Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | November 6, 2019 💮




 NOVEMBER 6, 2019 

Cindy’s Newsletter provides managers an opportunity to exchange success stories and share thoughts on industry hot topics. We report on breaking news, product trends, survey studies, business tips and other articles that give valuable insight into the market dynamics that affect hospital gift shops. There are over 3,000 hospital gift shop managers presently benefiting from the information in Cindy’s Newsletter. 


Submit a tip, hot seller, question, or answer to Include the # of beds in your posts. While we try to keep the content at a reasonably advanced level, we occasionally post items for folks newer to hospital gift shops.


State Auxiliary Conferences


February 17-19, 2020

The 2020 California Hospital Volunteer Leadership Conference, “Engineering Change. Inspiring Leadership.,” will take place February 17-19 at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach. 

Wednesday, April 28 – May 1, 2020

Hospital Gift Shop Manager’s Association of the Carolinas, Double Tree Myrtle Beach Oceanfront. If interested in being a vendor or participant, please contact Amy Waldrop at 

Trade Shows & Gift Markets


Jan 8-14, 2020

Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (Winter). Dallas, TX

Jan 9-13, 2020

LA Mart 2020 Market (Winter) | Gift + Home. Los Angeles, CA

Jan 14-21, 2020

Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market (Winter). Atlanta, GA

Jan 15-18, 2020

Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market. Dallas, TX

Jan 26-30, 2020

Las Vegas Market (Winter). Las Vegas, NV


Send us your upcoming state conference and market dates!  


Palm Tree Gift Shop

96-year-old volunteer reflects on 30 years of service

Hawaii Tribune-Herald

October 28, 2019

Virginia Patterson Maeda is a familiar face at Hilo Medical Center. A long-time volunteer, Maeda, 96 and spry, has managed the hospital auxiliary’s Palm Tree Gift Shop for more than 30 years. That two-week job turned into 34 years. “I’m happy that I did it,” she said. “I had never been the manager of something like that. I didn’t know that I could, but I did and I’m glad that I did. It’s been a good 34 years that I’ve been there.”

As manager, Maeda said she does all the buying for the gift shop, “every bit of it,” also the pricing, and puts everything out on display. Read more…

A number of managers have recently asked me the following questions

What category or department accounts for the highest sales in your shop?

What category or department occupies the most space in your shop?

Please help them out by sharing your responses to these questions. Email me at



We gently remind you that the richness of this newsletter depends on your contributions. All we ask is that you submit two tips per quarter — which should be easy to do as you learn and make refinements to your practices in all areas of hospital gift shop management. 


So, share what have you learned or implemented in the last couple of months that has benefited you and your shop? Have you “paid” your dues this quarter?

What have you done lately that seems to be working?

What have you tried that you think might work for your colleagues?

New ways to increase sales?


**Include your name, hospital name, location, # of beds.


 Nov 11       Veteran’s Day
Nov 28       Thanksgiving 

Nov 29       Black Friday

Nov 30       Small Business Saturday

Dec 22-30  Hannukah

Dec 25       Christmas

Snack Bar Brands

2019 was a strong year for snack bars. Most hospital gift shops carry them. They are both used as a convenient on-the-go snack and as a meal replacement. Top snack bar brands are:

#1 Nature Valley



Strong September Sales 

by GiftBeat

November 1, 2019

While the reasons varied widely, sales were up year-over-year in September for exactly 50 percent of our reporting stores and were even for another 13 percent, meaning close to three-quarters of independent gift stores held their ground or made gains, a positive indicator heading into the last stretch of the fourth quarter.

Do You Calculate Tariffs Separately?

ariffs are a tax that are passed on to your shop by your vendors or suppliers. Often you will see a 5% import tariff added to the cost of certain items on your invoices. They are an additional item on your invoice and affect the retail price. 

Phyllis Hill, Gift Shop Manager, McLaren Hospital, Flint, Michigan, asks if managers/buyers are calculating and pricing each item that has a tariff separately? This
 can be quite time consuming. Or, are you adding the cost of tariffs across the board on invoices even though some of the items do not show tariffs?

What are some of the companies/vendors that you buy from that show tariffs?

At some point in the future, we presume these tariffs will disappear. The merchandise you will have purchased between now and then will have had tariffs paid, but the value of that inventory is going to decrease. Replacement inventory is going to cost you less and then you’ll have to decide if you’re going to leave that merchandise at their tariffed retail prices or lower them.

Blount Auxiliary Adds Online to BMH Gift Shop

The Daily Times

Suppose you’re on a fishing trip in Alaska, or it’s snowing like crazy in the foothills so you’re homebound. Meanwhile you learn a relative or friend is bedridden at Blount Memorial and you want do something to brighten their day, but you can’t get to the hospital.

The Blount Memorial Auxiliary gift shop has just the answer for that. The auxiliary has initiated an online gift shop service that is available 24/7 anywhere the internet can reach.

The new online gift shop is accessible through the hospital’s homepage and is the result of a recent partnership with California-based Hospital Gift Shop. It’s the largest network of online health care shops with 750 direct hospital partners in the United States and Canada. Friends and family members can use this tool to easily send everything from flowers and get-well cards to balloons and gifts for a new baby to Blount Memorial patients.
“It’s really a chance to brighten a patient’s day,” said Blount Memorial director of Volunteer Services Connie Slingluff. Read more…

Avoid Personal Conversations When Customers are Present

It’s rude when employees or volunteer workers look at their cell phone or have conversations about their personal lives in front of customers. It gives the impression of not caring about the customers who are standing right in front of them. Although engaging in small talk is acceptable, it’s a different story if it’s a conversation that really shouldn’t be happening in front of customers.

Some of the worst conversations that employees or volunteers can have with each other in a store filled with shoppers is complaining about other customers, staff members, or their personal affairs. This type of conversation is highly unprofessional and completely unnecessary. If there’s an individual issue that needs addressing, it’s best to involve management and do so out of earshot from customers.

Additionally, conversations with customers should be brief, yet sincere, which can be tricky for two reasons. Some customers will want to talk to anybody who will listen for as long as they’ll listen, and we all know you don’t have time for that. Secondly, you don’t want to come off as callous by cutting right to the chase. Try to find a balance by politely redirecting the conversation to find out how you can assist them. Great communication is an art.



Gift Shop Manager

Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX  

Read more…


Gift Shop Manager II

Maricopa Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ  

Read more…


Gift Shop Supervisor 

Providence Medical Center, Kansas City, KS

Read more…


Gift Shop Coordinator

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati, OH

Read more…


Assistant Gift Shop Mgr

LifePoint Hospitals, Gallatin, TN

Read more…


Good Managers Must Have Thick Skin

Take on the criticism (don’t personalize it), and don’t dwell on the mistakes. Learn from them and move on. Be patient! Encourage dialogue with staff and volunteers. Focus on the priorities; establish a list of five achievable goals per year. Build upon your successes.  




 Does anyone know how to calculate the retail value of sales if everything was sold at full retail price? For example, if a category of merchandise’s sales to date are $4,000 and the Gross Profit Margin is 42%, what was the retail value of these sales? Thank you!   Eric WiningerGift Shops Manager, Reading, PA. 759 Beds.10/24/19


Our shop does very well with designer fragrances, especially at this time of the year. Hospital employees appreciate using payroll deduction for these higher-priced items. We work with Arianne Pennington at Direct Fragrances, 1-800-800-4208. 
— Phyllis Hill, Gift Shop Manager, McLaren Hospital, Flint, MI. 388 beds. 11/3/19


Last year we tried for the first time a “Twelve Days of Christmas” sale.  From Dec 1 through Dec 12th, we had a different item or category on sale each day at 20% off. I posted the days ahead of time at each of our shops. It was a great success!  It gave the employees an excuse to come in every day. We had candles one day, jewelry another day, all Christmas items a couple of different days, etc. Many times, customers would come in for the “Sale of the Day” and buy other things at full price as well. 
– Gift Shop Manager, Quad Hospital. 328 beds. 11/4/19


We are planning and preparing to launch a Twelve Days of Christmas Sale the first of December 1. I can’t believe the excitement we have built in our shop.  I don’t remember who offered the suggestion or what newsletter it came from so I will simply say a thank you to Cindy and all who contribute to the newsletter. Collaboration and sharing of best practices is the only way to operate successfully.  Happy Holidays. — Annette, Saline Hospital. 11/1/19


Having attended both America’s Mart and NY NOW multiple times, I would recommend America’s Mart in Atlanta. It’s much larger, with a vastly superior variety of products, and hotel rooms in downtown Atlanta are much more affordable than NYC. Also, if you’re a Purchasing Power Plus member, many more PPP vendors are represented in Atlanta.
 Eric WiningerGift Shops Manager, Reading, PA  759 Beds  10/24/19


I am looking for anyone who has purchased the battery operated Giftcraft Snowglobe Christmas Décor. It has a light and a fan which blows the glitter around so it doesn’t need shaking. We purchased several different styles and we have had a problem with each one. They seem to be sucking the battery life out at a very fast rate. I believe it is a problem with the technology because it happens to all of that same technology of the snow-globe effect. Giftcraft states that they have had no other complaints about them. Thanks in advance for any feedback you can give me.  Brenda WelcherAdventHealth, Volunteer Services Manager, AdventHealth – Zephyr Hills  138 beds  10/25/19



Warmies, a heatable plush and home therapy product. They are always adding new items to their line. 844-927-6437

Simply Pairables from Snoozie Slippers. They have added a lot of new items. Simply Pairables are now available in women’s and men’s sizes. 252-650-7000

SwirlyDo Hair Ties by Lindo. I carry them in the large and small and I have reordered several times. This is a great product to keep at the checkout counter. 206-973-2363 

 Sally Begue, Gift Shop Manager, Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron, OH. 263 beds.10/16/19


The Gathering of Friends series is a good cookbook. The photos in this book are fantastic, the recipes just wonderful, and they include a shopping list and place for guests to sign at each gathering. With the holidays coming up I highly recommend it! Cost is $12.50; I sell them for $29.95. 

— Anonymous, please. 10/19/19



Q. For those of you that are selling store gift cards (Amazon, Dunkin Donuts, etc.) are you excluding these from the employee discount? — Shawn L. Richardson Alice Peck Day Hospital Gift Tree Shop, Lebanon, NH. 10/12/19


Our employee discount is 25% so gift cards have to be excluded or the they would be purchasing below cost. 

 Debbie Hood, Union Hospital Gift Shops, Terre Haute, IN. 345 beds. 10//24/19

As I assume your profit margin on this gifts cards is very small, do not offer any discounts on them. In general, I do not discount anything with less than a 50% profit margin built in. 

 Eric WiningerGift Shops Manager, Reading, PA. 759 beds. 10/24/19



Q. I am looking for a new vendor for gift bags, besides Gift Wrap Company and Kelli’s. Any suggestions? Thank you.— Donna Sant, Carle Auxiliary Retail Mgr, Carle Hospital, Urbana IL.10/15/19

We use Nashville Wraps and sometimes Burton & Burton has bags. We have a volunteer who decorates the  basic brown bags with buttons, ribbons and other miscellaneous crafty items. They are absolutely adorable and the customers love them.

 Catherine Taschler. Ascension St. Clare’s, Weston WI. 10/24/19

Pictura Cards have some very nice gift bags.

  Eric Wininger, Gift Shops Manager, Reading, PA. 759 beds. 10/24/19



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Hallmark is a perfect partnership for hospital retail.
Create a relaxing respite for staff, visitors and patients.
Flexible floor plan options and attractive opening terms make this
a great opportunity for your hospital gift shop!
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Our new, improved, and unique
Petite Purse Strap Holder Brooch!
Keeps your purse and other straps securely on your shoulder.
Hands free for your active lifestyle. Ends slippage!
Patented u-shaped pin-back lasts a life-time. Never snags your garment.
Whimsey, Pets, Flowers, and adorable nurse & medical designs.

See our exciting 2020 Winter collection of foot coverings!
Simply Pairables in children’s, women’s and men’s sizes.
What’s the most important reason to stock and sell Snoozies® In your hospital gift shop?
Because they simply sell like crazy! Soft, comfy, warm, and simply adorable!
More colors and more new styles!
Check out our Opportunity Buys for discounted deals.
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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
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Receive credit on all unsold magazines. Huge Magazine Selections!
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QUICKCHARGE POS provides all of the point of sale features you need
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© 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.

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