Photo gallery: Friends Gift Shop celebrates 60 years

December 11, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Michigan Medicine News

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This year, the Friends Gift Shop in University Hospital celebrates 60 years serving patients, families and friends.

The shop as we know it today opened in November 1959 as the Guild Shop, started by the Volunteer Services Guild formed in 1958. Before the beginning of the shop, the Galen Society was the one place available to buy candy, news and cigarettes (yep, they sold cigarettes!).

The shop originally started at the Old Main University Hospital in 1952 with a cash register, small counter, and an apparel rack.

“The shop sold cosmetics, jewelry, household items, sleepwear, over-the-counter medications, candy and matches to go along with the cigarettes!” said Robert Newman, director of the shops.

The shop exists for the purpose of helping patient and family programs and funding educational efforts for patients.

Since 2003 alone, the FRIENDS Board has approved more than $3 million for programs. Beneficiaries of the funds have included: Child and Family Life, The Family Resource Center, Survival Flight Memorial, Gifts of Art, The Ronald McDonald House, The Depression Center, Trails Edge Camp, and many others.

Rebuilding in 2020

The Friends Gift Shop will be undergoing renovations in the first quarter of 2020. It will remain open throughout the renovation but on a smaller scale! Same location. New look.

Fun facts about the shop include:

  • The most senior shop volunteers recalled patients coming to the gift shop to smell the flowers.
  • The original volunteers came in together, carpooled to their shifts and recruited many others through their friendships and dedication to the hospital.
  • Some of the volunteers have been at the shop more than 25 years!
  • When the gift shop first came to be in 1959, gas was 25 cents a gallon, the average new car was $2,200, a movie ticket was $1 and a loaf of bread was 20 cents.
  • In 2004, the shop was able to donate $500,000 to the new C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Congratulations Friends Gift Shop on 60 years!

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