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Eileen McClelland

Retailers Find Creative Ways to Inspire Others

COVID-19 crisis opens hearts.



JEWELRY RETAILERS, FACED with their own business crisis, health concerns, and loan applications, still are taking time to think about how they can bring hope and inspiration to others affected by the coronavirus, especially those on the front lines of COVID-19 response. Here are a few examples of their efforts. If you are a retailer, please share more examples of what you’re doing to help or inspire others, by emailing

Retailers Find Creative Ways to Inspire Others

Community Auction

To help small businesses in its community impacted by COVID-19, Hamilton Jewelers, based in Princeton, NJ, has created an online Princeton Community Auction, which launched Monday and will continue until May 20.

The company is seeking donations of products and services from merchants, gift cards from restaurants, and consultations from service professionals. Other suggestions for donations include video fitness sessions, virtual art classes, coaching, dog-walking services or shopping services, lawn mowing services, social media assistance, etc. Group activities are designed to be redeemed when it is safe to do so.

Some creative examples on the site already include a private tour of the Princeton University Art Museum, a milk-and-cookies party, a private metal-detection excursion, yoga classes, a pub crawl and the opportunity to create your own ice cream flavor.

Those interested in helping are invited to donate additional items or to bid on donated items via an online auction portal. Funds raised will be made available to those within the Princeton, NJ, business community that are in particular distress at this time, such as displaced workers and local businesses and their employees.

Hamilton is funding all costs, operating the platform and managing administrative tasks.

“While the current situation around us is undoubtedly very dramatic and scary, we remain optimistic and committed to maximize our efforts to revitalize our communities and businesses in the face of this challenge,” Hamilton Jewelers President and CEO Hank Siegel said, in announcing the program.

For more information, visit their website.

Retailers Find Creative Ways to Inspire Others


Throughout April and May, London Jewelers, which owns boutiques from Long Island to Manhattan, donated a portion of proceeds to supply meals from local restaurants to 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. “As a small family-owned business, our goal is to treat everyone in our community like family,” explains Randi Udell Alper, London Jewelers’ co-vice president. “We want our healthcare workers to know they’re in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. 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 healthcare workers 20 percent off purchases (with some brand exclusions) on

A Gift of Appreciation

Retailers Find Creative Ways to Inspire Others“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., then sent wrapped gifts to the first 25 people nominated. They chose bracelets from their stock, including those from suppliers Officina Bernardi sterling, Paris bracelets from Les Inerchangables 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!”

Retailers Find Creative Ways to Inspire Others

Bracelets Offering Hope

J.R. Dunn Jewelers in Lighthouse Point, FL, gave away 200 Honora Pearls strands, branded as “hope bracelets” to nurses and doctors on the frontline of the pandemic. Social media followers were invited to tag a healthcare worker and invite them to DM their information to the store. Sean Dunn, who works with his parents, Jim and Ann Marie Dunn, says his mom wrote personal handwritten notes that were packaged with each bracelet. Social-media response was heartfelt and thankful, Sean says. 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 the bracelet was on, and a handwritten note. (I’m a sucker for hand-written notes. People don’t take the time to do this anymore.) So touched by it all!” The 200 bracelets were all claimed within 72 hours and the Dunns plan to do what they can to privately fill additional requests that came in during that time period. “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 who are on the front lines. The response got even better after people started receiving them because they sent in pictures of themselves wearing them.”


Retailers Find Creative Ways to Inspire Others

Hope Knows No Quarantine

J. Thomas Jewelers in Rochester Hills, MI, offered the Heart of Hope pendant from Gem by Pancis’ Rarest Rainbow Collection. For four Wednesdays in April, the company plans to give away a pendant to a first responder professional from healthcare, administrative, police, fire and other fields. The pendant will also be sold, with all profits benefiting Shields Restaurant, which is supplying free meals to responders. “It is imperative that independent jewelers keep their name out in the community. Many of us have not sold online and are now scrambling to do so. The idea is: “HOPE knows no quarantine”. Let’s make a statement as Jewelers together, be a positive beacon in our community.” To participate in the program using this particular item, call Audrey Pancis (973) 296-3316 or Kyle Pancis (973) 800-3717

Retailers Find Creative Ways to Inspire Others

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.”

Retailers Find Creative Ways to Inspire Others

Prize Package for a Cashier

Christopher’s Fine Jewelry in West Des Moines, Iowa, has scheduled 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.” On April 17, they plan to randomly draw the name of one nominator and their cashier nominee. The prize package includes a Seiko watch, a $100 gift card and a jewelry cleaning kit.


“Color with BR”

Bernie Robbins’ marketing team, working at home since 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 will live on the BR website for download here. “After all, family comes first,” says Cristen Cipa, director of marketing. “We also realize that coloring for adults helps reduce anxiety. It’s a form of therapy. Further, in a light and simplistic manner, this book introduces color and beautiful jewelry in a time of darkness. Lastly, we wanted to show our humanity through creativity and teamwork. We understand life is heavy right now and we want to keep content light. We’d like consumers (kids and adults) to learn something new about jewelry and Bernie Robbins Jewelers in a fun-filled way.”

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.



This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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