Alberta Health Services (AHS) Volunteer Resources Calgary Zone owns and operates six volunteer-supported retail shops called The Red Thread Gift Shop Program, which have honed a reputation for carrying unique merchandise in a welcoming setting. The stores are beautifully merchandised, creating the perfect oasis for patients, families, visitors, and staff, in what is typically a stressful environment.
Historically, the hospital gift shops had operated separately, some for 30+ years. In 2010, the individual gift shops started to work more collaboratively. This year, the six shops were joined together under the name “Red Thread Gift Shop,” which was chosen to honour the amazing contribution of volunteers that wear red vests, identifying them as ‘AHS Volunteers’.
In the last 10 years, these non-profit shops have donated over $8.4 million dollars to support patient care comfort. Annually, approximately 450 volunteers, generously give over 46,000 hours and are involved in all aspects of the retail operations. They are supported by retail professionals who promote compassionate customer service.
“Being awarded the 2017 Retailer of Distinction is a complete honour for the Alberta Health Services Red Thread Gift Shop Program. We have aspired to make the shops an oasis for customers to shop. This award has given us an absolute boost of positive energy. We would like to thank all of our volunteers for their contributions, as the Red Thread Gift Shop would not exist without them. We would also like to thank The Canadian Gift Association for their continued support of retailers in Canada. In a fast-changing retail environment, we still rely on the gift fairs to support our business in Canada.”