Staintons, More Than Shops, Part of Community

first_imgMatt and Luzett DeChristopher, of Washington Township, give a donation to a charity at Staintons Gallery of Shops Sunday with Director of Operations Bridget Buchanan, left, and associate Keyanna Brown in back. By Maddy VitaleWhen Ocean City High School graduate Bridget Buchanan was hired as Director of Staintons Gallery of Shops in Ocean City, she went right to work with serious goals in mind.The former manager in two stores at Tanger Outlets in Atlantic City, who grew up in Upper Township, wanted to add a bit of her expertise to the iconic Asbury Avenue landmark, when she started in May.But making sure the vendors had all they needed to display their wares or that the tables looked inviting and warm to the customer, were only parts of her mission.What Buchanan, 43, really wanted to instill in the 70-plus vendors, Ocean City and surrounding towns, was that a business cannot truly thrive unless it becomes a part of the community.To that end, her giving nature and need to help others began, at Staintons.Each month, Buchanan, with the help of the vendors and employees, select a charity to partner with, and place two donation boxes on the counters by the register. Each box explains in detail the cause and exactly where the customer’s donation is going to.The charity for December is “Matt’s Stocking.” Staintons is partnering with Coastal Christian in Ocean City, for the cause.Last month Staintons joined with the Ocean City Police Department, to raise funds for “Shop with the Cop.”“We normally raise between $100 to $150 each month. A penny here, and a penny there, adds up,” Buchanan said.Bridget Buchanan stands next to a gift basket made by Staintons vendor, Barbara Batdorf, of “A Bit of Whimsy.”Year-round Staintons partners with area charities for one reason, Buchanan said.“It is needed all year long. It is not just during the holidays. The interaction with the customers is great when they become aware that a you are partnering with someone for a good cause,” Buchanan said.Partnering with the local charities and organizations, also gives the causes more exposure, Buchanan said.“They are able to reach so many more people because we partnered with them,” Buchanan explained. “In addition to the donation boxes up at the registers, we also will share the information through our Facebook page and on our website.”Each month Staintons posts the selected charity of the month, along with specific information about the cause, on the gallery’s website, addition to raising monies for area charities, Buchanan said Staintons also has an ambassador program, in which the vendors help out.“Instead of asking them to come in to work, some of them make up baskets we could donate to causes,” Buchanan said.She said the baskets, which have been given to hospitals and organizations, showcase to the public in areas of Ocean City and outside the community, some of the items sold at Staintons, but they are also giving to worthy causes.Everything from soaps, to jewelry, toys, clothes and other special gifts, make up the baskets, she noted.Buchanan said she is really enjoying her role at Staintons, not only because of the efforts to offer unique and special gifts to the public, but because everyone works together and knows how important it is to give back to the community and to give to those less fortunate.She recalled a time when she worked in management at the Tanger Outlets. Some charity work was done company wide, others were done through Buchanan’s specific store.Bridget Buchanan, left, poses at an Atlantic City park, where she and colleagues tied scarves to trees for the homeless. (Photo Courtesy Bridget Buchanan)One year, she and her staff delivered donated coats, scarves and mittens to Atlantic City parks where homeless people were known to stay.“We hung scarves on trees and mittens on posts with notes,” Buchanan said. “I went back to check the next day and they were all gone.”One of her fondest memories was when she and her staff bought gifts for 30 children staying at the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.“We raised $300, so we could only spend $10 on each child. The mission gave us the wish lists. We could get each of them something,” Buchanan said. “We bought them basketballs, dolls, nail polish. At least everyone got something on their list.”Staintons is located at 810 Asbury Ave. For more information call 609-545-8688.last_img read more