Like many, Shay Heckle is well acquainted with the friendly faces who deliver meals to tables throughout the Golden Isles. The servers and staff of the local restaurant industry have always gone the extra mile to make her dining experiences pleasurable.
So when the coronavirus struck and the restaurants shuttered dining rooms, the owner of Chadwick’s Jewelers wanted to find a way to step in to help.
“(Jeweler) Matt (Valentine) and I discussed what we could do to pay back the community for what they have done for us,” she said. “We’ve been here for 35 years, and we’ve weathered a lot of storms.”
Though their showroom is currently closed, the two are very active online. And that’s how they came up with an idea to hold daily Facebook auctions featuring exclusive pieces of jewelry.
“We thought that would be a great way to give back and to keep our name out there while we are closed. We put up these auctions on Facebook and we give a percentage of the proceeds to the restaurant owners on the island,” she said.
The pieces they have auctioned are unique, some being collected from estate sales with others being custom made by Valentine.
“We had two Tiffany pieces from an estate. Then, we’ve auctioned a lot of new ones that Matt has made,” Heckle said.
The efforts have paid off, netting more than $1,000 that was directly given to area restaurant owners.
“I give it directly to the owners to distribute as they see fit, but of course, they want to take care of the servers who aren’t able to work right now,” she said.
Their customers, too, are enjoying the daily events. Heckle says they get to enjoy a little friendly competition as well as nab a nice piece of jewelry for much less than retail value.
“We are starting the bids at a reasonable rate, so it’s not like we are out there putting up a $5,000 piece of jewelry. We don’t want to break people’s banks,” she said. “But most of them are getting really good deals. We have several pieces that would retail over $1,000 that they’re getting for $300 or $500.”
In order to participate, one need only go to the Chadwick’s Jewelers’ Facebook page and look for the most recently posted photo of an item. Bids may be made in the comments section, preceding at $20 increments. Heckle says each day’s bidding ends around 8 p.m. nightly.
“They just need to make sure they’re bidding on our original post for it to count,” she said. “Once we have a winner, we get in touch with them pretty quickly. We can take PayPal or Vemo payments. I can also call them when I am at the store and take a credit card number.”
So far, Chadwick’s has donated to Gnat’s Landing, CJ’s Pizza and Crabtrap. And they plan to keep it going.
“We’re going to try to keep going as long as we’re doing this ... and hopefully that’s over sooner than later,” Heckle said. “But we want to support the restaurants and their workers. I know the owners are struggling so if it helps out even a little bit — that makes our day.”