For the second time in three years, Blackstone’s of Beacon Hill has been recognized for excellence by Gifts & Decorative Accessories Magazine. In 2009, Blackstone’s was named one of the Top Ten Gifted Retailers in the country by the magazine.
This year, on Aug. 19, at the annual Retailer Excellence Award Gala in New York City, Blackstone’s was honored for its five-year project that included an ornament program, book and event.
Blackstone’s project began in 2006 with the issuance of two Christmas ornaments a year for five years. Each of the 10 ornaments was encoded with various anagrams and symbols that when added together produced a five line message of hope. In addition, each family received one chapter a year of a richly illustrated Christmas story entitled “The Last Shepard and Tales of The Tenth Ornament.” These five installments would later become a book. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book benefited pediatric cancer research and care at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) Cancer Center. Eventually 116 families from 26 states became part of the program. In the year ensuing, nearly $7,000 has been raised for cancer research.
The individuals who figured out the message were eligible to win $2,000.00 in silver and gold coins. Both the message and money were held in a special vault at Cambridge Trust Company Bank on Beacon Street for five years. On Christmas Eve 2011, the vault was opened by President and CEO Joseph Roller and the prize money awarded. More than 250 people from all over the country were in attendance and later celebrated at a Christmas Eve Gala at Boston’s Historic Park Plaza Hotel and Towers.
Caroline Kennedy, editor in chief of Gifts and Decorative Accessories Magazine, said, “Blackstone’s achievement is truly noteworthy. In these challenging times, it’s difficult just managing, let alone growing your business. But to plan and execute such a creative event and maintain its momentum over five years to build your brand, generate business, bond with your customer and raise funds for charity is an achievement truly worthy of recognition. It is the professionalism, creativity and determination of retailers like you that sets Blackstones of Beacon Hill apart.”
Jennifer Hill, co-owner of Blackstone’s, said, “When Mark [Duffield] and I took over ownership of Blackstone’s in 2006 we both agreed that as part of the responsibility of owning a neighborhood business, we need to play an active role in the well-being and livelihood of our community. With any event or endeavor we do, we are proud to be an integral part of the Beacon Hill and greater Boston community.”
Duffield added, “Our Mystery Ornament Project and Event shows how through the efforts of a small store, its loyal friends and customers, and a community came together for a common purpose – to help others in need.”