museums&MORE Summer 2017
The Eminence of Cincinnati Children’s By Sam Ujvary

The story of the prestigious hospital where the whippersnappers go

What began as a small hospital in a rented three-bedroom house in Walnut Hills has grown into a prestigious multi-campus medical center across the greater Cincinnati area. It’s one of the regions first choices for pediatric care, with patients coming from across the United States and abroad.

For more than 130 years, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital has not only been recognized for being one of the top institutions providing specialized care for children, but it has also been a hub for a top-funded pediatric clinic since 1930, The Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation. Its scientists are leaders in medical innovation, from work on the polio vaccine and the development of the first heart-lung machine to modern-day discoveries in genetics and disease treatment.

For these scientists and all the other coeds that Cincinnati Children’s employs, the gift shop helps execute the institution’s mission. With volunteerism at the forefront, it is paid and non-paid workers who keep this hospital staple afloat. Established in 1910, the Junior Co-Operative Society auxiliary operates and staffs the Cincinnati Children’s gift shops, consisting of more than 60 volunteers donating their time. All proceeds from the gift shops are given directly back to the hospitals. To date, its mission has enabled the co-op to donate more than $7 million.

“The mission of the gift shop is to support the happiness and welfare of medical center patients and their families and to contribute to the convenience of visitors and hospital personnel as well as to provide funding through proceeds made from the sale of merchandise,” said Anne Sutton, gift shop manager.

The walls of this 1,435-square-foot shop are covered in plush animals, onesies and other newborn gifts, Tervis tumblers and Crabtree & Evelyn lotions. “We have items ranging from necessity sundry items to fashionable purses and garments, children’s books, toys and puzzles and much more. We cater to our visitors which consist of patients and their families visiting for the day or staying at the hospital for extended care. We carry a large selection of toys, games and kids novelty items,” said Sutton.

The gift shop’s support goes beyond patients and their families. “We find that the nurses and staff members caring for the patients of our hospital need a place to refresh and recharge,” said Sutton. A large volume of the shop’s business comes from the 15,000 employees who work for the hospital.

“I think we have some real ‘angels on earth’ caring for the patients of this hospital,” Sutton said. “We see some very sick children from across the U.S. and abroad, and it takes a very special person to care for critically and sometimes terminally ill pediatric patients on a daily basis. We help them by giving them a place to recharge, refreshing them for their next patient that needs their attention, care and positive attitude to help them heal.”

Best-Selling categories

  • Hospital-branded merchandise
  • Fidget toys and Thinking putty
  • Jewelry and accessories
  • Dècor gift items
  • Toys and plush items
  • Food items
  • Sundries and other necessities

Accolades and accomplishments

The 2016-17 U.S. News Children’s Hospital national rankings:

  • Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll
  • Pediatrics: 3rd in diabetes and endocrinology
  • Pediatrics: 2nd in gastroenterology and GI surgery
  • Pediatrics: 2nd in nephrology
  • Pediatrics: 3rd in orthopedics
  • Pediatrics: 3rd in pulmonology
  • Pediatrics: 3rd in urology

Sam Ujvary

Sam is the managing editor of Gift Shop Pets, Museums & More and Party & Halloween Retailer, and is a contributing editor for Gift Shop Magazine. She has a copywriting background and has been in publishing for six years.

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