What downtown Hartsville looks like amidst the COVID-19 Crisis these days:
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 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 healthy and exercise. Ok, to even change out of our pajamas most days. We have new favorite 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. We have 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.
Our small businesses scrambled to make sense of the CARES Act, the EIDL and PPP loans. We tried to find our SBA representatives and banks that would accept applications. We searched for a single source of correct information. And it changed every day.
As our social gathering spaces such as schools and churches, restaurants and bars closed, and our community events like farmers market, downtown block parties, and egg hunts cancelled, we had a different image on social media, “Keep Calm and Carry Out.”
This week, we finally saw Governor McMaster adapt a Shelter 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.
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.
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.”
With all the social distancing, it also has brought groups together. Groups within our city and our community are working together like never before to support small businesses that we hold dear.
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, touch-less ways for you to shop safely and still support your favorite downtown shops.
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 our “Good-To-Go” section of downtown Hartsville today:
Restaurants & Bars
- Block & Vino
- Crema Coffee
- Grigg’s Circle Bakery
- Groucho’s Deli
- Hoof & Hound
- Pita Pit
- Retrofit sip-n-seat
- Sophia’s Pizzeria
Shops & Boutiques
- blush: a Merle Norman Studio
- COAST on Carolina
- DeVane’s: Temporarily Closed
- Hartsville Army-Navy
- Mahala Reese
- Minnie’s Giftique
- Raised Down South
- The Nook: Temporarily Closed
- Tommi Mack
- Wild Child Children’s Boutique
- Wooden Pineapple Boutique
How can you support your favorite downtown businesses right now?
- Order pick up or delivery
- Buy a gift certificate
- 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