Letter to the editor: Support Northborough's small businesses

To the editor:

I am sick and tired of the abuse that rains down on Northborough's small businesses, particularly those on Blake Street. Business owners pay substantial rents so that our landlords can pay substantial town taxes. The vast majority of us are not millionaires. On the contrary, most of us worry about paying our bills just like everyone else. Yet, we get treated badly for struggling to keep our heads above water, while big money outfits such as Northborough Crossing get the red carpet treatment from the town, and a warm welcome from residents who shop there.

Last summer, small businesses lost a lot of money while the town and the Commonwealth crawled through the downtown beautification project at a snail's pace. And more to come this year! The town never communicated with us so that we could put our heads together with them to figure out how to mitigate the negative effects of the construction. And when we put up signs to let people know we were still here and still open, there was an uproar. The town's response? It got busy sending threatening letters to us because of the signs.

I’ve lived in Northborough for 28 years and I gladly serve on a town committee. But I’m dismayed by the apparent hostility of our town toward small business.? Shrewsbury and Westborough are much more attentive to and supportive of their small business partners. They seem to understand that, though small, they are an essential part of a healthy community.

In the 15 years that I’ve owned a business here, I’ve never once received a friendly, or even a positive communication from the town, though I have friendly relationships with the people who work at town hall. What I have received is a mountain of bills, notices of restrictions, and warnings of various sorts. Indeed when I started out, the town tried to shut me down.

Enough is enough.

First: Northborough should lift restrictions on sidewalk signs, and temporary signs, while the downtown area is under construction, and they should explain to residents why they’re doing it. “Because we care about our businesses and want them to thrive while we remodel!” would be a good communication.

Second: The bylaws must be amended to allow more signage on commercial buildings in town. The current restrictions are not reasonable in today's world.

Third: The town should work with Blake Street businesses to decide how to put up signage on Main Street that points to our presence.? The recent addition of an electronic notice board is evidence that residents can tolerate signage on town land. Blake Street is in effect a hidden retail mall and it has a right to act like one. From balloons, to used clothing, pizza, bowling, fine dining, dog care, and residential rentals: commerce abounds on Blake Street. Let's acknowledge and support that reality!

Susan LaDue, owner Doggie Den, Northborough

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=31319

Posted by on Feb 26 2013. Filed under Byline Stories, Letters to the Editor. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

4 Comments for “Letter to the editor: Support Northborough's small businesses”

  1. I like the town with out all the ugly signs that littered out streets for years. The rents on Blake street reflect the fact that they are not on a main st. If they don’t then the rents need to be renotiagted. The people in this town want out srteet to eb free from the ugly signs. The busniess need to use socail media etc to get people into their stores. Again, the busnesses choose Blake street and the owners knew about the lcoation before they moved into the space.

  2. I agree with Susan, the town of Northboro needs to be more supportive of small businesses. Construction can have a large impact on a business in a negative way that can break small business. Personally I have avoided down town because of the construction and and changes my shopping patterns as a result. The lease small business in the construction zone deserve communication from the town.

  3. I support small business. In addition, I find it sad that people actually complain about the look of advertisement signs when the construction was oh so much more unpleasant to look at! Come on people! Northboro is a great town …I have the best memories if going bowling back there and now iI like to take my children there. We should be supportive of our small businesses, as they are an essential part of our history. Some signs during construction is really NOT a big deal.

  4. The ugly sidewalk signs littered the downtown way before construction ever started. A temporary solution should have been in place before construction began. Most business in Mass lobby for temporary orange construction signs indicating how to get to business impacted by road work. Once the work is done the signs are removed. The problem here is that these ugly sidewalk signs were a safety hazard for cars pulling onto the road and they were just plain eyesore for the town They have also been on the sidewalks downtown for years. I am glad they are gone.

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