Goodman’s Lives Up To Its Name

The jewelry retailer not only does good but also gives a whole new meaning to Monday.

By William George Shuster, Senior Editor

Small acts of charity can have big results.
Consider, for example, the tiny watch battery—or, more specifically, consider the “Monday Batteries” program of independent jeweler John Hayes, president of 76-year-old Goodman’s Jewelers, in Madison, Wis. Every Monday, all year long, every watch battery sale is designated for Jewelers for Children, the national charity of the retail jewelry industry that aids thousands of children annually. “Whenever a customer comes in and buys a watch battery, we install it and thank them for helping us help the JFC,” says Hayes. “We keep track of every battery sale, and at year’s end tally up the proceeds and send a check to Jewelers for Children.”

How much aid can sales of those little batteries provide?
In fact, it’s thousands of dollars annually, or more than $12,000 in the four years since Hayes began the program.
He got the idea at a Wisconsin jewelry trade show where he saw a JFC presentation and heard a child helped by the Make-A-Wish foundation, a charity JFC supports. “I thought, what can I do to support this?” Hayes says. “Then I thought—batteries! That wouldn’t need much administration, people always buy batteries, even during recessions, and Monday is always our busiest battery day.”

Goodman’s—located downtown on Madison’s main shopping street, four blocks from a university campus and two blocks from the state capitol—is well situated for a steady flow of watch battery customers.
“So I decided we will keep track of all battery sales on every Monday and donate that to JFC,” says Hayes, who employs 14 people. “Now, it’s part of our weekly routine and well accepted by our customers, who feel good about helping the Jewelers for Children charities this way.

Some customers buy more than one battery, and some catch the spirit of giving. “When we give back change from a battery purchase, many say, ‘Just put it in the [donation] box,’” says Hayes.
Many tell others about the program, and customer word-of-mouth, along with a periodic public service announcement on a local radio station, is the primary way the program is promoted. “When people find out what the battery program does, they feel good about it and spread the word to their friends,” says Hayes.
Doing good also benefits the store.

“It does affect us positively, because when people spread the word, it builds good will for us in the community,” says Hayes. Sometimes, it results in new customers, not only for watch batteries but also for jewelry. “We do get people who tell us, ‘Because you do this, I want to come back and buy here,’” Hayes explains. But the primary reason Goodman’s does it is for the great good those little batteries produce. The Monday Batteries program continues Goodman’s long history of local philanthropy and is “part of our giving back to the community,” Hayes says. It’s an example he hopes other jewelers will follow to support JFC and multiply the big beneficial effects of small acts of charity.

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