museums&MORE Winter 2015
Hannah Novak

Hannah Novak
Grand Rapids Public Museum
Grand Rapids, Michigan

What makes your store unique?

The Curiosity Shop is unique because we are able to offer a wide variety of gift items for young and old. It is a tremendous opportunity to buy for a store that represents the experience one has within our museum. We aren’t limited by a specified theme or genre such as science, art or architecture, but can encompass everything associated with West Michigan. We have merchandise representing everything from transportation to wild life to outer space.

What is your retail background?

When I was 8 years old, my family bought a small hardware store, and that is where I spent most of my time growing up for the next 17 years. I worked almost every weekend and summer there, and during the school year the bus dropped me off at the store where I would stand on a stepstool to cashier. After college, I worked at Grand Valley State University’s Bookstore as a buyer/manager for nearly four years before becoming employed at Grand Rapids Public Museum’s Curiosity Gift Shop.

What is the most popular product you sell?

Our museum is very kid-friendly, and we have tons of school groups that come in during the school year, so our most popular items are stuffed animals, (especially our 70-inch long snake) Astronaut Ice Cream as well as a large variety of rocks, minerals and fossils.

What are your top three retail tips?

Buy for what your demographic likes, not what you like. It’s easy to become self-indulgent as a buyer and bring items in that you would like to buy somewhere, but the most important thing is to sell products that will appeal to many different ages and price ranges. Also, the lower the price points, the quicker the turn around — think souvenirs! Visit other local shops and see what others’ top-selling items are. You might be surprised to find out you are missing out on the latest trend.

Social Connections

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