April 5—From the very earliest days of the National Buffalo Museum in Jamestown, it has had a museum store to sell all manner of bison merchandise. The store, which recently found a new manager and buyer, Pat Taylor, sells everything from hats and clothes to mugs and books.
“As a buyer, I review some of the vendors Ilana (Xinos) has established over the years and also do my own research looking for unique bison-themed products that will appeal to our consumers” , Taylor said.
According to the museum’s executive director, Ilana Xinos, the museum shop accounts for 20% of the museum’s overall revenue. Xinos said most of the sales came from in-person shoppers.
“I would say it’s mostly tourists,” Xinos said. “We have a small percentage of local customers who come. I would say it must be 95% tourism. Our busiest months are April, May, June, July, August and September. The tourist months, so our main customer is a tourist.”
People don’t have to pay museum entrance fees to shop at the store. The store is a place where people can buy unique items outside of the normal gift shop products, Taylor said.
“We have so many memories that are very unique in so many ways,” Taylor said. “One is the style of this one, it’s all buffalo themed. Some of them are carved out of buffalo horn or hand painted and crafted and that kind of stuff. I think this are some of the specials that I’m very excited about. Novelty items like Jamestown t-shirts, bison t-shirts and that kind of stuff, it really does our tourists good.
Before the museum hired Taylor, Xinos also acted as a buyer, which she says helps her answer any questions Taylor might have.
As the season moves closer to spring and summer, Taylor said she’s been increasing the amount of product she buys and bringing in new items for the store.
“I’m looking for more wholesalers and ordering different types of items,” Taylor said. “I just got some really cool buffalo head slingshots for the kids. So this is going to be a new item for us that we’re adding to inventory.”
Since Taylor has been at the museum, she said she has been traveling and setting up booths and other conventions to sell items.
“We’ve done quite a few trade shows,” Taylor said. “We had the National Bison Convention in Denver and had some wonderful sales. That was in January, and then last month we went to Rapid City and we had the Bison Association convention there. bison from the Dakota Territory. We set up a booth with the items from our museum store and we did very well for the sales there.”
Taylor also recently attended the Minnesota Bison Association show.
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