Charles St. Storefronts Were Full of Holiday Cheer

Mark Duffield, Sara Israel and Jennifer Hill of Blackstone’s of Beacon Hill.

Mark Duffield, Sara Israel and Jennifer Hill of Blackstone’s of Beacon Hill.

Neighborhood merchants rose to the occasion for the Charles Street First Annual Holiday Storefront Decorating Contest on Dec. 12, even outdoing their lavish seasonal window displays of past years.

“The stores did a great job on the street anyways, and we just added friendly competition,” said John Corey, chair of the Beacon Hill Civic Association and Beacon Hill Business Association Joint Charles Street Committee, who conceived of the contest.

Several months ago, Corey proposed his idea to the group, and committee member Miguel Rosales enthusiastically led the charge to implement it. Rosales, president and founder of Rosales + Partners Transportation Design, agreed to serve as the jury chair, alongside judges Monika Pauli, a partner at Pauli & Uribe Architects; Sharon Malt, president of the Beacon Hill Garden Club; Patricia Butler, director of member services for Beacon Hill Village; and Jared Wollaston, senior sales associate for Hammond Real Estate. Susan Symonds, committee co-chair and owner of Infinity Portrait Design, served as emcee for the awards reception, which took place during the annual Holiday Stroll Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Charles Street Supply Company at 54 Charles St. took first place in the competition, with the judges noting the hardware store’s original display of products as part of a Christmas tree and its “festive and welcoming storefront.” For his efforts, the committee awarded proprietor Jack Gurnon with a certificate of recognition, a gift certificate from Toscano restaurant and special holiday gifts.

Gurnon credited his wife Cassie, who previously worked as a professional window decorator for Shreve, Crump & Low and other high-end retailers, for envisioning the winning design.

“Cassie tries to one-up herself every year and always has a great idea for the window,” Gurnon said. “She has amazing flair and imagination.”

Blackstone’s of Beacon Hill at 46 Charles St., with its historically appropriate window displays, good color composition and meticulous attention to detail, came in second place. The committee recognized this achievement by presenting proprietors Jennifer Hill and Mark Duffield with a certificate of recognition and gift certificate from 75 Chestnut.

Hill said staff member Sara Israel designed the window display by juxtaposing a new twist on the “Nutcracker” theme with vintage advertising reproductions from Coca Cola, where Duffield’s father once worked.

“I provided the products, and Sara provided the inspiration,” Hill added.

With its use of wreaths, candy canes and holiday lights, Beacon Hill Chocolates at 91 Charles St. was named the third-place winner and received a certificate of recognition and gift certificate from Bin 26 Enoteca from the committee.

Cherie Bliss, the employee who designed the window, said she was trying to evoke Christmas season through the use of sparkles to resemble snow, among other “wintry” embellishments.

North River Outfitter at 126 Charles St. and Isabelle’s CurlyCakes at 81 Charles St. received honorable mentions in the contest, and both businesses received certificates of recognition from the committee.

Meanwhile, Corey is already looking for forward to the second annual competition, which will be judged by a new slate of five judges.

“Next year, the committee also plans to have Santa handing out gifts to the winners,” Corey said. “We want this truly to become the start of a tradition.”

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