Nip it in the Hub: Downtown Businesses Overwhelmingly Support Banning Nips in Framingham’s Central Business District

Nip it in the Hub: Downtown Businesses Overwhelmingly Support Banning Nips in Framingham’s Central Business District

Note: the following report reflects feedback from a sample of 40 local business owners and managers in Framingham’s Central Business District (CBD). The data and the reasons supporting these survey responses are in no way a reflection upon the beliefs held by Downtown Framingham, Inc.

Municipalities across the Commonwealth are researching the implementation process to ban the sale of miniature, alcohol bottles (100 mL or less) otherwise known as “nips”.  Over the past few years, government leaders in Everett, Chelsea and Randolph, among others, have publicly addressed the benefits and consequences of banning these small, yet impactful, products. 

A ban on nips may be sought for two main reasons

  1. Due to their low cost and subtle appearance, nips may contribute to sustaining public drinking habits while also reinforcing behaviors associated with chronic alcoholism.

  2. Although nips are notoriously considered “road-side litter”, they also commonly pollute public or common spaces, including municipal parks and private parking lots.

Sample of 40 businesses in the Central Business District provided their favorability toward banning nips.

From September 17 – 28, Downtown Framingham, Inc.’s Business Development Manager, Robert Mitchell, surveyed a sample of 40 businesses in Framingham’s Central Business District (CBD) to gauge their favorability toward banning nips.  An overwhelming 77 percent of downtown business leaders would like to see nips banned in the walkable CBD, while 18 percent of businesses interviewed do not want nips banned in the CBD.  Five percent of the businesses interviewed chose not to respond.

3 REASONS BUSINESSES FAVOR A NIP BAN

  1. REDUCE LITTER, IMPROVE OPTICS - The majority of respondents cited this as their main reason. Those surveyed believe that the litter caused by empty nip bottles is an eyesore and looks off-putting for residents and customers. Excess litter caused by nips could deter a potential home buyer, client, or startup business from wanting to do business due impression caused by nips in public spaces.  [The Department of Public Works does clean the sidewalks daily along Route 126 with in the CBD].

  2. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT - Plastics that are used in creating nip bottles are not bio-degradable.  As more municipalities ban the sale of nips, then the greater likelihood that these non-biodegradable products will no longer linger in our environment.

  3. DISPERSION – Some business owners hope that by removing easy access to nips, those seeking nips would find them in a different area.

3 REASONS BUSINESSES ARE AGAINST A NIP BAN

  1. A NIP BAN PUNISHES ALL BASED ON THE ACTIONS OF A FEW – Business owners who oppose banning nips stated that just because a minority of people don’t dispose of nips properly, that the majority should not lose access to nips. These businesses feel that because they do dispose of them properly, they should not have their own access removed because of those who litter.

  2. HURTS REVENUE AT LIQUOR STORES - Some businesses stated that by banning nips, a large source of revenue would be lost from liquor stores.  These liquor stores may raise overall store prices to compensate for this revenue loss, which could hurt these businesses even more.

  3. ADULTS SHOULD NOT BE TOLD WHAT THEY CAN AND CANNOT PURCHASE - Some reported that they are adults, and if they want to buy nips, they should be able to do so without the “government’s permission”.

BREAKDOWN BY BUSINESS VERTICAL / INDUSTRY

Restaurants Interviewed: 9

67% favorability toward banning nips

Clothing Boutiques Interviewed: 3

100% favorability toward banning nips

Dental / Optical Businesses Interviewed: 3

67% favorability toward banning nips

Equipment / Party Rental Businesses Interviewed: 3

100% favorability toward banning nips

Furniture Businesses Interviewed: 2

100% favorability toward banning nips

Hair / Beauty Salon Businesses Interviewed: 5

80% favorability toward banning nips

Laundry and Cleaning Service Businesses Interviewed: 2

100% favorability toward banning nips

Liquor Store Businesses Interviewed: 2

0% favorability toward banning nips

Medical Service Businesses Interviewed: 2

100% favorability toward banning nips

Grocery Businesses Interviewed: 2

100% favorability toward banning nips

Technology / Electronic Service Businesses Interviewed: 3

67% favorability toward banning nips

NOTES

“While I was out surveying businesses, a young, self-reported homeless man overheard my questions to a local business owner.  This young man approached me and shared that if nips were banned, he and his friends would pool their funds to purchase larger liquor bottles.  This individual does not represent all homeless and/or at-risk individuals. However, his comment was worthy of noting on this report,” shared DFI Business Development Manager, Robert Mitchell.

CONCLUSION

The majority of those surveyed support the ban of nip bottle sales in downtown Framingham’s Central Business District. The businesses were not asked if a total nip ban throughout the City of Framingham was warranted. This feedback from this report will be shared with the City of Framingham’s decision makers along with reaching out to Chelsea and Everett for lessons learned on their experiences in this process.

 

DFI Business Development Manager Robert Mitchell contributed to this report with assistance from DFI Executive Director, Courtney Thraen