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  1. 3 Big Events For Supporting Local For The Holidays

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    The Holidays are fast approaching and your local business owners are gearing up for a spectacular local holiday season. We have so much in the works and want to share it all with you. Our goal is a whole “Shift Your Shopping” approach encouraging the community to think about small businesses before they head out shopping for the season. A little support goes a long way. As a thank you for your support you’ll get chances to win $250 in NLF Bucks that can used as cash to shop local!

    First up is Plaid Friday

    Local First initiatives all over the country have adopted this great adaptation to Black Friday. The name Plaid Friday was conceived  from the idea of weaving the individual threads of small businesses together to create a strong fabric that celebrates the diversity and creativity of independent businesses. Plaid Friday is the relaxing and enjoyable alternative to the big box store “Black Friday,” and is designed to promote both local and independently owned businesses during the holidays.

    While wearing plaid is not essential if you do wear plaid we will love to see it and you’ll get more chances to win in our a Local Shopping Spree!! Read on….

    Small Business Saturday


    We will promoting a “Shop Small Weekend” from Friday through Sunday incorporating Plaid Friday and Small Business Saturday into one with Sunday as an added bonus!

    When you shop at any of our participating business Nov 27-29th you can pick up a Shop Small Passport. For each purchase you make in a small business you’ll get a sticker (or stamp or code). Each sticker is a chance to win. The more stickers, the more chances. Wear plaid and you’ll get a bonus chance to win! Any plaid will do. (sure, plaid socks count just be sure to show them to us at checkout!)

    We will be giving away $250 Local First Bucks. The Grand prize is $125, Second prize is $75 and third prize is $50.

    What about your favorite business that isn’t retail or does not have a storefront? We’ve got that covered too. Service based businesses can offer a promotion that you can order over and pay for over the phone. You’ll receive a special code that can used on your passport and counts as an entry.

    Passports will be available in all participating retail locations in the days before Thanksgiving. You will also be able to print one from home here.

    Passports can be submitted at your last stop of the day or returned to various drop boxes at Heart & Stone, The Purple Rose and Lala Java by end of the day Monday Nov 30th.   

    Small Business Saturday has grown more and more every year and we are so grateful for the community for their support!

    Last, but not least, The Northboro Holiday Trolley


    Climb aboard the 10th Annual Northboro Holiday Trolley as it makes its way up and down Main Street, stopping along the way at designated businesses, churches and library, all decked out to help families celebrate the season. Enjoy caroling on the trolley with vocal singers and participate in holiday activities, crafts, music, food & drink along the way, all while supporting local businesses.

    We are still planning so our site will be updated soon…

    Riders will receive a complimentary shopping bag, courtesy Central One Federal Credit Union & Northboro Local First, and a trolley map. Collect raffle tickets at Designated Stops to bring to the Community Affairs Tree Lighting ceremony at Blake Street at 5:00PM to be entered to win some fabulous raffle prizes. Grand Prize! A $500 Shopping Spree at any of 30+ Northboro Businesses from Northboro Local First.


  2. Meet Vicki Martelli and Kim Reed from The Purple Rose

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    heading_GiftCertificateThe Purple Rose is located at 140 Main St. Once an antique store now an eclectic home decor and gift shop for the lover of vintage style and unique gifts.

    Tell us about your background and how The Purple Rose came to be?

    Vicki: I started with New England telephone in 1976 and eventually climbed up to a store manager position at a number of MA AT&T phone center stores. In 1995 there was a divestiture and the transferable positions were not to my liking, so I left the trade I knew for 23 years with no idea what was next. I always loved antiques and the Victorian Era and really wanted to open a tea room. So together, with another local business owner, we looked into the building at 10 Church St (now Special Tea’s). He would purchase the building and I would have rented the first floor. After many efforts to change zoning and some other issues with the building, the deal fell through. I set out to find my own building and on a whim in early 1997, I purchased our building at 140 Main St. The zoning would not allow for a restaurant (really a good thing since I can’t really cook to save my life) and I began to fill it with antiques. It’s evolved since then to the unique and vintage inspired home décor and gift shop we are today.

    Old Cash Wrap
    Kim: My story starts with making my Junior Prom dress. That’s when I decide to go to school for Fashion Design. I received my degree from Framingham State and American Intercontinental University in London and moved to Southern California. I worked for Guess for about a year and then mom called one day and asked me to design some unique and ready-made curtain panels for her customers. In 2005, I moved back east and with my designs I started my own silk drapery line that I had manufactured in India. I did this for a couple of years, but what I really wanted was to be on the retail side. The buying and decorating were what really interested me. So for the last 10 years I worked with mom updating and freshening up the store so it’s not just for the antique lover anymore. 

    What inspires you?

    Kim: For both of us it’s travel. Even if it’s just playing hooky for a day and jaunt off in the car. Other beautiful shops and our vendors are a huge source of inspiration so we love travelling to the trade shows to see their latest showroom displays.

    What do you love about owning a small business?

    Vicki: Everything. Being able to decorate or change things at our discretion. Also getting to know our customers on a hugging basis. They become like family.

    Why did you choose Northboro for your business location?

    Vicki: I have lived in Northboro for almost 40 years. It’s my home.

    Why do you feel that supporting local businesses is important?Small PurpleRose-6702

    Kim: Local business is Northboro. So are the community groups, the churches, the people. We are the people of Northboro and supporting our own makes the town stronger as a whole. The friends and connections I have made through Northboro Local First are invaluable.

    Being local and small, tell us what you feel is the most important element to customer service?

    Kim: Get to know your customers, if they let you. Some people are private, and that’s ok, but acknowledge them. Remember what they’ve bought and make suggestions. Ask them how their husband, baby, mother… are doing. Show them you care, because you do. Since we’ve been in business for 18 years, we’ve seen some of our first customer’s children get married or have babies of their own. Second generations are now shopping with us. We’ve grown with them and heard their stories and know them. Through good times and bad.

    Do you have a favorite customer story you want to share?

    Kim: There are so many it’s hard to share just one. I enjoy making our customers laugh and we do that a lot here.

    Vicki: I feel the same as Kim, but I do have this strange ability to think of a customer that I haven’t seen or that I’ve been thinking about and they show up at the store within a week or so. Our customers love to hear that we think of them.
    Small PurpleRose-6666Quick-fire Round

    • My first job was: Vicki– Community National Bank sorting checks.  Kim– Tougas Farm making the donuts
    • My favorite movie is: Vicki– Gone with the Wind.   Kim– Right Now… Midnight in Paris
    • I cannot live without: Vicki– My husband and Sammy our shop dog.  Kim: Family, chocolate, a good book, the seasons, history.
    • Beach or mountains: Vicki– Beach. Kim– Both
    • The best advice I ever received is: Vicki– Be yourself. Kim:  My dad always said “You’ll never work a day in your life if you love what you do.”    
    • A cause I care deeply about is: We both are very passionate about proper mental health care.


    Photos by Nicole Leblanc at Le Petite Studio


  3. Northboro Local First is Hiring!

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    Local nonprofit seeking a part time administrative assistant for growing local business alliance. Northboro Local First is a collaborative effort by local, independent small business owners, community members, nonprofit organizations and all stakeholders of the Northoboro community to help build & maintain a vibrant local economy in and around Northboro MA.
    With 50 plus members and growing, the position will require the following:

    Attendance at board and member meeting as role of Secretary. 1 per month occasionally more. Usually on a Wednesday evening. Coordinate with Board for set up, and take minutes at meetings.

    Create a system to organize memberships. Update members on renewal notices. Distribute new member packets. Assist members with completing directory listing.

    Manage member’s social media and blog posts. Mostly cut and paste.
    Keep track of member’s positions on committees and other involvements.

    Help run community events put on by NLF such as The Holiday Trolley and Applefest Gala.


    • Must have experience with administration for business.
    • Available 10-15 hours a week. Some to most being during business hours of 9-5
    • Able to work independently and problem solve if need be.
    • Organizational and interpersonal skills. Adaptable and personable. Detail oriented.
    • Experienced in word processing and spreadsheet preparation.
    • Confident self-starter; ability to prioritize, juggle multiple assignments and follow-through.
    • Familiarity with Facebook for pages and linking and tagging other businesses.
    • Must have a personal computer and printer.
    • Must be available for monthly weeknight meetings.
    • Ability to work effectively with peers, Board of directors, senior staff, volunteers, and public
    • Ability to take ownership of a process; to use problem solving skills to resolve issues
    • Driving License Required

    Please Send resume to info@northborolocalfirst.org.

  4. Get to Know Lola Boyers from Lalajava

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    Lalajava is located at 290 West Main St at the intersection where Rt 20 and Main St split.  “A hot spot to chill”

    Tell us about your background and how Lalajava came to be?  

    Lalajava came to be because of Sonny Bono.  Our relationship with Sonny in Palm Springs California was a catalyst in the launch of Lalajava.  He was instrumental in changing the tourism industry in P.S.  Knowing the changing demographics we also had to make the change.  We catered to tourism and the Spring Break crowd to a more family-oriented industry because of Sonny. Club Palm Springs dissolved.  At the time we modeled ourselves after the then not-so-giant Starbucks!  We heard about this coffee craze and jumped on board.


    What inspires you?  

    I am inspired by a good challenge!  Just tell me something can’t be done and I will do it bigger and better than one can imagine.

    What do you love about owning a small business?  

    Owning a small business gives me the opportunity to mentor my young workers.  Many of them come to me as their first job experience.  Several times in the past I have received random text messages or letters from former employees thanking me for all they have learned working at Lalajava.

    Why did you choose Northborough for your business location?  

    Our Rt. 9 Shrewsbury location was purchased by a grocery store and we were forced to leave. Initially we were looking in Shrewsbury.  When the Northborough location opened up it seemed
    like it would be a nice neighborhood spot!  We knew we would enjoy the community feel Northborough brings.  And we do!

    NLF-221LWhy do you feel that supporting local businesses is important?  

    America was born on small local business.  We are the spirit of the nation.  We must keep this alive.

    Being local and small, tell us what you feel is the most important element to customer service?  

    The most important element to customer service is keeping it personal.  We have many regulars coming in daily and for years.  We know most of them by name.  We get to know them and their stories.  The best thing:  all the customers get to know one another and become friends…just like Cheers!

    Do you have a favorite customer story you want to share?  

    Absolutely!  One day while we were extremely busy there was a line out the door.  While in line this young man started talking to the young woman in front of him.  Once they received their drinks they decided to have their coffee together.  Two hours later they left and went to the movies.  Two years later they came into Lalajava wearing their bridal gown and tux and had a cup of coffee, after their wedding!


    Quick-fire Round

    •  My first job was: Mail sorter
    •  My passion is: holistic health
    •  I cannot live without: my family
    •  Beach or mountains: I’ll take both
    •  The best advice I ever received is: ‘tomorrow will come’
    •  A cause I care deeply about is: the health of children



    Photo’s by: Maranto Studios

  5. New Northborough nonprofit seeks members to promote local businesses

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    Read Article on Community Advocate

    By Jeff Slovin, Contributing Writer
    Northborough – Shortly after Julie Booras, owner of Heart & Stone Jewelry, opened her studio in Northborough, she realized she had a problem. Although her store was located in the up-and-coming shopping district near the intersection of Route 20 and West Main Street, she found it cumbersome to explain where her store was located, as the area was lacking an identity of its own. Booras invited local business owners to get together for a brainstorming session on how they could work together.
    “With just a little bit of help, the area can evolve into a very cute, walkable shopping district,” Booras said.
    The group’s efforts are already starting to pay off, as customers can now be seen walking into stores with a map of the “20 & West Main Shopping District” highlighting local stores.
    Perhaps the most significant development to come out of “20 & West Main” was Booras’ discovery that she had a real passion for supporting the independent local businesses in the area, and that the local business owners could support each other if they had more opportunities to work together.
    “It’s the small businesses that really help make a community,” she said. “They support the local causes, charities and Little League teams.”
    Studies show that a dollar spent at a local, independent business returns two to three times as much to the local economy as a dollar spent at a national chain store. She also realized that kicking off a project to support the local businesses in the area was not one a single person could do alone. It would require an organization with a formal structure behind it, but the idea of setting up a nonprofit organization seemed daunting.
    The turning point came when Amy Lynn Chase, owner of Crompton Collective in Worcester, and the event coordinator for Worcester Local First, stopped by Heart & Stone. Chase introduced Booras to the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting local business activities and helping communities launch and operate their own independent business alliances.
    During the first organizational meeting of Northborough Local First (NLF), the group met with Joe Grafton, AMIBA’s local representative, who walked them through the process of setting up a nonprofit organization and answering the many questions the group had.

    Kim Reed of The Purple Rose, and Jennifer Briggs Jenkins of J. Briggs and Co., have been working with Booras from the beginning to create NLF. Kim Schofield of L Boutique, Brian and Teri Russell of Northboro Computers, Ande Lockewood of Craftworks, Linda Bock of BeeZers, Elaine Savage of Yowza Yogurt Paradise, and John Parks from Armeno Coffee Roasters, as well as many others, have all been heavily involved in establishing the organization.
    NLF’s objectives are to educate the public on the benefits of purchasing from locally-owned, independent businesses, providing a means for the business owners themselves to network and support each other, and to create a unified voice for local independent business owners to advocate for pro-local policies and procedures.
    NLF is still in its infancy and has not yet elected a board. They are currently working toward recruiting members from a broad spectrum of businesses, especially non-retail businesses, who can bring a diverse set of skills to the organization. The group is continuing to grow steadily, and their next goal is to reach 75 members, which will enable them to publish a print directory of the local members.
    For more information about Northboro Local First or becoming a member, visit www.northborolocalfirst.org.

  6. NLF Making News!

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    Check us out! Our first news story in the Community Advocate. This is just the beginning!


     By Jeff Slovin, Contributing Writer

    Northborough – Julie Booras, owner of Heart & Stone Jewelry in Northborough, has a passion for promoting local, independent small businesses.  Her first effort to unite business owners in the up and coming shopping district centered around the intersection of Route 20 and West Main Street that was lacking an identity is already paying off, as customers can now be seen walking into stores with the “20 & West Main” map she created.

    Most recently, she has been leading the effort to establish Northboro Local First, a collaborative effort by local, independent small business owners, community members, nonprofit organizations and all stakeholders of the Northborough community to help build and maintain a vibrant local economy.

    Northboro Local First is holding a meeting on Tuesday, Nov.  4 for members and prospective members who are independent local business owners in the community.   The meeting will be held at Armeno Coffee Roasters, 75 Otis St., Northborough, from 6 – 8 p.m.  There will also be ample opportunity for networking during the first and last half hours of the meeting.  Membership is open to all types of small business owners across all sectors in Northborough and its bordering neighbors of Shrewsbury, Westborough, Southborough, Marlborough, Berlin and Bolyston.   For more information, or to RSVP, contact Booras at Heartandstonejewelry@gmail.com or visit the organization’s web page at http://www.northborolocalfirst.org/.