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

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER
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 cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com.


MARCH 15, 2022

Sparrow Hospital, Lansing, MI


Inflationary pressures are coming

by Cindy Jones, Editor

Retail sales powered through COVID-19, inflation and other challenges to post strong increases in January, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said. “January’s numbers show that 2022 is starting very strong for consumers and retailers, especially on the heels of a record holiday season and record sales in 2021,” Matthew Shay, president and CEO for NRF said.

Despite inflationary pressures stemming from labor shortages, COVID-19 impacts and uncertainty related to international tensions in Russia and China, consumers are spending, and the economy remains in good shape. Shay is “confident that retail sales growth and overall consumer financial health can continue” unless there are “political policy decisions that compound the challenges our economy is already facing.”

Trends are showing customers are returning to stores. This is good news for hospital gift shops. Unfortunately, shops still need to pass on price increases to offset inflationary pressures in the months ahead. This will be the challenge for 2022!

Here are some pricing strategies to consider using during inflation: 

  • Implement more sophisticated pricing strategies that present consumers with a more balanced cart. Prices will have to go up on some key items, but there will be room for prices to go down on other items. Leverage smart pricing to improve your shop’s price perception during inflation.
  • Households will cut back on volumes and spending, being very selective where they spend their money. Have the most compelling products that people want to buy.
  • Disguise price increases with different formulations, package deals or added-value elements. Instead of simply bumping up prices to cover inflation, embellish the products with package deals or low-cost add-ons, say $1.50 and then raise the price by $5. “Buy one and get a free greeting card.”
  • Partner with vendors on ways to decrease costs. Don’t “squeeze” the vendor, but instead find ways that won’t impact either side’s bottom line. For example, one vendor worked with their overnight shipping company to save money on shipping. That savings – at least part of it – was used to offset price increases.
  • Be transparent about price increases and communicate this to consumers. customers half-expect retailers to boost their pricing whenever there is inflationary pressure. Keep customers informed about changes in pricing and give reasons for these actions.
  • Shift price points with small increments over time.
  • Offer programs with reward coupons on a monthly basis, to generate consistent traffic. Promotions will be the key when trying to create loyalty.

The best retailers are using a balanced approach which offers better prices on the items their customers care about the most while surgically finding margin elsewhere – a win-win for consumers and retailers alike.


SPONSOR

PEEPS® Jewelry and Hair Accessories for Easter 2022!

PEEPS® is more than just a candy! Introducing PEEPS® jewelry and hair accessories. Perfect gift for any Easter basket! Perfect for Spring!

Hair Clips • Elastic Hair Ties • Scrunchies • Headbands
Drop Earrings • Pendant Necklaces • Bracelets
Kids 3-PC Jewelry Set

In Stock Shipping Now 📦 5-7 Day Delivery
SAVE 10% on your first order when you mention this ad.

easter-jewelry.com/wholesale • 267-534-3436


SPONSOR

QUICKCHARGE POS

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.

800-348-5545
www.mmhayes.com/giftshopPOS


New gift shop construction at Trinity Health

Trinity Health’s medical campus in southwest Minot, North Dakota is at about 75% completion and is on track to open in the spring of 2023, according to hospital officials. The new hospital will be roughly three times the size of the current downtown hospital. The gift shop is managed by Sheril Maragos, Director of Volunteer Services & Gift Shop.

The gift shop in Trinity’s new hospital is nearing construction completion Friday. The gift shop will be near the hospital’s main entrance.

Coming into the hospital atrium, a visitor will encounter the chapel, gift shop, coffee shop and cafeteria. We’re excited to see the shop in its completion and learn all about it from Sheril!

The shop is also hiring a Gift Shop Volunteer Assistant!

SOURCE: MinotDaily News


UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

APRIL
Apr 1 – April Fool’s Day
Apr 9 – National Unicorn Day
Apr 17 – Easter Sunday
Apr 18 – Tax Day
Apr 22 – Earth Day
Apr 27 – Admin Prof Day
MAY
May 5 – Cinco de Mayo
May 6 – Nurses Day
May 7- Kentucky Derby
May 8 – Mother’s Day
May 30 – Memorial Day
Graduation Season Begins
JUNE
Graduation Season
Jun 14 – Flag Day
Jun 19 – Father’s Day
Jun 19 – Juneteenth
Jun 21 – Summer Solstice
Jun 27 – National Sunglasses Day

National Healthcare Volunteer Week: Apr 17-23, 2022

National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 to recognize and celebrate the efforts of volunteers across the country. AHVRP (acquired by The Beryl Institute in July 2020) expands upon National Volunteer Week with National Health Care Volunteer Week. It was designed to recognize the support that volunteers and auxilians provide to hospital staff, their patients, their family members and the community. 

Below is a list of ideas, both big and small, to celebrate and show appreciation to your volunteers (SOURCE: Celebrate Volunteer Week: Beryl Institute).

Ideas to Celebrate Volunteers

  • Luncheon or breakfast
  • Create and recognize volunteers for awards or hours of service
  • Zoom social
  • Social media posts and shout outs to recognize volunteers on a broad platform
  • Newsletter at the end of the volunteer week summarizing the awards, pictures and highlights from the volunteers
  • Emails to keep volunteers up to date on what is happening at the hospital, including challenges to be active and engage
  • Create a collage of HOPE: a big picture of the word of HOPE filled in with pictures of people 
  • Virtual opportunities
  • Mail gift cards to encourage attendance or participation in volunteer week activities
  • E-card
  • Outdoor picnics
  • Pen pal program where patients write about themselves and a volunteer writes back to them
  • Department managers or executive leaders send notes to volunteers
  • Offer opportunity for the community to adopt a unit and show their support for staff by bringing in snacks, lunch, thank you cards, etc.
  • Appreciation cards: Teens write cards of encouragement for the hospital staff and place the cards on windshields of employee cars in the garage
  • Volunteer week: Trivia Tuesday with questions about the hospital; Wellness Wednesday focusing on how to stay safe during the pandemic; Thankful Thursday celebrates them on social media; Flashback Friday shares memories and stories from over the years.
  • Offer services to help volunteers: errands, childcare, tutoring
  • Hospital board directors call volunteers to personally thank them for their service.

Gift Ideas

  • Plant (succulent) with a note that says “Thanks for tending to our patients.”
  • T-shirts (welcome back gift when volunteers return)
  • Socks with a saying on the bottom (ex: If you can read this, I am off duty.)
  • Donate to a foundation in honor of the volunteers
  • Battery operated lanterns
  • Mask lanyards / Masks
  • Insulated grocery tote
  • Flashlight
  • Branded magnets
  • Girl scout cookies
  • Fleece vests
  • Fitness trackers
  • Journals
  • Blankets
  • Umbrellas
  • Scratch offs with prizes

Volunteer Week Themes

Create and use a motto, image, theme throughout the week to make your volunteer week memorable. Some ideas include:

  • Volunteering a Work of Heart
  • We Can’t Mask Our Gratitude
  • Making a World of Difference

SPONSOR

The ICU Guide For Families
Understanding Intensive Care and How
You Can Support Your Loved One by Dr. Lara Goitein

This invaluable resource for families of ICU patients
walks them through the ICU admission, providing:
– Clear explanations of all things ICU
– Concrete recommendations for what family can do
to support a loved one’s care
– Full chapter on COVID-19 care in the ICU

Order at rowman.com
Use code RLFANDF30 for 30% discount
Email special.sales@rowman.com for bulk orders
or call 1-800-462-6420

ncr pos point of sale system

SPONSOR

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.

887-809-9980
www.i3pos.com


Each year Gifts & Decorative Accessories conducts an online consumer survey about gift products and home decorating. The results are published in their 2022 Gift Book. Are you finding their predictions to be true for your 2022 sales so far?

In Demand

Candles, casual home decor, decorative outdoor accessories, comfortable and fashionable legwear, edible bee products, puzzles, cute loungewear, new home fragrances.

Trends

Customers seek self-expression items: stickers, messaged mugs, etc
Beer and wine tumblers as the rise in outdoor get-togethers continues
Wellness gifts to help shed pandemic pounds
Gnomes! Yes, gnomes are still trending…..for now.

HOME

  • #1 Decorative accents. #2 Soft home accessories (pillows, throws, rugs).
  • Decorative accents are quick & easy way to change up a room without shopping for all new furniture.
  • 80% described their home décor style as “casual comfort”. 
  • Trending colors? All of them! 🌈 The elevated mood we all crave is coming out in full color. Note the change from muted and neutral tones of past years. 

FASHION

  • Earrings are top accessory consumers plan to buy (64%).
  • Lightweight, natural, boho, rattan, raffia, shell, cork, wood, shells, pearls
  • Over 20% of all consumers expect to spend $100-$149 on a handbag. 
  • For return to office – large handbags to carry laptops, water bottles, lunch, wallet, keys, etc.

CANDLES

  • 73% of consumers say they are likely to purchase a candle in 2022.
  • Top scent profile: floral/botanical.
  • Nontraditional, experimental, freefrom shapes.
  • Candles with lids that self extinguish.

GOURMET

  • Top gourmet gift: chocolate and candy
  • Top chocolate flavors: tropical bites, fruity centers, sweet-n-spicy
  • Kitchenware gifts: #1 Coffee/tea accessories. #2 Baking accessories
  • Bee pollen: the new trending health food!
  • Shelf-stable goods: james, crackers, honey, sauces

KIDS

  • Toy category: #1 Games and puzzles. #2 Books
  • Licensed characters are less important when choosing kids items
  • DIY kits, puzzles, STEM/STEAM, building toys

SOURCE: Gifts & Dec 2022 Gift Book and Exploring Key Trends for 2022 webinar


RESPONSES: What are some fresh new jewelry lines?

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

 

Silver Forest and their Spirit earrings, made in Vermont. Renaissance Glass earrings and pendants made in South Carolina (maybe North.) – Michelle Suggs. 3/21/22

We do very well with Silver Forest and Anju Jewelry. – Cherie Towers. 3/18/22

Accessorize Me always performs well. Megan Brown designs is trending up for Spring. – Kevin Shaw, Methodist Hospital Gift Shop, St. Louis Park, MN. 3/17/21

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

Canvas has some great pieces at great price points. – Holly Weiss. 2/17/22

We do well with Periwinkle and Coronet – Helen Travis. 2/16/22

Rain Jewelry is performing very good for us as well! – Sabra Shields. 2/16/22

I love Rain jewelry. It flies off the shelf. – Stephanie Barnes. 2/16/22

We also do really well with Coronet and Accessorize Me jewelry. – Tamara Szarszewski, Gift Shop Manager, Logansport Memorial Hospital Gift Shop, 83 beds. 1/17/22

Do you know of a fresh, new, hot jewelry lines for 2022?! You can still respond to the question here.

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


Q. Does your shop offer loyalty program keytags?

Does your shop offer scannable keytags with a customer loyalty program to hospital employees? Customers earn a point for every dollar spent in the gift shop and receive coupons that spend like cash once a certain point tier is reached. Loyalty program members can also receive other special offers. These programs are managed online and integrate with your POS. Some POS systems have built-in loyalty programs, such as Square, Vend, Lightspeed.

With your shop’s loyalty key tag on your customer’s key chain, they’ll have a daily visual reminder of your store!

Studies show that your previous customers are nine times more likely to buy from you compared to a new customer. What’s more, your existing customers spend 31% more on average than new ones. A customer rewards system is a must-have to guarantee customer loyalty and increase revenue through repeat purchases.

A well-thought-out loyalty program can:

  • Attract new customers;
  • Retain existing customers;
  • Reactivate dormant customers; and
  • Nudge them to spend more.

Payroll Deduction is also an important convenience for hospital employees and increases total gift shop revenue. Employee payroll deduction works through your POS or utilizes a program the hospital may already be using elsewhere on campus.

Does your shop offer a loyalty key tag program to hospital employees?
4
Does your shop offer a loyalty key tag program to hospital employees?x
CLICK TO COMMENT

What company do you use for your customer loyalty program? What do you like, or dislike, about the service? Is it expensive? Is it working?!

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

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


Single-channel, omnichannel and multichannel retailing

Get “in the know” on todays’ industry lingo.

Single-channel is the traditional retail model. It uses one single channel to sell goods and a single distribution system. The single channel is typically a brick-and-mortar store.

Multichannel retail is the practice of selling or listing products on more than one channel. For example, your online store (ecommerce), a Facebook Shop, your brick-n-mortor store, phone orders, and platforms like Amazon. The channels can be digital, physical or a combination of both. Simply implementing an online store makes your shop a multichannel operation.

Omnichannel retail is a step up from multichannel commerce. It synchronizes sales and operating data – such as inventory, customer data, product data, or pick-up orders – across all your selling channels. This is a fully-integrated approach to commerce, providing shoppers a unified experience across all channels or touchpoints. For consumers, it means a “seamless” experience moving between online and offline channels; for retailers, it means a single platform that offers coordinated digital and physical options that allow channels to complement one another rather than compete.

Most hospital gift shops are single-channel operations, though with the advent of user-friendly ecommerce platforms and the recent pandemic, we’re more and more hospital gift shops becoming multichannel operations. These shops see the benefits of making multiple buying channels available to their customers. They are no longer limited to in-store foot traffic for sales.

If you don’t have an online store, check out the four-part series on Creating an Online Store!


💮 CALENDAR 💮

GIFT MARKETS

*Always double-check show dates for changes*Apr 4-5, 2022
Seattle Mart Spring Buying Event
Apr 8-10, 2022
Los Angeles Spring Cash & Carry Show
May 3-5, 2022
Atlanta Spring Cash & Carry
Jun 14-17, 2022
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market
Jun 22-28, 2022
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Jun 26-28, 2022
Minneapolis Mart Gift, Home, Apparel & Accsry Show
Aug 23-26, 2022
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market
Sep 13-15, 2022
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Jan 4-10, 2023
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
Jan 10-17, 2023
Atlanta Market
Visit Gift Shop Mag Trade Show Calendar for smaller local/regional shows.

Generating non-seasonal sales

by Cindy Jones, Editor

Non-seasonal sales can be tricky because you don’t want to train customers to wait for monthly sales. Identify your slow sellers on a quarterly basis and move them out as necessary. Or, create a permanent clearance corner and add products as you see fit to move them out.

Click to enlarge

Keep your inventory lean, your cash flow positive, merchandise fresh, and your displays and merchandising new and inviting.

Buy right, buy often, and keep your inventory fresh and new. When something doesn’t move, move it out!

Don’t get emotionally attached to products that just don’t sell. Another 60-90 days usually makes no difference.

The last thing you want is to have your shop become one of those where discounted goods and clearance events are the status quo. A great way to avoid this is by strategically planning clearance events. These are not the twice-a-year markdown sales when you place all the season’s leftover items on a table with a “Reduced” sign. Instead, you need a specially orchestrated promotion that can have a significant impact on sales. By planning several of these events each year, you’re giving customers a reason to return to the shop on a regular basis.

Focus on your strategy before rushing into a price-cutting extravaganza, which could hurt your bottom line in the long run. Also, carefully consider how low you can reasonably go on your pricing. You want to go low enough to draw customers, but still make money for your business.

Markdowns must be significant and well signed. Depending upon the number of sales, the initial price reductions will vary. 25% off if the product is still selling but slowly. If the product is not selling take 40% off at the first markdown. Lastly, take a second markdown to 50% off or more. Create a sense of urgency—”Buy now!” signage helps.


Job Openings

Customer Care Specialist, Gift Shop
Stanford Health Care, Stanford, CA

Guest Experience Manager, Gift Shop
Waterbury Factory, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Waterbury, VT

Gift Shop Coordinator
Piedmont Healthcare, Columbus, GA

Gift Shop Manager
Mercy Health, Willard, OH

Gift Shop Assistant Manager
Milford Regional Medical Center, Milford, MA

Gift Shop Coordinator
Southern Ohio Medical Center, Portsmouth, OH

Gift Shop Manager
Mount Sinai Health System, New York, NY

Manager, Gift Shop
Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL

Gift Shop Manager
Carteret Health Care, Morehead City, NC

Assistant Gift Shop Manager
HighPoint – Sumner Regional Medical Center, Gallatin, TN

Gift Shop Manager
Central Vermont Medical Center, Berlin, VT

Gift Shop Manager
Mayo Clinic, Barron, WI

Gift Shop Coordinator
Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, Tallahassee, FL

Gift Shop Coordinator
Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH

Gift Shop Manager
Lexington Medical Center, West Columbia, SC

Gift Shop Buyer/Merchandiser
New Hanover Regional Medical Center, Wilmington, NC


SPONSOR

snoozies!® Pairables

  • Over 100 unique Women’s designs
  • Over 40 designs for Men
  • Fully lined with our exclusive dyed pom pom™cozy Sherpa
  • Non-skid soles
  • Machine washable
  • Will not shrink

See all designs in the snoozies!® SPRING 2022 collection at snoozies.com

Call your local rep or our in-house specialist at 252-650-7000 ext 206


Q. What vendors sell products made in America?

We’re looking to carry mostly made in America items. What vendors are you guys using for American made products? 🇺🇸 – Carol Myers, Ascension Providence Hospital, Rochester, MI. 250 beds. 2/18/22

What vendors sell products made in America?
6
What vendors sell products made in America?x
CLICK TO COMMENT

MADE IN AMERICA is always appealing to shoppers. 🇺🇸 Also, with supply chains low, domestic merchandise often arrives faster while helping local economies.

What vendors sell products made in America?

Click the green chat icon to leave a comment or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

A red, white & blue thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


FEBRUARY 2022 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #627
Did you miss last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions?

  • Solutions to common cash wrap/checkout counter problems
  • 2022 fashion trends + Color of the Year
  • RESPONSES: What were your best sellers in 2021?
  • How to deliver negative feedback well: 4 things good managers do
  • Q. What are some fresh new jewelry lines for 2022?
  • RESPONSES: How have you dealt with the decline in volunteers during the pandemic?

  • 100 Retail Blogs
  • Three keys to continual retail growth
  • RESPONSES: What snack vendor do you use?
  • Shrinkage | PART 2. Preventing inventory shortages
  • Q. Need a vendor to source Christmas merchandise?
  • Q. What book distributors sell current best sellers? 
  • Gift Market Calendar

DISCUSSION


CHRISTMAS MERCH VENDORS

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

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

Opportunities has great Christmas merch at good prices. There is a $400 fee each year to join this group but the prices for the exact same items that many other vendors carry are much lower. They carry everyday and seasonal merchandise. clothing, candles, etc. – Diane Honsberger, Mercy Health St. Anne Hospital. 2/18/22

Do you know of a vendor for out-of-the-box Christmas merchandise?
1
Do you know of a vendor for out-of-the-box Christmas merchandise?x
CLICK TO COMMENT

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

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

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


DECLINE IN VOLUNTEERS

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

We reduced our hours in the gift shop and have been able to get enough volunteers, but the traffic is not there. Hospital has been remodeling and we have been closed quite a bit. We no longer have foot traffic from front entrance of hospital. Thankfully the employees still shop with us. Our problem lately has been elderly volunteers who refuse to read manual, consequently the computer is often not turned on correctly, they don’t use the scanner to ring up items, they basically sit on their chairs and hope no one comes in. We are all volunteers so we don’t have paid staff. I end up having to drive to hospital quite often to straighten out a situation. I held trainings on 2 different Saturdays and only 2 people came. I don’t want to offend the volunteers but they don’t seem to get it. Hopefully things will pick up and we can do more business. – Martha Burke. 2/17/22

We started with 10 volunteers and now have 4 sometimes 5. We were open 5 days per week with 2 shifts, now open 3 days per week 10-2. – Helen Travis. 2/16/22

We too have fewer volunteers since the pandemic. We are open a shorter timeframe each day. M-F & Sun 10-3. In order to keep all our gift shop volunteers informed, we have a spiral notebook we write updates in. Our volunteers also write notes to us to let us know if they have any needs or something special needs to be ordered or if they have suggestions. Works well for us! – Brenda Welcher,  AdventHealth Zephyrhills, Zephyrhills, FL. 59 beds. 2/16/22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How are you dealing with the decrease in volunteers through the pandemic?
1
How are you dealing with the decrease in volunteers through the pandemic?x
CLICK HERE TO COMMENT

How many volunteers did your shop lose during the pandemic? How are you overcoming this?

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


SNACK VENDOR

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

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

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

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

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

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

We purchase our snacks/candy/chocolate from either BJ’s or Sam’s. – Peter Waugh. 2/16/22


2021 BEST SELLERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SE Marketplace – Jill Dugaw. 1/26/22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


BOOK DISTRIBUTOR

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

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

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

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

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

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


PROMOTIONS


Anne Koplik Jewelry


SPONSOR

Anne Koplik Designs Jewelry

American artisans making heirloom quality jewelry with 💜 ,
enamel and brilliant crystals since 1981.

Jewelry made with lead/nickel-free metal.

10% OFF your first purchase with code SHINE10

annekoplikwholesale.com
info@annekoplik.com
800-542-3134

*Valid on orders $200+ through 3/31/2022.
Cannot be combined with any other offer.


SPONSOR

BOOGIE TOES – AWARD WINNING BABY RATTLE SOCKS

The cutest baby socks on the planet are perfect for 3 early stages of baby’s development.

– Adorable rattle socks with plush toys.
– Rattling sound stimulates hand-eye-ear coordination.
– Busy moms can keep a tab on adventuring crawlers.
– Eco-friendly anti-slip sole for early walkers and runners.
– More than 80 styles to choose from!

844-548-3684
office@pieroliventi.com

SPECIAL DISCOUNTS for Cindy’s Newsletter readers:
www.pieroliventi.com/cindy-gift-shops (Pswrd: cindy2021)


SPONSOR

LEGO Flashlight Keychain

fully posable, officially licensed LEGO minifigure flashlight keychains are for LEGO fans of all ages.

Push a button on the character’s belly to activate bright LED lights in the feet. Batteries are included.

Available in eye-catching 16-count counter displays

World’s most beloved brands, LEGO!

By Santoki, the exclusive US distributor of LEGO
Contact Nikki at nikki@santoki.com to order


SPONSOR

Open The Joy
Bring joy to your hospital…

Carefully crafted activity kits to bring joy and fun to children. Gifts for hospitalized kids like activity boxes, kits with items to decorate a hospital room, conversation starters and much more.

Feel Better Room Decor Kit | Feel Better Putty | The Feel Better Kit! | The Feel Better Bag! | The Feel Better Box! | Bordom Busters | Magic Activity Kit | STEAM Activity Kit | Origami Activity Kit

Featured on Good Morning America. Sold in Target, Nordstrom, Walmart, Amazon.

for Hospital Gift Shops | OpenTheJoy.com | Wholesale Catalog

Follow all comments
Notify me of

20 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedback
View all comments