Abracadabra Jewelry and Gem Gallery in downtown Ann Arbor is hosting a weekly giveaway as a way of showing gratitude to health care workers, first responders, grocers, postal staff, delivery folks and everyone risking their safety to provide essential services in this difficult time.
“A cornerstone of our ethic at Abra has always been to give back and pay it forward to the community, arts and causes that capture our hearts,” reads the store’s posts on Facebook and Instagram announcing the giveaway. “Now, we would like to send a little bit of brightness to a frontline worker that you are grateful for.”
To nominate someone for the giveaway, simply tag and share the story of an essential worker to one of Abracadabra’s social media posts.
“We want to share the stories of these heroes and give away a gift card of a donated piece of jewelry to a randomly selected nominee each Friday at 7 p.m. until we can reopen again,” the post read. “We miss being open downtown and want to give back to the community.”
Abracadabra Jewelry and Gem Gallery is a family-owned store that first opened in 1974.
“Steven, now retired while his wife Katherine runs the business, is still a passionate gemstone lover,” said Courtney McDonough Haughton, Abracadabra’s digital content coordinator. “He arrived in Ann Arbor from Detroit as a squatter at the Art Fair in 1973. His mission from the start involved making ethically sourced, and mindful of our environment, jewelry. Since the beginning, we’ve been using post-consumer recycled metals, and ethically sourced stones, for all the jewelry we make, as well as featuring handmade jewelry from other talented artists who share those values.”
Abracadabra has been closed since last month, but it is continuing to run its business online.
“Since Gov. Whitmer initiated the stay-at-home mandate, we, like most non-essentials, have closed our doors to the public,” Haughton said. “We knew it was in the best interest of our staff and our community, but it has been a hard transition. Our online presence is small and to survive, we have had to quickly update our way of doing business in all ways with much more of an online focus than we ever envisioned. We worked quickly to put up an Etsy shop temporarily to keep some impressions running and have been working behind the scenes to get a storefront with shopping cart going on our website. We are now proud to say it is up with much work yet to do. Getting all of our inventory photographed and uploaded will take some time, especially with limited access to the shop.”
Haughton said the store applied for and received a Paycheck Protection Program loan from the Small Business Administration before that program ran out of money.
“Katherine, our owner, has been working tirelessly looking into grants and loans to help us in any way possible, and we are extremely grateful to have received a PPP loan that will arrive this Friday,” Haughton said. “While it’s been a rough several weeks in quarantine, we have been adapting and thinking outside the box to make changes that will allow us to work safely and efficiently.”
Haughton said her position at Abracadabra is more than just a job and that there’s something special about the work that the store does.
“To some people, jewelry can be a talisman to remind them of something important, or a symbol of love and gratitude. The ability to wear something with so much emotional value commemorating a moment in time and customize it to your style is priceless,” she said. “We really miss being a part of that special moment in people’s lives. I think the core of this give-back giveaway is that by telling people’s story we honor and thank them for the job they are doing and in a small way, we can still get to be a part of a special moment with them while maintaining safe distance and expanding the love globally.”