This Labor Day weekend was spectacular for Havana’s downtown businesses! Through our Havana Merchants Association (HMA) members’ pooling of money to advertise the townwide three-day weekend sale event, shopkeepers saw heavy crowds who found great bargains galore. As shop owners prepare for the heaviest shopping period of the year, Labor Day to New Year’s Day, they cleared space for displaying arriving merchandise by slashing prices of items on the floor.
By mid-day Saturday, shoppers found they needed to rove farther afield to find empty parking slots, and cafes were slammed with diners. All in all, a great day for everyone!
But when do those business owners and staff take a day off? Most shops in Havana are open Wednesdays through Sundays; a handful are open on Tuesdays as well. Only a couple of the proprietors are crazy enough to also be open on Mondays … making it a seven days a week Labor of Love. Here in Havana, though, they have plenty of company: police, fire, EMS, and other emergency workers all are either on duty or on call when needed. Similarly, so are town utility crews and those in charge. They, too, provide a Labor of Love for their Havana community.
Labor Day began as a holiday in the late 1800s and was dedicated to the hard work of the nation’s growing factory and railroad workforces. By 1887 it was established to be held annually on the first Monday of September. Many, many unions and other brotherhood organizations have come and gone, and working conditions and benefits improved under some and lost ground under others. Corporations have, for the past few decades, taken a great bit of their workforces abroad, leaving several large industries in tatters at home. Whether one agrees or disagrees with unions, they have won benefits that have given workers a better way of life.
In the past 50 or so years, Labor Day has been noticed as the end of summer. Grilling out on the holiday became almost a national pastime as Fall approached with cooler weather. Labor Day weekend also became known as a great weekend to find bargains everywhere, and certainly it was said loud and clear here in Havana as shops, streets and cars were filled with happy bargainers carrying lots of goodies home!
Despite the intermittent rain events, I hope you had a wonderful three-day weekend. We did!