June 15, 2020 by Mona Pohl
The lights are on and the doors are open in downtown Hingham after what seemed like an eternity for shop owners, service providers and all the other businesses, as well as the entire community. Since late-March, the beautiful stretch from the center of town to the harbor resembled a deserted movie set of a quintessential, picturesque coastal New England village.
With the warmer weather and approval from the state, Downtown is waking up from its forced slumber, a major necessity to help tamp down Covid-19. In keeping with the state’s Phase 2 guidelines and protocol, every business is making it safe and enjoyable to shop, do business, get much needed and desired haircuts and services, and grab or sit down for a social-distance coffee or tea and delicious food (first outside and later, with state approval, inside).
It’s like returning home after a long absence. How great does it feel to walk into a store you know so well and be greeted by the shop owner you’ve chatted with so many times? It’s also energizing to discover downtown all over again by shopping in one of the stores for the first time, trying a new flavor of ice cream, or sampling a different menu item from one of the restaurants. There is something freeing and tactilely satisfying to be able to see and select items in realtime, such as a belated gift after this long hiatus, the perfect card, a favorite hand or face cream, a hostess gift, a fun outfit, or a blanket for a cool summer night.
After the first week of reopening her shop, Judy Varney, owner of RSVP commented, "It has been heartwarming to see the support of the Hingham community over the past three months. Our customers have called to order, or just to check in. We opened our doors last week and people have slowly started to come in, with more and more shopping here each day. They are happy to be out and about, eager to shop local and to sustain our downtown. The smaller size of our stores, personal connections and ability to maintain high safety standards seems to be appealing over larger shopping centers."
A very welcome departure from Zoom meetings and meet-ups, scavenging for disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and the weekly load of groceries, downtown Hingham offers a refreshing selection of curated items and delectable treats that deserve the in-person experience. Driving or strolling downtown and popping into one destination after the other seemed completely ordinary a few months ago, now it offers both a uniqueness and familiar comfort that we may never take for granted again. One of the biggest benefits is there is an array of shops, services, eateries, and other businesses only a few miles from home, which most people find comforting and very convenient during this time.
“The last few months have certainly been a challenge for all small businesses in downtown Hingham. As we navigated the unfamiliar territory and tackled the technology and social media learning curve, our customers were very supportive,” said Lorrie Campbell, co-owner of Whitney Gordon Jewelers. “Michael and I can’t thank them enough for the business they gave us during the time we had to be closed.”
“Our doors are now open to our customers with regular hours. A small business like ours provides a safe and uncrowded place to shop, and everyone has been so appreciative that they can come inside -- of course with social distancing and abiding by the new rules. As you might imagine, conducting business in a jewelry store is usually a very personal type of shopping experience, so it’s nice to be able to welcome our customers back!”
Downtown Hingham is a beloved home to many and an enticing destination for visitors. Every business is devoted to the community and wants to serve it in a safe and welcoming manner. They all require masks to be worn, hand sanitizing upon entry and social distancing at all times.
There is no better time than right now to support, enjoy and celebrate local and experience everything this gem of a town has to offer.
Please visit discoverhingham.com for a complete listing of Hingham Downtown Association members. You can click on the links to their individual websites and follow them on social media for their latest news and hours.