Jul 10, 2007
Helping to fill the coffers; Museum gift shops are crucial to successBy Mark SommerBuffaloNews.com

In the Darwin Martin Complex’s recently reconstructed carriage house and stable, books, glassware and miniature Frank Lloyd Wright-replica furnishings beckon visitors at tour’s end.

At Chauncey’s shop in the Buffalo Museum of Science, nature and dinosaur merchandise now greet visitors on the second floor, where museum-goers enter and exit exhibits.

Over at the Buffalo Zoo, where the gift shop was reconfigured last year to improve its appearance, a new fluff-making machine allows customers to fill stuffed animals. Eventually, a new shop is planned for a new entry plaza.

All are examples of how cultural groups are putting gift shops front and center as they try to capitalize on their revenue-generating potential during fiscally lean times.

“I think gift shops are essential for revenue, and they’re really found money,” said Leslie Ohl, Chauncey’s new buyer and manager. “[Upgrading the gift store] was something we needed to do, and we couldn’t ignore it anymore.”

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