Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital Gift Shop

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | March 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 operations and grow revenue.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION! Exchange ideas, ask questions, and gain insight from other shop managers. Click to the right of each articles to comment or send your contributions to cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com. Include # of beds, please.

MARCH 15, 2020

Feature Image: Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital, Onancock, VA



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?

You will need to think creatively and work collaboratively to meet your customers’ every day needs in this new environment. And, you will need to do everything you can to make their shopping experience seamless and hassle free, even in the face of stress and anxiety. Engage, listen, learn, ask questions, and build trust. Help your team to be comfortable in uncomfortable times.


CORONAVIRUS: Check conference and market websites regularly for cancellations or schedule changes.


Mar 22-25, 2020
ASD Market Week. Las Vegas 🔗
Mar 24-27, 2020
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market + Apparel & Accessories Market (Spring). Dallas 🔗
Mar 25, 2020
The Buyers Cash & Carry Midwest. Madison 🔗
Mar 29-31, 2020
LA Mart (Spring). Los Angeles 🔗
Apr 6–7, 2020
Seattle Gift Show (Spring). Seattle 🔗
Jun 14-13, 2020
Atlanta Apparel Market (Spring). Atlanta 🔗
Jul 23–26, 2020
TransWorld’s Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (now Summer). Chicago 🔗
Jun 10-13, 2020
June Atlanta Apparel Market. Atlanta 🔗
Jul 14–20, 2020
Atlanta Summer Gift & Home Furnishings Market. Atlanta 🔗
Jul 21-25, 2020
Seattle Gift Show (Summer). Seattle 🔗
Jul 26-30, 2020
Las Vegas Market (Summer). Las Vegas 🔗
Aug 28-30, 2020
Rocky Mountain Gift Show. Denver 🔗


Mar 22-24, 2020
Society for Healthcare Volunteer Leaders (SHVL) Education Conference. New Orleans, LA 🔗  
Apr 28–May 1, 2020 
Hospital Gift Shop Manager’s Assoc of the Carolinas. Myrtle Beach, FL. Contact acfarris@lexhealth.org 
May 7-8, 2020
Ohio Healthcare Volunteer Management Assoc (OHVMA) Spring Conference 2020. Toledo, OH 🔗
May 14-15, 2020
Minnesota Health Care Gift Shop Assoc. Onamia, MN 🔗 
May 13-15, 2020
Michigan Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals Spring Conference. Shelbyville, MI
May 19-21, 2020
New England Assoc Directors of Healthcare Volunteer Services (NEADHVS). Woodstock, VT 🔗 
Jun 3-4, 2020
New York State Assoc of Volunteer Services Administrators (NYSAVSA) Professional Development Conference. Albany, NY 🔗
Jun 11-12, 2020
Wisconsin Assoc of Directors of Volunteer Services (WADVS) Annual Conference. Pewaukee, WI 🔗 
Nov 4-6, 2020
Missouri Hospital Assoc Annual Convention & Trade Show. Osage Beach, MO 🔗 

Retailers share how they’re coping with COVID-19

from Gifts & Dec  / Mar 16, 2020

Recent survey findings show that, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, retailers expect to feel the pinch when it comes to sales and revenue. Understandably, the coronavirus has the whole world feeling on edge and as the Trump administration has now declared the pandemic a national emergency, concern continues to grow. Nevertheless, independent retailers are facing the crisis as best they can, even as they admit to fears of the unknown. As some bigger chains are cutting back on hours or facing severe shortages on basic essentials, many small retailers are comforting their communities now more than ever.

“The scary thing about this situation is that we don’t know when it will end.”  Carol Schroeder, Orange Tree Imports, Madison, WI.  All of our locally owned businesses, including Orange Tree Imports, are struggling to determine the best course of action. We have temporarily suspended our Cooking School class and cancelled our upcoming Ukrainian Egg Art Demonstration. We’ve removed testers from our bath and body area, and of course, we’re on board with hand washing and sanitizing.  Read more…

January retail sales grew 2.7% over last year

from museums&MORE  / Feb 18, 2020

Retail sales in January increased 0.2% seasonally adjusted over December and were up 2.7% unadjusted year-over-year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.

“The strength of consumer spending continues to be the anchor of the current economic expansion,” said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist with NRF. “January’s retail sales results reflect a confident consumer supported by solid wage growth and job gains. While the business sector continues to weigh significant uncertainties, consumers are providing staying power for U.S. economic growth. We are starting the year on a strong footing.

January’s results build on increases of 0.3% month-over-month and 6.3% year-over-year in December. As of January, the three-month moving average was up 3.5% over the same period a year ago, compared with 3.9% in December.

NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said that overall January sales – including auto dealers, gas stations and restaurants – were up 0.3% seasonally adjusted from December and up 4.4% unadjusted year-over-year.



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.


Spring into action now for coming holidays

March 30: National Doctor’s Day

National Doctor’s Day is a day celebrated to recognize the contributions of physicians to individual lives and communities. Show appreciation to doctors with a complimentary chocolate bar or a 20% off discount certificate! Doctors do not frequent hospital gift shops often so this might be a way to make new friends.

April 12: Easter  

Place an announcement in the hospital newsletter about your shop’s Easter merchandise. Stir up excitement – begin a raffle for a large plush Easter bunny.

Arrange with your shop’s florist to increase flower orders for Easter and Mother’s Day. Ask them to prepare some special blooming bulb plants in baskets for those two important special occasions. Order containers of cut daffodils and tulips (to sell by the stem).

April 22: Administrative Professionals Day

Arrange with your florist to have containers of pale pink and yellow carnations and ferns to sell for Administrative Professionals Day. 

April 19-25: National Healthcare Volunteer Week

One way to thank volunteers is to give them perspective about what they’re doing. Sometimes volunteers are given mundane tasks. No matter what they’re doing, let your volunteer know the larger context — not just what they’re doing, but why they’re doing it – and show that you respect them and appreciate their work.

Provide food for your volunteers as they work. Back in college, I always liked someone better when they gave me food. The same applies to volunteers. It keeps them energized and shows that you care. (Remember to mark food that is vegetarian and vegan!)

Check in with your volunteers located in the back room or storage ares regularly. If they’re looking tired, give them a break. If they’re looking bored, offer them a different task.

Take time to interact with your volunteers, not just to thank them for their work, but also to get to know them personally.

Submit feature volunteer stories to your hospital newsletter or publication. Take 15 minutes out of your schedule to interview them personally. You and the volunteer are winners here — the volunteer gets to tell their story, and you get feedback as well as some great material that you can use for volunteer recruitment.

Give your volunteers actual awards. Nominate them for awards such as “Volunteer of the Month.” You can even get creative and have multiple categories, such as “Most Inspirational,” “Most Enthusiastic,” etc.

Sometimes the best way to show you appreciate your volunteers is the old fashioned way — send them a simple handwritten thank you card. In the age of email and social media, the handwritten letter is special. Bonus points to personalize the message, such as thanking them for a specific task they did during their time volunteering.

May 6: National Nurses Day

Nurses Day is always May 6. A few days prior, offer a 30% OFF NURSES DAY SALE just for nurses. Send an email to the nursing department Chair or HR Director asking if they would email the sale to their nurses.  Get the custom designed SIGNAGE for NATIONAL NURSES DAY in the 12-Month Action Plan here

May 10: Mother’s Day

Now is the time to purchase fall women’s sportswear, baby apparel and accessories now. Begin promoting golf, baseball and other sport and team-like merchandise.


by Fantasia Greetings

Consists of a six-inch teddy bear,
attached to a seven-and-half inch bud vase with
a four-inch engraved mylar balloon and a
silk rosebud complete with a gift card.


The stockroom door

Your stockroom doors work only one way—and that way is OUT! When new merchandise arrives, check it in, price it and get it into the shop. Hopefully, it will never return to the stockroom again, because there’s no customers or cash register there!

Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital, Onancock, VA


How many gift markets do you attend annually?


What POS system do you use?

Square (5 votes). TAM (5 votes). CLOVER (3 votes). Talech (3 votes). CBORD/Micros (3 votes). Microsoft Dynamics RMS (3 votes). Keystroke (2 votes). ComCash (2 votes). Retail Management Hero (2 votes). Catapult by ECRS (2 votes). Agilysys (2) votes. Gempay (2 vote). None. Just cash register and paper files. (2 votes). Retail Edge (1 vote). Think Smart (1 vote). PSG (1 vote). Smartvender ACCEO (1 vote). POSRocket (1 vote). Insight Retail (1 vote). POSIM (1 vote). Info Genesis (1 vote). Compete by Jonas (1 vote). Vend (1 vote). Smyth Retail Systems (1 vote)

Didn’t get a chance to submit your answer? You can still do it here. Selecting the right POS system is a big deicison, so we keep this as a running poll on our homepage. Thank you!




See our ALL NEW Spring 2020 collection of foot coverings!
Simply Pairables in children’s, women’s and men’s sizes.
More new styles, more new designs to keep your customers coming back!
Did you get our new spring catalog? View Spring 2020 Catalog!


Why inventory turn is so important

That’s a fair – and an important – question. Inventory turnover is a measure of the number of times your inventory is sold within a period of time, usually a year. There are a number of ways to determine your inventory turn figure, but the easiest way is to simply divide your previous year’s total retail sales by your year ending inventory at retail value.

Shops with a better turn rate achieve that rate because they closely control their inventory.

They are empathic about delivery dates so that the product arrives at the store when it needs to be there. And they are pit bulls about managing the inventory on hand and about reducing the selling price when necessary to recoup as much of their investment as possible. What’s Your Inventory Turn?

Source: Kizer & Bender. Retail Adventures Blog


Redlands Community Hospital

What are four things you do
when you first arrive
at your gift shop each day?

Redlands Community Hospital, Redlands, CA

We’re Open! Gift Shop Hours

Shop Hours

M – F 
8:30 AM – 8:00 PM 

12:00 PM – 4:00 PM

**Open at 7am on paydays during Nov & Dec

How many ‘open shop hours’ per week are required to make $500 per square feet?

Shop hours are crucial to a shop’s success. Limiting shop hours limits sales and service to customers. Expanded shop hours increase sales and services. Post the shop hours at the entrance of the shop and include them in the Patient Handbook and New Employee Manual.

Ensure that shop hours are maintained with no interruption of service.

Hospital gift shops have a potential customer each hour of the day 365 days a year!

There is often a scarcity of volunteers to work evenings and weekends, so part-time paid employees may be needed to work those shifts.

Best practices for plush displays 🧸

Do not stack as much plush as possible into one area. Create a display, not a mound of product!

Group by color or category of character or animal. For example, group all farm animals together, all Disney together, all jungle animals together. Display musical plush in the baby department.

Lakeland Regional Health, Lakeland, FL

Internal Revenue Code

Hospital gift shops qualify as an unrelated business under Revenue Ruling: 69:267, Section 513 of the Internal Revenue Code. Five principles must be followed to help reinforce the tax-exempt character of the shop.

  1. The shop provides a service to its patrons: patients, visitors and employees.
  2. All profits are donated to the hospital.
  3. Its purpose is to provide merchandise that will improve the physical comfort and mental well-being of patients, visitors and employees.
  4. The shop keeps employees on the premise throughout the day, thus increasing the hospitals efficiency.
  5. A substantial amount of the work must be performed without compensation.

Rules of Customer Loyalty

How to maximize profitability of your existing customers?
That’s easy! Keep pleasing those treasured hospital ‘frequent buyer’ employees that love your merchandise.

How to exceed your customers’ expectations for instant gratification?

Have the right merchandise, at the right time, and at the right price.

How to overcome the increase in competition?
You don’t have retail competition in a hospital! So, just be the best retailer you can be.

How to collect valuable, actionable customer data?

Once or twice a year distribute a customer survey to hospital employees to ensure you are exceeding their expectations. Target your most loyal customers to reinforce their purchasing habits or to incentivize them to try something new.

Five ways to be a better leader

Five ways to improve managing and leading employees

There is a saying in life that the “days are busy but the years are short” and when it comes to retail, this is absolutely the truth. After all, how often have years flown by and you’ve looked back only to regret how you managed your employees or other store responsibilities you had hoped to improve?

With employees essentially your brand ambassadors, there’s no better time than now to work towards making their roles stronger and your employee management strengthen, as well. To help, consider these five tips:

Evaluate your employee scenario

Ask yourself this straightforward question — and give yourself an honest answer: Are you satisfied with the performance of your employees?

While it’s possible some employees will likely stand out among others for their positive attributes, it’s also likely many others will stand out for just the opposite of reasons. Keeping this in mind, analyze your entire staff and identify the strengths, weaknesses and windows of opportunities that you would like to improve. This first step can help lead you to the many others that will follow as you begin your journey to strengthen your employee team.

Create an evaluation checklist

When you’re analyzing your employees and their performance, it’s important to be consistent in evaluating each employee against the same criteria. Keeping this in mind, having a checklist — or evaluation form — to work off of can help you review each individual employee with the same standards and expectations as all others. Ranking skills and store responsibilities on a scale of 1 to 5 provides a good baseline, with 1 being poor performance, 2 offering below average, 3 identifying average, 4 recognized as above average and 5 being outstanding.

As you begin to create your checklist, consider including points that range from store operations to customer service to merchandising and marketing to social media. Any and all responsibilities in your store should be included, as well as other key details such as being on time to work.

Schedule one-on-one reviews

Once your checklist is completed and your evaluations have been filled out, it’s important to schedule a one-on-one review with each employee to deliver your findings. Additionally, take this opportunity to discuss their strengths and weaknesses as well as communicate store goals, expectations, employee responsibilities and more. You should allow for time that would welcome your employee to share their own thoughts, whether it’s in direct response to your review or about their employment or store concerns in general. Finally, make sure your tone if positive while also enforcing the standards you have set for your business. At the very least, these should be done annually. Ideally, however, these would be completed quarterly or bi-annually.

Deliver an all-store team meeting

Create a time that brings everyone together when the store is not open for business. During this experience, you should formally roll out store expectations — particularly if this is something you have never previously done. To help, introducing an employee manual is a great idea. For those less interested in a formal manual, consider a “ten best” list that shares the ten things your store absolutely wants to see from every employee… then post this list in a common area that employees will see it and be reminded of it every time they work (away from customers, of course). The main goal — no matter what path you choose to take here — is to create a team morale that is positive and uplifting while offering employees leadership and direction for them to follow while working in your store. Teamwork should be emphasized, as well, and any sales goals that you have in place should also be identified.

Set daily goals

When managing employees, it’s vital to offer goals that employees can easily access and understand. Saying “we want to have our best year yet” sounds great, but it doesn’t offer clear direction on how to do this. Combining this annual goal with daily goals can help you reach your expectations. Using your point of sale and other data from previous sales years, identify daily sales goals that your employees are aware of. Additionally, set other goals each day that may include merchandising a specific area, sending out customer thank you notes and managing store operations in general. Combined, these daily goals will help make for productive days and ultimately, help you reach the big picture goals you have in place for your business.

A final thought

When leading employees, be sure to consider the leadership experience that they are experiencing. Pausing to reflect on your own leadership can help you better understand some of your employee behaviors. Aim to shape your own leadership in a direction that you and your employees can both be proud of. As a result, your store, employees and yourself will benefit, helping to increase sales and create a more dynamic working environment. 

By Nicole Leinbach Reyhle

Source: museums&MORE

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”



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!


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?


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. 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.


Q. Hi, I am a new Gift Shop Manager for a small county hospital. As spring is almost here, I need a wholesale distributor for spring/summer clothing? I am in western Maryland. Any suggestions? Thanks so much!! Love this newsletter. :) – Sarah Folio. 2/1/20

I too am a small community hospital and would love to get with someone to buy marked down items from. It you don’t mind sharing some information please email me. – Rhonda Hernandez. 2/25/20

I am also a small community hospital and the benefit of that is I can buy Simply Noelle marked down items and most of my customers don’t even notice it’s “last seasons” merchandise. Excellent quality at an excellent price. – Anonymous. 2/17/20

Mountain Mamas might be a good option for spring/summer clothing. – Teri Nixon. 2/16/20


Q. With no dressing room, how do others handle customers that want to try on clothing?  How can we sell apparel without?  – Singh. 1/3/2020

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 on..so 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


Q. What is everyone is charging for a standard candy bar? I sure don’t want our hospital employees thinking we are scamming them. – Sandy Palmer, Harrison Valley. 311 beds. 12/28/19

$1.14 no tax. Cost is about $.67 so we’re not making a large profit at all but it keeps the employee’s coming back everyday for their “fix” :) – Anonymous. 2/17/20
We charge $1.29. – Lisa Burney. 1/17/20
$1.25! Customers are seeing the same price at the grocery stores. – Karen. 1/17/20
$1.15. With tax, it is $1.25.  – Melodie Christal. 1/16/20
$1.25 includes tax. – Kathryn Main


Q. I would like to know if anyone was down in sales for November? Our sales were down about $6,000 year over year. In my area, a lot of the stores had their Christmas items on sale at 50% off the second week of November which I believe had a lot to do with it. That, the weather in my area, and a couple of internal changes were all culprits.  I was just curious if anyone else was down due to the shortened holiday season with Thanksgiving being a week later.  – Kim DeBord, Marketplace Manager, Riverside Medical Center, Kankakee, IL. 325 beds. 12/4/19

The last several years, we’ve ordered less and less Xmas ornaments and home decor. One of my crafters doesn’t even make it anymore. Instead carry some esp for kids and make sure it’s unique…. but focus more on items that will sell even after Xmas. You’ll feel less pressure. – Elaine. 2/15/20

Our November sales were significantly down also, and I think Carol has a point about Thanksgiving being later affecting that. Luckily we had a better December which made up for it and helped our overall year’s total. – Vicki Holcombe. 1/16/20

My November sales are also down but we need to keep in mind that Thanksgiving was a week later this year and Thanksgiving really does kick off the Holiday Season. I am expecting to make up the difference in December and we are off to a stronger start than last year. I think it is too soon to tell how are this year’s Holiday Season will end up. Thanks for another great newsletter! I hope everyone has a very successful Holiday Season. – Carol A Colpitts, Gift Shop Manager/Buyer, Milford Regional Medical Center, Milford, MA. 116 beds. 12/8/19


Something that worked extremely well for us was a Tote Sale. I bought holiday totes from Burton & Burton for $1.66 each, priced them at $4.99 which is a 66.73% mark-up. The promotion is, buy a tote at $4.99 and anything you can get in the tote is 25% off.  And our pitch is “We can make anything fit in a tote.” We sold out of the totes in 2 days and I bought a lot of them.  I do a tote sale two times a year and my customers/employees can’t wait for it. Thank you so much and happy holidays. – Kim DeBord, Marketplace Manager, Riverside Medical Center, Kankakee, IL. 325 beds. 12/4/19

Just an FYI – if you’re buying something at a cost of $1.66 and selling it for $4.99, that is a 200% markup and a 67% gross margin….– Curt. 2/1/20

I tried this idea, and loved it. Our customers were loving it as well. Thanks for such a great idea. – Lisa Burney. 1/17/20


We have purchased basic turbans for chemo patients for years from Betmar and a lesser expensive style from Kelli’s. We also recently started carrying a line of greeting cards called Kimo Kards. We have received a lot of positive feed back on these from our customers. – Sandy White, Shop Manager. 12/25/19

We carry a large selection of turbans and other headwear from Hats with Heart. They are great to work with. – Anonymous. 1/15/20


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.


My Garden of Flowers


Miracles in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Dr. Manjeet Kaur’s beautifully illustrated book,
My Garden of Flowers: Miracles in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
is perfect for the hospital gift shop!

This invaluable resource for worried families

gives parents knowledge and reassurance
that their critically ill infants will typically
grow to adulthood and lead normal, healthy lives.


for Magazines and Paperback Books

For Hospital Gift Shops! Crossword Puzzles!
Cell Phone Accessories! Largest Percent Discounts
Customize and change orders anytime!
Receive credit on all unsold magazines.

Huge Magazine Selections!


© 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.

43 replies
  1. Andrea Delmont says:

    As of last Friday all Volunteers System wide were suspended. Our Gift Shop hours dramatically cut. As of tomorrow we will be closing indefinitely.

  2. Martha Burke says:

    Our gift shop is closed as of Friday, March 13, 2020. All volunteers have been cancelled and visitation to the hospital is curtailed.

  3. Sherry Miller says:

    Our gift shop was closed indefinitely March 14th. All volunteers are off indefinitely. My duties for now are being at the main entrance limiting visitors. We are in Ohio.

  4. Michelle Swanson says:

    Our volunteers are off indefinitely and as of March 16th our Gift Shop is closed indefinitely. I will be utilized at the entrances, screening colleagues and patients, while fitting in inventory prep, and seasonal product moves. We are not allowing visitors, and are restricting entrances. We are in Northern Michigan

  5. Anonymous says:

    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.

  6. Anonymous says:

    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 says:

      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.

  7. Kim DeBord says:

    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.

  8. Deborah Hood says:

    I would like more information on the $15 Federal OIG recommendation. I am embarrassed to admit I knew nothing of this policy. I went to the website but I am obviously entering the wrong search criteria because I could find nothing on this subject. Can anyone help please?

  9. Cindy Jones says:

    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.
    – From Cindy, Editor

  10. Janet Long says:

    Morris Hospital
    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

  11. Brenda Deneau says:

    Our hospital gift shops have been closed indefinitely . . .I am in the office working for today . . .How do, what does this look like when we get called back? The shop is stocked full of Easter merchandise and treats . . .Save it or try to sell it?

  12. Mary Claire says:

    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.

  13. Colleen says:

    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.

  14. Anonymous says:

    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.

  15. Jamie Lee Hernandez says:

    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!

  16. Deborah Hood says:

    Both of my stores are still open at this time. I hope we can stay open. All volunteers have been called off but my gift shops have a fully paid staff. One of my elderly ladies is taking 2 weeks off with a let’s wait and see attitude. Business dropped for a few days but the last 3 days it has picked up. Visitors are restricted so our customers are the employees. Lot’s of snacks, candy, and drinks but our phone orders for patients have increased. As far as I know there has been no talk of closing us down.

  17. Peter Waugh says:

    On March 16, 2020 our volunteers have been instructed not to come in and the Gift Shop is closed until further notice.

  18. Vickie Bailey says:

    As of today 03/18/20 the volunteer staff has been temporarily suspended. We are open limited hours M-F 10am-4pm My paid assistant and I are each working 3hrs a day in the shop. We have let the hospital employees know, via our employee Facebook page, that we are still open and are offering a 20% discount to the employees.

  19. Cindy Jones says:

    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.

  20. Colleen DeSimone says:

    Colleen DeSimone ~ Gift Shop Coordinator,Orange Regional Medical Center Gift Shop.
    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?

  21. Sandra Oldfield says:

    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.

  22. Anonymous says:

    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 badgeand meet them at the back door. No need to step foot into the shop. It’s working out really well.

      • Sarah F says:

        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.

        • Sarah F. says:

          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.

  23. Anonymous says:

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

  24. Mary Pengra says:

    I oversee two gift shops at two hospitals. At the direction of our hospital system, our gift shops are closed temporarily. Volunteers are also temporarily suspended until further notice.

  25. Anonymous says:

    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. Stafe safe everyone.

  26. Nichole says:

    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.

  27. Carole - Pittsburgh says:

    Our gift shops are considered essential in the eyes of the hospital ,therefore, we were asked to keep open. Staff may take PTO time off or get a Dr. excuse for not being able to work. hours 9-5 daily, except weekends now. As of this writing – we will stay open. Yes, sales are down, but are enough to cover salaries for now.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Judson wholesale online website is great we also use Staccato, they go to markets but are also online it is one of our top sellers because we can have great prices. Fashion Cage is another one.
    We are a small 300 bed hospital mainly servicing staff.

  29. Cindy Jones, Editor says:

    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

  30. Anonymous says:

    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!

  31. Vickie Bailey says:

    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.

  32. Vickie Bailey, Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital 90 beds says:

    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.

  33. Cindy Jones says:

    Shops may want to have a ‘soft opening’ at the beginning. Allowing only so many people in at a time and having them practice social distancing. And, perhaps with reduced hours. Make sure you have a box of gloves and wipes right at the shop entrance and checkout counter.


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