Chamber News

Needham / Newton
November 19, 2020 Likes Comments

Senate program would help our local restaurants & address food insecurity

Here’s something that would help a lot of people in our communities get through these next few terrifying months.

It's a program designed to address food insecurity while simultaneously helping struggling restaurants in Newton, Brookline and Wellesley.
 
The $175,000 initiative was proposed by state Sen. Majority Leader Cindy Creem and added to the budget approved by the state Senate late last night.
 
The program would be administered by the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber, in coordination with the Brookline and Wellesley chambers.
 
It would provide grants to independent restaurants in Newton, Brookline and Wellesley to supply prepared meals and other food products to food banks, senior programs or to other persons in need who have been impacted by the 2019 novel coronavirus.
 
Sen. Creem told me earlier this week that she was proposing the program out of her deep concerns for both our local restauranteurs and residents in need.
 
We're grateful for her leadership. And we're honored when she asked our chamber to work with the Brookline and Wellesley Chambers to coordinate the initiative.
 
The program still requires reconciliation from the House and approval by the governor before it would become official.
 
Legislature would reduce other small business funds
 
The same state budget currently working its way across Beacon Hill originally included a $100.7 million recovery plan from Gov. Charlie Baker that would invest in small businesses and lenders that had not been helped during the pandemic by federal aid.
 
But as Matt Murphy from State House News reports those funds have been "chipped away" by both the House and Senate.
 
The House budget and budget approved by the Senate late last night would cut Baker's small business relief effort by close to half.
 
But it isn’t as simple as how much each branch wants to allocate.
 
Instead it’s about Baker’s plan to pay for the program with one-time revenue that would come from speeding up when businesses that have at least $2.4 million in annual sales have remit sales taxes to the state.
 
Confusing? You bet. The Globe’s Jon Chesto takes stab at explaining all all assorted moving parts here.
 
Deloitteful news for 'happy' Newton biotech
 
Yesterday I shared news that the Newton-based biotech Karyopharm Therapeutics was recognized for having one of the "happiest" workforces in the country, according to the jobs review site Comparably
 
Well our friends over at the Wells Ave. biotech are likely even happier today after being ranked No. 7 on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 ranking, a list of the fastest-growing technology companies in North America.
 
Massachusetts is home to 36 of the 500 fastest-growing technology companies in North America, according to the BBJ’s Lucia Maffei.
 
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
 
Remember how there was all that urgency to agree this fall on a once in a lifetime redesign of the curved section of the Mass Pike in Allston because of deteriorating conditions of the elevated turnpike?
 
Never mind.
 
Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack said yesterday she’s going to postpone the decision until next summer, even though there was growing consensus for one of the designs.
 
Pollack also said she may decide to rebuild the deteriorating viaduct and put off action on the larger highway project for at least five to 10 years, reports Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth.
 
But, of course, doing so would delay efforts to make the so called "throat" more pedestrian and cyclist friendly, add a new train station, transit options and access to the Charles.
 
“Kicking the can only sets us up to waste taxpayer dollars on a temporary repair of the Allston viaduct,” Rick Dimino of the business group A Better City told the Globe.
 
Same as it ever was.
 
Goings and comings
  • Speaking of the Pike, the iconic Sheraton Hotel & Conference Center in Framingham (you know, the one that looks like a castle) is scheduled to be auctioned next month in a foreclosure auction, according to Framingham Source. The 376-room hotel includes a conference center, garage and, one hopes, a lot of little bars of soap.
  • And welcome to Home Kitchen, a new, family run, Indian food takeout and delivery restaurant that’s just opened on Chestnut Street in Needham. (Boston Restaurant Talk) Its menu indicates that it has a special Diwali menu up through this weekend.
Real estate’s new mantra? Location, location, government.

In the “old” days, when companies looked to decide where to locate its headquarters or open a new office the location's tax structure, incentives, talent pool and schools were key drivers.
 
But now they have a new variable: Government preparedness at the state and local level.
 
"I had never had that issue come up before," said Shannon O'Hare, an executive at commercial real estate brokerage Cushman & Wakefield said at a recent economic development summit.
 
"That's really something companies are asking now: 'How did they deal with this crisis? How prepared were they? Will they be prepared for whatever's next? How reliable is that government?'"
 
The Nashville Business Journal has the rest .
 
And what's up with real estate here?
 
Make a note to join us on Dec. 3 at 11 a.m. for a discussion about the state of our region’s real estate market as part of the chamber’s annual Regional Real Estate Forum. Details coming very soon.
 
A good night to visit Needham
 
As we reach the half-way point of Needham’s 100 Day Challenge, a number of downtown merchants will be staying open until 7 p.m. tonight and on most Thursdays through the holiday season.
 
And when you’ve finished shopping locally, stay for dinner, or bring something home for the family. Several restaurants have special offers tonight, including the James Pub, which is offering a complimentary cheese board with any order and a receipt from one of Needham’s local retailers. More offers here.
 
Also check out our directory of dining gift card promotions in both Needham and Newton, including some that offer limited time bonus offers between now and Nov. 25.
 
Today’s three need-to-knows
  • With many college students and family members home for the season because of COVID-19, Newton’s overnight winter parking ban won’t start until Jan. 15. But if there’s snow, there could still be an Emergency Parking Ban.
  • MA Small Business Development Center offers 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. In addition, low-cost educational training programs are offered across the state targeted to the needs of small business.
  • I failed to mention the hours yesterday for today’s outdoor pop-up market outside of Dunn-Gaherin’s Food & Spirts. Organized by Better Life Food, they’ll be selling pies, crafts and other locally made products between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. today and back next Wednesday (Nov. 25). The site will transform into a holiday market on Saturdays in December.
Clarification
 
It would be reasonable to wonder what I was smoking when I wrote that yesterday was “Green Wednesday, the marijuana industry’s answer to Black Friday and the start of the gift-buying season for cannabis enthusiasts."
 
Turns out, you still have time to pick that perfect pre-roll for Aunt Gail because Green Wednesday is actually next week (Nov. 25).
 
But who isn’t rushing the holidays (or even counting down to Jan. 20) this year?

Also, for the record, Green Wednesday is not yet a Hallmark Holiday.
 
OK. See you tomorrow!
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
617-244-1688
Your chamber is here when you need us.
Dine out. Take out. Shop locally. Mask up. And tip generously

 

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