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Gift shop gives back to community and caregivers

Longview | December 4, 2019
Gift shop sign for PeaceHealth St. John hospital boutique
Hospital gift shop offers better-than-retail therapy

A little retail therapy can go a long way in lifting one’s spirit, but The Gift Shop at PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center in Longview, Washington, does much more than that.

Stocked with gifts, clothes, flowers, candy and more, the shop is a financial engine that helps send local students to college and fund much-needed projects at the hospital.

All proceeds from the store and hospital coffee stand, Terrace Espresso, are used by the Friends of St. John, a local volunteer nonprofit, to help the hospital and Longview community.Christmas tree and ornament display

Every year, the group awards $25,000 in medical scholarships to local students. It’s also donated more than a million dollars to PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center Foundation to help fund projects like the relocation of pediatric rehabilitation therapy, robots for stroke patients and upgrading the cardiac cath lab.

A unique boutique

Much to the delight of customers, the shop added apparel to its offerings a couple of years ago. “Clothing is the top seller,” Catrina says. Popular items are boots, sweaters, flannels, jeans and accessories.

Christina Courtney, a PeaceHealth St. John caregiver, says the team behind the counter goes beyond what’s expected to meet “every practical need of our caregivers, guests and patients.”

“Catrina tirelessly searches for the latest trends and popular classics so that our caregivers don't have to spend their precious free time searching far and wide for themselves,” says Christina. “We all feel so fortunate to have these practical and luxury items at our fingertips to spoil ourselves and others.”

Maybe not surprisingly, at least 65-percent of sales come from caregivers. And all the money spent, stays right at the hospital and in the community.

Where'd you get that?

It’s common to hear a caregiver get compliments from non-work friends on a purchase from the shop. When asked, “Where’d you get that?” they proudly respond, “I got it at the hospital gift shop.”

Of course, it isn’t only caregivers who delight in the store. “We get a lot of patients who come in for weekly appointments and they make it a point to stop by,” says Catrina.

clothes, hats and bags on displaySome patients or family members find the merchandise displays a welcome diversion from their reason for being at the hospital. And many return, at another time, to shop and see what’s new.

Sometimes requests for certain types of items will come in. “We do a lot of listening to our customers,” says Catrina, who has been involved with the shop since 2013.

“My favorite thing about working here is our interaction with everyone,” she says.

“We touch everyone in a different way.” Whether it’s a tired caregiver or someone whose father is in surgery and needs a break from the waiting room. “A visit to the shop gives them a happy moment within a stressful day.”

The Gift Shop is open every weekday, plus some evenings and weekends

While many of us don’t need a reason to shop, shopping for a good cause is always a win-win. 

PeaceHealth is blessed to have gift shops run by volunteers in many of our hospitals: 
In Oregon, Cottage Grove, Springfield and Florence. In Washington, Longview, Vancouver and Bellingham. And in Ketchikan, Alaska.

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