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Perham hospital gift shop "best hidden secret" in town

Scarves, sunglasses and holiday decorations are a few of the items for sale at the gift shop. Photo by Ashley Bergen.

Looks like the secret is out.

Nestled inside the Perham Memorial Hospital and Home is a little shop with a lot of local flair. It's the gift shop that isn't an everyday hospital gift shop, according to Manager Helene Johnson.

"It's the best hidden secret in Perham," she said.

Johnson and her 35 volunteers work to give visitors, patients and residents of the home and hospital, a place to shop for everything from fashionable clothes and jewelry to decorations and fresh flowers.

Johnson, who has managed the gift shop for the past two-and-a-half years, said merchandise available in the shop is always changing. Right now she keeps a wide variety of warm clothing such as scarves, vests and hats. There is also a selection of décor that changes every season, Johnson said.

It also has a lot of local flair including Minnesota Twins apparel and camouflage purses and vests.

The shop is run by Johnson and her 35 volunteers, and said she is always in need of more.

"It's fun to work here," she said. "Workers get a chance to meet people and socialize."

While the clientele sometimes comes in off the street to shop, Johnson said the majority of customers are residents of the nursing home.

"It's so nice for the people that can't go to the stores," she said. "It's a joy for them."

Some attention was brought to the shop after it showcased fashions at the Catholic Daughter's Fall Style Show in October. Many didn't realize all that the gift shop had to offer, Johnson said.

"Now once they've been in here, they usually come back," she said.

Johnson tries her best to keep prices reasonable and offer a varied selection of merchandise. Items are also for sale to help brighten the day of a patient including balloons and flowers. Johnson said anyone interested in purchasing a gift for a patient may call the gift shop and the staff will deliver it right to the hospital.

The town center is also a low key place to listen to old music and get a cup of coffee. Outside the gift shop is a jukebox with hundreds of songs to choose from for free. The gift shop also serves coffee and soda so one can grab a drink then sit and watch the snow fall outside the window while listening to 50s diner music.

For more information about volunteering at the gift shop, call Johnson at 218-347-1849. Shifts are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 1-4:30 p.m.

The gift shop is open for business from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is also open various Saturdays. It is located in the town center of the nursing home. The hospital and home is located at 665 3rd Street S.W., Perham.