‘We have to all come together’: Essex Junction store owners donate masks to give back to community


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ESSEX JUNCTION – Shannon and Tan Tran were brainstorming ways to give back to the community the same week they planned to close their jewelry store. 

“What can we do as a small business owner to help out the community that has been supporting us,” said Tan Tran, co-owner of Shannon’s Fine Jewelry with his wife, Shannon.

Ever since they opened the business in 2016, local residents and customers would stop by the store, bringing in homemade cookies and gifts.

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“They were bringing in articles about us opening in picture frames,” said Shannon.

The overwhelming support came particularly from the family of the previous store owner, who was happy to see the jewelry store remain open after his passing.

The couple shut down their storefront a week prior to the governor’s executive order to close non-essential businesses, hoping to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to their customers and staff.

They settled on using their connection to overseas manufacturers to purchase essential items such as hand sanitizer, gloves and masks. Any other time of the year, the Trans may have used those suppliers to purchase steaming equipment and tools needed for the jewel refining process.

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The couple arranged an order of 3,000 cloth masks, which they’ve now begun to distribute to local organizations and stores, such as Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS), Vespa’s Pizza, and Mac’s Market.

“We encourage anybody who can do something to safely do so,” said Tan. They hope to get all their masks out into the community by the end of next week, and following suggestions from local community members, they’re working to get them out to other essential businesses around the county. 

Contact Ethan Bakuli at (802) 556-1804 or ebakuli@freepressmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @BakuliEthan.

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