Mayo Clinic 'gifts' community with hope for the Holidays

Jaclyn Harold
Updated: December 04, 2020 07:09 PM
Created: December 04, 2020 07:06 PM

(ABC 6 News)--  Mayo clinic purchased thousands of gifts for it's employees from the Gift Rochester holiday pop-up shop. 

The concept started back in April when founder Sarah Miller was looking to shop locally for an Easter basket, but the state had just entered the shutdown.

Miller said the idea took off, and she received over 100 orders from other parents interested in the virtual baskets. Now there are over 50 Rochester businesses featured on the site, one of them is Chocolaterie Stam. The owner Travis Yager said the partnership ran so smoothly, he jumped at the chance to work with Gift Rochester again.

"We quickly pivoted our model to support more of a corporate gift giving model through our e-commerce platform," said Miller.

That pivot, according to Yager has helped his business throughout this difficult time. With less traffic in the subways, and in the mall he said this recent contribution from Mayo Clinic and the Gift Rochester organization has brought them hope this holiday season.

"About mid week we were at about 500 orders and we were like oh, that's a lot, and so we better get to packing, and by the end of the week you know we had 1,000 boxes that we needed to pack," said Yager.

According to Mayo Clinic's Director of community engagement, Erin Sexton, when discussing appreciation gifts for employees, they really wanted to spread some of that appreciation to neighboring businesses as well.

The online shop was opened from November 6 through November 20. Sexton said the managers and supervisors that did take advantage of the online gift service are currently getting their vouchers and the gifts should be delivered soon.

Yager said this gesture was probably big for Mayo Clinic employees, but it's also huge for small businesses, and business owners like himself. 

"We've been able to retain or bring back all our seasonal employees, I mean we've got a lot of work to do right now," he said. All in time for the holidays.

The partnership consists of Gift Rochester and the Rochester Downtown Alliance who helped coordinate with small businesses. Mayo Clinic managers and supervisors then used the site to pick products from local businesses to gift to employees. Officials said Mayo Clinic purchased $257,786.95 worth of merchandise from several businesses total.

Miller said the most popular choices among selected gifts seemed to be food related. Some of the small businesses included places like Pasquale's, Carroll's Corn and Victoria's.

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