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Toronto’s SickKids Hospital Launches Unique Online Store for Fundraising

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One of the most beloved mainstays at SickKids Hospital received a major upgrade this summer with the launch of the 5Fifty5 shop online store.

The 5Fifty5 Shop is a key fundraising stream for SickKids, generating upwards of $1 million in annual sales revenue. Owned and operated by the Women’s Auxiliary Volunteers (WAV) — a registered charity and volunteer group that is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year — the women-only group consists of 260 members, some of whom have been members for decades.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Public Health guidelines and infection control measures implemented at SickKids meant that many of the shops operating within the hospital had to be closed over the past six months.

Patients and families visiting SickKids had come to rely on the gift shop as somewhat of a distraction from medical procedures. Unfortunately, with the unavoidable COVID-19 closure, sales stalled and the shop’s future was in jeopardy. That was, however, until an innovative collaboration opportunity called ShopHERE by Digital Main Street was presented to members of the WAV.

To help Canadian small businesses with their economic recovery, Digital Main Street’s ShopHERE program powered by Google pledges to help get 50,000 Canadian small businesses online this year. Funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, The ShopHERE program offers businesses and artists the opportunity to build a digital presence and minimize the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto, Digital Main Street is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Intuit Quickbooks, Facebook, MasterCard, Microsoft, and Shopify.

“We needed a bit of a revitalization for the 5Fifty5 shop and the ShopHERE program has been a catalyst for change,” says Pamela Stevens, President, Women’s Auxiliary Volunteers at SickKids. “Going forward the shop will have in-store and online offerings of all our merchandise with greater variety and inventory potential because of the diversity the online shop offers.”

Since launching in early June, 5Fifty5 online has brought in more than $25,000 in phone and web orders. Pickup locations are offered for patient families at the specialty food shop in the hospital, with Canada Post being used to deliver all external orders.

“Supporting the 5Fifty5 Shop in their transition to online was really important for us. Bringing this to life with the Women’s Auxiliary Volunteer Group and SickKids has been an incredible experience. We look forward to seeing the expanded impact of the 5Fifty5 online store,” says Darryl Julott, Managing Lead at Digital Main Street.

The revenue generated by the 5Fifity5 shop supports a variety of programs in the hospital ranging from therapeutic clowns and the Bravery Beads program to neonatology research. WAV currently funds five research chairs, the most recent being WAV Chair in Image-Guided Care, and is a major donor towards operating suite renovations in the hospital. WAV also holds Grand Benefactor status with SickKids Foundation having raised over $18 million since 1993.

To view the 5Fifty5 online store, please visit: thesickkids5fifty5shop.ca

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