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Newton, Needham, Watertown, Wellesley

Merry news for retailers (women too)

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Merry news for retailers (women too)

Did yesterday’s 4:32 p.m. sundown bum you out too?
Chin up. There are only 124 days left until the return of Daylight Saving Time.
The holidays, of course, will be here first. And a new survey suggests it could be merry and bright for many retailers.
Holiday shopping in Greater Boston is expected to rise 16% this year, with especially high spending expected among the wealthiest households, writes Grant Welker at the BBJ.

Households here will spend an average of nearly $1,900, or $257 more than last year based on a new forecast from Deloitte.

Families making $200,000 or more in income are projected by Deloitte to increase spending by nearly $1,800 — up 76% from last year.

Boston-area shoppers said they expect to buy nine gifts on average, the same as last year. And 78% expect prices to be higher this season. Only 47% expect to stay within a fixed budget this year, compared to 63% last year, and a 57% nationally, Welker adds.

The challenge, of course, is doing your shopping locally, not via your laptop and an Amazon delivery truck.

Sure enough local shoppers told Deloitte they expect to spend 68% of their holiday shopping online, up from 60% last year.

How about if we all pledge to be an outlier on that last data point?

Get started by using our Find It Local directory.

A warning for Newton voters; Watertown also votes today 


Polls are open until 8 p.m. tonight for municipal elections in Newton and Watertown.

So if you live there, after you remove your election day cake from the oven, go vote, okay?

In Newton, there are two contested at-large contests and four contested ward seats. Here’s Fig City’s News’ guide.

Newton voters should be aware of a fraudulent group that's been impersonating the Newton For Everyone coalition. NFE doesn't endorse candidates but does support the city’s Village Center Overlay District plan, while the fraudsters are sending out phoney emails and buying ads supporting candidates against that plan.

This weekend, both MassLive and the Newton Beacon wrote about this pathetic attempt to confuse voters.

(I'll be joining Jenn Adams and former City Councilor Ted Hess-Mahan on NewTV at 8:45 p.m. with Newton results and analysis.)

In Watertown, there's only one contested city council race, for council president. Incumbent Mark Sideris, who has been president since 2009 faces challenger Clyde Younger who served as president from 1997-2004, and 2006-2009.

Here's Watertown News' guide.

How Needham, Watertown and Wellesley are approaching MBTA Communities

The Newton City Council will begin debating the city's proposal to comply with the MBTA Communities Law on Nov. 15. By law, Newton's plan must be completed by Dec. 31 of this year.

Needham, Watertown and Wellesley have more time. Each must have their plans competed by the end of 2024.

Here’s how each community is proceeding:

  • Needham is hosting its first big public meeting to lay the groundwork for the creation of its MBTA Communities Law multi-family zoning plan this Thursday (Nov. 9) from 7-9 p.m. both in-person at Needham Town Hall and virtually via Zoom. Registration is required for Zoom. No registration required to attend in person. A presentation will be followed by interactive exercises focused on areas along the Highland Ave. and Chestnut St. corridors.
  • Watertown is folding its MBTA Communities plan into a larger study of Watertown Square, with an emphasis on the configuration and design characteristics of streets, sidewalks, open spaces and the buildings that define and activate it. The project’s next big event is a three-day design charrette Nov. 28-30 at 64 Pleasant Street. DetailsAnd you can participate in a survey here.
  • Wellesley Executive Director Meghan Jop and Planning Director Eric Arbeene will preset a draft plan outlining the town’s proposed approach to the law Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. at the Wellesley Free Library. The goal is to submit the plan for approval at the March 2024 Annual Town Meeting.

Sisters withdraw request after uncharitable pushback 

Wellesley's Special Town Meeting began last night. But one of the most controversial items on the warrant  – rezoning the Sisters of Charity property at Wellesley Hills – has been withdrawn by proponents, according to the Swellesley Report.

Service to children, those terminally ill, and other acts of compassion have been at the core of the Sisters' work since 1890

But when Sisters (average age 83 and the order is not adding new sisters) sought a financial path that would allow them to live their lives in their current assisted living and skilled nursing facilities, they didn’t receive much compassion, including from the town's Advisory Committee

Abutters raised the familiar NIMBY stink about what changes a future owner might have made, even  though it could be 30, 40, or even perhaps 50 years before the property might be redeveloped.

Even then, any changes or expansions would require a special permit, an extensive public process and multiple approvals.

It’s not clear what happens to the remaining Sisters now.

Today's grab bag 

  • Clover Food Lab, the fast-casual chain of restaurants, including one in Newtonville, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  (Boston Globe)

  • Chamber town hopping: The gift shop Simply Stated has moved from Needham to 556 Washington Street in Wellesley. (Swellesley Report)

  • Want to own a frozen treats shop? Dizin Fruttiberri at 127 Mt Auburn Street, Watertown is on the market, with a listing on Facebook Marketplace indicating that the people behind it are moving to another state. (Boston Restaurant Talk)

  • Join Lasell University’s new President Eric Turner for a virtual Neighborhood Town Hall and Q&A on Thursday (Nov. 9), 7 p.m. RSVP  

  • The Watertown City Council will interview applicants for ARPA funds projects tomorrow (Nov. 8) at 5:30 p.m. Also tomorrow, the Planning Board will hear proposals for the Watertown Mall Transformation project, 10-30 Manley Way, and the former Cannistraro site at 7 p.m. Agenda.

  • Newton Neighbors is hosting a Thanksgiving Gift Card Drive. Donate through Nov. 19 to support Newton families this holiday season.

  • Get free stuff: Join us and other chambers across the region at the free Multi-Chamber Expo in Waltham tomorrow (Weds), 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.. Featuring 70+ vendors, samples from local restaurants, and free flu shots.

The program provides free bike lights 

Here's something that's especially timely with the end of Daylight Savings Time.

All bike riders in Massachusetts are legally required to have front white lights, red rear lights, and rear and side reflectors when riding anytime from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise.

MassBikes offers a program that provides free lights to bicyclists who need them across Massachusetts and is looking for volunteers and businesses to support the program.

The pandemic's 'silver lining,' more opportunities for working moms 

We began this morning with hopeful news for retailers and ended with good news for working women,
The share of American women working for pay is at a record high, writes Claire Cain Miller at the New York Times (free link).
Most interestingly, "the surge has been led by an unexpected group: mothers of children under 5," especially those who are married with college degrees.

Though mothers in this group have always worked less than other women, their gains since the pandemic have been biggest due to the increased ability to work remotely, Cain Miller writes.

“What’s happening with married, well-educated women with young kids is crazy,” said Lauren Bauer, a fellow at Brookings who studied the trend. “These are women who see themselves as workers. They were on the upward trend before the pandemic and they bounced back and just kept going.”
Remote work has also been beneficial for people with disabilities who are also working at record levels.

That’s what you need to know for today unless you are Barbra Streisand and you don’t like the way SIRI pronounces your name.

Our thanks to everyone who participated at our Fall Business Breakfast last week. We'll be sharing the video from our friends at NewTV soon.
Greg Reibman (he, him)
President & CEO
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