2020 marks the 10th anniversary of Small Business Saturday, aka Shop Small Saturday, created by American Express. I think it is safe to say that no one at AMEX could have possibly imagined putting on a Shop Small Saturday in the midst of a pandemic! In two years, Norwood will be celebrating its 150th anniversary. Some of us have been researching Norwood history to make sure that we honor everyone who contributed to this proud history.
The light bulb went off over a few heads! Let’s make Shop Small Saturday into Shop Small This Fall and encourage people to prioritize shopping at Norwood Center’s oldest small businesses. Here’s how that could work for several categories of businesses.
Norwood Theater, founded in 1927, is the oldest place in Norwood Center where you go and interact with people who teach or entertain you. It has postponed all its shows until next year and even the box office has suspended operations. Many similar operations, from bowling alleys, dance studios, and driving classes, to hair and nail salons, may also have to curtail operations due to the pandemic. If so, what they need most from us is a promise to turn out in force as soon as they reopen, and support those that are opened safely. So let’s give it to them!
Restaurants and bars have only recently reopened for on-site dining and are under much more restrictive rules than the old normal. Now that Norwood’s back in the red zone, it won’t be surprising if even that is suspended, possibly by the time you read this blog. That still leaves curbside takeout and delivery. Norwood Center’s oldest restaurant, the Olde Colonial Café (opened in 1934), has curbside takeout. Our second oldest restaurant, Lewis’s Bar and Grille (1939), has curbside takeout and delivery, as well as iconic drinks and burgers. What better way to support Shop Small This Fall, while honoring Norwood Center rich history and staying safe?
Norwood Bank (founded in 1889) is the oldest small business in Norwood Center. Three insurance firms – Morrill Group Insurance (1879), Foley Palenscar Schortmann Insurance (1936), and Dempsey Insurance (1947) – also rank among the oldest small businesses in Norwood Center. If this doesn’t sound like a conventional place to shop, then you must not have seen any of the terrific TV ads Dempsey has been airing for the past several months. Long story short, the pandemic’s effect on the economy – and especially on your personal economy – makes this an excellent time to see whether your financial arrangements make sense for your current situation.
Your choice of checking and savings accounts, your mortgage terms, and the specs for your insurance, all could use a check-up and possibly some modifications. Where better than at these time-tested institutions, the youngest of which is over 70 years old? As for COVID safety, you will probably find that you can’t just walk in but will need an appointment, which will allow them to sanitize the space in advance and configure the space so you can distance yourself from anyone you’re not working with directly.
Finally, let’s talk about Norwood Center’s veteran retail stores. The six oldest are all in very different businesses, and so you can patronize them all and never duplicate an order.
Submitted by John R. Hall, Jr.
These blog posts are written by Friends of Norwood Center Board Members and blog contributors. Look for author attribution in each post.