St. Anthony Hospital, Oklahoma City, OK

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | July 15, 2020 💮



Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter provides its readership of over 3,000 gift shop professionals “actionable content” to help optimize their shop operation, grow revenue, and connect with one another. HOW TO COMMENT Click the comment tags throughout the newsletter to comment or email them to

JULY 15, 2020



Has your gift shop reopened?!

What’s your best experience since reopening?

What’s working? What isn’t?

We strive to provide a place here where managers can come together, gain a sense of community, and exchange valuable insights from one another through this time. Thank you to everyone who’s commented and shared over the last few months. As the saying goes, “We’ve got this!”


Is your gift shop open, closed, or some variant?

Shops that have reopened

Many of our readers are watching to see if other gift shops have reopened and how they are going about it. Here are a few from across the country. If one of these is your gift shop, please comment and let us know how it’s going?!

Elkhart General and Memorial Hospital, Elkhart, IN
To support the CDC recommendations and the visitor restrictions put in place at the hospitals, the gift shops at Elkhart General and Memorial Hospital are open Monday, Wednesday & Friday from 10 AM – 2 PM.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati, OH
Our Gift Shops are now open at Liberty and Burnet Campus. We are taking precautions to provide a safe environment for visitors and staff. Some restrictions are in place including reduced occupancy, distancing stickers and a minimum age requirement of 18 years for shoppers. Starting June 15, 2020, the Gift Shop will resume deliveries to inpatient rooms. Please call the stores to find out more about delivery schedules and restrictions. Shop Hours: Liberty Campus 8:30am – 4pm M-F. Burnet Campus – M-F 9am – 5pm

Russell Medical, Alexander City, AL Re-Opened to Hospital Staff Only
Visitors are still not allowed inside the hospital due to the coronavirus pandemic. Because Russell Medical (81 beds) cannot utilize volunteers at this time, the staff is running the Auxiliary Gift Shop, which will reopen with a new name and fresh inventory July 6. “We’re bringing in local vendors and artists for new products and opportunities,” Jackson said.  The auxiliary gift shop is hosting a 60% off sale next week and will reopen after the Fourth of July under hospital management. “A lot of the staff works 7 (a.m.) to 7 (p.m.) and don’t get to shop downtown,” Jackson said. “The employees are (the gift shop’s) main revenue.” Inventory will be from local downtown merchants. “We want to provide products for our employees and drive them to their downtown shops,” Jackson said. “Once the auxiliary is allowed back, they’ll take over running the gift shop again.” SOURCE: The Outlook

Northwest Community Hospital, Chicago, IL
Our Gift shop is reopening on Monday, June 1st with revised hours. Store hours will be 9:00 am–5:00 pm on weekdays, closed on Saturday and Sunday.

University of Vermont Health Network-CVPH Medical Center, Plattsburgh, NY
After a three-month hiatus due to COVID-19, the gift shop inside the University of Vermont Health Network-CVPH Medical Center has reopened. While visitors are not yet permitted inside, families and friends can now purchase items online and have them delivered directly to patients, staff, and hospital rooms. Customers can place orders online and over the phone seven days a week by calling 518-562-7992. Open M-F, 9am – 5pm and weekends 11am-3pm. SOURCE: The Sun

Rutland Regional Medical Center, Rutland City, VT
RRMC Gift Shop Re-Opens May 18, 2020. The RRMC Gift Shop is now open from 12:30-4:30pm, Monday-Friday. There is a limit of five customers in the Gift Shop and Pharmacy at any time. SOURCE: RRMC

Reading Hospital, West Reading, PA Closed Indefinitely
Reading Hospital will no longer operate their gift shops and are closing indefinitely. Myself and the entire staff have been let go. My last day is June 30. I am now unemployed and will be looking for another job. I really feel I have been successful the 8 years I have managed the shops. Sadly Covid-19 has hit finances hard. The hospital may use Lori’s or another 3rd party gift shop company in the future. – Eric Wininger, Gift Shops Manager

Eric has been a long-time reader and active contributor to this newsletter and the hospital gift shop community as a whole. We are grateful for all his insight and comments over the years. We wish him all the best in his job search! – Cindy Jones 



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

Transitioning from your current POS system

is fast, easy, and affordable.


VIDEO: Reopening Your Store

By Cathy Donovan Wagner  / May 21, 2020

Here is an excellent video by Cathy Donovan Wagner from RETAILMavens talking about what you need to know for reopening your store after COVID-19. Download Reopening Your Store by RetailMavens to follow along. 

Source: RetailMAVENS


Is it in bad taste to sell COVID-19 novelty items?Obviously, nothing tacky, insensitive, or inappropriate. But a light-hearted t-shirt, mugs, teddy bears with face masks. Or, would it put off the doctors and nurses who see the tragedy of coronavirus, first hand, everyday.

We decided to leave this poll for another month! Please comment. What do you think about COVID-19 novelty products? Are there any you like?


Q. What is your buyer policy for purchasing merchandise?

I hope everyone is doing well during this difficult time! I am currently updating our very out-of-date gift shop policies and am hoping to get a little help from those of you that have policies in place.

I would love to see how your buyer policy for purchasing merchandise is written? Thanks in advance for your help! I hope you and your families are staying safe and healthy! – Jenny Inglett, Retail Coordinator, Volunteer Services, Gift Shop and Corner Stork Café, Yuma Regional Medical Center, Yuma, AZ.

The influence of team cohesiveness

by Cindy Jones, Editor and Publisher 💮

As managers and leaders, we make proposals and decisions that we hope others will support. While the majority of the group may support a proposal, there might be others who disagree. But, according to this research, they will cave in to agree with you about 40% of the time. 

So what does this mean to your shop? 
If we don’t celebrate diverse opinions, we may actually be leading our shop down a path of failure. New managers and volunteers may ask, “Why are you doing it this way?” Asking this question can be valuable in helping us break the trance of always doing things the same way. Our willingness to explore a multitude of points of view will be important in moving forward and attracting a balance of “today’s volunteers” and the “traditional volunteers.” 

Your shop may already be victim of this phenomenon. Many shops are struggling because they need more volunteers. They blame potential younger volunteers for not wanting to get involved. When, instead, it’s sometimes because they see a rigid environment where the existing volunteers are unwilling to explore new ways of doing things (i.e., “That’s not how we do it here.”) Younger volunteers may show up, but because they don’t find value, they move on to alternative areas.

As a manager and leader, you can use this social conformity research to help build the momentum so your shop can and will achieve something great together.  For example, you can take ownership of the belief that your shop will raise more money than ever before by doubling its sales.  Then, name the goal because that is what gets people excited! As everyone jumps on board and adds their force to the message, you’ll be able to bring 40% more of your volunteers along to endorse the belief of this exciting potential. 

With a critical mass believing in the potential, you’ll find people taking action to make it happen. 

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.




Updated July 15. Always confirm show dates with the market directly before making travel plans. Dates change frequently and often. Jul 21-23, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories + Gift & Home Open House **select showrooms by appt 🔗
Jul 23–26, 2020
TransWorld’s Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (now Summer). Chicago 🔗
Aug 8-12, 2020
NY NOW (Summer). New York 🔗
CANCELLED Aug 9-12, 2020
Toronto Gift + Home Market (Fall) 🔗
RESCHEDULED for Aug 13-18, 2020
Atlanta Gift & Home Furnishings Market (Summer) 🔗 Jul 14–20, 2020
RESCHEDULED for Aug 18-24, 2020
Seattle Gift Show (Summer/Fall) 🔗 Jul 21-25, 2020
Aug 19-25, 2020
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (Summer) 🔗
RESCHEDULED for Aug 20-24, 2020
LA Mart (Summer). Los Angeles 🔗 Jul 9-13, 2020
Aug 25-28, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market (Summer) + KidsWorld Market + Western Market 🔗
Aug 28-30, 2020
Rocky Mountain Gift Show. Denver 🔗
RESCHEDULED for Aug 30 – Sep 3, 2020
Las Vegas Market (Summer) 🔗 Jul 26-30, 2020
Sep 23-25, 2020
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (Fall) 🔗
Oct 4–6, 2020
LA Mart (Fall). Los Angeles 🔗
Oct 5–6, 2020
Seattle Gift Show (Fall) 🔗
Oct 17-21, 2020
High Point Market (Fall). Highpoint, NC 🔗
Oct 18-20, 2020
NY NOW (Fall). New York 🔗
Oct 20-23, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market 🔗
Oct 22-25, 2020
TransWorld’s Spring Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (Fall) Rosemont, IL 🔗

For a more complete list, including small and regional shows, visit: Smart Retailer TradeShow Calendar


Aug 22-25 2020
52nd Annual AHVRP Conference & Exposition. Denver, CO 🔗
Nov 4-6, 2020
Missouri Hospital Assoc (MHA) Annual Convention & Trade Show. Osage Beach, MO 🔗 
Nov 4-6, 2020

Michigan Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals (MHVRP) Spring Conference. Shelbyville, MI🔗


Sales Forecasting

by Cindy Jones, Editor and Publisher 💮

Sound financial management is based on facts, not feelings. You can’t manage numbers you don’t have and you can’t make good decisions with bad numbers. When you have good numbers, you will be able to plan, organize and control business activities. 

Through good financial management, you can trim expenses, eliminate waste, and increase your profits. When you misspend one dollar, you’ve already wasted two: the dollar you spent wrongly and the dollar you could have spent well.

To know how much to buy, you’ll need to know what you can sell.  Accurate sales forecasting will result in accurate buying.  Accurate buying will result in high profitability.  

Sales forecasting is creating a plan (i.e., a budget). Using historical sales data and existing economic conditions, estimate monthly sales for each category.  Prepare a twelve-month sales projection for each category. You now have an annual category and total sales forecast. Proper merchandise management isn’t rocket science, but it does require time and discipline.

It’s just like a dinner party. The first thing you need to know is how many people you’re going to feed. Then you can develop the budget, plan the menu, create the shopping list and lay out the seating. Can you imagine doing any of this without first knowing how may guests you are having?  Of course not!

How many hospital gift shop managers  – volunteer or paid – across the country buy merchandise and make other critical retail decisions without having made a sales forecast? Can you imagine the National Archers Association holding an event and forgetting to hang the targets?

Sales forecasting helps everyone stay focused. It provides a goal to work towards throughout the year. Sales forecasting can serve as a motivator by energizing everyone to strive to increase sales and grow! 

Action In Retail Free Seminar

July 22, 2020 9:30 – 5:30 PM EST

Connect with industry leaders offering real-time, expert insight into the current unprecedented retail landscape.

ACTION IN RETAIL will feature operational support, for both online and offline retailers, through interactive tools, educational panels, on-demand content and chat forums, as well as showcasing retail technology and services.

Seven reasons team meetings are a waste of time

by Cathy Donovan Wagner / July 15, 2020

Just last week, I had a retailer tell me that staff meetings were a waste of time. I was shocked. I have heard many excuses why retailers don’t do them – but never heard anyone say that they weren’t worth doing at all.

I asked why they thought so… and all the reasons were spewed out! Some were valid and some weren’t.

The biggest problem was in the perspective that they had about the people that worked for them. Notice that they called it a ‘staff meeting.’ I never had a staff. Ever. I always had a team and had ‘team meetings.’ The difference between those two words is huge and requires a separate post just about that. Trust me when I say that you want a team!!

There were seven key reasons that make even team meetings a waste of time. I don’t want you to make any of these mistakes – so I will outline them now for you.

1. Meetings that last longer than an hour. The brain can only absorb what the butt can withstand. And that is usually just about an hour of sitting! Keeping meetings short and sweet is crucial.

2. Feeding your team during the meeting. I never provided food – only drinks. This is a business meeting, folks! This is not a party. I want everyone focused on the content not on licking their fingers. If you feel you must feed them, then do it afterwards only.

3. Wasting everyone’s time by not having an agenda. You are paying for the team to show up and you owe it to them to be as productive as possible. That ONLY happens by having an agenda. Then you MUST act like the boss (team leader) and keep everyone on track.

4. Wasting meeting time by not using a “Parking Lot.” Tell your team that you are going to follow the agenda. Be proactive and introduce the concept of a “Parking Lot.” When someone brings up an issue that isn’t on the agenda, tell them that it will be put into the “Parking Lot.” It is a holding place where you “park” topics that will be addressed later. Write the topic down so that it isn’t forgotten about. Be sure to look the person in the eye and tell them that you will get back to them within 48 hours to tell them when you will be able to meet with them to discuss their concern.

5. Trying to cover too much information and being disrespectful by running over the allotted time. It is a common mistake. You will find that when you run regular team meetings you will know how much content is needed to fill an hour. Because you are holding them regularly, you know you can cover the information next time.

6. Allowing the team meeting to become a group whining session. Put your foot down and tell your team that this isn’t allowed. You care about them. You respect their time and attention. You want to know what their concerns are and put them into the “Parking Lot.” The purpose of a team meeting is to share information and do skill building that will result in growth. It is a “No Whining” zone. I believe that your store should be a “No Whining” zone. When my kids used to whine, I would say that I couldn’t hear them. I did the same thing with my team! It wasn’t a problem for long.

7. Ignoring the fact your team members are salespeople (and, sometimes volunteer salespeople). They are responsible for sales. Without exception every team meeting should include time dedicated to improving their skills. It is your responsibility as their leader to give them tools to help them do their job better! One good way of accomplishing this is to ask each team member to take one meeting and role play a common objection that they get from customers. It gets everyone involved and addresses the actual situations that they face.

A few other basic facts about team meetings that help make them easy: Make it clear during the hiring process that attendance at team meetings is nonnegotiable. Make it easy for them to attend by listing out the team meetings for the year in advance – or at least 4 months out. You want to reduce any objections.

Finally, tell new hires that they wouldn’t want to miss the meetings because they are fun!

Team meeting are an essential way to share information, build selling skills, and strengthen bonds. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to email her at

Cathy Donovan-Wagner is the Founder and President of RETAILMavens. With over 29 years of experience in retail as both an owner and a consultant, Cathy has the unique position of having worked on both sides of the counter. She has seen firsthand the tremendous benefits that the paying attention to your numbers makes. It is what helped her to grow to 3 stores grossing in excess of 2.5 million dollars. As The Retail Maven, Cathy helps retailers develop action plans that increase sales, improve cash flow and create success…and love their life! 


snoozies!® Face Coverings


snoozies!® Face Coverings

snoozies!® three-layer cloth washable face coverings, are selling at a rapid clip in hospital stores around the country!
– Includes four filters
– Adult and children sizes/patterns
– Washable and reusable
– Comes with replacement filters
– Adjustable elastic ear-loop bands
– Flexible metal bridge for snug fit
– Over 20 print and solid designs
View our Face Covering Catalog or at!


The ideal manager is a person who is service-oriented, cheerful, self-motivated, open to new ideas, energetic, organized, responsible and forward thinking. They are risk-takers, good at training, visionaries, delegators, sensitive, supportive and patient. They are pro-active, change agents, bridge builders, financial wizards, Mother Teresas and they possess a keen sense of humor!

Virtual Showrooms

We featured a list of virtual gift shows and online marketplaces in the May 15, 2020 issue. Here are some virtual showrooms we recently learned of. 

MELROSE360˙ Virtual Showroom

Melrose International announced the premier of its virtual MELROSE360˙ Showrooms, which offers a new way to shop this market season. Customers will be able to shop by collections, walk the entire showroom, make wish lists and even place orders. The Home & Holiday showroom is available now and the 2021 Home & Garden showroom will be available in mid-August.

Sullivans Virtual Market

Sullivans, a designer and marketer of home décor products, permanent botanicals, and giftware, revealed a new way to shop this market season through its new virtual marketplace. Sullivans is excited to present its showroom, virtually. It features seven new themes and over 750 new spring and everyday products, including on-trend containers, wall décor, textiles, florals and botanicals, and more.

WEBINAR: Digital Marketing for Hospital Gift Shops

Does Your Gift Shop Have a Digital Presence?
Digital Marketing for Hospital Gift Shops
Recorded July 9, 2020

Hosted by i3 Verticals POS

Join industry leaders to discuss best practices for your gift shop’s digital efforts. Learn ways to implement a gift shop website, e-commerce stores, and how to create a social media presence. We’ll be covering topics like:
– Ways to drive more sales in today’s digital age
– Best practices for social media
– Questions to ask when building a website
– eCommerce pitfalls and how to avoid them

Here are last month’s articles, polls and discussions.

  • Will the pandemic change how retailers buy?
  • This month’s poll: Is it in bad taste to sell COVID-19 novelty items?
  • Last month’s poll: What is the annual cost of your POS system?
  • Introducing Facebook Shops
  • Job openings
  • Part II: Why write your own purchase orders?
  • Your shop’s mission
  • Direct Ship Programs
  • How is the coronavirus affecting your gift shop?
  • Tradeshow Calendar
  • Selling behind a mask: connecting while social distancing
  • Looking for a new manager or clerk?
  • Buying post coronavirus. How?
gift shop display



Q. Our budget has been cut due to the Coronavirus. We are having troubles getting product and vendors don’t seem to be working with us on pricing.  What vendors are offering good discounts?  – Shop Manager, AZ 6/10/20


How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your gift shop. Has your gift shop closed or reduced hours? What about volunteers? Are you sanitizing product? If your hospital does close the gift shop will they deploy you to another department? Are you able to work from home?

We are not open yet. I think the hardest part was that I went in got all the Easter out, did a deep clean, got all Of Mother’s Day out and displayed and we still aren’t open. I have ordered nothing in 2 months. I can’t order until there is money coming in again. I have a store room full of summer apparel that I will put out since the spring apparel is still hanging there. So sad!! – Vickie Bailey 5/22/20

It really is sad, Vickie! What a shame! Sending warm wishes to all you managers that are facing this same dilemma. – Cindy

Our Governor is slowly reopening the state of Arkansas and our CEO Allowed us to reopen with limited traffic and reduced hours week before last in time for Mother’s day. We have a sanitizing station at the door for people to sanitize upon entry and masks are required. Our employees have been very excited to have a bit of normalcy again and its reducing some stress. No volunteers back yet so my supervisor and I are trading off shifts. We are open 10-3 Monday through Friday. I had set up a private employees only Facebook group while we were closed so I could still sell things to the employees that way and we have found they love live videos of new merch so we are continuing posting in that group as well.  – Shea Parazine 5/18/20

Thank you for sharing, Shea. Glad to hear you have opened, even with limited hours. Also, thanks for sharing that you set up a private Facebook group using live videos of your products. Please share the link if it goes public. – Cindy

All our Volunteers LOA but myself and my wife continued to keep the gift shop open for the employees.  – James Padgett 5/18/20

So glad to hear your shop is open. What hospital are you with? – Cindy

We are closed but open to email & phone orders so that employees can get any type of item. We’ve been selling a lot of pop and candy but also cards & gifts. – Jenny Turner 4/15/20

We were told to close our Shop on March 16th until further notice (Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, NY) – 337 Beds. Our Association decided to donate all perishable snacks, bagged candy and even our Gourmet Chocolates to the Hospital Staff and it was distributed by their Senior Leaders. – Anne Trocano/Linda Leary

We donated all our Easter candy and any candy/snacks which will expire by June, to our staff as a Thank You for their hard work. – Anonymous

We did the same! – Anonymous

We have had to shutter our doors as of March 18. After our closing, as the manager, I decided I would call each employee or volunteer on the day they would have worked as a way to stay in contact with everyone. Some of the paid staff (myself included) have been placed in the labor pool, and do other jobs throughout the hospital, but I still make the effort each week to call and check on everyone to discuss how absolutely bored they are, do they have enough toilet paper, the puzzle they are working on, or just how much their spouse is driving them nuts! I have to say it has been beneficial to both them and me. We are bonded through our common goal, The Gift Shop, and our lives are just not the same without it.
We all anxiously await the day we can reunite and “do our job again”  – David Munger

David, this is wonderful! Thank you for sharing! – Cindy Jones

We are now taking phone orders with delivery to our patients, in-town delivery, pickup, and mail out! Business has been very slow, but I felt like I had to try something…  -Jamie Lee Hernandez

We closed the shop on March 6. We donated flowers in stock to patients and staff. Fortunately, we had not decorated for Easter yet and had little expressly Easter inventory as we don’t do very well with it. I have plenty of general inventory for Spring and Summer when we do reopen but have been leery about ordering ahead of that as I just don’t know what things will look like. In the meantime, our auxiliary has decided to donate a substantial amount of money to the hospital to be used as they see fit rather than asking for ideas and then choosing projects or equipment to fund. This seemed like the expedient as well as the more critical response to the needs of the hospital at this point but we hope to still be able to fund the scholarships we usually award to hospital employees. I made and sent Easter cards to all my volunteers and try to stay in touch with them, as many are struggling with their own or spouse’s health issues, independent of the virus. – Sandra Oldfield

I am at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. Both of our gift shops are still open. The Get Well shop in open 8 am to 8 pm M-F and 11-3 Sat and Sun, and our Baby Shop is open, but for reduced hours. We are mainly selling staff t-shirts and tons of snacks. Fortunately we have an e-commerce site and it is doing well, especially for baby gifts and flowers because no one is allowed to visit. Obviously revenues are way down, but we are still making enough to cover employee salaries and the cost of goods we are selling. The staff is very grateful that we are here, as it provides a bit of normalcy in an otherwise unthinkable situation. We have added numerous safety measures, such as a large plexiglass shield across the counter, masks, and hand sanitizer everywhere. Fortunately all of our Easter candy sold, and the rest of our Easter and spring merchandise will just be put away for next year. Since few people saw it, it will seem new to everyone. I hope you are all well and surviving this ultra-trying time! – Shauna Cox

Our shop is closed and has been since about March 16. The volunteers were all “paused” a week or so earlier and I opened a few hours for a couple days and then we were asked to close completely for a while. In a hospital, the gift shop is respite for our staff. No family members have been allowed in the building for a while now, so only staff, but they are our main customer anyway. The staff really miss the shop being open. Especially with all the stress right now, they would really love to be able to wander through the shop just to get their minds off their job for a little while. I’m hoping we will get the green light to open again soon.
I know of some hospital shops opening for a couple hours a day and only two customers at a time in the shop. Some are allowing “window shopping” and then pay via payroll deduct and what they choose is put outside the shop for them…they don’t actually get to come in the shop.
I’m really anxious to hear more from other hospital gift shops to see what they are doing and how they are doing it. The i3POS webinar yesterday had some interesting points. We all need to learn from each other and share ideas as much as we can during these difficult times. – Vesta Smith

When the time comes, consider having a ‘soft opening’ with limited hours and only allowing 10-15 shoppers in at a time. And, they must practice social distancing. Keep a box of rubber gloves and wipes at the front door and cashier counter. Good luck! – Cindy Jones

I have changed my shop into a mini mart. We have made our shop as an Essential business for our employees who are covering the Covid units. We open at 7 a.m. and close at 9p.m. I receive deliveries of food, toilet paper. I have partnered with Costco for deliveries, I moved and boxed all of our seasonal gift items. This has been a huge success. I did this with 3 of my shops. – Anonymous

As of today (3/16), our gift is closed indefinitely. We are sad. – Melodie Christal

As of 3/10 our gift shop was closed indefinitely due to the virus. Nothing we can do!! – Nan Healy

Our gift shop has been closed down, and we have no idea for how long. – Nancy Klein

All of our volunteers have been placed on LOA. I am opening the shop 10-2 M-F and paid staff 11-4 and 1-5 on weekends. I am responsible for all vending services as well so I am spending the rest of each day ordering, stocking, etc. We feel this is probably short term as we expect to be closed at some point. Sales are only on snacks, drinks, and candy so sales are definitely lower. – Anonymous

I am operating our gift shop on a limited schedule, as I am the only paid staff member and our volunteers are also on LOA. Planning to sanitize while I’m up there. Hot spots daily (if not multiple times per day). Going to see how traffic is this week and determine if I need to stay open next week as well. We have strict visitor limitations in place, expecting mainly employee traffic. – Anonymous

Our Gift shop is also closed. Volunteers are on LOA and as manager I am the only employee in Gift Shop. I am taking this time to do stock work and assist at Information Desk as needed. I plan to donate and deliver candy and popcorn to our hardworking clinical staff. – Anonymous

Our volunteers has been asked to stay home for their safety. That leaves me with 3 paid employees. We have a pharmacy in our gift shop so we cannot close, so, we have changed our hours to match the pharmacy. So, we are closing earlier Monday through Saturday and now are closed on Sunday until this passes. Stay safe everyone. – Kim DeBord

As of Saturday our Gift shop is closed. We have Easter and Spring clothes to sell – Sandy Eiffert

Members of the community should not come to the hospital unless there is a medical reason for the visit. This includes coming to the hospital solely to eat in the cafeteria or shop in the gift shop. – Janet Long, Public Relations Manager at Morris Hospital, IL

Our gift shop is closed until further notice. – Anonymous

Our shop is closed to walk in traffic. We have posted on the door and hospital site we will accept orders email, fax and by phone. They can come to the door and pick up. Only credit card and payroll payments. We will continue to accept phone orders for patient gifts. We have redone our windows to better view our products. We hope this is just for a couple weeks. Good Luck everyone. – Mary Claire

We are open but only with limited hours. All volunteers have been mandated to stay home. It is just me the manger and my assistant. Yes, we are sanitizing product and our store and our self’s and we are required to do so every hour! Yes they are saying they will deploy us to another department, we will not be able to work from home. The hospital is not allowing any visitors. Sales have been just for candy and snacks and only employees. – Colleen

We have reduced our hours to M-F 9-5 and Saturday 12-4. We don’t have any Covid-19 positive tests in our County yet. I’m sure as soon as we do, we’ll be shut down. Volunteers, at this point are able to determine for themselves if they wish to come in. – Anonymous

Our two hospital gift shops are closed indefinitely since Monday, 3/16. We only had two volunteers under the age of 60 and myself, a paid manager that would have been eligible to work. I will take this time to clean and organize our office/pricing area. I will clean and reset both shops and set up new displays. I will refresh any worn out display pieces such as repainting the racks from our fresh flower case that once the flowers were removed looked quite shabby, and not in the chic way!. I can work from home if needed, pricing smaller items, writing up future orders with catalogs or ordering online by holding the orders etc. This is a totally helpless feeling, I anxiously await our reopening! Stay healthy! – Jamie Lee Hernandez

Dignity Health Central Coast limits their hospital visitations due to flu and COVID-19 concerns All hospital gift shops are closed until further notice. Washington Health System is suspending some services, including closing the gift shop.  – Cindy Jones

Has your gift shop closed or reduced hours? Has you volunteer department closed? If so, are you as a gift shop manager able to work from home? If your hospital does close the gift shop will they deploy you to another department? Thanks! – Colleen DeSimone, Gift Shop Coordinator,Orange Regional Medical Center Gift Shop

We have been closed for over a week now as we’re staffed entirely by volunteers who are not allowed at the hospital. All visitors except end of life situations or parents of young patients are banned. We distributed the flowers, our only perishable item, to patients who would enjoy them before closing our doors. Our health fair, regional auxiliary meeting and volunteer appreciation lunch are all cancelled and we have no idea when we will re-open. Our hospital is a small rural one with 19 beds. – Sandra Oldfield

We have been closed since Monday. The President felt that if someone who was infected came in contact with multiple items it would be very difficult to disinfect everything they touched. I sent out a mass email to all employees and let them know that if they wanted to buy anything I can get it together and just charge their badge and meet them at the back door. No need to step foot into the shop. It’s working out really well. – Anonymous

What is everyone doing about all of their spring merchandise, just taking a loss?  I am in the process of removing all the Easter merchandise, plush, etc. and storing them for next year. I plan to keep the spring items in the shop. BTW, we have been closed since March 10th. All volunteers on LOA. As the only paid employee among our volunteers I am performing all tasks that our volunteers were doing, mail, surveys, front desk, etc. Stay well everyone. – Sarah F

We are still open, with only two paid employees disinfecting everything we can. We are only selling drinks, food and candy also. – Anonymous

Our gift shop closed officially 3/17 after all the volunteers called off. I am the only paid employee and am currently working from home because I have a sinus infection and am not allowed back into the hospital until I am 100%. Once I am 100% I will be allowed back into the hospital to work on various projects in the hospital and help in other areas where there are shortages. I feel helpless being at home and know that under any other situation I would have already been back to work with the tail end of an infection. Stay safe everyone. – Anonymous

We have a paid staff person in our gift shop so between her and a few die-hard volunteers, it has been open with reduced hours. Our volunteer services is not paused except for the teen program. We will keep it open as long as we can for our staff. We have been told that all staff are essential and no one will be staff reduced at this time, we will be deployed to help elsewhere. – Nichole

Are any of you doing delivery service to hospital employees in various departments and to patient floors? If so, how is that working? – Cindy Jones, Editor

So we have been closed since 3/13. Volunteers are on LOA. I am still here because we do flowers. The shop is closed. I have tried to let employees know that we have gifts if they need them. Very sad. No traffic on our main street. Stay Healthy! – Anonymous

We had to close the Gift Shop per our Executive Team Leaders on March 24. I’m wondering what everyone else, that has had to close, is doing with your Easter product, especially Easter candy? My thought is to hold it over until next year since I hadn’t had it out long enough to sell much of it. I’m pretty sure we won’t be open before Easter at this point. We plan to move to a new location in August and will have limited storage at the new location. – Vickie Bailey, Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital. 90 beds


Q. I work for a large hospital system that has a patient/guest service recovery program where our hospital employees can access an item for guests/patients. In an effort to remain compliant with the $15 Federal OIG (Office of Inspector General) limit recommendation for ‘patient gifting’ we would like to stock items that meet that price point and still remain “giftable”. What are other shops buying and stocking that are under this $15 limit while retaining a perception of quality?

With hospital gift shop’s being such a large part of the retail market, you would think that vendors know the federal regulations that we must adhere to and come up with some suggested items in their lines. At the Atlanta market last month, not one rep was familiar with this, (it began in 2017 with the Affordable Care Act), which I found surprising! – Michaela Kanoski, Volunteer & Guest Services Manager, CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy. 380 beds. 3/2/20

(OIG is the governmental agency that regulates and enforces the monetary value of things received by Medicate and state Medicaid patients.)


Q. I need to explain to our gift shop committee why our physical inventory reports should always be shown at the retail price rather than “at cost.” Can you give me a short and simple answer. Thanks much!! – Darielle H. 3/14/20


Advantages of the Retail Method of Inventory Valuation
The money your customer pays at point of purchase is the retail price. The retail sales figures are the retail value of the inventory. The retail price has the profit built into it and profit occurs when an item is sold (at retail)

    1. Maintaining inventory figures ‘at retail’ forces the you, the retailer, to ‘think retail’.
    2. Financial statements ‘at retail’ are essential to good financial planning. Frequent calculations at both cost and retail information allows the retailer to adjust quickly to changing conditions
    3. Physical inventories taken at retail prices eliminate the costly, time-consuming job of decoding cost prices. Recording physical inventory at retail prices greatly simplifies the process and encourages a more frequent physical count of inventory.
    4. The retail method facilitates planning and control of a department or category. Sales, purchases, inventories, and price-change information are recorded by department or category and can be used to evaluate each department’’s performance.
    5. By providing a ‘book’ or Point of Sale figure for what your inventory should be on hand, the retail method allows the retailer to determine shortages each time a physical inventory is taken.

The ‘retail method’ requires continuous recording of all transactions which change the unit status of the inventory. A running total must be kept by continuously recording all merchandise data. A Point of Sale system will automatically accomplish that for you!  3/15/20


Q. Because we have many of the same customers everyday, how often should we change our displays? How often do you rotate merchandise to other locations?


To keep displays from growing stale, change them every 2-3 weeks. Strategic and successful displays connect with your customer in micro moments. Go above and beyond for your customers, anticipate their needs, infuse your merchandise story and empower your staff to go the extra mile.

Good displays should sell product! Signage will help sell product.

Display seasonal merchandise and smaller high margin items at the front of your store.
Prices should be displayed in a small size.
Make sure you have back-stock of items displayed. 4/15/20


Q. Have you shopped your own shop recently? The other night I was on my way out, purse in hand, when a friend walked into the store to browse.  I walked back in and “shopped” with her through her eyes. If you are like me, all I can see when surveying the floor is what needs to be done, what is missing, what needs dusting, etc. But shopping as the customer was a pleasant surprise. I enjoyed admiring and looking at things as much as she did and it was really fun!  It was a lesson to me  – after a harried day behind the scenes, I actually left feeling very good. I realized the pleasant experience that our shop offers to hospital guests and employees. I am going to walk out and come back in wearing a consumer hat more often!  – A shop manager. 228 beds. 3/10/20


Q. I assist the director of volunteer services in managing three hospital gift shops. Our largest shop at our biggest campus does quite well. We have a shop at a sister hospital that we buy for and are waiting to see how the first year went. We also have a small shop at our long-term care and rehab facility. We struggle with staffing (all volunteer) as it’s a smaller shop and is on the opposite side of town from where many of the volunteers live. Most of the customers at that location also like to “wait things out” when it comes to buying product. They will not buy it until it is deeply discounted and then complain when the merchandise isn’t changed often. We are at a loss as to what to do with this particular shop. Does anyone have any suggestions? – Shea Parazine, Volunteer Services Specialist, The Shops at Unity Health, White County Medical Center, Searcy, AR. 193 beds. 3/11/20

Sounds like hospital employees have been trained to wait for markdowns so they can get it cheaper. I suggest you don’t reduce markdowns so soon, and see who out-waits who! Of course, the danger of waiting too long is that the shop may get stuck with too much aging merchandise. That is the “just in case”  philosophy.

As retailers, we never want to disappoint the customer. We can’t bear to hear a customer say they couldn’t find what they were looking for in our shop. On the other hand, we can’t carry everything in very limited floor space. Unfortunately, some shops carry huge inventories just in case that one customer comes in. That’s called ‘just in case’ thinking and buying and it simply doesn’t work! What happens if that one customer never comes in? You now have merchandise that feels old and stale….and may never sell. 3/15/20

We arranged our back room/office, for a small dressing room area. We hung a shower curtain on a tension pole rod, and they can also shut the door. It works great. – Sandy Eiffert. 2/15/20

We offer my office to our customers ~ they close and lock the door, and are happy to make sure it fits first! We also offer our nearest rest room…..this of course takes a lot of trust in your customers~~but~~ we’ve never had an item walk out yet! And the customers are very happy that we do trust them enough to offer this to them. Sometimes this trust makes the sale!! – Anonymous. 1/20/20

We have our restrooms across the hall, I offer for them to go try it far no issues. I get worries but as I said not issues with that yet. Those who don’t we have an exchange policy that I let them know and ask that they keep tags and receipt. – Leslie Hollingsworth. 1/20/20

Regarding the question concerning no dressing room: we have a full length mirror on both sides of our back room area door. For sweaters, ponchos, etc. the one on the gift shop side works just fine. If someone needs to try on a top, we allow them to step into the back room to try it on and just wait outside. We have had no problems with this process. Occasionally someone will want to try on in a more private place (aka: bathroom). In these instances they will generally leave with us their car keys, or coat, etc. so we are comfortable with this. We can also see the bathroom entrance from our shop, so that helps us keep an eye out. For hospital staff, this is never a worry! – Nancy Johnsen. 1/16/20

We have a back room for receiving and office. We checked into a actual fitting room when we remodeled and it has to be ADA compliant. I did not feel it was a good trade off to give up the square footage in the shop for the fitting room, so had had a hospital curtain added to the back room. It works just fine when needed. There is a large mirror on one wall also. – Mary Robinson. 1/16/20

© Cindy Jones Associates, 2020. COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. Redistribution, copying, reselling, re-renting, or republishing is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Cindy’s Newsletter may not to be forwarded, redistributed, reproduced, reprinted, or posted online without prior permission from Cindy Jones Associates. Subscribers may share one issue with a fellow manager. Thereafter, the manager may subscribe here to receive future issues.

Follow all comments
Notify me of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedback
View all comments