Chamber News

August 19, 2020 Likes Comments

Just two weeks to get in your nominations

There's just over two weeks left to nominate someone for our list of the 50 Most Influential Business People of Color in Boston's Greater Suburbs.

Our goal is to showcase the individuals and employers who are making a positive contribution to the economic and social fabric of our west suburban businesses and nonprofits. But we also want it to be a way to start a conversation about where we fall short and how we can do even better.
The deadline for nominations is Sept. 4. Please nominate employees within your own organization as well as others you’re familiar with. To qualify, nominees must work and/or sit on a board for a business or nonprofit that is physically located in Newton, Needham, Watertown, Waltham, Wellesley, Natick or Framingham.
We already have some terrific nominations. But we want to do everything we can to make sure we don’t overlook anyone who really should have been included.
Interest grows in work from home
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, according to a WBUR/MassInc poll.
Forty-five percent of respondents said they currently work from home every day, up from 15 percent before the pandemic, with another 13 percent doing so a few times a week. Sixty percent of workers in Boston and its inner suburbs said they’ve worked from home every day during the pandemic.
Women ages 18-44 (23 percent) and women over age 45 (22 percent) were most interested in working from home.
Newton considers restaurant fee cuts
The Newton Licensing Commission heard a proposal from Newton City Council President Susan Albright and 17 other councilors last night to temporarily reduce the liquor license fees paid by restaurants by 50 percent in 2021.
Albright argued in support of the measure, arguing that it would contribute to restaurants’ financial stability as they seek to stay afloat during the pandemic and reduced capacity.
Jonathan Yeo, the city’s chief operating officer, said the Fuller administration opposed the idea because it did not feel “equitable” to reduce fees for restaurants, but not retailers, or other types of businesses.

I spoke last night in favor of the temporary fee reduction, arguing that we needed to find different ways to support different businesses. Virtually every other business, including retailers and office tenants and landlords, benefit from a robust dining scene. We will all suffer when we lose restaurants.
The commission agreed to vote on the matter at its Sept. 15 meeting.
Commission Chair Kathleen McCarthy said she was particularly interested in collecting input from restaurant owners via email before that vote.

Earlier this year Needham sliced its 2021 liquor fees in half.

Williams' Mida touch coming to Newtonville
Last night the commission also approved the license for a new Newtonville restaurant that’s destined to be greeted with enthusiasm.
Mida Newton, would be a new second location for Douglass Williams, who was recently named Food & Wine’s Best New Chef of 2020. Williams operates Mida in Boston’s South End and is renowned for his pasta, pizza and other Italian dishes. It will feature 130 seats inside and 40 outside, at Trio Newton, Mark Development’s mixed use project at 261 Walnut Street in Newtonville which will also soon be home to the new Barn Family Shoe Store,
Mida Newton's anticipated opening would be in March of 2021.
In other restaurant news, Pepe's Pizza has opened at Arsenal Yards in Watertown, Boston Restaurant Talk reports. They are presently offering takeout and delivery only. Pepe’s also operates at the Shops at Chestnut Hill and in Burlington.
Businesses not sold on payroll tax deferral
A coalition of 30 industry groups said yesterday that they will unlikely implement President Trump’s order deferring payment of workers’ payroll taxes, "threatening an early blow to a policy the White House has touted as a major form of economic stimulus," the Washington Post reports.
To demonstrate the magnitude of the potential tax bill compared to immediate benefit of deferral, the U.S. Chamber created an income impact analysis chart, showing that while employees who make under $104,000 a year will get a relatively small benefit in each paycheck, they will owe a lot in 2021.
Watertown health director worries about COVID spread
Watertown’s director of public health is warning that the state may have to go to back into more strict shutdown rules if health trends gets worse, Watertown News is reporting.

“People are going to social gatherings, they are not social distancing, not wearing face coverings,” said Larry Ramdin. “If the trends continue, you can have the state being pushed backward, so instead of moving forward — we are in phase 3 — we can go back into phase 2. It comes down to personal responsibility.
Small business resources
Here’s two organizations that may be able to provide support or advice for your small business.
  • MA Small Business Development Center provides free and confidential one-to-one business advice to prospective and existing small businesses focusing on, business growth and strategies, financing and loan assistance as well as strategic, marketing and operational analysis.
  • SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to entrepreneurial education and the formation, growth and success of small business nationwide.
Start-up wins free lab, office space
Concerto Biosciences has been awarded free lab and office space for a year at LabShares Newton.
The company is the winner of Launch@LabShares, a bench sponsorship competition open to start ups that are less than three years old, have fewer than five employees and have raised no more than $2 million.
Concerto Biosciences is an early-stage startup founded by researchers at MIT and Harvard. Previous winners of the Launch@LabShares award include Savran Technologies and 3 COVID-19 diagnostic companies - DOTS Technology Corp, Mantle Biotech and NowAware, a subsidiary of Bambu Global.
"Concerto's goal is to make effective, safe microbial products that transform every aspect of life, including medicine, personal care, farming, and our environment,” said co-founder and CEO Cheri Ackerman. “We're honored to partner with LabShares as we work toward that goal.”
Be back tomorrow.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
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