The Heartbeat of Haverhill

Good News from A Great City Haverhill, MA


DSC_0615 Haverhill Movie Set Joy

Downtown Haverhill is abuzz with two distinct crowds: Set decorators and the team that supports them, and rubberneckers – everyone, The Heartbeat of Haverhill included, who likes to see behind the curtain for the latest in the repertoire of Hollywood productions shooting in our  city. A couple years back we had “The Equalizer” starring Denzel Washington in the Lowes building for a while, followed by Frances McDormand  shooting “Olive Kittredge” at the Bethany Merrivista Senior Home.

DSC_0536 Haverhill Movie Joy

This week we have springtime Washington Street substituting for Christmastime Dallas of a couple decades ago in Jennfier Lawrence’s new film “Joy” also starring Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro. You can tell it’s Christmas by the decorations and those same decorations show that it’s Dallas with glittery boot shaped lamp pole ornaments. And this is enough Hollywood magic to bring our neighbors out in droves. I just wish we could bring new business to town as quickly as the set decorators did.

DSC_0115 Haverhill Joy Movie Set  pawnbrokers

And this is where the questions start.

What does having a movie shoot in Haverhill do for us other than create a traffic jam of people and cars?

1. It brings positive awareness to the city

DSC_0641 Haverhill Movie Set Joy

2. It encourages people to walk downtown and discover new real shops. THOH posted on Facebook about a newly found shop two days ago and already almost 2,000 people have clicked on the post and photos for more information.

3. It encourages neighbors to talk to one another. The Heartbeat of Haverhill met two newcomers to the city who were very excited to learn more and become more involved in the city. One is considering a position on a city group, the other is hoping to write a guest blog on THOH.

DSC_0170DSC_0120 Haverhill Joy Movie Set painting

4. It brings work to the region. Today we spoke with a draper, a woman who makes all the curtains and cloth backdrops for the faux shop windows. She got her start in the drama department at Northern Essex Community College. A security guard thanked us and shook hands sincerely upon learning that well over 2,000 people had become interested in the shoot while reading and sharing The Heartbeat of Haverhill Facebook page. He was thankful because as a security person on the set he knows his being there is contingent upon the size of the crowd he must control and is appreciative of the people we are bringing to the set. (The Heartbeat of Haverhill thanks all the security personnel for being so kind and helpful to people walking around with stars in their eyes). All the real shop owners are being paid if it is requested that their shops close for the shoot as are all of their employees who would have worked that day. A Haverhill veteran we met today mentioned he was being used as an extra in tomorrow’s shooting. These are just a few examples; there are hundreds of people prepping the sets who appreciate shooting in Haverhill.

DSC_0197DSC_0120 Haverhill Joy Movie Set painting

5.The movie brings business to our restaurants. Mark’s Deli said they’d had several painters come in for a meal. One film crew member said there’s demand for Andino’s pizza for a third meal either today or tomorrow.  Not sure if it will come to fruition, but it’s a chance. Admittedly most meals are catered, but for those that are not, our local restaurants are up to the task of feeding a hungry crowd.

DSC_0120 Haverhill Joy Movie Set Hat

6. Our local stores see new business. One person on the set today told me that in order to fill all the fake storefronts, a lot of local shopping took place: at Burlington Coat Factory they purchased hundreds of dollars worth of shoes and clothes for the fake dress shop, mirrors and second hand goods and accessories from our consignment stores.

The one real shop for home decor and recylce painted furniture - 50 Wash.

The one real shop for home decor and recycled painted furniture – 50 Wash.

7.  Our city looks better. How much better is it to see full stores with tidy signs and clean windows. Maybe this will help move business into the downtown vacancies. Landlords should use photos from the filming to help market their space.

8. Cities typically receive a gift from the production company that enhances the town vision. Last movie provided trees, but they shot here for several weeks. THOH thinks playground equipment or more landscaping enhancements? Maybe matching awnings so we can have a consistent downtown look? Maybe a shed to house kayaks and canoes we could rent out on the Merrimack?

DSC_0105 Haverhill Joy Movie Set Mirrors

9. Movie revisions to our downtown allow us to envision it better. Seeing the hat shop and the BBQ joint, and the hardware shop come to life, THOH is convinced these businesses should become a reality. Experiencing the pretty faux shop windows gives direction for real windows  – maybe fewer fluorescent screaming phone number signs and more creative approaches to drawing in business. To the driving school for example – put a car hood or side panel in the window and forget about all that ugly signage, you’ll catch a lot more admiring eyes. Real beauty/wig shop – style your window as carefully as you style hair and make it look designed not just crowded.

DSC_0119  Haverhill Joy Movie Set Hats

10.  And we get a chance (maybe only a slim one) to see Jennifer Lawrence, at the same time she gets a chance to see Haverhill if only a little bit. Let’s give her something wonderful to remember. Jennifer will be on set on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. Brad and Robert have finished their scenes already and so are not expected.

DSC_0164DSC_0120 Haverhill Joy Movie Set Mannequins

Making movies in Haverhill doesn’t correct the challenges we have, it doesn’t come close, but for a few temporary inconveniences, it does what movies have always done, let us dream.

Here is a link to the post THOH wrote about the set of “Olive Kittredge” in 2013

(c)Alison Colby-Campbell


  1. Greenslade, Ernie
    April 13, 2015

    Alison, great blog! Do you know the name of the draper from NECC that’s mentioned in #4? Sounds like an interesting story!


  2. season hitchcock
    April 15, 2015

    I am a local salon owner in downtown, not only was I not told about the filming, but was told by “the crew” that I couldn’t park in a parking lot that’s open to the public, as were my clients. Also because I was never told about this (found out about it last thursday from Facebook ) I couldn’t reschedule my clients to make it convenient for them, they were canceled last minute because of the parking lot situation and are not able to walk long distances .
    I’m glad a couple of the local business made a few extra bucks, not sure since a huge food truck came in and also parked directly in front of my business and it was supplying all the food to the cast and crew. So I can’t see how they made SO much extra income. With that being said, half of my salon clients were canceled due to the non communication by the city and production company, so my salon and employee lost income. When I contacted the mayors office yesterday they passed the blame onto the production company, who I’m still waiting for a phone call.
    As for the city looking better, well, you should see all the trash that was left by the cast and crew, hopefully it was picked up after the end of the filming.
    This was poorly planned, but as long as the city got an extra bonus I guess the little guy gets screwed…got to love that!

    • Brain4Rent/THoH
      April 15, 2015

      Nothing ever works out perfectly for everyone and that is unfortunate. Lots of little business got a boost, lots of foot traffic downtown among area people, hope several of them in the days prior to the actual shoot day discovered your salon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Alison Colby-Campbell



Full-brain user demonstrating a healthy(?) obsession with marketing, promotion, writing, photography, house rabbits, the natural world, tennis, big and small problem solving, reading, hiking, HGTV and the flotsam & jetsam of everyday life. My three blogs Brain4Rent, The Heartbeat of Haverhill, Alison Colby-Campbell Photography are Wordpress based.

Personal Links

View Full Profile →

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 178 other followers

The Heartbeat of Haverhill Post Archives

%d bloggers like this: