Riverside Hospital, Leesburg, VA

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | April 15, 2024 💮

for Gift Shop Managers

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

Have you paid your dues this quarter?

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

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

APRIL 15, 2024

Riverside Hospital, Leesburg, VA
Riverside Hospital, Leesburg, VA

Five ways to be a better leader

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 and volunteers being essentially your store ambassadors, there’s no better time than now to strengthen your management skills. 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 reasons. Analyze your entire staff and identify the strengths, weaknesses and windows of opportunities. This first step can help lead you to the many others 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 and evaluate everyone against the same criteria. Have a checklist or evaluation form to help you review each individual employee with the same standards and expectations. 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. (Note: Avoid a 1-10 scale. The precision on the 0-5 rating is much easier.)

As you begin to create your checklist, consider points like store operations, customer service, social media, merchandising and marketing. All responsibilities should be included, as well as other key details such as being on time to work.

Schedule staff reviews

Once you’ve completed your checklist and filled out the evaluations, it’s crucial to schedule a one-on-one review with each employee to share your findings. Use this opportunity to discuss their strengths and weaknesses, as well as to communicate store goals, expectations, and employee responsibilities. Allow time for your employees to share their thoughts, whether in response to your review or regarding their employment or store concerns in general. Maintain a positive tone while also reinforcing the standards you’ve set for your business.

At a minimum, reviews should be conducted annually. Ideally, quarterly or bi-annually.

If you are doing your job as a manager, nothing should come as a surprise to your staff on the day of their performance reviews.

It’s absolutely true that managers should be giving employees feedback throughout the year and shouldn’t blindside them with criticism in an annual review that they haven’t heard before. As a rule, managers should strive throughout the year to ensure that nothing in an evaluation will be surprising. Every single day is a an opportunity for a micro-review. A good manager will consistently guides staff in areas of improvement. Nothing should be a surprise on the day of the review.

Deliver an all-store team meeting

Schedule a meeting when the store is closed to bring everyone together. During this session, formally introduce store expectations, especially if this is a new initiative. Introducing an employee manual can be beneficial. For those preferring a less formal approach, consider a “Top Ten” list outlining the ten essential behaviors or practices the store expects from every employee. Display this list in a visible area where employees can regularly see it, ensuring they are reminded of these expectations each time they work (away from customers, of course). Regardless of the method you choose, aim to foster a positive and uplifting team morale while providing employees with clear leadership and direction. Emphasize the importance of teamwork and clearly define any sales goals you have set for the team.

Set daily goals

When managing employees, it’s essential to provide goals that are clear, accessible, and easy to understand. While aiming for “our best year yet” sounds positive, it lacks specificity. To achieve this overarching goal, integrate daily goals that align with it. Utilize data from your point-of-sale system and past sales years to set daily sales targets that your employees can aim for. Additionally, establish daily objectives such as merchandising specific areas, sending customer thank-you notes, and overseeing general store operations. By setting and communicating these daily goals, you’ll foster productivity and, ultimately, help your team achieve the broader business objectives.

A final thought

When leading your team, consider the leadership experience your employees are having. Reflecting on your leadership style helps you understand your employees’ behaviors better. Aim to develop a leadership approach that both you and your team can be proud of. This will benefit your store, enhance employee satisfaction, and contribute to a more dynamic and productive work environment, ultimately leading to increased sales.



Punchkins are not your average plushie! We’re stuffed with personality!

Each of our designs features a punny punchline and perfectly matched expression. Seriously, these sassy stuffies are so relatable that they’ll make you LOL.

They’re the perfect gift for anyone, for any occasion.

Punchkins WholesalePunchkins.com2024 Catalog sales@punchkins.com • 443-212-8670


The easiest way to open an online shop!

– Open for business 24/7 with an online and mobile shop
– 20+ years of trust from hundreds of leading hospitals
– We manage your online shop and orders for you
– Zero fees, simple set up
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Join our trusted network and revolutionize your shop’s reach!

More information email: partners@hospitalgiftshop.com 
More information link:    HospitalGiftShop

Job Openings

Gift Shop Manager
IU Health, Indianapolis, IN

Manager, Volunteer Services ($54,000 – $88,000)
Mohawk Valley Health Systems, Utica, NY

Store Manager – Gift Shop
Johns Hopkins Medicine, Columbia, MD

Gift Shop Coordinator
SSM Health, Univ Hsptl, Saint Louis, MO

Manager, Gift Shop
Sentara Health, Harrisonburg, VA

Gift Shop Retail Operations Manager
Hamilton Health Care System, Dalton, GA

Gift Shop Supervisor
Grand Canyon Resort, Peach Springs, AZ

Gift Shop Manager
West Tennessee Healthcare, Jackson, TN

District Shops Manager ($46,000 – $58,000)
Jekyll Island Historic District, Jekyll Island, GA

Volunteer & Gift Shop Coordinator
VCU Health System, Tappahannock, VA

Director Volunteer Engagement/Gift Shop
Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Little Rock, AR

Dir of Hospital Gift Shop & Volunteer Program
Neshoba General, Philadelphia, MS

Ideas for social media posts

Remind customers that you are OPEN for business!

Humor! Can’t emphasize enough the power of humor.

Promos and sales.
Of course!

Holiday themed product displays.

Eye-catching products.

Happy customers.

7 tips for captivating in-store signage

Gift Shop Plus shared seven great tips for creating great signage that not only inform but help drive sales. We took a few and built on them with our own suggestions:

Create professional looking signage. Print in color – avoid handwritten – do not tape on walls or shelving, don’t lean up against products. Acrylic photo frames are cheap, easy to change up, and look professional.

Tailor signage to resonate with your audience through specific language, colors and imagery.

Position signage so they can be read by wheelchair customers.

Use colors and fonts large visible for customers with limited vision. Use easy-to-read fonts and high-contrast colors.

Keep signage concise, clear, short. Use sentence fragments, drop nonessential verbiage, use short words.

Create focal points in the store by placing attention-grabbing signs near popular and high-margin products.

Treat your signage as you would your displays. Cheap signage can cheapen a beautiful display in seconds.

Your shop has it’s own branding, at least it should. Maintain consistency with your shop’s brand colors, fonts, imagery and logo. A cohesive, visual identity subconsciously calms and soothes shoppers. You’ve heard that a messy store is an uninviting store. Studies show this literally repel shoppers. Same applies to signage.

Signage can be used for emotional marketing, your #1 marketing tool. Use signs to highlight the stories behind your products, allowing customers to connect with them emotionally.

What are the most powerful emotions to evoke when marketing to a customer of a hospital gift shop? First, what is your customer base? Medical staff, patients, family members. Next, what emotions are they likely to experience? Stress, grief, anxiety and fear, uncertainty, relief, gratitude and celebration. We suggest your signage speak to the emotions of humor, empathy, calmness, love, comfort, hope, wellness and comfort.

Advice, inspiration, and all the feel-goods!

A. Has anyone else set up a “temporary” store?

Q. Has anyone else set up a “temporary” store? Construction started on a large addition/renovation to our hospital, for 24-30 months. It is going to affect our volunteer gift shop. We are able to set up a small “store” in a hallway, which will require us to secure overnight. – Martha Burke, Rome Health, Rome, NY. 130 beds. 1/17/24

We purchased a used department store kiosk, bought an iPad & square credit card reader, and set up in a hallway. Snacks were the biggest seller. We also included a few seasonal items, and accessories. Our customers miss it! – Michaela Kanoski, CHI CUMC Bergan Mercy, Omaha, NE. 394 beds. 3/25/24

We had to set up a temporary store in what typically is a small waiting area during a 6 month construction. I only brought in my very best sellers and put all other inventory in storage. We had a small variety of greeting cards, candy, some plush, willow tree and other smaller items. It wasn’t ideal and sales were obviously low but we moved into a bigger and better space after the construction that made it worth it.  – Sarah Ryan. 3/19/24

When we had a remodel we were allowed to set up a temp shop in a conference room. It was minimal. Food and candy is our #1 seller. We kept most of that and and small seasonal display and some other go too items. We stocked and switched out items frequently. – Noelle. 3/19/24

We used to have a cart that volunteers would take around the hospital. It had jewelry, flowers, candy, and other assorted items. The objective was to offer convenience to staff who found it difficult to leave their area to go to the Gift Shop during their shift. Sales were either cash or check only.  – Peter Waugh. 3/19/24

They moved our to a portion of a conference room for about 6-8 months. How long are they relocating you? Do you get a bigger shop? When I worked at a kiosk at the mall years ago, we had a tarp like that went around and had a lock on it.  – Tricia E. 2/24/24

Our shop was closed for about 4 months in 2022. I found a vacated space and used it to set up a temporary shop. We mainly sold our logo wear and then had a “garage sale” to move inventory that had been in our storage room for more than a couple years. – Alison K.  2/27/24

Comment here or on the Hospital Gift Shops group on Facebook.

♡ Connect. Share. Grow. ♡

Studio M. in St. Louis, Missouri had some fun with their displays and signage.

They paired clever monogramed flags with a beautiful display to spell out the theme and add a bit of whimsey.

This is a great opportunity for cross merchandising too!

ncr pos point of sale system


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.


Les Déglingos from France

We keep seeing this adorable line of baby and kid products from Les Déglingos. They are so whimsical, unique and adorable! They have a wide range of kids products from plush, travel bags, backpacks, rattles, baby comforters, teething rings, toys, pacifier clips, school bags, pencil cases and more.

We learned about them in 2020 – how did we miss them?! Their line has grown extensively. We just had to share! Is anyone carrying Les Déglingos?

Born in France in 2007, Les Déglingos was the very first company in the world to use soft corduroy fabric in soft toys. The brand focuses on quality and original products sold in many independent shops across the world. With more than 250 active products, our collections include plush toys, early learning toy, accessories, travel and school luggages from 0 to 10 years old. All our toys are stuffed with Recycled Polyester Fabric made from used plastic bottles.” Available on FAIRE


ARBA Point-of-Sale Solution

Designed for Hospital Gift Shops, the volunteer-friendly ARBA POS system manages your inventory and automates payroll deductions. Easy current inventory import.   

Optional online store pulls from the same inventory as in-store and accepts payroll deductions and credit card payments.  


Major trends that will shape retail in 2024

There has been a lot of talk lately about retail trends for 2024. We found several articles touching on varying points, some overlapping and some not. We can’t print them all, but here’s a a few trends to look out for in the context of hospital gift shops:

82% of global consumers surveyed agree that receiving communications from local businesses makes them feel more connected to the business. Think social media!

Self-checkout will grow massively in sectors beyond grocery and fast fashion. Anywhere there are queues, this tech can make a difference.

In addition to an online store and brick-and-mortar locations, retailers are capturing sales and winning the loyalty of customers through social media channels.

Retail is embracing recommerce with retailers integrating resale, rental, and repair initiatives to boost revenue and respond to growing customer demand.

Consumers will seek products with authentic recommendations. People are tired of the conformist approach to shopping where everyone is fed the algorithms. They want products that fit them and that tell their story. 

Retailers are jumping into AI to create personalized marketing with micro-segmentation and building communities. Small businesses can use AI tools to save time and money. For example, to generate product descriptions. Gmail, Shopify and Canva are also integrating AI assistance into their apps.

Prepare for Gen Alpha, the largest generation ever with solid values and will make purchasing decisions based on those values.

Consumers will seek inclusive environments that demonstrate a mutual commitment between retailers and employees. 

Consumers have “green fatigue” creating an increased awareness in real sustainability, versus faux green marketing.


The 5 Biggest Retail Trends For 2024

Four trends that will define retail in 2024

Four Monumental Trends Changing Retail in 2024


May 5 – Cinco de Mayo
May 6 – Nurses Day 🩺
May 4 – Kentucky Derby 🐎
May 12 – Mother’s Day
May 27 – Memorial Day 🇺🇸
Graduation Season Begins 🎓
Graduation Season Con’t 🎓
Jun 14 – Flag Day
Jun 16 – Father’s Day
Jun 19 – Juneteenth
Jun 20 – Summer Solstice
Jun 27 – Ntn’l Sunglasses Day 😎
Jul 4 – Independence Day 🇺🇸
Jul 7 – World Chocolate Day
Jul 10 – Ntnl Pina Colada Day 🍹
Jul 14 – Ntn’l Mac & Cheese Day
Jul 26 – Summer Olympics Start 🏊🏼‍♀️


National, regional, and local shows.

Includes direct links to every show.

How to recruiting gift shop volunteers

Q. Does anyone have suggestions for recruiting Gift Shop volunteers? We have been low staffed since COVID. Hoping to increase our gift shop volunteers. – Pa Y. Facebook Group for Hospital Gift Shops. 3/31/24

Local neighborhood Facebook pages, church bulletins, and word of mouth. We asked all our employees to spread the word if they knew anyone. – Cindy Z. 

Have you hit local PEO or Church groups. Card groups. Independent living homes. Ask the town for a volunteer fair! – Tricia E.

I’m thinking of maybe doing a meet and greet and bring a friend. Hopefully get some new recruits. –  P. Yang


Try expanding your avenues of recruitment and volunteer ages. Try high school and college students that need hours for class and stay-at-home mom that needs a break. Write department heads or professors whose classes require volunteer work, like Social Work. Social media is where you’d get the highest reach. Local city or regional Facebook groups, library, fitness centers, high school and university bulletins, church bulletins, NextDoor, younger genz are on TikTok, hospital’s senior care center, geriatric dept,. Create new posts but also add to comments in relevant discussions. 


Did you miss last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions?

  • What exactly is in your shop window?
  • How Hydra Health is transforming the hospital gift shop
  • WEBINAR: How can AI solutions reduce shoplifting losses?
  • Is shoplifting really surging?
  • Behind the smile: Artificial customer greetings
  • Q. Has anyone else set up a “temporary” store?
  • Top 5 free tools for generating subject lines
  • HGS Virtual Gatherings
  • Gift Market Calendar


Discussions are happening now in
the Hospital Gift Shops Facebook group!

Average 3 posts per day
Over 250 members
Private, vetted membership
Hospital gift shop managers, buyers, volunteer managers

↓ Click to join ↓

♡ Connect. Share. Grow. ♡

Want to advertise? Click here.

© Cindy Jones Associates, 2022. 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.

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