Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | December 15, 2021 💮

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

DECEMBER 15, 2021

Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital, Dover, OH

To our loyal readers

Happy Holidays from my family to yours.

Wishing you the gifts of love, joy and smiles throughout the season and the new year. May your days be filled with everything and everyone you love.

Today is a good day to say THANK YOU!
Thank you for being a valued subscriber.
Thank you for telling others about my Newsletter.
Thank you for trusting me to deliver valuable content to you.
Thank you for clicking on the recommended links.
Thank you for all your wonderful comments and responses.
Thank you for being YOU!

Here’s wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah!! And, my warmest wishes to those celebrating Kwanzaa.

After Christmas, take a few days of well-deserved rest to prepare for another challenging year of retailing.
Cindy & Nicole


Jan 1 – New Year’s Day
Jan 12 – Kiss a Ginger Day
Jan 17 – Martin Luther King Day
Feb 2 – Groundhog Day
Feb 4 – World Cancer Day
Feb 13 – Super Bowl Sunday
Feb 14 – Valentine’s Day
Feb 21 – President’s Day
Black History Month
Mar 2 – Ash Wednesday
Mar 17 – St. Patrick’s Day
Mar 30 – Doctor’s Day

Click to expand image.

Do this the last 12 days of December

Send out an ‘email blast’ each morning to alert your hospital staff of the sale item for the day. Makes break time pretty exciting!!!  

Do things like, all snowmen one day, then all reindeer another, all items with green, all items with a tree, all ornaments, all mugs and drinking items. This makes hunting through the merchandise interesting and keeps hospital employees coming back. It also keeps buyers busy planning ahead and watching the merchandise very carefully.

Here is a great example email from Stanford Health Care gift shop. It was sent out December 1st and showcases 22 days of promotions. They even included an online Promotion Calendar.

Click to view the calendar on Stanford’s website.



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To-Dos for the first week in January

First week in January, put all Christmas merchandise on sale at 40% off. Hallmark did a study and found customers did not purchase differently whether the discount is 40% versus 50% off on after Christmas sales. So, just do 40% off for the first week after Christmas, and then go down from there.

Make judgment calls on certain lines whether or not to discount further after the first week. Then pack leftovers away or donate. Try not to hold over any product. If it didn’t sell this year, chances are it won’t sell next year. However, you might hold over items that sold well but perhaps you were a little too optimistic in your ordering. 

Here are additional sale ideas to jump start your planning for the year!

Plan Now
Relax Later

Get out your 2022 calendar. Mark the months with five Fridays and hold a “FIFTH FRIDAY $5 OFF SALE”. Qualify it by taking $5 off any purchase totaling $25 or more. That way you are only giving a 20% discount at the most, but usually it is less than 20% off because they often spend more than the $25. It’s also a good incentive to add on to a sale that might only be $20 initially. It helps to have a ‘$ off’ button setup on your POS register which pro-rates the discount off each item purchased. If a customer returns just one item, the sale price is listed by item on the receipt. Remember to advertise this event over email to all hospital employees.

🎉 SPEND $13 & GET 13% OFF
Mark every Friday the 13th with a “SPEND $13 | GET 13% OFF ” sale.

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Ask for a FREE copy of our “Hospital Gift Shops:
Tips for Success” booklet.


12 last-minute tips to grow your holiday sales

Pre- and post-holiday sales can be the difference between a profitable holiday season or a bust. Here are some tips to grow your holidays sales!

#1 Survival Tip: Keep it light. Keep it funny. Keep things in perspective.
  • As we get closer to Christmas, have separate tables with bundled items along with a card, last minute grab and go items that make it easy for people to buy.
  • Get them in the door! Make sure to send out a reminder on Friday talking about the last weekend of the year to save big.
  • Greet them at the counter. You want to minimize customer returns as much as possible so train your cashiers to always ask the customer if they would like to look around for exchange items first.
  • Give in. Don’t plant your feet and refuse to give a refund if a customer has a receipt – especially if they paid with a credit card. They will get their money back either in front of you with a smile or behind your back with a chargeback. It isn’t worth the aggravation – give them a refund if there is any way possible.
  • Greet customers when they come in, and again as they browse, to let them know what is on sale.
  • For one week only after Christmas, neatness does not count. You will get a different customer after Christmas – the customer who enjoys the hunt for a bargain. But, cleanliness counts throughout the rest of the year. There is no excuse for a sales floor that looks like a herd of elephants just ran through. Rotate staff to do a “clean sweep” of the floor every couple hours.
  • After a hectic December, shops often look tired and worn out. Pack away the old merchandise and bring out fresh new merchandise. Brighten up your shop!
  • Sell! Sell! Sell! If all your prep work was done in advance, nothing should stop you from being on the floor helping customers and selling merchandise.
  • Stock and restock!
  • Schedule additional staffing to work from 10am – 2pm to handle the increased business during the last busy weeks before Christmas.
  • Give lots of ‘pats on the back’, words of thanks and showings of gratitude to all the workers in the shop (volunteer and paid).
  • December 27, take a well-deserved rest. Soak your feet, read a good book and relax!

Survey Results: Gift show travel budgets

Does your budget include travel expenses to a major gift show in January? ✈️

Missed the survey? Submit your response

TCMH gift shop reopens for staff, patient visitors

Houston Herald / Dec 6, 2021

The welcoming aroma of coffee and a sweet treat of cookies greeted patrons at the Texas County Memorial Hospital Gift Shop last Wednesday. The occasion was its reopening since COVID-19 forced a closure in March 2020.

There is much to choose from, including floral arrangements, apparel, pillows, throws, coffee and cups, home décor, books, bags, jewelry and more. “It’s fantastic to be back,” said TCMH volunteer Doris Scheuer. “The gift shop has helped support the hospital auxiliary for the past 30 years. The auxiliary has contributed approximately $60,000 to different projects for the hospital, which were not in the hospital budget,” said Reese Bucher, president of the hospital auxiliary. Ammie Williams and daughter, Courtney Traw, of 2 Kinds of Krazy, a mobile boutique, provide and stock the inventory.

“Without their input, the re-open would have been difficult,” said Renina Pearce, executive assistant and volunteer services director at the hospital. Scheuer added, “And they make beautiful bouquets.”

The gift shop is open to employees and patient visitors; however it is still closed to the public. They do accept phone orders and a website will soon be available. The shop needs volunteers to help staff it from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

SOURCE: The Houston Herald

Texas County Memorial Hospital Gift Shop, Houston, MO

RESPONSES: Good scrub vendors or fundraisers

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

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

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

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

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

Do you have a good scrub vendor?  Comment here.

Tips for maximizing Atlanta market from past attendees

Smart Retailer

Travel takes time and money, so when you visit Atlanta Market, you need to maximize that investment. We’ve compiled the best advice we can find, starting with what AmericasMart says. Here is a summary of the best tips assembled in two different articles.

1. Use the Market Magazine’s floor plans, feature stories and advertising to plan your trip. In summary, here are three links you need:

2. Start building relationships 

  • Remember that you are the purchasing agent for your customer and not the selling agent for the manufacturer. Keep your consumer in mind.

3. Make writing orders your first order of business

  • Don’t forget to do the retail conversion: sales in your store are always at retail prices. Always remember to “think retail.”
  • Most importantly, follow the steadfast rule: buy what sells… not sell what you buy. Keep your consumer in mind.

4. Pack smart

  • Your business cards and registration details.
  • A calculator.
  • A simple appointment schedule.
  • All credit information, including the name of your bank and financial trade references.
  • Your resale business license or local sales tax number.
  • A schedule of desired product delivery dates.
  • Comfortable shoes to wear while walking the showrooms.
“If you have a trusted business partner, divide and conquer. The market is huge, and you’ll need a detailed plan of action to accomplish your goals. Also, download the market app on your phone to make it easier.” – Maggie Hanus, A Wild Soap Bar“Have a buying plan, often called an open to buy. Know how much you plan to buy at wholesale by category. Do not overspend. Have a list of vendors and lines by category. Walk the first day and take notes. Try to stay in the section that has the categories that you carry.” – James Nola, Maggie Lane
“Pre-shop showrooms prior to placing orders. It’s the key to building complete statements between multiple vendors. Preselecting what you want also makes it much easier for both you and your sales rep when you return to place your order.” – Richard Hahn, The 800 Shop, Northwest Community Hospital“Book early. The cheapest and the best hotel deals are > here. Never stay south toward the airport or at the airport and plan to take the MARTA. It’s not safe unless you are always in a large group. Find your rep in each showroom. They can tell you what sells best in your area and who else close by may have that product.” – Setys Kelly, Copper Willow Gifts
“Avoid driving in Atlanta if possible. The shuttle service to and from the Mart is a great perk as well. Uber costs less than a taxi. It’s important to book way ahead for the best rates.” – Barb Miller, Interior Expressions by Design“However long you think you want to be at AmericasMart, add on one day or even two. You’ll be happy you did once you return back to your store.” – Gina Lempa, Gina Lempa & Associates
“Have a rolling bag to put catalogs, handouts, and a bottle of water in. Wear comfortable clothes and sneakers. This is not a fashion show; it is a test of endurance.” – Thelma Hamilton, Thelma L. Hamilton Designs“Study the building maps, review the category layouts, and map out your agenda by building. Download and use the app. It will help you do your work prior to arrival.” – Annette Conwell, Annettes Emporium

SOURCE: Smart Retailer

How are you and your shop doing post pandemic? How are sales? How are you!?

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡

We’re actually doing very well. Our hospital employees were ready to shop and they felt very comfortable coming into the gift shop. I try and carry every need they might have so they’re very satisfied! Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! – Jenny Turner. 11/22/21

Sales are slow with employees. As patient families are allowed into the hospital our sales have increased significantly. – Lisa. 11/22/21

We are now on one year of having volunteers in the shop, but getting ready to have them out front. Time will tell if we are ahead of COVID or not. We fear we have lost 50% of them. The shop is doing ok but still 80% reliant on employees. We do lots of drawings for them. We use GemPay receipts; their name is already on there :) – Tricia Rochman, Pink Geranium Gift Shop, Carbondale Memorial Hospital, Carbondale, IL. 154 beds. 11/17/21

Our shop was closed for five months and reopened August 2020 with only myself and assistant working limited hours. We’re finally allowing volunteers to cashier but are still short of some coming back. Our sales are finally increasing and we are still doing our own floral as phone orders helped when visitors were not allowed. Looking for a much better Christmas and Valentines. – Karen Ferguson, Manager of St. David’s SAMC Auxiliary Gift Shop, Austin, TX. 334 beds. 11/16/21

We opened to allow our patients and staff the ability to shop M-F 10am to 2pm. Sales are definitely not where they were but it was expected. The difficulty we have now is that some of the vendors we had done business with cannot be reached. – Nancy Collins, New London Hospital, New London, NH. 24 beds. 11/16/21

We are slowly recovering…we are not opened on the weekends yet. Sales are bouncing back and outsiders are returning. Right now candles are really selling!! – Christine Parker, Kent Hospital, Warwick, RI. 359 beds. 11/4/21

We reopened in September 2020, to restricted hours 9 a.m.-1 p.m., our volunteers returned April 2021, so we are open most days from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Visitor restrictions went from no visitors, currently it is one visitor, have made a difference in customer count. Sales are down from 2019, by about $100 per day, viewing all the issues from merchandise complications, visitor restrictions, I think we are doing well. We have been to one Gift Show in Oct. 2021. – Mary Robinson, Gift Shop Coordinator, Mayo Clinic Health System, Mankato, MN. 10/29/21

Our Gift Shop has and continues to thrive since we reopened in July of 2020. Our employees find it a ‘place to take a break and breathe some fresh air of course with their masks on!’. We are very blessed and looking forward to a great Christmas season! – Alice Whisnant, Director, Volunteer Services, Caldwell UNC Health Care, Hickory, NC. 110 beds. 10/25/21

Our Shop has been closed since November, 2020. No sales at all since then. – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 10/18/21

Unfortunately, our gift shop was closed again in September due to increased COVID numbers in our area. We hope to reopen by November as we had just received our Christmas inventory. – Robin Truax, Gouverneur Hospital, Gouveneur, NY. 77 beds. 10/15/21

Struggling, we were a very new shop before Covid hit. I have kept it open myself and was able to allow volunteers to come back April 2021, however right now only two have come back so it is still mostly myself running the shop. That being said, we are not even back to full open hours yet, only open about 3-4 days per week. – Kasey B, Volunteer/Gift ShopCoordinator, Tomah Health, Tomah, WI. 29 beds. 10/2/21

Aultman Health, Canton, OH


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

  • Be prepared for the holiday onslaught
  • Record retail sales predicted for holidays
  • MHS Caring Hearts Gift Shop reaches sales goal
  • Truly creative holiday displays. Truly!
  • SURVEY: Does your budget include travel expenses to a major gift show in January?
  • Anti-anxiety toys are high on Christmas lists this year

  • Q: What are some good scrub vendors?
  • Retailers dial back this year’s holiday promos
  • The ideal hospital gift shop manager, according to management
  • Top 6 hospital gift shop Facebook pages
  • Calendar: Gift Markets and Regional Conferences


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Bring joy to your hospital….

Carefully crafted activity kits to bring joy and fun to children. Gifts for hospitalized kids like activity boxes, kits with items to decorate a hospital room, conversation starters and much more.

Feel Better Room Decor Kit
Feel Better Putty
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The Feel Better Bag!
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Bordom Busters
Magic Activity Kit
STEAM Activity Kit
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Wholesale Online Catalog

My Garden of Flowers


Miracles in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

This award-winning beautifully illustrated book, My Garden of Flowers: Miracles in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, by Dr. Manjeet Kaur is perfect for the hospital gift shop!

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More than just a hoodie…

These inspirational shirts make great gifts for anyone needing a smile. For each shirt sold, one is donated to a kiddo fighting cancer. Sizing: 6 mo – 4XL

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

Featured in Gift Shop and Wired Magazines



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fully posable, officially licensed LEGO minifigure flashlight keychains are for LEGO fans of all ages.

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