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I wasn't going to survive in the post-pandemic world

I wasn't going to survive in the post-pandemic world

In Tuesday’s newsletter I invited you to share stories about how inflation was impacting your operation.  Here’s part of what the owner of a recently-closed restaurant told me:
“To be completely honest it stopped making sense when a case of eggs hit $59 ($13 last year) and frying oil hit $48 ( $18 last year) and my 10 most purchased items began to outpace my margins.
“I would have to sell two eggs, potatoes and toast for a menu price of $20-plus just to get back to ‘normal’ and I got pushback when I went from $10.75 to $12, and since we've always been breakfast centric, the item (the egg), which gave me life for years could no longer be my golden goose.
“It stopped being fun when the dishwasher said ‘Pay me $20 an hour or I’m leaving,” and when I put my ego driven foot down with a loud " NO", the joke was on me as I then had to wash dishes until the next dishwasher showed up asking for $23.”
“[The] truth is I'm a great employer and helped many along the way, from loans to visas, and I'd do that again in a heartbeat. The bottom line: there weren't enough sales. I wasn't going to survive in the post pandemic world and just ran out of gas after three years, no days off, 12 hours a day."

Needham Town Common reopening delayed

Needham Town Common RenderingThe closure of the Needham Common for renovations has been challenging for many Needham Center businesses, who have already been suffering from lost foot traffic as a result of the long delayed reopening of Harvey's Hardware
Now comes word that supply chain challenges have pushed back the common's reopening from December to spring 2023.
However, the town still plans to light up the area (including the Blue Tree) during the holidays, even while the fencing remains up. 
The planned renovations should prove worth the wait. They aim to make the area more user-friendly (adding permanent outdoor dining areas, for example) and integrate better with adjoining businesses.
See more renderings of the project here. Sign up for the town’s email updates here.

Watertown start up looks to create wireless car charger

A Watertown company is attracting millions in new investments from automotive suppliers and tech companies and entering into a new agreement with a major manufacturer of wireless charging systems for industrial vehicles, reports Forbes.
WiTricity, located on Water Street, raised $52 million last year and has just completed a new $63 million funding round, including a $25 million investment from German manufacturing titan Siemens.

Lockheart owner turned down in Boston
After a fair amount of controversy – including closed door executive sessions -- Wellesley’s Select Board surprised some observers when it agreed to grant Wellesley resident Derek Brady a license last fall open his southwestern-themed Lockheart restaurant.
Why the hesitation? “Wary Board members expressed and re-expressed concerns about violations, including for overcrowding and serving underage patrons, at restaurants [Brady] has run or invested in,” according to The Swellesley Report. 
The restauranteur was not as successful this week in Boston where the licensing board rejected Brady's application to purchase the closed White Horse Tavern in Allston because "his application included a statement he had no criminal record when, in fact, he does," according to Universal Hub.

Study: Investing in women pays off
Research out of MIT shows female-led teams see two and a half times higher returns compared to male-led teams.
Companies with women on their founding teams are also likely to get acquired or go public sooner. “Despite results like this, just 2.3% of venture capital funding goes to teams founded by women. It’s still amazing to me that more investors aren’t taking this data more seriously,” the study's author found. 

Other need to knows
  • The deadline to register to vote (or change your party affiliation) in Massachusetts’ Sept. 6 primaries is tomorrow (Saturday).
  • Jamie's on Union at the Newton Centre T station has closed. Jamie's replaced Deluxe Station Diner in 2020, with the two places being under the same ownership. “We are grateful for what we had, but the time has come to move on. We thank you all. Change is good,” reads a note on Jamie's website. (Boston Restaurant Talk).
  • Nordblom Company has filed for a special permit for a lab building to be built on the former Sterritt Lumber site at 148 Waltham Street on Watertown’s west side. The two-story building would be 39-feet tall with about 67,000 sq. ft. of floor space, and 137 parking spaces. (Watertown News)
  • Heroes Fitness in Wellesley Square is expanding beyond its space in the lower section of 98 Central St., to the top floor, The facility will now have two full floors of gyms. (Swellesley Report
  • Omicron booster shots could be ready next month. Here’s what you need to know.
Newton still not has not met affordable housing threshold
A just-completed review of Newton’s total housing found that the city has still not met its 40B "safe harbor" threshold.
Meeting the calculation gives the city flexibility in terms of development approvals but also matters because it’s one of two ways the city can participate in that new state pilot program that would ban fossil fuels in new construction and substantial renovations.
While several Newton City Councilors have been resistant to new housing, the fuel ban had unanimous support from both the council and Mayor Ruthanne Fuller.

We've got trouble with a capital T
The MBTA's woes extend well beyond the shut down of the Orange Line and Green Line extension.
This week, the agency announced that service cuts on the other subway lines that were supposed to end this summer would continue into the fall.
The cuts include frequency decreases during peak hours on the B and D Green Line starting Aug. 28.
Forty-three bus routes – including routes serving our communities --will also operate less frequently. (Full list here.)
The culprit, the T says, is staffing (coming at a time when the agency is operating some 200 Orange Line shuttles). The T has hired 152 bus operators since January but needs about 300 more, according to State House News.
As I’ve written before, even those of us who never, or rarely, ride the T, commuter rail or bus should be alarmed by this and how it impacts our economy, traffic, climate and workforce.
“Unless you have stood on a bus corner in a blizzard, you do not understand what it means to wait an extra 20 minutes for a bus,” Stacy Thompson, executive director of LivableStreets Alliance told the Globe.  “Especially if you’re doing that because you are cleaning an office building for someone else who has a car, preparing food for someone else who has a car; you are losing so much of your own life to keep the economy running. It’s insulting and it’s inhumane.”

That’s Need to Knows for today – Woman’s Equality Day -- unless you need to know where you can find a job that will pay you to eat candy.

See you Tuesday.
Greg Reibman (he, him)
Charles River Regional Chamber

P.S. Enjoy and please share this week's video spotlight highlighting sights and stops in Wellesley.

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