An effort by Beekman 1802 to spread a little kindness in 2021 hopes to pay off in more ways than one.
“Because goodness knows, we need more kindness in our lives,” said Events Manager Alan Edstrom Friday.
In 2020, Beekman 1802 chose kindness as something to focus on, creating a Kindness Council and holding Kindness Workshops.
If that sounds a little hokey or maybe just a well thought-our marketing tool, well…
“The thing is, every business is focusing on being more kind, more generous, because it’s good for humanity,” Mr. Edstrom said.
“With everything that’s happened this past year, I think we’re all asking ourselves who we are and how we can be better. It’s on everyone’s mind.”
Now that it’s 2021, Beekman’s is continuing that kindness work with an initiative it’s kicked off with local schools; Canajoharie was the first, Sharon Springs is up next, and Cobleskill-Richmondville will follow, with others expected to join:
Schools get a week—SSCS’s is February 5-11—when shoppers who use a code from the school’s website while shopping at the Beekman Mercantile in Sharon Springs will get a 20 percent discount.
Plus, Beekman will donate 30 percent of gross sales back to the school—a win with so many fundraising efforts put on hold because of COVID.
Canajoharie will use its “proceeds” to help students in need through its Public Personnel Services team.
At SSCS, Principal Tom Yorke said they plan to put theirs towards the Positivity Project, a four or five-year-old effort to spread, yes, kindness already in place.
“It’s certainly something we can get behind,” Mr. Yorke said.
“With COVID, we haven’t been doing any fundraising. We’ve got too many families in need and it just didn’t seem like a good idea. We appreciate this and we’ll put it towards some of the things our Positivity Project has been working on.”
Though Beekman’s Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge have always focused on kindness—remember Season 21 of the Amazing Race?—their Kindness Workshops take that to a different level, Mr. Edstrom said.
“Being kind to yourself, to others, what does that really mean? In business? In the world? It seems simple, but it’s often harder than not being kind. It takes reflection and practice. And what do you do when someone’s unkind?”
Borrowing from the workshops, Beekman has stationed a bright yellow “goat bank” outside their Main Street store, asking people to share kind messages, notes, or drawings “to spread some rays of sunshine on cloudy days.”
“We’re not sure what we’ll do with them,” Mr. Edstrom said. “It would be great to find a way to share them. But just the simple act of writing them…It’s like a letter to Santa. You’re not sure what you’ll get back, but there’s a simple joy in writing them.”
In the past, Beekman had counted on events like the Sharon Springs Harvest Festival to help spread kindness.
COVID cancelled that and they’re instead focusing on smaller events—baby goat tours; small, socially-distanced dinners on the farm, and last July, a free screening of “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” the Fred Rogers story, at the Jericho Drive-In in Glenmont.
“It’s a different time, that’s for sure,” Mr. Edstrom said. “It’s like we’re in the middle of our own movie right now and we don’t know how it will end.
“If we work together, though, we’ll all come out of it better.”