Longtime HDA Executive Director Lynn Barclay steps down: ‘She went above and beyond her responsibilities and will be missed’

Lynn Barclay

March 8, 2024 By Carol Britton Meyer

Lynn Barclay recently stepped down from her role as executive director of the  Hingham Downtown Association after a very successful 6-1/2 years on the job, during which time the membership base doubled to include 100 businesses, fundraising efforts were revamped and bolstered, and a social media marketing and brand campaign was launched.

The HDA is designed to unite businesses, property owners, civic groups, and neighbors — with the goal of maintaining a viable economic area for the enjoyment of the residents of Hingham and surrounding South Shore communities as well as other visitors, providing an opportunity for them to experience all that downtown Hingham has to offer.

The overall goal is to link Hingham Square and the surrounding area to the waterfront.

“The HDA evolved over the years from when I started,” Barclay told the Hingham Anchor. “We couldn’t be the organization that we are today without the help of all the active members. You know the old saying — and it really applies here — ‘It takes a village. . . .'”

During her time with the HDA, Barclay’s vision of increasing the HDA’s visibility became a reality, expanding the Association to include other businesses in the downtown area and other parts of town that have a vested interest in this part of town.

HDA members now include property owners, retailers, restaurants, non-profits, residents, and other small businesses. “I think the HDA has developed into a bigger asset for our downtown Hingham and the entire town,” Barclay said.

Development of the HDA website, www.discoverhingham.com, was another accomplishment, providing a helpful resource for visitors and a marketing tool for members — whose names are listed, along with HDA events, news articles, and links to joining the HDA, paying dues, and more.

Social media presence remains strong
“We launched our social media marketing platform as we grew and developed our Facebook and Instagram channels,” Barclay explained. “With almost 10,000 followers, our social media presence continues to be strong. We highlight individual members and sponsors, along with promoting events and happenings to drive business downtown as a great destination place to dine, shop, and enjoy cultural activities.”

In addition, during her time as executive director, the HDA was established as a 501C(6) nonprofit organization.

Barclay and HDA members also observed the successful completion of a number of downtown development projects throughout the years.

These include the redevelopment of the 1859 Lincoln Building in the heart to downtown Hingham — following its collapse in 2015 after a 58-inch snowfall over the previous two weeks. The building — which was in a state of disrepair — was unoccupied at the time.

“The former Settles Glass site also got redeveloped, and both projects were wonderful enhancements to the area,” Barclay said. “I’m also excited [in anticipation of the completion of] the harbor development project, as that will be a nice addition and extension for our downtown area.”

In addition to the HDA’s active members, there’s a core of dedicated and committed sponsors that have continued to support and partner with the Association year after year — including Linden Ponds, South Shore Bank, Hingham Institution for Savings, the Fruit Center, Curtis Management, and the Rotary Club.

“We continued to build loyalty and a strong sense of community and town spirit by hosting many community events, and we couldn’t have brought these programs to downtown without the support of our sponsors,” Barclay said. These events include the Summer Sidewalk Sale, Arts Walk, Holly Jolly Hingham,  and Christmas in the Square.

Barclay called her tenure with the HDA “incredibly rewarding, thanks to the tight-knit community of members. I also had the opportunity to work and meet with so many different people, and it was a wonderful experience.”

No two days were alike. One day she would be planning and coordinating the Arts Walk, while the next day she found herself assembling holiday decorations for the downtown lampposts as part of the HDA’s fundraising efforts.

The following day, Barclay might be working with the Town of Hingham advocating for safety and discussing traffic-calming measures to slow traffic downtown.

‘I feel so honored to have served in this role’
“Each day was vastly different from the others, and it made the job very interesting,” she said.  “I feel so fortunate and honored to have served in this role and to have had the opportunity to give back to my community, and it has been my pleasure to work with all the HDA members.”

During her years as executive director, Barclay especially grew an appreciation for how hard the downtown’s small business owners work.

“I came from a corporate background, so learning about how small businesses operate was both fascinating and eye-opening,” she said. “Their owners put their heart and soul into what they do and work passionately and tirelessly every day.”

HDA board member and treasurer Lorrie Campbell, who owns Whitney Gordon’s Jewelers with her husband, Michael, has high praises for Barclay. “During the time Lynn has been executive director, she has increased our membership and sponsorships.

From the beginning, it was evident that she had a passion for the Hingham community, especially the downtown area,” Campbell told the Hingham Anchor. “She went above and beyond her responsibilities and took her job seriously — we are all better for her devotion. It was a pleasure working with Lynn,  and I will miss her. She will be a tough act to follow.”

Fellow HDA board member and secretary Judy Varney, who owns RSVP, also shared her thoughts about Barclay’s contributions.

“Lynn has worked tirelessly on behalf of downtown businesses and helped to elevate longstanding events and programs and initiated new ones that propelled us forward,” she said.  “A new website, new marketing campaign, better communication with  merchants, new ways to advocate for the downtown, and so much more were all achieved in the six years she was our executive director — not to mention that we had a worldwide pandemic during this timeframe. Lynn helped people in Hingham and beyond find their love for shopping local, and we as business owners really saw the effects of her efforts.”

The HDA is poised for continued growth, according to Barclay, who wishes the organization “much success” in the months and years ahead.

“Our downtown will continue to thrive and to be vibrant,” she said. “Downtown Hingham is historic, charming, and full of energy — with a great sense of community. It’s also walkable and features award-winning shopping, dining, recreation, and cultural experiences located on the harbor. It’s a unique and quaint spot,  and we are all so fortunate [to be able to live and work here].”

Visitors often call the downtown and harbor area “amazing,” Barclay said. “Sometimes we don’t realize ourselves how special it is until we sit back [and take it all in].”

Although not yet sure what lies ahead in her future, Barclay said she’s “considering a few options.”

While she decides what the next step in her career will be, she is pausing to reflect and to enjoy life, including spending more time with her two teenagers and their dog.

1 thought on “Longtime HDA Executive Director Lynn Barclay steps down: ‘She went above and beyond her responsibilities and will be missed’”

  1. Lynn, Hingham Square and the harbor owe you a debt of gratitude. It’s not easy to be the cheerleader of Downtown, let alone on a shoe strong budget. Under your tenure the Downtown Association has established some wonderful new traditions, ones that will built on future traditions for generations to come. Thank you!

    Marco Boer
    Chair, Harbor Development Committee


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