Hospital gift shop offers seasonal promotion

Published 8:48 am Friday, November 27, 2015

A tiny visitor will be in residence at the Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital gift shop for the holiday season, with some special deals for visitors in tow.

Starting Tuesday, the hospital gift shop, located near the front entrance reception desk, will be running a special “shelf elf” promotional event. From Dec. 1 through Dec. 23, customers will be invited to locate “Ralph the Shelf Elf,” a tiny figurine that will be hidden behind certain merchandise on store shelves by the gift shop staff. Visitors that find Ralph will be given a special coupon that grants them 10 percent off any regularly-priced, non-food item in the shop through May 31.

The special deal coincides with the renovations to Borgess-Lee’s front entrance area, which are scheduled to begin Monday, said Terri Moore, a member of the Lee Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and volunteer with the gift shop.

Construction work, which is expected to last through the next several months, will force the hospital to temporarily close the front entrance to the building — decreasing the visibility of the gift shop to many customers.

Moore and other volunteers with the Auxiliary, the volunteer organization operates the gift shop, devised the “shelf elf” promotion to encourage customers to continue visiting the store during the holiday in spite of the construction, Moore said. This time of year is especially pivotal for the shop, as the auxiliary typically makes around half their revenue for the year around Christmas, Moore said.

“To lose out on the whole Christmas season, for any gift shop, is a real hardship,” she said.

The promotion doesn’t just apply to patients and visitors to the hospital, but to staff members as well, who will have the chance to combine the coupons’ savings with their regular 10 percent employee discount, Moore said.

“Our best customers are the staff,” she said. “It’s convenient for them to shop here, especially during the holidays, where they can buy some stocking stuffers or gifts.”

Proceeds from the gift shop are used by the Lee Memorial Hospital Auxiliary throughout the year, paying for scholarships for local nursing students and for current Borgess-Lee staff to further their education. The organization has funded other projects in the past as well, including the purchase of flat screen TVs for waiting rooms and a new surgical outpatient chair, and has donated to other hospital related activities, including the annual Tree of Love mammography fundraiser, Moore said.

The organization currently has around 36 volunteers, many of which help staff the hospital gift shop. The Auxiliary is always seeking new people to join their ranks, Moore said.

“It doesn’t matter if you have a busy schedule, because anyone’s time is valuable and will serve us well,” Moore said.

The Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital gift shop is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., every Monday through Friday. The store is expected to temporarily close early next year as part of the hospital remodel, Moore said.