restart it. Once your station is powered on, log into your Point of Sale system and verify that all peripheral devices work, like your receipt printer, cash drawer, and credit card terminal. Test a credit card and cash transaction, making sure that the drawer pops open, the credit card processes, and receipts print. This will ensure that you are aware of any potential problems before opening your doors.

Also, start fresh for your first day back. Make sure you didn’t leave a drawer session open. Consider running through your end of day process to ensure that you have a clean slate and no open transactions.

Now, you are ready to open your doors, but you may also consider running a promotion to draw people back into your store.

Operating and Sales Reports

When you come back to your store after some time off, it’s a good idea to reacquaint yourself with some important inventory and sales numbers. Here are a couple questions and what kind of reports to run in order to get the current and right information.

  1. Do I have too much stock?
    • Run an inventory report broken down by category or department
    • Run a sales report broken down by category for this time last year
    • Compare these reports to see if you have too much of a certain kind of item (e.g. Easter merchandise)
  2. Do I have to little stock?
    • Run an inventory report broken down by category or department
    • Run a sales report broken down by category for this time last year
    • Compare these reports to see if you have too little of a certain kind of item (e.g. perishables – keep in mind some food/drink items may have expired during the shutdown)
  3. How much do I need to make up to ‘meet or beat’ to last year’s sales?
    • Run a sales report for the year to date (January 2020 – Today)
    • Run a sales report for last year to date (January 2019 – April 2019)
    • Compare the results to see how much you are behind
  4. How is my profitability?
    • Run a sales report for the year to date (January 2020 – Today)
    • Run a sales report for last year to date (January 2019 – April 2019)
    • Compare the results to see your profit this year compared to last year.

Alec Overly is a National Account Executive, i3 POS at i3 Verticals. aoverly@i3Verticals.com 734-259-3679 | 734-674-3504


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GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Setup for Success: Reopening your gift shop after COVID-19

by Anne M. Obarski

Never did the business world ever predict such a global disruption as the one we are all experiencing now! I am sure that no matter what the size or location of your hospital, there is a high level of disruption in it, and will be for the foreseeable future. 

As you look at your gift shop, whether shuttered or partially open, remember that you have and always will, provide a service to the people and employees who walk through the doors of your hospital.  We are all waiting to hear some glimmer of hope and prediction of a time when slowly and carefully, we are able to connect with our customers in a new way. 

The shops who will survive this disruption are actively working on the future look of their businesses and aren’t dwelling in somber silence and fear.

As a gift shop manager, here are several things to address before your doors open again.

  • Stay in touch with your volunteers.  Be a strong leader and continue to keep them informed and uplifted, whether or not they are still physically in the gift shop or even if they are volunteering elsewhere in the hospital.
  • Look at every piece of merchandise in your gift shop with a critical eye.  Too much merchandise in one classification and too little in another?
  • Buyers at a recent conference were being very careful with their purchases and even discussed being proactive about holding to ship dates on orders as they watch inventory levels.
  • What are the top 3 areas in your gift shop that are the foundation of your business?  Consider those items that you never want to be out of stock on and that propel your business on a daily basis. 
  • Go back to the core of your business and make sure it is strong and solid.  The other items in your gift shop will sell when this is all behind us.
  • Stay in touch with your vendors.  They are hurting too.  Cancelled orders or no orders at all hit them just as hard.  Build on your past vendor relationships. You are not their only account and they can only do so much to get new merchandise to you, cancel future orders or take back damages. Be easy to work with, appreciative of the little things they can do and use them as a “sounding board” for what to do going forward.

Whether you have been helping in other areas of your hospital or trying to limp along in your short-staffed gift shop, your dedication is appreciated by so many people.  Your resilience and determination to look forward with new goals will help as you embrace this “disruption” in a positive way. 

Anne works with organizations and businesses who want to become contagious on purpose!  She provides strategic “contagious” ideas that will inspire your customers to refer others along the way! All as a result of their…infectious, enviable, repeatable, and remarkable, customer service. Contact her at anne@merchandiseconcepts.com or visit merchandiseconcepts.com


THIS MONTH’S POLL

Is your gift shop open, closed, or some variant?

LAST MONTH’S POLL

How many gift markets do you attend annually?

Thank you for participating!

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More new styles, more new designs to keep your customers coming back!
Did you get our new spring catalog? View Spring 2020 Catalog!

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A BIG SHOUT OUT to a well-known vendor, snoozies!®  and owner, Marshall Bank, for donating over 10,000 MASKS to multiple hospitals across country over the past month!

To date, snoozies!/Buyers Direct has donated 10,000 respirator masks to hospitals around the USA. They want to help others “Give the Gift of Protection” to medical staff, doctors, and nurses in need by facilitating additional orders. Cost: $2.00/mask (includes duty and freight) + 7% import duty.  Sold 960 masks/case, packed in 24 individual boxes containing 40 masks.  ***NOTE: The manufacturer, Homar BioTechnology, is not an approved FDA manufacturer yet, but they do appear to meet China (KN95) and EU (FFP2) standards. Contact mbank@deltaforce.net for details.


SUPPORT OUR ADVERTISERS

We hope you’ll make it a habit to read and visit our advertisers. Their funding helps keep Cindy’s Newsletter going. Let them know you are a subscriber and heard about their product through this Newsletter. You will also be introduced to services, products, and special offers!


DISCUSSION


HOW IS THE CORONAVIRUS AFFECTING YOUR GIFT SHOP?

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your gift shop. Has your gift shop closed or reduced hours? What about volunteers? Are you sanitizing product? If your hospital does close the gift shop will they deploy you to another department? Are you able to work from home? 3/15/20

As of today (3/16), our gift is closed indefinitely. We are sad. – Melodie Christal

As of 3/10 our gift shop was closed indefinitely due to the virus. Nothing we can do!! – Nan Healy

Our gift shop has been closed down, and we have no idea for how long. – Nancy Klein

All of our volunteers have been placed on LOA. I am opening the shop 10-2 M-F and paid staff 11-4 and 1-5 on weekends. I am responsible for all vending services as well so I am spending the rest of each day ordering, stocking, etc. We feel this is probably short term as we expect to be closed at some point. Sales are only on snacks, drinks, and candy so sales are definitely lower. – Anonymous

I am operating our gift shop on a limited schedule, as I am the only paid staff member and our volunteers are also on LOA. Planning to sanitize while I’m up there. Hot spots daily (if not multiple times per day). Going to see how traffic is this week and determine if I need to stay open next week as well. We have strict visitor limitations in place, expecting mainly employee traffic. – Anonymous

Our Gift shop is also closed. Volunteers are on LOA and as manager I am the only employee in Gift Shop. I am taking this time to do stock work and assist at Information Desk as needed. I plan to donate and deliver candy and popcorn to our hardworking clinical staff. – Anonymous

Our volunteers has been asked to stay home for their safety. That leaves me with 3 paid employees. We have a pharmacy in our gift shop so we cannot close, so, we have changed our hours to match the pharmacy. So, we are closing earlier Monday through Saturday and now are closed on Sunday until this passes. Stay safe everyone. – Kim DeBord

As of Saturday our Gift shop is closed. We have Easter and Spring clothes to sell – Sandy Eiffert

Members of the community should not come to the hospital unless there is a medical reason for the visit. This includes coming to the hospital solely to eat in the cafeteria or shop in the gift shop. – Janet Long, Public Relations Manager at Morris Hospital, IL

Our gift shop is closed until further notice. – Anonymous

Our shop is closed to walk in traffic. We have posted on the door and hospital site we will accept orders email, fax and by phone. They can come to the door and pick up. Only credit card and payroll payments. We will continue to accept phone orders for patient gifts. We have redone our windows to better view our products. We hope this is just for a couple weeks. Good Luck everyone. – Mary Claire

We are open but only with limited hours. All volunteers have been mandated to stay home. It is just me the manger and my assistant. Yes, we are sanitizing product and our store and our self’s and we are required to do so every hour! Yes they are saying they will deploy us to another department, we will not be able to work from home. The hospital is not allowing any visitors. Sales have been just for candy and snacks and only employees. – Colleen

We have reduced our hours to M-F 9-5 and Saturday 12-4. We don’t have any Covid-19 positive tests in our County yet. I’m sure as soon as we do, we’ll be shut down. Volunteers, at this point are able to determine for themselves if they wish to come in. – Anonymous

Our two hospital gift shops are closed indefinitely since Monday, 3/16. We only had two volunteers under the age of 60 and myself, a paid manager that would have been eligible to work. I will take this time to clean and organize our office/pricing area. I will clean and reset both shops and set up new displays. I will refresh any worn out display pieces such as repainting the racks from our fresh flower case that once the flowers were removed looked quite shabby, and not in the chic way!. I can work from home if needed, pricing smaller items, writing up future orders with catalogs or ordering online by holding the orders etc. This is a totally helpless feeling, I anxiously await our reopening! Stay healthy! – Jamie Lee Hernandez

Dignity Health Central Coast limits their hospital visitations due to flu and COVID-19 concerns All hospital gift shops are closed until further notice. Washington Health System is suspending some services, including closing the gift shop.  – Cindy Jones

Has your gift shop closed or reduced hours? Has you volunteer department closed? If so, are you as a gift shop manager able to work from home? If your hospital does close the gift shop will they deploy you to another department? Thanks! – Colleen DeSimone, Gift Shop Coordinator,Orange Regional Medical Center Gift Shop

We have been closed for over a week now as we’re staffed entirely by volunteers who are not allowed at the hospital. All visitors except end of life situations or parents of young patients are banned. We distributed the flowers, our only perishable item, to patients who would enjoy them before closing our doors. Our health fair, regional auxiliary meeting and volunteer appreciation lunch are all cancelled and we have no idea when we will re-open. Our hospital is a small rural one with 19 beds. – Sandra Oldfield

We have been closed since Monday. The President felt that if someone who was infected came in contact with multiple items it would be very difficult to disinfect everything they touched. I sent out a mass email to all employees and let them know that if they wanted to buy anything I can get it together and just charge their badge and meet them at the back door. No need to step foot into the shop. It’s working out really well. – Anonymous

What is everyone doing about all of their spring merchandise, just taking a loss?  I am in the process of removing all the Easter merchandise, plush, etc. and storing them for next year. I plan to keep the spring items in the shop. BTW, we have been closed since March 10th. All volunteers on LOA. As the only paid employee among our volunteers I am performing all tasks that our volunteers were doing, mail, surveys, front desk, etc. Stay well everyone. – Sarah F

We are still open, with only two paid employees disinfecting everything we can. We are only selling drinks, food and candy also. – Anonymous

Our gift shop closed officially 3/17 after all the volunteers called off. I am the only paid employee and am currently working from home because I have a sinus infection and am not allowed back into the hospital until I am 100%. Once I am 100% I will be allowed back into the hospital to work on various projects in the hospital and help in other areas where there are shortages. I feel helpless being at home and know that under any other situation I would have already been back to work with the tail end of an infection. Stay safe everyone. – Anonymous

We have a paid staff person in our gift shop so between her and a few die-hard volunteers, it has been open with reduced hours. Our volunteer services is not paused except for the teen program. We will keep it open as long as we can for our staff. We have been told that all staff are essential and no one will be staff reduced at this time, we will be deployed to help elsewhere. – Nichole

Are any of you doing delivery service to hospital employees in various departments and to patient floors? If so, how is that working? – Cindy Jones, Editor

So we have been closed since 3/13. Volunteers are on LOA. I am still here because we do flowers. The shop is closed. I have tried to let employees know that we have gifts if they need them. Very sad. No traffic on our main street. Stay Healthy! – Anonymous

We had to close the Gift Shop per our Executive Team Leaders on March 24. I’m wondering what everyone else, that has had to close, is doing with your Easter product, especially Easter candy? My thought is to hold it over until next year since I hadn’t had it out long enough to sell much of it. I’m pretty sure we won’t be open before Easter at this point. We plan to move to a new location in August and will have limited storage at the new location. – Vickie Bailey, Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital. 90 beds


$15 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL (OIG) LIMIT

Q. I would like more information on the $15 Federal OIG recommendation. I am embarrassed to admit I knew nothing of this policy. I went to the website but I am obviously entering the wrong search criteria because I could find nothing on this subject. Can anyone help please? – Deborah Hood 3/17/20


QUALITY ITEMS FOR $15

Q. I work for a large hospital system that has a patient/guest service recovery program where our hospital employees can access an item for guests/patients. In an effort to remain compliant with the $15 Federal OIG (Office of Inspector General) limit recommendation for ‘patient gifting’ we would like to stock items that meet that price point and still remain “giftable”. What are other shops buying and stocking that are under this $15 limit while retaining a perception of quality?

With hospital gift shop’s being such a large part of the retail market, you would think that vendors know the federal regulations that we must adhere to and come up with some suggested items in their lines. At the Atlanta market last month, not one rep was familiar with this, (it began in 2017 with the Affordable Care Act), which I found surprising! – Michaela Kanoski, Volunteer & Guest Services Manager, CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy. 380 beds. 3/2/20

(OIG is the governmental agency that regulates and enforces the monetary value of things received by Medicate and state Medicaid patients.)


WHY MAINTAIN INVENTORY AND FINANCIALS ‘AT RETAIL’?

Q. I need to explain to our gift shop committee why our physical inventory reports should always be shown at the retail price rather than “at cost.” Can you give me a short and simple answer. Thanks much!! – Darielle H. 3/14/20

FROM CINDY

Advantages of the Retail Method of Inventory Valuation
The money your customer pays at point of purchase is the retail price. The retail sales figures are the retail value of the inventory. The retail price has the profit built into it and profit occurs when an item is sold (at retail)

    1. Maintaining inventory figures ‘at retail’ forces the you, the retailer, to ‘think retail’.
    2. Financial statements ‘at retail’ are essential to good financial planning. Frequent calculations at both cost and retail information allows the retailer to adjust quickly to changing conditions
    3. Physical inventories taken at retail prices eliminate the costly, time-consuming job of decoding cost prices. Recording physical inventory at retail prices greatly simplifies the process and encourages a more frequent physical count of inventory.
    4. The retail method facilitates planning and control of a department or category. Sales, purchases, inventories, and price-change information are recorded by department or category and can be used to evaluate each department’’s performance.
    5. By providing a ‘book’ or Point of Sale figure for what your inventory should be on hand, the retail method allows the retailer to determine shortages each time a physical inventory is taken.

The ‘retail method’ requires continuous recording of all transactions which change the unit status of the inventory. A running total must be kept by continuously recording all merchandise data. A Point of Sale system will automatically accomplish that for you!  3/15/20


HOW OFTEN SHOULD WE CHANGE DISPLAYS

Q. Because we have many of the same customers everyday, how often should we change our displays? How often do you rotate merchandise to other locations?

FROM CINDY

To keep displays from growing stale, change them every 2-3 weeks. Strategic and successful displays connect with your customer in micro moments. Go above and beyond for your customers, anticipate their needs, infuse your merchandise story and empower your staff to go the extra mile.

Good displays should sell product! Signage will help sell product.

Display seasonal merchandise and smaller high margin items at the front of your store.
Prices should be displayed in a small size.
Make sure you have back-stock of items displayed. 4/15/20


SHOP YOUR OWN SHOP

Q. Have you shopped your own shop recently? The other night I was on my way out, purse in hand, when a friend walked into the store to browse.  I walked back in and “shopped” with her through her eyes. If you are like me, all I can see when surveying the floor is what needs to be done, what is missing, what needs dusting, etc. But shopping as the customer was a pleasant surprise. I enjoyed admiring and looking at things as much as she did and it was really fun!  It was a lesson to me  – after a harried day behind the scenes, I actually left feeling very good. I realized the pleasant experience that our shop offers to hospital guests and employees. I am going to walk out and come back in wearing a consumer hat more often!  – A shop manager. 228 beds. 3/10/20


CURTAIL DEEP-DISCOUNT CUSTOMERS

Q. I assist the director of volunteer services in managing three hospital gift shops. Our largest shop at our biggest campus does quite well. We have a shop at a sister hospital that we buy for and are waiting to see how the first year went. We also have a small shop at our long-term care and rehab facility. We struggle with staffing (all volunteer) as it’s a smaller shop and is on the opposite side of town from where many of the volunteers live. Most of the customers at that location also like to “wait things out” when it comes to buying product. They will not buy it until it is deeply discounted and then complain when the merchandise isn’t changed often. We are at a loss as to what to do with this particular shop. Does anyone have any suggestions? – Shea Parazine, Volunteer Services Specialist, The Shops at Unity Health, White County Medical Center, Searcy, AR. 193 beds. 3/11/20

FROM CINDY
Sounds like hospital employees have been trained to wait for markdowns so they can get it cheaper. I suggest you don’t reduce markdowns so soon, and see who out-waits who! Of course, the danger of waiting too long is that the shop may get stuck with too much aging merchandise. That is the “just in case”  philosophy.

As retailers, we never want to disappoint the customer. We can’t bear to hear a customer say they couldn’t find what they were looking for in our shop. On the other hand, we can’t carry everything in very limited floor space. Unfortunately, some shops carry huge inventories just in case that one customer comes in. That’s called ‘just in case’ thinking and buying and it simply doesn’t work! What happens if that one customer never comes in? You now have merchandise that feels old and stale….and may never sell. 3/15/20


SPRING/SUMMER CLOTHING DISTRIBUTOR?

Q. Hi, I am a new Gift Shop Manager for a small county hospital. As spring is almost here, I need a wholesale distributor for spring/summer clothing? I am in western Maryland. Any suggestions? Thanks so much!! Love this newsletter. :) – Sarah Folio. 2/1/20

I too am a small community hospital and would love to get with someone to buy marked down items from. It you don’t mind sharing some information please email me. – Rhonda Hernandez. 2/25/20

I am also a small community hospital and the benefit of that is I can buy Simply Noelle marked down items and most of my customers don’t even notice it’s “last seasons” merchandise. Excellent quality at an excellent price. – Anonymous. 2/17/20

Mountain Mamas might be a good option for spring/summer clothing. – Teri Nixon. 2/16/20


DRESSING ROOM ALTERNATIVES?

Q. With no dressing room, how do others handle customers that want to try on clothing?  How can we sell apparel without?  – Singh. 1/3/2020

We arranged our back room/office, for a small dressing room area. We hung a shower curtain on a tension pole rod, and they can also shut the door. It works great. – Sandy Eiffert. 2/15/20

We offer my office to our customers ~ they close and lock the door, and are happy to make sure it fits first! We also offer our nearest rest room…..this of course takes a lot of trust in your customers~~but~~ we’ve never had an item walk out yet! And the customers are very happy that we do trust them enough to offer this to them. Sometimes this trust makes the sale!! – Anonymous. 1/20/20

We have our restrooms across the hall, I offer for them to go try it on..so far no issues. I get worries but as I said not issues with that yet. Those who don’t we have an exchange policy that I let them know and ask that they keep tags and receipt. – Leslie Hollingsworth. 1/20/20

Regarding the question concerning no dressing room: we have a full length mirror on both sides of our back room area door. For sweaters, ponchos, etc. the one on the gift shop side works just fine. If someone needs to try on a top, we allow them to step into the back room to try it on and just wait outside. We have had no problems with this process. Occasionally someone will want to try on in a more private place (aka: bathroom). In these instances they will generally leave with us their car keys, or coat, etc. so we are comfortable with this. We can also see the bathroom entrance from our shop, so that helps us keep an eye out. For hospital staff, this is never a worry! – Nancy Johnsen. 1/16/20

We have a back room for receiving and office. We checked into a actual fitting room when we remodeled and it has to be ADA compliant. I did not feel it was a good trade off to give up the square footage in the shop for the fitting room, so had had a hospital curtain added to the back room. It works just fine when needed. There is a large mirror on one wall also. – Mary Robinson. 1/16/20


A SUCCESSFUL TOTE SALE

Something that worked extremely well for us was a Tote Sale. I bought holiday totes from Burton & Burton for $1.66 each, priced them at $4.99 which is a 66.73% mark-up. The promotion is, buy a tote at $4.99 and anything you can get in the tote is 25% off.  And our pitch is “We can make anything fit in a tote.” We sold out of the totes in 2 days and I bought a lot of them.  I do a tote sale two times a year and my customers/employees can’t wait for it. Thank you so much and happy holidays. – Kim DeBord, Marketplace Manager, Riverside Medical Center, Kankakee, IL. 325 beds. 12/4/19

Just an FYI – if you’re buying something at a cost of $1.66 and selling it for $4.99, that is a 200% markup and a 67% gross margin….– Curt. 2/1/20

I tried this idea, and loved it. Our customers were loving it as well. Thanks for such a great idea. – Lisa Burney. 1/17/20


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© Cindy Jones Associates, 2020. COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. Redistribution, copying, reselling, re-renting, or republishing is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Cindy’s Newsletter may not to be forwarded, redistributed, reproduced, reprinted, or posted online without prior permission from Cindy Jones Associates. Subscribers may share one issue with a fellow manager. Thereafter, the manager may subscribe here to receive future issues.

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | March 15, 2020 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER

for

Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter provides its readership of over 3,000 gift shop professionals “actionable content” to help optimize their shop operation, grow revenue, and connect with one another. LEAVE A COMMENT: Click the colored comment tags throughout the newsletter or email Cindy at cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com


MARCH 15, 2020

CLICK TO COMMENT 👇🏼

CORONAVIRUS DISCUSSION 😷

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your gift shop. Has your gift shop closed or reduced hours? What about volunteers? Are you sanitizing product? If your hospital does close the gift shop will they deploy you to another department? Are you able to work from home?

You will need to think creatively and work collaboratively to meet your customers’ every day needs in this new environment. And, you will need to do everything you can to make their shopping experience seamless and hassle free, even in the face of stress and anxiety. Engage, listen, learn, ask questions, and build trust. Help your team to be comfortable in uncomfortable times.


💮CALENDAR 💮

CORONAVIRUS: Check conference and market websites regularly for cancellations or schedule changes.

GIFT MARKETS

CANCELLED
Mar 22-25, 2020
ASD Market Week. Las Vegas 🔗
CANCELLED
Mar 24-27, 2020
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market + Apparel & Accessories Market (Spring). Dallas 🔗
CANCELLED
Mar 25, 2020
The Buyers Cash & Carry Midwest. Madison 🔗
CANCELLED
Mar 29-31, 2020
LA Mart (Spring). Los Angeles 🔗
POSTPONED
Apr 6–7, 2020
Seattle Gift Show (Spring). Seattle 🔗
RESCHEDULED for
Jun 14-13, 2020
Atlanta Apparel Market (Spring). Atlanta 🔗
RESCHEDULED for
Jul 23–26, 2020
TransWorld’s Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (now Summer). Chicago 🔗
Jun 10-13, 2020
June Atlanta Apparel Market. Atlanta 🔗
Jul 14–20, 2020
Atlanta Summer Gift & Home Furnishings Market. Atlanta 🔗
Jul 21-25, 2020
Seattle Gift Show (Summer). Seattle 🔗
Jul 26-30, 2020
Las Vegas Market (Summer). Las Vegas 🔗
Aug 28-30, 2020
Rocky Mountain Gift Show. Denver 🔗

STATE AUXILIARY CONFERENCES

CANCELLED
Mar 22-24, 2020
 
Society for Healthcare Volunteer Leaders (SHVL) Education Conference. New Orleans, LA 🔗  
Apr 28–May 1, 2020 
Hospital Gift Shop Manager’s Assoc of the Carolinas. Myrtle Beach, FL. Contact acfarris@lexhealth.org 
May 7-8, 2020
Ohio Healthcare Volunteer Management Assoc (OHVMA) Spring Conference 2020. Toledo, OH 🔗
May 14-15, 2020
Minnesota Health Care Gift Shop Assoc. Onamia, MN 🔗 
May 13-15, 2020
Michigan Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals Spring Conference. Shelbyville, MI
May 19-21, 2020
New England Assoc Directors of Healthcare Volunteer Services (NEADHVS). Woodstock, VT 🔗 
Jun 3-4, 2020
New York State Assoc of Volunteer Services Administrators (NYSAVSA) Professional Development Conference. Albany, NY 🔗
Jun 11-12, 2020
Wisconsin Assoc of Directors of Volunteer Services (WADVS) Annual Conference. Pewaukee, WI 🔗 
Nov 4-6, 2020
Missouri Hospital Assoc Annual Convention & Trade Show. Osage Beach, MO 🔗 
 

Retailers share how they’re coping with COVID-19

from Gifts & Dec  / Mar 16, 2020

Recent survey findings show that, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, retailers expect to feel the pinch when it comes to sales and revenue. Understandably, the coronavirus has the whole world feeling on edge and as the Trump administration has now declared the pandemic a national emergency, concern continues to grow. Nevertheless, independent retailers are facing the crisis as best they can, even as they admit to fears of the unknown. As some bigger chains are cutting back on hours or facing severe shortages on basic essentials, many small retailers are comforting their communities now more than ever.

“The scary thing about this situation is that we don’t know when it will end.”  Carol Schroeder, Orange Tree Imports, Madison, WI.  All of our locally owned businesses, including Orange Tree Imports, are struggling to determine the best course of action. We have temporarily suspended our Cooking School class and cancelled our upcoming Ukrainian Egg Art Demonstration. We’ve removed testers from our bath and body area, and of course, we’re on board with hand washing and sanitizing.  Read more…


January retail sales grew 2.7% over last year

from museums&MORE  / Feb 18, 2020

Retail sales in January increased 0.2% seasonally adjusted over December and were up 2.7% unadjusted year-over-year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.

“The strength of consumer spending continues to be the anchor of the current economic expansion,” said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist with NRF. “January’s retail sales results reflect a confident consumer supported by solid wage growth and job gains. While the business sector continues to weigh significant uncertainties, consumers are providing staying power for U.S. economic growth. We are starting the year on a strong footing.

January’s results build on increases of 0.3% month-over-month and 6.3% year-over-year in December. As of January, the three-month moving average was up 3.5% over the same period a year ago, compared with 3.9% in December.

NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said that overall January sales – including auto dealers, gas stations and restaurants – were up 0.3% seasonally adjusted from December and up 4.4% unadjusted year-over-year.


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Spring into action now for coming holidays

March 30: National Doctor’s Day

National Doctor’s Day is a day celebrated to recognize the contributions of physicians to individual lives and communities. Show appreciation to doctors with a complimentary chocolate bar or a 20% off discount certificate! Doctors do not frequent hospital gift shops often so this might be a way to make new friends.

April 12: Easter  

Place an announcement in the hospital newsletter about your shop’s Easter merchandise. Stir up excitement – begin a raffle for a large plush Easter bunny.

Arrange with your shop’s florist to increase flower orders for Easter and Mother’s Day. Ask them to prepare some special blooming bulb plants in baskets for those two important special occasions. Order containers of cut daffodils and tulips (to sell by the stem).

April 22: Administrative Professionals Day

Arrange with your florist to have containers of pale pink and yellow carnations and ferns to sell for Administrative Professionals Day. 

April 19-25: National Healthcare Volunteer Week

One way to thank volunteers is to give them perspective about what they’re doing. Sometimes volunteers are given mundane tasks. No matter what they’re doing, let your volunteer know the larger context — not just what they’re doing, but why they’re doing it – and show that you respect them and appreciate their work.

Provide food for your volunteers as they work. Back in college, I always liked someone better when they gave me food. The same applies to volunteers. It keeps them energized and shows that you care. (Remember to mark food that is vegetarian and vegan!)

Check in with your volunteers located in the back room or storage ares regularly. If they’re looking tired, give them a break. If they’re looking bored, offer them a different task.

Take time to interact with your volunteers, not just to thank them for their work, but also to get to know them personally.

Submit feature volunteer stories to your hospital newsletter or publication. Take 15 minutes out of your schedule to interview them personally. You and the volunteer are winners here — the volunteer gets to tell their story, and you get feedback as well as some great material that you can use for volunteer recruitment.

Give your volunteers actual awards. Nominate them for awards such as “Volunteer of the Month.” You can even get creative and have multiple categories, such as “Most Inspirational,” “Most Enthusiastic,” etc.

Sometimes the best way to show you appreciate your volunteers is the old fashioned way — send them a simple handwritten thank you card. In the age of email and social media, the handwritten letter is special. Bonus points to personalize the message, such as thanking them for a specific task they did during their time volunteering.

May 6: National Nurses Day

Nurses Day is always May 6. A few days prior, offer a 30% OFF NURSES DAY SALE just for nurses. Send an email to the nursing department Chair or HR Director asking if they would email the sale to their nurses.  Get the custom designed SIGNAGE for NATIONAL NURSES DAY in the 12-Month Action Plan here

May 10: Mother’s Day

Now is the time to purchase fall women’s sportswear, baby apparel and accessories now. Begin promoting golf, baseball and other sport and team-like merchandise.


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The stockroom door

Your stockroom doors work only one way—and that way is OUT! When new merchandise arrives, check it in, price it and get it into the shop. Hopefully, it will never return to the stockroom again, because there’s no customers or cash register there!


Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital, Onancock, VA

THIS MONTH’S POLL

How many gift markets do you attend annually?

LAST MONTH’S POLL

What POS system do you use?

Other
Square (5 votes). TAM (5 votes). CLOVER (3 votes). Talech (3 votes). CBORD/Micros (3 votes). Microsoft Dynamics RMS (3 votes). Keystroke (2 votes). ComCash (2 votes). Retail Management Hero (2 votes). Catapult by ECRS (2 votes). Agilysys (2) votes. Gempay (2 vote). None. Just cash register and paper files. (2 votes). Retail Edge (1 vote). Think Smart (1 vote). PSG (1 vote). Smartvender ACCEO (1 vote). POSRocket (1 vote). Insight Retail (1 vote). POSIM (1 vote). Info Genesis (1 vote). Compete by Jonas (1 vote). Vend (1 vote). Smyth Retail Systems (1 vote)

Didn’t get a chance to submit your answer? You can still do it here. Selecting the right POS system is a big deicison, so we keep this as a running poll on our homepage. Thank you!

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Why inventory turn is so important

That’s a fair – and an important – question. Inventory turnover is a measure of the number of times your inventory is sold within a period of time, usually a year. There are a number of ways to determine your inventory turn figure, but the easiest way is to simply divide your previous year’s total retail sales by your year ending inventory at retail value.

Shops with a better turn rate achieve that rate because they closely control their inventory.

They are empathic about delivery dates so that the product arrives at the store when it needs to be there. And they are pit bulls about managing the inventory on hand and about reducing the selling price when necessary to recoup as much of their investment as possible. What’s Your Inventory Turn?

Source: Kizer & Bender. Retail Adventures Blog


CLICK TO COMMENT 👇🏼

Redlands Community Hospital

What are four things you do
when you first arrive
at your gift shop each day?

Redlands Community Hospital, Redlands, CA


We’re Open! Gift Shop Hours

Recommended
Shop Hours

M – F 
8:30 AM – 8:00 PM 

Weekends
12:00 PM – 4:00 PM

**Open at 7am on paydays during Nov & Dec

How many ‘open shop hours’ per week are required to make $500 per square feet?

Shop hours are crucial to a shop’s success. Limiting shop hours limits sales and service to customers. Expanded shop hours increase sales and services. Post the shop hours at the entrance of the shop and include them in the Patient Handbook and New Employee Manual.

Ensure that shop hours are maintained with no interruption of service.

Hospital gift shops have a potential customer each hour of the day 365 days a year!

There is often a scarcity of volunteers to work evenings and weekends, so part-time paid employees may be needed to work those shifts.


Best practices for plush displays 🧸

Do not stack as much plush as possible into one area. Create a display, not a mound of product!

Group by color or category of character or animal. For example, group all farm animals together, all Disney together, all jungle animals together. Display musical plush in the baby department.

Lakeland Regional Health, Lakeland, FL

Internal Revenue Code

Hospital gift shops qualify as an unrelated business under Revenue Ruling: 69:267, Section 513 of the Internal Revenue Code. Five principles must be followed to help reinforce the tax-exempt character of the shop.

  1. The shop provides a service to its patrons: patients, visitors and employees.
  2. All profits are donated to the hospital.
  3. Its purpose is to provide merchandise that will improve the physical comfort and mental well-being of patients, visitors and employees.
  4. The shop keeps employees on the premise throughout the day, thus increasing the hospitals efficiency.
  5. A substantial amount of the work must be performed without compensation.

Rules of Customer Loyalty

How to maximize profitability of your existing customers?
That’s easy! Keep pleasing those treasured hospital ‘frequent buyer’ employees that love your merchandise.

How to exceed your customers’ expectations for instant gratification?

Have the right merchandise, at the right time, and at the right price.

How to overcome the increase in competition?
You don’t have retail competition in a hospital! So, just be the best retailer you can be.

How to collect valuable, actionable customer data?

Once or twice a year distribute a customer survey to hospital employees to ensure you are exceeding their expectations. Target your most loyal customers to reinforce their purchasing habits or to incentivize them to try something new.


Five ways to be a better leader

Five ways to improve managing and leading employees

There is a saying in life that the “days are busy but the years are short” and when it comes to retail, this is absolutely the truth. After all, how often have years flown by and you’ve looked back only to regret how you managed your employees or other store responsibilities you had hoped to improve?

With employees essentially your brand ambassadors, there’s no better time than now to work towards making their roles stronger and your employee management strengthen, as well. To help, consider these five tips:

Evaluate your employee scenario

Ask yourself this straightforward question — and give yourself an honest answer: Are you satisfied with the performance of your employees?

While it’s possible some employees will likely stand out among others for their positive attributes, it’s also likely many others will stand out for just the opposite of reasons. Keeping this in mind, analyze your entire staff and identify the strengths, weaknesses and windows of opportunities that you would like to improve. This first step can help lead you to the many others that will follow as you begin your journey to strengthen your employee team.

Create an evaluation checklist

When you’re analyzing your employees and their performance, it’s important to be consistent in evaluating each employee against the same criteria. Keeping this in mind, having a checklist — or evaluation form — to work off of can help you review each individual employee with the same standards and expectations as all others. Ranking skills and store responsibilities on a scale of 1 to 5 provides a good baseline, with 1 being poor performance, 2 offering below average, 3 identifying average, 4 recognized as above average and 5 being outstanding.

As you begin to create your checklist, consider including points that range from store operations to customer service to merchandising and marketing to social media. Any and all responsibilities in your store should be included, as well as other key details such as being on time to work.

Schedule one-on-one reviews

Once your checklist is completed and your evaluations have been filled out, it’s important to schedule a one-on-one review with each employee to deliver your findings. Additionally, take this opportunity to discuss their strengths and weaknesses as well as communicate store goals, expectations, employee responsibilities and more. You should allow for time that would welcome your employee to share their own thoughts, whether it’s in direct response to your review or about their employment or store concerns in general. Finally, make sure your tone if positive while also enforcing the standards you have set for your business. At the very least, these should be done annually. Ideally, however, these would be completed quarterly or bi-annually.

Deliver an all-store team meeting

Create a time that brings everyone together when the store is not open for business. During this experience, you should formally roll out store expectations — particularly if this is something you have never previously done. To help, introducing an employee manual is a great idea. For those less interested in a formal manual, consider a “ten best” list that shares the ten things your store absolutely wants to see from every employee… then post this list in a common area that employees will see it and be reminded of it every time they work (away from customers, of course). The main goal — no matter what path you choose to take here — is to create a team morale that is positive and uplifting while offering employees leadership and direction for them to follow while working in your store. Teamwork should be emphasized, as well, and any sales goals that you have in place should also be identified.

Set daily goals

When managing employees, it’s vital to offer goals that employees can easily access and understand. Saying “we want to have our best year yet” sounds great, but it doesn’t offer clear direction on how to do this. Combining this annual goal with daily goals can help you reach your expectations. Using your point of sale and other data from previous sales years, identify daily sales goals that your employees are aware of. Additionally, set other goals each day that may include merchandising a specific area, sending out customer thank you notes and managing store operations in general. Combined, these daily goals will help make for productive days and ultimately, help you reach the big picture goals you have in place for your business.

A final thought

When leading employees, be sure to consider the leadership experience that they are experiencing. Pausing to reflect on your own leadership can help you better understand some of your employee behaviors. Aim to shape your own leadership in a direction that you and your employees can both be proud of. As a result, your store, employees and yourself will benefit, helping to increase sales and create a more dynamic working environment. 

By Nicole Leinbach Reyhle

Source: museums&MORE

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”


DISCUSSION


WHY MAINTAIN INVENTORY AND FINANCIALS ‘AT RETAIL’?

Q. I need to explain to our gift shop committee why our physical inventory reports should always be shown at the retail price rather than “at cost.” Can you give me a short and simple answer. Thanks much!! – Darielle H. 3/14/20

FROM CINDY

Advantages of the Retail Method of Inventory Valuation
The money your customer pays at point of purchase is the retail price. The retail sales figures are the retail value of the inventory. The retail price has the profit built into it and profit occurs when an item is sold (at retail)

    1. Maintaining inventory figures ‘at retail’ forces the you, the retailer, to ‘think retail’.
    2. Financial statements ‘at retail’ are essential to good financial planning. Frequent calculations at both cost and retail information allows the retailer to adjust quickly to changing conditions
    3. Physical inventories taken at retail prices eliminate the costly, time-consuming job of decoding cost prices. Recording physical inventory at retail prices greatly simplifies the process and encourages a more frequent physical count of inventory.
    4. The retail method facilitates planning and control of a department or category. Sales, purchases, inventories, and price-change information are recorded by department or category and can be used to evaluate each department’’s performance.
    5. By providing a ‘book’ or Point of Sale figure for what your inventory should be on hand, the retail method allows the retailer to determine shortages each time a physical inventory is taken.

The ‘retail method’ requires continuous recording of all transactions which change the unit status of the inventory. A running total must be kept by continuously recording all merchandise data. A Point of Sale system will automatically accomplish that for you!


CHANGE DISPLAYS

Q. Because we have many of the same customers everyday, how often should we change our displays? How often do you rotate merchandise to other locations?


QUALITY ITEMS FOR $15

Q. I work for a large hospital system that has a patient/guest service recovery program where our hospital employees can access an item for guests/patients. In an effort to remain compliant with the $15 Federal OIG (Office of Inspector General) limit recommendation for ‘patient gifting’ we would like to stock items that meet that price point and still remain “giftable”. What are other shops buying and stocking that are under this $15 limit while retaining a perception of quality?

With hospital gift shop’s being such a large part of the retail market, you would think that vendors know the federal regulations that we must adhere to and come up with some suggested items in their lines. At the Atlanta market last month, not one rep was familiar with this, (it began in 2017 with the Affordable Care Act), which I found surprising! – Michaela Kanoski, Volunteer & Guest Services Manager, CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy. 380 beds. 3/2/20

(OIG is the governmental agency that regulates and enforces the monetary value of things received by Medicate and state Medicaid patients.)


SHOP YOUR OWN SHOP

Q. Have you shopped your own shop recently? The other night I was on my way out, purse in hand, when a friend walked into the store to browse.  I walked back in and “shopped” with her through her eyes. If you are like me, all I can see when surveying the floor is what needs to be done, what is missing, what needs dusting, etc. But shopping as the customer was a pleasant surprise. I enjoyed admiring and looking at things as much as she did and it was really fun!  It was a lesson to me  – after a harried day behind the scenes, I actually left feeling very good. I realized the pleasant experience that our shop offers to hospital guests and employees. I am going to walk out and come back in wearing a consumer hat more often!  – A shop manager. 228 beds. 3/10/20


CURTAIL DEEP-DISCOUNT CUSTOMERS

Q. I assist the director of volunteer services in managing three hospital gift shops. Our largest shop at our biggest campus does quite well. We have a shop at a sister hospital that we buy for and are waiting to see how the first year went. We also have a small shop at our long-term care and rehab facility. We struggle with staffing (all volunteer) as it’s a smaller shop and is on the opposite side of town from where many of the volunteers live. Most of the customers at that location also like to “wait things out” when it comes to buying product. They will not buy it until it is deeply discounted and then complain when the merchandise isn’t changed often. We are at a loss as to what to do with this particular shop. Does anyone have any suggestions? – Shea Parazine, Volunteer Services Specialist, The Shops at Unity Health, White County Medical Center, Searcy, AR. 193 beds. 3/11/20

FROM CINDY
Sounds like hospital employees have been trained to wait for markdowns so they can get it cheaper. I suggest you don’t reduce markdowns so soon, and see who out-waits who! Of course, the danger of waiting too long is that the shop may get stuck with too much aging merchandise. That is the “just in case”  philosophy.

As retailers, we never want to disappoint the customer. We can’t bear to hear a customer say they couldn’t find what they were looking for in our shop. On the other hand, we can’t carry everything in very limited floor space. Unfortunately, some shops carry huge inventories just in case that one customer comes in. That’s called ‘just in case’ thinking and buying and it simply doesn’t work! What happens if that one customer never comes in? You now have merchandise that feels old and stale….and may never sell.


SPRING/SUMMER CLOTHING DISTRIBUTOR?

Q. Hi, I am a new Gift Shop Manager for a small county hospital. As spring is almost here, I need a wholesale distributor for spring/summer clothing? I am in western Maryland. Any suggestions? Thanks so much!! Love this newsletter. :) – Sarah Folio. 2/1/20

I too am a small community hospital and would love to get with someone to buy marked down items from. It you don’t mind sharing some information please email me. – Rhonda Hernandez. 2/25/20

I am also a small community hospital and the benefit of that is I can buy Simply Noelle marked down items and most of my customers don’t even notice it’s “last seasons” merchandise. Excellent quality at an excellent price. – Anonymous. 2/17/20

Mountain Mamas might be a good option for spring/summer clothing. – Teri Nixon. 2/16/20


DRESSING ROOM ALTERNATIVES?

Q. With no dressing room, how do others handle customers that want to try on clothing?  How can we sell apparel without?  – Singh. 1/3/2020

We arranged our back room/office, for a small dressing room area. We hung a shower curtain on a tension pole rod, and they can also shut the door. It works great. – Sandy Eiffert. 2/15/20

We offer my office to our customers ~ they close and lock the door, and are happy to make sure it fits first! We also offer our nearest rest room…..this of course takes a lot of trust in your customers~~but~~ we’ve never had an item walk out yet! And the customers are very happy that we do trust them enough to offer this to them. Sometimes this trust makes the sale!! – Anonymous. 1/20/20

We have our restrooms across the hall, I offer for them to go try it on..so far no issues. I get worries but as I said not issues with that yet. Those who don’t we have an exchange policy that I let them know and ask that they keep tags and receipt. – Leslie Hollingsworth. 1/20/20

Regarding the question concerning no dressing room: we have a full length mirror on both sides of our back room area door. For sweaters, ponchos, etc. the one on the gift shop side works just fine. If someone needs to try on a top, we allow them to step into the back room to try it on and just wait outside. We have had no problems with this process. Occasionally someone will want to try on in a more private place (aka: bathroom). In these instances they will generally leave with us their car keys, or coat, etc. so we are comfortable with this. We can also see the bathroom entrance from our shop, so that helps us keep an eye out. For hospital staff, this is never a worry! – Nancy Johnsen. 1/16/20

We have a back room for receiving and office. We checked into a actual fitting room when we remodeled and it has to be ADA compliant. I did not feel it was a good trade off to give up the square footage in the shop for the fitting room, so had had a hospital curtain added to the back room. It works just fine when needed. There is a large mirror on one wall also. – Mary Robinson. 1/16/20


PRICE OF STANDARD CANDY BAR

Q. What is everyone is charging for a standard candy bar? I sure don’t want our hospital employees thinking we are scamming them. – Sandy Palmer, Harrison Valley. 311 beds. 12/28/19

$1.14 no tax. Cost is about $.67 so we’re not making a large profit at all but it keeps the employee’s coming back everyday for their “fix” :) – Anonymous. 2/17/20
We charge $1.29. – Lisa Burney. 1/17/20
$1.25! Customers are seeing the same price at the grocery stores. – Karen. 1/17/20
$1.15. With tax, it is $1.25.  – Melodie Christal. 1/16/20
$1.25 includes tax. – Kathryn Main


NOVEMBER SALES DOWN?

Q. I would like to know if anyone was down in sales for November? Our sales were down about $6,000 year over year. In my area, a lot of the stores had their Christmas items on sale at 50% off the second week of November which I believe had a lot to do with it. That, the weather in my area, and a couple of internal changes were all culprits.  I was just curious if anyone else was down due to the shortened holiday season with Thanksgiving being a week later.  – Kim DeBord, Marketplace Manager, Riverside Medical Center, Kankakee, IL. 325 beds. 12/4/19

The last several years, we’ve ordered less and less Xmas ornaments and home decor. One of my crafters doesn’t even make it anymore. Instead carry some esp for kids and make sure it’s unique…. but focus more on items that will sell even after Xmas. You’ll feel less pressure. – Elaine. 2/15/20

Our November sales were significantly down also, and I think Carol has a point about Thanksgiving being later affecting that. Luckily we had a better December which made up for it and helped our overall year’s total. – Vicki Holcombe. 1/16/20

My November sales are also down but we need to keep in mind that Thanksgiving was a week later this year and Thanksgiving really does kick off the Holiday Season. I am expecting to make up the difference in December and we are off to a stronger start than last year. I think it is too soon to tell how are this year’s Holiday Season will end up. Thanks for another great newsletter! I hope everyone has a very successful Holiday Season. – Carol A Colpitts, Gift Shop Manager/Buyer, Milford Regional Medical Center, Milford, MA. 116 beds. 12/8/19


A SUCCESSFUL TOTE SALE

Something that worked extremely well for us was a Tote Sale. I bought holiday totes from Burton & Burton for $1.66 each, priced them at $4.99 which is a 66.73% mark-up. The promotion is, buy a tote at $4.99 and anything you can get in the tote is 25% off.  And our pitch is “We can make anything fit in a tote.” We sold out of the totes in 2 days and I bought a lot of them.  I do a tote sale two times a year and my customers/employees can’t wait for it. Thank you so much and happy holidays. – Kim DeBord, Marketplace Manager, Riverside Medical Center, Kankakee, IL. 325 beds. 12/4/19

Just an FYI – if you’re buying something at a cost of $1.66 and selling it for $4.99, that is a 200% markup and a 67% gross margin….– Curt. 2/1/20

I tried this idea, and loved it. Our customers were loving it as well. Thanks for such a great idea. – Lisa Burney. 1/17/20


TURBAN & GREETING CARD VENDORS

We have purchased basic turbans for chemo patients for years from Betmar and a lesser expensive style from Kelli’s. We also recently started carrying a line of greeting cards called Kimo Kards. We have received a lot of positive feed back on these from our customers. – Sandy White, Shop Manager. 12/25/19

We carry a large selection of turbans and other headwear from Hats with Heart. They are great to work with. – Anonymous. 1/15/20


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