Friday, April 18, 2008

The Businesses By The Bridge: Westfield, Massachusetts

Recently I've been wrestling with the idea of offering advertising space to interested folks here on EWM. I have to admit, I'm having a hard time with it. On the one hand, I sure could use the money. On the other hand, I like the mostly unadulterated feel of EWM as it is. I guess I'd still rather be a starving writer than a prosperous advertiser. Must be from when I was dropped on my head as a kid.

I don't want anyone else to starve though, even if it is in a business sense. Especially when the businesses are located on one of the most interesting and history-filled chunks of land in Westfield: Depot Square on the North-side of the Great River Bridge, and just across the Westfield River, the area of Kane Park to the south. It would be fair to say that this is one of my favorite parts of town, the history of industry and transportation in Western Massachusetts captured in a microcosm. A simple shake of the globe sets fascination flying, the olden scene unfolding amidst facts readily stirred (and stirring): floating crystals in liquid history.

The Great River Bridge Project has had a real impact on the businesses along its path. Folks just don't want to stop like they used to, probably because they spend so much time already stopped in traffic on North Elm and Elm streets trying to get across the bridge. So it requires an extra personal effort, keeping these anchor family-run businesses going, but it's an effort worth undertaking, and one that depends on community involvement. And who knows where it could lead?

Stop and pick up the fixings to make a nice dinner for your sweetheart at North Elm Butcher Block. Ordering ahead saves time.

To make the evening special, hop across the street to Pilgrim Candle and pick up some tapers to go with your capers.

There is plenty of parking next to and behind the North Elm Butcher Block...

...So take your time to browse at the Little Black Dog Gallery next door to Pilgrim Candle for that special gift, or a romantic book of poetry that will set hearts a' flutter.

A warm fire can do much to set the evening's mood. Make sure your chainsaw is sharp at the Yankee Sharp Saw Company.

If dinner burns while you're outside sawing wood for the romantic fire, you can always order out from Elm Pizza.

Who knows? Maybe after your special dinner something more permanent is on your horizon, like a tattoo from Nitemare Tattoo, or heck, for single folks, maybe even marriage.

You could get your wedding invitations printed up at Westfield Printing.

And have your wedding photographs custom-framed at Walter's Fin Frames.

Maybe start a new family-owned business yourselves. The old Valley Hardware building next to Walter's is for sale.

A realtor comes in handy when you're looking for a home base, and Century 21 is everywhere.

Of course, now that you're all committed and responsible and stuff, you'll need to insure your house, your business and yourself. The Tierney Group is located in Westfield's restored train depot, on the corner of North Elm and Old Pochassic Streets.

Stock up on candles at Whip City Candle Company. Living happily ever after can take a long time.

Until death do you part. No one wants to get here, but we all do. One consolation: You get a chauffeur and they stop traffic for you when you make your final trip. No more waiting to cross the bridge.

So there's my free plug for the businesses by the bridge: From dinner to demise.

Let's keep them alive.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.

Meet the merchants:

North Elm Butcher Block
37 North Elm Street
(413) 562-6759

Pilgrim Candle Company
36 Union Avenue
(413) 562-2635

The Little Black Dog Gallery
16 Union Avenue
(413) 562-1295

Yankee Sharp Saw Company
59 North Elm Street
(413) 562-0645

Elm Pizza
38 North Elm Street
(413) 568-2020 or 568-2757

Nitemare Tattoo
3 Depot Square
(413) 572-0437

Westfield Printing
338 Elm Street
(413) 562-4664

Walter's Fin Frames
55 North Elm Street
(413) 562-1285

Century 21 Hometown Associates
350 Elm Street
(413) 568-2491

The Tierney Group
16 North Elm Street
(413) 562-7007

Whip City Candle Company
3 Depot Square
(413) 568-9700

Czelusniak Funeral Home
349 Elm Street
(413) 562-4874

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Tommy said...

An excellent post that will be consulted by future historians.

As for advertising, grab as much money as you can with both hands and don't apologise.

Mark T. Alamed said...

Thanks, Tom.

Julianne said...

Dear Mark,
I've commented to you before that your blog and your picture taking activities are awesome and very much appreciated! I just sent a link to your stuff to a former Westfieldtonian who is now living in Hawaii. I thought he'd enjoy your stuff too!
The section I just read about the local businesses and going from dinner to demise is just simply priceless! And you are correct, it's a pain to stop at any of those businesses, but thanks for reminding me that there are families running those businesses who need to survive this mess...I'll make it a point to head to the Butcher Block tonight and I'll be sure to tell them that you sent me!!
Keep up the awesome work!!
Kindest regards,

Mark T. Alamed said...

Dear Julianne,

It's great to hear from you again! Thanks for sharing EWM with your friend in Hawaii. That's pretty cool!

It must have taken some getting used to for him, moving from hot and cold New England to tropical Hawaii. My youngest son has been stationed in Georgia for five years now, and when he comes home for visits, he freezes anytime the temperature drops below 40 - 45, which (as you know) is mild weather for us Northerners.

I've never been to Hawaii, but I've hitchhiked the length of the Eastern Seaboard, spent some time down South, been through the Blue Ridge Mountain Range, and driven out West as far as Wisconsin, and I have yet to see a more beautiful area of this country than Western Massachusetts. I think a lot of our local charm comes from folks like you, who live here enthusiastically with an affectionate and genuine interest in their surroundings.

Thanks for your kind words, again!

Take care,