AYER -- The lobby of the Apple Valley Center has a new addition this week, a gift shop run by volunteer residents in an effort to generate some profit and give the residents something to get involved in.
Resident council members Bea Karass and Martha E. Griffiths are long-term residents at the center who have volunteered to work together to run the shop.
Both Griffiths and Karass have previously worked in retail.
"As a kid I was a candy striper for the St. Johns Ladies Auxiliary in Lowell, and I ran the gift shop," Griffiths said. Karass also worked at the same gift shop in the past and remembers her time there as "a lot of fun."
The shop hosts an array of reasonably priced, donated goods from residents and their families, including jewelry, flowers and other small collectibles. Soon, the center hopes to sell drinks and snacks.
"My favorites are the earrings and necklaces," Karass said.
The shop opened on Thursday, as the center also hosted a family cookout for the residents and their families in hopes of generating some attention from the guests.
The gift stop stemmed from an idea from management.
"We had heard of other centers that had success doing something similar so we thought that we could try it out," Amanda Boutwell, admissions director of Apple Valley, said.
"There's a lot of traffic through the lobby, and as people get accustomed to seeing the shop, it will make a difference in sales," Griffiths said.
Profits generated from the gift shop will go to the activity fund, which pays for things such as Bingo prizes, BBQs, various resident needs and daytrips. The activities department also generates profits through yard sales and raffles.
"I use the money if a resident needs clothing, shoes, maybe a daytrip," Tricia Ross, activities director, said. "We also use the money for Christmas. We throw a Christmas party and we give each of the residents a gift," she said.
The resident volunteers are thrilled to be opening this shop.
"I love it!" Karass said. " I also like to get people active, and give them something to do."
The Apple Valley Gift Shop has not been named yet, since the Resident Council is still brainstorming possibilities.
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