Westborough business leaders celebrate recent growth at Year in Review awards breakfast 

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Members of the Westborough EDC listen to Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito’s keynote address at last week’s EDC breakfast. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

WESTBOROUGH – Westborough business leaders recognized local successes and discussed next steps for the local economy at the Westborough Economic Development Committee’s (EDC) Year in Review Awards Celebration on Friday. 

Gathering in the Forbes Municipal Building, the event featured Lieutenant Governor and keynote speaker Karyn Polito and many others.

“It’s a great time to do business in Westborough,” EDC Chair Todd Alexander said in his opening remarks during the celebration.

Lt. Gov. applauds local business community

Speakers acknowledged COVID-19 challenges while highlighting business solutions crafted over the past two years.

The results of that work, local leaders noted, have included multiple major developments, new small business openings and other ventures.

“We have seen many people who, inspired by the Great Resignation, chose Westborough as the place to begin their entrepreneurial journey,” Alexander said, noting one trend now emerging from the coronavirus pandemic. 

Polito, among other things, commended Westborough for its work to support businesses, adapting to a new normal during COVID-19 and making new investments where needed.

“Congratulations for not missing a beat and keeping that momentum going,” she said. 

“This is, indeed, your moment,” Polito said of Westborough as a whole.

Businesses earn awards

Friday’s event included award presentations. 

Businesses were honored as follows:

  • New Development Project Award – Amazon Robotics
  • New Large Business Award – Monroe Tractor
  • New Small Business Award – Thai Minal
  • Innovation Award – Kopin Corporation
  • Civic Pride Award – Art & Frame Emporium
  • Hall of Fame Award – Nourse Farm

Amazon Robotics earned praise on Friday for its redevelopment of the former Astra Zeneca campus on Otis Street in town, bringing more than 500 jobs back into town.

Monroe Tractor opened for business in October of last year, revitalizing its facility at 97 Turnpike Road and bringing more than 25 jobs with it.

Thai Minal moved into a once vacant storefront off the Westborough Rotary in 2020 and had been noted as a business potentially drawing new foot traffic into the downtown area.

Kopin Cooperation has been in Westborough for more than 30 years. It has continued to innovate in the field of micro displays, securing eight new patents in 2021 alone.

Art & Frame Emporium has spent four decades in Westborough. It is now planning an expansion to add a new art gallery space with opportunities to showcase the work of local artists.

Nourse Farm has operated in Westborough since 1722. It has innovated in recent years, adding its new “Veg Out” food trailer in 2020.

‘The Westborough economy can face anything’

As Westborough now moves forward, speakers and town leaders on Friday continued to highlight the contributions of this year’s award winning business, among many others. 

Their growth has ramifications throughout town, Select Board and EDC member Sean Keogh later noted in comments to Community Advocate.

“It’s important that we maintain balance between the residential and some of the commercial industrial base in town to really help moderate our tax rate,” he said

That balance and commercial industrial base can help in other ways, he continued, including new local job opportunities.   

New business arrivals and expansions are in the future as the EDC’s work continues, EDC Coordinator Zach Boughner said, highlighting a planned new location for the Coop, a restaurant which offers BBQ and comfort food. 

That expansion is being aided by a $10,000 tax credit through a state program meant to encourage business growth into vacant storefronts. 

“We are very excited to have had our first vacant storefront project approved and to be encouraging more restaurants and active uses to be opening in our downtown area,” Boughner said.

While the region’s economic future remains uncertain, speakers on Friday emphasized cause for optimism and confidence in light of this recent growth and success.

“We don’t know what lies ahead,” EDC Vice Chair Linda Townsend said. “But the last two years have only strengthened my belief that the Westborough economy can face anything

See the full EDC event online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHoBa8tooro.

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