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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


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. 

 


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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? 


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?
 


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



© 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.

Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | September 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


SEPTEMBER 15, 2020


YOUR SHOP & COVID-19 😷

🎉 Reopened! What policies have you put in place? Are they working?

👎🏼 Still Closed. What’s the biggest concern you have about reopening?

😕 Any difficulties or unforeseen challenges reopening?

What helpful tips can you share with other retailers during these unprecedented times? It’s difficult to stay afloat right now, but we encourage you to stay positive. Keep showing up to work every day, keep finding new and creative ways to continue turning merchandise, and keep supporting your community. They need you! <– Click to comment
Is your gift shop open, closed, or some variant?

Great news! We’re definitely seeing a trend in the right direction. Poll results show a 25% increase in shops reopening since last month.

September 15, 2020


How to go from good to remarkable in retail

by Steven Dennis /

There is a select group of good retailers that meet their customers’ expectations. They are retailers that carry the products customers expect, at the prices they expect, and have staff in the store who service them like they expect.

Then there are the few remarkable retailers who do something quite different. They over deliver customers’ needs in unexpected ways, exceeding all expectations.

At every turn, they do the unexpected, offer products customers didn’t know they needed, and provide customer service that surprises and delights. When retailers are remarkable, price doesn’t enter the picture because that elusive quality called value is more important.

The gulf between the two – unremarkable and remarkable retailers – is vast and the world is filled with way too many of the former and too few of the latter.

What’s more, the price retailers pay by being unremarkable in the post-COVID marketplace is high; the growing numbers of once remarkable and now clearly unremarkable retailers are filling bankruptcy courts proves the point.

When distinguishing between unremarkable and remarkable retail, it usually comes down to “I know it when I see it,” famously said by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart when he tried to articulate the difference between constitutionally protected pornography and obscenity.

That same intuitive filter is how the shopper, not to mention retail professionals, recognize remarkable retail. The many intersecting components that transform mundane retail into a truly remarkable experience can be quantified. The key is to look at remarkable retail as a series of data points that become an evidence-based playbook for change.

The companies that did not deal with all the disruptive trends of the past 10-to-20 years are even more vulnerable to be wiped out or severely impacted in this time. Retailers need to be fundamentally more agile and build that culture of experimentation. The fear coming out of this pandemic is it may make companies more risk-averse.

SOURCE: Steve Dennis, author of Remarkable Retail  (LifeTree Media, 2020)


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Q. Is anyone using lobby kiosks or vending machines during shutdown?

Does anyone have any information on lobby kiosks or automated retail ‘vending machines’ to sell gift shop items during times when the gift shop is not open? I have seen flower kiosks and there are similar vending services in airports. <em>-Judi Stallings, UNM Hospital Gift Shop, Albuquerque, NM. 600 beds</em>. 8/24/20 <– Click to comment

SOURCE: Trade Show News Network

THIS MONTH’S SURVEY

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

LAST MONTH’S SURVEY

Survey shows most of our readers are not attending gift shows yet. Only 6 out of 75 readers who voted in August said they were attending gift shows. Check out our section on virtual tradeshows and online showrooms in recent issues to learn how and where to buy remotely. Search for “online showrooms” on this website.



Q. Is anyone selling COVID-19 novelty items?

What COVID-19 novelty items is everyone selling? We are trying to find fun pandemic, social distancing, covid-19 gifts to sell in our shop? Thanks and stay safe!!! <em>- Anonymous in Arizona 9/1/20</em> <– Click to comment


A holiday season like no other

The coronavirus pandemic is upending the way U.S. consumers shop and the holidays will be no exception as major retailers and shippers roll out their earliest-ever shopping season.

[Big box retailers] have moved winter holiday promotions up to as early as October.  Walmart is announcing store closures on Thanksgiving and plans to bypass the midnight Black Friday door-buster sales that traditionally mark the start of the holiday season but are incompatible with the pandemic’s social distancing recommendations.

Kohl’s Chief Executive Michelle Gass said on Tuesday that “a holiday season like no other” means emphasizing comfortable apparel, home essentials and kids’ toys, all categories that have performed well as shoppers largely opt to remain at home.

Retailers are struggling to keep their shelves stocked for any holiday purchases while avoiding getting stuck with too much unsold merchandise if anxious shoppers decline to open their wallets.

By starting promotions early – in some cases before Halloween – retailers risk giving shoppers holiday fatigue. But analysts and investors say the idea could help draw shoppers back.

One supplier to a big box retailer told Reuters that the chain is bracing for a 30% decline in holiday spending this year, though the National Retail Federation (NRF) trade group has yet to release its holiday forecast.

Excerpts from Reuters  / Aug 22, 2020



Q. Holiday gourmet food line?

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

FROM CINDY
Wind & Willow and  Gourmet Village were recommended.


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Space and size benchmarks for your shop

by Cindy Jones, Editor 💮

As a hospital gift shop consultant and designer, I am often asked for recommendations on space and size in new shops. In this process, benchmarks based on the number of beds, hospital employees, and sales can assist in determining the size of a future gift shop.

SHOP SIZE
I recommend that a hospital with 2,000 or more employees have at a minimum of 1,000 square feet of selling space. Without the appropriate square footage the shop cannot adequately meet the retail needs of patients, visitors, and employees. This results in lower sales and less money back to the hospital.

Recently, I have seen a significant increase in shop size for those that are raising a substantial amount of money for the hospital.

STOCKROOM SPACE
There are no figures available for average stockroom size, however, a shop can’t operate at a high level without an adjacent office and stockroom/workroom. Additional storage can be located at various locations in the facility.

FORMULA FOR INVENTORY LEVELS 🎯
Inventory should be approximately 25% of annual sales. If annual sales are $600,000, then the average inventory (at retail) should be approximately $150,000. The stockroom and shop needs to accommodate that amount of merchandise.

SALES PER SQUARE FOOT
In evaluating both successful and failing shops, I have found that a minimum of $400-500* per square foot (at retail) in sales annually is doable for most shops.

NOTE: This benchmark applies to shops that are proportionate in size to their hospital (number of employees and beds). A small shop in a big hospital should generate higher sales per square foot. A disproportionately large shop in a small hospital will generate lower sales per square foot.

To maximize every square foot of a shop’s selling space:

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

*Many shops around the country are generating well over $1,500 in sales per square foot per year.

Information is based on the consultant’s general experience, knowledge of gift shop management, and data from sponsored national surveys.


Plush

by Cindy Jones, Editor 💮

Regardless of what comes and goes, plush will always remain a viable retail staple in hospital gift shops. That doesn’t mean that they don’t still follow trends, and having the “it” items in all shapes and sizes are key.

gift shop plushWhether designs are realistic, whimsical, semi-realistic or licensed, soft and cuddly plush is always a win. This year we’ll see more innovative trims and fabrics that are used as accessories and accents on plush pieces.

While pinks and purples are always hot for girls, pastels with a tone-on-tone pop of color, earth tones and bright colors continue to be popular overall. Top plush categories include bears, dogs, cats and jungle, and popular themes include princesses, sea life, iridescent and hombre.

It is important to have an array of price points for plush to cover impulse buys in small, medium, and large sizes. It’s also important not to lose sight of the extra large statement pieces for impact and Q4 sales.

Get a full markup on plush. Plush should be one of your highest sales categories. Cost x 2.4% and 6% or so for shipping


These calculations show if you have excess inventory

by Cindy Jones, Editor 💮

Excess inventory can increase the cost of goods by 25-30%. Determining poor performers can be accomplished by calculating space-to-sales ratio.

Say you have 13 feet of shelving devoted to gifts. Gift sales generate $700 a month. That gives you sales of nearly $54 per month. (Measure display space in linear feet.)

On the other hand, let’s say you devote 20 feet of display space to jewelry but sell only $500 per month. That amounts to sales of $25 per square foot, suggesting that the gift department may be far more productive than the jewelry department.

Note: Space-to-sales ratio alone does not give enough data for a final decision. Also factor gross margin in each category.

Once you have targeted the poor performers, get rid of them. But before marking them down, try moving them to another spot. If that doesn’t work, take a markdown.

When evaluating your shop’s performance, you need to analyze inventory turns. Inventory turns are calculated by dividing total annual sales by average monthly inventory at retail. Compare your current turns with those from previous years. Also, compare your shop’s turn rate with the hospital gift shop benchmark – which ranges from 4-5.

Then, to stock your shop for the desired inventory turn, follow these steps 🎯:

  1. Divide ideal turnover figure into 52 weeks to calculate the number of weeks in each turn, or in your selling period. So, if your ideal turn rate is 4, then your goal is to turn your shop’s entire inventory once every 13 weeks.
  2. Then, project your sales for the number of weeks (13) in the turn. This will give you the precise level of inventory (at retail) you will need at the beginning of the selling period.
  3. Achieve and maintain that level.

Let’s face it, vendors will happily sell you more than you need. It’s your job to buy no more than you can sell.

Get the complete 10-page step-by-step Guide to Calculating Shop Inventory including worksheets, checklists, and calculations. 


Virtual Tradeshows and Online Showrooms

NY NOW Digital Market
Oct 3-7, 2020

NY NOW Digital Market will be held Oct. 3-7, 2020. The Digital Market offers live events, community engagements, and live chat and video conferences with brands. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore brands, new products and collections, and to experience personalized recommendations through the live chats and video conferencing. Registration is open now for the NY NOW’s Digital Market.

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.

Do you know of any virtual markets or online showrooms? <– Click to comment

💮 CALENDAR 💮

GIFT MARKETS

Updated Sept 15. Always confirm show dates with the market directly before making travel plans. Dates change frequently and often. Sep 23-25, 2020
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (Fall) 🔗
VIRTUAL MARKET
Oct 3-7, 2020
NY NOW’s Digital Market
**Oct 5–7, 2020
LA Mart (Fall). Los Angeles 🔗 **by appointment only
Oct 5–6, 2020
Seattle Gift Show (Fall) 🔗
CANCELLED
Oct 7 – 10, 2020
Las Vegas Souvenir & Resort Gift Show 🔗
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) 🔗
ON HOLD
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 🔗
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 more complete list, including small 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 & Trade Show. Osage Beach, MO 🔗 
RESCHEDULED for
Nov 4-6, 2020

Michigan Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals (MHVRP) Spring Conference. Shelbyville, MI🔗

2021

When is your 2021 state auxiliary conference?

 

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WEBINAR
Hospital Gift Shop Best Sellers

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Vendor Show & Special Offers
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Lilly Stamets, renowned hospital gift and retail consultant, presents: “Hospital Gift Shop Best Sellers!”

Vendor Show & Special Offers from Macy’s, Ganz, Jose Madrid Salsa, and more!

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AUGUST 2020 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #608
Check out last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions.

  • Coronavirus discussion
  • Fall Checklist
  • Q. Would an online store work for your shop?
  • Survey: Have you recently attended, or plan to attend, a gift market?
  • Survey Results: Is it in bad taste to sell COVID-19 novelty items?
  • Four Trends: How COVID-19 will shape holiday retail shopping in 2020
  • Best practices on combating theft and shrinkage
  • Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Gift Shop donates $350,000
  • Two big, but simple, changes for your shop
  • Virtual Tradeshows and Online Showrooms
  • Gift Market Calendar
  • Build a Creative Thinking Environment in Your Shop
  • Mill House Gifts opens in Russell Medical

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? <em>- Volunteer Buyer, Madison, WI 9/12/20</em> <<< Click to comment

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


HIKE IN CHOCOLATE AND CANDY PRICES

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

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 


FORECASTING…and facemasks

Not knowing what to forecast this year has been difficult but I decided to work with an open budget, not buy too much ahead. We recently expanded hours to 11 to 5 Monday-Friday with 2 shifts of volunteers a day. Number one best seller is masks!!!!! They are bigger than TY beanie babies seriously! I checked sales for the last 15 days in July and we are up $4,000 over same month last year. I made a list the other day and have 17 suppliers I am working with to keep mask in the shop. Our doors are locked to the public so most of our clientele is staff.

I am having my first virtual sale next week. It will last one week and the vendor is going to send daily email blasts and take the orders. At the end of the week I will enter the payroll deduction. I had another vendor contact me yesterday wanting to do a virtual sale. So anxious to see how this works! It’s a way I can add sales to the shop and not risk the inventory. The ways I advertise are email blasts to the organization and take preorders or let them know masks are in. I hope this is helpful. – Connie Slingluff 7/16/20

Connie, I am curious on what face masks you are selling? – Margaret Legut 7/29/20 

I have tried 3 different vendors for masks and our favorite are from Evergreen. I have customers on a waiting list for them however I have others in the shop. Have worn many of the masks myself and I too like the Evergreen ones. 

Snoozies masks www.buyersdirect.com 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 www.wineonion.com 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  dmmerchandising.com 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


HOW IS THE SHUTDOWN AFFECTING YOUR GIFT SHOP?

How is the pandemic shutdown affecting your gift shop. Has your gift shop closed or reduced hours? What about volunteers? Are you sanitizing product? If your hospital does close the gift shop will they deploy you to another department? Are you able to work from home? <– Click to comment

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

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

We are not open yet. I think the hardest part was that I went in got all the Easter out, did a deep clean, got all Of Mother’s Day out and displayed and we still aren’t open. I have ordered nothing in 2 months. I can’t order until there is money coming in again. I have a store room full of summer apparel that I will put out since the spring apparel is still hanging there. So sad!! – Vickie Bailey 5/22/20

It really is sad, Vickie! What a shame! Sending warm wishes to all you managers that are facing this same dilemma. – Cindy

Our Governor is slowly reopening the state of Arkansas and our CEO Allowed us to reopen with limited traffic and reduced hours week before last in time for Mother’s day. We have a sanitizing station at the door for people to sanitize upon entry and masks are required. Our employees have been very excited to have a bit of normalcy again and its reducing some stress. No volunteers back yet so my supervisor and I are trading off shifts. We are open 10-3 Monday through Friday. I had set up a private employees only Facebook group while we were closed so I could still sell things to the employees that way and we have found they love live videos of new merch so we are continuing posting in that group as well.  – Shea Parazine 5/18/20

Thank you for sharing, Shea. Glad to hear you have opened, even with limited hours. Also, thanks for sharing that you set up a private Facebook group using live videos of your products. Please share the link if it goes public. – Cindy

All our Volunteers LOA but myself and my wife continued to keep the gift shop open for the employees.  – James Padgett 5/18/20

So glad to hear your shop is open. What hospital are you with? – Cindy

We are closed but open to email & phone orders so that employees can get any type of item. We’ve been selling a lot of pop and candy but also cards & gifts. – Jenny Turner 4/15/20

We were told to close our Shop on March 16th until further notice (Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, NY) – 337 Beds. Our Association decided to donate all perishable snacks, bagged candy and even our Gourmet Chocolates to the Hospital Staff and it was distributed by their Senior Leaders. – Anne Trocano/Linda Leary

We donated all our Easter candy and any candy/snacks which will expire by June, to our staff as a Thank You for their hard work. – Anonymous

We did the same! – Anonymous

We have had to shutter our doors as of March 18. After our closing, as the manager, I decided I would call each employee or volunteer on the day they would have worked as a way to stay in contact with everyone. Some of the paid staff (myself included) have been placed in the labor pool, and do other jobs throughout the hospital, but I still make the effort each week to call and check on everyone to discuss how absolutely bored they are, do they have enough toilet paper, the puzzle they are working on, or just how much their spouse is driving them nuts! I have to say it has been beneficial to both them and me. We are bonded through our common goal, The Gift Shop, and our lives are just not the same without it.
We all anxiously await the day we can reunite and “do our job again”  – David Munger

David, this is wonderful! Thank you for sharing! – Cindy Jones

We are now taking phone orders with delivery to our patients, in-town delivery, pickup, and mail out! Business has been very slow, but I felt like I had to try something…  -Jamie Lee Hernandez

We closed the shop on March 6. We donated flowers in stock to patients and staff. Fortunately, we had not decorated for Easter yet and had little expressly Easter inventory as we don’t do very well with it. I have plenty of general inventory for Spring and Summer when we do reopen but have been leery about ordering ahead of that as I just don’t know what things will look like. In the meantime, our auxiliary has decided to donate a substantial amount of money to the hospital to be used as they see fit rather than asking for ideas and then choosing projects or equipment to fund. This seemed like the expedient as well as the more critical response to the needs of the hospital at this point but we hope to still be able to fund the scholarships we usually award to hospital employees. I made and sent Easter cards to all my volunteers and try to stay in touch with them, as many are struggling with their own or spouse’s health issues, independent of the virus. – Sandra Oldfield

I am at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. Both of our gift shops are still open. The Get Well shop in open 8 am to 8 pm M-F and 11-3 Sat and Sun, and our Baby Shop is open, but for reduced hours. We are mainly selling staff t-shirts and tons of snacks. Fortunately we have an e-commerce site and it is doing well, especially for baby gifts and flowers because no one is allowed to visit. Obviously revenues are way down, but we are still making enough to cover employee salaries and the cost of goods we are selling. The staff is very grateful that we are here, as it provides a bit of normalcy in an otherwise unthinkable situation. We have added numerous safety measures, such as a large plexiglass shield across the counter, masks, and hand sanitizer everywhere. Fortunately all of our Easter candy sold, and the rest of our Easter and spring merchandise will just be put away for next year. Since few people saw it, it will seem new to everyone. I hope you are all well and surviving this ultra-trying time! – Shauna Cox

Our shop is closed and has been since about March 16. The volunteers were all “paused” a week or so earlier and I opened a few hours for a couple days and then we were asked to close completely for a while. In a hospital, the gift shop is respite for our staff. No family members have been allowed in the building for a while now, so only staff, but they are our main customer anyway. The staff really miss the shop being open. Especially with all the stress right now, they would really love to be able to wander through the shop just to get their minds off their job for a little while. I’m hoping we will get the green light to open again soon.
I know of some hospital shops opening for a couple hours a day and only two customers at a time in the shop. Some are allowing “window shopping” and then pay via payroll deduct and what they choose is put outside the shop for them…they don’t actually get to come in the shop.
I’m really anxious to hear more from other hospital gift shops to see what they are doing and how they are doing it. The i3POS webinar yesterday had some interesting points. We all need to learn from each other and share ideas as much as we can during these difficult times. – Vesta Smith

When the time comes, consider having a ‘soft opening’ with limited hours and only allowing 10-15 shoppers in at a time. And, they must practice social distancing. Keep a box of rubber gloves and wipes at the front door and cashier counter. Good luck! – Cindy Jones

I have changed my shop into a mini mart. We have made our shop as an Essential business for our employees who are covering the Covid units. We open at 7 a.m. and close at 9p.m. I receive deliveries of food, toilet paper. I have partnered with Costco for deliveries, I moved and boxed all of our seasonal gift items. This has been a huge success. I did this with 3 of my shops. – Anonymous

As of today (3/16), our gift is closed indefinitely. We are sad. – Melodie Christal

As of 3/10 our gift shop was closed indefinitely due to the virus. Nothing we can do!! – Nan Healy

Our gift shop has been closed down, and we have no idea for how long. – Nancy Klein

All of our volunteers have been placed on LOA. I am opening the shop 10-2 M-F and paid staff 11-4 and 1-5 on weekends. I am responsible for all vending services as well so I am spending the rest of each day ordering, stocking, etc. We feel this is probably short term as we expect to be closed at some point. Sales are only on snacks, drinks, and candy so sales are definitely lower. – Anonymous

I am operating our gift shop on a limited schedule, as I am the only paid staff member and our volunteers are also on LOA. Planning to sanitize while I’m up there. Hot spots daily (if not multiple times per day). Going to see how traffic is this week and determine if I need to stay open next week as well. We have strict visitor limitations in place, expecting mainly employee traffic. – Anonymous

Our Gift shop is also closed. Volunteers are on LOA and as manager I am the only employee in Gift Shop. I am taking this time to do stock work and assist at Information Desk as needed. I plan to donate and deliver candy and popcorn to our hardworking clinical staff. – Anonymous

Our volunteers has been asked to stay home for their safety. That leaves me with 3 paid employees. We have a pharmacy in our gift shop so we cannot close, so, we have changed our hours to match the pharmacy. So, we are closing earlier Monday through Saturday and now are closed on Sunday until this passes. Stay safe everyone. – Kim DeBord

As of Saturday our Gift shop is closed. We have Easter and Spring clothes to sell – Sandy Eiffert

Members of the community should not come to the hospital unless there is a medical reason for the visit. This includes coming to the hospital solely to eat in the cafeteria or shop in the gift shop. – Janet Long, Public Relations Manager at Morris Hospital, IL

Our gift shop is closed until further notice. – Anonymous

Our shop is closed to walk in traffic. We have posted on the door and hospital site we will accept orders email, fax and by phone. They can come to the door and pick up. Only credit card and payroll payments. We will continue to accept phone orders for patient gifts. We have redone our windows to better view our products. We hope this is just for a couple weeks. Good Luck everyone. – Mary Claire

We are open but only with limited hours. All volunteers have been mandated to stay home. It is just me the manger and my assistant. Yes, we are sanitizing product and our store and our self’s and we are required to do so every hour! Yes they are saying they will deploy us to another department, we will not be able to work from home. The hospital is not allowing any visitors. Sales have been just for candy and snacks and only employees. – Colleen

We have reduced our hours to M-F 9-5 and Saturday 12-4. We don’t have any Covid-19 positive tests in our County yet. I’m sure as soon as we do, we’ll be shut down. Volunteers, at this point are able to determine for themselves if they wish to come in. – Anonymous

Our two hospital gift shops are closed indefinitely since Monday, 3/16. We only had two volunteers under the age of 60 and myself, a paid manager that would have been eligible to work. I will take this time to clean and organize our office/pricing area. I will clean and reset both shops and set up new displays. I will refresh any worn out display pieces such as repainting the racks from our fresh flower case that once the flowers were removed looked quite shabby, and not in the chic way!. I can work from home if needed, pricing smaller items, writing up future orders with catalogs or ordering online by holding the orders etc. This is a totally helpless feeling, I anxiously await our reopening! Stay healthy! – Jamie Lee Hernandez

Dignity Health Central Coast limits their hospital visitations due to flu and COVID-19 concerns All hospital gift shops are closed until further notice. Washington Health System is suspending some services, including closing the gift shop.  – Cindy Jones

Has your gift shop closed or reduced hours? Has you volunteer department closed? If so, are you as a gift shop manager able to work from home? If your hospital does close the gift shop will they deploy you to another department? Thanks! – Colleen DeSimone, Gift Shop Coordinator,Orange Regional Medical Center Gift Shop

We have been closed for over a week now as we’re staffed entirely by volunteers who are not allowed at the hospital. All visitors except end of life situations or parents of young patients are banned. We distributed the flowers, our only perishable item, to patients who would enjoy them before closing our doors. Our health fair, regional auxiliary meeting and volunteer appreciation lunch are all cancelled and we have no idea when we will re-open. Our hospital is a small rural one with 19 beds. – Sandra Oldfield

We have been closed since Monday. The President felt that if someone who was infected came in contact with multiple items it would be very difficult to disinfect everything they touched. I sent out a mass email to all employees and let them know that if they wanted to buy anything I can get it together and just charge their badge and meet them at the back door. No need to step foot into the shop. It’s working out really well. – Anonymous

What is everyone doing about all of their spring merchandise, just taking a loss?  I am in the process of removing all the Easter merchandise, plush, etc. and storing them for next year. I plan to keep the spring items in the shop. BTW, we have been closed since March 10th. All volunteers on LOA. As the only paid employee among our volunteers I am performing all tasks that our volunteers were doing, mail, surveys, front desk, etc. Stay well everyone. – Sarah F

We are still open, with only two paid employees disinfecting everything we can. We are only selling drinks, food and candy also. – Anonymous

Our gift shop closed officially 3/17 after all the volunteers called off. I am the only paid employee and am currently working from home because I have a sinus infection and am not allowed back into the hospital until I am 100%. Once I am 100% I will be allowed back into the hospital to work on various projects in the hospital and help in other areas where there are shortages. I feel helpless being at home and know that under any other situation I would have already been back to work with the tail end of an infection. Stay safe everyone. – Anonymous

We have a paid staff person in our gift shop so between her and a few die-hard volunteers, it has been open with reduced hours. Our volunteer services is not paused except for the teen program. We will keep it open as long as we can for our staff. We have been told that all staff are essential and no one will be staff reduced at this time, we will be deployed to help elsewhere. – Nichole

Are any of you doing delivery service to hospital employees in various departments and to patient floors? If so, how is that working? – Cindy Jones, Editor

So we have been closed since 3/13. Volunteers are on LOA. I am still here because we do flowers. The shop is closed. I have tried to let employees know that we have gifts if they need them. Very sad. No traffic on our main street. Stay Healthy! – Anonymous

We had to close the Gift Shop per our Executive Team Leaders on March 24. I’m wondering what everyone else, that has had to close, is doing with your Easter product, especially Easter candy? My thought is to hold it over until next year since I hadn’t had it out long enough to sell much of it. I’m pretty sure we won’t be open before Easter at this point. We plan to move to a new location in August and will have limited storage at the new location. – Vickie Bailey, Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital. 90 beds



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