Utah Valley Hospital

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | October 15, 2020 💮

CINDY’S NEWSLETTER

for

Gift Shop Managers

Cindy’s Newsletter provides its readership of over 3,000 gift shop professionals “actionable content” to help optimize their shop operation, grow revenue, and connect with one another. LEAVE A COMMENT: Click the colored comment tags throughout the newsletter or email Cindy at cindy@cindyjonesassociates.com


OCTOBER 15, 2020


Welcome to the Golden Quarter

by Cindy Jones, Editor 💮

This is the time of year when retailers can expect to generate between 50-70% of their annual revenue. Making the Golden Quarter work for you requires careful planning that, in reality, should have begun back in January. But even if you haven’t be able to lay the ground-work due to COVID-19, you can still reap the benefits of a solid holiday season. Planning, using resources like an online shop, and knowing your retail goals will help with Q4 preparation and work towards a successful year-end push.

  • All Christmas merchandise should be in the shop by mid-October. About 50-65% of your shop should be holiday merchandise by the last week of October. 
  • Display your more expensive holiday merchandise first. You never know how much your customer is willing to spend unless you dangle the carrot in front of him or her. If you leave your inventory in the stockroom, you will lose sales. And, this leads to markdowns!
  • Put up your artificial Christmas tree and display all your ornaments. Add clear mini-lights for sparkle and drama! 🎄
  • Keep windows unobstructed and open for customers to see into your wonderful shop unless they are filled with terrific displays!
  • String clear twinkle lights around shop windows. Play holiday music and set the mood!
  • Post pictures of your beautiful shop on your social media sites.
  • All decorations and display props should be “for sale”.
  • All summer merchandise goes on clearance. ✂️
  • Order bag and wrap supplies for the holidays. 
  • Assign someone to restock the register area from now to December 25. 
  • Change window displays every 3-4 weeks. 
  • Integrate cross-merchandising into displays
  • Begin displaying higher-priced holiday merchandise and Christmas collectibles.
  • Begin displaying Halloween merchandise.
  • Order 2021 planners and calendars. 
  • Mark down slow selling merchandise to acquire space for just-arrived items.✂️
  • Ensure that monthly meetings are held for advance merchandise buying and planning.
  • Discuss the importance of checking in, pricing, and restocking merchandise in a timely way throughout October, November, and December. 
  • Discuss everyone’s vacation schedules so all areas of responsibility are covered during these crucial times.
  • Encourage buyers to think in terms of “total shop success” instead of just their own category and turf. Working in harmony as a team will produce profitable results for your gift shop. 🏆
  • Schedule buyers’ meetings to review job descriptions and responsibilities. Emphasize how important their commitment is to the shop – especially during the holidays. 🏆
  • This is a crucial time to develop your shop’s holiday marketing plan. Write and schedule submissions to the hospital newspaper/newsletter to run every week or so throughout the holidays announcing all your exciting holiday merchandise.
  • Request that all staff and volunteers report when they will be out of town during the holidays. Ensure that their job responsibilities are covered while they are gone.
  • Present a short training session on proper phone etiquette, “What Should I Say?”
  • Train cashiers procedures to follow when a shoplifter is spotted or caught. 🎯 
  • Be the first to say, “Hello! Good to see you.” Smile at everyone you meet.


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SURVEY: Do you have an online store?

Do you have an online store?Does your shop have an ecommerce store on your organization's website, a separate website, or any other platform.


SURVEY RESULTS: Have you recently attended or plan to attend a gift market?

Current results to the survey, as of October 15, 2020, show most are not attending gift shows yet.

October 2020


Q. What vendors offer baby apparel that sells well?

I manage a gift shop in a 99- bed facility and we deliver babies. What vendors offer baby apparel that sells well? Thank you – Patty Cummings, Inventory Procurement Specialist, Fisher-Titus Medical Center, Norwalk, OH. 9/28/20

0
Please leave a feedback on thisx


Create videos of your merchandise

Create great videos of your merchandise and post on your shop’s social media account to help drive traffic! They don’t have to be elaborate or large productions. Select a high-demand item and “walk your customers through it”. Highlight the items functionality, materials, colors, and options or varieties. Show all angles and sides of the item, demonstrate use when applicable or pair with other items to upsell! Keep the video short, succinct, and lighthearted. Videos are a great way to tell your customers about newly discounted or promotional items, as well.

Here’s a terrific merchandise video created by shop manager, Judy, and her team at Rice Hospital Gift Shop!

Having trouble viewing the video? Here’s the direct link https://www.facebook.com/RiceGiftShop/posts/2778950519001672



Q. Holiday gourmet food line?

We are considering ordering some holiday gourmet dips, soups, and drink mix products to sell. Any recommendations?  8/23/20  

We have purchased cocoa, ciders, etc from McSteven’s. Cocoa pouches are .71-.80 each. We also purchased from Great Scot which has jellies and preserves. – Ginger Taylor, Cox Health Medical, Springfield, MO. 502 beds. 10/8/20

FROM CINDY
Wind & Willow and Gourmet Village were recommended. 

0
What holiday gourmet food line do you recommend?x

 


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Start planning holiday events now!🎄

by Cindy Jones, Editor 💮

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS SALE

Offer 20% – 30% off merchandise over twelve days from varied categories or fun identifiers. There are several great variations to this event. Be creative! All Santa’s, all stuffed animals with a tail, food smelling candles, snowmen items, jewelry that could pick ice with or skewer a snowball, ornaments with dogs. For example; all snowmen one day, then all reindeer another, all items with green, all items with a tree, all mugs and drinking items.

Another variation is a COLORFUL CHRISTMAS event with discounts by color: all items with Rudolph Red, then items with Grinch Green, items with Winter White, items with Stocking Coal Black, items with Pumpkin Orange, items with Yellow Snow, etc. : ) Note that items must contain at least 75% of the color.

Count back 12 business days from December 23 or 24 to determine the first first day of the sale (the weekend days are the same as the preceding Friday). The sale ends on Dec. 23 or 24 with holiday items marked at 40% off until January 1. That is when they are moved to your clearance area to make way for new merchandise. Alternatively, start the event on December 1, thereby giving you the opportunity to offer 30% discount the week previous to Christmas and 50% the week following Christmas.

Prepare twelve fliers that promote only the discounted merchandise for that specific day. Do not post an advance list of sale items. Withholding the sale item will encourage shoppers to come in daily to see what’s on the list. Post fliers each morning on the shop door, as well as social media and your website.

This makes hunting through the merchandise interesting and keeps customers coming back. It also keeps your buyers busy planning ahead and watching the merchandise carefully. This promotion may take a day or two to catch on, but the following year you will really see increased sales.

Get more holiday ideas and full planning schedule in the 50-page guide Twelve Month Action Plan

Retailing in current times is just like any other.
You have to be agile. You also have to be flexible.
Times are tough and may get tougher before things improve,

especially if a second COVID-19 surge comes this fall.
But, as the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy advises: ‘Don’t panic!”
You may need to reinvent and reimagine your future gift shop!


Coronado Gift Shop adapts and innovates around COVID-19

Coronado Hospital Gift Shop implements new online shop, pharmacy space, touchless payment, doorside pickup, room delivery.

The Coronado Times / Sep 16, 2020

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unique challenges and our teams have risen to meet them in creative ways,” comments Stone. The Auxiliary team was challenged when they were required to close the hospital Gift Shop and thrift store, Second Best Shop. In response, they have created new and innovative ways to support the Auxiliary.

Space has been dedicated in the Coronado Community Pharmacy featuring Gift Shop items for purchase. In addition, a phone-in option is now available to purchase items from an online Gift Shop where people can view items and click on the link or just call to make a purchase and have a gift delivered directly to a patient’s room.

In addition, Second Best Shop is pleased to announce the grand opening of its virtual thrift shop. The online Second Best Shop features a variety of offerings, including clothes and household items, for purchase directly on the website and then the team will coordinate with customers for a touchless pick up.

Coronado, CA

Excerpt from The Coronado Times


Podcast: Stale Inventory, Fear of Selling, Fear of Buying

We are loving the series Tackling Fear Before Q4 by the Savvy ShopkeeperCheck them out!

Getting Rid of Stale Inventory – Episode 39

The fear of getting rid of inventory sitting in your store for way too long is common in retailers. I’ve seen this fear for years, with clients, group members, and through my conversations with shopkeepers. I want to stress that sitting on old inventory is one of the worst things you can do in your retail business. It. Can. Break. You! It really can.

The Fear of Selling – Episode 40

All shopkeepers should be selling right now. And when I say all shopkeepers, I mean the makers should be selling to the brick and mortar stores, the brick and mortar stores should be selling to their customers, and online shopkeepers should be selling in their online shops. We should ALL be selling!

The Fear of Buying – Episode 41

When the pandemic hit and many of us were mandated to close, there were lots of questions around when we could open again and what would happen once we opened. It caused many independent retailers to either suspend the merchandise orders for their stores or cancel them completely.  

Personally, at my own store, we didn’t cancel any orders. We just delayed a few. For several reasons—and I think one is just a bit of luck—we were really conservative in our buying when we went to AmericasMart in Atlanta in January.

Now, most stores are open again. Customers are shopping. But we have no idea what to expect in Q4! Unless you’re in a seasonal location, quarter four is the biggest season of the year. 

SOURCE: Savvy Shopkeeper.com


How we lead: acknowledging and encouraging

by Ken Blanchard / Sep 20, 2020

Most leaders genuinely intend to manage people well. Unfortunately, many of them fail to engage and motivate others. Why? I believe it’s because you can’t just hope to be a good leader; you have to consistently practice proven leader behaviors.

 Acknowledging Is a Learned Skill

Too often people feel they are working in a vacuum, because no matter how well they perform, nobody notices. Or, if their manager notices, they make overly general comments, such as, “I appreciate your efforts” or “thanks for the good job.” While that’s better than saying nothing, it doesn’t do a whole lot to motivate the person or help that person feel valued.

Do it quickly and in detail. For acknowledgment to be effective, it needs to be immediate and specific. When you notice a job well done, tell the person as soon as possible exactly what they did right. For example: “When I was called away last week and couldn’t lead the department meeting, you stepped up, asked me for the agenda, and led the team through each item.” State your feelings. Next, tell the person how what they did impacted you. Don’t intellectualize. State your gut feelings: “We didn’t miss a single deliverable. I felt so relieved and supported. You made me and the whole department look good. Thank you!” Notice how much more effective that is than merely saying, “Thanks. Good job.”

To Encourage, Try Praising People

I ask audiences all the time: “How many of you are sick and tired of all the praisings you get at work?” Everybody laughs, because to most of us, praising does not come naturally. Thousands of years of evolution have wired our brains to search for what isn’t right: Is that a stick on the trail or a venomous snake? Is the wind moving that bush or is it a bear? Our tendency to focus on what isn’t right is a protective mechanism. Unfortunately, it makes us more likely to catch each other doing things wrong.

Take marriage, for example. When you first fall in love, your partner can do no wrong. But after a time you notice what bugs you and you start saying things like, “I can’t believe you could make such a stupid mistake!” Far from motivating your partner, comments like these discourage and shut them down.

Praise, on the other hand, is inherently motivating. Research has shown that praise triggers the hypothalamus and releases dopamine, the feel-good chemical in our brains. Being close counts.

You don’t have to wait for exactly the right behavior before praising someone. Even if a person is doing something approximately right, it’s important to recognize their effort.

Suppose your child is just learning to speak and you want to teach him to say, “Give me a glass of water, please.” If you wait until he says the whole sentence before you give him any water, your kid is going to die of thirst! So you start off by saying, “Water! Water!” And when your kid says “waller,” you jump up and down, kiss the boy, and get Grandma on the phone so she can hear him say “waller.” It isn’t “water” but at this stage, you praise him anyway. You don’t want your kid going into a restaurant at age 21 and asking for a glass of waller, so after a while you only accept the word “water” and then you start on “please.”

Think of encouragement in the same way. In the beginning, catch people doing things approximately right. As their skills develop, gradually move them toward higher levels of competence.

A Positive Cycle

The importance of acknowledging people’s efforts and encouraging their progress cannot be overstated. These leader behaviors set up a positive cycle: Your praise helps people feel good about themselves. People who feel good about themselves produce good results—and people who produce good results feel good about themselves.

So generate some positive energy and help people reach their full potential. Catch people doing things right!

SOURCE: Ken Blanchard, How We Lead


Virtual Tradeshows and Online Showrooms

NY NOW Digital Market
October 3 – December 31, 2020 

NY NOW Digital Market will open on October 3, 2020, with 5 Live Show Days and will unite NY NOW’s unparalleled community of retailers, brands, and makers for live events, experiences, connection, reactivation, and holiday buying. This cutting-edge digital solution was developed to enable brands and retailers to pivot from the in-person event to a digital environment while ensuring a premium, interactive user experience. Retailers can expect enhanced search capabilities across product categories, communities, and trends; best-in-class digital functionality including video calls and appointment setting; and a machine learning layer that curates personalized brand recommendations specific to their buying needs.

Virtual New York Tabletop Show
Oct 13-20, 2020

41Madison.com will host a dedicated New York Tabletop Show hub with new digital features designed to help visitors better connect with brands from afar. Registrants can expect to enjoy upgraded showroom pages, dedicated brand pages will conveniently offer downloadable sell sheets, interactive 3-D virtual tours of showrooms, direct lines of communication with showrooms.

MELROSE 360˙ Showroom
Melrose International announces the premier of their virtual showrooms. They are launching a new way to shop this market season through MELROSE 360˙ Showrooms. Customers will be able to shop by collections, walk the entire showroom, make wish lists, and even place an order. The Home & Holiday showroom is available now and the 2021 Home & Garden showroom will be available in mid-August. The MELROSE 360˙ Holiday Showroom has an all new shopping experience designed for you.  This showroom will feature 12 holiday collections from our 2020 line, for those who weren’t able to shop earlier this season! In addition, all the items featured in this showroom are immediately shipped from our warehouse.


💮 CALENDAR 💮

GIFT MARKETS

Updated Oct 15. Always confirm show dates with the market directly before making travel plans. Dates change frequently and often.VIRTUAL SHOW
Oct 13-20, 2020
New York Tabletop Market
Oct 13 – 17, 2020
Atlanta Apparel Market (Fall) 🔗
Oct 17-21, 2020
High Point Market (Fall). Highpoint, NC 🔗
CANCELLED
Oct 18-20, 2020
NY NOW (Fall). New York 🔗
CANCELLED
Oct 18 – 20, 2020
National Stationery Show, New York
Oct 20-23, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market (Fall) 🔗
Oct 22-25, 2020
TransWorld’s Spring Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (Fall) Rosemont, IL 🔗
Oct 27 – 29, 2020
AmericasMart Fall Cash & Carry, Atlanta 🔗
Nov 4 – 7, 2020
Smoky Mountain Gift Show. Gatlinburg, TN 🔗
Dec 3-6, 2020
TransWorld’s Spring Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (Holiday) Schaumburg, IL 🔗
Jan 6 – 12, 2021
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (Winter) 🔗
Jan 11-15 and 18- 22, 2021
LA Mart (Winter). Los Angeles 🔗 **by appointment only
Jan 12 – 19, 2021
Atlanta Market (Winter) 🔗
Jan 19 – 22, 2021
January Denver Market 🔗
Jan 24 – 28, 2021
Las Vegas Market (Winter) 🔗
Feb 2 – 6, 2021
Atlanta Apparel Market 🔗
CANCELLED
Feb 7-10, 2021
NY NOW (Winter), New York 🔗
Feb 18-21, 2021
TransWorld’s Jewelry, Fashion & Accessories Show (Winter), Rosemont, IL 🔗
Feb 25-28, 2021
Denver Apparel & Accessory Market 🔗

For a list of local and regional shows we recommend Gift Shop Mag Trade Show Calendar or Smart Retailer TradeShow Calendar

STATE AUXILIARY CONFERENCES

VIRTUAL
Nov 4-6, 2020
Missouri Hospital Assoc (MHA) Annual Convention & Vendor Market. Osage Beach, MO 🔗 
RESCHEDULED for
Nov 4-6, 2020

Michigan Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals (MHVRP) Spring Conference. Shelbyville, MI🔗
Mar 21-23, 2021
Society for Healthcare Volunteer Leaders Annual Convention & Vendor Market. Nashville, TN 🔗
May 12 – 15, 2021
Michigan Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals Spring Conference. Shelbyville, MI 🔗

 


Comparing your shop’s sales with others

When comparing your shop’s ‘sales per square foot’ or your shop’s ‘net profit percent of your gross sales’ to other shops or to national benchmarks, remember that all variables must be equal!

Comparing ‘sales per square foot’ is a valuable measurement tool for success but you have to compare apples to apples. The shop has to be proportionate in physical size to the number of employees and patient beds. While a large-sized shop in a small hospital will generate less ‘sales per square foot’ than a small shop with a large number of employee customers.

Is comparing the net profit percent of a shop’s gross sales a fair way to judge a shop’s success? Not necessarily. Some shops have a large number of volunteers instead of paid staff. While some shops have to pay salaries which reduces the bottom line.

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SEPTEMBER 2020 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #609
Check out last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions.

  • Your shop & COVID-19
  • A holiday season like no other
  • Q. Is anyone using lobby kiosks/vending machines during shutdown?
  • SURVEY: Have you recently attended or plan to attend a gift market?
  • Q. Looking for COVID-19 novelty items?
  • These calculations show if you have excess inventory
  • Q. What are some good holiday gourmet food line?
  • Space and size benchmarks
  • Virtual Tradeshows and Online Showrooms
  • Plush. Plush. Plush
  • Forecasting…and facemasks
  • Q. Candle line recommendations?
  • Calendar: Gift Markets and Regional Conferences

DISCUSSION


CANDLE LINE RECOMMENDATIONS

Q. I need to bring in another jar candle line quickly. There are so many out there that I don’t know where to start. Any recommendations? – Volunteer Buyer, Madison, WI 9/12/20

FROM CINDY
Yes, there are so many great candle lines available right now. Here are a few suggestions. Swan Creek Candle Co. and  MAME Soy Candles

We sell a lot of Habersham Wax Vessels. They don’t need to be lighted and no danger of fire—great in patient rooms. – Ginger Taylor, Cox Health Medical, Springfield, MO. 502 beds. 10/8/20.

I picked up a new line of candles, Root Candles, at January’s Atlanta Market and they are fantastic!  -Jenny Turner, UH Portage Medical Center, Ravenna, OH 10/7/20

What candle line do you recommend?

0
What candle line do you recommend?x
 


HIKE IN CHOCOLATE AND CANDY PRICES

Q. We have notice a major increase in chocolate and candy prices. Is any one else experiencing this? – Anonymous 7/7/20 

Yes. But I do have a vendor that sometimes have clearance sales on candy and snacks, but be careful with the expiration dates. Kellies Gifts. They are my biggest vendor I deal with. – Grace Hutchinson, Volunteer Manager and Buyer, Piedmont Medical Center Gift Store, Rock Hill, SC, 7/16/20

Have you noticed an increase in chocolate and candy prices?

0
Have you noticed an increase in chocolate and candy prices recently?x
 


VOLUNTEERS, GIFT SHOPS, FAIR LABOR LAW

I have a question regarding volunteers, gift shops and fair labor laws. The paragraph below is taken from an overview from FLSA website. In particular, I am interested in the part stating volunteers in commercial activity are not allowed in non-profit organizations. Can you tell me exactly what that means?

Volunteers
The FLSA recognizes the generosity and public benefits of volunteering and allows individuals to freely volunteer in many circumstances for charitable and public purposes. Individuals may volunteer time to religious, charitable, civic, humanitarian, or similar non-profit organizations as a public service and not be covered by the FLSA. Individuals generally may not, however, volunteer in commercial activities run by a non-profit organization such as a gift shop. A volunteer generally will not be considered an employee for FLSA purposes if the individual volunteers freely for public service, religious or humanitarian objectives, and without contemplation or receipt of compensation. Typically, such volunteers serve on a part-time basis and do not displace regular employed workers or perform work that would otherwise be performed by regular employees. In addition, paid employees of a non-profit organization cannot volunteer to provide the same type of services to their non-profit organization that they are employed to provide.

– Beth Meadows, Advisor, Philanthropy & Volunteer Services, Marion General Hospital, Marion, IN. 9/25/20
 
FROM CINDY
Thank you for your question and your concern about FLSA’s statement regarding volunteers.

Hospital gift shops are considered ‘for profit’ since they sell products for a profit even though they exist inside a non-profit or for-profit hospital. The status of the hospital is not the issue. Shop profits are typically given back to the hospital or to an entity within the hospital for medical equipment or patient benefit. A hospital gift shop missions statement will typically reflect this. Note the descriptors “retail business” and “service center”. Keep in mind that most hospital gift shops exist primarily to serve hospital employees working on site.

Gift Shop Mission Statement [Sample]
The ________ Hospital Gift Shop’s mission is to ensure satisfaction and value for our customers through fair-market pricing, service excellence, and quality merchandise. By meeting our customers’ needs, we will prosper as a retail business and meet the expectations of our employees and volunteers. As a service center, all profits from the gift shop are used to support patient care, programs, and medical equipment at ________ Hospital.

I hope this answers your question!



HOW IS THE SHUTDOWN AFFECTING YOUR GIFT SHOP?

idayWe finally opened this week for the first time in 6 months. Our hours are 3 times a week for four hours a day. Needless to say the staff is so excited. Concerns are how long we will stay open at this point. Covid numbers are skyrocketing. Not sure I will carry fall or Christmas items at this point. – Elizabeth Stringham, Volunteer Manager for Gift Shop, ThedaCare Regional Medical Center, Appleton, WI 10/6/20

Elizabeth, where are you located? Bravo for that glimmer of hope for your staff to be open just a short period of time. It is important for the hospital to see your “value” to the hospital as people start to come in and pick up necessities. As you know the hospital staff look to you for something different to look at other than masks and soda and candy. There are cute necklaces out there that clip on to masks so that you can avoid losing your mask and it looks like jewelry hanging around your neck. Unusual and fun items even in really small quantities lets people know that you are still an important part of the hospital and you are open! Just one small table display at the entrance that makes your “guests” smile…is worth the minor investment. Everyone is watching the seasons go so that we can move on into a new year!! – Anne Obarski, Merchandise Concepts, Mount Pleasant, MI. 10/9/20

We reopened the week that all retail establishments were permitted to open. It’s been going pretty well and the employees are so thankful that they can come in and shop. During the shutdown we were only selling via emails and phone calls. Patients are only permitted one visitor per day so we definitely are loosing there but our screeners will permit the public to come into the hospital to shop at our store so that’s a definite plus. Still only open limited hours. Mon–Thu 9-4 and Fri 9-2. No weekends. Snoozies masks have been our BIGGEST seller! Yes, they are more expensive but, after the employees tried them, they realized how comfortable they were. I sell them for $14.99 and get a second 25% off. We are a small community hospital too so we’re not selling to the rich and famous A much less expensive alternative is Wine Onion I’ve always bought jewelry from them but now you can get masks for less than $3 each and they’re selling really well at $6.99. And always, DM Merchandising has excellent prices! Their Comfort Care masks are $2.90 cost and sell for $6.99. I’ve reordered so many times. -Jenny Turner, UH Portage Medical Center, Ravenna, OH 10/7/20

Hi Jenny! I’m a grad of KSU and was tickled to see your hospital turn up here. I am happy you are offering a few different price points for your masks. What is even more interesting are your comments about Snoozies! It is important to take away from your comments that even though you may think the price point is high, the “value” your customer receives out weighs the retail price. I am sure you have a group of cheerleaders at your hospital who tell everyone that comfort is worth it. I know we all can agree when it comes to masks, comfort and quality say it all. – Anne Obarski, Merchandise Concepts, Mount Pleasant, MI. 10/9/20

25% of the HGS in California are open for business in several modes of operation.Almost all of the HGS based on my research are also open with their county health and hospital restrictions. – Lilly Stamets 10/12/20

We are open to limited hours. Monday thru Friday, 10am to 4pm, closed Saturday and Sunday. The week of our employee holiday event, November 16th, we will be re open on Saturday’s from 10am to 2pm for our weekend employees and guests. This will continue through the holidays and hopefully, into 2021. Thank you. -Kim DeBord, Riverside Medical, Kankakee, IL, 336 beds 10/6/20

We have opened up this week with limited hours. We do not plan to place any orders for the balance of 2020. – Barbara Reynolds, Roseville, CA 10/6/20

We are still closed… -Pinecone Gift Shop 10/2/20

Our hospital had not been allowing visitors other than special circumstances since March. We had been allowed to reopen the gift shops for limited hours a day. This week they are changing the visitor policy to allow a visitor per patient, but visitors and patients have to remain in their rooms when possible and they are not allowed to enter the gift shops or dine in the café. We are concerned about policing this, as our doors have been open and we have two rooms so the door isn’t always in sight. We are going back closed doors/no entry and text orders. We will continue using our private employee group to sell to employees. I’m looking at ecommerce sites for the possibility of this continuing deep into fourth quarter. – Shea Parazine 7/7/20

Thank for all you do, Cindy. Reading Hospital is choosing to not open their gift shops any time in the near future. My last day is June 30th. – Eric Wininger, Gift Shops Manager, Reading Hospital 6/19/20

We’ve been open with reduced hours up until yesterday when we returned to regular weekday hours. No weekend hours yet. During our reduced hours we sold t-shirts that said “I’m sorry for what I said during Quarantine” and the staff LOVED them! Nothing insensitive to the seriousness of the situation, but our employees relish getting away for some retail therapy. They’ve been buying hand sanitizer and we’re finally getting masks in that we ordered. – Vicki Holcombe 6/16/20

Vicki, May I ask what company you bought your masks from? Are you happy with them and were they a reasonable price? Thank you!– Pam 6/16/20

They are cloth masks from Couture Tee Company out of Farmville, LA. Cost is $3.50 each. We just got them in but our manager reports they are already selling. She bought one herself and said it’s comfortable to wear. We also have some that just shipped from Calla Products out of Diablo, CA. Cost is $4.00 each for those. Both are vendors we already had a relationship with. I hope this helps.  – Vicki Holcombe 6/17/20

We finally opened this week for the first time in 6 months. Our hours are 3 times a week for four hours a day. Needless to say the staff is so excited. Concerns are how long we will stay open at this point. Covid numbers are skyrocketing. Not sure I will carry fall or Christmas items at this point.My company, Hospitalgiftshop.com, provides hospitals with E-Commerce, online shops…for almost 12 years…that’s all we do. We’re very popular and I’d be happy to discuss our services. Please email me or call any time. In this time of reduced foot traffic, an online shop is a great way to keep patients and their loved ones connected. Our website is http://www.hospitalgiftshop.com Kind regards JIM jimthomas@hospitalgiftshop.com – Jim Thomas 6/16/20

Currently we are open 11 to 1:30 mainly for employees since our hospital is still closed. Limited visitors are now allowed. We’ve been having fun selling when people call the shop. We don’t have fresh flowers but offer a plush and a balloon. We ask what the person may like and how much they want to spend. We deliver to the nurses on the floor, not the patient. Since the sales are time consuming, we have two volunteers each shift. Callers are so happy to get a thoughtful gift to a coworker or patient. I text them a copy of the receipt and sometimes a picture of the item sent. They love it. – Connie Slingluff 6/16/20



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