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The CMA Gift Shop: A personal shopping experience

Each visit to the CMA Gift Shop is a unique experience because there’s always something new to discover and tons of fun ocean items that you just can’t find anywhere else. Where do all these amazing marine themed gifts and goodies come from?

“I find many items at gift shop trade shows held in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Chicago and Orlando, Florida,” explained Gift Shop Manager Jean Steinmetz. “I never order anything online until I’ve had the chance to see it and touch it because I need to verify that items are of good quality and unique. Once I know an item is well-made and sells well; then I’ll reorder it online.”

Since Steinmetz started managing the CMA Gift Shop three years ago, she has expanded merchandise options to include many more things for adults. “Now you can shop for nice jewelry, home décor, books, scarves, purses, t-shirts and stationary,” said Steinmetz. “We sell educational toys for children because we can have 25 buses of students coming each day in the spring. In addition, we carry CMA custom memorabilia such as mugs, water globes, magnets, pens and pencils. You name it, we have it!”

A lot of thought goes into each item found in the CMA Gift Shop. Steinmetz takes great care to find gifts that ocean fans love and in doing so curates the gift shop in the same meticulous way CMA’s staff curates the exhibits. Everything in the store is well-researched and often items are acquired with a certain customer in mind.

“When I’m at trade shows or meeting with vendors and local artists, what regular customers like is always in the back of my mind,” said Steinmetz. “For example, I know that one customer loves leafy seadragons and it’s really hard to find things featuring leafy seadragons. So if I see anything with a leafy seadragon on it, I’ll order it for her.”

It’s like having access to a personal shopper for ocean lovers! If you are looking for special ocean mementos, Steinmetz will find it for you. To Steinmetz, this is all just part of providing great customer service and turning the CMA Gift Shop into a destination store.

So the next time you visit the Aquarium, make sure to stop in the Gift Shop. The store is packed with fantastic ocean and marine life merchandise. There’s a very good chance you’ll find something you like and if you are looking for something specific, just ask for Jean. FRIENDS of CMA members receive 20 percent off all regularly priced items and proceeds from all purchases go towards supporting CMA’s educational programs.

Post Date: Sunday, September 23, 2012

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