If you know us or have looked through our site, no doubt you know our story. I grew up in Easthampton, but in 2009 moved west to California to live with Lennie, (my husband and business partner). In April of 2013 my mother was diagnosed with cancer so we chose to move back to Easthampton and when she passed away we stayed to take care of my Dad. I was back living in the house I had grown up in!
When we moved to Massachusetts we were already well-versed in the use of online tools (such as Zoom) since most of our clients were from various places around the country. But we really wanted to create a physical presence in the beautiful community of Easthampton and the Pioneer Valley. Being in the right place at the right time, we snapped up our 28 Northampton Street space almost as soon as it showed up on the office rental market. We officially opened our doors as Cider House Media in September of 2015.
One of the best parts of our office, aside from its quaintness and charm, is the amazing sign with marquis letters that came with the space. With 21,000+ cars driving by a day, we were excited by the possibilities of what messages we could share.
Shortly after we moved in we approached the Easthampton City Arts Committee asking if we could participate in the city’s monthly Art Walk. Because The Cultural Arts District, where most events took place, was on the other side of town, we chose to put up on our sign “Art Walk Starts Here”. With a bustling crowd at every event, it sure looked like it did! We had a new artist every month and kept their work up throughout the month. It was a fantastic way to get to know the community as we hosted 1000’s of guests over the years. It was a space that everyone loved.
And then the pandemic hit. We had no choice but to close the office and work remotely for the safety of ourselves and our employees. But with the exception of in-person staff meetings and meeting clients in our office, it was pretty much business as usual for us. We were already using Zoom so that solved all of the meeting issues. But we didn’t expect that our being out of the office would be so extensive; no one knew where the pandemic was going to lead us. But as time went on it got easier and easier for all of us to telecommute, and we operated just as efficiently as when we were in the office. However, the one thing that stayed in use at 28 Northampton Street was our beloved sign. The pandemic didn’t stop us from posting our inspirational quotes 2- 3 times/month. I had hoped that it was being helpful to the community and all that drove by during such a dark time.
But recently we have found ourselves at a crossroads. Because we are flourishing remotely, we began questioning the need to hold onto the space. The biggest reason we haven’t become 100% virtual has been because of our sign. It is truly loved by all who see it and know of it. We have gotten emails, phone calls, and cards. People have even stopped us on the street saying, “I love your sign!” Someone stopped us once when we were coming out of a store in Florence saying, “Hey! Are you the Cider House people? I love your sign!“ Once a woman said she thought the sign was owned by the city, and it’s the way that people are greeted when they come into town.
When we hear how people feel and the effects that the sign has had on their lives we are very moved. We know that the quotes have touched many deeply and in ways that we will perhaps never know.
But it has come time for the sign to go virtual with us. It is with a deeply conflicted heart that I share this with you all. Honestly, I find that as I write this I’m feeling a sense of loss. But I know that the sign will live on virtually, always available for all to see.
I proudly have been the one that has crafted all the messages for you. In a way, it feels as though I’m saying goodbye to a part of me. But things change and the bright side is that our sign can now reach everyone around the world. It will have an even bigger audience now.
Thank you to all who have enjoyed it; whether you have laughed, cried, or found it just put a smile on your face.
We will still carry on as devoted to our community as before. That will never change. We are not going anywhere! We are here to stay.
We will keep posting our quotes for a while longer. Stay tuned and we will keep you posted on the sign’s exact “going virtual” date.
I’ll leave this here with one of my favorite posted quotes:
What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.