Ranch Gift Shop

From “Ask Kit!”:

Q: What do you suggest I put in my ranch B&B gift shop?

A: Mugs with your logo screened on them and bandanas with your brand embroidered on them come to mind immediately.

Start small and build. Toiletries, soap and sun screen for example, are cheap to stock and popular for guests to buy.

If your guests have had a great time with you, buying something at your gift shop is a no brainer. Travelers like to take token gifts to the kids, house sitter, or even friends. Make it easy for them to spend their money with you, rather than in town.

Sweatshirts, t-shirts, water bottles, fanny packs, leather key fobs, your recipes — anything you can print your logo onto that reflect your hospitality and guest experience are great to offer. Part of what you want to stock includes items that your guests forgot to bring or didn’t think they’d need.

Have fun with your gift shop inventory. Offer unusual items that reflect who you are and what the guest experience has been. Gift shops provide a great opportunity for extra income with minimal effort on your part.

9 thoughts on “Ranch Gift Shop”

  1. If you have a specialty jam, especially with ingredients unique to your area, then jams would be a nice thing to have available in the gift shop. I am thinking of a prickly pear jam or pyracantha…
    or how about sage honey?
    I have seen miniature saddles and boots, about 2 inches high…
    maybe the Breyer horse models would appeal… (this could be too expensive to stock, however, unless you make arrangements with a local supplier or someone… I just saw a large selection at our local feed store… just a few would be fine, not the whole line.)
    Then, as winter approaches, have some Christmas ornaments made… a disk with your logo screened on the glazed face would be the simplest, but if you wanted something more complex, then sculpt one of the inn itself for the mold and have them cast, either in resin or ceramic.

  2. Here is a cross reference gift shop/soap question. We ‘accidentally’ ended up with a different approach to the selection of our soaps. I ran across an ad in German Life magazine about Spieck. It is a German soap and we are in New Ulm, MN, a German town, so it turned out to be a fun match!
    They allow us to order their sample size to put in guest rooms: these small bars are a bit more pricey or a bit less pricey depending on what angle you are going for (logo, quality, value…) but our guests seem to just love the idea because it is unique. Maybe like when B & B’s offer homemade soap? Because it is “german” it acts like a logo for us, oddly enough.
    I do still wonder about the dispensor stlye for envioronmental reasons and waste issues. We have stopped putting the little shampoo bottles in the room (it is an ecological nightmare!). One, nobody ever used them, nor took them and everyone seems to bring their own hair care. I have the same brand shampoo in a reg size( no little ones available) and I think it works because, again due to the specialized product, offers a ‘value added’? I guess I wonder if the B & B guest is looking for different amenities and is just not that concerned with the typical resort-y little bottles?
    So, sometimes schitck (if it is thoughtful and clever and caters to guest needs) can override routine? Are there some other creative soap/shampoo solutions out there? and any pointers on how to sell more in the gift shop? I notice a couple comments on that. I mean people just rave over this soap at breakfast (great clean smell, different, fun, blah blah…silly huh?) but we really don’t sell much.
    So, when people say they sell soaps, are you selling lots, or just a couple bars a month? I guess I don’t know whether to focus more marketing on that gift shop angle..any of you selling oddles of stuff in your shops I would love some thoughts. Thanks!

  3. We are opening our B&B gift shop at our local farmer’s market this week, and will be starting with dried flower bouquets, handmade note cards, handpainted wine glasses, our famous triple chocolate brownies, and will be adding items as the summer progresses. I would like to add aprons, and other items with our logo. I am not sure about soaps, but we stock large apothecary jars in each of our baths that are filled with bath salts, and am thinking of doing a smaller version of this.
    By the way, I use large bars of soap that are shrink wrapped that I find on sale at discount stores-I hate mini-soap bars! I also intend to open a gift shop area in the B&B itself. My feeling is that guests at our inn may buy an item or two once in awhile, but that I may really be doing a better gift business at the weekly market, plus I’m promoting my business.
    I plan to place a card on my dried arrangements in each suite, that says: “this item available for purchase in our gift shop”. Any ideas, suggestions would be happily accepted………..
    Francis Hall House B&B INN, c. 1869 a National Registry of Historic Places Signature Inn nestled in the heart of New York State’s famous Wine Country.

  4. Your items sound lovely. And what a clever way to promote your inn to the community!
    It is my experience that you guests will buy from your giftshop, as if taking a part of you home with them to continue the experience they had with you. Since bath products and dried flowers seem to be a big part of your “thing”, let me urge you to package your bathsalts individually (or in several-serving sizes) for guests to buy. In addition to making dried flower arrangements, what about whole flower potpourri? My guests loved it! Could you find someone to make soap for you to use in the guestrooms and to sell in your giftshop?I think you’d find soap to be popular. Small, non-breakable items tend to sell well. And if they have your logo and contact information on them (as appropriate) they are great marketing tools too. Be creative about what you offer at your inn’s gift shop. I know innkeepers who have created the equivalent of another guestroom’s income with their giftshop by thinking outside the box and labeling everything they sold.

  5. Just wanted to let you know that we had a very successful first attempt at selling our products which included dried flowers, baskets, and aprons (we transferred our own designs using our computer and iron on transfers) at our weekly farmer’s market! Not only did we sell quite a bit, but it gave us a chance to introduce our B&B to a lot of potential customers. I made sure I had a table top framed description of our B&B, and rack cards. Next week I’ll bring our promotional photo album. Also, we opened our little gift area right here in the B&B and sold to our guests who loved being able to take home a remembrance of their stay with us. I have ordered hand-painted wine glasses both with our logo and with a regional wine region design! I have some great ideas for the bath salts — I can see that we will really increase our income through this type of venture–only wish I had done it sooner!! Thank you for your advice and support-next, its lavender infused soaps!!!!!!!!!!
    Francis Hall House B&B INN

  6. Lavender infused soaps? What a wonderful idea!
    We don’t have a gift shop but I’ve started stocking some Amish products for resale.
    More and more Amish are moving into this area. They’re coming up from Lancaster because the price of farm land has risen to about $40,000 an acre.
    At breakfast I serve Amish jams and jellies. Guests sometimes ask where I get these items and I always refer them to Hornings, an Amish-Mennonite store on the outskirts of Lykens.
    Since many guests have onward travel plans and are unable to visit Hornings, I’ve started stocking jams and jellies that I resell at cost to guests.
    It’s really no big deal on my part. I’ve always kept a stock of these products on hand to resupply the breakfast buffet. Now – instead of keeping them in the basement, I make them available to guests at cost.
    It’s just another service that’s offered to help keep our guests happy.
    With regards to the question about what to stock in a gift shop, my best advice would be to stock something that’s regional or local.
    We used to have three gift shops in Elizabethville. All three stores folded when Wal-Mart started breaking ground on the outskirts of town. The reason? All three of these shops carried generic items that could just as easily be found in Wal-Mart. There really wasn’t anything special about these shops and shops like these really can’t stand toe to toe with a retail goliath like Wal-Mart.
    Specialty shops on the otherhand, can do quite well. At Hornings you can buy locally produced honey, homemade almond butter, cashew butter, and peanut butter, Amish jams and jellies, dried fruit, Amish furniture, homemade quilts and the like. It’s a wonderful store and well worth a visit if you’re ever in the Lykens Valley of south-central Pennsylvania.

  7. I love the idea of offering for use and resale local products. But I urge you to keep (or is that put?) your business hat on. You are in this business to make money. Don’t be shy about doing so, within reason. If you are going to the effort of stocking up on soaps, jams, robes, or cookbooks (yes, make your own), an efforth that ties your money up for an unknown amount of time, then you owe it to yourself and your business (think of selling your inn down the road) to make a profiti.
    Now I do draw the line at making a profit on things I believe belong in the amenities of renting a B&B room, like phones, internet, cable, and served food. But a gift shop is a great way for you to make a little money and help your guests take memories of their stay with you home to their friends and families. I knew an innkeeper years ago who made the equivalent income of a guestroom from her giftshop. And she felt it was easier money than a guestroom because she didn’t have to clean it!
    Think about it. You have effectively done the shopping for your guests. Isn’t your time worth something? It should be. Your housekeeper won’t work for free. Why should you?

  8. Kit Cassingham wrote:
    I love the idea of offering for use and resale local products. But I urge you to keep your business hat on. You are in this business to make money. Don’t be shy about doing so, within reason.

    Point taken. What would be a reasonable mark up? As I understand it, the standard retail mark up for wholesale purchases is 40% – but the jams and jellies already come from the retail market.
    If a bottle of Amish blackberry preserves retails at $5.95, what would be a reasonable mark up? 50 cents? As much as a dollar?

  9. Quote:
    As I understand it, the standard retail mark up for wholesale purchases is 40% – but the jams and jellies already come from the retail market.

    Look into getting them wholesale. You have a tax id number, you can buy them wholesale if you can find the distributor. You may even get the market you buy them from to sell them to you wholesale if you promise never to undercut their price.
    Steve Wirt
    Wine Country Cabins Bed and Breakfast in the Finger Lakes
    and Inngenious Bed and Breakfast Website Promotion

Comments are closed.