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Retail Jewelers Recognize Heroes in Their Communities During Pandemic

They’re engaging on a human level.

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RETAIL JEWELERS WERE eager throughout the spring to reach out to all manner of heroes on the front lines of the pandemic, from health care pros to grocery clerks.

This kind of engagement helps a local business gain credibility, drive traffic, increase loyalty and deepen relationships. It helps business owners to engage with the community on a human level, even when they’re unable to make face-to-face contact. Today more than ever, the brands that stand out are the brands that are more human, says Ben Smithee of the Smithee Group. Rather than just being consumed, relevant brands will be cherished, especially those that reached out in times of crisis.

While jewelry may have been deemed non-essential by lawmakers, as a symbol of love and commitment, such a gift is appreciated in times of trouble. As J.R. Dunn Jewelers put it in a video on their site, “When life seems fragile, remember those bonds that are unbreakable.”

London Jewelers donate meals to NY City hospital staff

#LondonJewelersCares

Throughout April and May, London Jewelers, which owns boutiques from Long Island to Manhattan, donated a portion of proceeds to buy meals from local restaurants for the staff of five New York City and Long Island, NY, hospitals in a program known as the #LondonJewelersCares initiative. The Udell family, who have owned and operated London Jewelers since 1926, made their first deliveries in mid-April, bringing trays of hot food to COVID-19 units at several local hospitals. “We want our health care workers to know they’re in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time,” explains Randi Udell Alper, London Jewelers’ co-vice president. “We are here to show our appreciation and gratitude, and to give back to the communities that have supported London Jewelers for 94 years.” As an additional show of thanks, London Jewelers offered health care workers 20 percent off purchases (with some brand exclusions) on londonjewelers.com.

Christopher’s prize 
package for a cashier

Christopher’s Prize Package for a Cashier

Christopher’s Fine Jewelry in West Des Moines, Iowa, sponsored a drawing to recognize and reward frontline heroes. “We are excited to announce a way for you and a local grocery store cashier to both win a prize package valued at $350. These individuals are braving this scary time ensuring your family has the food and supplies you need.” In mid-April, they randomly drew the name of one nominator and their cashier nominee. The prize package included a Seiko watch, a $100 gift card and a jewelry cleaning kit.

J.R. Dunn hope bracelets

J.R. Dunn Hope Bracelets

J.R. Dunn Jewelers in Lighthouse Point, FL, gave away 200 Honora pearl strands, branded as “hope bracelets,” to doctors and nurses. Social-media followers were invited to tag a health care worker and invite them to send their information to the store. Sean Dunn, who works with his parents, Jim and Ann Marie Dunn, says his mom wrote personal notes with each bracelet. Social-media response was heartfelt. Wrote one recipient: “It’s obvious they were insistent on making this a special experience. Wrapped with a bow, a special note of appreciation on the card, and a handwritten note. So touched by it all!” The bracelets were claimed in 72 hours and the Dunns scrambled to fill additional requests. “We had no idea how fast and furious the response would be,” Sean says. “It was unbelievably heartwarming, what they wrote about their friends and family on the front lines. The response got even better after people started receiving them because they sent in pictures of themselves wearing them.”

Vardy’s Jewelers #StayHome award

Holding Down the Fort

Vardy’s Jewelers in Cupertino, CA, is promoting a “Holding Down the Fort” #StayHome award, giving away one 14K white gold “love” necklace to celebrate the simple act of staying home at this critical time. To enter, participants follow Vardy’s Jewelers on Facebook, like the post and then post on Instagram or Facebook about how their #StayHome hero is “holding down the fort.” “By the way, this is no time for humble bragging,” Vardy’s posts. “We recommend big, bold bragging. Your hero deserves the very best bragging you can muster.”

Hamilton Jewelers auction

Hamilton Jewelers Auction

Hamilton Jewelers, with locations in Princeton, NJ, and Palm Beach, FL, organized an auction to assist those most affected by COVID-19 and to support the local community. The auction, conducted via a portal, was accessible from phones, tablets and desktops. New items were updated as donations were made and disbursements were to be made by the end of May. Local individuals and businesses were invited to donate products, gift cards, services or experiences for redemption now or in the future. The proceeds of the auction were to benefit those within the business community that were in particular distress at the time, such as displaced workers, local businesses and their employees.

Cline Jewelers support local business

Support for Local Business

Andy Cline of Cline Jewelers in Edmonds, WA, like so many other independent retailers caught in the coronavirus pandemic, was forced to change the way he was doing business with curbside pickup, delivery, shipping and online sales. But Cline also dipped into cash reserves to buy gift cards from other small businesses he knew might be struggling and sending them to some of his best customers to thank them for their support. Cline Jewelers is also giving 25 percent of all Cline Jewelers Gift Card sales to the local food bank.

Weston Gallery gifts

Weston Gallery Gift of Appreciation

“We advertised on social media for anyone to send us the names of nurses or doctors or emergency workers who are in need of a gift of appreciation,” says Kathy Weston of Weston Gallery in Manasquan, NJ. They sent wrapped gifts to the first 25 people nominated. They chose bracelets from their stock, including those from suppliers Officina Bernardi, Paris bracelets from Les Interchangables and Moxie Malla bracelets. “It felt good for all of us!” Weston says. “I wrapped each one, and included a little handwritten note and a silk flower. We love our customers and want them to know we are here for them!”

J. Thomas Jewelers heart of hope pendant

J. Thomas Jewelers Heart of Hope Pendant

J. Thomas Jewelers in Rochester Hills, MI, offered for sale the Heart of Hope pendant from Gem by Pancis’ Rarest Rainbow Collection, with profits to benefit Shields Restaurant, which supplied free meals to first responders. For four Wednesdays in April, the company also gave away a pendant to a first responder professional from healthcare, administration, police, fire and other fields. The idea is that “hope knows no quarantine.” The company also offers the pendant for sale to other jewelers who wish to take part in the program in their own communities.

Color with BR Activity Book cover

“Color With BR”

Bernie Robbins’ marketing team, who began working at home on March 23, let their imaginations take flight and built “Color With BR,” an activity book for kids and adults. Shared on the company’s social media accounts, it lives on the BR website for download at bernierobbins.com/coloring. “After all, family comes first,” says Cristen Cipa, director of marketing. “We also realize that coloring for adults helps reduce anxiety. Further, in a light and simplistic manner, this book introduces color and beautiful jewelry in a time of darkness.”

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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For 25 years, Stafford Jewelers of Cincinnati, Ohio, was THE place to go for special gifts, engagement diamonds, high-end Swiss watch brands — in other words, the crème de la crème of fine jewelry. But this summer, the Stafford family was ready to retire. So, they chose Wilkerson to help them close up shop. “One of the biggest concerns was having the sale in the middle of COVID,” says Director of Stores Michelle Randle. Wilkerson gave the Stafford team plenty of ideas as well as safety guidelines, which they closely followed. “All of the employees felt safe, the customers coming in the door felt safe and we did a lot of business,” says Randle. How much business? “The inventory flew,” she says. Translation: They sold millions and millions of dollars-worth of merchandise. Randle calls it, “an incredible experience.” Would she recommend Wilkerson to other retailers who are thinking of thinning their inventories or retiring? “Everyone got more than what they expected out of the sale. You have to hire Wilkerson. They’re amazing.”

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