Here’s what downtown Hartsville, South Carolina looks like amidst the COVID-19 crisis these days:
Crema Coffee Bar’s barista, Zeb Sowell, delivers caffeinated orders curbside.
We are now in Week Three of the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems like the rules change every day, if not every few hours. Our social calendars, and our toilet paper shelves, have been wiped clean.
Our work-from-home (WFH) days are filled with Zoom webinars and GoTo Meetings, while we try to juggle teaching kids from home, sharing bandwidth with spouses and teenagers, and motivating ourselves to eat healthily and exercise. Ok, to even change out of our pajamas most days. We have new favorite 20-second songs to sing as we wash our hands, we are learning new crafts, petting our dogs and cats more, reading more books, making TikTok videos, and becoming better at doing our own hair and nails, with showering and shaving being optional. The nation has become obsessed with a Netflix series called, “Tiger King,” when all South Carolinians recognize our true tiger king is Dabo Swinney.
I digress. Early into this pandemic, Main Street Hartsville tried to comfort and reassure our community with optimistic posters that said, “Hello Hartsville, We Are Open!” As times changed, so did the posters.
Early posters created for merchant windows to reassure fans and customers.
Our small businesses scrambled to make sense of the CARES Act, the EIDL and PPP loans. We tried to find our SBA representatives and local banks that would accept applications. We searched for a single source of correct information. And it changed every day.
Our social gathering spaces such as schools and churches closed. Our favorite community events like farmers markets, downtown block parties, and egg hunts were also canceled. Our “third places,” like our restaurant dining rooms and bars were also made to close.
This week, we finally saw Governor McMaster adapt a Stay-In-Place ideology, providing guidelines that closed all non-essential businesses, but allows for grocery stores, pharmacies, and restaurant takeout to continue. Our businesses that were deemed non-essential were hair salons, spas, gyms, book, furniture, and clothing stores. Even Amazon went to delivering essential items first.
Main Street Hartsville delivered hope-filled window clings reminiscent of the Friday Night Lights football series, that read, “Clean Hands, Strong Harts, Can’t Lose.” This one hangs at Trust Co. in downtown Hartsville.
Our treasured downtown shops are getting more creative. They are adapting to each day’s challenges by developing websites, and having a stronger online presence, selling via social media, and texting their current customer base with Easter ideas. Gifts, clothing, and food can be delivered to your door as takeout, shipped to your mailbox, or hand-delivered to your front porch steps. Some boutiques are taking to Facebook Live streaming videos, offering tutorials and how-to’s.
The social distancing has had an unexpected impact. It has brought groups together. Groups within our city, county, state and country, as well as within our community are working together like never before to support small businesses and property owners that we hold dear to our hearts.
All of the boutiques and restaurants interviewed this week are following the CDC safety guidelines, washing their hands frequently, practicing social distancing, and offering more one-on-one, straight-to-your-parked-car, touchless ways for you to shop safely and still support your favorite downtown shops.
Signs in store windows encourage customers to shop online and use curbside and free delivery.
The good news this week is that the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny have both been deemed as “essential workers,” so see how you can celebrate and “love local” by picking out a Spring surprise, your Sunday dinner, or fill all your Easter Baskets with this “Good-To-Go” section of downtown Hartsville today:
Shops & Boutiques
Alexander’s: Call to order for pickup
COAST on Carolina: Shop online for pickup or delivery
Mahala Reese: Shop online for pickup or delivery
Minnie’s Giftique: no one sets a prettier table or ties a better bow! Check them out on Insta!
Seersuckergypsy: Shop Facebook Live
Wooden Pineapple Boutique: Check them out on Facebook!
Restaurants offering take-out
Bizzell’s Food & Spirits: Drive-thru is open! Catering for larger groups!
Block & Vino: Shop online for pickup
Crema Coffee: Online ordering with curbside pickup. and homemade hand sanitizer is on their menu!
Grigg’s Circle Bakery: Call 843.309.9375 to order
Groucho’s Deli: Order online or with their app
Pita Pit: Order online or with their app
Retrofit sip-n-seat: Order online for pickup or to reserve brunch
Sophia’s Pizzeria: Call 843.332.4858 to order to-go
If you’d like more information about what’s up in your downtown, feel free to check out this link, or subscribe to our weekly Newsletter. With everyone ready to party as soon as we get green lights and blue skies, it will surely become packed again with all the fun reasons to love downtown, your shops, and your neighbors.
How can you support your favorite downtown businesses right now?
- Order pick up or delivery
- Buy a gift certificate from them, or donate one from Main Street Hartsville.
- (Just endorse it over, and we’ll take care of the rest.)
- Leave a glowing, 5-star-review on social media
- Post a selfie (or a phone-eats-first photo!) on Instagram and tag them
- Like & share their social media posts, (like this one!)