November Downtown Digest

Bridging Communities & Building Business                                  View this email in your browser

In This Issue

  • Upcoming Events
  • Meet our FSU Interns!
  • Virtual Eyes on the Street Program
  • Meet Tim Miller
  • In Gratitude
  • Downtown Ambassaor
  • And more!

October Rewind!

  • Business Activity
  • Facade Improvements
  • Restaurant Week
  • United Way 5K
  • Howard Street Studios
  • Chowder Fest
  • Zombie Crawl
  • Pumpkins in the Park

Keep Up With Us


Small Business Support Month

The Town of Framingham proclaimed Saturday, November 25th to be Small Business Saturday.  From November 1 - 25, we're providing a daily reason to support the local economy while shining a light on a different downtown business each day.  Follow the buzz on Facebook, Twitter, or the webpageHere's a look at the first two days:
Reason #1 to support our small businesses: "Shopping at small businesses helps keep money within the neighborhood. A series of studies by the research firm Civic Economics found that 48 percent of purchases at local independent businesses go right back into the community, compared to less than 14 percent of sales made at chain stores."
Reason #2 to support our small businesses: "Money spent in the community will go back into it in the form of creating employment opportunities. According to the Small Business Administration, the 28 million small businesses in America account for 54 percent of all sales in the U.S. Plus small businesses have provided 55 percent of all jobs and 66 percent of all new jobs since the 1970s."

Upcoming Notable Events

Board Meeting - Tuesday, November 14th
    8 am  Ablondi Room 150 Concord Street

Small Business Saturday -  November 25th  
Voices of MetroWest Presents: Totally 90s  December 1st and 2nd - partial proceeds support Framingham Downtown Renaissance

- Open Studios at Howard Street Studios  Saturday, December 9th

- Holiday Stroll    Friday, December 15th details coming soon

Downtown Artisan Market  Sunday, December 17th at Springdale Beer

- Downtown Celebration at La Cantina!   Monday, December 18th  details coming very soon!

Senator Karen E. Spilka’s 2nd annual SEL forum on January 9, 2018 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Warren Conference Center in Ashland

Meet our Fall 2017 Interns

Hailing from Norwood, Mass., John Boulos is a senior at Framingham State University.  John will graduate this May with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting with a minor in economics.  John has been named to the Dean's List at FSU. 
Project:  study 7 neighborhoods of South Framingham and research amenities for people, including the housing stock, transportation options, active / green space, arts and entertainment, and grocery shopping.  He will research the business-ready infrastructure, assessing marketing tools and presentation of commercial spaces, tax rates, parking management, and transportation options.  Deliverable:  determine outreach venues to present an info product to potential residents and businesses.
Hailing from Ghana, Kelvin Okyere is finishing his final semester at Framingham State University.  He will graduate this December with a Bachelor of Science Degree in accounting.  Kelvin has been a four-year star on FSU's Soccer Team, assisting with both coaching and player recruitment.
Project:  Kelvin has designed a Marketing Survey for the Downtown Framingham Business Coalition.   The survey will gather data on how businesses target clients, the most effective marketing tools, and the largest hurdles to marketing for our small businesses.
Deliverable:  survey data will be used to help small businesses develop effective marketing plans that align with budget and time constraints. 

Avidia Charitable Foundation presents
Virtual Eyes on the Street Program

We've joined forces with Avidia Charitable Foundation to increase the transparency and accountability of our public spaces.  Avidia's contribution ensures we can purchase cameras and store footage, helping to enhance the sense of safety in our densely populated downtown.  These tools are especially vital for residents in the Irving Square Properties, Tribune Apartments, and nearby residents who walk to our shops and ride our trains, thereby de-congesting our roadways and shrinking our carbon footprint.  Furthermore, these cameras align with the mission of MassDOT's Safe Routes to School Program.  We are also deeply grateful to the Bullard Building, LLC, Commercial Property Specialists, and Adonai Ministries for partnering with us and providing infrastructure support, as our cameras are perched in these privately-owned spaces.

Meet new resident Tim Miller!

We first met Tim Miller on our Harvest Walk, one of our quarterly community strolls.  Community strolls are designed to help people make new acquaintances in a comfortable setting while discovering the great walkability between the amenities of downtown Framingham. 

Hailing from Green Bay, Wisconsin, Tim Miller (left) and his wife moved to the Dennison Apartments six months ago.  In this short time, they have become pleasantly well-acquainted with the amenities in our walkable urban core.  

* Photo taken at Springdale Beer, featuring the Framingham Contemporary Artists Group Gallery
Background and life's purpose:
Tim is a full-time research faculty member at Boston Children's Hospital, where he has worked for six years.  Prior to Framingham, Tim lived in Jamaica Plain for four years.  After his wife was accepted into a PhD program at UMass Medical School in Worcester, they moved to the Baseball Factory Apartments near the Natick Center MBTA Station.   They were not huge fans of this apartment, though.  Because his wife had to transfer trains at the Framingham MBTA Station enroute to Worcester, they found a new home at the Dennison Apartments this past March, where they both walk to the train in Framingham each morning. 

Public Transportation is the way to go
"Living close to the train is nice.  I can work on the train, and there is no wasted time.  My wife and I are big into public transportation.  I don't like driving very much.  Driving is stressful, and the last thing you want to do at the end of the day is drive.  It's nice to catch the train and relax on the way home," said Tim.

And there's plenty to enjoy here...
"Downtown Framingham really has a lot to do.  My wife and I usually go out about twice a week.  We love Thai food and Mexican food, and we really enjoy Exhibit 'A' Brewing Company, Jack's Abby, and Springdale Beer,"  Tim stated.   

Grocery Run!
"It took a few months before I went to A.J. Seabra.  I discovered it has tons of stuff that you would find in a full-size grocery store.  However, it takes a long time to cross Route 135.  People really treat it like a highway and not a downtown street.  The timing of the lights means that it might take a while to cross, which can be annoying when you're holding your groceries," Tim explained.

Goal - Farm Pond
An avid runner, Tim has discovered a likely unconventional method to running along Farm Pond.  He hopes that an official running path from downtown west into Farm Pond is created over time, especially when navigating around the railroad tracks. 

Adapt & Overcome for a Good Night's Sleep

"The MBTA train whistle is pretty loud, and we live on the north side of a brick building.  Even though the whistle starts sounding at 5 am, my wife and I listen to white noise all night.  This technique really works, and we sleep like babies," Tim said.  


In Gratitude

Many talk about supporting the community and its businesses.  However, Erin Hayes, CEO/Producer at MEDIABOSS, and Ian Barrett, Creative Director at MEDIABOSS, have poured consistent sweat equity into the cohesion of downtown Framingham, and they have supported the multi-faceted missions of the Framingham Downtown Renaissance.  They are literally everywhere and have donated thousands of dollars of production value into the 6 Mile Moment, downtown's annual cornerstone celebration of the Boston Marathon.  MEDIA BOSS live streams the event across the globe complete with interviews, staging, a DJ, and a photographer.  Without hesitation, they also volunteer time to help our downtown reach its new, deserved potential all while raising two small children.  So, what is this sweat equity, exactly?
  These ACTIONS are well above and beyond the participation of any ordinary board director, and the Framingham Downtown Renaissance has been positively enriched by the support of this award-winning team!  Did you know that MEDIA BOSS was recently awarded SEVEN Telly Awards for Excellence this year?  Thank you, Ian and Erin, for leading by example!

Downtown Ambassador
Nicole Siswick

"I've lived in Framingham since 2011. My husband, Zac, and I have two kids, an 8 year old son, Asher, and 4 year old daughter, Isla.

My favorite spots in downtown Framingham are SOFA CAFE, Jack's Abby, and Exhibit 'A' Brewing Company, along with the main branch of our Framingham Public Library. We like to take all of our out-of-town friends to the breweries when they visit us. I love SOFA CAFE's modern and sleek, yet welcoming vibe (and they have great coffee, of course). We are big readers in my family and rarely leave the library with less than 20 books in our bag. 

As a fairly recent Southside resident (we moved from our starter home in Nobscot to a new home in a neighborhood off of Fountain Street last December), I've been traveling through downtown frequently and really appreciate the traffic flow improvements made in front of the Town Hall with the removal of the rotary, and I look forward to even more improvements that are in the works!"

Nicole is founder of the Framingham Family Network

Downtown is Hiring!

Business Updates

Downtown businesses are invited to join the private Facebook group for the Downtown Framingham Business Coalition.   The platform provides translation resources and creates an efficient means to quickly share feedback on parking, potential collaborations, shared marketing, waste management, and business improvement ideas.

Depot 417 is offering free coffee to commuters!  Stop outside the diner to check it out, and make that chilly wait a much warmer, more pleasant experience!

Exhibit 'A' Brewing Company was named Manufacturer of the Year in the Seventh Middlesex District by the Legislative Manufacturers Caucus.  State Representatives Jeff Roy and Jack Patrick Lewis presented this well-deserved award, a fitting present after their first anniversary!
Thiago Dias, a former board director, recently opened Tax Advisor at 173 Concord Street.  He's ready to help you de-stress and feel confident about filing taxes! 

We're ready to host his grand opening and ribbon cutting on Small Business Saturday, November 25th!
Mega Realty's continued success, employment growth, and high demand helped them double their footprint, opening an adjacent space at 18 Union Avenue.  As you can see, they are very ready for this season of thanks!

Anastasia's Oven and Grill recently installed four eye-catching LCD screens, showering you with tons of options, including their specialty pizzas.  You can also order online or use Grub Hub!

Springdale Beer just updated its child policy, which is welcome news for the families in our area!

Read the entire policy here.

L/R Construction has been a downtown success story more than twenty years in the making.   Principal Louis Laskey exceeded the needs of local artists by completing necessary renovations of his upstairs spaces to create eight beautiful artist studios at 162 Howard Street.
Stop by the Open Studios at Howard Street Studios from 12 pm - 5 pm on December 9th!
You can wake up and serve Sofa Cafe coffee right in the comfort of your own home.  Their local roastery creates this magical coffee product, and we can assure that you don't know what you're missing!
The Pressed'O Juice Bar is coming soon to 158 Union Avenue!  Getting your morning boost at this new, healthy amenity just got a lot more fun!

Facade Improvements

VTT Management dedicated the summer of 2017 to the Wilsonia Building, located at 42 Union Avenue.  The nearly 25,000 square foot building received new red paint along all trim and decorative cornice moulding.  Built in 1900, the mixed-use property has ground-level commercial space for Panza Shoes, Brandolini Shoe Clinic, PTI Insurance, and Framingham Optical Co.  Upstairs, the Wilsonia Apartments feature high ceilings, hardwood floors, off-street parking, and access to Verizon FiOS.
The Tribune Apartments rehabilitation project was recently awarded a Community Development Achievement Award from the National Community Development Association.  The historic building, home to Framingham's first newspaper,  is undergoing an extensive $4.5 million rehabilitation with the creation of four new accessible units. 

October Rewind!

This month the Downtown Common was freed of its construction fencing and once again made available for free enjoyment during this warm fall!  We're grateful to all Town departments that cooperatively worked hard on this project throughout the summer.  We're eager to reiterate that this Common is a vital piece of open space in our central business district.
On Saturday, October 7th, we headed north to the First Annual Framingham Community Festival and Farm Celebration.  We happily engaged with the community and received expert tips on bringing a sister bee farm to South Framingham. 
On Saturday, October 14th, we helped support the United Way 5K Run-Walk.  Hundreds of runners gathered in South Framingham, and we were excited to grow new, meaningful relationships with our fellow community partners. 
From Monday, October 16th through Sunday, October 22nd, we hosted Restaurant Week in downtown Framingham.  We also promoted our music, yoga, trivia, and art galleries.  We were excited to present an array of specials and fun discounts, and we are deeply grateful to Lyft for sponsoring the week-long event!
On Saturday, October 21st, we participated in the 8th Annual Chowder Fest, hosted by the Middlesex Lodge A.F. & A.M.  It was a gorgeous Saturday in the beautiful Gallagher Park.  We were pleased to see so many people eager to sample so many fun varieties of chowder, including vegan chowder!
On Wednesday, October 25th, we received a special tour of the Howard Street Studios.  We admired the gleaming floors and newly completed renovations to the major building systems.  Additionally, we met great artists in the midst of creating phenomenal masterpieces.  The Open Studios is Saturday, December 9th from 12 pm to 5 pm at 162 Howard Street.
On Thursday, October 26th, the Framingham Department of Public Works hosted a community engagement meeting to collect feedback following the summer's impressive improvements to Waverly and Hollis Streets.  The community gathered at St. Tarcisius Church and learned more about future plans to make downtown even more efficient and safe for all modes of travel.
On Friday, October 27th, we tagged along for the Zombie Crawl, which featured Exhibit 'A' Brewing Company, DEPOT 417, and Springdale Beer.  The community arrived in a vast array of creative costumes, and everyone reveled in the exciting Halloween energy.  Thank you to Springdale Beer for spearheading this fun evening!  Thank you to Nick Paganella for featuring the event on Access Framingham!
On Saturday, October 28th, we participated in the Annual Pumpkins in the Park and Downtown Trick-or-Treating, a collaborative event hosted by the Framingham Department of Parks and Recreation and the Framingham Police Department.  It was another gorgeous Saturday, and our Police successfully maximized participation with our generous downtown businesses.

By the way...

"The Town of Framingham's Community & Economic Development Division has secured more than $2.5 million in funding from state and federal sources over the past five years. The grants have promoted economic development,  helped Framingham preserve open space and historic buildings, and encouraged alternative transportation methods and sustainable projects, among other concerns."  We are deeply inspired by the Choose Framingham's team effort to help fund major capital projects and realize a shared vision for a healthy, vibrant landscape.  Only more great things are to come downtown!

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