A half century is a long time. Not so long ago, it was longer than average life expectancy. While there are plenty of businesses and companies that have persisted that long, for a local establishment to reach the 50-year mark is extraordinary. To do so under the same ownership is almost unheard of.
With events over the past several weeks, The Chatham Squire celebrated reaching the mid-century point under the ownership of founders Richard Costello and George Payne. The Squire has come a long way in those five decades – from a small seasonal tavern and restaurant to arguably the town's best-known restaurant. The road hasn't always been smooth. There were times when The Squire was more notorious than noteworthy, and several generations of college students have memories, fond or otherwise, of summer nights spent on the “bar side” of the Main Street establishment. It's calmed down considerably from those days, yet its reputation still ranges far and wide. Almost anywhere in the world, if you mention you're from Chatham, someone is bound to ask about The Squire.
Businesses come and go, although our area is fortunate to have many which have found success and stayed with it and are now closely associated with a given town – Chatham Bars Inn, the Chatham Wayside Inn, the Wequassett Inn, Snow's – some for more than a century. Others, as shown on this week's Business Page, are marching forward toward that goals. Those establishments have found something that works, and not only form a solid economic core, they also create community and a shared experience that ends up transcending generations and town borders. With the challenges facing today's new businesses – from high commercial rents to an inadequate workforce – it may not even be possible for a retail shop, service or restaurant to expect to reach the age of The Squire, let alone Snow's (130 years) or the Wayside (approximately 140 years). But that doesn't stop entrepreneurs and enterprising businesspeople from trying; new businesses open every season, and while many are destined to close, there continues to be success stories.
To those businesses celebrating anniversaries this year, we offer our congratulations and wishes for many more. And for those just starting out, we offer encouragement, big crowds of eager and hungry shoppers, and a bit of the old indomitable Yankee spirit to get you through those first few years.