Chamber News

August 26, 2020 Likes Comments

And the $2 million dollar slogan is...

“Put your money where your heart is.”

That’s the slogan that will be front and center in a $2 million ad campaign encouraging Massachusetts’ residents to shop, dine out and travel at local stores and destinations.
Gov. Charlie Baker announced the program yesterday. It will launch Friday with this weekend’s sales tax holiday and continue through the end of the year.
"We would urge you all to get out and shop and shop safely," Baker said.
The "My Local MA" campaign can be accessed online, with links to local resources and chambers of commerce to find out where to shop and stay locally. (As of last night, the site seemed to have a few bugs and few local listings.)
The administration plans to run print, television, radio and online ads through the end of the year. The state will also utilize billboards and social media to spread the message, and plans to consult with regional tourism councils on marketing strategies.
Messaging urging consumers to “mask up” and practice social distancing will be included.
Speaking of tax free weekend
Baker said tax-free shopping weekends typically cost the state between $20 million and $25 million in tax revenue, but nothing is typical these days and he had no idea how much the this year's holiday could cost.
"A tax break is always good for the taxpayer, obviously, but this year in particular we really want everybody to think about taking advantage of the chance that this provides for you to go shop in locally-owned, locally-operated business in your community," Baker said.
If you have questions about what’s tax exempt, the Department of Revenue has posted rules and regulations here and FAQ’s here.
Newton scientist a finalist for entrepreneur award
Sharon Shacham, president and chief scientific officer at the Newton’s Karyopharm Therapeutics has been selected as a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 New England Awards Program
For more than three decades, the award has served as one of the world's most prestigious business awards, recognizing entrepreneurs who have disrupted industries, created new product categories and successfully brought innovations that have transformed our world.
Shacham founded the Wells Ave-headquartered Karyopharm (a chamber member) in 2008. It has grown into a global pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of novel medicines for patients with cancer and other major diseases.
“As we all face unprecedented challenges in our current environment, I think we need entrepreneurs now, more than ever, to help encourage others and solve society's problems often thought to be insurmountable, says Shacham.
This will put a lump in your throat
Less than half of San Francisco's storefront businesses that we open pre-COVID are still in operation, according to a San Francisco Chamber survey.
“Only 46 percent of storefront businesses in San Francisco that were open at the beginning of the pandemic are still operating,” Jay Cheng with the SF Chamber told the local CBS affiliate.
Roughly 1,300 businesses have permanently closed their doors, while approximately 1,200 have reopened.
Watertown apartments nixed
Nordblom Company has withdrawn its plans to for residential complex at the former F. D. Sterritt Lumber Company site in Watertown, after the town indicated that apartments would not be welcomed at this location, Watertown News reports.
The developer instead plans to build a new commercial/light-industrial building at 148 Waltham Street.
The town rezoned the property with the hope that it would attract commercial uses and help diversify the town’s tax base.
The other shoe drops
In yesterday’s newsletter, I pointed to a Boston Magazine story that sought to answer why so much of the shoe industry is headquartered in Massachusetts.
Turns out reporter Matthew Reed Baker should have asked Newton Economic Development Commissioner Jack Leader, who emailed me some things Baker left out.
“The shoe industry is here because the industrial revolution started in Waltham, and the water power of the rivers, which gave way to coal, kept manufacturing in Massachusetts and Connecticut, as our soil is not the best for agricultural,” Leader writes. Massachusetts, he added, was also home to hundreds of tanneries, whose roots date back to the whaling industry.
ALSO This afternoon’s Markey-Kennedy Immigration Town Hall (that I also mentioned yesterday) has been "postponed." No new date has been set. Organizers said it was due to a "scheduling conflict."
Check out these opportunities
  • The Foundation for MetroWest has rolled out a grant program for arts and culture organizations that contribute to MetroWest’s vibrancy and economic strength. Grants up to $25,000 may be used for general operating, program specific or capacity building requests. Guidelines here. Deadline: Oct. 2
  • The AG's Office is providing information connecting small businesses with resources, including information about loans and grants, rent abatement, insurance coverage, and ways to cut expenses.
Another lost business
After nearly two decades in the Newton/Needham area, Gymboree Play & Music is closing, another victim of the pandemic.
“As a business based on play-based learning for young children (birth to 5), socialization is a key component of our programs,” writes owner Andrea Coan. “We tried to reopen for private play for our members in July, and only a handful were comfortable coming back. There was no way forward, paying rent with no revenue.
“My heart is broken,” Coan added, “fingers crossed that there aren't too many other local businesses that share my fate.”
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
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