October 2013 / Industry Profile

Gene Collovecchio
The Atrium Gift Shop/Seidman Cancer Center Gift Shop
Cleveland, Ohio

1. What makes your store unique?
The retail operations at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center is no longer just a hospital gift shop but a destination. We have a full service operation that serves the patients, patients’ family, visitors, physicians, nurses and the surrounding neighborhood.

2. What is your retail background?
I began my retail management career in 1986 when I was hired to manage the gift and coffee shops at Cuyahoga Falls General Hospital. My extensive career in gift shop management within non-profit organizations has allowed me to use my skills in the management of personnel both paid and volunteer, the development of policies and procedures, buying, merchandising and display, corporate sales programs, website development, point of sales systems, budget and financial systems.

3. What is the most popular product you sell?
We have a large selection of sterling jewelry, 14K/10K gold jewelry, clothing, handbags, shoes, sandals as well as popular items targeted to patients. We have customized personal services catering to customers that were expanded to include gift baskets, live plants, full floral service and a gift wrapping service.

4. What are your top three retail tips?
If it does not sell in three to four months, mark it down at 75 percent off, move it out and never bring the item back. Even if you find something that is in the same venue at a lower cost, do not repeat it!

Always mark down your holiday products after the season so that you do not have the remaining merchandise in your inventory for a year where it is not making money and just sitting in your storage room.

Make sure you have a point-of-sale system that works for your operation. It can be your best friend if used properly and will give you all the information you will need to manage your business — cost of goods sold, inventory on hand, sales per square foot, daily/yearly customer counts, department sales by units/amounts and percents, etc. All that is needed is to make sure you have the correct system for your gift shop.






75 Applewood Drive, Suite A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, Michigan 49345
616.887.9008
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