It's bad out there for most of our mom and pop retailers.
I didn’t have to tell you that.
While just over 12 percent of independent retailers (most likely, those categorized as “essential businesses”) said sales had increased over the prior
four months, 40 percent of merchants reported sales were off by 50 percent or more. Of those, eight percent said sales had dipped 75 percent or more.
In addition, 45 percent anticipate they will need to lay off employees in the future; something you wouldn’t normally expect to hear heading into the fall
and holiday seasons.
Twenty-four percent thought they would seek to have a smaller footprint. Thirteen percent said they expected to reduce their number of locations.
More than one-third of respondents are either “unconfident” and “somewhat unconfident” that one year from now business will recover from pre-COVID-19 sales
On the other hand, the Wall Street Journal reported
yesterday that Target reported the strongest quarterly sales growth in its history, while Lowe’s sales growth was the strongest in decades.
That’s my way of paraphrasing what we heard from independent retailers yesterday when asked how they feel about the Paycheck Protection Program.
More than half of the businesses
in our communities received one of the Small Business Administration loans. And there’s little doubt that the federal program helped pay rent and salaries
and kept the lights on this spring and summer. (CommonWealth story
But -- as we heard loud clear during our panel program -- the PPP roll out; changing rules and deadlines; confusion about what’s forgivable or not
and the need to spend money sooner than would have been genuinely helpful, was maddening.
Among the current uncertainty, is the unresolved issue as to whether or not PPP dollars are tax exempt, due to a current IRS rule that owners cannot deduct
business expenses they typically would from their taxes. (BBJ story here
Now PPP recipients also need to choose how much of their own salaries, and those of their employees, will be eligible for forgiveness when they apply through
their lenders. Those approved before June 5 must figure out if it's more advantageous to report their spending for eight weeks or 24 weeks. (Another
BBJ story here
Like I said: ‘Arrggghhhh!’
Food security support
Two of my favorite chamber members (okay, okay, you’re all my favorite chamber members!) have been awarded grants
this week by the Baker administration to address food insecurity as a result of the pandemic and to make the state’s food system more resilient.
- Volante Farms in Needham was awarded $37,000 to build out a cold storage room that would allow the farm to store root vegetables into the winter.
- Centre Street Food Pantry in Newton will use its $23,000 award to purchase and install a walk-in outdoor refrigerator to increase storage of produce, dairy, and refrigerated
Racial equity discussion this morning
The program will explore the role of corporate America, government and consumers could play as we work toward racial equity as a community, especially
Thinking about traveling?
The state recently updated its COVID-19 Travel Order Frequently Asked Questions
The document includes information about exemptions to the travel order and information for those on or near the Rhode Island border.
Space needed in Needham
Do you have some space at your place of business in Needham that you could temporarily rent to the Charles River YMCA
The Y is looking for 2,000 to 20,000 sq feet from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. They’d be using the space to provide full day programming that
supports virtual learning for Needham students on their off weeks throughout the hybrid reopening model
Contact Ashley Bouchard
at 617-590-6003 or 857-547-
In addition, Temple Beth Shalom
at 670 Highland Avenue in Needham Heights is in need of parking spaces near the synagogue for faculty/staff parking so they can also offer programs
for Needham students. They need up to 50 spaces but are open to any number of spaces available that may be available in the nearby area. Contact
at(781) 444-0077 ext 54
Newton’s second pot shop eyes fall opening
Construction is underway on what would be Newton’s second medical and recreational marijuana retailer.
Victor Chiang tells the Newton TAB
he hopes to have his 4,000 square foot facility at the corner of Elliot Street and Route 9 open by November.
Meanwhile, Jessica Barlett at the BBJ has been looking into how much revenue
recreational cannabis sales have generated for the state and municipalities.
$122 million has been collected in tax revenue in the first two fiscal years of recreational sales. The funds come from a 20 percent tax on recreational
cannabis, including a 6.25 percent sales tax, a 10.75% excise tax, and local option tax for cities and towns up to 3 percent.
There is at least one recreational marijuana dispensary in 46 Bay State municipalities, contributing a combined $18.28 million in local tax option revenue.
More about that work from home poll
In yesterday’s email
I reported on the WBUR/MassInc poll
which noted that nearly four out of ten Massachusetts workers who are currently working from home would like to continue to do so, either full-time
or for part of the week once the coronavirus pandemic is over.
The poll also noted that women ages 18-44 (23 percent) and women over age 45 (22 percent) were most interested in working from home
While the poll didn’t specifically explore why, one reader wrote to say that it’s “most likely not that women ages 18-44 and over 45 are ‘most interested’
in working from home, but that we have no choice.
“We require that option because many of us in that demographic have school-aged children who will be at home learning either partly or fully remotely.
And that article after article in the last few months has shown that it is women who have predominantly taken on that charge, even when they also work.
“I would be ‘most interested’ in returning to my full work schedule but for many reasons our schools will not be opening in any significant capacity, and
therefore I will be working from home for the foreseeable future. The other parent in our household also works full time, so I don't have a choice
in the matter,” she added.
We’ll be back tomorrow!
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber