The Hospitals of Providence, El Paso, TX

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | May 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.


MAY 15, 2022

The Hospitals of Providence, El Paso, TX


Gift shop reopens after two-year COVID closure

The Daily Herald / Apr 24, 2022

The retail therapy department is back in business at the hospital. Everett’s Providence Regional Medical Center gift shops reopened to building visitors after two years of pandemic closure. The Twig Shop on the Colby campus and the Pacific Pavilion Boutique offer more than get well cards, baby clothes and stuffed toys.

Many goods have nothing to do with hospital stays. The shelves have holiday decor, purses, earrings, garden art, hats, sports team novelties and kitchen items.

The shops are open limited hours, for now. Hospital spokesperson Casey Calumusa said shoppers must be hospital visitors or have medical appointments. “We hope to open the gift shops more in the future,” he said in an email. “The ability to do so depends on COVID case rates in the community and the number of volunteers we can have in the hospital to staff the gift shops.”

Dianne Easley, left, and Pam Thomas take care of customers at the gift shop at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Prices are as low as possible because there are no employees to pay, or overhead expenses.

“The hospital is great to us. They don’t charge us anything to be here,” Twig Shop co-manager Linda Jubie said.

The supply shortage didn’t hinder stocking the shelves. Managers had gone to a gift show in Las Vegas to select the merchandise before the pandemic shutdown. “We’d already ordered for the year,” Jubie said. Those items had a long shelf life. Snacks had to be put to use.

Instead of letting the candy and chips expire, volunteers put it in baskets to give to employees working long hours to care for COVID patients.

The shop is a popular spot for hospital workers. “A lot of times they don’t have money with them and they can use their badge (to pay) so they can swing in and get something,” Mackay said.

SOURCE: The Daily Herald


RESPONSES: Do you sell any alternatives to live flowers?

What are some alternatives to live flowers? We are located in a small town with two flower shops and neither want to partner with us. We currently are offering gift baskets but we still have people that want flowers. Thank you in advance! – Lanie Ray, Fairfield Medical Center, Lancaster, OH. 222 beds. 3/28/22

FreshCut Paper has been a phenomenal alternative for live plants/flowers – specifically for our patients in ICU and TLC. I find myself reordering twice a month. -Meggen Heuss, University of WI Hospital & Clinics, Madison WI. 650 beds. 4/25/22

We have a family member of a volunteer who makes “arrangements” using multi colored buttons, colored wire, and fabrics shaped like flowers and flower buds. They are very popular. – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 4/21/22

We do well with Sullivan Gift for artificial flowers and succulents. Great selection.  – Cherie Towers, Redlands Community Hospital, Redlands, CA. 229 beds. 4/21/22

K&K Interiors has amazing real-touch silk flowers. They are the best flowers we have seen on the silk side. Also, Evergreen has a single lilly in a mini vase that is amazing. Otherwise, the selection is small.  – Tricia Rochman, Carbondale Memorial Hospital, Carbondale, IL. 154 beds. 4/21/22

We use 1800 flowers. They come in a box already arranged. We open them up, clip the ends and put them in vases. We use cello wrap and bows to decorate. It works really well! – Amy, 4/21/22

Spotted at CGH Medical Center: Lego Flower Bouquets. Expensive, but very unique! – Nicole, Cindy Jones Associates. 4/19/22

FreshCut Paper flowers have done well for us. They are beautiful and last forever!  – Dawn Shumaker, Clinton Memorial Hospital, Wilmington, OH. 4/18/22

Live plants or felt flowers.  – Sarah McManus. 4/15/22

We sell FreshCut Paper flowers. They are easy to sell for phone orders when a room can’t have fresh flowers. and hospital staff buys them to mail as they come with an envelope also. Admin staff also buy them to have on their desks.  – Linda Armstrong, Gift Shop Supervisor, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, Tacoma, WA. 4/15/22

Nothing replaces real flowers but silk flowers are at least something to let the patient know you are thinking about them, this is what I tell our customers. We do well with Primitives by Kathy or the bendable flowers we buy at Kelli’s. – Sophia, Community Memorial Health System, Ventura, CA. 4/15/22

Our shop used to sell silk flowers. These were great especially for ICU patients that couldn’t have live flowers. The biggest expense is the flowers themselves, but if you can hit up sales from different craft shops, it’s a great value. Kerri Clark, Community Hospital, Munster, IN. 498 beds. 4/15/22

Natural Fragrance Roses – live fragrant flowers but hydrated to last 4 months. The “no hassle” flowers + fragrance. – Petrus Persoon, CEO, Natural Fragrance Rose. 4/15/21

We sell live flowers, but also sell FreshCut Paper flowers as a cheaper alternative. They can even be mailed for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. We just received our second order. – Craig McKneely, Scripps Health, San Diego, CA. 4/15/22

Ganz has acrylic Posey Pots! – Suzanne, Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital, Sayre, PA. 4/15/21

Do you know of a good alternatives to live flowers? You can still respond to the question here. 🌸 🌷 🌼

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


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Free Guide: Wholesale Cash-and-Carry Warehouses

Smart Retailer recently published their free Cash-and-Carry WholesaleWarehouse Guide. This is a terrific resource for those finding it difficult to obtain merchandise lately. More and more cash-and-carry warehouses are opening up across the country. Dan Brownell, editor pointed out, “If you live within driving distance of one or more of them, you can make a quick trip to fill up a vehicle with product and save a huge amount on shipping costs that take such a big bite out of profits.” Many smaller or all-volunteer shops don’t have buyers.

Cash-and-Carry Wholesale Warehouse Guide by Smart Retailer

Benefits of Shopping at a Wholesale Cash-and-Carry Warehouse

  • Immediate access to products for fast stocking of store shelves
  • One-stop shopping of a wide range of vendors and product lines
  • No shipping charges
  • Convenient checkout at one location
  • No backorders or delayed deliveries
  • No minimums, which allows storeowners to test small quantities of a wider range of products and manage cash-flow more effectively
  • Personally inspect features and quality of products
  • Access 5-6 days a week, so shop owners can shop when their store is closed
  • Year-round availability allows storeowners to shop at leisure, rather than be rushed because of limited show hours
  • Less planning needed than attending a show
  • Possible same-day trips or choose to stay overnight and visit local attractions for a working vacation

The Cash-and-Carry Wholesale Warehouse Guide from Smart Retailer includes 14 east coast cash-and-carry warehouses, including contact info, website, social media, and location info, as well as a brief Q&A with each.


Payroll deduction for online stores

Last month we discussed possible solutions to the question submitted by Jill Dugaw at Spartanburg Regional in Spartanburg, SC: Does anyone accept payroll deduction on their online gift shop? If so, how do you authenticate the buyer (i.e., how do you verify they are using their employee number)?You can read the article in last month’s issue, including possible solutions and reader comments.

The ideal solution is to create a custom payout option for “Payroll Deduction” in your ecommerce platform. But, they will likely charge a customization fee unless your IT department can implement it. To briefly recap alternatives:

  • Native integration, such as ARBA POS which includes a payroll deduction option, standard.
  • In this online shop employees enter the coupon code “Payroll Deduction” at checkout.
  • Employees at the U of M online tech shop select “Pay In Store” and complete the payroll deduction process at pick up.
  • Find out if your scrub vendor or the hospital pharmacy have a payroll deduction solution.
  • eComitize is an eCommerce consulting firm that can build a payroll deduction option.
  • Magento can accept payroll deduction using an extension (could not located extension).
  • NCR Counterpoint will integrate a shop’s ecommerce site and have the option to use payroll deduction. Any credit limits in place for Payroll Deduction will also flow to the website and restrict employees from exceeding their credit limit.

Gold Coast Promotions has incorporated payroll deduction in to their online fundraising events using Shopify. Here are some payroll deduction examples from UMHS and Memorial Hospital Gulfport. Marc Kravetz from Gold Coast informed us that his IT team customized the interface to accept payroll deduction. Employee numbers are entered at checkout and Gold Coast send a spreadsheet to the hospital for deductions. Gold Coast Promotions has been holding in-person fundraisers in hospitals for over 40 years. Many of you may be familiar with their name.

With all that transpired within hospitals due to the pandemic, they totally changed their fundraising format to an online format, holding over 100 online events in 2021. They have a huge array of products, provide all promotional materials, QR codes and custom website, as well as pull, pack, and ship all purchases to the customer. Although this is not a permanent online store and the inventory is different, it might be a good way to test the level of demand for online shopping with your employee base and also help familiarize yourself with online platforms.

**SEEKING SHOPS**
Do you want an online store but don’t have the expertise, staffing, or time to do it?

We are looking for shops that are interested in possibly outsourcing their online store through a new option from Gold Coast Promotions. Read more below and contact us here.

~~

OUTSOURCE

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ONLINE STORE

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Gold Coast Promotions is looking into building branded online stores for hospital gift shops. This is an option if you don’t have the time, technical know-how or are an all-volunteer shop. It would include a unique web address for your shop, branded website, nationwide shipping, gift shop pick-up, curb-side, in-hospital delivery, and of course, payroll deduction. They would handle all the setup, operations, and technical requirements. Outsourcing your online store might be viable option for many shops. Specific fees and details to be determined.


UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

JUNE
Graduation Season
Jun 14 – Flag Day
Jun 19 – Father’s Day
Jun 19 – Juneteenth
Jun 21 – Summer Solstice
Jun 27 – National Sunglasses Day
JULY
Jul 4 – Independence Day
Jul 7 – World Chocolate Day
Jul 10 – National Pina Colada Day
Jul 14 – National Mac & Cheese Day
AUGUST
Back-To-School Season
Aug 3 – Ntnl Watermelon Day
Aug 8 – International Cat Day
Aug 9 – Book Lovers Day
Aug 15 – National Relaxation Day
Aug 21 – Senior Citizens’ Day
…fill with fun off-season sales/events!

**Sometimes we include some pretty unique “holidays”. Use them to help generate off-season sales. “It’s National Sunglasses Day – 15% Today Only”. Build some fun displays. Be creative! Put all umbrellas on sale for National Pina Colada Day.


Early holiday 2022 preview

by Debbie Eisele / Gift Shop Mag

Angel Sitters from burton + BURTON
Angel Sitters. burton + BURTON.

With a record fourth quarter wrapping up, retail holiday sales are predicted to repeat next year. The inventory and shipping shortages of 2021 will prove to be a cautionary tale for everyone in 2022. Retailers can get a jump on holiday merchandise with careful planning and an eye for the hot trends.

“Soft browns, golds and beige are very popular — this matches any décor,” Jamie Adler, marketing manager for Kurt S. Adler, explained. “People are investing in high quality merchandise (and) people are really taking pride in their holiday décor and want it to look as nice as possible.”

According to Kacie Carswell, marketing manager for burton + BURTON, varying textures and patterns such as “puffy white wool, ribbed wood and reflective metals will be a focus for the 2022 holiday season.”

“Gifts and décor for the holiday season that have a purpose and a treasured message will resonate with all generations … such as decorative containers, entertainment serveware and uniquely shaped mugs,” explained Carswell.

“Lighted items continue to be incredibly popular. As dark December evenings descend on us, there is nothing more inviting than twinkling lights and shimmering candle glow,” noted Ingrid Liss, vice president product development and innovation for GANZ Midwest-CBK. Also trending into 2022 is a mix of modern and glam and GANZ Midwest-CBK is offering a Holiday Glam collection that illustrates both of these characteristics. Read more…

SOURCE: Gift Shop Mag

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by Cindy Jones, Editor

Many hospital gift shops have policies in place for ‘personal purchases’ made at gift markets by paid or volunteer buyers. Most shops permit their volunteer and paid buyers to include their own personal purchases (at wholesale pricing plus shipping costs) in orders while at market. The reasoning is showrooms and vendors require ‘minimum order amounts’ for certain lines. Buyers ‘personal purchases’ help meet that minimum amount.

For example, after serving as a buyer for three months, they may purchase personal merchandise at a 45% discount. This privilege is in appreciation to the buyer for their extra time and effort for the shop. The tradeoff in goodwill for the buyer’s efforts more than justifies the barely negligible reduced profit that the shop might realize.

Guidelines to consider:

  • Buyer must pay shipping for their items.
  • All ‘personal’ merchandise ordered must also be ‘for sale’ in the gift shop. If a buyer wants to order a toaster at wholesale and the minimum is two toasters, how will the shop will ever sell the other toaster? So, all items ordered through the gift shop must also be for sale in the shop.
  • All items must be processed and shipped to the gift shop (not to the buyer’s home) and only then can the items be purchased by the buyer at cost plus shipping. 
  • The merchandise cannot leave the shop until it is paid for.
  • Gift shop paid employees are allowed to hold merchandise for 10 days. All holds are checked.

Hospital Policy

The hospital itself may have its own policies and may frown on this practice. Be sure to know your hospital’s policy on ‘personal purchases’, particularly if the orders are processed through the hospital accounting and shipping department.

Tax Exempt Policy

It is up to each shop to determine if buying personal items at wholesale (plus shipping) would be considered a misuse of the shop’s tax-exemption status. The small amount of lost profits should not affect the shop’s status, however, each shop should do their due diligence regarding this issue.

The shop’s Policy and Procedure Handbook should state:

“All purchases must be entered into the POS system by another employee/volunteer. The purchase/s are placed in a bag and stapled shut. The receipt is attached to the outside of the bag and initialed by the employee/volunteer who transacted the item/s.”

Q. What is your buyer/manager policy for personal (wholesale) purchases?

Do you have a policy for personal (wholesale) purchases?
2
What is your buyer/manager policy for personal (wholesale) purchases?x
<- CLICK TO COMMENT

Do you allow personal (wholesale) purchases? What is the discount %? How long do they have to be with the shop?

Comment here or enter it in the comment box at the end of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


Q. Is there a better process than handwriting POs?

How do managers/buyers purchase goods for their shop? We hand write purchase orders then send them to our in-hospital purchasing agent. In some instances orders can be up to 11 handwritten purchase orders. Would love to know if there is a way to minimize writing all these POs? Thanks! – Sarah Folio, Volunteer Coordinator/Gift Shop Manager, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Oakland, MD. 4/24/22

Do you still use handwritten POs or another, more efficient, method?
2
Is there anything more efficient than handwritten POs?x
<- CLICK TO COMMENT

Do you have an alternative process to handwritten POs? Have you found a more efficient way for buyers to operate?

Caring is sharing all your knowledge helping others grow their shops! Comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


Are your sales in line with your shop’s total square feet?

Retail sales per square footage equals your store’s average revenue for every foot of sales space.

🎯 FORMULA: Total in-store sales / Selling area in square feet.
 
A minimum of $800 per square foot (at retail-not at cost) in sales annually is doable for most hospital shops. A number of shops around the country are generating over $2,000+ in sales per square foot per year. Let us know what your sales per square foot are for your shop/store.
 
NOTE: This benchmark applies to shops that are proportionate in size to their hospital (number of employees and beds). A small shop in a big hospital should generate higher sales per square foot. A disproportionately large shop in a small hospital will generate lower sales per square foot.
 
To maximize every square foot of a shop’s selling space:

  • There should be very little storage (drawers or cupboards) in the selling space.
  • The merchandise must turn fast.
  • Appropriate pricing structures must be maintained to receive the maximum profit on the merchandise. Good profit margins are the key to success.

This information is based upon Cindy’s general experience and knowledge of hospital gift shop management and information gathered through her national surveys.

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


💮 CALENDAR 💮

GIFT MARKETS

**Always double-check show dates**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 & Accs Show
Jul 12-18, 2022
Atlanta Home & Gift Market
Jul 24-28, 2022
Las Vegas Market
Aug 18-21, 2022
New Orleans Gift & Jewelry 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 and regional shows.

SALARY DATA: Hospital Gift Shop Manager

Q. Can you or any of the readers share the salary for the Gift Shop Managers? I’m redeveloping the job description for my Gift Shop Manager to reflect that they now have responsibility for more than one shop location, and I’d like to bring their salary more in line with industry standards. Extra points for those located in the Southeast. – Jill Dugaw, Manager, Volunteer Services & Gift Shop, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Spartanburg, SC. 4/17/22

FROM CINDY

The last salary survey we ran was back in 2011. At this time, the average salary, reported by 163 shop managers, was $42,170 nine years ago. Adjusted for inflation, the BLS inflation calculator indicated a salary of $55,360 for 2022. Alternatively, using the benchmark annual increase of 3%,  the adjusted 2022 salary would be $55,022. Although this is not a scientific method and does not account for variables such as hospital size or geography, it does provide some insight. 

We also pulled gift shop manager salaries from a sampling of university affiliated shops. Being state funded, they are required to publish their salaries. The information is not readily available and requires some digging online, but it is public.

Mgr, Gift Shop (2020)
Univ of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (710 beds)
$63,562 

Gift Shop Manager (2020)
CGH Medical Center Auxiliary (98 beds)
$36,264 

Medical Gift Shop Manager (2021)
Univ of Arkansas for Medical Center (434 bed)
$48,092 

Medical Gift Shop Assistant Manager (2021)
Univ of Arkansas for Medical Center (434 bed)
$34,342 

Gift Shop – Finance Mnger, Social Media, Volunteer Coor (2020)
Univ of Michigan (1107 beds)
$46,542 

Merchandising Manager (2020)
Univ of Michigan (1107 beds)
$65,100 
Assistant Director- Gift Shops (2018)
Ohio State Univ Wexner Medical Center (1032 beds) 
$75,712 

Assoc Manager (2018)
Ohio State Univ Wexner Medical Center (1032 beds) 
$58,743

Assoc Manager (2018)
Ohio State Univ Wexner Medical Center (1032 beds)
$53,485 

Assoc Manager (2018)
Ohio State Univ Wexner Medical Center (1032 beds)
$50,555 

Assoc Manager (2018)
Ohio State Univ Wexner Medical Center (1032 beds)
$44,794 

**All salary information provided is publicly available.


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APRIL 2022 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #629
Did you miss last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions?

  • What have we learned in recent years
  • Q. Alternatives to live flowers?
  • Most wanted for Mother’s Day
  • GiftBeat’s top sellers for April
  • Shop renovations: Mini-department store approach
  • Q. Does your online store have payroll deduction?
  • May Action Plan
  • PART 2: Do you have a loyalty program or keytags?
  • Teacher Appreciation Week | May 2-6, 2022
  • NRF annual retail forecast: 6-8% growth
  • Q. Do you have a resource for African-American Santas?
  • New jewelry lines, Made In USA products, 2021 Best Sellers
  • Gift Market Calendar

DISCUSSION


NEW JEWELRY LINES

Q. 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

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


MADE IN USA

Q. 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

Faire has an area on their site devoted to Made in USA products. Also Town Pride makes custom  – state, town, city, zip code – wholesale goods. Everything from knit sweaters to candles, stationery, drinkware, serve ware and jewelry.  – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc, 4/16/22.

Duke Cannon men’s products. – Cyrielle. 3/28/22

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

What’s your favorite MADE IN USA product? You can still leave a comment.  Click here!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


CHRISTMAS MERCH VENDORS

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

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 have had our gift shop volunteers for two years now – starting the front desk this week. – Tricia Rochman, Carbondale Memorial, Carbondale, IL. 70 beds. 3/18/21

We had about 65 volunteers in the gift shop before the pandemic. I now have about 35-40 in the shop today. I am blessed to have some very dedicated volunteers who worked all but the 3 months we were closed. Even then when we were closed we thought outside the box and started doing FB Live shows twice a month and continue with today. They are a ton of work, but truly saved our gift shop. Other volunteers stayed home but made mask for the hospital and our community in the time of need. Our Auxiliary as a whole never really stopped fundraising during the pandemic and overall our numbers grew about a dozen last year. – Ramona Kennedy. 3/17/21

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

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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

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