A colourful corner in the hospital
Gift shop finds niche, selling special items to fund local health care
By Jenn Watt
Published March 21, 2017
A splash of colour and a friendly face greet visitors as they walk through the sliding doors of Haliburton Highlands Health Services. They might be visiting a loved one in acute care, waiting to see a doctor in the emergency department or stopping by to bring Grandma a card at Highland Wood.
For all of those people, the Haliburton Hospital Auxiliary’s gift shop is a convenient place to stop and browse. Since 2000, the volunteers who work there have been cultivating the store to make it fresh, affordable and comfortable. Prices are generally below usual retailers and there is no tax. All the profits go right back into health care.
“It’s not money that we keep aside. It’s not our mandate to roll money over,” says Tracey Lear, past president of the auxiliary.
The shop brought in $6,000 last year, which went toward such projects as the compassionate care suite for long-term care and refurbishing the washroom in the emergency department.
Jane Jaycock is the convenor of the gift shop. She’s been working at it along with other volunteers for the last four years.
Jaycock is responsible for choosing the merchandise for the shop and takes the job seriously. The wall behind her at the counter is covered in a rainbow of scarves. The shelves throughout the shop hold simple gifts that you can imagine a loved one opening with a smile – McIntosh mugs, funky purses, local art and even a few clothing items are amongst the selection. There are greeting cards – some made locally – as well as the necessary collection of books and munchies.
Jaycock goes to the Toronto Gift Show each year to seek out new inventory. She makes sure to ask each supplier whether they already sell to other Haliburton clients so that the gift shop isn’t competing with local business. She also has other challenges when buying at shows.
“So many suppliers want you to buy 12 hats [for example]. I know I can sell one in the Haliburton, maybe two,” Jaycock says.
Despite the challenges, the shop is always filled with special items. They’ve recently added Interac and credit cards as methods of payment.
“My goal … is getting the word out that we’re here,” says Jaycock.
The gift shop is open Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. staffed by volunteers. They also take the shop on the road for Midnight Madness, Colourfest and to the farmers’ market.