There are cave gift shops from California to New Hampshire, with yearly attendance ranging from a couple of thousand people to hundreds of thousands. Some cave gift shops have a handful of items for sale, and others have huge gift shops filled with thousands of items. Cave gift shops also differ because of their location. One may be right outside a major city, while another is hours away from the nearest town.
Regardless of size and location, the life of a cave gift shop buyer is a busy one. Buyers have to be flexible, creative, money conscious, psychic, a little crazy, and most of all, talented in juggling 20 things at one time. Some buyers are also the owners, tour guides and grass mowers; yes, they do everything at the facility. Other cave buyers have college degrees and only focus on the merchandise for their cave gift shop. They don’t hesitate to put in long hours, and to help other cave buyers.
Rocks, rocks, rocks
Cave gift shops tend to be oriented towards the cave and geology. When visitors come to a cave, they know it is a natural attraction and expect to find items in the shop that relate to it. All cave gift shops seem to have a few things in common, and the big common factor is rocks. There are many ways that cave gift shops sell rocks, but a very popular one is the gem-mining sluice. Kids, adults and seniors all love playing in the water and “finding” their treasure. Gem mining sluices range from a few feet in length to water towers and 50 feet of trough. Even the gem mining bags can differ from a few ounces to a couple pounds in weight. Cave visitors can discover fossils, fool’s gold, gems and much more. It is so much fun watching visitors discover their treasures, with huge smiles on their faces.
Caves also sell rocks in a wide range of types, prices and sizes. Children love small tumbled rocks for 10 cents, while beautiful amethyst cathedrals can be hundreds or thousands of dollars, and tend to catch the eye of the adults. When displaying rocks it is very important to make sure that they shine. Many caves even go to the next step and carry jewelry made from all sorts of rocks and minerals.
Know your visitors
Cave gift shop buyers purchase a wide variety of items to suit many different types of customers. Visitors tend to range from young to old and rich to poor, but the one thing they have in common is a love for nature. The cave gift shop offers a huge variety of items and prices. There may be a $2,000 dollar amethyst cathedral in a corner, surrounded by tumbled rocks for 10 cents. And next to the cathedral may be t-shirts, coffee mugs, post cards, toys, locally made items and a wide variety of other items. Cave gift shop buyers should get to know their visitors, to determine what products to offer in their shops.