Monthly Meeting Recap

Small businesses don’t often have the luxury of employing an HR Director that can easily answer questions or the time to keep up on the ever changing laws pertaining to their business and employment.

This is why Tuesday’s ECBA meeting at the law offices of Clark Hunt Ahern & Embry was a valuable opportunity for ECBA members.  The topics ranged from interview traps to the changing regulations on retaurants workers tips.

In addition to great advise and presentations by Attorney’s from CHA&E, members had the opportunity to hear from Patty Colarossi, an officer, at the US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division

Employment Law is not something easily explained in a blog post.  The best advice at the meeting was that if you have a question, pick up the phone and call the Department of Labor at 617-624-6700 and ask to speak to an officer.  It’s better to ask the questions and get it right than it is to get caught off guard.

The Department of Labor Website is also a great resource filled with downloadable Fact Sheets and even a number of mobile apps that can help keep you organized

The link to the Department of Labor Website
http://www.dol.gov/whd/

Many thanks to the attorneys at Clark Hunt Ahern & Embry for arranging the meeting and for taking the time to educate our members. Hopefully everyone walked away with a better understanding of how to protect themselves and their businesses.  Of course CHA&E is a great local firm that can assist you with a variety of services, so do contact them for your business needs.

Empty or inactive store fronts are a problem in every business district.  That is why the ECBA focus’s alot of our effort towards creating an atmosphere that is attractive to new business, and builds relationships with landlords to help attract new and responsible business.

ECBA faces a challenge of covering a very large, mostly linear, area.  At the time ECBA was establishing, the blocks between the tracks and 6th St were pitted with vacancies, but business owners recognized the potential.  Three years later we are proud to see how these spaces have evolved.

We have welcomed  Threla, which specializes in hand made beauty products, Two Little Owls Day Care, one of 3 new daycares in East Cambridge, a massuese, the New England Tango Academy, and Cafe Kafofo (we finally have a coffee shop).  One of our greatest accomplishment has come in the form of the Pop-Theatre, a Pet Shop, and Music School.

The Blue Building on the corner of 7th had long been vacant and many hoped something, anything would open there.  The first business to apply for licenseing there was a Subway Sandwich Shop.  Suddently the ECBA was faced with its first delemia as an organization.  While vacant store fronts were not good for anyone, a national fast food chain threatened to take root in what has been a small independantly owned business district (not to mention one that was alread served by a number of local indepedant sandwich shops).  After a long process the application for a zoning variance that would have paved the way was denied.  During the process ECBA maintained a relationship with the landlord, who had concerns about how long he may remain vacant, but we maintained that the right tenant would present itself.

Very shortly,

Welcome to the new ECBA Board of Directors and Officers

November brings the yearly elections for ECBA and this year we had some changes in both the board and officer positions.  Firstly, the board, in an effort to foster more involvement from members voted to expand the number of board positions from 7 to 9.

Elected to the 2 new spots were Mark Rogers (3 year term) of Rogers Funeral Home and Stephen LaMaster (2 year term) of Vinfen.
Re-elected to the board for another 3 year term were Teodora Silva of Alegria Dental and Andrew Montone of Cambridge Art and Frame.
Diane Swierczynski was elected to finish the term of Bob Salines who has stepped down after the sale of Pug’s Bar and Grill
Bob has played a significant role in establishing the ECBA and keeping things moving during the first three years.  Bob is also responsible for  the original Rib Fest, which was an annually June BBQ on Fulkerson Street. Bob was also the first to bring outdoor seating to Cambridge St. at Pug’s Bar and Grill. A big thanks to Bob for the work that he has done with the ECBA and for always putting the East Cambridge neighborhood at the forefront of many business decisions.

Finally, Carl Fantasia of New Deal Fish Market has stepped down as president (don’t worry, we made him the treasurer so he is still around).  The work that Carl has put into the ECBA has been immeasurable.  Carl has always recognized the positve impact the business communtiy can play in making a neighbohood great and the things we have accomplished working together has exceeded all expectation.
So thanks to Carl for his service, and …
..c ongratualtion to Patrick Magee of Atwood’s Tavern who has been elected to take over the reigns as president and is eager to keep ECBA moving in a positve direction.