Current News

Next Networking Meet-Up for Business Owners

June 26, 7:00pm - Location to be announced.

 

 

Non-Members and Members welcome:
7:00-7:45:   Informal Networking, food, and drinks
7:45-8:30:   Whole group discussion of this month's theme: to be determined

Potluck - feel free to bring food or beverage, but it is not required. We provide cups, plates, utensils, ice, etc

RSVP here


 

Next Brown Bag:   Get MORE From Your Email Marketing and Social Media

July 19, 2017 - noon-1:30  - Location:  to be announced

 

DESCRIPTION:  Email marketing and social media are wonderful tools to help promote your business and--sometimes--increase sales, but they can be a real time sink. What are the right channels for your business? How can you increase your email open rates? When does it make sense to pay to advertise? This workshop will help you plan how to use email marketing and social media more strategically and effectively. Bring your questions and your lunch.

ABOUT THE PRESENTER:  Myrna Greenfield is the founder and "Top Egg" at Good Egg Marketing, a business coaching and marketing agency that promotes good food and good causes. Good Egg Marketing provides market research, branding, sales and marketing strategies, websites, and social media coaching for small businesses and nonprofits. We're a technical assistance provider for the City of Boston's Office of Small Business Development and the City of Somerville's "Economic Gardening" Business Assistance program.


 

Join us for the first meeting of the
Consumer Engagement Advisory Group

 

1:30-2:30pm, Tuesday, May 2, at Eastern Bank (687 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain)

 

Agenda for the meeting:

Based on a draft plan for Consumer Engagement (request a copy from adam@jplocalfirst.org):

  1. What are the key goals that are achievable for JPLF around consumer engagement? What should a consumer engagement strategy look like for JPLF? What should be the key components?
  2. Begin drafting the roles, time commitment, and areas of expertise for each member of the advisory group.
  3. Begin defining the scope of the group's role.
  4. Begin defining a timeline and method for collaboration as an advisory group.

 

Questions:  contact Adam Gibbons at adam@jplocalfirst.org or 617-447-1759 (text or call). 

 

Consumer Engagement Task Force

   
Problem: JPLF member businesses can’t see how to measure the increase in customers or public exposure that can come as a result of their JPLF membership.
   
Need: To drive more consumers to member businesses as a result of JPLF engagement with consumers and the community at large and to measure and report that impact to JPLF members.
   
Opportunity:
  1. To develop one or more strategies that facilitate consumers in discovering and shopping at members’ businesses.
  2. To utilize the expertise and experience of member business owners (in the areas of marketing, consumer engagement, and observation of JP consumer behavior and desires) to improve JPLF’s engagement with consumers and the community at large.
  3. To regularly (quarterly minimum) report on our efforts and measure their impacts to the best of our abilities.
 

Purpose/Role of the Task Force:

 
  1. To guide the design and development of JP Local First’s Strategies for educating, motivating, and engaging consumers
  2. Make recommendations to the Steering Committee, Executive Committee and staff
  3. Advise staff and committees on their work
   

 Vision:

 As a result of this Task Force's work:

 
  •  JPLF will develop and sustain a set of consumer engagement intiatives that will drive consumers to member businesses at a rate reasonable and comensurate with JPLF’s resources and capacity
  • JPLF and its members will learn which strategies are most effective to achieve these goals
  • Residents and businesses of JP will name JPLF as a leading resource for learning about and understanding the local economy, including how patronizing locally owned independent businesses contributes to economic stability, vibrancy, and quality of life
  • Residents and businesses of JP will patronize locally owned independent businesses in JP consistently and frequently and will cite JPLF as a primary reason for doing so
  • Residents and businesses of JP will rate JPLF as a positive and constructive resource in the JP economy and community and will praise it for its collaboration and coordination with JP business organizations, as well as with residential organizations
   
  Formation and Tenure:

  Task Force members would spend the first month deciding what their specific objectives will be, the scope of their objectives, a target completion date (or sequence of coordinated target dates), how often they needed to meet, and what time commitments and contributions each member would make to the Task Force.  (For example, one member might be able to contribute key SEO expertise, but could only commit to 5 hours a month over three months; while another member might be able to coordinate the contributions of several members over 12 months at  an average of 10 hours per month).

  Thus, rather than require that each member commit to the same time commitment, the task force would assess the abilities, talents, and time availability of each member and decide, as a team, the best possible achievable outcome of their work as a task force.  

 # of Members:         Minimum:  2             Maximum:  5
 Tenure:                      Minimum:  3 months           Maximum:  2 years
   
Qualifications:
 
  • are a JPLF member
  • sufficient experience and knowledge about particular marketing strategies
  • demonstrate scheduling capacity and commitment to fulfill their time commitment to the task force
 

Duites:

The task force members will make recommendations (as detailed or as general as they see fit) to the Steering and Executive Committees regarding such things as:

 
  • website design, functionality, features, and capacity, including the objectives and purpose of the website
  • social media strategies
  • SEO strategies In-person marketing and/or engagement programs (i.e. making presentations and appeals to neighborhood associations; tabling at events; etc)
  • Incentive and/or reward programs
  • Education and outreach
  • Any programs or initiatives that they see fit to recommend
  • Metrics to track and measure any efforts
  • Drafting RFPs (requests for proposals) to solicit bids from marketing contractors (web developers, web designers, app developers, social media experts, SEO experts, community outreach experts, etc)

 

 

 

 

February 15, 2017

Connecting Locally Owned Businesses with Available Commercial Spaces

Connecting developers with small independent businesses -- Connecting independent businesses with available and soon-to-be-available commercial spaces.

That is JP Local First's primary objective with our Commercial Space Connector initiative:  to ensure that all of the new development going on (and coming soon) doesn't alter the character, diversity and strength of JP's resilient and burgeoning local economy.  In collaboration with other business associations and Main Streets, JPLF is offering business owners and developers a one-stop-source to make that connection.

If you or a locally owned independent business you know is looking for commercial space,

•   tell them to email us (adam@jplocalfirst.org)

•   or text or call (617-447-1759),

We will connect you with developers, leasing agents, and landlords who are leasing or selling spaces that match what you are looking for.

We will remain on the lookout for you for any properties that become available in the future that match what you're looking for, and we'll contact you asap.

And as always, we will keep your inquiry and search confidential, unless you ask us explicitly to share your search with others.

Since launching our initiative in July 2016:
   •  17 independent businesses have reached out to us and received help
   •  JPLF has connected with 11 developers or leasing agencies
   •  one business has secured a second location

There are currently several new commercial spaces available in JP that are looking for commercial tenants,  and there are many more that will be available in the next 1-3 years.

 

Property

Space Details

Status

Contact

MetroMark Properties
3593-3615 Washington St

5,700 sq ft
divisible into smaller
spaces for rent

Available for lease
Construction Complete

Richard Chalfin, Unlimited Southebys
richard.chalfin@unlimitedsir.com
(610) 329-0200

Blessed Sacrament
365 Centre Street
Hyde Square area

11,000 sq ft

Construction Complete

 JPLF is seeking updated info

 Centre Lamartine
270 Centre Street
Jackson Square Area

 7,900 sq ft

Construction Complete 

 JPLF is seeking updated info
 38-42 Hyde Park Ave
Forest Hills area
800 sq ft  Available 9/1/2017

Josh Fetterman, City Realty
josh.fetterman@cityrealtyboston.com
617-470-2111

 Jackson Square  16,700 sq ft  

 Keven Spillane, Urban Edge
kspillane@urbanedge.org
617 989-9343

 3193 Washington Street  2,640 sq ft  Board Approved

 Josh Fetterman, City Realty
josh.fetterman@cityrealtyboston.com
617-470-2111

 

3200 Washington Street   5,364 sq ft  Board Approved

John Karoff, Berkely Investments
jkaroff@berkinv.com
617-456-3306

3353 Washington Street   2,000 sq ft   JPLF is seeking updated info 
3383-3389 Washington St   2,373 sq ft   JPLF is seeking updated info 
3521-3529 Washington St 7,600 sq ft

Available for lease
Construction underway

 Leslie Cotter, Powers & Co
leslie@powersandco.com
(781) 883-8464

Residences at Forest Hills
3694 Washington St

 5,500-11,000 sq ft    JPLF is seeking updated info

Bartlett Square II
450-456 Amory Street

5,700 sq ft    JPLF is seeking updated info

Parcel U
93-95 Hyde Park Avenue
Forest Hills Area

 
1,620 sq ft Under Construction  JPLF is seeking updated info

 

Developers have told us that they want local independents in their spaces, but that finding those local independents is much harder than finding a national chain.  That's because national chains have central offices with multiple staff dedicated solely to placing franchises.  So, when a developer or leasing agent is struggling to find a local independent and their commercial space continues to stand vacant, a single 10-minute call to, for example, Starbucks, can confirm the process for a potential tenant.  But to find a locally owned business, developers usually must spend hours over several weeks of networking, advertising, vetting, and more networking and collecting referrals.  If only there were a central office that developers could contact to help them find local independents.    

That's where JP Local First's Commercial Space Connection comes in.  An entity dedicated to keeping up-to-date and alert about local independents looking for commercial space and on commercial spaces available (or soon to be available), and staying in touch with developers to encourage their engagement with local independents.  Our success is dependent on our collaboration with all of the Main Streets (Egleston Square, Hyde Square, and Centre/South) and all of the business associations (JPBAPA, Washington Street, Egleston Square).  These organizations do the same thing as our Commercial Space Connector, but their focus is primarily on their district.  Our focus is all of JP and even beyond (our adjacent neighborhoods of Dorchester, Roxbury, Mission Hill, West Roxbury, and Hyde Park) and solely on the power of local independents.  And that's where you can come in - emailing or texting or calling us when you or a colleague are searching for a space.

We will simply introduce you to the developer, leasing agent, or landlord - we won't participate in the negotiating. But if you want a mentor or coach (someone who's had experience in assessing or negotiating an offer/lease), we will work to find a JPLF member that is interested and willing to help you.

You can also be encouraged that we are doing the following:

  • keeping your search confidential
  • developing a positive relationship with developers about local independent businesses
  • referring you only to landlords with spaces that meet your needs (i.e. we won't connect you with a landlord that has a 5,000 sq ft space, when you're looking for a space that's 1,500-2,000 sq ft)
  • if nothing is currently available, that we will keep looking for a space that fits your needs and that we will contact you right away
  • keep you informed about development projects that are in the pipeline and what the projected construction dates are

Based on our first 7 months of the Commercial Space Connector, we anticipate that this program will be a link that better enables local independents to get the word out, stay ahead of the curve, help each other out, and help our entire network develop a deeper understanding of real estate development and how local independents can navigate this environment.  Our hope is that our Commercial Space Connector program will prevent the scenario where national chains take over the majority of spaces in newly available commercial spaces in JP.  With 22 new real estate projects currently in some stage of development (i.e. Letter of Intent, Under Review by BPDA, Approved by BPDA Board, Under Construction, or Construction Complete) and with several other already-existing properties also seeking commercial tenants, we want to make sure local independent businesses are seriously considered and placed in as many of those locations as possible.

 

February 28, 2017

JPLF Signs onto 3rd Letter to BPDA asking for Improvements in Public Policy Affecting Business Owners

Dear members of the BPDA board, 
 
On August 22, we provided Marie Mercurio a set of recommendations for Plan JP/Rox, and we followed up on November 14 to reiterate these recommendations and assess what had been incorporated. (See attached) We appreciated the ways that part of our feedback was incorporated, and we expressed concern that many of our suggestions remained unaddressed. 
 
On November 16, we facilitated a meeting between small business owners and Karilyn Crockett. Business owners requested for Plan JP/Rox to include the timely provision of legal services and mediation for small business owners at risk of eviction. Ms. Crockett mentioned that the law group, currently under contract with the City, could conduct workshops. However, she did not commit monies for legal representation of business owners. 
 
Our understanding is that you will vote on the plan on March 3. Before you vote, you must know that as it is currently written, Plan JP/Rox will not stop large-scale displacement of small business owners.
 
Plan JP/Rox has created an environment of speculation that has increased the risk of eviction for small business owners. Without legal representation, business owners are vulnerable to landlord abuse, including raise in rents, short-term leases, and eventual displacement. 
  • Leases are expiring for 3 business owners in Egleston Square. They cannot afford a lawyer(s) and therefore would be powerless to stop eviction processes started against them. Without written protections, evictions would not be illegal. 
  • With the financial help of a modest State grant, attorney Gabriela Mendoza is helping the owners of El Embajador Restaurant – Ramona Alvarez and Juan Tejeda - negotiate relocation with the support of landlord City Realty. Since August 2016 City Realty has verbalized their desire to help relocate El Embajador, but has not documented it in writing. Without written documentation stating that they will neither be evicted nor displaced, Ramona and Juan cannot plan for relocation. As the date for construction approaches (September 2017) Ramona and Juan will have less time and leverage to successfully negotiate their relocation. The risk of eviction, and subsequent loss of a dozen jobs, will increase.
These cases represent a small sample of the silent large-scale displacement of small business owners that is currently taking place along the entire Washington Corridor. This large-scale displacement of small business owners can be avoided if Plan JP/Rox includes the timely provision of legal services and the City’s commitment to mediate disputes between landlords/developers and small business owners. 
 
In 2014, we successfully brought together several organizations, city councilors, state representatives and the City’s small business department to help mediate disputes between landlords/developers and business owners. The lack of stronger pro business language in the current version of Plan JP/Rox might force us into reactive direct action to assist at risk businesses.
 
However, we believe that a Plan JP/Rox that includes the timely provision for legal services and the City’s commitment to mediate disputes between landlords/developer and small business owners can be a powerful tool to stop large-scale displacement of small business owners. 
 
Sincerely,
 
Carlos Espinoza-Toro Small Business Program Director, JPNDC
Luis Edgardo Cotto Executive Director, Egleston Square Main Street
Lisa Owens Executive Director, City Life/Vida Urbana
Adam Gibbons Membership and Community Outreach, JP Local First