It is arguably one of the most favorite events of the year – the New Boston Christmas Parade – and the most important person in that parade each year, next to jolly old Santa himself, is the grand marshal. This year that honor will belong to Sugg Hickman, that smiling, friendly person who always greets you at Hickie’s Hamburgers.
“We confirmed it the first part of the week,” New Boston Village Councilman Mike Payton said. “We’ve been wanting to do it for the last month. We just decided to wait and announce it until it got a little bit closer. We can’t figured out why we haven’t done it before now.”
Sugg kept the restaurant open when her brother, Donald Hickman, died. Hickman said she has operated the restaurant for 23 years and the restaurant has been there for 41 years.
“He would really be amazed what we do now compared to when he was alive,” Hickman said.
“She has had to really work to keep that place going,” Payton said. “This is her baby, she really personifies the American dream.”
In a day in which mom and pop businesses have been squeezed out by big chains, there is always a full house at Hickie’s.
“I know it’s the fresh food,” Hickman said. “I think it’s the personality of the restaurant. I try to greet everyone. I hug ‘em.”
Sugg is best known for calling attention to people who have never eaten there before with her – “Hey, we’ve got a virgin here!”
“I don’t know how I ever got started with that,” Hickman said. “People love to bring someone in so I can embarrass them. Seems like we’re known all over – people are finding us on Facebook or their GPS.”
You need to know, going in, that there is always a crowd and you might have to wait a little bit.
“Last week I announced ‘the word is patience, I’ve got two grills going,’” Hickman said.
Another feature of Hickie’s is the decor.
“You see an entire history of the village there, all those pictures,” Payton said. “There’s the shovel where they broke ground on the new (Glenwood) school hanging up there and she’s got pictures back of the old school days and old ball teams.”
Payton said the parade is Saturday (Dec. 3). Line up will start at 4 p.m. on the New Boston Mall parking lot, where businesses such as Pat Catan’s, Tractor Supply and Ollie’s are located. The parade will leave the mall at 5 p.m.
It is for certain that no one could represent the village of New Boston better than Sugg Hickman.
“I’ll do anything for New Boston,” Hickman said.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.