Downtown Chambersburg businesses put their hearts on display

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – While many of their doors are closed, the windows of businesses in downtown Chambersburg are brimming with hope for the day they can welcome patrons inside once again.

Hearts of various sizes, colors and materials are on view at places like Black & Blush Boutique, Council for the Arts – Chambersburg, Lotus Moon Gallery and Yoga, The Foundry Arts Coop and The Garage Studios. Beam Graphix Custom Print Co., Denim Coffee, Here’s Looking at You and the Boost Mobile store downtown are working on their displays.

People of all ages – from children to retirees – who are sheltering at home due to the coronavirus pandemic are putting their scissors and creativity to work to create the decorations.

Andrea “Andi” Finch, coordinator for the Downtown Business Council of Chambersburg (DBC), said the window exhibits are a sign of support for and solidarity between the shops in downtown Chambersburg. They add some heart to the Downtown Strong theme, which will continue through May. That includes a fundraising campaign in which apparel, tumblers and mugs are being sold, a portion of the proceeds from which will be used to buy gift cards to downtown businesses that will go to WellSpan Health and Keystone Health employees in appreciation for their work during the coronavirus crisis.

“That’s giving an outward appearance of hope. That’s giving an outward appearance that we will be back in some way,” Sam Thrush, president of Downtown Chambersburg Inc. (DCI), said of the hearts on view.

He said they send an important message: “We rely on each other. We try to take care of each other as a family.”

Finch is using part of the salvage supply of leftovers from art projects given to The Foundry, a co-op for which she serves as the artist coordinator, to make hearts of various hues and heights. Other artists, business owners and members of the community have been given carte blanche on sizes, colors and materials. The loving displays vary based on how many hearts businesses want and how much window space they can spare.

Some of the love symbols have been drawn on windows with white markers suitable for glass, and the idea of drawing them on sidewalks with chalk has been discussed.

“We’re developing it as we go,” Finch said. “By the time we are open, our windows will be full of hearts.”

Tarryne West raided her personal supply of paper and card stock to make hearts for display at 103 N. Main St., home of the Council for the Arts – Chambersburg, for which she serves as creative coordinator.

“Since the council can’t be open at all, we wanted a way to show the community that we miss them and that they are what drives us,” West said. “Putting up the handmade hearts and a sign in our window felt like sending the people of Chambersburg a love letter.

“The collective experience that we are living through is showing us the importance of local connection and community,” West said. “I think this campaign is not only important as a show of solidarity between all the small business that make up downtown Chambersburg, but also as a vital reminder to the people of Chambersburg that downtown is their community and they are ours. We so easily get caught up in a kind of anonymous global and online life that offers us a superficial and unfulfilling sense of connection, that we lose sight of who is actually our tribe, our community: the people right here on our doorstep!”

On display at The Garage Studios is a large wooden heart made by Tom Davis, who owns the business at 102 S. Main St. with his wife, Jennifer. The heart is flexing its muscles and exclaiming, “We can do it!” Jennifer is creating a large banner to add to their display of love symbols made of paint and paper.

“Right now, building up positivity and support for small businesses is very important,” Jennifer Davis said. “Our downtown organizations (DBC and DCI) are working hard to support us and keep a focus on our needs. The gift certificate program and the Downtown Strong campaign are excellent examples.”

Community members are invited to add their own hearts to the multi-business exhibit. They can be dropped off in the mailbox at The Foundry at 100 S. Main St. The Council for the Arts reserved its largest window for artistic hearts that people would like to share and plans to post the images on social media, as well.

To ensure that many people get a chance to see the hearts blanketing business windows and doors, Finch is leading her inaugural virtual First Friday on May 1. She is planning to do a Facebook Live stroll downtown to show off the hearts, stop by businesses that are allowed to be open and go window shopping at those whose doors are still closed. Typically, The Foundry, Council for the Arts and DBC hold events on the first Friday of each month to bring the public downtown, but the format has changed while people are social distancing.

Despite the locked doors at many area shops, products and gift cards are being sold online and curbside pickup is offered at some sites. That demonstrates the perseverance that Thrush said is key to successfully resetting after the “whiplash” caused by the pandemic subsides.

“Don’t forget to support all the downtown organizations by engaging with their social media, signing up for newsletters, purchasing online or donating,” West said. “Every single bit of effort, no matter how small, helps.”

Davis looks forward to traffic flowing again on the streets and in stores.

“We miss our customers and look forward to being there for them again soon,” she said.

For more information about the hearts campaign, email [email protected].

To place an order in support of the Downtown Strong fundraising campaign, go to

To learn more about Downtown Strong, please visit

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