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Author Topic: gift shops  (Read 5657 times)
chris
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« on: March 21, 2008, 12:19:47 PM »

A thought about the gift shops,When the sub is on view with another vessel(target)such as a battleship or carrier she takes a back seat in the souveiners available.the museum always has plenty of mugs,hats,t-shirts for the surface ships and the odd sub item.I hope croaker gets her new gift shop going this year.Since 2002 I do not think they have replaced their t-shirt stock and in mid July last year they did not even have a Croaker hat.When you have the people there visiting the museum that is the time to sell you souveiners and this is much needed income for the boats. I have purchased items in the past by mail order from Cobia,Silversides,Drum and Nautilus Museum and they were very helpful in sending out my orders this is a great website I hope people from the museum boats check into this site.
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Lance Dean
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« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2008, 10:32:27 PM »

Battleship Memorial Park had a decent amount of Drum stuff.  However, the merchandise wasn't nearly as nice as the USS Alabama stuff.  Marketing must not be a high point for the museums.  Smiley  I did buy a nice coffee mug though.  I really wanted a Drum cap, but they all had that darn sewn in pointy stitch in the front center.  I'm just not gonna wear a cap with that ugly point.  Maybe I'm picky.

Oh well.  It's not so bad, but it could be better.
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Travis McLain
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« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2008, 10:53:32 PM »

Yea, it is hard for Batfish to keep alot of things in stock because everything sells out fast, and then there is barely enough money left to make a reorder since we only get a limited amount of funds anyway.
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chris
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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2008, 11:04:59 PM »

I know that to order the stuff in cost money and I think that is why some boats make one order maybe two a year.That is why places like the submarine shop and the submarine store are sometimes beter places to get items like sub caps
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Rick
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« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2008, 07:03:27 PM »

Speaking from our perspective, a submarine does not seem to catch peoples eyes like a carrier or a Battleship.  It seems like there are not as many sub stories out there as there are for the big ships.   Maybe it is that american mantality bigger is better,  or just because sub service has been and still is so secretive..   

Just a thought. 
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Paul Farace
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« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2008, 10:07:20 AM »

Where to begin?

First, let me say that submarines ARE COOL in the public's mind... although not the 12 story high billboard that a BB represents, a submarine is sexy and mysterious to the public, thanks to Hunt for Red October and Run Silent, Run Deep (or Das Boot -- pronounced BOAT-- you know if you're German or took German in high school 140 years ago,like me).  But sadly, in multi ship parks, the big ship, the one with the State's name, or the carrier, gets the lion's share of the income. Another factor is very poor marketing among the HNSA fleet.  The directors are not recruited from Madison Ave. or Target, they come from the USN where marketing and selling are not even on the syllubus!

Now about gift shops -- I have yet to see a good one anywhere. Some are just so big that they have some neat stuff by virtue of their size. Most are like WalMart, selling shit that has little or no relevence to the ships in the park. COD's is literally a display window or two. We try to stock only COD items, plus some generic US Navy and USMC keychains and we design the stuff ourselves and keep an eye on quality... YOU WILL BE JUGED by your gift items, not by what your ship can do!

And it is very sad that gift shops, and sub gift shops in particular, are so wanting...  a properly run gift shop can generate more than half of the income at a ship park!!!  Not for us, but think BBs and CVs.  So it kills me when I go to DRUM (back in '95) and can not find a DRUM mug, cap, or sweatshirt!!!  Oh there was a frige magnet ( I collect historic ship and sub coffee mugs and fridge magnets)  -- BUT THAT MAGNET WAS A PICTURE OF THE USS CAVALLA!!!! Not DRUM!!!  It seems the people making the CAVALLA magnets paid a visit to the ALABAMA folks and sold them magnets of an SSK, not the DRUM!!!  Nobody noticed? or Nobody cared?  Either way it was heart breaking. I brought this up to the newly istalled director (Bill Tunnel) and he later shipped me the new DRUM coffee mug as a gift. Thanks Bill.  But sadly, the mug could have been sexier. It is just a Navy blue mug with a silver sillouet of DRUM... and the sliver was not microwave safe!!  You have to consider this stuff!  Man, if they had the colorful Octopus DRUM logo it would have flown off the shelves!  But at the time, they had none and the shop staff didn't remember ever seeing any!!! Augggghhh!

Sometimes having too many bored artists working for you can be just as bad. Take the mug from COBIA... the one I purchased 10years ago is the best historic sub mug ever (yes, even better than COD's), but when I went back three years ago with my COD shipmates, the new line of mugs were crap... as in they were redesigned to be hiphop-techie-and modern. Needless to say, my collection didn't get a new member.

What is needed (and actuallly is being addressed by HNSA as we speak, to some extent) is professional product designs that can be offered to the ships. Not everyone has artists on call, so they need to find one and get input. Then ride shotgun on quality.

When I was visiting BOWFIN in '97 I was sickened by the fact that you can buy BB ARIZONA caps all over the place. The profits do not help the memorial! And worse yet, the image of the ARIZONA on many of the CHINA-made caps is not even close to what the ship looked like!  One cap even had a cartoonish DD on it!!!

And such sins are not exclusive to ships... I love visiting the Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas, NV... with such a cool theme you'd think their gift shop would be a gold mine! But no, sadly, their stuff is Very Poorly designed, waaay over priced, and not a full range of sizes.  It really comes down to pride.

If you are proud of your ship (and are in a position of authority), your giftshop will reflect that pride.

That's enough for now... I need to take a sedative.


PF


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« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2008, 01:03:01 PM »

This is all good.  I do not mean to offend any one.  I for one am very proud of the Batfish and what it represents on many fronts.  Military, Navy, Personal experience, Historic, Ect.  I am also very proud of what has been accomplished by my volunteers here in the past year. 

With that said.  Thank you for your candid comments.  I come from a 20 years of customer service.  One thing you learn very quickly in that arena is that the painful comments can be more valuable then the Job well dones.  Now from the gift shop perspective,  I can take this information back to my board as a tool to use when it comes time to ask for more money for the gift shop.

Rick
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Tom Bowser
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« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2008, 07:52:24 PM »

Everyone, Submarineshop.com has quality items and a huge variety and will work with museum gift shops, sadly the BB parks gift shop manager would rather sell made in china crap.

Go to the web site, check out the products and talk to Gil or Ron. They even have Submarine coffee that is great.
Tom
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Travis McLain
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« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2008, 08:45:19 PM »

Yes Rick, you should check them out and see if you cant get any items from them. They have alot of cool things.

Just had an idea. Maybe we should have the museums give each other some t-shirts, so people know there are other subs, and it would be kind of cool to get a Cod, Silversides, or Drum shirt at the Batfish. Just an idea. Although there is the problem of monetary value for the shirts, such as do the museums pay each other for them, then use the income for the funding of that boat.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2008, 06:14:46 PM by Travis McLain » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2008, 11:54:05 AM »

Paul:
I really appreciated your comments on gift shops, and all of it is true.  This will give me a chance to add my two cents.  While gift shops vary widely due to the nature and makeup of the individual museums the measure of gift shop success is most often determined by the Museum Director, and the gift shop managers.  The museum at Manitowoc was blessed for a long time by having Dr, Jay Martin as their Director.  Although he had a masters degree in Great Lakes Naval history he understood that the Submarine Cobia was rhe bread and butter of the museum.  He was most responsible for the complete restoration of the Cobia and the multi-million dollar addition for the museum.  He appointed "Chico Franz, a local native, as the gift shop manager.  She knew that USS Cobia gifts and apparel would be a big revenue producer along with the other usual items associated with Great Lakes History, like jewelry, art, and ceramics, etc.  Whenever I visited the Cobia I usually left with $100.00 or more of caps, jackets etc.  She also had a good feel for what items would move and which ones had the best mark--up.  I am sorry to say that Jay Martin was replaced shortly before the Grand opening of the museum expansion.  Recently the new director replaced the gift shop manager.  We now have night and day at Manitowoc.  I am not alone in my opinions, as many of the Sub-Vets up there have expressed similar disatisfaction.  This is not to infer that the museum is not successful.  I fully realize that politics play a large role in the operations of some museums, so I won't comment more on that.  For you folks at the Batfish you might consider using a local full line supplier of gift shop items, located in Muskogee. (locally owned) I will give their web phone, etc if anyone is interested. Thanks for permitting me post this.
K0EFV     
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« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2008, 11:56:23 AM »

That is a good Idea KOEFV, our biggest problem is that we do not have too much money. Too bad they got rid of the good director, and gift shop director.
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« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2008, 12:08:40 PM »

Travis:
Yes we all seem to have the same money problems.  It is hard to compete with a thousand other orgs. doing fund raisings these days, especially the damn politicians.  I used to ask Jay Martin if he had ties to the Mafia after he got a million dollars from an unidentified donor.  Hee Haw
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« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2008, 01:16:43 PM »

Travis said it best.  We work on what we take in at the door. the city helps us out by paying the water bill and a VERY small steipend that does not even pay the light bill.  I am fully aware of how important the gift shop is.  This is the major revenue source for the boat.  We do not have any wealthy people giving us money either.  However,  we started working on this last year as soon as I arrived.  Things have some a long way for us.  We still have a long way to go.  We all have to remember that this takes time,  and in OK it takes longer.    Angry

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Travis McLain
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« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2008, 03:57:26 PM »

Rick, we all need to get tied in with the mafia somehow in order to fund the boat. lol.  Wink
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"USS Batfish relentlessly tracked down the enemy and in three separate, brilliantly executed attacks, launched her torpedoes with devastating speed and skill and demolished three Japanese submarines."
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« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2008, 04:08:26 PM »

Sorry guys.  ia from Az.  I only know the coyotes......
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