Niagara Gazette

Columns

December 10, 2012

HIGGS: The Auxilia and its 'Gift' to Memorial

Niagara Gazette — Last time we learned about the early beginnings of our current NFMMC and the formation of the Women’s Auxiliary in 1905. This week we highlight the Gift Shop which has some history also.

The Gift Shop at Memorial Medical Center began back in 1950 where it shared space with the Corner Shop. Actually it only had a few shelves on which to showcase some incidental gifts to purchase.

It was operated at the time by the Niagara Falls Service League. The organization was a group of active female volunteers under the age of 40. The Auxiliary sold handmade knit and craft items in an adjacent display case.

The shop moved to an area now used by communications sometime in 1964. It was operated by both organizations and Bea Phelps represented the Auxiliary and Adrienne Miller was with the Service League then. The two groups shared the buying and staffing.

The Gift Shop moved again in 1971 to the upper lobby area where the volunteer information staff is now located. In 2004 they were moved again to the ground floor just at the bottom of the staircase to accommodate the information desk. It is not the most noticeable location but they have a window display adjacent to the elevator on the first floor which directs visitors to the shop and the full length glass windows showcase the items for sale.

Peg Addoms, who has been an Auxilian for 57 years, (yes I said 57 years) has been decorating the elevator showcase window for as long as it has been there. I caught her at it the other day and it was “looking good” as a work in progress.

A paid, part-time manager, Robert Cinelli was hired in June 1985 when the Service League disbanded and Diane Cockrell took over the responsibility on a full-time basis. She turned it into a full-scale gift shop with department store quality items. Succeeding managers included Eleanor Whelan, Pat Paris and now, Mary Norton who has 25 volunteers.

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