Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | September 15, 2021 💮

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.


SEPTEMBER 15, 2021


October action plan

Buy

Be on the lookout for trendy items that will add zest to your holiday merchandise presentation. Act and react to what’s happening in the marketplace! Read, ask your vendors, and network all you can to discover last minute best sellers as you move closer to the holidays. There’s still time to buy hot items.

Begin buying Valentine’s Day merchandise. 💘

Order male-specific gifts for the holidays: pro/collegiate paraphernalia, barbecue tools, aprons, wall clocks, auto tag frames, travel mugs, flashlights, work lights, digital tire gauges, roadside emergency kits, aluminum wallets, golfers tools, pocket screwdrivers. It’s really hard to buy for men. Be the shop solves this challenge for your customers.

✂️ Mark Down

After Halloween, weed out “lemons” and put them on sale. You may make less profit, but there will be no profit if you’re stuck with them. Pack away remaining Halloween for next year.After Halloween, weed out “lemons” and put them on sale. You may make less profit, but there will be no profit if you’re stuck with them. Pack away remaining Halloween for next year.

🧸 Display

All Halloween merchandise should be on display in the shop by early October. Be sure to check your stock rooms to ensure all items have made it to the selling floor. 🎃

Display Thanksgiving merchandise. 🦃

Display calendars and date books in October in order to sell through before Christmas. This is prime time to sell calendars. 📆

October 16: National Boss’s Day. Create a display of desk accessories, candy and flowers. 🎯

Sweetest Day is always held the third Saturday in October. Set up a display with cards, gifts, candy, and flowers. Sweetest Day is a strong holiday in the northeast and central states. 🍬

📝 Plan

It’s time to begin developing your holiday buying and marketing plan. Plan your holiday displays for the next eight weeks. 

Meet with the flower vendor to ensure that the cooler will be well stocked with holiday plants and flowers throughout November and December.

Get sales, promotions and events ready to roll out.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Create a pink themed display with specialty items for breast cancer patients. Hold a fundraising event for the month and donated the funds to the hospital’s breast cancer charity. Include signage or flyers on breast cancer programs at your hospital. Merchandise includes:

  • Novelty socks with the pink ribbon motif. It’s a great item for any patient going through treatment or simply hospital staff wanting to call attention to cancer events
  • Hydration items such as water bottles are a great item for organized breast cancer walks and events
  • Caps and tee-shirts
  • Novelty jewelry
  • Anything “pink” can also be used in the display to make a statement.

Excerpt from A Twelve-Month Action Plan for Gift Shop Managers and Buyers

UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

October
Oct 10 – Handbag Day
Oct 11 – Columbus Day
Sep 15 – Yom Kippur
Oct 16 – Boss’s Day
Oct 16 – Sweetest Day
Oct 31 – Halloween
November
Nov 11 – Veterans Day
Nov 25 – Thanksgiving
Nov 26 – Black Friday
Nov 28 – Hanukkah Begins
Nov 29 – Cyber Monday
December
Dec 4 – National Sock Day
Dec 6 – Hanukkah Ends
Dec 25 – Christmas
Dec 31 – New Year’s Eve
JANUARY
Jan 1 – New Year’s Day
Jan 3 – Martin Luther King Day


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Trend report for Spring/Summer 2022

Atlanta Apparel’s in-house fashion office has released its semi-annual trend report, previewing the upcoming Spring/Summer 2022 colors, prints and styles retailers can expect to see while sourcing at the upcoming Atlanta Apparel, October 12-16, at AmericasMart Atlanta. “These trends reflect a year and a half of living through a pandemic. People’s priorities change and fashion evolves from what’s happening in our lives,” said Morgan Ramage, Atlanta Apparel Fashion Director. “Spring/Summer 2022 will showcase mood-boosting colors and styles as we transition from a period of uncertainty to cautious optimism.”

KEY COLORSMust-have apparelAccessories
Butter
Bubblegum Pink
Atlantic Blue
Preppy strong reds
Greens and brown to reflect outdoor lifestyle
Mango Sorbet to Golden Peach
Bubble-hem tops
Positive-message tees
Scalloped, lace, crochet blouses
Summer knit vest
Statement jewelry
Pendant and beaded necklaces
Chunky hoops
Nostalgic vanity-style bags, bucket bags, beaded bags
Soft-rectangle sunglasses, oversized retro sunglasses

SOURCE: AmericasMart Atlanta


SURVEY RESULTS: Do you have staff payroll deduction?

The results are overwhelming! Do you have staff payroll deduction? Seventy-six percent (76%) responded “Yes”.

The swipe of a badge is much easier than carrying around cash or a credit card, especially for hospital employees who are popping in while on break. Employees appreciate the convenience of buying without cash up front and interest-free! It’s all about removing barriers to sale and bringing value to your hospital employee’s lives by making the buying process quick and easy.

If you still don’t have payroll deduction learn how with the guide How To Implement An Employee Payroll Deduction System for Hospital Gift Shops

 

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RESPONSES: What is your markups in this post-COVID market?

Q. Wondering what your markup is on items right now? We have been limited to mostly our hospital staff as shoppers and are noticing a decline in sales. Thank you! – Gina Richmond, Sunshine Gift Shop Unity Point Hospital, Dubuque, IA. 126 beds. 8/10/21.

Cost + shipping x 2 across the board, excluding candy that is not specialty. If purchasing a discounted item or receiving a discount, the regular price is factored in and then the price is doubled. – Jamie Lee Hernandez, The Gift Corner/Loose Ends, Billings. 289 beds. 9/10/21

I have been doing the same markup as I did pre-COVID (x2). There are some items that I am able to mark up more (x 2.4 or more) depending on if I purchased them on sale or if they are just an inexpensive wholesale item that is great quality that I can markup for. With the added surcharges and increased wholesale prices across the board I am leaning towards a x 2.3 markup in the near future. – Sarah Ryan, Rutland Regional Medical Center, Rutland, VT 9/7/21

Glad to hear that, Sarah. Be sure to include shipping charges into the retail. – Cindy, Cindy Jones Associates

We are a small critical access hospital in Northwest Wisconsin. Due to the population we serve, I cannot always do the 2.3% markup on items in our gift shop, The Corner Boutique. I try, but am always mindful of the price point, yet there are times I can price an item higher because of the purchase price (on sale) and quality. It truly is a game of chance! Thank you everyone for sharing. – Ann Bergmann, Cumberland Healthcare, Cumberland, WI. 25 beds. 8/30/21

The gift shop I manage is located in a rural area where almost 50% of our population is Amish (LaGrange, Indiana). I typically cannot get away with marking up more than x2 and sometimes it’s less than that depending on the wholesale cost. – Christina Blaskie, Parkview LaGrange Hospital, LaGrange, IN. 8/23/21

We are using the same calculation we did pre-COVID. Mark up of 50% then the cost of shipping and handling. – Nancy Collins, New London Hospital, New London, NH. 8/18/21

Cost x 2.5 to 2.6 on most items. Candy/snacks are around 35%. – Angela Quinn, UNC Lenoir Health Care, Kinston, NC. 8/17/21

Except for candy & flowers our current markup is minimum 2.5. – Kerri Clark, Community Hospital, Munster, IN. 8/17/21

I haven’t changed my pricing post-COVID. I have kept it the same. I will however up my pricing for Christmas only because I feel like Christmas decorations are going to sell fast and customers are not going to mind the prices going up a little because prices are up for everything. – Lauri Huffman, Indiana University Health. 8/17/21

Good thinking Lorrie. As a past department store buyer for May/Macy’s, I can say that asking yourself “What would my customer be willing to pay” is very important. Value, uniqueness, quality will guide you to price. But my feeling is that if it is not food or flowers, you should never, ever only double the price of your products. When you DO have to mark items down, take a very close look at the product you are marking down and honestly ask yourself, why didn’t it sell? Was it color or quality, size, or value or did it come in too late in the season or was it poorly displayed or maybe, it just wasn’t for your customer base? What can you learn from a “markdown”? Trust me, it will be a good learning tool for future buys when a vendor says, “Everyone is selling this”. – Anne Obarski, Merchandise Concepts, Mt. Pleasant, MI. 8/17/21

I usually stick to about a 2.4 markup. A little less if I got a free freight special and sometimes I go up a little more. – Juli Chrisman, WPR Cancer Institute, Little Rock, AR. 8/17/21

Ours is normally 2.5 but with the rise in shipping and surcharges we have recently been going up a little more if the product can validate the price. – Cheryl, Novant Health, Charlotte, NC, 637 beds. 8/17/21

We double the cost plus shipping. – Robin Truax, Gouverneur Hospital, Gouveneur, NY, 77 beds. 8/17/21

65-70%  – Margaret Legut, Elmhurst Hospital, Elmhurst, IL. 259 bed/ 9/16/21

FROM CINDY

Gina, markups should remain the same! Do not change your markups! Once COVID is gone and life and retailing get back to normal, you will want to go back to your usual markups and pricing standards, but then your customers will walk out saying ‘everything is overpriced in the gift shop’!

If you are not taking at least a keystone markup (50% above wholesale) plus shipping on most of your merchandise, it is unlikely that your shop is profitable. Hospital gift shops cannot make a profit on an initial 2x times mark on plus shipping. After mark downs, the gross margin is reduced even more. Profitability is based on many things but one of the most important is markup.

Instead, look for hidden opportunities to earn a little extra profit. Consider buying merchandise at closeout or negotiating discounts on your purchases. Some items will need to be marked down because they are slow sellers. However, discounting everything, such as a “20% off everything” sale, is not recommended. Keep in mind, a mark down is the most important tool a retailer has to move a mistake out the door. We all make buying mistakes. It happens with the best buyers! Buying a bad style, wrong colors, wrong sizes, wrong timing, too many, bad fit, etc. Just don’t fret, recognize mistakes early and mark down immediately!

STANDARD MARKUPS BY CATEGORY

GIFTS, TOYS, APPAREL, CARDS, PLUSH, BABY, ACCESSORIESCANDY, SUNDRIES
Double price + 6-10% for shipping 
🎯 Formula: cost x 2.5 or more
30-33% markup
🎯 Formula: cost x 1.4 or more
**Higher for specialty candy
JEWELRYFLOWERS
60-70% markup
🎯 Formula: cost x 2.4 or more
**Most jewelry comes pre-priced.
33-35% markup
🎯 Formula: cost x 1.5 or more

THANK YOU READERS!

Wow! Thank you to all who contributed your comments here and in past newsletters. We are so fortunate to have such a great community of readers, collaborating every month towards a common goal.

Gift shop managers really are AMAZING people! Strong, resilient, driven, creative, ingenious and BETTER TOGETHER!


Men’s holiday gifts

From a buyer, “It’s really hard to find men’s gifts that sell! Customers will ask if we have any men’s gifts and when we ask what they are looking for, they really can’t tell me. This is an ongoing challenge! Guys just don’t like “stuff” as much as women do!” Here are two ideas to start with: pro or collegiate paraphernalia from Jenkins Enterprises and American Expedition. They carry items that are masculine and tasteful and are nicely packaged and easy to display! Mud Pie has a “Him” category with a nice selection.

A few more things that have had some success are barbecue tools, aprons, wall clocks, auto tag frames, travel mugs, flashlights, work lights, digital tire gauges, roadside emergency kits, aluminum wallets, golfers tools, ‘7 in 1’ pocket screwdrivers, and magnifying glasses. A top seller for men is Joey Series by Outback Flashlights. It has a super-strong magnet in the base which allows the user to see under the hood of a car.


Q. Do you use HospitalGiftShop for your online store?

Q. Our shops have struggled with our online presence, especially through the pandemic and for a variety of other reasons. We are considering outsourcing to HospitalGiftShop to provide online access to our customers. Does anyone have experience with them? Have you used hospitalgiftshop.com for your online store? What are the pros and cons? What have you heard about them? What are the costs? Thank you! – Judi S, Gift Shops/Espresso Cafes. 7/8/21

Have you used hospitalgiftshop.com for your online store? What are the pros and cons? What have you heard about them? What are the costs? Would you use them?
5
What is your experience with HospitalGiftShopx

Are you – our would you – use hospitalgiftshops.com for an online store? What is your experience? Don’t just take; give back. Do your part and leave a comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Hospital Gift Shop is a Healthy Commerce company based in San Diego, California. We mention hospitalgiftshop.com in our recent article Creating and Online Store: Parts 1-4 as a way to outsource your entire online operation. But, there are pros and cons to doing so. We’d love to hear, first hand, from shops that are using their service!


5 ways to get a bigger share of the holiday sales pie

We’re down to the wire! You continue to fight the effects of COVID-19 on you, your business, your customers and your staff. You have closed your store, reopened, pivoted 27 times, and have figured out new ways to grow sales and to get product to your customers. You deserve a break! But not just yet. 

We have assembled five strategic actions you can take right now to help you get a bigger share of the holiday sales pie. Each of these five easy to implement ideas will help you entice customers to buy. 


five holiday sales tips
Front door “speed bumps”
Set the tone…. a lot!
Sell gift cards in-store & online
Sign the store like never before!
Daily team meetings

Begin at the front door 

You want your sales floor to scream “Holidays!” when shoppers enter. The perfect place to set the tone is at your “Speed Bumps”. These are the entry displays that give shoppers a taste of what they can expect when they shop your store. Try these for your speed bump displays: 

  • Pre-wrapped items
  • Cross-merchandised product that can be worn or used together
  • Items at the same price point
  • Gift suggestions by gender and age
  • Themed display of related items 

Remember to re-merchandise key parts of your sales floor, including the impulse items at the cashwrap, frequently. When the product remains stagnant – especially during the holidays – frequent shoppers think “I have seen this before” and keep on walking. So, move around new goods and things that have been with you for a while.

If you have to do pre-holiday markdowns do it while the sales floor continues to be busy with shoppers. The first markdown you take is the always the most important and the cheapest. 

Markdowns allow you to maximize your invested dollars. When you get those dollars back you can reinvest into newer items that will yield higher margins and better inventory turn. Packing product away for next year isn’t the answer because it never looks as fresh as it looked when it was initially received. Customers know. 

Set the tone 

Decorate the windows and the store for the holidays and put a Christmas spin on your dress code. And even if you hate holiday music, play it anyway because Christmas carols set the tone for the season. They also remind shoppers of the task at hand and puts them in gift-giving mode. 

Sell gift cards 

This is the precise time to focus on gift card sales. Statistics show that 75% spend more than the value of their card and 55% of gift card recipients require more than one shopping trip to the store to spend the balance of their card. This is great news! The more visits to your store the more likely they are to spend. Offer online gift cards as for those who like to shop from home or the last-minute shopper. 

🎯 TIP: Want to increase gift card sales? Include bonus cards for the shopper: “Buy $50 in gift cards and receive a $10 gift card for free”. Remember to make bonus cards valid after January 1 so they can’t be used to purchase holiday gifts. 

Sign the store like never before 

70% of purchase decisions are made in-store so signing helps shoppers make the decision to buy. Add signs to displays that read: New Arrivals, Gifts for Her, Gifts for Him, and add price points where applicable. Include product details to the signage like features, country or city of origin, the designer, materials, and the like. 

Meet daily with your team 

Make sure all associates are ready to provide excellent service. Meet with everyone for a couple of minutes in the morning. Share what’s new, changes on the sales floor, talk about what’s happening on social media, and what was sent to customers via email and direct mail. Talk up gift cards and gift ideas, do a Q&A – share whatever is important that particular day. 
Work just a little harder these months because your competitors will. We wish you a safe, wonderful, and prosperous holiday season. And remember, we are always here if we can help!

SOURCE: KIZER & BENDER’s Retail Adventures

How do you get ready for the holiday season? Do you have a tried-and-true cheatsheet? What are some imperative strategies you implement every year?
2
How do you get ready for the holiday season? x

What are you doing to get ready for the holiday season? Do you use a checklist? Must-have strategies or tasks? Don’t just take; give back. Do your part and leave a comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

RESPONSES: Is anyone selling vaccination card holders/protectors?

I just ran across vaccination card holder/protectors, and it made me wonder if anyone has tried them and how they sell for you? – Jamie Lee Hernandez, St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings, MT. 289 beds. 7/15/21

Yes, we currently offer a vaccination card holder. – Tana Taylor. 8/22/21

I’ve wondered the same; it seems as though no one is requiring the card to be seen for any purpose, so I’m not sure that consumers would see a reason to carry a holder. – Lauren. 8/20/21 

No, we are not, but what a great idea! Who is the vendor? – Nancy Collins, Volunteer Services Manager, London Hospital, New London, NH. 8/18/21

Hi Nancy, So sorry for the delay, I noticed them on Faire.com. – Jamie Lee Hernandez, St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings, MT. 289 beds. 7/15/21

We have been selling a clear inexpensive holder from Specialist ID. – Greg Holtgrewe, Baptist Health Paducah, Paducah, KY. 300 beds. 8/17/21


Social Media Tip: Create animated product videos like this!

Creating animated videos of your merchandise is easier than you might think, thanks to Canva. We’ve mentioned Canva in the recent four-part series on how to create an online ecommerce store.

Canva has a terrific set of intuitive, pre-formatted tools that you can use to make quick and easy content for social media posts….graphic design skills not required! Short looping videos like this one here are called GIFs.

Check back next month when we’ll show how to create a merchandise video like this one!

Canva.com

Click image to animate or view in browser.



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AUGUST 2021 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #621
Check out last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions.

  • Rev up your holiday planning now
  • Top 10 display tips
  • SURVEY: Do you have employee payroll deduction?
  • Q. What is your current markup in this post-COVID market?
  • Promo: Summer Sizzler Father’s Day Raffle
  • Job Openings
  • Guelph General Hospital gift shop launches online store

  • Product Pick: LEGO flashlight keychains
  • Q. Is anyone selling vaccination card holders/protectors?
  • Marketing Tip: Motivate hospital employees to shop
  • Social Media Example: Dot Sale Promotion
  • RESPONSES: What are some good plant vendors?
  • Calendar: Gift Markets and Regional Conferences

DISCUSSION


CUSTOMER REWARD/LOYALTY PROGRAM

We are interested in starting a customer reward/loyalty program. Requesting any advice on a system that has worked well in your hospital gift shop. – Stephanie Byrom, SJRMC Gift Market, Farmington, NM 194 beds. 5/17/12

We have a punch card that I got through Vista Print. For every $5.00 spent they get a punch. It takes $100.00 to fill. Once full, they get 30% off 1 items. It works well and the employees love it. As we require a minimum of $5.00 purchase to use payroll deduct, this is another encouragement to spend at least that amount. – Ginger Taylor, Gift Shop Manager, Volunteer Services, Springfield, MO. 6/22/21

We do punch cards for every 5$ spent they get a punch, after the card is full, 9 punches, they get 10% off one item with that card. – Ann Payne. 6/17/21

We currently have a customer loyalty program that was easy to implement through our POS (VEND). Customers are able to provide their contact information which automatically enrolls them in the loyalty program. This has been a great bonus for return customers (mainly staff) as we do not offer employee discounts. – Shellee Laubersheimer, Stanford Health Care Gift Shop, Stanford, CA. 2300 beds. 6/16/21

We currently utilize MM Hayes Quickcharge POS. They have a built in Loyalty system that has several options and customizations. – Shea Fowler, Unity Point. 6/16/21


ONLINE STORE

I am currently working on launching an online store. It has been several months in the making but this topic came up at the best time and has helped me so much with all the other shops providing information, tips and tricks. I will be look in to purchasing a photo box and using canva! I have saved all the previous articles to continually reference. Thank you to everyone for all the great information that has been provided. – Sarah, 7/30/21

Hi Sarah, we’re happy to hear that the article was helpful! Please let us know how the launch of your online store goes. On the interim, let us know what issues you run into…or questions. I’ll answer what I can and put it out for comment in the next issue. Good luck! – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc

First of all, thank you for deep diving into this subject. I wanted to know if having a POS is imperative to having an online presence? Is there a work around? Currently we do not have a POS, but we would love to explore the online possibility. Thank you. – Jamie Lee Hernandez, 5/20/21

A POS is not required to have an online store. You can sell, process payment, and fulfill orders entirely through your eCommerce software. You’ll need to coordinate your in-store and online sales, plus financials, and inventory. – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc

Cindy, this is absolutely the best newsletter that you have published. I will use as a reference over and over. We too realized that we were fortunate to have an online shop. We continue to update it as part of our hospital website. The big website will be new and fresher soon. We have been waiting a long time for this. Our on line business continues to grow even as we have opened our gift shop. We will send in our good news for you to publish. Have a great weekend – Kathryn, Carousel Gift Shop, Driscoll Childrens Hospital, Corpus Christi, TX. 191 bed. 4/19/21

Congratulations on launching your online shop. It is terrific. The landing page image with the teddy bear is really effective. Did you set up and launch it yourself? What software are you using? Several managers are wondering how to coordinate online with in-shop inventory. Are you having the same issue? – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc

Our gift shop is part of the hospital website. We are continuing to upgrade our part, as well as, the hospital having a new site. We do struggle with the inventory—as we are on Arba systems. We continue to keep up with inventory the old fashioned way, counting each week. We do keep the inventory separate from the shop back stock. Hope this part helps. – Kathryn, Carousel Gift Shop, Driscoll Children’s Hospital, Corpus Christi, TX. 191 bed. 4/19/21

We do not have a web site but will be building one this summer. My question is, I do not want to offer delivery beyond our campus (no shipping). Anyone had success doing this? – Kevin Shaw, Methodist Hospital Gift Shop, St Louis Park, MN. 4/16/21

Yes! Our sole purpose of an online store is for Patient Delivery Only and our opening welcome message on the site reads: Through this site, you may order gifts for delivery to patients staying at our hospitals”. We advertise “pre made bundles” to simplify options. We have a binder kept at the register that lists all of our online gift bundles and what items are needed to fulfill the order so that all staff members can work on gift building. We recently added phone chargers as an option online as we get a lot of phone calls from customers looking to send a charger to a patient. Well now they can order that charger online as an “add-on” item!
For inventory purposes, we ring up each item at the point of sale and use “eHit” as our mode of tender; it’s an arbitrary tender that has its own line on our reports so that these sales are not getting mixed into credit card or cash sales. – Meggen Heuss, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison, WI. 500 bed. 4/21/21

We do not yet have an online store however, this information is quite timely in that I am just beginning to explore one. I look forward to the next parts of the series as I am sure there are so many parts and pieces to consider. Without question, I believe it would be worth it, but getting it up and running and having manpower to keeping it going may prove to be more difficult. The shipping pieces is something that really worries me… Thank you all for your time to compile this information, it is appreciated. – Jamie Lee Hernandez 4/16/21

Remember, you don’t have to offer shipping. You can limit your fulfillment options to only those you feel are feasible: Patient Room Delivery, Office Delivery, In Store Pickup and, Lobby Pickup, Curbside Pickup. Phase in additional options, like shipping, later on when ready or not at all. We’ll discuss fulfillment methods in Part III. – Nicole, Cindy Jones Assoc

I am so interested to hear what others are doing, the pro’s and the con’s to having an online store. Who are you targeting? What merchandise will you sell? Where will the merchandise be stored? Delivery, mail out, curbside pick up etc. Who will manage it? Who will manage it when you are on vacation, nights and weekends etc. – Jamie Lee Hernandez 3/18/21

I’m not 100% sure so maybe Cindy could help us, but someone told me that if you are not for profit that you have to be very careful with online shopping because it could forfeit your nonprofit status. Cindy, can you help? Is this true? – Ali McCrary, Good Samaritan, Vincennes, IN. 232 beds. 2/16/21

FROM CINDY
It is a myth that 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations can‘t make a profit. Most hospitals and their subsequent gift shops are for profit. They charge sales tax and operate as a business. The shops then donate all their profits to the hospital for patient benefit and equipment. Look for our upcoming article on how to start an online store. We’ve found some terrific online gift shops and currently interviewing their managers to share with our readers. In the meantime, here is a helpful article on launching an on-line store Overcome Common Problems Launching a Hospital Gift Store Website  2/17/21

We are a volunteer only hospital gift shop. No visitors in almost a year. We we closed for 7 months and now are only open in the afternoons. We’ve been having a 30% off sale and the store is still full! An online shop would be great but it would fall on one person to create it and manage and would be a full time job.  – Martha Burke, Rome Hospital, Rome, NY. 130 beds. 2/9/21


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