museums&MORE Winter 2016
Sandy Hollett

Gift Shop Manager Sandy Hollett
Newfoundland Insectarium
Reidville, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

MM: What is your retail background?

SH: My retail background began when we opened the Newfoundland Insectarium museum and gift shop in October 1998. I had no retail experience before then, and had to learn everything on the job as I went, including how to operate a cash register.

MM: What is the most fulfilling part of your job?

SH: The most fulfilling part of my job is meeting lots of interesting people. From infants to seniors, we get people of all ages and I enjoy talking with them all. Many of them have stories to tell and experiences to share. I also enjoy all of our regular visitors who return year after year, and I can see how much the kids have grown and how their interests change. Every day is different from the day before and it keeps my job exciting!

MM: What is the most challenging part of your job?

SH: The most challenging part of my job is keeping track of people, because as well as managing and working in the gift shop, I also do admissions to the museum at the same time. I have to remember who has paid admission, who hasn’t yet paid, because some people like to browse in the gift shop before they go in to see the exhibits. On days when we are particularly busy, or when we have a bus tour visiting, this can get pretty challenging. I also have to make sure the store is fully stocked with the things people are looking for, and that we have a good selection of sizes in T-shirts on hand at all times. On very rare occasions I may have to deal with an irate visitor, but thankfully this has been very rare!

MM: What’s the best retail advice you’ve ever received?

SH: The best retail advice I have ever received is to try and make the customers happy. If customers have a positive experience while visiting our facility, they are more likely to return, and that’s what we want to achieve.

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