It seems that in recent years, the Welcome Wagon is one American tradition that has fallen by the wayside in many towns. In Lynnfield though, one woman is working to revive the tradition of greeting new town residents with gifts and offers from local merchants.
Karen Harrington, creator of Lynnfield Welcomes, has lived in town for 25 years. She has worked at Legal Seafoods for 14 years, and before that, worked at the former Colonial Hilton in Lynnfield for 12 years.
In a recent interview, she said that like many people she's spoken with, she enjoyed the Welcome Wagon program years ago and was unsure whatever became of it. Earlier this month, Harrington was at a Lynnfield selectmen's meeting to discuss her vision with town officials.
"It's just something that I always wanted to do," Harrington told Lynnfield Patch. In discussing her idea, she shows a decorated gift basket that she would provide to new homeowners in town, ideally filled with various gift certificates, offers and information from local businesses and institutions. She reported that at this point, she is still talking to numerous business owners in Lynnfield and surrounding towns about the idea, and she is also talking to area real estate professionals who in theory could then inform Lynnfield Welcomes when new residents move in.
Ideally, the gift baskets for new residents would contain about 10 items, said Harrington, adding that so far, Boston Sports Club has offered to provide a deal on discount swimming lessons for new families, while Reverend Dennis Bailey at Centre Congregational Church has reportedly agreed to provide a list of the town's religious institutions.
"It's just a way for new residents to know their businesses," said Harrington.
To get involved with Lynnfield Welcomes, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For her work in building Lynnfield Welcomes, on Tuesday, April 24, Karen was highlighted by the Huffington Post as The Greatest Person Of The Day. To a view page of people from all over the country who have earned this distinction, click here.
Editor's Note: For those of us who were wondering whatever happened to the Welcome Wagon and what exactly it was, it turns out that it's a single Tennessee-based marketing company that has existed since 1928, although if they have a presence in this part of the country, they do a pretty good job of hiding it.