When patrons of the Rolling Steam train station cafe walked in last Tuesday and Wednesday before their morning commute, they were surprised and delighted to find that their coffee would be free and came with a good word about local gift shop Sue’s Corner, which had provided the funds for the hot drinks. The act of generosity was part of a Pelham Chamber of Commerce project to support businesses that had suffered throughout the pandemic, losing money as customer flow dropped off while they continued to serve the community.
In return for the support, Lois Teller, owner of Rolling Steam, passed out Sue’s Corner business cards and encouraged customers to visit the shop to check out its merchandise.
“Everyone’s pitching in to help now—I was helping Sue, and she was helping me.” Teller said. “If everyone helped each other like that, this world would be a better place.”
The camaraderie between stores was part of the Chamber of Commerce and Meridian Risk Management’s Random Acts of Kindness initiative, in which they teamed up with local small businesses to create connections and spread kindness in a difficult time.
Many stores throughout the town participated on Wednesday, offering customers free goods, discounts and samples in the hopes of increasing traffic and community spirit. Some participating restaurants, including Depot Dave Catering, Rockwells, Cantina Lobos, Sound Chicken, Double Rainbow and Four Corners Pizzeria, donated meals to the town’s police and fire departments in both the villages of Pelham and Pelham Manor to support local first responders workers.
“We have the opportunity to create events and initiatives that remind everyone why our community is so special and provide them with a glimmer of normalcy while we all struggle with Covid-isolation,” said Chamber of Commerce President Cristina Chianese, who coordinated with several business owners to allow the effort to run smoothly. “Our local shops need our support more than ever, so what better way to support them than to create fun events that everyone can enjoy?”