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Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | January 15, 2022 💮

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.


JANUARY 15, 2022

Vail Health Gift Shop, Vail, CO

Vail Health Hospital Gift Shop, Vail, CO


Try setting New Year Goals, instead of resolutions

by Cindy Jones, Editor

I’ve been thinking that making New Year’s resolutions is a paradox. If we had the discipline to keep resolutions, we probably wouldn’t need to make them in the first place!
 
But goals are different. They are not a heavy chain around the neck but, instead, a bright challenge. Resolutions are forever – you’re not supposed to gain weight, smoke or live off your credit card ever again. But goals – aha! They last only as long as it takes to meet them and then set the next one – like organize your files, run a seven-minute mile, write a book, master a celestial chocolate cake, prepare a shop budget for 2022 and so on.
 
Have you set your New Years Goals for 2022?!



UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

FEBRUARY
Feb 2 – Groundhog Day
Feb 4 – World Cancer Day
Feb 13 – Super Bowl Sunday
Feb 14 – Valentine’s Day
Feb 21 – President’s Day
Black History Month
MARCH
Mar 1 – Paczki Day & Mardi Gras
Mar 2 – Ash Wednesday
Mar 8 – Int’l Women’s Day
Mar 17 – St. Patrick’s Day
Mar 30 – Doctor’s Day
APRIL
Apr 1 – April Fool’s Day
Apr 9 – National Unicorn Day
Apr 17 – Easter Sunday
Apr 18 – Tax Day
Apr 22 – Earth Day
Apr 27 – Admin Prof Day

What is your shop’s niche category?

by Cindy Jones, Editor

I recently visited a hospital gift shop that had a considerably big jewelry department. A large percentage of their shop’s sales came from jewelry. They offered an exciting and tempting assortment of jewelry and the shop became the place for hospital employees to buy their jewelry. I watched in amazement as employees flocked into the shop to purchase their favorite earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.

A smart buyer determines the size of a category by its sales. If sales increase, then the buying and inventory should increase to meet the growing sales. Using an open-to-buy plan (OTB) is the sure way to know how much to buy. Open to Buy (OTB) is the difference between how much inventory is needed and how much is available. That includes inventory on hand, in transit, and any outstanding orders.

Many hospital gift shops have a “niche specialized category” that is hugely successful. Niche categories are usually the result of a very dedicated, attentive and talented buyer. The buyer researches then searches for the very best selling merchandise at the very best prices. They have one finger on the pulse of the shop’s unique customer (hospital employees) and another finger on what’s hot in the general retailing world.

If you’re using a POS system, sales per category numbers are automatically calculated usually. The information will help you determine available spending dollars and space allocations for each category.


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ARBA POS releases fully integrated online store

ARBA Online Store

ARBA Technology is rolling out online retail gift shop solutions that could work as apps on mobility devices as well as portals accessible from desktop devices. ARBA is responding to the hospital gift shop market and current Covid-19 pandemic which is impacting their revenues and demand. Healthcare providers that have a gift store on their medical campus more frequently leverage retired employees/volunteers to operate their gift shops.

ARBA Online Store accesses and updates customer inventory items the same way as the customer’s onsite POS kiosks. Periodic and daily revenue reports can also be run on online and onsite sales, along with inventory reports. Both the onsite and online applications access the same inventory databases, preventing rework in a dual inventory scenario which most other vendors offer.

ARBA’s Online Store is integrated with cashless payments to reduce the number of errors and eliminate cash handling altogether. Real-time inventory sync-up between the online store and the database will give back valuable time. ARBA Online Store can be added to your company’s existing website and use the same look and feel of your color schemes, fonts, and layouts.

  • Real-time sync online inventory to POS System
  • Payroll deductions
  • Designate areas for pick up
  • Declining balance accounts
  • Department charges 
  • Company charges

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Canada hospital opens pop-up gift shop in local mall

The gift shop at Great War Memorial Hospital in Ontario, Canada has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic. The closure has been a financial punch for the 123 volunteers who tried to find a way to raise funds for the hospital. They figure they have lost some $150,000 since the start of the pandemic, and more than 20,000 volunteer hours per year.

So, they decided to open a pop-up shop in the local shopping mall. Marilyn Litle, volunteer, said she hopes to extend their lease agreement past the end of January 2022.

The hospital intends to reopen the gift shop. “Unfortunately, it is difficult to establish a timeline for this return — especially when the increased prevalence of the COVID Omicron variant.

FULL ARTICLE/SOURCE: InsideOttowaValley


BEST SELLERS OF 2021

Q. What were your best sellers in 2021? Share your WINNERS AND LOSERS

It only takes a minute to share a few of your BEST sellers. Help your fellow shop managers succeed. Many are still struggling through the pandemic. Some are young or new to retail and just learning the job. You’ll benefit learning from others, as well. Feel free to share your WORST sellers too! : )

What were your best sellers in 2021?CLICK HERE TO COMMENT

Don’t just take, give back!

Do your part and leave a comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


How to escape your comfort zone

by Dave Wendland / Dec 30 2021

One of my favorite quotes is usually credited to Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” The same can be said for a business.
A primary way to accelerate decision-making, rethink strategies and drive transformation is to move out of your comfort zones.

The comfort zone is the known, the familiar. It’s our default and what we can do automatically, without too much thought or difficulty. It feels comfortable, sheltered, reliable and pleasant, while keeping us out of danger. It’s also where we seldom need to try especially hard or expend much energy. Extending beyond one’s comfort zone is not for the faint of heart. It takes intentional effort. Here are four ways to think differently.

  1. Take a new route. I like to think of it similarly to Robert Frost’s famous words: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” The discovery along this new pathway can open your imagination, provide new points of reference and free your mind up to invite new knowledge in.
  2. Read voraciously. It doesn’t have to be a book about your industry or leadership or any other business topic. Simply expanding your thinking with fresh words and different circumstances allows you to stretch beyond your comfort zone.
  3. Meditate. I have found that sitting quietly and granting myself permission to just be still is not only refreshing but also enlightening. Breaking away, in any way you can, opens your ability to invite invigorating thoughts in.
  4. Build your network. Learning from others and broadening your network can certainly pave the way to creativity.

My last piece of advice is to solicit ideas from your staff. They likely have more firsthand knowledge about what changes will actually improve their jobs or enhance your deliverables. Don’t dismiss ideas that don’t come from the top. Gathering ideas from all levels of your organization can further push it outside of its comfort zone and inspire you to accelerate growth.

FROM CINDY

Change is hard, and inertia can become a real barrier to change and discovery. The last piece of advice noted about engaging all staff for ideas is really powerful. Leadership does not mean that your ideas are the best. It takes humility and an open mind to be willing to engage all levels of staff for input and ideas.

Embracing change is difficult for most people, whether in their personal or professional lives. Speaking about retail in particular, it’s too easy to function along the lines of “we’ve always done it this way” or “we’re up against these sales from last year.” That sort of mindset leads retailers down the road of complacency, stagnation or worse.

Is there a tool that imposes the sort of self-discipline necessary for retailers to avoid these traps? The “product life cycle” concept provides an objective way to track businesses as they trend downward from their peak. It takes some of the emotion out of the change management process.

Consider:

  • Be gentle with yourself, especially when the learning curve is steep.
  • Get a “coach.” Seek out and embrace some kind of external accountability that will always be able to challenge your internal rationalizations and procrastination. The best athletes in the world have a coach. They might have some insight worth paying attention to.
  • You must create an environment that values and encourages creative ideation, and constantly ask “if we were starting X today, how would you build it now?”

SOURCE: RetailWire


Q. How have you dealt with the decline in volunteers during the pandemic?

Have others encountered losses in the number of volunteers through the pandemic? We started out with over 30 non-gift shop volunteers and are now down to 7. In our gift shop, we had 17, now 3, one of which started mid-COVID (God Bless her!). We are currently thinking of hiring a part-time employee to man the front desk from 1-5pm. What have you done to remedy staffing and volunteer issues during the pandemic? Did anyone hire paid personnel? Thanks. – Sarah Folio, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Oakland, MD. 55 beds. 12/22/21

How are you dealing with the decrease in volunteers through the pandemic?CLICK HERE TO COMMENT

How many volunteers did your shop lose during the pandemic? How are you overcoming this? Leave a comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


Our volunteers are the epitome of humankindness

by Leslie Smart, Guest Columnist, The Sentinel Echo / Jan 5 2022

Over the past year, we at CHI Saint Joseph Health have formally recognized “A Year of Humankindness”. The special year served as a launch of our new brand promise, Hello humankindness, and celebrated the simple acts of kindness across our hospitals and clinics carried out by our employees and our communities.

Our volunteers are the epitome of humankindness. They so selflessly give of their time and their experience within the walls of our hospitals, but also, especially during the time of COVID, out in their homes and the communities. They brighten the days of our patients and staff – playing piano in some facilities, helping our cancer care teams, connecting with patients and escorting them to their destinations, and working in our gift shops.

As we have paused volunteer services in our hospitals during surges in the pandemic, our volunteers continue to serve. Our crafters contribute handmade hope – making stuffed animals, cancer hats, prayer shawls and pocket prayer quilts to share with our patients. This allows them to stay connected to our ministry and to our community.

Our volunteers manage the gift shops in the hospitals throughout the ministry and, starting in February, will assume responsibility for our gift shops at Saint Joseph Hospital and Saint Joseph East. This new opportunity will allow our volunteers to give back even more to our community as they make decisions about how to use proceeds in our facilities. For instance, at Saint Joseph London, our volunteers use proceeds from the gift shop, which they staff, to award scholarships for students of our employees. At Saint Joseph Mount Sterling, they’ve contributed to Giraffe Omnibeds to care for our youngest patients. The Flaget Memorial Hospital Auxiliary provided funding for 3D mammography.

We have around 300 volunteers across CHI Saint Joseph Health, many of whom are retired. Our numbers typically grow in the summer, as we welcome teen volunteers into our hospitals. Our volunteers say their work at our hospitals give them the opportunity to remain active and to give back to their communities. It gives them that human connection that we all need, especially as we continue to navigate a global pandemic.

We expect the same is true for volunteers at other organizations in our community. These interconnections are more than just a transaction of activity given by the volunteer, received by an organization. They highlight an important piece of the fabric of our society – allowing us to work together for a common cause of improving our communities and recognize the humankindness that lives inside all of us.

It’s been a difficult few years as we’ve navigated the pandemic, and we are grateful for our volunteers and for those who serve in other ways in our community. As we start a new year and you reflect on your New Year’s resolutions, consider finding a way to give back to the community. Whether it’s at our hospitals, your church, your school or another community organization, volunteering is humankindness.

SOURCE: The Sentinel Echo London, KY


Q. What snack vendor do you use?

Can you recommend a wholesale distributor for snacks (popcorn, chips, pretzels, etc.)? Thank you! – Sarah Folio, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Oakland, MD. 55 beds. 12/5/21

We use our Nutrition Services food vendors, which have had good prices. Is that an option for you? – Justin Alcanter, Salem Health, Salem, OR. 484 beds. 12/6/21

What snack vendor do you recommend?CLICK HERE TO COMMENT

Who’s your favorite snack vendor? Leave your comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


Check out this creative Valentine’s Day post from Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, NC.



Shrinkage | PART 1. Preventing inventory shortages

by Cindy Jones, Editor

Inventory shortages is caused by multiple reasons: shoplifting, price tag switching, employee theft, shipping errors, lack of shop security, incorrect price tags, breakage, sloppy record keeping, items paid for but not received, and when sales are not rung-up. They all increase the cost of goods sold and shrink net profit!

watch for customers who:
Avoid eye contact
Appear nervous
Wander the store without buying
Carry item around for a long time
Leave and return repeatedly
Linger in a hidden/remote area that’s hard to monitor
Keep an eye on staff and other customers
Bundle items into smaller shapes
Wear bulky clothing
Take offense to offers of assistance

…stick with them like glue until they leave the shop!

Prevent shoplifting by having well-trained and alert employees who know how to spot a potential shoplifter. Remember, theft occurs because the opportunity presents itself. Curtail the opportunities and you’ll reduce theft dramatically.

Shoplifting Deterrents

  • Greet all customers as they enter the shop. Roam the shop.
  • Ask lingering customers if they need help.
  • Ask if you could assist by keeping the item(s) at the register until they have finished shopping.
  • Be aware of ploys, diversions and teams of shoplifters.
  • Know where shoplifting is most likely to occur in your shop.
  • Display signs that “Shoplifters will be prosecuted.” Hospital gift shops must make the decision that shoplifters will be prosecuted. Then they must stick with that decision and train all volunteers and paid staff the procedure to follow when they spot a shoplifter.
  • Reverse apparel hangers to prevent “grab and run”.
  • Maintain an adequate number (two or more) of well-trained, alert cashiers to be on duty during each shift.
  • Provide regular training sessions on how to deter shoplifting.
  • Consider installing electronic detection equipment at the entrance if evidence of high theft occurs.
  • Invest in rotating cameras and monitors.
  • Install a panic button near the cash register that will alert security officers.
  • The hospital security department and gift shop leadership or management team must have a detailed plan of action clarifying how to proceed in the apprehension of shoplifters.
  • Imprint the shop’s name on the price stickers to ensure that returned merchandise came from your shop. The printed name also personalizes your shop to the customer. Use the break-away (perforated) price label. Break-away labels tear apart if price switching is attempted.

When shoplifting is suspected, it’s crucial for your volunteers and employees to know how to handle incidents. Never try to physically stop a shoplifter. Call security! Never directly accuse anyone of stealing. Call security, instead. Give the person a chance to pay for the item they “forgot” to pay for by asking, “Are you ready to pay for that?” or “Can I ring you up?” Cooperate fully with security and the prosecutor if/when the time comes.

Click to enlarge

NEXT ARTICLE: February 15, 2022

Shrinkage | PART 2: Preventing inventory shortages


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DECEMBER 2021 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #625
Did you miss last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions!

  • To our loyal readers
  • Do this the last 12 days of December
  • We are now on LinkedIN!
  • To-Dos for the first week in January
  • 12 last-minute tips to grow your holiday sales

  • Survey Results: Gift show travel budgets
  • TCMH gift shop reopens for staff, patient visitors
  • RESPONSES: Good scrub vendors or fundraisers
  • Tips for maximizing Atlanta market from past attendees
  • Calendar: Gift Markets and Regional Conferences

DISCUSSION


BOOK DISTRIBUTOR

Q. Can anyone recommend a book distributor that sells current best sellers? We have suppliers for other types of books like Harvest House and Harper Collins, but not for popular fiction. – Sabra Shields, Sanford USD Medical Center, Sioux Falls, SD. 450 beds. 12/8/21

Do you know a book distributor that sells the current best sellers?CLICK HERE TO COMMENT

Are book and magazine distributors are dwindling? Who do you use? Comment here or enter it at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thank you!

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡


SCRUB VENDOR

Q. I am looking for information on scrub sales. Are there any good scrub vendors or fundraisers? I would rather go through a wholesale company. Thank you! – Cathy Taschler, Marshfield Medical Center, Marshfield, WI. 319 beds. 10/16/21

I sent out a survey to all hospital employees and Cherokee won by a landslide! Black was the top color as well! – Jenny Turner, UH Portage Medical Center, Ravenna, OH. 300 beds. 11/22/21

We use Scrubs on Wheels out of Fort Wayne, Indiana. They give back 15% for on-site fundraisers. They order items for employees who need something outside of what they brought with them that ship free to the gift shop. It’s easy for us, because all we do is process the payroll deduction! – Kerri Clark, Community Hospital, Munster, IN. 498 beds. 11/16/21

I have a vendor, Alexander’s Uniforms, I use where I don’t have any stock in store. The customers order online and the items ship here to the shop where the customer, if an employee in the hospital, uses payroll deduction to pay. We get 20% and all we do is ring it up!! – Christine Parker, Kent Hospital, Warwick. 11/4/21

We do very well with Cherokee (Carismatic), Dickies and Med Couture. These allow us to cover a good range of price points and styles. – Lisa Garland, Woman’s Hospital, Baton Rouge, LA. 168 beds. 10/18/21

Q. To everyone that responded, do you purchase directly from Cherokee, Dickies, etc. or do you have a middle man supplier? If middle man supplier, please provide name. – Marla Baker, Atrium Health Floyd, Rome, GA. 304 beds. 12/19/21

Do you have a good scrub vendor?  Comment here


PANDEMIC UPDATE

How are you and your shop doing with the pandemic? How are sales? How are you!?

We’re actually doing very well. Our hospital employees were ready to shop and they felt very comfortable coming into the gift shop. I try and carry every need they might have so they’re very satisfied! Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! – Jenny Turner. 11/22/21

Sales are slow with employees. As patient families are allowed into the hospital our sales have increased significantly. – Lisa. 11/22/21

We are now on one year of having volunteers in the shop, but getting ready to have them out front. Time will tell if we are ahead of COVID or not. We fear we have lost 50% of them. The shop is doing ok but still 80% reliant on employees. We do lots of drawings for them. We use GemPay receipts; their name is already on there :) – Tricia Rochman, Pink Geranium Gift Shop, Carbondale Memorial Hospital, Carbondale, IL. 154 beds. 11/17/21

Our shop was closed for five months and reopened August 2020 with only myself and assistant working limited hours. We’re finally allowing volunteers to cashier but are still short of some coming back. Our sales are finally increasing and we are still doing our own floral as phone orders helped when visitors were not allowed. Looking for a much better Christmas and Valentines. – Karen Ferguson, Manager of St. David’s SAMC Auxiliary Gift Shop, Austin, TX. 334 beds. 11/16/21

We opened to allow our patients and staff the ability to shop M-F 10am to 2pm. Sales are definitely not where they were but it was expected. The difficulty we have now is that some of the vendors we had done business with cannot be reached. – Nancy Collins, New London Hospital, New London, NH. 24 beds. 11/16/21

We are slowly recovering…we are not opened on the weekends yet. Sales are bouncing back and outsiders are returning. Right now candles are really selling!! – Christine Parker, Kent Hospital, Warwick, RI. 359 beds. 11/4/21

We reopened in September 2020, to restricted hours 9 a.m.-1 p.m., our volunteers returned April 2021, so we are open most days from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Visitor restrictions went from no visitors, currently it is one visitor, have made a difference in customer count. Sales are down from 2019, by about $100 per day, viewing all the issues from merchandise complications, visitor restrictions, I think we are doing well. We have been to one Gift Show in Oct. 2021. – Mary Robinson, Gift Shop Coordinator, Mayo Clinic Health System, Mankato, MN. 10/29/21

Our Gift Shop has and continues to thrive since we reopened in July of 2020. Our employees find it a ‘place to take a break and breathe some fresh air of course with their masks on!’. We are very blessed and looking forward to a great Christmas season! – Alice Whisnant, Director, Volunteer Services, Caldwell UNC Health Care, Hickory, NC. 110 beds. 10/25/21

Our Shop has been closed since November, 2020. No sales at all since then. – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 10/18/21

Unfortunately, our gift shop was closed again in September due to increased COVID numbers in our area. We hope to reopen by November as we had just received our Christmas inventory. – Robin Truax, Gouverneur Hospital, Gouveneur, NY. 77 beds. 10/15/21

Struggling, we were a very new shop before Covid hit. I have kept it open myself and was able to allow volunteers to come back April 2021, however right now only two have come back so it is still mostly myself running the shop. That being said, we are not even back to full open hours yet, only open about 3-4 days per week. – Kasey B, Volunteer/Gift ShopCoordinator, Tomah Health, Tomah, WI. 29 beds. 10/2/21


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As an incentive, we are happy to donate the amount purchased to your pediatric oncology department.

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Cindy’s Newsletter for Gift Shop Managers | December 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.


DECEMBER 15, 2021

Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital, Dover, OH


To our loyal readers

Happy Holidays from my family to yours.

Wishing you the gifts of love, joy and smiles throughout the season and the new year. May your days be filled with everything and everyone you love.

Today is a good day to say THANK YOU!
Thank you for being a valued subscriber.
Thank you for telling others about my Newsletter.
Thank you for trusting me to deliver valuable content to you.
Thank you for clicking on the recommended links.
Thank you for all your wonderful comments and responses.
Thank you for being YOU!

Here’s wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah!! And, my warmest wishes to those celebrating Kwanzaa.

After Christmas, take a few days of well-deserved rest to prepare for another challenging year of retailing.
 
Cindy & Nicole



UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

JANUARY
Jan 1 – New Year’s Day
Jan 12 – Kiss a Ginger Day
Jan 17 – Martin Luther King Day
FEBRUARY
Feb 2 – Groundhog Day
Feb 4 – World Cancer Day
Feb 13 – Super Bowl Sunday
Feb 14 – Valentine’s Day
Feb 21 – President’s Day
Black History Month
MARCH
Mar 2 – Ash Wednesday
Mar 17 – St. Patrick’s Day
Mar 30 – Doctor’s Day

Click to expand image.

Do this the last 12 days of December

Send out an ‘email blast’ each morning to alert your hospital staff of the sale item for the day. Makes break time pretty exciting!!!  

Do things like, all snowmen one day, then all reindeer another, all items with green, all items with a tree, all ornaments, all mugs and drinking items. This makes hunting through the merchandise interesting and keeps hospital employees coming back. It also keeps buyers busy planning ahead and watching the merchandise very carefully.

Here is a great example email from Stanford Health Care gift shop. It was sent out December 1st and showcases 22 days of promotions. They even included an online Promotion Calendar.

Click to view the calendar on Stanford’s website.


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is fast, easy, and affordable.

800-348-5545
www.mmhayes.com/giftshopPOS


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To-Dos for the first week in January

First week in January, put all Christmas merchandise on sale at 40% off. Hallmark did a study and found customers did not purchase differently whether the discount is 40% versus 50% off on after Christmas sales. So, just do 40% off for the first week after Christmas, and then go down from there.

Make judgment calls on certain lines whether or not to discount further after the first week. Then pack leftovers away or donate. Try not to hold over any product. If it didn’t sell this year, chances are it won’t sell next year. However, you might hold over items that sold well but perhaps you were a little too optimistic in your ordering. 

Here are additional sale ideas to jump start your planning for the year!

📆
Plan Now
Relax Later

🎉 FIFTH FRIDAY $5 OFF SALE
Get out your 2022 calendar. Mark the months with five Fridays and hold a “FIFTH FRIDAY $5 OFF SALE”. Qualify it by taking $5 off any purchase totaling $25 or more. That way you are only giving a 20% discount at the most, but usually it is less than 20% off because they often spend more than the $25. It’s also a good incentive to add on to a sale that might only be $20 initially. It helps to have a ‘$ off’ button setup on your POS register which pro-rates the discount off each item purchased. If a customer returns just one item, the sale price is listed by item on the receipt. Remember to advertise this event over email to all hospital employees.

🎉 SPEND $13 & GET 13% OFF
Mark every Friday the 13th with a “SPEND $13 | GET 13% OFF ” sale.

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12 last-minute tips to grow your holiday sales

Pre- and post-holiday sales can be the difference between a profitable holiday season or a bust. Here are some tips to grow your holidays sales!

#1 Survival Tip: Keep it light. Keep it funny. Keep things in perspective.
  • As we get closer to Christmas, have separate tables with bundled items along with a card, last minute grab and go items that make it easy for people to buy.
  • Get them in the door! Make sure to send out a reminder on Friday talking about the last weekend of the year to save big.
  • Greet them at the counter. You want to minimize customer returns as much as possible so train your cashiers to always ask the customer if they would like to look around for exchange items first.
  • Give in. Don’t plant your feet and refuse to give a refund if a customer has a receipt – especially if they paid with a credit card. They will get their money back either in front of you with a smile or behind your back with a chargeback. It isn’t worth the aggravation – give them a refund if there is any way possible.
  • Greet customers when they come in, and again as they browse, to let them know what is on sale.
  • For one week only after Christmas, neatness does not count. You will get a different customer after Christmas – the customer who enjoys the hunt for a bargain. But, cleanliness counts throughout the rest of the year. There is no excuse for a sales floor that looks like a herd of elephants just ran through. Rotate staff to do a “clean sweep” of the floor every couple hours.
  • After a hectic December, shops often look tired and worn out. Pack away the old merchandise and bring out fresh new merchandise. Brighten up your shop!
  • Sell! Sell! Sell! If all your prep work was done in advance, nothing should stop you from being on the floor helping customers and selling merchandise.
  • Stock and restock!
  • Schedule additional staffing to work from 10am – 2pm to handle the increased business during the last busy weeks before Christmas.
  • Give lots of ‘pats on the back’, words of thanks and showings of gratitude to all the workers in the shop (volunteer and paid).
  • December 27, take a well-deserved rest. Soak your feet, read a good book and relax!

Survey Results: Gift show travel budgets

Does your budget include travel expenses to a major gift show in January? ✈️

Missed the survey? Submit your response


TCMH gift shop reopens for staff, patient visitors

Houston Herald / Dec 6, 2021

The welcoming aroma of coffee and a sweet treat of cookies greeted patrons at the Texas County Memorial Hospital Gift Shop last Wednesday. The occasion was its reopening since COVID-19 forced a closure in March 2020.

There is much to choose from, including floral arrangements, apparel, pillows, throws, coffee and cups, home décor, books, bags, jewelry and more. “It’s fantastic to be back,” said TCMH volunteer Doris Scheuer. “The gift shop has helped support the hospital auxiliary for the past 30 years. The auxiliary has contributed approximately $60,000 to different projects for the hospital, which were not in the hospital budget,” said Reese Bucher, president of the hospital auxiliary. Ammie Williams and daughter, Courtney Traw, of 2 Kinds of Krazy, a mobile boutique, provide and stock the inventory.

“Without their input, the re-open would have been difficult,” said Renina Pearce, executive assistant and volunteer services director at the hospital. Scheuer added, “And they make beautiful bouquets.”

The gift shop is open to employees and patient visitors; however it is still closed to the public. They do accept phone orders and a website will soon be available. The shop needs volunteers to help staff it from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

SOURCE: The Houston Herald

Texas County Memorial Hospital Gift Shop, Houston, MO

RESPONSES: Good scrub vendors or fundraisers

Q. I am looking for information on scrub sales. Are there any good scrub vendors or any good fundraisers? I would rather go through a wholesale company. Thank you! – Cathy Taschler, Marshfield Medical Center, Marshfield, WI. 319 beds. 10/16/21

I have a vendor, Alexander’s Uniforms, I use where I don’t have any stock in store. The customers order online and the items ship here to the shop where the customer, if an employee in the hospital, uses payroll deduction to pay. We get 20% and all we do is ring it up!! Christine Parker, Kent Hospital, Warwick. 11/4/21

We do very well with Cherokee (Carismatic), Dickies and Med Couture. These allow us to cover a good range of price points and styles. – Lisa Garland, Woman’s Hospital, Baton Rouge, LA. 168 beds. 10/18/21

I sent out a survey to all hospital employees and Cherokee won by a landslide! Black was the top color as well! – Jenny Turner, UH Portage Medical Center, Ravenna, OH. 300 beds. 11/22/21

We use Scrubs on Wheels out of Fort Wayne, Indiana. They give back 15% for on-site fundraisers. They order items for employees who need something outside of what they brought with them that ship free to the gift shop. It’s easy for us, because all we do is process the payroll deduction! – Kerri Clark, Community Hospital, Munster, IN. 498 beds. 11/16/21

Do you have a good scrub vendor?  Comment here.


Tips for maximizing Atlanta market from past attendees

Smart Retailer

Travel takes time and money, so when you visit Atlanta Market, you need to maximize that investment. We’ve compiled the best advice we can find, starting with what AmericasMart says. Here is a summary of the best tips assembled in two different articles.

1. Use the Market Magazine’s floor plans, feature stories and advertising to plan your trip. In summary, here are three links you need:

2. Start building relationships 

  • Remember that you are the purchasing agent for your customer and not the selling agent for the manufacturer. Keep your consumer in mind.

3. Make writing orders your first order of business

  • Don’t forget to do the retail conversion: sales in your store are always at retail prices. Always remember to “think retail.”
  • Most importantly, follow the steadfast rule: buy what sells… not sell what you buy. Keep your consumer in mind.

4. Pack smart

  • Your business cards and registration details.
  • A calculator.
  • A simple appointment schedule.
  • All credit information, including the name of your bank and financial trade references.
  • Your resale business license or local sales tax number.
  • A schedule of desired product delivery dates.
  • Comfortable shoes to wear while walking the showrooms.
“If you have a trusted business partner, divide and conquer. The market is huge, and you’ll need a detailed plan of action to accomplish your goals. Also, download the market app on your phone to make it easier.” – Maggie Hanus, A Wild Soap Bar“Have a buying plan, often called an open to buy. Know how much you plan to buy at wholesale by category. Do not overspend. Have a list of vendors and lines by category. Walk the first day and take notes. Try to stay in the section that has the categories that you carry.” – James Nola, Maggie Lane
“Pre-shop showrooms prior to placing orders. It’s the key to building complete statements between multiple vendors. Preselecting what you want also makes it much easier for both you and your sales rep when you return to place your order.” – Richard Hahn, The 800 Shop, Northwest Community Hospital“Book early. The cheapest and the best hotel deals are > here. Never stay south toward the airport or at the airport and plan to take the MARTA. It’s not safe unless you are always in a large group. Find your rep in each showroom. They can tell you what sells best in your area and who else close by may have that product.” – Setys Kelly, Copper Willow Gifts
“Avoid driving in Atlanta if possible. The shuttle service to and from the Mart is a great perk as well. Uber costs less than a taxi. It’s important to book way ahead for the best rates.” – Barb Miller, Interior Expressions by Design“However long you think you want to be at AmericasMart, add on one day or even two. You’ll be happy you did once you return back to your store.” – Gina Lempa, Gina Lempa & Associates
“Have a rolling bag to put catalogs, handouts, and a bottle of water in. Wear comfortable clothes and sneakers. This is not a fashion show; it is a test of endurance.” – Thelma Hamilton, Thelma L. Hamilton Designs“Study the building maps, review the category layouts, and map out your agenda by building. Download and use the app. It will help you do your work prior to arrival.” – Annette Conwell, Annettes Emporium

SOURCE: Smart Retailer


How are you and your shop doing post pandemic? How are sales? How are you!?

Connect. Share. Grow. ♡

We’re actually doing very well. Our hospital employees were ready to shop and they felt very comfortable coming into the gift shop. I try and carry every need they might have so they’re very satisfied! Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! – Jenny Turner. 11/22/21

Sales are slow with employees. As patient families are allowed into the hospital our sales have increased significantly. – Lisa. 11/22/21

We are now on one year of having volunteers in the shop, but getting ready to have them out front. Time will tell if we are ahead of COVID or not. We fear we have lost 50% of them. The shop is doing ok but still 80% reliant on employees. We do lots of drawings for them. We use GemPay receipts; their name is already on there :) – Tricia Rochman, Pink Geranium Gift Shop, Carbondale Memorial Hospital, Carbondale, IL. 154 beds. 11/17/21

Our shop was closed for five months and reopened August 2020 with only myself and assistant working limited hours. We’re finally allowing volunteers to cashier but are still short of some coming back. Our sales are finally increasing and we are still doing our own floral as phone orders helped when visitors were not allowed. Looking for a much better Christmas and Valentines. – Karen Ferguson, Manager of St. David’s SAMC Auxiliary Gift Shop, Austin, TX. 334 beds. 11/16/21

We opened to allow our patients and staff the ability to shop M-F 10am to 2pm. Sales are definitely not where they were but it was expected. The difficulty we have now is that some of the vendors we had done business with cannot be reached. – Nancy Collins, New London Hospital, New London, NH. 24 beds. 11/16/21

We are slowly recovering…we are not opened on the weekends yet. Sales are bouncing back and outsiders are returning. Right now candles are really selling!! – Christine Parker, Kent Hospital, Warwick, RI. 359 beds. 11/4/21

We reopened in September 2020, to restricted hours 9 a.m.-1 p.m., our volunteers returned April 2021, so we are open most days from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Visitor restrictions went from no visitors, currently it is one visitor, have made a difference in customer count. Sales are down from 2019, by about $100 per day, viewing all the issues from merchandise complications, visitor restrictions, I think we are doing well. We have been to one Gift Show in Oct. 2021. – Mary Robinson, Gift Shop Coordinator, Mayo Clinic Health System, Mankato, MN. 10/29/21

Our Gift Shop has and continues to thrive since we reopened in July of 2020. Our employees find it a ‘place to take a break and breathe some fresh air of course with their masks on!’. We are very blessed and looking forward to a great Christmas season! – Alice Whisnant, Director, Volunteer Services, Caldwell UNC Health Care, Hickory, NC. 110 beds. 10/25/21

Our Shop has been closed since November, 2020. No sales at all since then. – Peter Waugh, Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH. 25 beds. 10/18/21

Unfortunately, our gift shop was closed again in September due to increased COVID numbers in our area. We hope to reopen by November as we had just received our Christmas inventory. – Robin Truax, Gouverneur Hospital, Gouveneur, NY. 77 beds. 10/15/21

Struggling, we were a very new shop before Covid hit. I have kept it open myself and was able to allow volunteers to come back April 2021, however right now only two have come back so it is still mostly myself running the shop. That being said, we are not even back to full open hours yet, only open about 3-4 days per week. – Kasey B, Volunteer/Gift ShopCoordinator, Tomah Health, Tomah, WI. 29 beds. 10/2/21


Aultman Health, Canton, OH



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NOVEMBER 2021 NEWSLETTER: ISSUE #624
Did you miss last month’s articles, surveys, and discussions!

  • Be prepared for the holiday onslaught
  • Record retail sales predicted for holidays
  • MHS Caring Hearts Gift Shop reaches sales goal
  • Truly creative holiday displays. Truly!
  • SURVEY: Does your budget include travel expenses to a major gift show in January?
  • Anti-anxiety toys are high on Christmas lists this year

  • Q: What are some good scrub vendors?
  • Retailers dial back this year’s holiday promos
  • The ideal hospital gift shop manager, according to management
  • Top 6 hospital gift shop Facebook pages
  • Calendar: Gift Markets and Regional Conferences

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