EAST LYME, Conn. (WTNH) — In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Susan Kumro decided she could make a difference. Kumro owns Mermaid Liquors in East Lyme and pledged to donate 10% percent of her sales for one week to local businesses struggling amid coronavirus shutdowns.
“Today is the day I decided to make a difference,” she said in a Facebook video posted on April 1 that garnered 13,000 views.
While her business has been thriving, she knows that many others in town are not so lucky.
“I’ve seen this town grow and change and prosper,” she said. “And all of a sudden you go down main street and everything is closed.
Kumro’s sales from the first week of April were used for the donation and she said that the customer support has been incredible.
“They care about the community,” she said. “They want us all to survive, they want businesses to reopen. I mean, this is a great town filled with great people.”
In just one week, Mermaid Liquors was able to donate $4,200 to 10 local businesses. A majority came from their earnings, but nearly $1,000 came from additional customer donations.
“Since I’ve owned the store, I’ve always had a jar on my counter for one charity or another,” Kumro said of the tip jar at her register. “So I said, ‘Why not support the local businesses?'”
The businesses that received the donation included restaurants, gyms and museums. Their response to the generosity?
“They cried; a lot of them cried,” said Kumro. “They sent me little messages. They were overwhelmed.”
Her work doesn’t stop there. She has now repurposed her tip jar for another local cause called “Feeding Our Friends.” Each Thursday at St. Agnus Church, they will donate 250 meals to those who need it. That starts next week.