Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | December 15, 2023 💮

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, 2023

Fulton County Health Center, Wauseon, OH

Salary data for Gift Shop Manager

How did your salary stack up in 2023? We examined salary data from a few of the reputable job data websites to see how the numbers are trending this year. Here are the results from, and

A few things to consider about job and salary websites like these. The data is aggregated from job postings across all types of retail shops. In fact, the majority are not in hospitals and, therefore, not NPOs. These salaries are typically higher, although we would argue that they should not be.

Additionly, although they are filtered for “manager” level salaries, these results have not been adjusted for location, years of experience, education or industry.

Readers can find several articles on salary in past issues of the newsletter by searching “salary” in the Newsletter Archive. Dec, 2023 Dec, 2023 Dec, 2023

UPMC revitalize gift shops for the future

Cute clothes, easy checkouts, and local wares will be the markers of the gift shops for our time, regardless of whether you work in the hospital or simply live in the neighborhood.

Health systems know that hospital gift shops conjure up images of sad stuffed bears and limp feel-better balloons.

That’s why systems like Wellstar Health System in Georgia and Pennsylvania’s University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) are building new spaces for their gift shops—and they’re particularly focused on selling curated offerings and incorporating new technology.

The new spaces aren’t just for the patients and their visitors, either. Hospitals want to serve their customers, who are mostly their employees, as well as their larger surrounding communities.

“Hospital gift shops really are boutiques,” Amy Saye, director of volunteers and patient advocates at Wellstar Kennestone Regional Medical Center, told Healthcare Brew. “I always call it the best-kept secret in your community because it [has] things you can’t find anywhere else. It’s a great small business.”

With medical professionals working long shifts, the need for an all-purpose gift shop is key. These workers often can’t leave to grab lunch or dinner, and even if they get the chance to step out, most retail and grocery stores are closed; shopping during a shift is a Herculean task.

At Wellstar, which has 10 hospitals throughout Georgia, 70% of the gift shop customers are staff, and the other 30% consists of patients and their visitors. The offerings, then, need to serve those target markets.

Kennestone Regional’s two gift shops—a 920-square-foot general gift shop and a 1,680-square-foot women’s shop—offer sundries like candy and snacks, beverages, flowers, and stuffed animals. The stores also offer seasonal items, along with clothes, shoes, and jewelry often found in boutiques. The women’s shop, which uses Airome products (also sold in the store) to add a mild fragrance to the space, sells new baby gifts as well.

Congratulations to Lynne Halliday and her team at The Women’s Shoppe at Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Georgia. Lynne has been the Gift Shop Manager for over 17 years.

Their gift shop is beautifully decorated with ceiling decor that rotates with the seasons and eye-pleasing displays in coordinating colors!

She is a valued reader and contributor to this newsletter and the hospital gift shop Facebook group.

“You have to know who your customers are, what they’re looking for—you have to know what’s current,” Saye said, citing Atlanta Apparel, a wholesaler of trendy clothes, shoes, and accessories. “They actually love working with hospital gift shops because we pay our bills.”

Wellstar’s shop is expanding its physical footprint to 1,670 square feet because, Saye said, the gift shop of the future should be “a place for convenience” that can accommodate the growing need for these items—and a way to create a stronger connection with its visitors. “Our women’s services are offered in that same area,” Saye said. “We actually give people who come in for a mammogram a coupon for 25% off an item so that when they come in, [we say]: ‘

“Get your mammogram. We are so thankful you came in and you took care of your health,—go grab a cute item you can’t find anywhere else and get 25% off.”

Coupon offered at Wellstar’s Women’s Center.

That’s a tactic UPMC is taking with its gift shop, which is part of a new lifestyle village located in the middle of the Pittsburgh Innovation District. The shop is set to open in 2026.

The “pop-up retail” strategy allows UPMC to partner with local coffee shops, food and retail vendors, and artists. So that means these brands and businesses get to enter an expensive real estate market and set up shop, said John Krolicki, VP of facilities and support services at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside and UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. The model not only creates opportunities for small businesses but also makes a hospital facility more desirable for the greater community to visit. “We’re really looking to support local businesses,” he said, adding they’re especially keen to work with minority-owned businesses that have been affected by gentrification.

Krolicki said that there are different business models for the companies to set up shop, but didn’t elaborate on the specifics, such as whether the hospital is setting up equity deals with the brands. “We’re not doing it to make money. We’re very flexible in how we arrange the deals, but we do want to break even,” he said. “This is more about bringing people from different areas in to sell to the people working in the Innovation District or in the hospital.”

The hospital also intends to integrate scalable technology into its gift shop—think smart scales and cashierless checkout stations—and then introduce the tech across UPMC’s 40 hospitals. “The tech that we’re looking at […] the scanner reads it and knows what you have on your tray. It automatically knows you have a drink, it knows you chose whatever items, it can scan it and charge you for your meal,” Krolicki said. “Gift shops are a necessity, and we’re totally changing them.”

SOURCE: Healthcare Brew

HGS Virtual Gatherings

Join the HGS Virtual Gatherings over Zoom! Hosted by Lilly Stamets, Owner of Premier Retail Consulting and Retail Subject Matter Expert for the California Association of Hospital and Healthcare Systems.

📅 When: Every 2 weeks on Wednesdays

What to Expect:

Safe Space: An exclusive and secure environment for all gift shop professionals.
Attendees: Connect with new and seasoned buyers, managers, supervisors, and volunteers.
Purpose: Ask questions, share insights, get answers, or simply vent – it’s your space!

Important Notes:

Invitation-Only: By invitation only, ensuring a curated and comfortable environment.
Exclusions: No vendors, hospital leadership, or publications – just a community of gift shop professionals.
Access: We meet online using Zoom!

Contact Lilly at or to join.

Job Openings

Gift Shop Retail Operations Coordinator
Cleveland Medical Center, Cleveland, OH

Gift Shop Manager ($17 – $23/hr)
Rochester Regional Health, Rochester, NY

Team Lead, Gift Shop
Indiana University Health, Indianapolis, IN

Cloverkey Assistant Manager Gift Shop ($20/hr)
John Stroger Hospital, Chicago, IL

Assistant Manager, Gift Shop
Atlantic Health System, Summit, NJ

Gift Shop Assistant Manager
Allegheny Health Network, Philadelphia, PA

Gift Shop & Retail Manager ($69,000 – $70,000)
Private-Resort & Spa, Golden, CO

Gift Shop Supervisor ($20 – $28/hr)
Driscoll Health, Weslaco, TX

Private Facebook group Hospital Gift Shops. Membership is restricted to hospital gift shop professionals.

Advice, inspiration, and all the feel-goods!

♡ Connect. Share. Grow. ♡

Help! I need to move merchandise fast!

The holiday season is quickly coming to an end. Hopefully you’ve already hosted several events, starting in October, to move your holiday merchandise. Here are some great ideas for fast sales – before and after the holidays – shared by members of the Hospital Gift Shops Facebook Group.

🎯 TIP: Want to use some of these for next year? Cut and paste from here into an email addressed to yourself. Schedule the “send date” for September 2024. Hit send. It will show up in your inbox, next September, just when you’re planning holiday events. You can do this for any to-do or reminder you need down the road. We use it all the time for all types of situations.

National Ring-a-Ding Ding Day (fan favorite!). We played a game of “Find the Bell”. Volunteers hid a Christmas bell and customers were invited to find it. The customers who found the bell were awarded a $25 Gift Certificate. We had so many people looking for that bell, it was kinda funny, yet rewarding. We only gave away six gift certificates, but had a $3,000 day on a Tuesday, which is unheard of on our tiny shop. – Teri

When we re open on Dec 26 and all Christmas will be 50% off. – Nancy W.

We’re doing a drawing next week. For each $10 spent, they get one “entry” to win a gift basket valued at $60. It’s a great way to use up extra merchandise that didn’t sell, and it can be written off as a donation. – Aimee S.

During COVID, I took pictures of items and made a PowerPoint of everything for sale and shared it with staff. They did phone orders and we scheduled pick up time. I hope this helps! – Julie A.

We do 25% off whatever fits in a bag starting Wednesday afternoon. Then move into a progressive sale starting next week. Ending with 50% off after Christmas! Need to sell it to buy more next year! – Jen M.

I feel like we lose money if we go 50% off right away. I’m going to try dollar reduction instead of %. Example: $2 off a purchase of $10, $3 off $15, $4 off $20.

Colors of Christmas sale. Each day features a different color and a % off items that feature that color. The color is announced each morning on our Facebook page and the local radio. We do not give the colors out ahead of time. The sale lasts for 12 days. Leave red and green for the last two days of the sale. – Kristen H.

We’re also doing something similar. One day all snowmen, one day all gnomes, etc. The announcement goes out by email to staff each morning. – Ann B.

I sold over $5,000 in 8 hours. We had great success doing separate Pop-Up Shops at two of our locations that don’t have a gift shop. We had amazing sales! I pretty much take whatever I can fit in my car and set up on folding tables for four hours. We take credit card, using a Clover Go and the Clover Go phone app, or payroll deduction via QuickCharge POS with payroll deduction. It is available online so I just take my laptop. All of the funds are automatically credited to my shops account. It also boosts morale at those campuses.

A special thanks to all those who shared their terrific ideas!

♡ Connect. Share. Grow. ♡

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.


Q. Vendor for good quality badge reels?

Does anyone have a recommendation for good quality badge pulls, that they don’t receive a lot of returns from defects? – Julie V. 12/11/23

Outside The Box. We only buy the ones that are not interchangeable. Great selection, Glitterific collection are best sellers for us. – Anne S

We use the same brands, but offer interchangeables. – Lori H

Outside the Box!!! Selection, interchangeable, pricing. Glitter badges are best sellers and staff loves all styles. – Terri D

I second this! They have a great heavy-duty interchangeable reels. I started with a small swappable selection and have now tripled the offerings. They have been so popular! Easy to reorder on their wholesale site which I always appreciate. – Holly V

Outside The Box, interchangeable and a small selection of fixed badges. – Andrea M

Outside The Box, we sell the interchangeable and carry the heavy duty reels. – Greg H

Wholeheartedly agree. We sell every sort from Outside the Box. Donna Bowden is the owner and she is awesome to work with. We have even had her design several badge buttons for us if she didn’t carry a particular design that we have had requests for in the past. – Angela Q

Outside the Box. We can’t keep the Sparkle and Shine displayer filled! – Katy S

Outside the Box. We sell the acrylic interchangeable badges. Our customers love to change out and buy seasonal badges. We buy the heavy duty reels. Also, sell the jelly fixed badges. – Lynne H

I also use Bonitas. A little pricier than Outside The Box, but good quality. – Brenda S

SOURCE: Hospital Gift Shops Facebook Group

♡ Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


Jan 1 – New Year’s Day 🎊
Jan 17 – Martin Luther King Day
Jan 21 – National Hug Day 🤗
…who cares, the holidays are over! 🎉
Feb 11 – Super Bowl Sunday
Feb 13 – Mardi Gras/Paczki Day
Feb 14 – Valentine’s Day
Feb 14 – Ash Wednesday
Mar 1 – World Candle Day
Mar 1 – Employee Appreciation Day
Mar 10 – Daylight Saving (Start)
Mar 17 – St. Patrick’s Day ☘️
Mar 10 – First Day of Ramadan
Mar 30 – Doctor’s Day


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. 

Top retail trends for 2024

Top takeaways from a recent article on what retail trends to expect in 2024.

Hybrid Shopping

Emphasis on the hybrid purchasing experience. Concentrate on developing an omnichannel retail experiences. The brick-and-mortar experience, the ‘shoppable’ Facebook post, and the promo email directing you to an online store all stem from the same shop.

Frictionless Delivery

Quick checkout. Expedited delivery. Speed and convenience are king.

Augmented Reality

Think AR-enabled smart mirrors that display your preferred attire. Modify a dress color with a single swipe. Check-out kiosks with auto-scanning for the drop-pay-go experience.

Social Media Commerce

Push out inspiring information – at the right moment – to generate massive sales via social media by focusing on what is culturally relevant to target customers.

A hybrid shopping experience is influencing the future of retail as companies adapt to a new normal. Here, we look at what retail trends to expect in 2024.

SOURCE: Pimberly

Right about now everyone is exhausted, overwhelmed and burned out.

Right about now you can’t feel your feet.

Right about now you’ve had far too much cheese.

Right about now you really need a laugh.

You’re welcome.

Doritos debuts nacho cheese alcohol

For a mere $65, consumers can get their hands on a delicious mix of nacho cheese and alcoholic spirits thanks to Doritos and Empirical. The companies have collaborated to create a limited-release bottled spirit that tastes just like Doritos’ famous nacho cheese chips. The flavoring was created by using real Doritos chips and “retaining their essence” through vacuum distillation. The bottles will be available at select retailers in California and New York, as well as online, starting next month.


💮 Gift Market Calendar 💮

**We will be discontinuing the Gift Market Calendar. Gift Shop Plus maintains a more comprehensive Trade Show Calendar, including local and regional shows. ✈️

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

  • Q. When is everyone setting out Christmas?
  • Gems & trends from the Facebook group
  • Q. Best selling candles?
  • Custom shop shirts for your team
  • NEW! Facebook group for Hospital Gift Shops
  • Readers show off their holiday displays
  • Spring/summer 2024 apparel trends
  • This is no ordinary gift shop
  • Making spirits bright 𐂂
  • Gift Market Calendar


Great discussions are happening now! Join the new Facebook group Hospital Gift Shops. Cheers!

♡ Connect. Share. Grow. ♡

Q. Where is everyone getting their candles these days? We have been carrying Village Candles for several years. They sell okay but I am wondering what other companies you may sell. Freight is just so high on candles and I am considering changing but wanted input from others. We are a 199 bed community hospital in rural North Carolina. There are few shopping options in our town other than Walmart. – Angela Q. 10/16/23

  • We sell Tyler Candles and the Tyler wash. It was a big investment but has been sooo with it!! – Jenni D
  • Here are a handful of candle brands that we either currently carry or have in the past. Some of these are on the higher price range of the category, but are well known and sell themselves. Capri Blue, Voluspa, Broken Top Co, Illume, Candelfy, Mixture, Archipelago, Paddywax, LAFCO. Hope this helps! – Jordan A
  • Swan Creek has always been our favorite! – Lori H
  • The Women’s Shoppe at Kennestone Hospital in Matietta sells the Bridgewater brand of candles and the fragrance Sweet Grace has been a big seller for us for the past several years. We also sell Votivo brand and the fragrances Red Current and Icy Blue Pine are big sellers in the Fall and Winter as well. Hope this helps. – Lynne H
  • Swan Creek Candle Co.Jenny T
  • We just got these in and everyone loves them! Susan We did the prepack of 36! Six of each scent! Retail around $30! Crossroads Family of Companies Heather P
  • Thompson Candle CompanyBrian Ali M
  • Swan Creek has done great for us! – Lanie R
  • Crossroads CandlesJaci G
  • Swan Creek & Candleberry (offers several free freight events throughout the year.) – Jen M
  • Swan Creek and Candleberry are our best sellers! – Dawn S
  • Swan Creek out of Ohio. Great quality vintage looking glass containers and the prices are fantastic for the quality. – Anne S
  • We just brought Woodwick back this fall. They used to be huge sellers for us years ago, before Yankee Candle bought them and nearly destroyed the brand. They were selling to discounters, etc., but my rep is telling me they are pulling back from that and now focusing on the gift shop market again. Enesco is representing them. So, I took a chance. Hope I don’t regret it! We also do well with Swan Creek, Candle Cottage Duo candles. We have very price-conscious customers who will buy online in a heartbeat, so we have to keep our selection fresh and new to keep their interest. – Melinda S

SOURCE: Hospital Gift Shops Facebook Group

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