As we have had our doors closed to the public for almost 3 months we have tried to find ways of staying connected to the community that sustains us economically, socially and spiritually. While emails and instagram posts have their place, we felt that a better way of reaching out might be through a blog. Nothing is better than seeing our friends and customers in person, but in order to articulate our thoughts and feelings via the internet a longer form was necessary.
We thought we might use this first post to tell you about what we have been doing and what is to come. In future posts we will spotlight the folks who have inspired us, the businesses and organizations that have been making a difference, how our staff has been working to keep us afloat, and how our customers have provided us with the strength to keep going each and every day.
Since jaZams has been in "virtual" mode many things have changed. Our two cherished locations have been turned into makeshift "warehouses" with product stacked for efficient shipping or delivery rather than beautiful display. Most of our staff has been "sheltering" at home and a core group comprised of four full-timers and a few part-time employees have been keeping our jaZams locations alive.
We have feverishly tried to get as much of our product on our website so our customers can have a sense of what is available. Our web offerings have grown to more than 4,000 items with 50-125 more added everyday. We have shipped hundreds of boxes from coast-to-coast and made in-person deliveries throughout Central New Jersey and Bucks County, PA. We have sent hundreds of photo vignettes of products to customers, selected especially for the folks in their lives. All of these changes provided us with an economic lifeline that will help as we slowly return to in-person operations.
With regard to in-person operations, the Governors of both states where jaZams has locations have lifted restrictions allowing for limited retail operations at different times in June. While we are eager to have folks come back to our stores we need to acquire essential supplies and make necessary physical changes that will assure the safety of our staff and customers. Therefore, opening for in-person sales will take place in late June. Initially, we will be welcoming customers by appointment only. Details of how appointments will work will be forthcoming as we get closer to an opening date.
These times have not been easy, economically or emotionally. People we work with and love in the toy and children's book world have contracted the virus and some have been very ill. Some colleagues and family members of others have passed from our world. We have grieved and offered support in a manner that feels so insufficient but is what our present circumstance will allow.
It is the support of others in these times that is most important to us at jaZams and in our next post we will detail how we have been reaching out to others in our community to make sure we all get through this together.
Thanks for reading and thank you for being part of the life of jaZams.
Joanne & Dean, co-owners