History Of St. Vincent's HealthCare Gift Shops
In 1950, Margaret Crawbuck, an Auxilian for 35 years, was given $1,000 by St. Vincent's Auxiliary to set up a small gift shop at St. Vincent's Medical Center. The original location was in a closet under a staircase. She had no idea the success and growth St. Vincent's Gift Shop would experience decades later.
It was still in the early 1950s when the gift shop was moved from under that staircase to the hospital lobby. But it didn't stay there long. Around 1956, the shop was packed up again and placed across the hall to make room for a vending and hospitality area. It was at this refresment area where the famous murals by nationally acclaimed artist Lee Adams gained their notoriety; those paintings now adorn the entrance to the Mary Queen of Peace Chapel in St. Vincent's Medical Center's main lobby.
The gift shop gained its own notoriety in the late 1950s. It didn't have paintings, but the soda fountain produced works of art, having the reputation of selling the best milk shakes in Jacksonville. Customers would visit the hospital just for the refreshments.
In 1997, the gift shop moved once again to its present location in the main lobby. The shop became more significant and contributed more to daily operations at St. Vincent's Medical Center. Twelve volunteers assisted the manager so the shop could be open seven days a week. The gift shop also began providing carts to patient's rooms, pushed around by Auxiliary members, which sold items such as pajamas, slippers, underwear, toothpaste and toothbushes, candy, and magazines. If it fit on the cart, they would sell it.
Today's Gift Shop
Today, Gift Shop Manager Edie Foy works with both paid associates and volunteers. Customers can purchase flowers, cards, books, magazines, balloons, Fenton Art Glass, baby items, ice cream, handbags, and gold and silver jewelry. Profits from the shop support St. Vincent's through Auxiliary donations.
The gift shop serves as a convenience to patients, visitors, and family members, who do not have to leave the building to purchase comfort items. The shop also provides convenience to St. Vincent's associates, who make up a large customer base. In 2003, more than $18,000 in postage stamps was sold at no profit to the shop, simply as an added convenience.
The shop is open six days a week now, but thanks to modern technology, in 2004, the shop joined the e-commerce industry on the World Wide Web. Now family members who cannot be at the hospital with loved ones can order flowers and gifts to be delivered to patient rooms.