Hospital café operation to turn professional
Allegheny Valley Hospital in Harrison has hired a company to manage the hospital's gift shop in order to extend hours and offer more café items.
The change ends the hospital auxiliary's more than six-decade tenure running the gift shop.
“We support the hospital's changes,” auxiliary President Janice Evans said. “It's very difficult to get qualified members to take over such a responsibility.”
The auxiliary volunteers will still have a presence there after the management change takes place in January.
“We value them,” hospital spokeswoman Linda Dalak said. “They have such a rich history here, they're part of the family.”
The hospital plans to renovate the gift and coffee shop, put in more seating and expand offerings for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The café also will offer wireless Internet service.
Gift shop offerings will be downsized.
“There is a potential for it to be really profitable,” Dalak said.
All of the profits will continue to go to the auxiliary, which distributes the funds back to the hospital for projects identified by auxiliary members.
Hospital officials worked with auxiliary leadership for about a year to determine the future of the gift shop and the organization's involvement, Dalak said.
“There was really no succession plan and it's harder and harder to get volunteers,” she said. “We needed to do something.”
Auxiliary member Marianne Hetrick, chairwoman of the hospital auxiliary, said it's disappointing the auxiliary's role is being reduced.
“The gift shop has been there for 62 years,” she said.
But M.K. Barnhart, an auxiliary member who volunteers in the shop, said she thinks the change will be good.
“You have to keep up with the times,” she said. “The coffee shop will not be quite the same … but I think everything will work out just fine.”
Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.