First Bedford Business Walkabout Scheduled
Bundle up, put on your favorite walking shoes or boots, and join the festivities! On Saturday evening, December 5, 2015, Bedford will be holding its annual Tree Lighting celebration. Join friends and family as we enjoy this much anticipated tradition. This year we will be offering a flurry of activities to encourage everyone to stroll, shop, savor, and socialize to kick off the winter season on the right note.
In collaboration with Recreation Department, Economic Development, and Healthy Bedford along with the Bedford Chamber of Commerce, we invite you to park the car, walk our Town Center, and shop local by joining us for this celebration of winter in Bedford:
- 4:00PM - Free Winter Holiday Laser Show at the Bedford High School Auditorium
- 4:30PM to 8:00PM - Bedford Walkabout with participating businesses in Town Common area and at Old Town Hall. The Chamber will host a shop local event at Old Town Hall in the Great Room on the third floor. Visit folks from Great Road Gallery, Red Heat, Organizing Works, and more and enjoy prizes and giveaways. Participating stores just a short walk from the Common include the Higgins Group, the Orange Chair, Wearovers, Corner Antiques, and Suzanne and Company. Each business will offer refreshment or other incentive for your visit.
- 5:30PM - Countdown to light the Trees on the Town Common led by Bedford Citizen of the Year Peter Grey, followed by a special visitor from the North Pole arriving atop a fire engine with treats and wishes for a joyous holiday season.
Suzanne & Company Christmas in the Village Holiday House Tour
Sunday, December 13, 1 to 4pm
Now in its 18th year, we're pleased and excited to announce the 2015 Christmas in the Village Holiday House Tour. On Sunday, Dec 13 from 1 to 4pm, bundle up and get your jingle on while visiting a variety of delightfully decorated homes in Bedford - all within walking distance of Bedford center. With our picturesque historic town center, wandering carolers and mulled cider, it will be a stroll back in time!
While all of this year's featured homes are within walking distance of Bedford Center, guests are still welcome to drive. The tour includes one of Bedford Center's landmark buildings - Suzanne & Company's office in the historic home at 90 Great Road. The exterior facelift is almost complete and they are busy decorating and applying the finishes touches. Be sure to stop by and refuel at the warming station with hot chocolate and mulled cider. As always, all of the homes highlight the heritage and architectural variety found in Bedford, with many hostesses offering refreshments along with live performers sharing sounds of the season. And to keep visitors sharp, an identical holiday item will be placed in each home - the first three people to correctly identify it win tickets to next year's house tour.
In the course of visiting the homes, guests are invited to gather at the Congregational Church on Great Road for refreshments and holiday cheer, including the opportunity to shop for those special people on your gift list at the holiday bazaar. Proceeds support the activities of the Chamber of Commerce, including The Charles Hume Scholarship, awarded to local students.
Tickets are $20 in advance ($15 for seniors, $10 for children 16 and under), and $25 day of the event - available at the New England Nursery at 216 Concord Road, Great Road Gallery & Framing at 363 Great Road, Prince Street Cafe & Bakery at 200 Great Road, and online at bedfordchamber.org.
More on 90 Great Road - the Hartwell-Hamblen House
As the plans to create the Christmas in the Village theme came together, with all of the Holiday House Tour homes located within walking distance of Bedford Center, Suzanne Koller, broker/partner of Suzanne & Company and sponsor of the Holiday House Tour realized, "It was the perfect time to include my office at 90 Great Road! We're decorating the office spaces on the first floor for the tour and we'll have a hot chocolate and mulled cider station set up to keep our guests warm as they walk from home to home. We plan to use a lot of whites and metallics with mercury glass and snow flakes in the conference room. And then we'll turn traditional in the offices with a Christmas tree, assorted ornaments and fir and holly greens. I love it all, so there will be lots to look at. This is one of the coolest events in Bedford, and I'm just so proud to be a part of it, as a sponsor and as a host!"
The house at 90 Great Road, built in 1842, is registered with both the National Register Old Bedford Center Historic District and the local Bedford Center Historic District under the historic name Hartwell-Hamblen House. This example of Greek Revival architecture is notable for its handsomely carved front door enhanced by a brass knocker (now lost), the line of which echoed the tendrils and gothic arch of the door carvings.
Besides the wonderful architectural details, historic homes always have stories to tell. In the era before I bought the property around 2001, it was referred to as the Sheldon House and was part of the Sheldon Block (now the Blake Block). Edward Hamblen and his wife owned the Sheldon house for 19 years. As the town doctor, Edward Hamblen maintained an office on the property, where town residents would visit him. They were followed in the home by Walter and Mary Sheldon and their twin daughters, who owned 90 Great Road for more than 40 years. Walter was the town's druggist and his office was only a few steps away at 68 Great Road.
The house was vacant and boarded up for some time before we bought it, and it turned out to be a much larger project than we expected. The horsehair plaster was falling off the walls and what we thought would be mostly cosmetic repairs, ended up with us gutting at least half the building. As we cleaned and renovated, we found a lot of old bottles from the pharmacy, as well as many pairs of shoes in the walls, which I've heard was a Victorian tradition to bring good luck. So when we closed the final wall, Ryan tucked a pair of his running shoes in there!
Initially zoned for commercial use, we applied for a variance to create a residential space on the second floor, which was approved. As we renovated, we made every effort to retain the home's historic roots, taking care to keep the bullseye mouldings, period woodwork, and even the claw foot tub (though we did move it from the kitchen to the bathroom!). After we moved in, we lived on the second floor above my office for five years and created a lot of great memories.
A couple years ago, I had the privilege of welcoming one of the former residents when she stopped by and shared the spot in the house where she was married over 60 years ago, which is now my office! They were so excited to see much of the structure unchanged that they asked if they could come back with some family members to take an anniversary photograph, resulting in over 15 people returning for some heart-warming multi-generational portraits.
At first, I worked upstairs in a home office and leased the office space to two tenants. I set goals for my business and when I reached them, I moved downstairs into one of the office spaces, set new goals, and now Suzanne & Company occupies the entire first floor!
The Greek Revival style of architecture was prevalent in the US from 1825-1860, reflecting the desire to embody the democratic ideals of ancient Greece while distancing ourselves from British influences. To learn more about the Greek Revival style and view more examples, visit the web site of Historic New England at historicnewengland.org. Portions of the history of 90 Great Road are taken from the January 22, 1987 edition of the Bedford Minuteman.
| Networking During the Holidays |
| By Ivan Misner
The holiday party is a great time to meet people but . . . you should have a plan!
Everybody goes to parties, and the holiday season is full of them. It's also a business slowdown season for many of us who are not in retail. The holiday parties are NOT just a place for free food and drinks.
Holiday parties and other social mixers bring new opportunities to network, even more than the rest of the year. The holidays are times when we are more likely to see people in a social setting, and this setting definitely lends itself to building relationships. Most people think of networking only in traditional networking venues, such as the chamber, strong-contact referral groups like BNI
, and other business-oriented gatherings. But that's not using the power of networking to its fullest. It can be the best time to introduce yourself or have a friendly conversation with one of your superiors. Making an impact on someone important can be a real career booster; it could open the door for new job opportunities, promotions and/or new business.
In order to make the most of "holiday party networking," here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Be prepared! If you're going to hobnob, try to know whom you are talking to, what their job and role in the company are and what they've done this year for the organization. Use this info as a way to start a conversation. If you know some of the people who will be in attendance, do a Google search on them. Do some homework.
- Ask questions. Some suggestions: How did you start the business? How did you take the business international? How did you start franchising? What were some of the challenges with . . . ? Have you read any good books lately? (My favorite is: How can I help you?)
- Have a "teaser" topic ready. Approaching the end of the year, every business wants to increase profits and performance in the New Year. Have an idea ready that describes how you can improve your sector in the coming year. (Word to the wise: Don't give away the goose; set up a meeting to discuss the details.)
- Use this introduction as a segue for a future meeting. As mentioned above, you don't want to "end" the conversation at the party. The end game here is to open the door for follow-up. You want to be able to connect with the person after the party, one-to-one.
- Don't have more than a couple drinks. It's a party, but it's not YOUR party. You don't want to be stinking of liquor when you approach the people you want to connect with. Impressions count. Make the right one.
- Be confident of your value. Introducing yourself to an executive can be an intimidating experience, so give yourself an informed pep talk. Before the event, make a list of the things you've done over the past year and understand how what you do may integrate into discussions. Once you've got this down, there's no reason you shouldn't feel good about yourself. Consider how what you've done can integrate with the executive's interests.
- Honor the event. Make sure when networking at a holiday party-or any non-traditional networking event-that networking is supplementary to the reason people are there, so don't treat it like a chamber mixer. Be sincere.
Don't act as if you're in the boardroom giving a presentation; keep it natural and leave them intrigued. The real emphasis must be on "finesse" at a company holiday party. Yes, it is a great networking opportunity-but if you overtly "sell," you may turn people off! After all, it is a holiday. You can network anywhere, including events where it might not at first occur to you to try it-and, paradoxically, it's at these non-traditional networking settings where you'll often get the most bang for your buck.
Another Grand Year For
Flavors of Bedford
We wish to thank the many people and companies that made the 15th Annual Flavors of Bedford a grand celebration and fall tradition in Bedford. The event is key to the financial stability of the Bedford Chamber of Commerce and the events and support we bring to the Bedford community. We have continued to make a donation to "Friends of HanscomFund"; an organization that supports our soldiers at Hanscom Air Force Base and the surrounding area. Colonel Vogel, his wife and 15 returning deployed soldiers and their families attended the event as our honoed guests.
We greatly appreciate the sponsors, restaurants, volunteers, community groups and guests that make this afternoon such an all round success. The Doubletree Bedford Glen Hotel and Sor staff set the stage for an afternoon of elegance. The Bedford High School Jr. ROTC cadets greeted guests and the Buccappellas also performed. The following restaurants returned with their delicious offerings, Bedford Farms, Sora, Blue Stove, Seasons 52, Prince St Café & Bakery, Lester's Roadside Bar-B-Q, Wegmans, Besito Mexican, Atria Longmeadow Place, Whole Foods Market, Trader Joes, and Burton's Frille, . First time resturants, Chopps, The Bancroft, Holi, The Tuscan Kitchen and Bonefish Grille really raised the bar with their offerings.
We greatly appreciate our Premier Sponsors Brown and Brown, P.C. and the Doubletree Bedford Glen Hotel and who continue to sustain the event. In addition, Bedford Florist, DSA Printing showcased their commitment as community partners. Additional sponsors, for whom we salute, are Brookline Bank, Cambridge Savings Bank, Carlton & Duran CPA's, Great Road Galleries, Hanscom Credit Union, Middlesex Bank, The Higgins Group, Dr. Oscar DePriest, Baldwin Insurance, Gordon Law Offices, TD Bank, Lincoln Liquors, Debbie Spencer & Co, Salem Five, Live Life Well, Northrop Grumman, Christine Pinney Marketing, Salon OZ, Suzanne & Co and Uvisualize Travel.
It gives us great pleasure to bring this event to the community and to enjoy the festivity of the afternoon. Throughout the year, we hope town residents will continue to visit the restaurants and support our sponsors. Please let them know that you applaud their participation in the Flavors of Bedford.
Premier Sponsors Nat & Pamela Brown of Brown & Brown, PC, joined by Nat Brown Jr and Judy Brown
|Bedford Marketplace Proposed Zoning Voted Down|
The November 2 Special Town meeting attracted an unusually large turnout of voters, with interest running high in a proposed zoning map change in Article 3. The Article asked voters to approve a change from Limited Business to General Business for the Bedford Marketplace stores fronting on the Great Road. After an hour of debate, the proposal was defeated by a vote of 49 in favor to 225 opposed.
Attorney Pam Brown, representing Marketplace developer Ross Hamlin, argued that the change would remove the 2,000 square foot limitation on retail stores (Limited Business) and aid the developer in securing tenants for spaces not yet leased in the buildings now under construction.
The current plans for the site (with current zoning intact) were approved by the Planning Board in 2009. Ross Hamlin purchased the property in 2014 prior to the implementation of any of the 2009 approved plans. Since that time he has been developing the property per the approved plan with some adjustments approved by the Planning Board.
The Selectmen, the Finance Committee, and the Zoning Board of Appeals recommended disapproval of the article. The Planning Board recommended approval. Speaking for the Selectmen, Mike Rosenberg said there had not been enough time to evaluate the impact of the change. The article was presented to the Selectmen for inclusion in the Warrant at literally the last hour: they approved including it in the Warrant by a 3:2 vote. The Finance Committee recommended disapproval by a 5:4 vote.
Jeff Cohen, speaking for the Planning Board, argued that the existing 2,000 square foot limitation on retails sales area is unrealistically low and not conducive to business growth. He said the Board agreed that at some future time it would be desirable to explore options for a new business district or corridor overlay but this would require much study. But for now, the Planning Board approved the change.
Michelle Puntillo reported for the Zoning Board of Appeals that the ZBA felt rushed and that is was a reckless article with the potential for significant unintended consequences and unanimously recommended disapproval of this article.
When the moderator called for comments, more than a dozen voters lined up to vigorously oppose the change. Objections ranged from the haste in which the Article was presented, the need for the zoning bylaw to be carefully studied and rewritten ("a rushed amendment sets a bad precedent"); that the developer knew the limitation when he purchased the property, so why is he coming in now requesting a change; and that 2,000 square feet does work for retail spaces in other business districts in town. Although the question of building setback from the Great Road was not at issue, several speakers referred to the 10-foot setback of the building now nearly completed as a "shock."
Other citizens also rose in opposition to the article saying the developer knew what he had, why change it now in response to this request, and that the implications need to be studied first. One citizen in defense of the article said, "Why not give business a chance?" Several citizens spoke to the purported 2,000 square foot limit liability citing numerous well-recognized stores that fit under this limit. Some citizens also used this time as an opportunity to criticize the tight (10ft) setback and to them, the unappealing design and massing of new, nearly complete buildings that front the Great Road.
Resident Douglas Miller identified himself as a longtime resident and a civil engineer with much experience in land development, working on various projects in the town over the years spoke. He noted that this article was the "worst I have seen in my career," and went on to refute Ms. Brown's various statements on purpose and need for the zoning change. He echoed the need to do the study before not after such potentially significant zoning changes.
At the Moderator's request, owner/developer Ross Hamlin came to the podium to respond to questions. One questioner asked why the popular Luigi's restaurant is not returning to the shopping center as was previously reported. Hamlin said two of the three owners had decided to retire. Subsequent speakers expressed doubt, saying that the staff was expecting to return when the restaurant closed on August 29. Later, after no more questions were being asked of Hamlin, Jim O'Neil called for a point of order. "I've been attending Town Meeting since 1968, and I've never seen a proponent of a special request be allowed to stand at the front forever in a forceful, intimidating manner. I ask that he leave instead." The moderator asked that Mr. Hamlin return to his seat and he complied.
The question was called as the questions and statements were winding down with two citizens remaining at the microphone. The call to end debate passed and the article was then voted on with the vote being 49 in favor and 225 opposed, the moderator declared the article defeated.
What the Chamber did in November
Working Women Alliance
Flavors of Bedford
Photos by Kevin Latady
"Bedford First" Walk about & Tree Lighting
Tree lighting at 5:30 PM
Board of Directors Meeting
12 Mudge Way
Suzanne & Co Holiday House Tour
For online Tickets click here
New England Nurseries
216 Concord Road
Great Road Galleries
363 Great Road
Working Women Alliance
12:00 - 1:00 pm
Brightview Concord River
199 Concord Road
Billerica, MA 01821
Fast Track to Success
with Stephanie Hessler
Welcome New Members
2015 CHAMBER MEMBERS
Atlas Real Estate
B& D Advertising Agency
Bedford Car Wash
Bedford Childrens Center
Bedford Historical Society
Bedford Plaza Hotel
Bedford Research Foundation
Brightview Concord River
Brown & Brown, P.C.
Callahan Karate Studio
Cambridge Savings Bank
Carlton & Duran, CPAs
Christine Pinney Marketing
College Prep Solution/The Tutor Dotor
ComforCare Home Care
Courtyard by Marriott
Danielle Beck NP-C-LLC
Design 2 Order
Design 1 Kitchen & Bath
Dianne Bridgeman, DDS
Digital Federal Credit Union
Doubletree Bedford Glen
Edward Jones Investments
First Parish in Bedford
Great Road Gallery & Framing
Frank Webb's Bath Center
Hanscom Federal Credit Union
Harold Nichols Insurance
Heritage at Bedford Springs
Inside Out Staging & Design
Kennedy Family Dental
Kimberly Bee Design
Law Offices of Rene Lazar
Live Life Well
Middlesex Savings Bank
Moving Forward Physical Therapy
Mt Auburn Hospital
New England Nurseries
North Road Chiropractic
Organix Spa & Salon
Oscar DePriest DMD
Peter Quinn Insurance
Prince St Cafe & Bakery
Right at Home
Rob's Handy Home Service
Rotary Club of Bedford
Simply Natural Nails
Stories with a Heart
Strawberry Hill Associates
St. Michael's Parish Center
Summit Health & Fitness
The Goddard School
The Higgins Group
The Well Effect
Town Planner Calendar