ORLANDO, Fla. – This week retail businesses in Florida began to reopen after being closed for over a month. A challenging time for many small business owners, which is why a local business in Orlando’s Baldwin Park area came up with a way to stimulate the economy in Central Florida.
"They pick their favorite small business, restaurant whatever they want, and they get to support who they want," Frank Walters, owner of Victoria Jewelers said. " I know what it's like to have a small business that hasn't been open for very long. It could be very scary especially at a time like this."
During the month of May, Walters will purchase gift cards for customers of his jewelry store. He will use 20% of the profits from any jewelry item bought and give his customers the option to choose another local business where they can use the gift card.
"The fact that we were the first store chosen was moving, it was amazing. So, it made my week," Kristen Painter, co-owner of Lafayette & Rushford gift shop in Baldwin Park said.
Painter recently opened back up after being closed for several weeks and was surprised on Monday when Walters called with a request to buy a gift card for $360 dollars.
“He called and I was very much taken aback but a good way,” she said.
Walters called after one of his clients purchased a diamond eternity band.
“When we explained to her what we were doing for the month of May, she knew immediately who she wanted to support,” Walters recalled.
For Walters, it's his way of paying it forward and supporting other small businesses.
His family-owned jewelry store opened more than thirty years ago and he understands the fears his fellow small business owners are facing due to the pandemic.
“We’ve been through 9/11 and through the crash of 2008 but this is different. I don’t think anybody knows what to expect,” he said.
Throughout the five weeks that Victoria Jewelers was closed, they accommodated clients virtually as well as through a drive-through window. Walters says now that they are back open, business seems to be blooming again.
"I certainly see it with Mother's Day this year. People are coming in and saying I've gotta her something really good this year she's been teaching the kids and locked up in the house," he said.
For Kristen, his good deed has inspired her to do more as well.
“It makes me wanna work that much harder to do a great job in our store and to give back,” she said. “When you put that goodness out there it comes back and we’re just so thankful to them and to all of the people who have supported us through this time.”