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Capitol gift shop supporting itself in first year

Capitol gift shop supporting itself in first year

Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
June 4, 2010

The new gift shop in the Idaho State Capitol Building in downtown Boise has become self-supporting in its first year of operation, though its fiscal numbers so far this year were boosted by the legislative session in the early month of 2010.  Robyn Lockett, with the Legislative Services Office (LSO), reported to members of the Legislative Council that the shop, located on the bottom floor of the Capitol, is selling enough in goods to support itself and make a profit.

According to Lockett, the gift shop has generated more than $38,000 in sales since its opening in early January, though $2,500 of that came on Jan. 9, when the Capitol was officially re-opened with a ceremony put on by the Idaho Capitol Commission.  To this point in the year, the shop has cost a little more than $19,000 to operate.  During the session which lasted from Jan. 11 to March 31, Lockett said the shop took in an average of about $432 each day.  That daily average has dropped due to decreased traffic in the Capitol after the session, but the shop is still doing enough business to support itself.  Lockett said that when sales figures are averaged for the first five months of the year, the shop has taken in about $368 per day.

To be fully self-sufficient, the shop must generate $350 per day in sales.  Lockett told lawmakers on the council that the base operating cost of the shop each day is about $175, which includes salaries, benefits, and purchases of shop goods.  She believes the shop is functioning well for its first year.  "From my perspective, so far, so good," Lockett said.  She told lawmakers that she plans to try and launch an online state gift shop sometime in the future.

Senate Pro Tem Bob Geddes, R-Soda Springs, suggested that the shop look for more ways to generate additional revenue, including finding ways to engage customers who are often one-time buyers and encourage them to return and buy at regular intervals.  Lockett said that her office is exploring opening the Capitol for additional events within the Boise community, including the First Thursday event, which is a coordinated effort to provide citizens with special entertainment and shopping opportunities, and Saturday's farmer's market, which takes place each Saturday throughout the summer months.

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