The sounds of gently splashing ocean waves welcome shoppers entering the New Milford Hospital gift shop these days.

Shop manager Jessica Bittner has taken her fashion industry training and retail experience to transform the newly renovated store into a place of respite for hospital employees and patients' family members.

CDs offered for sale play during shop hours.

Whether seeking an Aroma Home, lavender-scented body wrap for a patient recovering from surgery or looking for an Egyptian cotton baby gown for a newborn, shoppers will find unique offerings designed to sooth and/or heal, Ms. Bittner said.

"When you walk in here, I don't want you to think you're shopping at the hospital," she said. "I want to have people feel like they could be in a shop on Bank Street, with really cool items at great prices."

The gift shop has a whole new look.

New Milford developer Tom Pilla donated the work staff and materials to give the shop an upscale look.

Ms. Bittner came on board in May.

The rest, as they say, is hospital history.

"I hear people around the hospital saying, `Have you been down to the gift shop? I have to get down there today.' It's become a destination point," said Linda Wisman, the hospital marketing director. "When I walk in here, I always feel so relaxed... I think its the aromas."

Ms. Bittner has drawn on the hospital's commitment to incorporating integrative medical practices with traditional western medicine.

Massage, Reiki and music therapy are among the healing offerings now at the hospital, Ms. Wiseman said. And Ms. Bittner stocks items to be used in those practices.

She carries CDs created by Dr. Leesa Sklover, who has a masters in music therapy, along with her PhD in clinical psychology. Dr. Sklover offers Kundalini Yoga and music therapy at the hospital.

"I wish Jessica had a cart so the patients could see all the wonderful, healing items the gift shop offers," Dr. Sklover said. "I'll use music in my therapy and now that music will be available here."

The New Milford Hospital gift shop is open Mondays through Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Prices range from $1 to $30.

A series of special shopping events and "meet & greets are happening in December. For more information, call 860-210-7444.