By Jason Cohen
After working in the corporate world for more than 20 years, one Roxbury resident is giving back to her community.
Joann Matthias, who lost her job five years ago, opened Sunshine Consignment and Gold Buyers in 2013, with the hopes of starting fresh. Since launching her business, she is not only helping people trade in unwanted jewelry or cash, but is becoming known for her charitable work in Roxbury.
“I don’t think I miss the corporate side of things,” she said. “I think things happen for a reason and I’m very grateful that I have what I have.”
She volunteers for several organizations and causes, such as Roxbury Arts Alliance, Habitat for Humanity, tricky trays, churches, Roxbury Schools, “Brave Little Emma” and “Hope for Nicky Joe Leukemia Memorial Foundation.” Matthias has also donated to Roxbury Social Services and even held gold buying party fundraisers.
People come in her shop and feel at home. She knows many customers on a first name basis and has gotten to know them quite well.
By being approachable and friendly, they began opening up to her, telling emotional stories about how they were going through hard times.
Knowing there are people out there struggling compelled her to give back.
“I realize now how many good people there are,” she said. “The more you give the more you get.
Matthias explained that small businesses are the backbone of America. Although they don’t pull in millions of dollars like big chains, they are places where people feel comfortable.
She noted that the value of helping others can be traced back to her parents, Warren and MaryAnn Carter. Her mom and dad, who are recently deceased, taught her how important it is to put others first.
“They were very good people with core values,” she said.
According to Matthias, she is always looking for more charitable causes to help. One that hits home is veterans. Her son, Brian, is deployed overseas, so doing anything for a wounded warrior or anyone who served would mean a lot to her.
While noting is set in stone, she hopes to do something for them in the near future.
Matthias said many of her family members and friends are surprised she is still running her shop, but she loves her new career and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
“I want to continue to do this for the rest of my life,” she said.
The store also does shoe and jewelry repair and Matthias is currently earning her Gemologist Graduate Degree from the Gemologist Institute of America. She also takes on estate sales and sells customers’ items on eBay.