Gunkholing: Life Goes on Within me and Without me

Cape Cod Life  /  September/October 2020 /

Writer: Brian Shortsleeve / Photographer: Josh Shortsleeve 

Gunkholing: Life Goes on Within me and Without me


Cape Cod Life  /  September/October 2020 /

Writer: Brian Shortsleeve / Photographer: Josh Shortsleeve 

Photo by Josh Shortsleeve · See an example of Cape Cod Beach Chair’s collaborative marketing efforts at shop.capecodlife.com

My thanks to the entire Cape Cod Life staff for doing such a great job! For months most of us were working from home. I worked in my office at home beginning in March. The first in-person company meeting I attended was held the last week of July.  Much of my time needed to be spent balancing the budget. Thanks in no small way to the help of Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank.

We are proud of our recent issues of LIFE, HOME and ART and hope you have enjoyed them. Thank you also to our many advertisers, the finest businesses serving the Cape and Islands. I always appreciate advertisers offering testimonials to the effectiveness of Cape Cod Life Publications. Our many, many loyal readers breathe life into our magazines as they share their issues, plus saving and referring back to the issues for months, and in many cases for years. All of this results in the effectiveness for businesses to advertise during challenging economic times as an investment in the future of their own business.

At the in-person company meeting in July our sales staff shared reports of good news and positive happenings for many of their customers. Let me share a few of them with you.

The Cape Cod Beach Chair Company, located in Harwich, was very effective in growing their business. Put a little bit of Cape Cod in your own backyard. The results of their marketing efforts were due very much in part to their reliance on digital and online social media programs. We at Cape Cod Life have been delighted to see the growth in numbers of visitors to capecodlife.com online.

Gallery 31 Fine Art in Orleans said this, “The pandemic is an unforeseen challenge for the entire world, yet when the going gets tough, the tough find a way to survive. We reach out periodically to clients through e-newsletters, telephone, and email communications. We share images of beautiful new art with messages of hope, perseverance, and patience. We reserve paintings for pick up and/or shipping. We keep our website current, and offer online bookings for one-to-one visits to the gallery with social distancing. In lieu of receptions we arrange private meetings between featured artists and interested buyers. And we continue to advertise; promoting the gallery in Cape Cod LIFE, the ART Annual, and capecodlife.com continues to pay off in dividends. Be well, be safe,
and believe in better times.”

Bobby Baker of Bobby Baker Gallery in Cataumet expressed his commitment through his sales rep, Laura Taylor,  “The fact that Cape Cod Life offered the added value of additional editorial in an Art & Culture story as well as the online Art & Culture Guide, made him really happy to see the adjustments Cape Cod Life is making.”

Kingman Marine, Cataumet Boats and Nauset Marine, along with many other fine companies in our marine industry, report that 2020 has been a very successful year. We have heard similar reports from the business of bicycles, motorcycles, fishing gear and real estate. Not unlike many other restaurants, The Chart Room in Cataumet seemed to match the scope of their traditional indoor dining capacity by providing tents and shaded
areas. Reservations were often sold out! The last week of July a friend reported they were surprised to be able to arrange accommodations at the Sea Crest in North Falmouth, with only a week’s notice. Two days later another friend reported that they called the Sea Crest only to find out all rooms had been taken. That week the beach at the Sea Crest was absolutely packed!

Wendy Northcross from the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce says that she feels as though she and her staff are attending physicians at an Emergency Room for business, particularly as they helped local businesses navigate available resources during the pandemic. She also says that Cape businesses are faring much better than other parts of the country since people are making deliberate choices to be here.

Joe Della Morte, owner of Cranberry Liquors in Harwich Port, took a minute out of his busy, busy day to tell us that the liquor industry, with bars and events being banned, has simply exploded. An unforeseen benefit he says is that the phone orders now allow him to be more of a consultative resource for his customers as they call and say, “Joe, put together a case of red and white wine, based upon your recommendations.” 

Guaranteed Fresh Produce & Dairy Company in Hyannis had a business model of delivering wholesale to restaurants but when COVID-19 happened they changed their model to include the general public. The change to serving a new segment of customers has brought in an excellent influx of business and they are very happy.

Spoon and Seed in Hyannis launched a pay-it-forward program
early on in the COVID-19 crisis. The chef/owner Matt Tropeano accepted donations for family-sized trays of comfort food he prepared each day, with the help of staff and family members including his dad. His dad came to help in early March and has never left his side. Matt would stack the prepared food trays near the front door. The meal trays were to feed hospital workers, nurses, doctors and emergency workers, or at risk older people who may need a hot-cooked meal. He had volunteer workers, “angel couriers,” who knew of struggling families, and would pick up meals and deliver them to a home or medical facility. When a customer would come to pick up a food order for take out, staffers point to the table with food trays and ask if they would like to donate or deliver. People have paid forward with donations of both monetary and time investments.

Mid-Cape Home Centers raised over $14,900 for the Cape Cod and Islands Veterans Outreach Center. Mid-Cape Home Centers hosted the “Flag a Yard” Fundraiser. In this event, people were invited to make a $25 minimum donation and in return, flag a friend. Flagging consisted of about 36 American flags of various sizes being placed in a family member or friends’ yard. Often times, these were veterans, making the gesture even more powerful. Another large portion of the funds raised came from the Mid-Cape team themselves. Leadership and team members alike got behind this great initiative and donated straight to the fundraising campaign, bringing the total funds raised to just under $15,000. Today more than ever, “Mid-Cape Home Centers is dedicated to providing the building supplies that will help southeastern Massachusetts remain one of the best places to live in America.”

The Cape and Islands are magical and always will be, as long as we are careful. I applaud the leadership of Governor Baker and his staff for all their help to the residents of Massachusetts in the year 2020 and for so carefully helping to revitalize our local economy.

“THANK YOU also to our many advertisers, the finest businesses serving the Cape and Islands.”

My Best,

Brian Shortsleeve, Publisher

Seaside Bridal Couture

Brian Shortsleeve

Brian Shortsleeve is the owner, publisher, and founder of Cape Cod Life Publications. His personal column, “Gunkholing,” has appeared in all issues of Cape Cod LIFE since the very first issue in 1979.