Sacred Heart Hospital, Port St. Joe, FL

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

for Gift Shop Managers

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

Have you paid your dues this quarter?

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

LEAVE A COMMENT! Click the green comment tags throughout the newsletter, enter it in the comment section, or send to

JUNE 15, 2024

Sacred Heart Hospital, Port St. Joe, FL
Sacred Heart Hospital, Port Saint Joe, FL

The hospital gift shop: A place of refuge & respite

Never doubt what you do and the immeasurable impact your gift shop has on your hospital community!

My career in medicine is always introducing me to new emotional experiences, but nothing will ever make me feel the way I do when I walk into a hospital gift shop. It’s like stepping through an interdimensional portal; the frenetic, anxious atmosphere of the hospital gives way to the anodyne hum of small-stakes commerce so seamlessly it’s almost jarring.

When I enter the gift shop, I’m suddenly in a world where I never have to hear bed alarms or overhead code blue announcements – only the soft rock offerings of 93.9 LiteFM. Tubes of every Pringles flavor climb the walls like ivy and nobody’s talking about vital signs. I can take in a deep, carefree breath of air that smells like greeting cards and tell myself that in this moment there are no major medical decisions to be made; I’m just a guy on a little errand. – Ben Goldenberg, internist and infectious diseases fellow

When things became overwhelming, I, too, sought the parallel universe of the hospital gift shop. The hospital lobby was a wormhole, a gateway to a clean, quiet, fresh, and shiny world. At its center was the refuge, the gift shop.

I remember low-pitched voices and elevator music; the rustling of wrapping paper. Colorful cut blooms dancing in fancy vases with fresh floral arrangements safe behind glass doors—the calming scent of candles and soaps—rose, eucalyptus, lemon. And the gift of chocolate. High-quality candy not stale from a vending machine. The excuse I gave to “run down to the gift shop.”

This world was not my home, and I knew that I was needed elsewhere, back in the chaos to do my best to help the sick, the injured, and the mentally disturbed. So I gobbled my chocolate and walked away, knowing this place would always be there. – Maureen Hirthler, retired physician

SOURCE: Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine


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Ideas for displaying long necklaces

We are loving the information coming out of Retail Details by Becky Tyre. Her emails are full of quick tips and ideas that are actionable and practical in terms of implementation. Subscribe here and click through to her website. Here are a few recent ones that we found helpful.

“At the beginning of June, I posted a request on social media asking you to fill-in-the-blank: I need ideas for displaying _____ in my store. Several retailers requested ideas for displaying long necklaces. I know that most traditional necklace display racks are not tall enough, so I searched my display archives and resources and I am happy to share!

“Robyn Code from Sum Girls Boutique in Berkeley Michigan commented on my Instagram post that she added hooks to a ladder and uses that for long necklaces. Such a great idea!

SOURE: Retail Details


Don’t see what you’re looking for? Search over 4 years of articles in the Newsletter Archive.

Find information on inventory control, POS software, volunteer management, online ecommerce software, sale and event suggestions, formulas for calculating shop performance, what are other shops selling and more.

It is full of valuable information and reader comments to help you run your shop.

Medical humor magnets

These are really funny magnets with a medical twist from I Heart Guts. Place in a basket next to the register. Feature them in your hospital newsletter to draw in customers from the medical community. They also come in buttons and a variety pack.

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.


Visual merchandising

The key to effective table displays is layering and varying heights. Use a main table with ancillary tables on top and below. Piece it together with end tables (or nightstands), a coffee table, or piano bench, stools, creates, or a stack of books. Keep it ‘homely’ and try to avoid standard display fixtures that are uninspiring. Also, note the off-center table placement,

SOURCE: Retail Details

Advice, inspiration, and all the feel-goods!

Learn which tools work best to design displays

It happens to each of us at one point or another. You see items beautifully laid out and displayed within reach but wonder if it is OK to scoop up those napkin rings that are holding those napkins oh-so stylishly.

Doing so might make a mess. But where are those napkin rings? Shopping is supposed to be fun — not a frustrating scavenger hunt.

A tempting, mouth-watering display of props and merchandise is laid out in the way you might want to utilize them, but a search of the immediate area does not reveal the product. This crosses the line between tempting and teasing.

Tempting the customer? That is the goal. Teasing them? That is self-defeating.

LastingLite Emporium, Berne, IN

In my opinion, this is more of an issue with displaying hardlines (tabletop, linens, decorative accessories) versus fashion and softlines. When displaying clothing that includes the use of fashion accessories (scarves, jewelry, bags), it is understood that the customer will find those items in their respective departments, not directly adjacent. Read more…

SOURCE: Smart Retailer

The Guide 2024 from Gift Shop Plus is now available.

It’s full of trending products, tips, and quick buy links.

from Retail Details / May 20 2024

How to handle the “How’s Business?” question from customers. Customers often ask “how’s business?” as a way to make conversation. It is usually a friendly way for customers to engage with the business owner or employees. But sometimes customers are genuinely interested in the success of your business because they value the products or services you provide, they like you and want to see you thrive.

In either case, the answer should always be positive! The fact is that people want to do business with successful businesses and people do not want to buy from you if they are worried that you going out of business.

I’m not telling you to lie; just to find something positive to say. For instance, even if summer is your slowest time and business sucks, you can say: “It’s summer, but our local customers keep us going.” or divert the conversation with something like: “It’s nice to be able to spend time catering to our locals during the week.” Both of these examples emphasize the local angle and may encourage the “asker” to make a purchase more than attempting to guilt them into a purchase with a negative answer.

The exception is when your sales reps ask. You should be honest with them, so they can help you find high-margin items. After all, it behooves them for you to stay in business.

The other exception is me ;-) When I ask, (which is never in front of customers) it’s because I truly care about your business, can offer suggestions or simply lend a friendly ear when you need to vent.

Have a great positive response to share? Leave it in the comments so other retailers can see it. Need more suggestions? Let me know. And please share your “positive” answer ideas with your retail staff, too.

SOURCE: Retail Details


Jul 4 – Independence Day 🇺🇸
Jul 7 – World Chocolate Day
Jul 10 – Ntnl Pina Colada Day 🍹
Jul 14 – Ntn’l Mac & Cheese Day
Jul 26 – Summer Olympics Start 🏊🏼‍♀️
…fill the slow season with fun events!
Aug 3 – Ntn’l Watermelon Day 🍉
Aug 8 – Intn’l Cat Day 😻
Aug 9 – Book Lovers Day
Aug 15 – Ntn’l Relaxation Day 🛀🏽
Aug 21 – Senior Citizens Day
Back-to-School Begins
Sep 2 – Labor Day
Sep 8 – Star Trek Day 🖖🏼
Sep 9 – Grandparent’s Day
Sep 22 – First Day of Fall 🍁
Sep 25 – National Lobster 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. 

Girl Scout Cookie booth

Q. We had the idea to setup a Girl Scout cookie booth outside the gift shop. We saw this article about a booth at Karmanos. Is there any reason we can’t do this?

Comment below or on the Facebook Group for Hospital Gift Shops!

Don’t just take; give back!

Do your part and leave a comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡

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

  • Friend or foe: External gift shop management company
  • Inspiring props for Spring/Summer displays
  • Pinch Me Therapy Dough
  • A great event idea: Progressive Sale Day
  • Volunteer appreciation: Surprise celebration of recognition
  • Q. ISO software for creating SOP manuals?
  • A favorite fundraiser: Chili Cook-Off
  • Retail inventory method: A how-to guide
  • Gift Market Calendar


National, regional, and local shows.

Includes direct links to every show.


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

Over 280 members
Advice, inspiration, and all the feel-goods
Private and vetted members
Hospital gift shop professionals ONLY!

↓ Click to join ↓

♡ Connect. Share. Grow. ♡

Want to advertise? Click here.

© Cindy Jones Associates, 2022. COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. Redistribution, copying, reselling, re-renting, or republishing is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Cindy’s Newsletter may not to be forwarded, redistributed, reproduced, reprinted, or posted online without prior permission from Cindy Jones Associates. Subscribers may share one issue with a fellow manager. Thereafter, the manager may subscribe here to receive future issues.

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