Friday, May 03, 2013

PEM Gift Shop Wins Chamber of Commerce Award

Salem, MA ~

This past month the Salem Chamber of Commerce recognized businesses and individuals in Salem with their annual "Excellence" awards.  The Museum Shop at PEM was the recipient of the Excellence in Retailing Award for 2012.  Here you see some of the key members of this great shop with the custom-made etched glass recognition award.  If you want to see it for yourself, it is proudly on display in the case located just between the two parts of the shop.
Left to right:  Penny Bigmore, Merchandising Special Projects Manager; Stacey Pappas, Museum Store Manager; Cassandra Miller, Weekend Manager; and Lynne Francis-Lunn, Director of Merchandising 

Lynne Francis-Lunn, Director of Merchandising

I had the opportunity to ask Lynne Francis-Lunn, the Manager, a few questions, and to take a number of photos of one of my very favorite places to shop in Salem.

1) First off, congratulations on the award presented to you by the Chamber of Commerce.  What does an award like this mean to you?

It is wonderful and an honor to be recognized by your peers in the Salem business community to win the Excellence in Retailing Award by the Salem Chamber of Commerce.

2) You have been an important part of the Museum shop for a long time.  Can you tell us a little bit about how long you have been with PEM and what brought you to work there?

I started working at the museum on a three-week contract 27 years ago.  I was asked to run day-to-day operations while they did a job search for a manager at the store at the Essex Institute, and I never left!

3) What about the Peabody Essex Museum shop makes it different from other gift shops?

The biggest distinction is that the store is a museum shop and that our merchandise mix changes to reflect the mix of exhibitions that are happening at the museum. When buying merchandise for the store, I do look at the item and ask myself, if one can find this at the mall then I probably don't want it for the store?  The store needs to be distinctive, welcoming, and reflect the museum, it's mission, it's programming and exhibitions.

4) I'm sure you have many favorites but is there any one exhibit that you feel most passionate about because of the items that came into your shop associated with it?

My personal favorite exhibition was Iris Apfel, Rare Bird of Fashion. The museum shop expanded our clothing and jewelry lines and really established itself as place to shop for fashion on the North Shore.

Iris in her exhibition gave women permission to express their individuality through their dress. We worked closely with Iris buying fashion and accessories for the store.

5) Share with us some of your favorite places to go in Salem

I love to bringing friends to the Tavern on the Green for lunch. I've also been a long time fan of the Grapevine and I'm happy to see it live on under new ownership. J Mode, S and J King, Two Sisters, Rouge, and
Pamplemousse are all great places in Salem.

6) Can you tell our blog readers about some of the upcoming items and specials at the Museum store?

The store has new spring and summer fashions and jewelry arriving daily. We are bringing in an array of jazz music to coordinate with the upcoming In Conversation the African American Art exhibition from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Thank you Lynne!
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Here are some photos I took in the shop this week.   As you can see, the Museum Shop offers a wide-range of items, from toys to tea towels to men's ties, from candles to clothing, accessories for both home and oneself -- it is a perfect place to shop for anyone.









 I asked Stacey Pappas, who is a master of great display, to stand in front of one of her favorite displays.  She said "the hats" and then without a moment of hesitation she donned a chapeau and became part of the display.  I love her happy attitude!








 The shop is an extraordinary place, so I tried to capture the breadth of it using my panoramic camera feature on my iPhone.




In this last of the panoramic shots you see, from the left:  Penny Bigmore, Yanitza Thomas, Lynne Francis-Lunn and Stacey Pappas.  You also see them again in the middle of the shot, because we were having fun with it -- but it kind of represents how busy these great staff members are, seeming to be in multiple places as one time.

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One thing everyone needs to know about this fab shop -- you DO NOT need to pay admission to the museum if you simply want to shop here.  Just come on in and shop til you drop!

I hope to see you here, or there.

Juli

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