Wellesley coronavirus update: Essential businesses beyond restaurants—Jarvis Appliance & Holly Cleaners; April vacay could vanish; Easter Bunny visits; Arts center hurting

Despite temperatures hovering in the 40s, it looked like a beach day at Morses Pond on Saturday based on the line-up of cars along Turner Road. It looked like the October soccer tournament at Elm Bank Reservation as cars lined up to exit the DCR park on the Wellesley/Dover/Natick line. And it looked like people in downtown Wellesley got the CDC message about wearing cloth face coverings to protect themselves from the new coronavirus (I didn’t want to invade the space of strangers to take photos, but feel free to share your mask mugshots here: theswellesleyreport@gmail.com).

Just another Wellesley weekend during the spring of the new coronavirus, as active COVID-19 cases in town stood at 25.

Turner road cars
With the Morses Pond gate locked, cars line up along Turner Road


We continued to reach out to businesses, town officials and others to keep our finger on the pulse of what’s going on related to COVID-19 and beyond.  If you’d like to share your experiences or ideas—residents, businesses, town officials & students, we’re talking to you—please shoot us a message: theswellesleyreport@gmail.com After all, we’re trying not to roam around too much, heeding the stay-at-home advisory.

Essentials businesses beyond restaurants—Jarvis Appliance & Holly Cleaners

While we’re rooting along with everyone else that Wellesley restaurants can survive the health crisis on take-out and delivery,  we’re also curious about how non-restaurants that have been deemed as providing essential services have been faring. We’ve been reaching out to them regularly, and while some are skittish to say much, others have returned our calls or emails.

We connected with Jarvis Appliance on Rte. 9 in Wellesley, the location from which it has been operating since 1966, to get a sense of how things are going.

Sales Manager Richie Craig says Jarvis is open for business with scaled down hours and staff, but ready to handle customer inquiries by phone, live chat and in person.

“We are asking that anyone coming into the building please make an appointment if possible, although not needed,” he says.  “Our showroom is being disinfected multiple times a day and also after any customer visit.” Naturally, anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should steer clear, and don’t allow Jarvis service technicians, installers or delivery people into your home.

Wondering what’s in demand? “We are getting lots of calls from people looking to purchase freezers,” Craig says. “Unfortunately we are being told by our distributor that freezers will be out of stock until end of May. We are recommending getting a traditional refrigerator & freezer instead, as this will give you some freezer space and extra refrigerator space and will likely be a more used product when this pandemic is over.”

Looking ahead to nicer weather, Jarvis has all Weber grills on sale, plus free delivery and assembly on any grill over $600. “This gives you an alternative cooking method and gets you out of the house,” Craig notes.

“Being open during this time, we have gotten great feedback from customers thanking us for helping them a little bit during these trying times,” he says.

Separately, we reached out to a handful of dry cleaners in Wellesley, feeling they’ve been one of the less discussed essential service providers. Our guess would be that fewer people have a need for cleaning services in light of many of them not having to dress up as much for work while telecommuting.

Holly CleanersHolly Cleaners General Manager Cassie Savalier notes that the Wellesley store is operating under reduced hours: Monday through Saturday from 7am -3pm. “We are taking all precautions necessary to protect our employees and our clients. We are also happy to help any customer temporarily sign up for delivery services if that helps ease the stress of this unprecedented situation,” she says.

Foot traffic is down at retail locations, but “delivery is still going strong. We are  seeing a lot of storage items due to the changing seasons, and a lot of bedding,” Savalier says. “Those two departments are up and making up some of the difference for other departments that are slightly lacking right now for obvious reasons.” Holly’s business varies from location to location, with shops still operating as well in Needham and Newton in addition to Wellesley.


Easter Bunny visits

While the Wellesley Recreation Department has scrapped its annual egg hunt, it has negotiated with the Easter Bunny to make some extra special visits.

Registration for this residents-only program starts on April 6 and must be done online. A maximum of 20 homes will be visited on April 11. A $20 donation is requested, and funds will be used to support camp and scholarship programs.

April vacay could vanish

Wellesley already looks like families have cleared out for fabulous April school vacation getaways, but of course that’s not the case.

And in fact, there might not even be an April school break for Wellesley Public Schools. Supt. David Lussier said in his latest memo to the community that: “Based on our current academic calendar, the week of April 20th is designated as the WPS April Vacation. Because of our desire to maintain a continuity of student learning during this time as well as the current stay-at-home advisory, the Administration will be recommending to the School Committee next week that we cancel April Vacation this year. If this is approved, the school year for students would end on Tuesday, June 16th.”

Framingham’s arts center in dire need of funds

atacBeyond Wellesley, Framingham’s ātac (formerly known as the Amazing Things Art Center) “is facing an immediate and permanent closure if we are unable to cover the loss of revenue from canceled shows and rentals.” We’ve written in the past about Wellesley residents who have performed at the venue, and we’re sure many of you have attended shows there.

A crowdfunding campaign was launched in mid-March with the goal of raising $90K.





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