Gift Store and Purchasing Manager

Great Lakes Aquarium

  • Sales Retail and Consumer Goods
  • Community Services & Non-Profits
  • Non-Profit Management & Administration
  • Staff
  • Hospitality, Tourism & Customer Service
  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Marketing & Communications
  • Advertising|Sales
  • Sales, Retail & Consumer Goods
  • Customer Service Representative
  • Sales Retail and Consumer Goods
  • Associate
  • Buyer
  • Clothing & Gifts|Home Decor
  • Hospitality, Tourism & Customer Service


This position will be responsible for overseeing and coordinating customer service, merchandising, inventory control, and other related activities for Explorers’ Cove Gift Store at Great Lakes Aquarium. As part of this position, the individual will work with the Guest Services Manager to lead and oversee the day-to-day activities of customer service associates and other support staff engaged in routine stock management and customer service activities. The individual will also provide input into operating budgets, policies, and procedures, and provide leadership for marketing gift store goods.

This person will also be responsible for general purchasing for Great Lakes Aquarium administration, to include office supplies, uniforms, etc.

This is a full-time, benefits eligible position. The individual must be able to work a flexible schedule to include weekends and some nights and holidays. The preferred schedule for this position is Tuesday through Saturday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.


Customer Service—50%

  • Working within the gift store to assist customers, tag items, and perform light cleaning duties
  • Stock and display products
  • Cover for other employees at gift shop, ticketing, and parking lot registers, as needed
  • Supervise gift store staff, which may include: hiring, firing, performance evaluation, training, work allocation, and problem resolution.

Office Administration—35%

  • Conduct purchasing activities for the gift shop and administration
  • Maintain inventory of GLA-branded print materials, office supplies, and other regularly used items
  • Research products and work with potential and existing vendors
  • Work collaboratively with other departments and management

Visual Merchandising and Store Maintenance—10%

  • Create visual merchandising
  • Plan and execute window and “hot spot” displays
  • Rotate and update displays regularly

Other duties as assigned—5%

  • Serve on the Sustainability Committee
  • Assist with the annual Aqua Affair fundraiser
  • Participate in staff training


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential function satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. 

Individual must have working knowledge of PCs and software applications including Microsoft Office Suite and the internet. Knowledge of Quickbooks preferred. The individual must have excellent written and verbal communication skills, and have the ability to analyze and solve problems effectively. In addition, the individual must have ability to work in a team environment or individually with minimal to moderate supervision. A background check (performed by Great Lakes Aquarium staff) is required for an individual working in this position.


The applicant should have at least two years of customer service experience; retail experience preferred. The applicant should also have a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited institution in Management or Marketing, OR 3 years retail management experience. 


The physical demands and work environment described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee will regularly be required to handle and lift boxes weighing 30 lbs or more. Typically, the employee will be located in our gift store, on the aquarium floor, and in an office environment. The employee will be required to stand for long periods of time on a concrete floor, and will occasionally utilize step stools and 6 foot ladders for creating displays and cleaning. The individual is regularly required to talk and hear. The noise level in the work environment is quiet to moderate.

The employee will occasionally be required to cover for other employees in our outdoor parking lot booth, which may require the employee to sit for long periods of time.

EOAA Statement:

Great Lakes Aquarium is an equal opportunity employer. Great Lakes Aquarium shall provide equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

If you are a job seeker with a disability and require a reasonable accommodation to apply for one of our jobs, please tell us how we can help. Send us a message at:

Special Application Instruction

Please submit a completed cover letter and resume including two references to Subject Line of Email: Gift Store Manager Application
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