As local businesswomen themselves, residents Pam Jordan and Waira Chard personally know how difficult the COVID-19 pandemic has been on local small businesses.
Chard is a partner at “SpaOlogy Day Spa,” located at 179 Cahill Cross Rd. # 309 – (Bald Eagle Square) in West Milford.(www.SpaOlogyNj.com; Info@spaologynj.com;
Jordan is the owner of “The Growing Scenter” Alternative & Holistic Health Service, located in Hewitt.(Thegrowingscenter@gmail.com;www.facebook.com/Thegrowingscenter/)
To help support their fellow small business owners in West Milford, the two women collaborated together to create a Facebook Group called “West Milford Rally for Business Relief” on May 13, 2020.
According to the Group’s Facebook page, “This group is a creative way to shake it up and support local businesses.”
How it works
Jordan and Chard are the administrators for the private Facebook group, which currently has 660 members and counting. New members are added by invitation from a current group member, or by a request to join sent to the administrators.
According to Chard, she and Jordan “were looking for a way to ramp up local business during these troubled times.”
She said they were both inspired by a “Warwick Relief Fund” Facebook page they saw online.
Jordan concurred. “It was inspired by our neighbors in Warwick that have a group that is thriving. We wanted to do the same for our community We jumped in and just did it.”
Chard said the idea behind the group is to help local businesses/ business owners offer their products/ services to a “captive audience” on the Facebook page.
“It’s really a win/win,” she said.
The businesses post an “offering” – product or service, and list the retail value. Interested parties then cooperatively purchase the item through purchasing “chances” to win the item at anywhere from $2-$20 per chance (cost and number of chances slots available depends on the item value). Payments for the chances purchased are made directly to the business via venmo or PayPal.
Once the retail cost of the “offering” is covered by all chances being purchased, the featured business selects a recipient at random via a “carnival wheel” type of app in a live post on the Facebook page.
“Businesses are able to bring business in and the recipient gets a product they wanted for a fraction of the cost,” Chard said
Jordan added: “Our page is co-op sales for our WM only business partners. Goods and services are offered for sale and residents split the cost. The support and growth has been overwhelming and needed during the ‘new norm’. Our page is for sales and fun.”
Chard said all kinds of businesses are featured on the page – from florists, to restaurants, to spa services, to natural wellness solutions, to music lessons, and so many more. Anyone can be part of the co-op purchase, but the “offering” posts are reserved for West Milford local businesses only.
“I think the fast growth (of the group) shows the need for this group, and the enthusiasm has been overwhelming!”; said Chard. “Being a small business is hard enough, even when we aren’t battling a pandemic. We are so happy to be supporting our community!”
How is it working?
In viewing the West Milford Rally for Business Relief page, it is evident that participating residents are having fun with it, are excited about the items and services being offered, and enthusiastic about their chance to possibly purchase the items at an extremely low price.
It is also clear from the live video posts of the business owners, when they are “spinning the wheel” to randomly select and announce the winners of their products, they are also excited and having fun… while also bringing in some much needed money to help support their businesses.
If you would like to join the group as a customer, or if you own a small business in West Milford and would like to sell, the Facebook page can be found by searching for “West Milford Rally for Business Relief” on Facebook, or at: www.facebook.com/groups/1108802442807390/?ref=share. Then send a message to one of the Administrators with your intentions and your request to join the group.
Business owners comment
The Messenger reached out to a few of the participating local businesses to learn about their experiences with the “West Milford Rally for Business Relief” Faxebook page. Below are their comments:
● “I am so thrilled and impressed with the WM Rally for Business Relief page. I think it’s a brilliant idea and just what the community needs right now. So many businesses are struggling financially but also mentally. This has been a wonderful way to support these businesses and lift them up. It’s such a positive and exciting platform and we are thrilled to be part of it. We have done a few drawings already for music lessons and instruments and I couldn’t believe how quick and smooth it went! As the president of the Chamber of Commerce I see first hand how hard our local businesses are struggling, and I know this will make a difference – and we are grateful for that.”
~Shawn Reams, 2020 President- West Milford Chamber of Commerce; owner of North Jersey Guitar and Music Center
Located at: Bearfort Shopping Village
1614 Union Valley Rd, West Milford, NJ 07480
● “It was so easy to join and to offer sales and specials, it helped me bring in quick income to help pay some bills. As we have been closed for almost 3 months, it became very hard to pay our overhead bills. I personally helped a few other local businesses get on the page to do some quick sales, (Scott A. Designs, The Vreeland Store, JS creations …). We are all so thankful for the page and the support of our locals. When Waira reached out to me in the very early start of the page, and with only about 60 members at the time, I was like: ‘What do I have to lose? I will try it!’ It was fun to participate! And now I can’t thank them enough for stepping up and giving each of the local businesses a little helping hand to keep going! Thank you all for supporting us – your local businesses – and may God bless you!”
~Abby Beyjoun, owner of Abby’s Sew Right Bridal Shop
Located at: 1925 Greenwood Lake Turnpike, Hewitt, NJ
● “We just recently joined, and it’s been super easy. It’s only open to local businesses in the West Milford area to help them through these trying times. It’s been a lot of fun being able to bid on items from local businesses (and of course winning is awesome!) and learning about their companies and products which we may not have otherwise known about. For us, we are a small family side business sharing our love and hobby of woodworking creations and it has been a fun way to get our name out there with our neighbors and local community. It’s easy to join and you just send the admin a message about your company (need to be located in WM) and what you would like to offer, and she gets you on the daily schedule as soon as possible. They usually try to feature one business each hour when possible.”
~Kristen S., co-owner of JS Creations
Located in West Milford, NJ