Downtown Dover Partnership to host live auction to help businesses

DOVER — This is a scary time for small businesses in downtown Dover as Gov. John Carney’s state of emergency declaration in March in response to coronavirus (COVID-19) shut down all “non-essential” businesses and, in turn, closed the doors of most stores and restaurants, almost making it a ghost town.

The Downtown Dover Partnership (DDP) is hoping to give the idle small businesses a lift when its hosts the Downtown Dover Facebook Live Auction Fundraiser on Saturday night from 7 until 9.

Tina Bradbury, economic development and operations manager for the DDP, said her group is trying to do what it can to help the struggling downtown businesses during this crisis.

“We wanted to do a fundraiser so that we could raise money and help support the individual small businesses down here because our budget didn’t prepare for this to happen,” Mrs. Bradbury said. “We had to find a way to find a source of cash in order to help them during this difficult time.”

So, the DDP resorted to playing a little “Ping Pong” in hoping to raise some money.

The community is invited to purchase as many Ping-Pong balls as they would like (which will be numbered) for $50 and the numbers that people purchase will allow them to be eligible for all items in the auction. Purchases, available through Friday, can be made via PayPal, Cash App or Venmo

“It’s going to be a Facebook Live event,” said Mrs. Bradbury. “We have the balls that are going to drop, and people will be watching them. We’ll hold up the items and when we pull a ball, if it’s No. 50, then No. 50 wins that prize.”

The DDP said they have already sold more than 200 balls and are hoping to get to 312. The balls are available for purchase at

There will also be “Dover Strong” T-shirts available during the auction on sale for $20 each (2XL is $22) and greeting card sets on sale for $10 apiece that include 10 cards and 10 envelopes. The cards will have the “Dover Strong” image on the front and the “Finding The Calm In The Chaos” saying inside along with a blank area for writing.

As for the auction, there will be some unique prizes available, such as being the grand marshal in a parade in downtown Dover. The DDP has some items for the auction that have been donated, some that it is purchasing, and some sponsors who are giving money to buy items.

“We’re going to be doing some fun things,” Mrs. Bradbury said. “You can’t go anywhere on a Saturday night anyway so you can stay home and if you pay $50 for a ball, you can win some great prizes for Mother’s Day and maintain social distancing at the same time. And it will be a comedy show that you will be watching, I’ll guarantee that.”

However, she said, the most important thing is coming together to help the small businesses in downtown Dover that are struggling.

“We hope that the community will all come together to support this great event to help our small businesses,” said Mrs. Bradbury. “We want to make sure that we see them open their doors again. That’s the intention of doing this is to make sure they can open their doors again and we have a downtown for people to come visit and shop and eat in the future.”

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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