Hamilton Jewelers considers the businesses operating in its hometown of Princeton, NJ, as a family of stores and restaurant that strengthen each other by standing together.
So, when Covid-19 hit, the jeweler launched the Princeton Community Auction to support its neighbors.
The scheme encourages all businesses, retailers, restaurants and others to offer up a product, service, or experience to auction off. Those most in need can apply for support from the proceeds of the auctions.
“We want people to think outside the box … restaurants can give private cooking classes or chef’s dinners — virtually now, or in-person once the pandemic subsides — stores can offer products or private shopping experiences or rent out their space for parties once we’re back up as a society, wellness experts can offer digital sessions, and since Princeton is known for loving its academics, we’re even encouraging students and professors home from school to offer online masterclasses in their areas of expertise. Anyone, anywhere, can bid on these items, and at the end of the auction, the money raised will be pooled together and distributed to small businesses who apply to assist their employees and get some extra funds needed to weather this storm,” explains Andrew Siegel, director, business strategy and operations at Hamilton Jewelers.
Helping every business survive through the current healthcare crisis means the economy can bounce back more quickly when it is over. “On the other side of this pandemic, we wanted every one of our Princeton neighbors to open back up strong and ready to serve the community. When we saw how many places had to close up and furlough workers, and saw the GoFundMe’s that were created to support local employees, we thought there might be a way to band the town together and raise money collaboratively to support those small businesses and their employees … a new way to augment the individual GoFundMe accounts that were popping up and let donors get something fun in return, too,” Mr Siegel explains.