Behind the scenes in the Museum Shops: Getting ready for the Just-After-Thanksgiving Sale

On the day after Thanksgiving, The Corning Museum of Glass opens its doors a little earlier than normal. Before the sun has come up, before the morning’s frost has melted away, an eager crowd of festive shoppers waits to come inside. Anticipation hangs in the air just outside the door: couples keeping each other’s hands warm, families remembering delicious plates of food from the night before, and avid bargain-hunters searching through the sales flier, circling their intentions.

datg_penguinAt 7 a.m. the doors open, everyone is welcomed inside with a friendly smile, and ushered toward a bustling holiday wonderland. The Museum Shops have been transformed: miniature pine trees in glass vases stand amongst the sculptural artwork of our local glassblowers, clusters of winter berries and magnolia leaves, planted in mirror cubes, accent the colorful displays of vintage Pyrex designs, and garlands of green ferns intertwined with fairy lights hang from the mezzanine balcony. All the while, hiding around every corner, giant white penguins and mosaic glass polar bears are on hand to point out glass gifts suitable for all the family.

The Just-After-Thanksgiving Sale is here, but it’s been a long time in the making.

Victor Nemard, senior merchandising manager, has seen more than 20 Thanksgivings since joining the Museum, and he knows what the people like. Victor and his team of buyers and sales associates work hard to ensure shoppers are delighted with the products and the experience. Victor starts thinking about Thanksgiving before anyone else, as early as January, and a lot of his year is scheduled with holiday shopping in mind. His search for the best products takes him all over the country, from New York City to Atlanta and Las Vegas, visiting trade shows and negotiating with sellers and manufacturers.

In the months that follow, all the product travels from all corners of the globe to to CMoG’s warehouse, where a four-person team begins staging the thousands of products on pallets, ensuring everything is wrapped and protected and ready for transport. As Thanksgiving approaches, the team will spend three days loading more than 10 semi-trailer trucks with as many as 26 pallets each. When one leaves for the Museum full, another is just arriving empty and hungry for more.

Setting up the Auditorium for the big day.

Setting up the Auditorium for the big day.

Once things arrive at the Museum, they are delivered to different sections in the Museum Shops, depending on where they’ll be displayed. Some pallets however, are delivered into the Museum Auditorium—these are the Tiffany-style lamps: a hot commodity on our Just-After-Thanksgiving Sale. The Auditorium, a large indoor space normally accustomed to holding 800 people for a concert or a conference, will, for an entire week, be transformed in to a pop-up shop showcasing more than one hundred varieties of ornate stained-glass lamps. One lucky volunteer gets to screw in more than 300 lightbulbs, and suddenly the Auditorium is bathed in the multi-colored glow of all those lamps.

Throughout the Museum Shops, the retail staff puts the finishing touches on the decorations, and ensures the space has been properly transformed into a Glass Wonderland for eager holiday shoppers. Everything is meticulously cleaned, even the playlist of seasonal favorites is dusted off. The Shops team prepares itself to hold more stock on site than at any other time of the year. Not only that, they prepare to host the busiest retail day of the year.

Our staff looks forward to welcoming you to the Museum Shops, and helping you select the perfect holiday gifts for the loved ones on your list.


Download and print coupons for this year’s sale.

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