The next business to be featured in the Leader’s newest community-centric “A Business Minute” is Oak Valley Hospital Gift Shop, which is owned by Oak Valley Hospital District. Get to know what makes Oakdale business special.
Answers submitted by Nancy Podolsky.
Tell me a little bit about your business (what you do, how you got started):
The Oak Valley Hospital Gift Shop started shortly after the hospital was first built in 1973. It began with two glass display cases of merchandise in the lobby. It then expanded to an area just off the lobby. In 2003, I became the volunteer manager and was able to enlarge the shop again to its current size.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy working with all the volunteers, hospital staff, and of course selecting and buying all the merchandise for the shop.
What’s a common misconception about your work?
Normally hospital gift shops are seen as a place to buy items to take to a patient when in fact the main customers are all the employees working there. It is a convenient place for them to shop during a break or during their lunchtime. We have transformed our little shop into a boutique, which happens to be in the hospital. We also have regular customers who come to the hospital just to shop – not for any medical reason.
If money wasn’t an obstacle, which charity would you most enjoy giving to, and why?
The hospital gift shop is all volunteer service. There are no paid employees running or managing the gift shop. All profits go directly back to the hospital to support special projects and to fund scholarships through the auxiliary volunteers for high school seniors continuing their education in the healthcare field.
What are some of your current projects?
We are constantly bringing in new merchandise with the challenges of displaying such a variety in the small amount of space.
What are some the biggest challenges in your field today?
As with all retail, the biggest challenge for our little shop is watching the trends, buying right, buying enough, and knowing when to go on sale so we can go on to something new.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
Most rewarding is seeing new customers come in and being amazed at our selection of merchandise at a hospital gift shop! Also knowing that every dollar of profit from sales goes directly back to the hospital volunteers to support hospital projects and scholarships.
How has your business changed over the years?
Our merchandise selection is our biggest change. Our buyers go to gift shows to find unique items for the shop. We are marketing with email and hope to utilize other avenues on the Internet to get the word out about the unique little shop that just happens to be in a hospital.
Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, noon – 4 p.m. (Last Tuesday of the month open until 7 p.m.)
Lobby of Oak Valley Hospital – 350 S. Oak Ave. – Oakdale
For more information:
Gift Shop: 848-4170