Gift shop at Borgess Lee Hospital to open Monday

Published 11:00 am Thursday, April 14, 2022

DOWAGIAC – Walking into the local hospital on Wednesday afternoon, visitors, employees and patients alike witnessed a sight not seen for more than two years.

After being away from Ascension Borgess-Lee Hospital since March 13, 2020, longtime gift shop volunteers Terri Moore and Ann Biek were back in the shop, preparing to reopen at 10 a.m. Monday, April 18.

“It’s been way too long,” Moore said. “We’re really excited. Back to seeing all the staff again, raising money for scholarships. … Our piggy bank has been getting pretty low.”

Aside from paying for products, proceeds from the gift shop help to pay for hospital projects and events, whether it be helping to pay for a new hospital machine or giving to the Ascension Borgess-Lee Foundation’s Tree of Love for free breast cancer screening services.

The gift shop will be hosting a store-wide clearance sale on all items except snacks. For any one item purchased, customers will receive another item at a 50 percent discount. The shop sells everything from candy to stuffed animals to handbags and jewelry.

Andrew Howard, who works in outpatient registration, couldn’t wait for the gift shop to be open – he came in for a snack as Moore and Biek were setting up.

“I had to be the first customer,” Howard said. “The candy is always great when it’s break time, but I’ve actually gotten quite a few gifts for family members here over the years. They always have some really nice stuff. Mother’s Day is coming up. I already see some ideas here. I’m really excited.”

According to Howard, patients are also excited for the return of the gift shop. While Moore and Biek, who have been volunteering at the hospital for more than 20 years, are excited to start generating money for the hospital again, they are even more excited just to see people in the shop.

“I’ve lived in Dowagiac all my life,” said Biek, who was a teacher at Justus Gage Elementary for 30 years. “Volunteering here, you just meet wonderful people from the community, as well as other volunteers we work with. Volunteering has always been in my family, and what better place to help, than here at the hospital?”

Biek and Moore said the community is also welcome to come visit the gift shop, even if they are not a patient or visiting.

“People don’t think of us around Christmastime, because they think online,” Biek said. “But they should. We have many unique things that they’re not going to find.”

Starting next week, the gift shop hours will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and flexible hours on Friday.

“Come visit the gift shop,” Biek said. “Just come!”

The gift shop, as well as other areas of the hospital, are always looking for more volunteers. For more information on becoming a volunteer, contact Ascension Borgess Lee Foundation Development Officer Beth Cripe at beth.cripe@ascension.org or (269) 783-3026.