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Volunteer helps transform Bedford Memorial gift shop

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By John Barnhart

As Christmas approaches, Barbara Hurt, Bedford Memorial Hospital’s manager of volunteer services, wants to call attention to the hospital’s gift shop. Hurt said that the shop’s merchandise goes beyond gifts for patients — it’s stocked with the general public in mind.

    “We have such a wide variety of quality items at all price ranges that I think most people in the community can shop here,” Hurt said. “There’s something for everyone. All proceeds are donated by the auxiliary to the hospital for equipment needs, so you can start your holiday shopping early with gifts that support the lifesaving work of Bedford Memorial Hospital.”
    The gift shop is operated by the hospital auxiliary as a fundraising effort and is staffed by volunteers.
    “I’ve shopped over here for years, especially at holidays,” commented Rhonda Long.
    Long is the branch manager at Bedford’s Stellar One bank branch.
    “It’s a great place to find unique gifts,” she added.
    She’s already purchasing decorative items for her house for Christmas. Long said that she recently purchased some white trees made of pine cones.
    “There’s a beautiful Christmas plate that’s going to go in my kitchen,” she added, mentioning an item that she planned to purchase as soon as the interview for this story ended.
    Hurt said that they are fortunate to have Joan Jackson working as a gift shop volunteer. Jackson has 18 years of professional experience as a buyer. She spent four years as a buyer for a Hallmark store in Pennsylvania and was director of product at QVC’s Diamonique division. She’s been retired for nine years and now brings her expertise as a volunteer to Bedford Memorial’s gift shop.
    “She has a great eye for things,” Hurt said.
     “Her wealth of experience has helped to transform our store,” Hurt noted later in an e-mail expanding on Jackson’s background.
    According to Hurt, Jackson’s past experience enables her to locate unique items for the shop. She said that Jackson spends hours each week on this merchandise buying effort.
    The gift shop seasonally rotates its stock and is in Christmas mode now. However, along with holiday decorations, the gift shop has ladies accessories. Hurt said that it has purses, a type of woman’s shoe called ballet flats, scarves and jewelry.
    It also has cards.
    “We have 45-cent greeting cards,” Hurt said.
    The gift shop is located in the hospital’s lobby. You’ll see it immediately to your left after coming in through the hospital’s new main entrance.