EVERETT — The retail therapy department is back in business at the hospital.
Everett’s Providence Regional Medical Center gift shops reopened to building visitors after two years of pandemic closure.
The Twig Shop on the Colby campus and the Pacific Pavilion Boutique offer more than get well cards, baby clothes and stuffed toys.
Many goods have nothing to do with hospital stays. The shelves have holiday decor, purses, earrings, garden art, hats, sports team novelties and kitchen items.
The shops are open limited hours, for now. Hospital spokesperson Casey Calumusa said shoppers must be hospital visitors or have medical appointments.
“We hope to open the gift shops more in the future,” he said in an email. “The ability to do so depends on COVID case rates in the community and the number of volunteers we can have in the hospital to staff the gift shops.”
People can call and pay over the phone for gifts for patient delivery. The shop staff will help you choose the right gift. For the Colby campus, open Tuesday and Thursday, call 425-261-4588. The Pacific boutique, open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, dial 425-258-7302.
Prices are as low as possible because there are no employees to pay, or overhead expenses.
Providence General Children’s Association, a volunteer organization, operates the gift shops. Proceeds go to helping children. That includes premature babies, children who have been abused and homeless teens, as well as reading programs, summer camps for those with special needs and scholarships to student volunteers.
“The hospital is great to us. They don’t charge us anything to be here,” Twig Shop co-manager Linda Jubie said.
The supply shortage didn’t hinder stocking the shelves. Managers had gone to a gift show in Las Vegas to select the merchandise before the pandemic shutdown.
“We’d already ordered for the year,” Jubie said.
Those items had a long shelf life. Snacks had to be put to use.
Instead of letting the candy and chips expire, volunteers put it in baskets to give to employees working long hours to care for COVID patients.
Sweets are a big seller. “Candy. Any candy,” Twig Shop volunteer Katie Mackay said.
The little plaque for sale in the Colby shop that says “this is my happy place” applies to the store.
It’s bright, colorful and inviting, a respite for overwhelmed hospital visitors.
The shop is a popular spot for hospital workers.
“A lot of times they don’t have money with them and they can use their badge (to pay) so they can swing in and get something,” Mackay said.
Rafael Lebron, a nuclear medicine technologist, browsed on his break.
“I work six days a week and every other Sunday, and this is where I get all my little goodies,” he said. “I don’t have time to go to the stores.”
Lebron has purchased toys, angels, garden art and candy over the years.
He remembers the last thing he bought before the pandemic shutdown: “A singing Olaf, the guy from ‘Frozen.’”
“I’ve bought everything, from hair brushes to phone chargers,” he said. “There is something for everybody.”