Most travel plans were put on hold due to pandemic restrictions making 2021 the summer of the staycation. To make the most of the summer the South Shore Chamber of Commerce partnered with local communities, businesses, organizations, shops and restaurants to launch the Hello! South Shore project — a “shop, play and explore local” campaign.
The project is designed to help our residents – neighbors, friends, family and colleagues – appreciate all that is in their backyard; to think beyond their town borders to discover what the broader region has to offer; and to spend their summer exploring this beautiful, fun, vibrant place they get to call home. The website (www.hellosouthshore.com) includes suggested excursion checklists by town and by interest, from Quincy to Plymouth and everywhere in between.
After what has been a very tough 18 months for many, the goal was to aid with recovery by helping local businesses expand their markets, primarily by tapping into the shop local movement but broadening the meaning of local. The larger goal is to raise the region’s brand for lifestyle amenities that will help attract visitors, new residents and businesses. Those include history, open space and natural resources, arts and the cultural economy, the food industry, housing and architecture. Pick any community to live or work knowing that you will be surrounded by the experiences that help provide a high quality of life.
“We quickly discovered the synergy of our project to tourism,” said Peter Forman, President and CEO of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce. “Our goal was to market within the region not 50 miles out – we aren’t a visitors’ bureau or tourism organization. But as Lea Filson of See Plymouth kept telling us, ‘Local residents are tourists too!’ Her vision of expanding and enhancing visitor stays by promoting lifestyle interests throughout the region tie in nicely with our thinking about placemaking as an economic development strategy.”
The idea for Hello! South Shore grew out of a conversation with our membership about some of our larger economic development goals, specifically elevating and branding the region in an effort to attract a future workforce and more businesses to the region. Someone said to us, “You can’t sell the region to people outside of it, if our own residents aren’t aware of the opportunities that are available to them.” So that’s where the idea started. And when the Commonwealth of Massachusetts put out a call for a regional pilot project to help with local COVID recovery efforts, the chamber jumped on the opportunity to support local business and at the same time elevate all the amazing assets in our towns and cities.
The beauty of this project is that it criss crossed all over the region. Throughout the summer the project spotlighted various organizations and businesses in the following industry categories: arts, music, theatre, restaurants, breweries, retail, open space, history and culture. The feedback so far is that the project has helped to elevate so many great local treasures; some people had heard of and never visited, some they had never heard of and many places that they were able to rediscover through fresh eyes.
Love music? In the words of Aldous Collins: “It’s just a stone’s throw” away and it’s “on the rise” locally. South Shore Music Circus, Rexicana’s Backyard, Roht Marine, Soundcheck Studios – those are just a few local spots where you can enjoy some live music. Next time you’re thinking, I need a little history in my life, well, we have that, too (and not just in Plymouth!). Check with your local historical society. Arts and Culture? Yep. Take a stop over at South Shore Arts Center, stop by the Sandpaper Factory Pop-Up Shops (held monthly), and take in the murals in Hull and Cohasset. And if you need a little retail therapy, there are many wonderful merchants right here in our own backyard from the main streets of our quaint downtowns and neighborhood centers to Merchant’s Row, Derby Street Shops, South Shore Plaza and soon to be the new Hanover Crossing.
As we wrap up summer and move into the fall, please look local first.
Courtney Bjorgaard is the Housing Initiative Lead for the South Shore Chamber of Commerce.