The announcement leaves a hole in Needham’s downtown and a hole in our hearts.
Yesterday, the owners of Harvey’s Hardware made it official. After nearly 70 years, the beloved business will not reopen.
A narrow store with wide inventory and employees who knew where everything was and would walk you to it, closed after an electrical firein February.
In the months since, the family-run operation repeatedly said they planned to reopen, citing supply chain challenges as an impediment. But there was also the passing offounder Harvey Katz in April, not long after the loss of Phyllis Katz, his wife of more than 70 years.
“We are so proud of the business that we’ve built in the Needham community, and are thankful for the terrific customers and the great friendships we’ve made along the way,” wrote brothers Gary and Jeff Katz on Facebook.
“As much as we will miss our store and our daily interactions with you all, we know this is the right time to enter our next chapter.
“When our dad Harvey opened Harvey’s Hardware in 1953, he couldn’t have hoped for anything more – having a thriving business in the town that he called home, working side by side with his family (including each of his 7 grandchildren), and long-time employees who became like family. You all brought our father so much joy and purpose, and we can only hope that Harvey’s legacy lives on in this community for years to come.
“Thank you to all of our loyal customers who have supported us over the years. It’s been quite a ride!”
Credit card swipe fees are squeezing our businesses
After the cost of labor, the fees credit card companies charge restaurants, retailers, and other merchants are often those businesses’ second-highest operating costs.
And those credit and debit card “swipe fees” have more than doubled in the past decade, soaring 25 percent last year alone to a record $137.8 billion.
These days the problem is exacerbated by inflation, which acts as a multiplier since swipe fees are a percentage of each sale.
Visa and Mastercard control more than 80 percent of the credit card market. The companies centrally set the swipe fees charged by banks that issue cards under their brands. And those banks do not compete with each other on price.
Small businesses do not have the market power to negotiate with large credit card companies on swipe fees. But there are now two identical bills in Congress (one in the House, the other in the Senate) aiming to give merchants greater flexibility.
The bills have gained the support of more than 200 trade organizations representing retailers, supermarkets, convenience stores, gasoline stations, online merchants, and others.
NFIB has set up this online form which would allow you to tell Congress to reign in credit card swipe fees.
All sold out!
Hours after we announced that the chamber’s board of directors will be presenting the R.L. Tennant Award to Linda Sloane Kay at our Fall Business Breakfaston Oct. 28, the event sold out.
Lawmakers would decide how Millionaires' Tax is spent
“We’ll certainly try to uphold this end of the bargain. But you can never guarantee anything.”
That’s what Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, the House’s budget chairman, told the Globe’s Matt Stout this week when asked about Vote Yes on 1 TV ads claiming that the Fair Share/Millionaires’ Tax would “only” go toward public education and transportation.
“...Should voters embrace Question 1 and create a new 4 percent surtax on annual earnings above $1 million, the decision about where the money ultimately goes — and who benefits — would rest with lawmakers on Beacon Hill, who face no obligation to use the revenue exactly as proponents are pitching,” Stout writes.
Meanwhile, we're still waiting on those same lawmakers to do you-know-what
So now it's been 68 days since our Legislature adjourned without approving the Economic Development bill. (Yes, I'm going to keep counting.)
That's leaving our small businesses, hotels, hospitals, and others waiting for support that’s needed now, not when lawmakers get around to doing their job.
The unpassed bill included as much as $500 million in various housing initiatives, $200 million for small-business assistance, $75 million to help businesses run by people of color, as well as hundreds of millions for high-priority items for many businesses including unemployment insurance.
And while our businesses wait for lawmakers to act, state tax collectors took in $4.187 billion in tax revenue last month, putting the state's coffers more than 5 percent ahead of the pace that led to a massive surplus in the last budget year, according to State House News.
Guide aims to answer residents’ bio-safety concerns
The regional Indigenous Peoples Dayevent returns to Newton’s Albemarle Field on Monday (Oct. 10), from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. More than 40 artists, performers, speakers, vendors, and community organizations will participate. (Boston Globe)
The Watertown Business Coalition hosts the “Future of Business in Watertown” Wed. Oct 19, 2022, 5:30 p.m. at Mount Auburn Cemetery. Register.
Join Jimmy Tingle for a virtual event through the Newton Free Library designed to provide guidance on how to make greener choices in your life and home. Thursday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. Details
Newton’s Zoning Board of Appeals is expected to open a public hearing this month on Northland Investment Company’s 410-unit apartment project behind Needham Street between Charlemont and Christina Streets. The 40B projectwould include about 10,000 square feet of commercial space and open public space.
Our chamber is partnering with our pals at the Waltham Chamber for a Coffee Connectnext Thursday at Gore Place. Register.
Finally, here's an instance where Massachusetts’ brain power works against us
Leave a baseball bat and running shoes by the door. Massachusetts is the fourth worst state in the U.S. for surviving a zombie apocalypse, according to a new ranking.
Only New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maryland are considered less survivable than the Bay State.
“Some may see the surviving zombie apocalypse as a zero-sum game, and those on the East Coast are far more likely to be right about that,” according to CableTV.com.
In the event of an outbreak, the authors recommend heading to the Dakotas, Nebraska, or other rural states.
?That's partly because rural areas would require zombie hordes to spread out and also because the bountiful farmlands would be a good source of food for non-brain eaters.
On the other hand, rural states lag in solar panels, so grab a flashlight too.
That’s your Need to Knows for today, unless you need to know what’s even more expensive than a home in the suburbs.
Our office will be closed on Monday, Oct. 10, in honor of Indigenous Peoples' Day. This newsletter will return on Wednesday. Enjoy the long weekend.