Chamber News

November 18, 2020 Likes Comments

Dreaming of a Green Wednesday

This week your chamber is launching a new platform designed to help our local businesses, while also helping us all get a jump start on our holiday shopping.

We created a new "Find It Local" directory, listing shops, locally sourced gifts and other ideas in Newton, Needham, Watertown and Wellesley. Please help the businesses here by sharing this site with others.
Working with our Newton-Needham Dining Collaborative, we've also created a directory of dining gift card promotions, including some that offer limited time bonus offers between now and Nov. 25.
Need help adding your business? Contact us.
Dreaming of a Green Wednesday
In a era when there’s a Hallmark Holiday for everything, Nov. 25 is, apparently, “Green Wednesday,” the start of the gift-buying season for cannabis enthusiasts.
It's billed as the marijuana industry’s answer to Black Friday, a day recreational retailers mark the occasion with deals, discounts and curated selections.
I read this in the the BBJ, so it must be true!
Still you won’t find a lot of Green Wednesday sales – and the commensurate local tax revenue windfall -- around here.
Needham and Wellesley have banned recreational stores. Watertown approved its t hird and final shop last month but all three await other approvals and have yet to open.
Which leaves Garden Remedies, one of the state's first dispensaries, on Washington Street in Newton as the only store where you can shop locally this Green Wednesday.
But your days may be merrier and brighter in 2021.
By statute, Newton can permit a total of eight marijuana retailers. Seven licensees have already received host agreements or other clearances from City Hall to proceed, although additional state and/or local approvals are pending. So presumably if all seven went forward (plus Garden Remedies), Newton would be at its limit.
Here’s a list of what’s pending.
  • Cypress Tree, at 24-26 Elliot Street in Upper Falls just off Rt. 9.
  • Ascend Mass at 1089 Washington Street/58 Cross Street, near West Newton Square.
  • Union Twist at 1158 Beacon Street, near Four Corners
  • MedMen at 232 Boylston Street, in the former Shreve, Crump & Low building next to Chestnut Hill Square. Nuestra at 1185 Chestnut Street in Upper Falls.
  • The Green Lady at 740 Beacon Street in Newton Centre
  • Verilife at 131 Rumford Avenue, close to Nightcap’s Corner in Auburndale.
Documents and details for all of the above are posted on the city’s website.
And just down Beacon Street at Cleveland Circle
Meanwhile, Boston College is strongly objecting to “Happy Valley,” a proposed retail cannabis shop located just over the Newton line, at the site of the now-closed Mary Ann's Bar, the Globe’s Dan Adams reports.
Retired Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans, who now leads BC's public safety and police operations, worries that the shop will "open the door to another drug that will impact these kids."
Adams reminds us that the notorious Cleveland Circle dive bar was frequently the scene of fights and other alcohol-fueled disruptions. In 2012, a student drowned in a nearby reservoir after drinking there.
"I'd take Mary Ann's over [the marijuana store] any day,” Evans said.
Happy Valley has the support of the neighborhood association and local elected officials, a fact that Evans and Tom Keady, BC's vice president of government relations and community, called "disappointing."
Closing time?
The National Restaurant Association has a message for the nation’s governors: "Don’t make us scapegoats."
“There is an unfounded impression that restaurants are part of the problem, and we are suffering as a result of inconsistent, restrictive mandates,” said Tom Bené, the association’s president wrote in a letter to the National Governors Association yesterday.
“Data tying systemic community outbreaks of COVID-19 to restaurants has yet to emerge, but we are too commonly labelled as ‘super-spreaders,’ and have become a convenient scapegoat for reflexive shutdowns.”
While state restaurant groups have called for Gov. Charlie Baker to loosen his order to halt indoor dining at 9:30 p.m. nightly, others worry about added restrictions as COVID cases soar.
But Baker has said he has no immediate plans for additional changes to COVID-19 rules.
And when Marty Walsh was asked the same question
On the other hand, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says he is prepared to shut the city down again if COVID cases keep rising but “we’re not at that point yet.”
He called a shutdown of businesses a “last resort,” but maintained that “we’re heading to that last resort,” reports Greg Ryan at the BBJ.
“I don’t want to be standing in front of this podium three weeks from now shutting down restaurants and retail shops and businesses and sports and schools and everything that we’ve done,” Walsh said. “We don’t want to go backwards.”
Boston public health officials said workplace spread has often occurred in break rooms, or when co-workers are car-pooling or riding in the same vehicle together.
Walsh called on employers to continue to allow employees to work from home this winter, which seems to be what's happening: Downtown Boston offices only have an occupancy rate of about 10 percent, according to a NAIOP/SIOR analysis.
And this would be why
A new survey shows that an increasing number of Bay Staters have been engaging in activities that public health experts say are feeding the viral outbreak, reports Adrian Ma at WBUR.
In October, about 45 percent of respondents said they had gathered indoors with people who did not live in the same household, up from 40 percent this summer.
"We've sort of let down our vigilance over the last few months in terms of our behaviors to limit the spread of COVID-19," said David Lazer, a professor at Northeastern who was the lead author of a report summarizing the results of the most recent survey.
"And unfortunately, COVID has come roaring back."
Today’s three need-to-knows
  • The Town of Needham is offering $170,000 in grants to residents who have lost income due to COVID-19 make rent payments. Qualified residents may receive assistance covering 50 percent of their rent, up to $1,500 per month, for up to three months. Contact or call 617-923-3505 x 5.
  • The outdoor pop-up market outside of Dunn-Gaherin’s Food & Spirts on the Newton-Needham line continues to grow. They’ll be selling pies, crafts and other locally made products tomorrow (Thursday) and next Wednesday (Nov. 25) and then transforming into a holiday market on Saturdays in December. Email Chris Osborn if you'd like to be a vendor (there's no cost).
And today’s pivot
Miltons – The Store For Men” isn't just for men this holiday season.
In an example of how smart businesses owners are pivoting these days, owner Dana Katz will be hosting womenswear pop-ups at his Chestnut Hill and Braintree stores.
“As you know, Miltons has served the greater Boston area for nearly 75 years specializing in menswear,” Katz writes. “As a local family-owned business, we’ve seen our fair share over our lifetime but nothing quite like this pandemic. While incredibly challenging and trying, it has forced us to think differently and get creative…. So we’ll be showcasing The Cashmere Shop Pop-Up and Frugal Fannie’s Pop-Up featuring the perfect holiday gifts for her.”
The pop up shops will be open from Black Friday through the end of the year.
Thursday: Will the Grinch steal Christmas?
It's not just Dana Katz. Nearly every retailer is rethinking and worrying about this holiday season.
For an industry-focused dive into how the holidays look for merchants, join us tomorrow (Thursday) at 11 a.m. for our panel 2020's Retail Homestretch: Will The Grinch Steal Christmas? with some of area's top retail developers.
Our panelists will discuss impacts on short and long-term leasing, foot traffic, emerging trends and the retail forecast heading into 2021.
Our happy place
Finally, congratulations to the team at Karyopharm Therapeutics in Newton for having one of the "happiest" workforces in the country, according to new data.
Jobs review site Comparably surveyed employees anonymously, asking about work environment, compensation, benefits, burnout and coworkers.
The Wells Ave-based cancer biotech came out No. 38 nationally for mid-sized employers. Overall, Karyopharm employees give their leadership a grade of A, or Top 10 percent of similar size companies. This includes specific ratings of their executive team, CEO, and manager, the report said.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
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