AJ Hastings To Close After Over 100 Years In Downtown Amherst

Photo: Google Maps

AJ Hastings, the iconic Amherst office and school supplies store at 45 South Pleasant Street in downtown Amherst announced today (7/24) that they will be closing after 108 years in Business.  The last day of business will be July 17.

The annoucement was made in a posting on Facebook and in a letter to their customers posted on the store window.  The text of the letter follows.

AJ Hastings has been in our family for three generations. It has also been our family, beyond blood, by marriage, and by dedication for over three decades. We who have worked here are “Hastings, and you who have frequented our store are “Hastings” as well. For hundreds of kids, working here was their first job, either stuffing Sunday papers at 3 in the morning or being a clerk after school. For others, it was their first and only full-time job. And for many more it was just a short glimpse into the fabric of this town, the Hastings themselves, and a time when a handshake held both respect and your weekly pay—in cash. You are all part of us. So it is with both sadness and joy that we announce our closure.

As of this July 17th we will be closing are (sic) doors. We are sad because we will miss our everyday experiences here with you which have made Hastings meaningful beyond commerce, beyond tangible measurements. We recognize and appreciate the loyalty and support you have shown us over the years and in some cases, decades. We have served you as best as possible and never taken for granted you patronage, love of our store and love of our downtown. Hardly a day passes without one of you thanking us for being here, asking what you can do to help us and hoping—perhaps against your better intuitive judgement—for assurance that we will remain here forever.

It has been a difficult, emotional decision to close, but we are ready and joyful to start new chapters in our lives. We remain staunch supporters of the Amherst downtown and believe, deep down, that change is growth. We know that what is not allowed to grow, encouraged to grow, and nurtured to grow will perish. Our sincerest hope is that you continue to love our downtown and find ways to continue to connect to it and each other.

With much love and thanks, all of us at A.J.Hastings:

Carolyn, Chris, Debbie, Rick, Sharon and Mary Louise

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9 thoughts on “AJ Hastings To Close After Over 100 Years In Downtown Amherst

  1. This is so sad. Hastings has always been like a rock of normalcy to us. With the town undergoing so many mostly bogus changes the end of Hastings just makes it worse. The quaint New England College town is history. What a tragic mistake.

  2. My husband had always told his kids, grandkids and great grandkids how as a kid, he used to sit on the stairs and read the comic books. It was also where his Dad bought him a Red Ryder BB gun there A fond memory of his! Sad to hear a milestone closing.

  3. Hastings is how I think of Amherst. The identity of the town will surely change. I am very sorry to see it go.

  4. Hastings is a gathering place for the community. It is also one of the few stores in town where one can purchase useful items, where the staff not only knows many customers by name, they also know about our children and our friends. It was the first store I entered when I moved to Amherst over 40 years ago. The store immediately made me feel at home and was (and still is) as cozy as a wren’s nest. Mary, Sharon, Debbie, Rick, Caroline, and Chris – I will miss you and the store.

  5. For over 50 years, Hastings has held a special place in my heart. When I moved to Amherst in 1970, my family included an African American foster daughter who had been raised in the Cathedral Housing Project in Boston’s South End. Wanting to get a Mother’s Day card to send to her mom, she asked me to drive her to Hastings after school and, with no parking spaces to be found, I dropped her off and circled the block a few times. When she opened the car door to get in, she had clearly been crying, with tears still in her eyes. I immediately thought “What an idiot I am! I should have taken the time to go in with her just in case she was made uncomfortable.” But no, she

    quickly told me that when she got to the register, she was eleven cents short and “the guy” told her it was ok – “just bring it in the next time you’re up town.”

  6. When I had a store, the nicest thing any customer said to me was “you know why I shop here (instead of Macy’s)? Because I want to give YOU my money.

    That’s how I always felt about Hastings.

    Good luck to you all in your next chapters.

  7. It is hard to sum up my thoughts about Hastings. Mary and Sharon gave me a job, and let me keep the job, when I was at my lowest. Their support allowed me to get back on my feet, and helped me kick start my life again. They will never know how much it meant to me.

  8. Oh the Memories!! Thank you AJ Hasitings!

    Looking back over the span of over fifty years to my time at The College — You, AJ Hastings, were the 1 constant that I’d consistently come back to — outside of the school — to visit online or in person. In My memory, you were somewhat akin to the feeling of “home”… I could always count on being transported from whatever major and minor travails to a place of warmth and comfort.

    You’re a touchstone that will be missed.

    Seriously, I mean it… Thanks!

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