Over the Bridge Bayville is a gateway for local fundraising.

May 22, 2024

Bridging the gap

Over the Bridge Bayville is the first store you see when you cross the drawbridge into Bayville, New York. Not only is it a must-stop shop to find a special keepsake that speaks to the town’s nautical feel, but it is also a gateway for local charitable organizations to reach their fundraising goals.

“Long Island is huge,” says Owner Mary Jean Hunt. “I get asked all the time [to support charitable causes], but I have to keep it local.”

“When your community supports you, it makes it
possible for you to stay open so therefore giving back is a way of saying, ‘Thank you for your support.’”— Mary-Jean Hunt

Hunt wants her community to thrive. If that means donating raffle items to support the local schools or hosting a sip and shop, then she is on board.

When Over the Bridge Bayville hosts a sip and shop for a nonprofit, it donates 15% of sales from the event toward the cause.
Photos: Christopher Appoldt

Showing local love.

Over the Bridge Bayville has hosted several sip-and-shop events for nonprofits. Hunt provides the drinks and snacks, while the local nonprofit invites people to come and shop. She donates 15% of sales at the end of the event. Over the Bridge Bayville hosted four sip and shops in 2023 and is looking to do more this year. Past sip and shops have benefited the local Save the Children chapter and an area food pantry called People Loving People.

Vendors with values. Partnering with vendors that support charitable causes is important to Hunt. One such vendor, Prodigal Pottery, helps women fleeing homelessness, domestic abuse and sex trafficking by teaching them the skill of pottery as well as business acumen. Another vendor, TownWear, donates a portion of the proceeds from the sales of custom-designed T-shirts to the store’s charity of choice. Over the Bridge Bayville chose the Matthew Fetzer Foundation, which is run by a family in the town whose son passed away from leukemia.

“It just gives me a lot of pride. I love doing it,” Hunt says of the organizations she has supported.

Starfish Awards recognize companies in our industry that are making a difference through charitable donations and efforts. Know of a company that is deserving of an award? Submit a nomination at www.seasideretailer.com/starfish-award.