People visiting their loved ones at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank will often spend some time in the hospital’s chapel or cafeteria to take their mind off the matters at hand — whether positive or negative.
However, some visitors find solace in retail therapy and make a stop or two at the St. Joseph’s Gift Gallery, which recently had a grand reopening on Tuesday.
For about a year, the Gift Gallery was relocated from next to the pharmacy to another suite around the corner from the front lobby because construction was being done to update the original location, which opened in 1950, said Barbara Charles, the gift shop’s supervisor.
The store is back near the front lobby, next to the pharmacy, and is stocked up with various items — religious memorabilia, clothes, purses, jewelry, flowers, snacks and various knickknacks. Though the store went from about 1,700 square feet to just about 500 square feet, Charles said she and her volunteers, who are made up mainly of Providence St. Joseph Medical Center Guild members, are ready to give visitors some peace of mind during their time at St. Joseph.
“It’s the best little gift shop in Burbank,” said Jackie Van Beveren, a volunteer who has worked at the Gift Gallery for 52 years.
Bouquets of flowers and snacks are typically the best sellers at the store, but Charles said people will often stop by to purchase clothes, leather purses and even jewelry.
“We sell a lot of jewelry. A lot,” she said. “Ladies like jewelry, and they like costume jewelry and nice jewelry. Some of our nice jackets range between $120 and $200, and our purses are all Italian-leather made.”
Charles added that people who don’t have a loved one being treated at St. Joseph will stop by the store specifically to buy clothing sold there.
“It’s not like going to Macy’s,” Charles said. “It’s intimate, and we build relationships with a lot of our customers, which is cool. We know all about them, and they know all about us.”
Van Beveren and Charles both said they understand that people visiting the Gift Gallery are often there because they need some time to unwind from family members or other visitors after spending several hours in a room together, especially during difficult times.
For twins Alma and Maria Rosales, whose mother was undergoing check-up tests Thursday morning after suffering a stroke in February, their visit to the Gift Gallery was a pleasure. Maria Rosales purchased a small statue of the Virgin Mary to add to her collection of Catholic items.
“You get distracted and shop for things you don’t really need, but it helps you relax,” Maria Rosales said.