Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | February 15, 2022 💮

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

FEBRUARY 15, 2022

Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH

Solutions to common cash wrap/checkout counter problems

by Cindy Jones, Editor

Cash wraps, also known as a checkout counter, should be thoughtful, well-designed points-of-sale and the cornerstone in your shop. It is where you create impulse buys and solidify the customer experience, not where the sales staff hide. The cash counter isn’t a hang out.

Most shops have contactless payment and distance shopping so the function of a cash wrap varies. However, it must have three considerations: security, function and design.

The register itself needs to be in full view with easy access as customers enter your shop. There must be adequate room for product, bags, elbows, etc. ADA guidelines call for it to extend 9 feet from a wall. Also, it should be more than 36 inches from the floor and 36 inches long. Consider the ease of handing items back and forth, card readers, payment methods and more.

Consistency + Maintenance

With a multitude of team members working different shifts, you’ve got a problem with people all organizing and putting things away differently. Establish a routine checklist for opening and closing. The routine ensures that everything including your cash counter is being checked and replenished multiple times a day.

Use a whiteboard or dry-erase clipboards for daily goal setting, team “check-ins”, and messages. Using permanent marker, write up your daily checklists, open and closing routine, sales outline – the things that never change. Then, using dry-erase marker, staff fill in the whiteboard with the necessary information for each day.

Once your cash counter is set photograph it, make a map of the counter and place that standardized tool in your SOP binder for easy reference and training.

Space + Clutter

Everyone has space issues when it comes to the cash counter, and prioritizing what should take up prime real estate and what should not. A cluttered counter gives a bad impression to the customer and can slow down transactions. Have a standard routine for cleaning or clearing counter space at the end of every shift or transaction. Give everything a designated home with a label where it’s easy to locate, grab, go, finish, return and get back to the customer. It will be easier to notice when supplies are running low too.

Take advantage of any space on the back wall (behind the register). Installing a second counter, shelves or a narrow table can provide so much extra storage.

Use vertical storage. Hang supplies vertically helps eliminate clutter. Each item has a home versus left piled on top of each other. Pegboard storage systems easily install under your cash counter or inside a back counter cabinet.

Post a “Five Spare Minutes” checklist whenever staff find they have five minutes of down time.


Walking away to go get more bags, boxes, or receipt tape while your customer waits will negatively impact their experience. Less time-in-store is one of the top consumer demands today. Everything you need to complete a transaction – and the backup supply – should be within an arm’s reach.

Use horizontal dowels for gift wrap and hanger storage under or alongside the cash counter. It frees space and prevents trips to the supply room.

Some helpful resources

6 Retail Cash Wrap Tips to Help You Increase Sales at the Checkout Counter

Set Up Your Cash Wrap to Drive Sales in 4 Steps

How to Use Your Checkout Counter to Make More Sales


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2022 Fashion Trends

by Cindy Jones, Editor

Let’s kick off the new year by focusing on up-and-coming fashion trends. If you sell apparel, it’s what’s trending in fashion 2022.

  • Hoodies under blazers.
  • Loose trousers tucked into boots.
  • Statement socks.
  • Tights or socks with open-toes sandals, styled with a maxi skirt.  
  • Cable-knit sweaters will be big!

Also trending, fashionable fisherman shoulder-padded oversized jackets and laid-back blazers paired with oversized deconstructed baggy wide-leg trousers and jeans. Fashion apparel is a tough business for any hospital gift shop, given powerful e-commerce competition and the effects of the pandemic. Buy the trends!

What is the color of the year for 2022?

Different shades of soft, pale green are the color for 2022. And, everyone choose the same color! Benjamin Moore’s 2022: October Mist (1495). Sherwin-Williams’ 2022: Evergreen Fog (SW 9130). Behr Paint’s 2022: Breezeway (MQ3-21). Glidden’s Guacamole (PPG1121- 5). PPG’s Olive Sprig (PPG1125-4). Valspar’s Blanched Thyme (6001-4A).

Why did everyone choose the same color? Sentiment is that it’s a non-controversial generally well-liked tone that feels safe. The major paint players are likely not thrilled they all chose similar colors, but by the time they realized what was happening, it was too late to change their plans. Sage green has rooted, organic, and comforting qualities….just what we need for 2022!

2022 Color of the Year: Sage Green


Mar 1 – Paczki Day & Mardi Gras
Mar 2 – Ash Wednesday
Mar 8 – Int’l Women’s Day
Mar 17 – St. Patrick’s Day
Mar 30 – Doctor’s Day
Apr 1 – April Fool’s Day
Apr 9 – National Unicorn Day
Apr 17 – Easter Sunday
Apr 18 – Tax Day
Apr 22 – Earth Day
Apr 27 – Admin Prof Day
May 5 – Cinco de Mayo
May 6 – Nurses Day
May 7- Kentucky Derby
May 8 – Mother’s Day
May 30 – Memorial Day
Graduation Season Begins

RESPONSES: What were your best sellers in 2021?

Q. What were your best sellers in 2021?

Wow! We asked, you answered! Thanks to everyone who shared their best sellers from 2021. Here are all the responses. A great variety of products. Some surprising ones too!

Apparel, especially plaid jackets and gnomes were very popular. – Ann Bergmann, Cumberland Healthcare, Cumberland, WI. 25 beds. 1/21/22

Covenant Rings. We have a display of 60 rings and every 6-9 months, new rings are added and slow sellers are removed. I’ve had lots of luck and consistently sold them for over 7 years.  – Jennifer Stuber. 1/21/22

Yes, Covenant Rings have been good, consistent sellers for many years! – Cindy

Clothing is my best category and loungewear from DM was my best seller during the holiday season and beyond. They have great price points and a huge margin builder. I received the floor display and I had to rearrange the entire shop to fit it in my space, but worth it. Strongly recommend the fixture as it keeps the product well organized and easy to shop. – Carol Colpitts. 2/20/22

One product line that we dropped was a CBD line. Just did not sell. Melissa & Doug eductional/toy items have done very well for us as well as hospital logo wear. Snack and personal care baskets that we create have worked out well for call-in orders. – Greg Holtgrewe. 2/19/22 

Q. What all do you put in your personal care baskets? I am new to this position so extra help is awesome!! Thanks in advance – Jaci, Hays Medical Center Gift Shop, Hays, KS. 1/20/22

Usually hand and body lotions, lip balms, decorative nail files, shower gels, fancy soaps, body sprays and bath bombs. Some of the vendors are Naked Bee, Inis, Duke Cannon, Ganz, San Francisco Soap and Bomb Cosmetics. We get our celophane bags, ribbon and packaging supplies from Nashville Wraps. Most of the time we do not use a basket but a clear desert plate for a base so that all of the items are easily seen. Sometimes you have to get creative during construction to get everything to stand up maybe using a ribbon to group things. We suggestive sell snack bags that we put together and balloons to go along. – Greg Holtgrew

The Ganz Crystal Expressions colored birds of any kind are a huge seller for us. I always think the popularity will fizzle out but it hasn’t and we have customers buy multiple at a time. Light up snow globes/lanterns this past Christmas were the best thing I have brought into the Gift Shop. I sold 11 in one day (we are only open to staff & patients 6 hours a day Mon-Fri) and my total stock of 63 were sold within 3 weeks. – Sarah Ryan. 1/18/21

Sarah, where do you source the light up lanterns from? – Cindy

I order the snow globes/lanterns from a couple of companies, but the best place I found was They have a wide selection of both globes and lanterns and a great price range of everything. They have small options with a lower price point all the way to large options and high price points. A lot play music, which is always a big hit. The variety of options was the best in my option as well. Search their website for Water Globe or Water Lantern and it will bring up all the options in both categories. Please let me know if there is anything else I can help with! I love getting your newsletter, it is always full of great information! — Sarah Ryan. 1/18/21

We too sold out of the light up water lanterns in less than a week. Retail prices were from $50 up. We will certainly buy again from either Roman or Raz. – Kathy Kramer, Carousel Gift Shop Driscoll Children’s Hospital, Corpus Christi. 1/21/22

Brief Insanity brand lounge pants – it was insane how well they sell! – Jill Dugaw. 1/18/22

Who was your vendor? Thanks in advance!! – Jaci, Hays Medical Center Gift Shop, Hays, KS. 1/20/22

SE Marketplace – Jill Dugaw. 1/26/22

Worlds Softest Sock Company (Crescent Socks) were huge for us fourth quarter. You have to order now for inventory for fourth quarter this year. If you don’t, you will miss out as they sell out every year. – Sabra Shields. 1/18/22

Anything with a cardinal on it. – Margaret Legut 1/17/22

Warmies! The slippers, neck wraps, and all of their animals. We also sell them over the phone like crazy. Customers love the thought of something warm and comforting going to their loved one. – Linda Armstrong. 1/17/22

See’s Candy! We brought them in late, but they moved really quickly. It was great to have options for holiday candy for our staff. – Justin. 1/17/21

Wicked Minis crackers are a popular snack and they come in several flavors. Our top seller is the Dill flavor. Itzy Ritzy is a great baby line! They have a wonderful selection of trendy designs and moms love the variety of teethers, toys, pactifiers and lovies! Last June we picked up a new line of sun glasses and readers from DM Merchandising. The brand name is Optimum Optical. They have awesome displays where the extra boxes of sunglasses are stored next to the sunglasses which keep our volunteers from going to the back so much. The displays have a modern, sleek design. Our employees love the designs! We have restocked twice so far! You can’t go wrong with Funky Freshies car scents made by Funky Fleur De Lis. We have used them for about 2 years and always sell out. Cute designs and great scents! – Betty Beck. 1/17/22

Our winners for 2021 was an increase in clothing sales. Staff who were not willing to hit the malls during COVID were shopping in our Gift Shop! – Lynn, Misericordia Health Centre Gift Shop, Winnipeg. Manitoba, Canada. 1/17/22

Santoki Lego Keychain LightsRoman light up holiday lanterns.  Cardigans from Davi & Dani and Rose N Mary. – Stephanie, San Juan Regional Medical Center, Farmington, NM. 1/17/22.

We’ve done great with Paint by Sticker books for adults and Kids from Workman Publishing. They were a great find for us during the pandemic! – Keri Schwartz. 1/17/22 

Loungewear particularly sleep/blanket hoodies did great! Careful for 2022, the cost on the blanket hoodies have increased tremendously with certain vendors!! Giftcraft, Simply Southern, LazyOnes. – Connie Slingluff. 1/17/22

Umgee USA clothing and Myra handbags – Ginger Taylor. 1/17/22 

Our Jen & Co purses were great sellers this past year. We also do really well with Coronet and Accessorize Me jewelry. Our Evergreen’s Sassafras Mats and garden flags are also top sellers. Crazy as it sounds, our Ganz mini glass animals are an item we can hardly keep in stock. They sell so well for us at $1.95. For books, we are very pleased with Choice Book Distributors. Other surprising best sellers are the satin pillowcases and microfiber hair towels from Morning Glamour. We sold out of these over the holidays and just got more back in, due to the continuing requests. – Tamara Szarszewski, Gift Shop Manager, Logansport Memorial Hospital Gift Shop, 83 beds. 1/17/22

TY Squish-A-Boos are great sellers for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Gift Shops. -Traci G. 1/16/22

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡

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How to deliver negative feedback well: 4 things that good managers do

by Claire Lew / Oct 15 2018

The most common question I get asked by a manager who doesn’t want to become a bad boss is: “How do I give negative feedback to a coworker?”

Giving honest feedback is the most deceptively difficult thing for a manager to do. A survey of nearly 8,000 people, in fact, found that 21% of managers avoid giving negative feedback entirely. In our heads, it seems straightforward enough. We know it’s the right thing to do. We know it’s important. We should just get on with it. But it’s never that simple. We don’t want to demotivate an employee with our feedback. We don’t want an employee to think we’re out to get them. We don’t want our feedback to backfire.

All is not lost. It’s possible to give honest feedback and not feel stressed — and not have it blow up in our face. Here are the four things that good managers do when delivering negative feedback:

Come from a place of care. You’re giving feedback because you care. You deeply care about this person’s personal and career growth. You deeply care about the project’s success. You want both the person and the company to thrive. Communicate these things. Ask yourself: “What can I say to let this person know that this feedback is coming from a place of care and helpfulness? How do I let this person know I have good intentions, and that I’m not trying to spite them or be rude?” As you deliver the piece of critical feedback, make this clear.

For example, you could say something like: “I’m saying this because I believe in you and I want you to succeed…” or “This is important to me because I care about the company’s direction as a whole…” or “This matters to me because I only want to ensure that we perform well as a team…”

Come from a place of observation. We’re often worried that the person is going to take any negative feedback personally. This is a big reason why we avoid giving feedback or sugarcoat our feedback. It’s to say, “Hey look, I don’t think you’re a bad person…” or “I don’t want you to be mad at me…” Instead, look to communicate your feedback more objectively. Come from a place of observation. Focus on the actions and the situation of what happened — what you observed — and not the personal attributes or characteristics of the person.

For example, if you think a coworker wrote a sloppy email to the client, instead of saying: “I think you’re careless and sloppy”… you could say, “I noticed that in the email you wrote, there were a few careless mistakes that seemed sloppy.” See the difference? The former makes it about the person, while the latter makes it about your observations on what has happened.

Come from a place of fallibility. Your feedback is not infallible. Don’t forget that your feedback is only an interpretation of what you observed, and your own perspective of how things can improve going forward. Your perspective is not a universal truth. You could be wrong. Be willing to admit that your feedback, while it’s something you strongly believe in, is colored by your own personal lens. Ask yourself: “How can I remind this person that this feedback is only my opinion? That this isn’t the word of God, that mistakes happen, that there may be information I’m missing?”

A few examples of how you can do this is to say directly: “I might be off…” or to ask, “Is there any information that you think I might be missing?”

Come from a place of curiosity. When you give feedback, it should feel like a conversation. No one likes being talked at. Your time to give feedback also is a time to listen to what the other person thinks, as well. Be curious. Consider: “How does this person feel about my feedback? Was there anything I might have misinterpreted or overlooked? Is there anything that I can be doing better to help support the other person?” During a one-on-one meeting, you want to invite the person to give their side of their story.

To do this, simply ask after sharing your feedback: “What do you think?” When you’re curious, you’re signaling that you value hearing their perspective on what happened. You’re not mad, upset, or resentful. You see the moment of giving feedback as an opportunity to learn and get better as a leader, yourself.

Sure, all the tactics I’m describing are a little more nuanced than other ways you might be familiar with to give feedback — especially the catchy “Shit Sandwich” moniker, in particular. And yes, they require a bit more intention and thought prior to do well. But when you come from a place of care, observation, fallibility, and curiosity — it makes for a much more honest and productive conversation. You’re going to get a better result. The person on the other side is going to feel like you’re really trying to help them. And that’s the whole point of giving feedback, after all.

Source: Know Your Team

Are you a boss or a leader?



Talks first
Knows how it’s done

Inspires fear
Says “I”
Uses people
Takes credit
Places the blame
Says “Go”


Listens first

Shows how it’s done
Generates enthusiasm
Says “We”
Develops people
Gives credit
Accepts blame
Says “Let’s Go”

100 Retail Blogs

Here’s a source for retail blogs from thousands of blogs on the web ranked by traffic, social media followers, domain authority & freshness:

Q. What are some fresh new jewelry lines for 2022?

We are looking to freshen up our jewelry. We currently use Periwinkle but looking for something new along the same price point. Any suggestions? – Tracy Torres, St. Augustine. 1/20/22

Main Street Earrings are a big hit for us. Great quality, great price. We sell them for $8.99! – Lanie Ray, Fairfield Medical Center, Lancaster, OH. 2/28/22

What are some fresh new jewelry lines for 2022?
What are some fresh new jewelry lines for 2022?x

ISO fresh, new, hot jewelry lines for 2022! What jewelry lines are the movers and shakers right now? What is their price point? What rep do you like?

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡

RESPONSES: How have you dealt with the decline in volunteers during the pandemic?

Q. Have others encountered losses in the number of volunteers through the pandemic? We started out with over 30 non-gift shop volunteers and are now down to 7. In our gift shop, we had 17, now 3, one of which started mid-COVID (God bless her!). We are currently thinking of hiring a part-time employee to man the front desk from 1-5pm. What have you done to remedy staffing and volunteer issues during the pandemic? Did anyone hire paid personnel? Thanks. – Sarah Folio, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Oakland, MD. 55 beds. 12/22/21

Our store is open five days a week, 12-4pm. We had a good December! Visitors are so few now with no outsiders. I had 13 people working for us but now only 5-6.
Hope you all are healthy, Harold. – Harold Shiffman, St. Catherian Hospital, Smithtown, NY. 550 beds. 1/31/22

Our Gift Shop has remained closed since November 2020. Overall, we have lost some folks but we have also gained some. Currently they are not cleared to serve in the hospital due to COVID restrictions. However, some have been assisting at the Vaccine Clinic along with over 30 additional new volunteers who are at the Clinic. I believe a good portion of those 30 will continue to serve at the hospital once given the word to do so. – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 1/18/22

Internally, I am devastated! Externally, I move on and work with what I have. We are open two shifts during the week. Happy and grateful to have volunteers that will staff the shop. I went from 200 volunteers to about 45 in the overall program. I have about 13 in the gift shop. – Connie Slingluff, Blount Memorial, Maryville, TN. 201 beds. 1/17/22

We have been blessed with willing volunteers who have made it possible to remain open. Although the hospital shut us down for a few months in 2020, we have been able to come back and remain busy. Our Holiday Extravaganza of 3 days did not happen but we held special 12 Days of Christmas sales to encourage employees to shop with us. It was gratifying to see the staff regularly and hear them thank us for being there for them. We enter 2022 with a healthy bottom line and interested buyers, we’re keeping it simple and hoping that our current path is the right one to be on. – Marilynne Field, MercyOne, Dubuque, IA. 263 beds. 1/17/22

We went from two volunteers to one volunteer per shift and are doing ok. But this takes away the buffer if someone can’t come in for their shift. We have had to be closed at random times due to no substitutes. Looking to hire a PT person to cover those shift and help manage stock. – Christie Delbridg, Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center, Bolivia, NC. 74 beds. 1/17/22

Most of mine did come back. I had about 30 with teens. I have 14 adults and 2 teens. Our hours are limited Mon-Fri 9-5. We were on a role and then Omicon hit and no more visitors. I spilt the volunteers shifts to two hours instead of their four hours. – Margaret Legut, Elmhurst Hospital, Elmhurst, IL. 258 beds. 1/17/22

We lost about 20 volunteers. We have reduced our hours and days of operation. – Ginger Taylor, CoxHealth, Springfield, MO. 1014 beds. 1/17/22

We’ve lost many of our volunteers. Our shop is closed on weekends. We are open some days from 9-5, but on days we can’t get enough volunteers we’re open 10-4. This eliminates 1 volunteer per day. We are lucky to have some volunteers picking up more shifts to fill the gaps. We ask people to call before they come to see if we’re open and we post our hours on FB. – Debbie B, Bell Hospital, Ishpeming, MI. 1/17/22

We have had approximately 1/3 of volunteers return, 1/3 not return, and 1/3 defer return. Our volunteers are dedicated and a special part of our success! Also, being part of a university, we have also added student volunteers to our Shops as of December. The students had been volunteering in patient areas before the pandemic, but with that not yet possible, they are helping the Shops! The students are professional, eager, and energetic! We’ve gone from 45-50% of shifts with at least one volunteer, to over 80% of shifts with at least one volunteer! – Mary, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI. 1000 beds. 1/16/22

How are you dealing with the decrease in volunteers through the pandemic?
How are you dealing with the decrease in volunteers through the pandemic?x

How many volunteers did your shop lose during the pandemic? How are you overcoming this? Leave a comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡

Three keys to continual retail growth

Everything is different now. COVID changed consumer behavior, overnight. Stay onboard to bring them back in-store. recently discussed the three keys to continual retail growth in today’s retail environment where the lines between e-commerce and in-store retail continue to shrink. Brick-and-mortar shops must retain their unique appeal, from smiling store attendants to design features, that digital storefronts can’t replicate.

Their 2021 report found that 48% of shoppers still prefer to shop in-store when all other factors are equal. While at the same time e-commerce sales that are set to surpass the $4 trillion mark. 75% of customers shop online at least once a month and 20% at least once a week.

convenience-driven SHOPPING
Mobile POS systems
Contactless payment
BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick-up In-Store)
BORIS (Buy Online, Return In-Store)
Self-checkout kiosks
Interactive digital signage
Assisted selling
Buy-now-pay-later service

The three keys to continual retail growth, according to their research and first-hand observations where: convenience, personalization, and digitization. Here are some take-aways on each of them.

Convenience will be the critical driver in the retail experience for 2022 and beyond. Customers are coming back to the stores, but they will seek out retailers that shorten their time in store. “Shoppers told us that the speed and convenience of shopping online are the number one reason that they choose digital retailers over brick-and-mortar locations. Providing your shoppers convenience-driven features—curbside pickup, buy online, pickup in-store, self-checkout — is the only way to outpace online competitors. Retailers that haven’t implemented omnichannel will be left behind.

They also found that, “58% of in-store shoppers say it’s quicker to look up product information on their phone than to ask an associate; 64% of associates agree.

More retailers are transitioning to mobile POS systems to enable associates to check out customers on the sales floor and look up product features quickly.

Unique retail experiences will prevail. The era of errand-shopping in person is coming to an end. It’s generally more convenient for consumers to place orders for necessary items online for delivery or pick-up. In 2022, you will need to earn foot traffic by providing the customer with a unique experience they cannot get elsewhere.

42% of consumers have said a lack of personalization in their shopping experiences will drive them away from making a purchase. If customers continually receive personalized discounts when they shop at your store, they’ll eventually associate your brand with savings.

Experiences can come in the form of in-store events or in the form of one-on-one (and highly personalized) interactions with associates. Retailers need to discern what their customers truly value. Figure out what types of experiences resonate most with your target audience and find ways to bring them to life in-store.

Their 2021 report found that 85% of consumers see self-checkout as a faster means of purchasing goods than cashier-led checkout, which shoppers associate with longer lines and wait times. This is just one example of how consumers see digitization of the in-store experience as a conduit of convenience. A digital product display here or a scannable discount code there can provide immense value to your customers in a way that preserves the brick-and-mortar ethos.


Mark Down

The most important tool you have to move a mistake out the door! 

Buying a bad style, bad colors, bad fit, wrong sizes, wrong timing, etc. happens!

Don’t fret!

Recognize your mistake early and mark down immediately!

RESPONSES: What snack vendor do you use?

Can you recommend a wholesale distributor for snacks (popcorn, chips, pretzels, etc.)? Thank you! – Sarah Folio, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Oakland, MD. 55 beds. 12/5/21

I use HT Hackney and Sam’s Club, I have to go and pick up from both. Chips, I use Route 11 Chips, 540-477-9664 in Mt Jackson, VA. Popcorn, I use Jody’s Popcorn 757-422-8646 in Norfolk, VA. Pretzels, Famous Amos cookies, Gordetto’s and Chex Mix have come up hard to find in my area. I have a Sam’s Plus card and some of the items I have to order online. – Greg Holtgrewe. 1/19/22

Wicked Minis crackers are a popular snack and they come in several flavors. Our top seller is the Dill flavor. – Betty Beck. 1/17/22

We have a local supplier – ACC Wholesaler plus we also use Kelli’s Gifts, Tropical Foods (Bulk), Sam’s Club and Costco – Traci Gerdes. 1/16/22

We use several as it is difficult to only have one vendor. Kelli’s Gift Shop Suppliers – Texas, Sam’s Club – local, and Truly Good Foods (Tropical Foods) online. – Marla Baker, Atrium Health Floyd, Rome, GA. 304 beds. 1/16/22

We use our Nutrition Services food vendors, which have had good prices. Is that an option for you? – Justin Alcanter, Salem Health, Salem, OR. 484 beds. 12/6/21

What snack vendor do you recommend?
What snack vendor do you recommend?x

Who’s your favorite snack vendor? Leave your comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡



*Always double-check show dates for changes*Mar 2-4, 2022
Atlanta Spring Market
Apr 4-5, 2022
Seattle Mart Spring Buying Event
Apr 8-10, 2022
Los Angeles Spring Cash & Carry Show
Jun 14-17, 2022
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market
Jun 22-28, 2022
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Jun 26-28, 2022
Minneapolis Mart Gift, Home, Apparel & Accessory Show
Aug 23-26, 2022
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market
Sep 13-15, 2022
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Jan 4-10, 2023
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Jan 10-17, 2023
Atlanta Market
Visit Gift Shop Mag Trade Show Calendar for smaller local/regional shows.

Shrinkage | PART 2. Preventing inventory shortages

by Cindy Jones, Editor

This month we revisit the topic of inventory shrinkage or shortages. With so many opportunities for shrinkage, not just customer theft or transaction errors, it’s important to realize how many there. Each and every one, when added up, can significantly – even drastically – cut into your net profit. Last month, in Part 1. Preventing inventory shortages, we provided a list of useful shoplifting deterrents and how to spot a potential theft when customer’s exhibit shoplifting behavior.

In the second part of this series, we’ll dive into employee theft – which accounts for roughly equivalent shrinkage as shoplifting – and how to reduce shipping errors, and a few shop security tips.

Employee dishonesty, whether volunteer or paid, usually occurs when there are few, if any, internal controls. It is important to maintain cash handling controls and procedures. Clearly written job descriptions that state policies and procedures are crucial.

Price tag switching
Employee theft
Shipping errors
Weak shop security
Incorrect price tags
Sloppy record keeping
Incomplete POS transactions
Orders/shipment shortages

Reduce employee theft

  • Spot-check your inventory/drawer. During unannounced visits, inform staff: “I’m just double-checking inventory numbers and doing a register check.” Pick a few products and check physical inventory against inventory sheets/POS inventory figures. If possible, run a cash drawer reconciliation. Couple it with: “I’ll be back again soon to run through this again.” This lets employees know management is keeping its eye on the ball.
  • Use an inventory-tracking system. Use a POS system that tracks inventory automatically or, at a minimum, use paper-based inventory-tracking sheets to send a signal to employees that inventory is indeed being monitored.
  • Check the z-tape numbers. If yesterday’s z-tape was number 24 and today’s is 27, what happened to 25 and 26?
  • Encourage anonymous tips. Publish a email or number employees can call to leave an anonymous message if they suspect a co-worker of stealing product or cash. If employees are aware their co-workers are watching and could report them, they will be less inclined to get sticky fingers.
  • Check cash-to-credit purchase ratios. If the typical purchase ratio is 30% cash to 70% credit, and then suddenly the ratio is 10 to 90, it’s time to ask a few questions.
  • Watch the “no-sales.” Many shop managers know that the leading indicator of theft is a single piece of data on your x-tape: the “no sale” number. If a typical day’s no-sale tally is four, but every time a particular employee works the tally is 10, there may be a problem.

Of course, there’s no way to completely protect yourself against shoplifting and employee theft, but if you make customers and employees aware that you’re keeping a close eye on your business, experts say that’s the first and most-critical step in shrinking your shrinkage.

Reduce shipping errors

  • Establish procedures for checking-in merchandise
  • Use purchase orders for all inventory purchases.
  • Buyer should check-in all goods received. Then match goods received with the purchase order and packing slip.
  • The implementation of a perpetual inventory system (POS) helps greatly in determining the areas/categories where shortages are occurring. A perpetual inventory system assists management with the purchasing function and would provide beneficial information as to items being sold.
  • When an invoice arrives, it should be matched with the purchase order and packing slip. Manager or shop chairman should approve invoices for payment.

Shop security

Keys to the gift shops should not be given to anyone except the administrator, the Manager/Chair and the Director of Security. The Director of Security should be requested to monitor the shop key carefully (even to his own staff) and release it only on a sign-out basis. No one should be allowed to enter the shop after hours unless accompanied by the supervisor or manager. Weekend staff should sign out the shop key from the hospital security office. Most gift shops now have digital keypad locks. Housekeeping (vacuuming and general cleaning) can only be done while gift shop personnel are present


Shrinkage | PART 1: Preventing inventory shortages


snoozies!® Pairables

  • Over 100 unique Women’s designs
  • Over 40 designs for Men
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Call your local rep or our in-house specialist at 252-650-7000 ext 206

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

  • Try setting New Year Goals, instead of resolutions
  • What is your shop’s niche category?
  • ARBA POS releases fully integrated online store
  • Q. How have you dealt with the decline in volunteers during COVID?
  • Canada hospital opens pop-up gift shop in local mall
  • Best Sellers of 2021

  • Q. Which book distributors offer current best sellers?
  • How to escape your comfort zone
  • Our volunteers are the epitome of humankindness
  • Q. What snack vendor do you use?
  • Shrinkage | PART 1. Preventing inventory shortages
  • Calendar: Gift Markets



Q. Have you been able to source Christmas merchandise? Anyone know of a vendor for “out of the box” Christmas merchandise?

My buyer just returned from the AmericasMart in Atlanta and was surprised by how limited the Christmas merchandise was, particularly ornaments. I understand that ongoing supply chain issues will be felt for a while, in addition to 25-50% increase in wholesale prices across the board. So, that said, does anyone have suggestions for “out of the box” sourcing for Christmas merchandise? Perhaps a vendor that doesn’t go to the buyers’ markets? – Jill A Dugaw (She/Her), Spartanburg Regional, Spartanburg, OH. 1/19/22

Do you know of a vendor for out-of-the-box Christmas merchandise?
Do you know of a vendor for out-of-the-box Christmas merchandise?x

Have you been able to source Christmas merchandise? Who’s your vendor?

Leave a comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


Q. Can anyone recommend a book distributor that sells current best sellers? We have suppliers for other types of books like Harvest House and Harper Collins, but not for popular fiction. – Sabra Shields, Sanford USD Medical Center, Sioux Falls, SD. 450 beds. 12/8/21

We have a Choice Books rack that has mostly inspirational and religious titles that they update on a regular basis and sell very well for us 1-877-598-7759. I also get some books from our local Sam’s Club; children’s, adult and puzzle. – Greg Holtgrewe. 1/19/22

I used to buy my paperbacks from Costco. – Margaret Legut. 1/17/22

Choicebooks – Marla Baker, Atrium Health Floyd, Rome, GA. 304 beds

We order from Ingram on their Ipage website and directly from publishers when able. – Karla Glanzman, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, WA. 360 beds.

Do you know a book distributor that sells the current best sellers?
Do you know a book distributor that sells current best sellers?x

Are book and magazine distributors are dwindling? Who do you use? Comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡



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