HAMILTON, NJ -- For more than 35 years the Cross and Shamrock in Hamilton has been the go-to place for families looking for a bit of Irish specialties and religious goods. But, even with multi-generational customer support, they have been impacted by the coronavirus that has affected small businesses across New Jersey.
Ann Bauersachs, who opened the store with her husband in 1985 when they were a young couple, says that she has helped multiple generations of families fit their children for first communion dresses and has seen couples celebrate their wedding to their children's confirmation.
This year, during what is traditionally a busy time of year for The Cross and Shamrock from the St. Patrick's Day and Easter Holiday and First Communions and Confirmations -- the coronavirus was at it's peak of the first wave. The store was forced to shut down for six weeks. They were, however, able to reopen earlier than "non-essential' business because of the religious items they sell.
Bauersachs said "it has been a challenge" but that they are "grateful for loyal customers." She has empathy for other businesses who may only have been open for a short time before the pandemic and are hit hard financially.
Once the store was able to reopen, "it took a while for the store to pick up again. The Church began doing sacraments again and it got a little bit busier," said Bauersachs. She noted though that with smaller celebrations for religions occasions such as baptisms and first communions the number of people buying gifts to commemorate the occasion shrunk.
With the holiday season now beginning, the Bauersachs family business is beginning to pick-up again particularly with customers focused on supporting local, small business.
The Cross and Shamrock carries a variety of religious items year-round such as Bibles, crosses, and Rosary beads.
In addition, they carry a wide selection of Irish candies, sweets and chocolates such as the Cadbury chocolates that are different from what is typically sold in the U.S. They also carry Celtic jewelry, traditional Irish sweaters and scarves, crystal and other items perfect for a holiday gift.
The Cross and Shamrock, located at 1169 Route 33 in Hamilton Square, is open Monday through Wednesday 10:00am until 6:00pm; Thursday and Friday 10:00am until 7:00pm; and Saturdays between 10:00am and 5:00pm. Items also can be browsed on their website and shipping is available.
The store is taking all necessary health and safety precautions including requiring face masks to protect their customers and staff.
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