Welcome to the first post-Labor Day edition of Need to Knows, your chamber's twice-weekly newsletter.
We now know that Democrats Maura Healey and Kim Driscoll will face Republicans Geoff Diehl and Leah Allen, in the contest for governor and lieutenant governor on Nov. 8.
Other winners in yesterday’s Democratic primary included Andrea Campbell (AG), Bill Galvin (sect. of state) and Diana DiZoglio (auditor). Full results here.
The governor’s council primary between incumbent Marilyn Devaney and Mara Dolan was not clear early this morning. (Devany had a two point lead but with some communities that could favor Dolan are not reported here.)
And while most of returned yesterday from a long weekend and perhaps a week or two off this summer, it's now been 38 days since our state Legislature left for vacation without taking action on a critical economic development bill.
Here's what else you need to know today:
'Cancel culture' hurting our restaurants
By now most of us have become sensitive to just how hard it is to operate or work at a restaurant these days.
As customers, that means exercising patience for our food to arrive from potentially short-staffed kitchens; expecting to pay more to cover increased food and labor costs; and becoming more generous tippers.
Here’s another way we can help restauranteurs: Do everything you can to avoid canceling or skipping out on a reservation.
The damage canceling bookings last-minute causes on businesses that already operate on razor-thin margins is substantial.
“In a best-case scenario, harried staff spend precious time contacting waitlist customers (or taking to social media) to rebook these tables. The worst-case scenario? Tables sit empty during service, costing small businesses lost revenue as well as wasting food,” according to Gourmet Traveler.
"A restaurant plans food purchasing, preparation, staffing, scheduling and timing based on how many patrons they expect to serve. Empty seats in a restaurant of any size have a very real impact on every employee."
New report documents growth and challenges across MetroWest
An updated report from The Foundation for MetroWest should be helpful to anyone in our western burbs looking to create a business plan, apply for grants, formulate public policy, or just understand our communities better.
The Impact MetroWest interactive website provides data for 39 cities and towns (including Needham and Wellesley) across MetroWest. Here are a few examples of what you can find:
Among large sectors, MetroWest has seen the greatest job growth in the financial activities (42%), healthcare and social assistance (40%), and professional and business services (30%) sectors. The biggest decline was in manufacturing, where jobs fell 38%.
Population overall grew 12.4% in the region. That includes an 18% increase in foreign-born residents, including a 17% increase in Wellesley, and 14% in Needham. Overall growth was fastest among Asian residents (118%), Black or African Americans (95%), and Hispanic/Latino (101%).
80.2% of MetroWest businesses have white owners, followed by 8.4% Asian, 1.5% Hispanic or Latino, and 1.1% Black or African American. That's lower than the state and national rates of business ownership for communities of color.
The region’s overall poverty rate of 8% is below the state and nation. But rates are higher among Hispanic/Latino (19%) and Black or African American (14%) residents. A living wage for a family of four with two earners is $110,185 but the median incomes in Hispanic/Latino and Black or African American households are $60,000 and $66,000 respectively.
Homeownership was 69% among white residents, 58% among Asian residents, 35% for Black or African American residents, and 34% for Hispanic/Latino.
The full list of the indicators are available here.
If you build it, they will come, sip coffee and play board games
When it comes to rethinking how we use streets and sidewalks, change can be difficult.
Take, for example, the reaction this winter when Wellesley officials first proposed closing the intersection at Cross and Central Streets in Wellesley Square to build an outdoor parklet.
Many merchants and residents were skeptical, afraid the road closure would scare away shoppers.
Instead, it’s been a hit, “used heavily from morning to night by families, passersby, and even for meetings,” notes Bob Brown at the Swellesley Report, helping transform downtown into more of a destination.
“The space has become better looking as the summer has gone along, as the town was able to access more of the gear it had ordered (yes, supply chain issues…) and commissioned the painting of some of the barriers,” Brown adds.
Mark Development will share plans for their proposed redevelopment of the Santander Bank site at 1314 Washington Street in West Newton Square via Zoom tomorrow (Sept. 8) at 7 p.m. The proposal includes 50 residential units and restaurant and/or retail space. Register.
A mixed-use office building and adjacent residential building steps from the Wellesley Square commuter rail station are about to be sold. Taymil Partners will reportedly be purchasing 1 Hollis St. and an adjacent residential duplex at 127 Linden St. for $12 million. (Real Reporter)
Some of our favorite local restaurants are participating in the Newton Food Pantry’s Newton’s Community Table Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. at the Windsor Club in Waban. In addition to great food, there will be live music and a silent auction. All proceeds benefit the pantry.
Our pals at Watertown Business Coalition are hosting a Coffee Connect on Sept. 21, at 8:30 a.m. at Compass Kitchens. Details.
Bentley University will begin an executive doctoral program next fall targeted at mid-career businesspeople. The part-time program will span three years. (BostInno)