Upham's Corner Online

UCMS - Business Breakfast - August 24, 2011

Posted: August 24, 2011     Nancy J Conrad

UCMS Business BreakfastA big welcome to Max MacCarthy as the new Executive Director of Upham's Corner Main Street.  Max assumed his position on July 25, 2011 and has been learning the "Upham's Corner ropes" ever since, meeting with UCMS committees and planning the first  event - a Business Breakfast held on August 24, 2011. 

Generously offering his restaurant as a meeting place, Arlindo Correia offered a breakfast of sausage, bacon, eggs, fried potatoes and veggies and beverage - excellent food in a beautiful restaurant - Restaurant Laura.

As a first event inaugurating the new reign of Max MacCarthy as Executive Director, the business breakfast was well orchestrated and a successful outreach to the Upham's Corner businesses, setting a tone of open communication and support.

Businesses attending included Pacific Insurance (Linda Webster), Citizens Bank (Nick Chernoff), Sovereign Bank (Karl Duguerre), Mario's Party Supplies (Mario), Upham's Corner News (Nancy Conrad), Borinquen Restaurant (Junior) and Restaurant Laura (Arlindo Correia). 

Other Upham's Corner Main Street supporters at the breakfast were:  Steve Rumpler, City of Boston;   Erica B. Lindamood, Education Coordinator, Boston Preservation Alliance; Michelle Waldon, Chair  Design  Committee  UCMS; Joane Tighe,  UCMS Board; Matt Bruce, Pres. UCMS Board; and Max MacCarthy, Executive Director Upham's Corner Main Street.

After a brief introduction by Board President, Matt Bruce, Max MacCarthy introduced himself and set the goals of the breakfast get-together. 
  • A little about himself as the new Executive Director
  • How Upham's Corner Main Street is organized (action committees)
  • Gathering ideas for breakfast seminars
While UCMS maintains four committees, only three are considered "action" committees. The Organization Committee focuses on oversight, stability, succession plans  and fundraising.

Max described the three action committees and encouraged the businesses to get involved.

Design Bring the district's buildings and physical presentation into top shape
Economic Restructuring
Help existing businesses expand and recruit new ones
Market the district to shoppers, invvestors, businesses and visitors

Most of the meeting consisted of an open conversation with business owners actively sharing their ideas and listening to group members commenting in support, clarification and with additional ideas.  At the end of the breakfast, Matt Bruce thanked everyone for attending and for their contributions. 

Teach "How to run a business"
If you don't keep the books properly, you can't build a credit history for either yourself or your employees and when tax time comes, the pressure to generate a tax return can be overwhelming.

I finally had to incorporate just so I could hire myself as an employee to establish how much money I make.

The payroll company I use is inconsistent in how it bills me and it's creating problems with my cash flow.

We in Neighborhood Services have been encouraging businesses to pay closer attention to their formal business records.  Being able to produce them helps greatly when the business wants to expand or the business owner wants to buy a house or borrow money to since their children to school.

A lot of people think that running a business is opening the doors and getting your stock in and that's it but there's a lot more to running a business effectively.  Without payroll and without properly filing taxes and keeping track of your finance, when you have to finally have to deal with that situation, it can be so overwhelming you you almost are forced out of business.  To put yourself back on the track is difficult, but there is a way to do it.

Business education is very important - educating business owners is a step-by-step process on how to open and manage your business.  Then you start climbing the ladder.  I think that's very important.

We want to make sure we do seminars well in advance of when the information becomes critical.  So doing a seminar in February before tax time is bad timing.
Focus on bringing new customers / shoppers to the UC Business District
I'm thinking about how Upham's Corner is a transit between downtown Boston and other suburban areas.  People drive through Upham's Corner but how do we get them to stop?  If we had a place where people could stop and get a cup of coffee that would make a big difference or some ice cream or a sandwich shop.   It's obviously going to help the merchants if people are stopping and shopping in Upham's Corner.

We could promote our businesses by tying them into Strand Theatre events.  Someone could hand out flyers with restaurant offers tied into the event.

What about a Farmer's Market in Upham's Corner?
Create jointly funded projects by UCMS and the Businesses

How do you, the businesses, react to contributing $50 or $75 towards a project that benefits the business district? 

[Everyone present supported this.]
Create a Kiosk Directory & Map
We're looking at the possibility of putting a kiosk right in the center of the business district comparable to the kind of kiosk that exists in Roslindale Square.  It has a list of all businesses and a map of the business district.  It's pretty expensive to do this - $14,000 but through a variety of grants we could actually get it done for around $6000.

Mount flags on street poles
I'd like to see Upham's Corner have flags on the street poles that would attract attention to the fact that this is Upham's Corner - comparable to the kinds of flags that are in Quincy, for example.  This falls under the topic of branding - Travelers recognize where they are by the symbols they see. 

I'd like to see small, eye level signs / flags that encourage good behavior - no littering.
  • Upham's Corner shines - please do not litter
  • Keep Upham's Corner beautiful - put litter in its place
Engage the Kroc Center
I think we should reach out to the Kroc Center.  They may have ideas and they may have clientele who are interested in shopping in Upham's Corner.  The Kroc Center is bringing people to our area who do not normally come to Upham's Corner and we need to find a way to attract them to come shop here.

It has always been the thought that the Kroc Center would bring hundreds of people to this area who would not normally come to Upham's Corner.  Finding a way to  attract them to shop and dine here - to spend their money here - we need to find a way to do this.

Create a Business Directory
If you had a Business Directory, which a lot of the Main Streets have, you could simply have the Business Directories over at the Kroc Center.  Having a business directory is really important for a main streets organization.  When people join the Kroc Center, it could be one of the standard items that can handed out as a way to say welcome to Upham's Corner. 

The directory is a way of showing there are a lot of other businesses in Upham's Corner, so consider shopping here.  We need to start connecting the $80 million Kroc Center project with the businesses in Upham's Corner.  If we are not bringing resources to the Kroc Center, the and were missing a tremendous opportunity. 

If we are not doing this, think of it as a disconnect.  Business directories are very effective and important.  If Upham's Corner Main Street is not doing the business directory, then it should consider doing that.

Fix the Parking Issue
Upham's Corner has a pretty good parking lot but people don't utilize it adequately.  How do you get them to do this?  What kind of makeover is needed?  One of the reasons people don't come to Upham's Corner is because they think there is no place to park.

When I first came to Upham's Corner year ago, even after I'd been here for while, I had no idea there was parking behind the CVS.  What would be good is if there were a large structure - a canopy of some sort - that would draw your attention and lead your to the parking lot. 

Main Street has been trying to get such a device in place for years.  It's still not in place but it still topic a project that we are working on.
We need a Professional Print shop
Businesses need to have a print shop close by that can do specialty printing.  We need a graphics designer who can make up large signs.  Large signs attract people as they're walking or driving along and it causes them to stop and ask what is going on at that business.

Create an Inventory of Trusted Resources
All of the businesses here have resources they trust and depend on - who they say are reliable to do business with.  If we were to bring all of those resources together in a central pool, then everybody could make use of them.

Create a Business District Website
Upham's Corner needs a website where it promotes its businesses.  The current UCMS website is inadequate.
UCMS Business Breakfast 8/24/11 UCMS Business Breakfast 8/24/11
UCMS Business Breakfast 8/24/11 UCMS Business Breakfast 8/24/11
UCMS Business Breakfast 8/24/11 UCMS Business Breakfast 8/24/11

UCMS Business Breakfast 8/24/11 UCMS Business Breakfast 8/24/11

UCMS Business Breakfast 8/24/11 UCMS Business Breakfast 8/24/11

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