Special to the Times
The month of May has been designated Small Business Month, so, on Saturday, May 22, and Sunday, May 23, 35 Beacon Hill businesses will take part in a street-wide celebration to welcome the onset of spring, the hopeful days to come and to unite as one to showcase a family-business community dedicated to serving its neighbors.
This neighborhood event, “Spring Eternal,” has been developed with hopes it will become an annual event similar to the Christmas Stroll. The Beacon Hill Business Association, The Beacon Hill Civic Association and the Beacon Hill Village have joined the effort in a unique partnership to highlight the importance of small businesses and why the health and vitality of the business community is directly related to the survival of the neighborhood itself.
“It has been a difficult year for many of our businesses,” said Stacy Sheehan-President of the Beacon Hill Business Association. “The ‘Spring Eternal’ event is another positive step forward that will showcase and celebrate the wide variety of our stores and restaurants and further attract new businesses to our wonderful neighborhood.”
Additionally, working in concert with Beacon Hill Village, “Spring Eternal” aims to increase foot traffic on the street, and to highlight the status of and importance of area restaurants that have been hit particularly hard during the pandemic.
“As members of the Beacon Hill Village, we admire the endurance of the merchants and restaurants of Charles Street to sustain their businesses to serve the neighborhood,” said Frank Mead of Beacon Hill Village.
“We are pleased to join the Beacon Hill Business Association and the Beacon Hill Civic Association in enthusiastic support of the Spring Eternal project.”
“Spring Eternal” is honored to have support and encouragement from our local officials. Kenzie Bok who represents our community on the Boston City Council, and Rep. Jay Livingstone of the Massachusetts House of Representatives will be making an appearance in front of the Charles Street Supply Hardware Store at noon on May 22 to kick off the event. They will be joined by store owners Jack and Cassie Gurnon.
“For residents of Beacon Hill, Charles Street is our open-air meeting place — where we come together in chance encounters or for regular events like the Holiday Stroll or HillFest,” said City Councilor Kenzie Bok. “It has been such a hard season for independent businesses. So, I’m excited to attend Spring Eternal, as a sign of hope that we’ll beat the pandemic soon, and as a continuation of the connection and community that Charles Street has always supported for residents and visitors alike. I look forward to seeing everyone there.”
In anticipation of the event, Rep. Livingstone said, “I am looking forward to the inaugural Beacon Hill Spring Stroll, a family friendly event to celebrate our essential local businesses while having fun. I hope you will join my family and I as we safely celebrate with our friends and neighbors.”
Event-goers will also have the chance to win parts of a large basket of gifts donated by the 35 participating businesses.
Here is how it will work: Neighbors will be able to obtain an entry card at any of the participating stores a day or two before the event. Each business will be given a stack of 30-50 two-sided rectangular cards that will list every participating business participating in order by address. On the flip side of each will be instructions on what to do in order for a chance to win some of the many wonderful gifts donated by each business. There will be a place for their name and phone so they can be contacted later should they win. They’ll be instructed to bring their card to as many stores as they can or wish to and have their card validated. At the end of the two-day event, they will be instructed to where they can return their entry card to a central location. The event requests that people try to visit at least 13 stores to enter and win. Those adventurous souls who do the entire circuit will be entered in a special drawing. There will be multiple winners.
The location to return entries will be Upstairs Downstairs at 69 Charles St. All the donated gifts will be on display in their window a couple of days before the event.
Winners will be announced and notified the following Monday, and be able to collect their prizes a few days later at The Hampshire House in a special ceremony hosted by CEO Markus Ripperger.
“We look forward to coming together to support our neighborhood businesses and to welcome spring,” sasid Patricia Tully, Executive Director of the Beacon Hill Civic Association.
Special recognition must go to Geraldine O’Hagan and her assistant, Elizabeth Seghezzi at Rugg Road Paper Company. At the very beginning Geraldine and Elizabeth volunteered to help design the entry cards and posters for this event. Without such help “Spring Eternal” would not have been possible.
“As a longtime Beacon Hill resident and business owner it is my pleasure to be a part of Spring Eternal. Rugg Road and Paws (opening soon) on Charles Street are my ways of contributing to the neighborhood – offering unique services that bring the locals together and make everyone’s day to day life more enjoyable,” said Geraldine O’Hagan, owner of Rugg Road Paper Company. “Working with other small business owners of Beacon Hill has been essential throughout the past year. I look forward to seeing everyone come together for this spring stroll and seeing the neighborhood as lively as it used to be.”
An honorable mention also goes to Remy Stressenger at the new store Remy’s. She volunteered to create a logo for the event, a shopping duck wearing a spring bonnet. The logo pictured below has been sent to The Advent School and the Park Street School where students will be invited to provide a name for the duck.
“I think these dark times and the difficult passages we’ve all had to walk and endure demands we gather as one and each together welcome the spring at this fun ‘Spring Eternal’ event,” said volunteer Mark Duffield. “Together we will ‘safely’ rejuvenate, revitalize, reenergize, reward and promote the rebirth of our vital business community on which we all depend. Organizing and producing any event is difficult enough, but producing one during a pandemic offers many challenges. But we can say with certainty that in this neighborhood Hope Always Springs Eternal.”