JFK is often associated with the quote “A rising tide lifts all boats”, which he used during a 1963 speech. Although he said it to combat criticism of a project he was inaugurating, the quote has been often borrowed to illustrate how many can receive benefit from one action.
Today, The Plumb Club recognizes the efforts of Hamilton Jewelers, who are assisting their neighboring small businesses severely affected by Covid-19 in their Princeton, NJ community.
Hamilton Jewelers has been an imposing presence in the Mercer County region of New Jersey for well over 100 years. The recent pandemic has devastated many of their fellow merchants and businesses and, although the company supports over 100 charitable organizations annually, they concluded that, at this moment, their community needed their attention more than ever. As a result, Hamilton Jewelers is funding an auction page and gathering donations. Their goal is to raise at least $50,000 to assist small businesses most adversely affected by COVID-19 in their area.
The ask was simple! Hamilton Jewelers invited anyone who could do so to participate – individuals, organizations, civic groups or businesses. The donation could be anything from a product, to a dinner, to a class, to a service or a fun experience, that could be redeemed at a future date. The auction was launched on April 20th and will continue to run through May 20th, 2020, with new items added daily.
After the auction, at the end of May, the collected funds will be distributed equally among eligible businesses in the community who have requested assistance. The page https://www.hamiltonjewelers.com/pages/Princeton-Community-Auction.html provides a link for local businesses wishing to apply for funding from the auction.
According to Donna Bouchard, Vice President of Hamilton Jewelers, the outpouring of support has been amazing. “Even businesses and individuals who were hurting tremendously themselves are still giving to others. I’ve had people contacting me, who have lost their jobs, but are still willing to donate their time, knowledge and expertise.”
To date, the auction has 195 registered bidders, and 285 bids placed for over $16,000. So far, there are 80 auction items, which can easily be seen, along with their value and the current bid for each – and the mix of donations is amazing! One can view the selection here: https://prince.cbo.io
Hank Siegel, President of Hamilton Jewelers adds, “Two of our firm’s core values are Relationships and the Communities that we serve. Therefore, our motivation was really simple. We want to be sure that, when Princeton reopens to the wonderful and vibrant town that we love, we want to be sure our neighbors are here standing with us.”
During this time, many people are giving thought as to how they can help. Some, who have been generously helping others as part of their regular altruistic activities, are finding ways to expand what they are doing to include the many who now need it most.
Today, The Plumb Club applauds Wilson & Son Jewelers, who have added to their already commendable efforts with the charity ‘Feeding Westchester’, for including those on the front line of the crisis.
The Wilson brothers, Mike and Matt, have a sister who has been an operating room nurse for 30 years, Amy Wilson Soravilla. From Amy’s accounts, they knew the hard work of health care professionals.
Then, a year prior to their father’s passing in February, they witnessed first-hand just how dedicated the nursing staff was while he was in the hospital. To thank them, they started bringing donuts for the staff during their visits – a big hit.
With significant increases in the number of Covid-19 cases in Westchester, Amy became a nurse on the front lines of the battle and shared her concerned stories with her brothers. Mike, as a board member of ‘Feeding Westchester’, knew how they could help.
On March 17th, the Wilson & Son Jewelers’ family fed the staff at St. Johns Riverdale Hospital in Dobbs Ferry and in Yonkers on March 18th. On March 19th, the company fed the dedicated and tireless National Guard at ‘Feeding Westchester’. On March 20th, they spread that love to White Plains Hospital and, then, on the 26th, the team at Northern Westchester Hospital.
Their great generosity has consistently continued through April with the National Guard. Most recently they teamed up with Pizza & Brew to bring food to these tireless groups of heroes who are working to help others and battle the virus.
They say that nourishment of the body is food, while nourishment for the soul is feeding others. Wilson & Son Jewelers has managed to check off both.
Times of crisis can inspire people to focus on the current need and rally for a specific cause. However, mankind is faced with many needs, disorders, and causes that have significant impact and persist as more of a constant in many lives.
Today, The Plumb Club salutes a well-known industry family jewelry business that is doing their part to help inspire and thank essential workers during the current situation, while continuing to give back to those who are helping with the developmental disorder, Autism.
Cornell’s Jewelers in Rochester, NY is a business that has always felt it is important to give back to those in need. David, his wife Olivia, and their son Michael credit David’s parents and grandparents as mentors who instilled that virtue into the family. After David’s father passed away a few years ago, the family found out that he had generously put many children through school. Going back further, when David’s grandfather passed away, his grandmother, who worked very hard to put food on the table for the family, continued to stretch what little food she could afford, in order to help others in the area who were hungry.
As a business that has always held philanthropy close to its heart, Cornell’s Jewelers has a history of focusing their efforts on health and education initiatives in their community. One of the many causes they support is Autism. Since April is Autism Awareness Month, they wanted to ensure that they continued to focus on this important cause, while addressing what was happening currently with the Covid-19 crisis.
To mark Autism Awareness Month, Cornell’s held a drawing for a heart pendant on a beaded chain. They asked their community to send emails nominating people who were providing care to those with Autism. The names of the nominees were placed into a drum and one lucky winning name was randomly chosen.
During this pandemic, Cornell’s also wanted to show their appreciation for those on the front line – all “essential workers” from health care workers, to postal workers and grocery store workers. The names of front-line workers are entered via Facebook or Instagram and then placed into a “Wheel of Fortune” style application that then spins the wheel and randomly selects one of the names. The drawing is done three times weekly on Instagram with various prizes and Michael Cornell as host. He then arranges a time and place with the winners, where he places their prize into the trunk of their car.
“We live in a very philanthropic community”, says Olivia Cornell. “We believe in making sure that the community knows that we care deeply about them.”
One of the most difficult feelings that many people face is loneliness or not feeling part of a community. With social distancing being requested nationwide, because of Covid-19, that feeling of isolation and not being connected can have a devastating impact on our emotional state and wellbeing. We are all spending more time alone or without the regular human contact we are used to and the fun those interactions provide us.
Today, The Plumb Club is happy to shine the spotlight on a family business that is sharing one of their family traditions to bring interaction and fun to their community. Here is their story:
Albert’s Diamond Jewelers and their two locations in Indiana employ a large number of staff and are visited by hundreds of people on a daily basis. The retailer is very involved in the community, especially when it comes to volunteering. Early on during the pandemic, Albert’s did what was best for their employees and their community. They decided to close their stores and “shelter in place” – a very difficult decision, made more difficult because of their fondness of communal involvement.
While at home, the family decided to continue their tradition of “Wednesday Bingo Night”, a regular pastime, which they previously enjoyed with friends and neighbors at a local club. For the holidays, they had been gifted a home Bingo set, which allowed them to continue to play the game at their own table. As they told friends about how they were coping as a family with “shelter in place”, they were overwhelmed with how many families wanted to join them virtually on “Bingo Night”. So, they did what any good hearted, altruistic family would do! They opened their home and family tradition to their community and their customers to bring some much-needed interaction and fun to the situation by hosting a Facebook LIVE Bingo session.
To facilitate the game, they encouraged families to play along at home by Googling printable Bingo cards. Originally, prizes were determined by the families who played along – extra dessert, candy, or pick of the family movie to watch. They then decided to host Bingo Night on the Alberts Facebook page where winners received Albert’s Gift Cards, to be picked up at a later date. “Wednesday Bingo Night” has turned into a major success. Currently, there are anywhere from 12-30 families that play along, and the family has received countless photos. Some friends have told them that they have, in-turn, started this tradition with their friends and family around the country.
“People seem to enjoy it”, says Ashley Halpern. “It’s fun, interactive, keeps us together as a community and provides us all something consistent to look forward to each week.”
During any crisis, heroes rise to the occasion. Sometimes publicly and sometimes quietly behind the scenes, some heroes continue helping others while putting themselves in harms way. During this Covid-19 crisis, medical personnel have been classified as “essential workers” and, as such, are on the front lines of this pandemic daily.
Today, The Plumb Club wishes to highlight an example of a jewelry industry citizen, who is doing his part to thank those men and women who are helping to care for the sick and find ways to defeat that pandemic. Here’s his story:
Due to COVID-19, Franco Valobra, 4th generation jeweler originally from Italy, was forced to temporarily close his jewelry boutiques in Lugano Switzerland, New Orleans, LA and Houston, Texas.
Even with the strain on his business and the need to continue supporting his staff, he wanted to show gratitude to those battling on the frontlines against the Coronavirus. While social distancing with his family at his home in New Orleans, he began his project of gifting medical personnel around the world with the custom-made Valobra Defeating the Virus pin.
The sterling-silver pin, dipped in 18K gold, features the familiar caduceus with its intertwined snakes and wings topped with a deep-red garnet, which historically represents the symbol for healing and crisis resolution.
Valobra Master Jewelers is asking people to identify outstanding medical personnel from anywhere in the world and send nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out a nomination form online at www.valobrajewelry.com/defeatingtheviruspin. Those chosen will be sent the pin with the compliments of Valobra and the person who made the nomination.
A minimum of 1000 pins will be sent to deserving heroes, with dozens more going out every day.
“As it is hard to stay idle in this perilous time, we, at Valobra Master Jewelers, decided to create a symbol of the fight against the Coronavirus”, said Franco Valobra. “We must show all of the brave men and women in our nation and, indeed, around the world, who are risking their lives while fighting the virus in the hospitals curing us and in the labs searching for a cure, that we are grateful, beyond words. This pin represents their sacrifice, hard work and commitment, never to be forgotten.”