gift shop Lakeland Regional

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | November 20, 2019 💮




 NOVEMBER 20, 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. 


Click the comment bubbles or 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.  Registration


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


January 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!  



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


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?

What is the Value of a Hospital Gift Shop?


Our gift shops here at Reading Hospital are owned and operated by The Friends of Reading Hospital.  All of the proceeds raised throughout the year are used to fund the latest projects of The Friends.  One of our biggest projects in recent years has been HeartSAFE Berk County, which donates AED units (automated external defoliators) to businesses and schools, as well as to local fire and police units throughout Berks County, Pennsylvania. This year alone, 3 lives have been saved by AED units donated by The Friends. And where did those funds come from? They came from Gift Shop proceeds! Our efforts make a huge difference to healthcare and the local community.  We help save lives! For more information about  HeartSAFE Berks County.


— Eric WiningerGift Shops Manager, , Gift Shops Manager, Reading, PA. 759 Beds.11/11/19


Two Policies: Donated Merchandise


Here are two policies to consider if your shop is or will be purchasing items from local craftspeople, volunteer auxiliaries, hospital employees or accepting items on consignment.


Policy 1

This policy allows the buying of craft items, etc. with certain standards


The gift shop is a business. All handmade craft items are to be purchased outright by the shop at cost and to sell at a 50% markup.

Merchandise purchased for resale in the Gift Shop must be from vendors who have business licenses, show at industry trade shows and comply with the Gift Shop Purchase Order Terms. If a vendor, person or auxiliary can pass the “risk management” test, then we can proceed to do business with them. An invoice must be prepared by the creator, artist, designer or craftsperson.

If item/s do not sell in an appropriate amount of time (4-6 weeks), they should be marked down for quick sale and NOT accepted again.

No consignment buying.


It requires that handmade items or donations must comply with the shop’s established vendor standards.


Policy 2

This policy restricts buying of craft items, etc.

Merchandise can only be purchased from licensed vendors or wholesalers. 


Being able to reference this policy allows your shop to graciously decline without hurting anyone’s feelings and the shop is not in the uncomfortable position of judging and turning away fellow volunteers or hospital employees.


Limited shop hours means limited sales and service!


A Number of Managers Have Recently Asked…


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

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


For me, the answer to both questions is “Home Décor”, also known as tchotchkes, brick-a-brack, or dust collectors. This category of merchandise changes monthly or seasonally to reflect seasons, holidays and celebrations. Last year my sales for this merchandise were $180,039, or 28% of my total sales. 

 —Eric Wininger. 759 beds 11/7/19


The category that represents the highest sales in our shop – it’s a toss-up between jewelry and apparel. The category that occupies the most space in our shop is plush.

Toni GildoneVolunteer CoordinatorManager of The Window ShopMonadnock Community Hospital, NH.  11/10/19

Our number-one category in both sales and allocated space is women’s apparel. It represents about 30% of all sales. Our top selling lines in this category are: Ruby Road, HabitatLuLu B by Zulily, Howards and DM. I am amazed at how well this category/department has done. There are days that we sell 15 tops. Hospital staff love the convenience.  We also have a number of people that come in from the community to shop. Ruby Road is much more fashion driven and is pre priced. The margins are fantastic and even when I have a one-day sale I am still making good margins.  DM is much more basic and has a great selection of pajamas, socks, scarves, hats, and gloves. They also have wonderful prices and good margins as well.  Habitat is much higher priced and it is my highest price line that I carry. This brand is very recognized in my area and is very good quality. The line is known for the quality and people will pay the higher prices for it. I do tend to work a lighter tighter with the margins for this vendor but I do sell it well. Howard’s Jewelry has a tunic every season in a variety of prints that has been very strong as well. If any other manager has great moderate priced lines that they are carrying I would love to hear about them as I am always expanding the category.  Thank you, Cindy, for another great newsletter!

—Carol A ColpittsGift Shop Manager/Buyer, Milford Regional Medical Center, Milford, MA. 125 beds. 11/6/19


Help out by sharing your response. Email


Space Allocation Tip

from Cindy


Evaluate all departments with regard to the revenue they create. The higher the sales, the more floor and shelf-space can and should be provided to them.




Nov 28        Thanksgiving

Nov 29        Black Friday

Nov 30        Small Business Saturday

Dec 22-30 Hannukah

Dec 25        Christmas


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National Toy Hall of Fame Announces 2019 Inductees

Matchbox Cars, Magic: The Gathering and the classic coloring book will be joining the ranks.


Small-but-mighty Matchbox Cars have raced across the finish line and been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame, joining the popular collectible card game Magic: The Gathering and time-honored coloring book in the class of 2019. The honorees were chosen from a field of 12 finalists that also included Care Bears, Fisher-Price Corn Popper, Jenga, Masters of the Universe, My Little Pony, Nerf Blaster, Risk, smartphone and top.

A dead item on your shelf has a turn rate of 0!


Do You Calculate Tariffs Separately?


Invoices that I have received do not have a separate “tariff” line item. They are just including the cost of the tariff into their wholesale prices. I, of course, reflect this into my retail pricing. Costs should be multiplied by 2.3 – 2.5 to obtain the retail price.

  — Eric Wininger. 759 beds. 11/7/19


I have noticed tariffs on Canadian companies that I do business with:  Giftcraft, Prairie Wear Compression bras, Bali Clothing Co. It tends to be 5% of my total order. I have been adding that into my shipping column as I do not have a separate subaccount for tariffs. Like all shipping, that is factored into my retail!   

LeAnn Porter, CFm, CMF SupervisorTina’s TreasuresVirginia G. Piper Cancer CenterScottsdale, AZ. 11/7/19


Volunteer Appreciation: Best Reward is to Simply Say Thanks


How do you show appreciation to your volunteers? Although it’s nice to give discounts and host luncheons, keep in mind that these generally are not the rewards that motivate volunteers. They are not personal. The best reward is to simply say, ‘thank you’ at the end of each shift. Tell them that they make a difference! I knew a volunteer once who just gave and gave of herself to the shop. She was like the Energizer Bunny, she just kept giving. I asked her why she keeps coming back week after week—to work for no pay. In one sentence, she summed up all my questions about volunteers and why they do what they do. “I’m doing a service for the community and it’s a way to meet people at the same time,” she said. “It’s knowing that I’m helping the hospital. I feel appreciated!”


79 Perfect Presents: Oprah’s Favorite Things for 2019


Here are  Oprah’s Favorite Things for 2019. It includes 79 perfect presents—and one bonus pick—just in time for the holidays from a makeup kit by Lady Gaga to the perfect pancake maker to the softest hoodie.


What’s Selling? The Top Shelf-Movers 

from Giftbeat 

By Erica Kirkland


As busy hospital gift shop managers, it’s not easy to determine what products will sell well. Add in the pressure of having a board oversee your product purchases – successes and failures – alongside limited floor space and it’s no wonder many managers are hesitant to step outside their comfort zones and purchase non-traditional categories of goods. However, consumers are consumers, whether they’re shopping at a gift shop inside a hospital or outside a hospital. Market data shows that the categories currently trending up among gift shop consumers are fashion accessories, jewelry and apparel.

In September, 46 percent of independent gift stores reported month-over-month sales gains in apparel while 43 percent noted gains in the sale of purses and bags. In August, 49 percent of stores recorded month-over-month gains in jewelry.

When dipping your toes into the water with a new product grouping, it’s important to build inventory with sure-fire winners before testing smaller, lesser-known brands. For many years, the top-selling apparel line for gift stores has been Simply Noelle. In the colder months, the brand’s wraps and capes sell well while in the warmer months capes and various tops are bestsellers. Another popular line are the t-shirts from Simply Southern  for stores in southern states and throughout the country. Of course, DM’s Hello Mello loungewear is a must-stock for hospital gift shops along with their Two Left Feet selection of slippers and socks.

When it comes to jewelry, the trend in the past few years has been toward jewelry with a message. Top lines include Embracelets, Layers and Forever in My Heart from Center Court while new and hot-selling collections include Lumiela necklaces from Mulberry Studios. Both lines are extremely affordable and easy to merchandise with branded countertop displayers.

While they take up more floor space, purses and bags are a category that female consumers purchase over and over again. Brands with long-standing saleability in the gift industry include animal-themed wallets and crossbodies from Chala and canvas totes and crossbodies from Myra Bag which are made from upcycled materials. If starting out in this category, try some equally popular but less costly lines like the multi-purpose mini clutches from Joy Susan, wristlets in a rainbow of colors from Jen & Co. and cellphone purses from Save the Girls

Many gift stores have found success in the category of wearables by offering employees a 50 percent discount on jewelry and apparel with the expectation that employees wear the items while working. Customers love seeing merchandise on employees and employees who really like a line are more likely to suggest it to shoppers. 

Erica Kirkland, Publisher & Editor of Giftbeat,






Q. 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 Wininger, Gift 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




I work and live one hour away from the NY Now show and rarely attend. For what it cost me to attend NY Now for two days I can attend America’s mart for six days!!! America’s Mart has a lot more to offer in terms of product and design ideas too! Almost all of my sale’s representatives have stopped attending the NY Now show due to the high cost of the city as well.  Colleen DeSimone ~ Gift Shop Coordinator, Orange Regional Medical Center Gift Shop, Middletown, NY  276 Beds    11/7/19


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 Wininger, Gift Shops Manager, Reading, PA  759 Beds  10/24/19




Q. 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 Welcher, AdventHealth, 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 Wininger, Gift 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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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!
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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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