Peer Perspective: Samantha Haley, Bearizona
This 6-year veteran of the Bearizona gift shop finds inspiration from our old friend, magazines. The establishment and shop have been open for nine years, and four years ago, the shop grew more than 10 times, from a 900-square-foot trailer to a massive 10,000-square-foot site.
Do you have any programs, exhibits or spotlights for which Bearizone is known? Bearizona has many programs to promote conservation through education to our guests daily. The Animal staff at Bearizona educates guests about the North American wildlife we have at the park such as Black Bears, River otters, Jaguars, and many other North American animals. They do this through enrichment, training presentations, and animal/guest interactions.
What kind of products do you carry that reflect those exhibits/spotlights? Our gift shop has something for everyone to remind them of their trip to Bearizona. We carry all kinds of gifts to include stuffed animals, shirts, mugs and North American animal themed gifts. We create displays to theme one animal, like a jaguar display and an otter display. We carry re-usable bags, water bottles, and shirts made from recycled water bottles to promote being environmentally friendly to help animals of all kinds.
Where do you typically source the gift items you carry? I typically communicate with Vendors for gifts. I attend trade shows and visit online companies. I read the magazines and catalogs I receive to see what is trending. I enjoy the articles on all different topics such as communicating with staff, ways to improve, suggestions on displays and more.
What kind of educational toys and gift items do you carry? We carry educational toys like puzzles and books for all age levels with information about North American animals. Laminated foldouts with pictures and info are fun for adults.
What are some of your best-sellers? Our best-selling items are stuffed animals, shirts, and mugs.