In our last post we highlighted some of the ways we tried to assist others during the COVID crisis. In this post we would like to spotlight the businesses and organizations that have significantly impacted jaZams through the past few months during our closure to the public and as we prepare to welcome folks back.
During the past few months four things kept us going even when we felt we could no longer maintain the business. In no particular order–because on each day it was a different thing that got us through–it was good food, kind words from customers, business support from colleagues, as well as advocacy and advice from friends in the non-profit and government sectors.
We would like to give a brief shout-out to those who really stood out and got us through some really challenging days:
• Pennington Quality Market - Owner Mike Rothwell read an article where jaZams co-owner Dean Smith was quoted about the difficulties NJ small business owners were having acquiring PPE for reopening their stores. They immediately reached out and offered a case of hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes as a "thank you" for all of the donations jaZams provided to PQM for community events over the years.
• Arts Council of Princeton - When Artsistic Director Maria Evans found out that we were wearing cloth napkins around our faces as masks she supplied us with a bunch of home-sewn winners. Not only could we breath easier knowing our staff would be protected with our Arts Council masks, but we were the most fashionable team in town!
• Labyrinth Books - Co-owner Dorothea von Moltke has been a steady voice of advice and inspiration to us at jaZams. We have worked together on getting books into the hands of less fortunate kids throughout Princeton and on promoting better state policies for small business and workers. Rather than viewing jaZams as a competitor, Dorothea has always worked with us as a collaborator. That has never been more important than in the current moment and we could not be more grateful to have her as a friend and Labyrinth as a sister store.
• Jammin' Crepes - During the toughest days of the pandemic it was Kathy Klockenbrink and her crew that kept us going. For most of the last 4 months the core jaZams crew have been working 12-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week. On those days a good meal was key. Jammin' Crepes fit the bill just about everyday, and we were not complaining! Kathy has also been a steadfast voice in the business community in trying to keep our town vibrant and economically heathy.
• Princeton Municipal Government - From the earliest days of the COVID crisis the town government has been very proactive in meeting with members of the business community and trying to take steps to alleviate the economic stress that has resulted. Everyone, raging from the Mayor and Members of Council to staff at Public Works and the Police Department, have all stepped up and lent a hand in trying to make lemonade out of the most sour lemons we could have been handed. We appreciate all the efforts!
• Main Street Alliance (MSA) - This progressive business organization looks to promote policies that strengthen Main Street small business in conjunction with the employees that work at them. MSA has been advocating to sustain and strengthen small businesses affected by the downturn resulting from COVID. The members of NJ-MSA asked jaZams co-owner Dean Smith to represent the organization on Governor Murphy's Restart & Recovery Advisory Council. In that capacity, Dean was able to advocate for worker and customer safety and equity in recovery resource allocation. The folks at MSA helped jaZams hold strong to our values of running an ethical business where worker and customer safety are paramount and community connections are at the core of all we do.
In addition, we would be remiss if we didn't mention all of the businesses that we collaborated and communicated with in anticipation of, and preparation for, reopening: