National Buffalo Museum Store sells bison-themed merchandise
The store sells items ranging from apparel to books to jewelry.
Since the very early days of the National Buffalo Museum in Jamestown, it has had a museum store to sell all kinds of bison merchandise. The store, which has recently found a new manager and buyer, Pat Taylor, sells everything from hats and clothes to mugs and books.
“As a buyer, I just go through some of the vendors that Ilana (Xinos) has established over the years and also do my own research looking for unique bison-themed products that will appeal to our consumers,” Taylor said.
We have an awful lot of souvenirs that are very unique in a couple of different ways.
According to the museum’s executive director, Ilana Xinos, the museum store makes up 20% of the museum’s overall revenue. Xinos said most of the sales come from in-person shoppers.
“I would say it’s overwhelmingly tourists,” Xinos said. “We have a small percentage of local customers that do come in. I would say it’s gotta be 95% tourism. Our busiest months are those months, April, May, June, July, August and September. The tourism months, so our primary customer is a tourist.”
People do not have to pay the museum's admission fee to shop at the store. The store is a spot for people to get some unique items outside of the normal gift shop products, Taylor said.
“We have an awful lot of souvenirs that are very unique in a couple of different ways,” Taylor said. “One is the styling of it, it is all bison themed. Some of them are carved out of bison horn or hand painted and crafted and that sort of thing. I think those are some of the special ones that I’m very excited to purchase. The novelty items like the Jamestown T-shirts, the bison T-shirts and that kind of stuff, that really does well for our tourists.”
Before the museum hired Taylor, Xinos was doubling as a buyer, which she said helps her answer questions that Taylor might have.
As the season changes closer to the spring and summer, Taylor said she ramps up the amount of products that she is buying and is bringing in new items for the store.
“I’m looking into more wholesalers and ordering different kinds of items,” Taylor said. “I just got in some really neat buffalo head slingshots for kids. So, that’s going to be a new item for us that we’re adding to inventory.”
Since Taylor has been with the museum, she said that she has been traveling and setting up booths and more conventions to sell items.
“We’ve been doing quite a few trade shows,” Taylor said. “There has been the National Bison Convention in Denver and had wonderful sales. That was in January and then last month we went to Rapid City and we had the Dakota Territory Bison Association Convention there. We set up a booth with our museum store items and we did very well for sales there."
Taylor also recently attended the Minnesota Bison Association show.
National Buffalo Museum Store
500 17th St. SE
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day