Chamber News

May 04, 2020 Likes Comments

We've made new friends!

Here we are…again. Day 55. We’ve all just completed the most unusual April we’ve ever experienced. We’re two weeks away from what, we hope, will be a gradual reopening.

I want to start this week expressing my deepest gratitude to the businesses listed below who became chamber members last month. Your support of our advocacy and programming means so much to the entire chamber team. Even though we’re working remotely these days, we collectively cheer each time a new member joins.
Friends, please welcome our newest chamber members.
If you’re not a member (and your current financial circumstances allow) joining now will make a huge difference in our ability to advocate for our communities.
Need more information? Contact Lise Elcock
Shirley Leung got it right
It was nice to see the Globe’s Shirley Leung acknowledge what our local nonprofits and this chamber have known for a long time: There’s a big difference between those giant national banks and our locally-headquartered community banks.
Leung’s Sunday column told of the Herculean effort by local bankers who worked around the clock to help small businesses secure Paycheck Protection Program loans.
I heard the same thing from our region’s business owners. In conversation after conversation, they reported having trouble getting the big guys to return their calls and/or process their applications. Meanwhile, our community bankers were bending over-backwards to help.
As I said, this isn’t surprising. Community banks have been providing financial support and volunteers to our local cultural groups, youth programs, social service agencies and other nonprofits for decades.
That includes the chamber. Year after year, The Village Bank, Needham Bank, Century Bank, Direct Federal, Wellesley Bank, Cambridge Savings, Eastern Bank and Rockland Trust are among our annual partners. Other community-minded banks make significant contributions too, paying dues, sponsoring events and actively participating in our programming.
Here's the reality: Without the annual dues and collective generosity of the financial institutions listed here (and notice who's not listed) our chamber would not exist.
YMCA offers free emergency child care
If you’re an essential worker struggling with childcare or the guardian of a vulnerable child, the YMCA of Greater Boston branches, including the Needham location, can help. The Y’s 12 facilities are closed but continue to offer emergency child care on a drop in basis, in accordance with state guidelines. The centers serve infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school age children for essential workers and vulnerable children only.
“We have capacity to help many more essential workers and businesses,” writes Paula Jacobson, executive director of the Charles River YMCA in Needham. “We have capacity to provide care for 480 children per day across our 12 sites. This past week we served an average of 90 children per day.”
The centers are open 7 a.m. – 6 p.m., five days a week. They offer a flexible, drop-in basis and it is offered at no charge. Child care services are available through June 26. Details and a full list of locations here.
Staples coworking getting ready to reopen
Just prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Staples store in Needham and six other locations, underwent an impressive rebranding and renovation. They added coworking, a classroom, new print and marketing services, a podcast studio and a whole new vibe dedicated to nurturing small businesses and sole entrepreneurs.
The company is gearing up to reopen all seven of its Staples Studios by June 1, or perhaps sooner. Upgrades include a state-of-the-art sanitation initiative support open space coworking, including full time porters on site in each locations, electrostatic disinfectant machines, high end Fellows air purification and sanitation stations.
Mental health resources
In Friday’s email, I listed mental health resources from Riverside Community Care.
Also, worth exploring is William James College’s mental health and wellness referral helpline, available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., at 888-244-6843. The INTERFACE Referral Service is a free, confidential referral service for individuals across the lifespan living in participating communities, including Newton and Needham. Callers are matched with licensed mental health providers from William James database. More information about the service and terms of confidentiality are on the contact page.
Help with your PPP loans
If you missed our webinar last week, you can find the slides to last week’s SBA presentation to the chamber here.
Also, I erroneously listed the SBA’s hearing-impaired hotline number in Friday’s email instead of the general help number. The correct number is 800-659-2955. The hotline is typically staffed by temporary SBA workers who’ve been brought on to help manage the volume. If you need technical help, ask to speak to a “Tier II Specialist” to be connected to a full-time SBA employee.
Finally, this morning
Feeling a little weary-in-spirit entering another week of shut-down? Katherine Herer from the chamber team shared this piece from the Atlantic with us on Friday. It may help.
Your chamber is here when you need us .
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
P.S. Newton’s Economic Development Commission is interested in hearing from Newton businesses here.This survey closes today.
P.P.S. And if the Needham Channel wants to hear from Needham small business here.


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