Internet sales click for group in Annapolis

January 02, 2000|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

The Historic Annapolis Foundation's fledgling attempt at electronic commerce has brought the group a small windfall during the holiday season through online orders of books and souvenirs related to the state capital.

Lynn Manwaring, the foundation's marketing director, said the nonprofit group's museum store has received about 100 online orders for merchandise since it launched its Web site, www.hafmuseumstore.com, Dec. 3.

The group's online store is part of its push to market the history of Annapolis to a wider audience via the Internet. Manwaring said the foundation is working to put its architectural and historical records online.

"We're hoping to gain more national recognition and to expand our market here in the state of Maryland," Manwaring said. The online store's sales so far are "a wonderful beginning. It's very encouraging."

The foundation opened its museum store at the foot of Main Street four years ago. A year later, the group expanded the store, which brings in about $400,000 annually. Manwaring said venturing online was important to increase the group's revenue.

"What we're trying to do is get more earned income," she said. "When you go for corporate donations, they like to see an ability on the part of the nonprofit to also bring in money."

After nine months of research into the best-selling items at its museum store, the foundation launched its retail Web site last month, featuring nearly 40 items that include $14 sailboat earrings, a $12.50 crab dip kit and a $700 wooden model of a historic sailboat.

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