Chamber News

Needham / Newton
December 24, 2020 Likes Comments

One last time in 2020

We're closing the (virtual) chamber office for a week so this will be my final email for 2020.

Thanks to everyone who found time to read these updates regularly, or even occasionally. Your feedback, ideas, news tips and encouragement have kept me going over many late nights and early mornings during a year none of us will ever forget.
On behalf of your chamber team and your board of directors, we wish you a safe, healthy holiday season.
It's going to take resolve, hard work and the best science has to offer to reopen, rebuild and recover. I'm optimistic about our chances.
Watertown loss is our state’s gain
“If you had a mold problem, would you paint over it and expect it to go away?”
That’s how Michael J. Bobbitt begins the first of a two-part series about eradicating racism.
He wrote it for the American Theater website. But his advice can easily be applied to any business and workplace.
And it's all the more interesting reading while knowing that Bobbitt, the outgoing artistic director at Watertown’s New Rep Theatre, has just been appointed to run the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the state’s arts agency.
“Racist policies must be thrown out,” he writes. “Glue, tape, and bandages won’t fix this; sometimes trash needs to be tossed. As with the mold I mentioned earlier, you have to pull down the drywall or plaster, figure out where the mold is coming from, fix that, kill the mold, then repair and paint the wall."
Bobbitt, who was one the chamber’s 50 Most Influential Business People of Color concludes by noting that "diversity is good for business too."
"Equity and anti-racism can help with COVID recovery," he writes. "They can open your doors to a lot of people who may not have felt safe, welcome, or comfortable in your spaces before.
"...If you aren’t inspired by the notion of showing love to people who have never been loved before by this country by building anti-racism into the culture of your organization, then do it for the survival of your business. It’s in the interest of your bottom line and the common interest of making the world a better place.”
It was an honor to collaborate with Michael in his role at New Rep (he was a member of our diversity committee and one of our panelists at our Business People of Color event) and fascinating to watch how he transformed that organization in short time. He's an inspiring leader (and a super nice guy).
We're going to miss him in Watertown.
But we’re all very fortunate that he will be creating policy, speaking up -- and ripping out mold -- as the highest-ranking cultural official in the state.
Baker rolls out more small business grants
Yesterday, the Baker Administration launched a $668 million program for small businesses impacted by the pandemic.
The program is an extension of an earlier grant program that awarded nearly $49 million in grants to 1,158 small businesses on Monday (see next item for a list of local awardees).
If your business applied for the first round, but did not receive a grant, you do not need to apply again. Your application will be will be prioritized for funding first, according to the state. If you did not previously apply, a new application process will open on Dec. 28. Details here.
Here’s who qualified for round one
Here’s the list of local businesses who were awarded one of state grants on Monday.
  • Needham: French Press Bakery & Café; Lewandos Cleaners; Needham Dental; and Needham Montessori.
  • Newton: ANP Ventures; Coco Plush; Compagonunc; Crystal Nail Spa; Dancers Image; Diva Paradise; Enlivity Corporation; Eyespot LLC; Fresh Line; Jumbo Seafood Restaurant; Corner Cleaners; Lin Orthodontics; Newton School for Children; Om Sai Enterprises; Orchid Dry Cleaning; Psych Expertise;, Pureluxe, Inc.; Tanuk Inc; a Meal Mantra and YDC Corp
  • Watertown: Alanita Travel; Dr. Anna Vishart; Esk Services; Givansweets; Gravitas Home Care Services; Little Nest Red & Blue Child Care; Robyn Glover; and TNT Dental Care.
  • Wellesley: KSK Beacon Cleaners; Luxury Fast Ride ; Maria E. Cardenas D.M.D.; P.C., Mass Nails; Sky Friends; and Linden Cleaners
Forgiveness will become easier with PPP 2
Yes, we’re still waiting for what's his name to sign the $900 billion federal stimulus package.
We’re also learning that, if he does, it's likely that there will be fewer lenders participating in a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans.
“We know that some lenders have 'PPP fatigue' and they have moved on to get back to their core lending products. That means some borrowers will have to find a new lender if they want a second loan,” one expert told Andy Medici for the BBJ.
In a separate article Medici reports (and btw, if you’re following the PPP, Medici is worth the price of a BBJ subscription all by himself), that millions of small employers will have a easier time getting forgiveness under the new law.
The legislation outlines a simplified, one-page forgiveness process for all PPP loans of $150,000 or less made during the first round and for any loans in a second round. More than 4.5 million PPP loans out of about 5.2 million were for $150,000 or less.
Three quick updates
  • Yesterday, I noted that the City of Newton was planning on removing the remaining Jersey barriers several restaurants had been using for outdoor dining, due to snow removal challenges. But after hearing from restaurateurs who said they'd hope to offer outdoor dining on those occasional warm days we inevitably get each winter, the city agreed to leave them up. Kudos to the Fuller administration for listening to our owners.
  • Watertown startup Aldatu Biosciences is rapidly expanding its COVID-19 test processing facility, reports Allison DeAngelis at the BBJ. The new 7,000-square-foot Aldatu Diagnostics anticipates processing 1,000 tests daily at the outset, with a turnaround time no longer than 48 hours.
  • Newton-based Karyopharm Therapeutics has received FDA approval of its product Selinexor as a treatment for patients with multiple myeloma after at least one prior therapy.
Finally, making the most of your pandemic vacation
You’ve already binged “The Crown” and "The Queen’s Gambit.” There’s no trip to some place warm - or New Years parties -- on your calendar.
So how will you spend this last week of 2020?
Or spend a lot of money improving how you look on Zoom.
Better yet, check out one of the books on Needham attorney Larry Gennari’s “10 must-read business books from 2020.”
Gennari is the chief curator for Authors & Innovators, an excellent annual business book and ideas festival. In addition to his busy practice, somehow the guy finds time to read an extraordinary number of books each year.
If it’s on Larry’s list, it’s worth our time.
Happy new year. And to all a good night!
(Be back Jan. 5)
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
Your chamber is here when you need us.
Dine out. Take out. Shop locally. Mask up. And tip generously.


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