St Francis Hospital, Evanston, IL

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 operations and grow revenue.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION! Exchange ideas, ask questions, and gain insight from other shop managers. Click the tab to the right of each article to comment or send your contributions to cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com. Include # of beds, please.


APRIL 15, 2020

Feature Image: St Francis Hospital, Evanston, IL

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.


SPONSOR

QUICKCHARGE POS

Quickcharge POS provides all of the point of sale features
you need in an easy-to-use solution with automated
payroll deduction capabilities, contactless payment,
and reliable customer support!

Transitioning from your current POS system

is fast, easy, and affordable.

800-348-5545
www.mmhayes.com/giftshopPOS


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


SPONSOR

CLIMBING BEAR ARRANGEMENTS
by Fantasia Greetings

Consists of a six-inch teddy bear,
attached to a seven-and-half inch bud vase with
a four-inch engraved mylar balloon and a
silk rosebud complete with a gift card.

fantasiagreet@aol.com


GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Setup for Success: Reopening your gift shop after the Coronavirus

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 currently open, closed, or some variant during the coronavirus?

LAST MONTH’S POLL

How many gift markets do you attend annually?

Thank you for participating!

Snoozies

SPONSOR

snoozies!® 

See our ALL NEW Spring 2020 collection of foot coverings!
Simply Pairables in children’s, women’s and men’s sizes.
More new styles, more new designs to keep your customers coming back!
Did you get our new spring catalog? View Spring 2020 Catalog!

252-650-7000
www.snoozies.com


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


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


PROMOTIONS


ncr pos point of sale system

SPONSOR

i3 Verticals – NCR Point of Sale Solution

A “Volunteer Friendly” NCR Point of Sale solution
for hospital gift shops. Easy to learn! Easy to use!
Payroll Deduction and Inventory Management available.
Take your gift shop to the next level!
Ask for a FREE copy of our “Hospital Gift Shops:
Tips for Success” booklet.

887-809-9980
www.i3pos.com/retail

My Garden of Flowers


SPONSOR

MY GARDEN OF FLOWERS
Miracles in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Dr. Manjeet Kaur’s beautifully illustrated book,
My Garden of Flowers: Miracles in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
is perfect for the hospital gift shop!

This invaluable resource for worried families

gives parents knowledge and reassurance
that their critically ill infants will typically
grow to adulthood and lead normal, healthy lives.


SPONSOR

ANDREW DISTRIBUTION
for Magazines and Paperback Books

For Hospital Gift Shops! Crossword Puzzles!
Cell Phone Accessories! Largest Percent Discounts
Customize and change orders anytime!
Receive credit on all unsold magazines.

Huge Magazine Selections!

708-410-2400
www.AndrewDistribution.com


© 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.

15 replies
  1. Anonymous says:

    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.

    Reply
  2. Anne Trocano/Linda Leary says:

    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.

    Reply
  3. David Munger says:

    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 Git 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”

    Reply
  4. Jamie Lee Hernandez says:

    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…

    Reply
  5. Sandra Oldfield says:

    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.

    Reply
  6. Shauna Cox says:

    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!

    Reply
  7. Vesta Smith says:

    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.

    Reply
  8. Cindy Jones says:

    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!

    Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      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.

      Reply
  9. Cindy Jones says:

    To Do List
    “Extreme times call for extreme measures and I feel this is what’s best to help curb the spread of the virus and protect us all.”
    Deep clean and sanitize retail and non-retail areas
    Have sanitizer and wipes at shop entry
    Determine # of customers per square feet (ie. 3-5 per 1000 sq ft)
    Point of sale (no signature required – research policy)
    Tape the floor to indicate 6′ spacing
    Install plexiglass at cash wrap
    Publish store hours and policies
    Print a written policy for team members.
    Masks (must wear, etc)
    Cleaning (frequency, displays, door knobs, cash wrap, etc
    Hallway pickup of purchases
    If a customer attempts to enter store without a face covering, ask politely if they would wear one before entering or provide them with one.
    Consider selling masks.
    Screening workers’ temperatures,
    Installing plexiglass dividers at cash registers,
    Adding social distancing signs and markers, and enforcing customer capacity limits.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.