2020 has certainly proved to be a trying time for everyone. Back in March when businesses were asked to close for two weeks and everyone was encouraged to stay at home, most of us didn’t envision that the COVID virus would affect our livelihoods through the summer months and into the fall. But it did, and most of us are adapting to the new “normal” the best we can.

As the Director of Our Town Foundation, Hamburg’s non-profit community revitalization, I personally am making use of the time I normally spend on organizing the numerous events we host throughout the year by updating all of our marketing materials.

The hamburgpa.org website which provides information on all the businesses and activities in the Hamburg area has received a complete makeover.

The Historic Hamburg Visitor’s Guide which is distributed at several PA Welcome Centers and high traffic destination points within the area has been completely updated and reprinted. With a volunteer’s assistance, a brochure highlighting the many trails in Hamburg was drafted, and the rack card for the Art & Craft Gallery of Hamburg was redesigned.

I’ve been busy purging files, both on the computer and in the old-fashioned filing cabinets. The stacks of papers and files on my desk are finally diminishing, a task that was long overdue but I could never find the extra time to go through them all. I am sure many others can relate to that task!

Hamburg’s downtown business district is adapting and thriving through the pandemic. During the shutdown, several business owners made renovations to their shops to better accommodate their patrons when they reopened.

The Lazy Dog Vintage Market moved their entire check out area to the front of the store and converted available space into additional booths for their consigners. They now boast over 80 vendors and have actually increased their sales through marketing on social media.

Necessities New & Used Furniture offered live Facebook shows while in the red phase and they actually gained new customers by doing so. Since reopening their store with regular hours, they have increased sales. Their theory is that with more people staying at home they are getting tired of their old furnishings and looking to refresh their décor with some new items.

Hamburg Antiques Center transitioned to doing more business through E-bay during the shutdown; however, the owners state “this is not the way we want to do business – we want to see our customers on a one-to-one basis. We want to go from insensibility to sensibility and get back to our old normal where it was before COVID 19.“

The Blue Coast, a beach themed boutique, delved into Facebook sales with curbside pick-up during the shut-down.

“It is something I wanted to eventually do, and the shutdown forced me to act sooner,” says the owner. She will continue to market her merchandise through social media.

Hamburg’s eating establishments have all created new policies.

The 1787 Brew Pub has increased its outdoor seating, while Russo’s totally eliminated its indoor seating and is doing take-out ordering only with curbside pickup if desired. Before COVID, the Four Twelve Coffee Shop had been planning on changing up their menu to go with one that was more seasonally based. The shutdown gave them time to think about that approach and fast forward those changes.

The pandemic has forced us all to make changes – some may be temporary and some may be permanent. But we will all get through this if we support one another. Shop Local! Eat Local!

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