Arlington Entrepreneurs

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Looking for a Place to Work? Try Your Public Library.

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public-library. Photo by Sebas Ribas on Unsplash

Let the library help you build your business

The public library is a great place to work and to grow your business. Here in Arlington, the Robbins branch of the Arlington public system has its own business collection, one that includes books, periodicals and databases that you can access from the library or from home. And, it has a feature common to public libraries everywhere – a reference desk with staff whose job is to help you find what you need!

Arlington Entrepreneurs spoke with Linda Dyndiuk, the head of Adult Services at the library. The wealth of resources for entrepreneurs there surprised own own interviewer! Not only can you check out a state-of-the-art computer, you can also find parts of the library that are reserved for conversations. Need to study or research? Enjoy the quiet at the library. Need to speak with a client or conduct a one-on-one training? Find a place a place to talk at the Robbins.

Although the library has yet to open its own coffee shop, you can bring your own food and drink. Of course, if you need help accessing or understanding any of the library’s resources, a reference library will be on-hand to guide you through the process.

Listen to this month’s podcast for more information about building your business with the help of your public library – anywhere!

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Shop Local this Holiday Season

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By all indications, this year is going to be a great one for holiday sales. Perhaps you joined the Black Friday crowds at the nearest mall already, or have blown a paycheck or two on amazon.com. There’s another option, though, one that Arlington really wants you to know about:

That option? Shop right here, in Arlington!

Arlington is fortunate to have scads of great, local shops, theaters and restaurants. All three business districts are going to be hosting a holiday extravaganza this Saturday, December 2, with store discounts and other offers, raffles, snacks and more. Join the fun this Saturday – every business district in Arlington will have something great to offer you.

Want more information? Check out what local businesses in Arlington will have on-hand. But first, be sure to stop by the Whittemore Robbins House in Arlington Center for the Town’s annual First Lights Tree Lighting on Thursday evening, November 30, from 6 – 8 pm.

Then, go to town – literally!

In Arlington Center:

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Or, would you prefer East Arlington? No worries! Have a look below:

 

 

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Live in the Heights and it’s just too far? Fear not, we have you covered!

 

 

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A-Town is Hopping in June!

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beats for EATS!

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beats-for-eats

The Cost of Doing Business

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For Lease Sign

Losing Our Center of Gravity

I live in Arlington Center. Like many of you, I’ve seen business after business close down, especially in the last year or so. I’ve watched in dismay and then horror as shops I’ve frequented for years shuttered their doors and moved away. These days, all I see are empty storefronts and For Lease signs where those small businesses used to be. I miss those folks and their services. I had my hair done at Heads Up for over a decade. I shopped at Derby Farm and got to know and respect owner Barbara Popolow. At one point she expanded the shop, a move which no doubt cost a great deal of money. Now it’s in East Arlington (fortunately still around!) and the former shop stands abandoned in the Center. I often treated myself to breakfast or lunch at the Madrona Tree (thank you, Tanya!) and am heart-broken at their forced exit. The same goes for the little frozen yogurt shop, the CVS and all the rest. Thank goodness The Artful Heart (here’s to you, Carla!) was able to relocate to another location a block away, but the move cost some serious money which the store now has to recoup. There are other businesses who are wondering if they’ll be next. And I wonder, will we be able to have dinner at Tango anymore? Will people driving through Arlington Center take one look and just keep going?

Empty Store Interior

I Used to Shop Here

I run a small business community and, as such, I have a personal stake in all of this. Landlords can charge what they want, of course, but small businesses may not be able to keep up with the cost. I’d rather have an independent business in those shops than a corporate chain that has deeper pockets but no commitment to the community. We’ve heard the statistics – local businesses keep the money here, corporate chains take it out. That leaves us all poorer, in more ways than one.

A number of media outlets, including the Boston Globe, have written about this. It’s distressing and there doesn’t seem to be anything anyone can do about it. Maybe it’s the activist in me (yes, I’ve been on a picket line), but I refuse to believe that we’re all doomed to go down with the ship. I have a feeling other Arlingtonians feel the same way.

For Lease Signs

Why So Many For Lease Signs?

So, what can we do? First, join the Support Arlington Center Facebook group. This group wants to make sure Arlington Center remains vibrant and full of small, local businesses. Check out their website, too.

Second, The Madrona Tree has a GoFundMe page. The restaurant may be gone, but it looks like their page is still up and running. Make a contribution. With enough resources, maybe they’ll be able to stay in Arlington after all.

Third, go shopping and eating in the Center! Let business owners know you support them and want them to stay. A lot of people are working to make that happen. Add your voice to the chorus!

As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m recovering from a recent illness that had me in a hospital for over a week. Even with that, I plan to do what I can to help restore Arlington Center – my home – to its former health and prosperity. Can you help, too?

Best, Margy Rydzynski, Founder and Community Manager
Arlington Entrepreneurs

Coffee at Kickstand

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Kickstand MenuIt’s that time again! Join us in early June at Arlington’s finest coffee shop. We’ll have our usual table, along with a chance to enjoy a beverage and/or snack. Get out of the office and into the light of day. It’s fun – and good for you, too!

Coffee at Kickstand Cafe
Thursday, June 2 from 2:30 – 4:00 pm
Kickstand Cafe, 594 Massachusetts Avenue
Arlington Center

Free, but RSVPs strongly requested.

Register here!

 

Save the Date For A Very Special Event!

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Arlington Entrepreneurs Networking Night at WorkBar
Wednesday, February 10, 2016 from 6-8 pm
WorkBar Arlington, 1167 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA
(in the mill building complex behind Mirak Hyundai)

workbar logoArlington Entrepreneurs is rolling out the red carpet for WorkBar Arlington, a new co-working space for folks just like us. Start the new year in a new place. We’ll have food and drink available, along with ongoing tours. We’ll also be introducing some new AE membership benefits. Need a professional place to work, hold meetings or conduct workshops? Now we have one, right in town!

Admission is free and there’s plenty of parking. Space is limited, however. Please RSVP below to reserve your spot:

Eventbrite - Arlington Entrepreneurs Networking Night at Workbar

WorkBar is Coming to Arlington!

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Coming to Arlington Header

Coming to Arlington!

Workbar, Boston’s original coworking company, in collaboration with Mirak Properties of Arlington, MA, will open its fourth location in a historic mill building at 1167 Massachusetts Ave in Arlington. Workbar Arlington will occupy 5000 square feet and feature full coworking amenities, including high-speed Internet, meeting rooms and printing.

To learn more and to pre-register for membership, please visit us online at http://info.workbar.com/arlington.

Members of Workbar Arlington will enjoy a range of memberships crafted to support entrepreneurs, independent professionals and remote workers, as well a strong community enhanced by events, programming and skill sharing.

1167 Massachusetts Ave is a historic mill dating to the 1850’s and easily accessible by auto and public transit as well as the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway. The building and its surrounding landscape are being renovated to accommodate state of the art energy systems, including high efficiency windows and doors, solar panels, geothermal energy, and enhanced green space, all while remaining sensitive to the mill’s historic design.

Workbar, which launched in Downtown Boston in 2009, provides both community and convenience for its members. The ten coworking locations in the Workbar Network, including six partner spaces, provide Massachusetts entrepreneurs with quality locations near where they live, a strong regional community, and the option to work from any space in the Network.

“Arlington is a natural location for Workbar. Because so many small businesses and independent professionals are here in town, we see tons of potential for coworking,” said Bill Jacobson, CEO & Founder of Workbar. “With high tech neighbors like Glance Networks, Sunbug Solar, Spy Pond Partners and Media Electric, we are in good company in a great building.”

The Town of Arlington has shown a strong commitment to innovation and coworking, sponsoring informational sessions and panel discussions over the past two years, and will host, in partnership with the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and Arlington Entrepreneurs, a coworking information session on October 21st at 7pm at Town Hall (in the Lyons Hearing Room).

“Educating residents on new ways of working is an important part of our planning and economic development mission,” says Ted Fields, Economic Development Planner in the Department of Planning and Community Development. “Anyone interested in exploring coworking or other innovative office use is welcome to attend. Please contact 781-316-3095 or tfields@town.arlington.ma.us for more information about this event.”

Jill Mirak, vice president of Mirak Properties and project manager for the Workbar renovation, echoed Fields’ opinion. “We are delighted to join forces with Workbar in this 21st Century business of coworking.”

About Workbar

Workbar is a network of shared, coworking office spaces for all business types – including startups, independent professionals, small businesses, and remote teams from large enterprises. Along with diverse and productive work environments, events, and programming, Workbar fosters a vibrant community of 800 members from over 500 different companies. Started in 2009, Workbar has thus far grown to three coworking centers, with Arlington joining as the fourth, and nine regional network spaces throughout the Greater Boston area, including the UMass Lowell iHub, Running Start in Worcester, Work Station in Cohasset, the Framingham State University Entrepreneur Innovation Center, Fields Corner Business Lab in Dorchester, and Groundwork! in New Bedford, as well as industry specific Centers of Excellence in Adtech, with Mullen Lowe, fintech with DCU, and Health Innovation, with IHI.

About Mirak Properties

Incorporated in 1932 by John Mirak, an immigrant from Armenia, and now in its third generation, Mirak Properties has grown into a Greater Boston real estate enterprise with commercial, industrial, office and residential developments in Arlington, Boston, Winthrop, Malden and Everett. The company is headed by Bob Mirak and his daughters, Jill and Jennifer Mirak, and has ties with Mirak Chevrolet and Mirak Hyundai. The Mirak family has a philanthropic arm, the John Mirak Foundation, which supports local charities as well as those in Armenia.

A Visit to Town Day

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Town Day Crosswalk 2015

I walked to Arlington Town Day earlier this month. It was a nice ramble, in relatively decent weather. Most of my Town Day memories involve a lot of unseasonable heat. The crowds were there as before, but I thought I detected a bit of a breeze in the air.

Arlington has a very strong, active community and its local organizations – as well as its businesses – reflect that. I’m always amazed at the number of community organizations at Town Day, everything from student groups, to sister city initiatives, to sustainable life and development and more. Arlington’s small businesses are out in force as well, of course. Not surprisingly, I also ran into some of our member organizations.

Arlington Housing Corporation Pam Hallett

Pam Hallett of Arlington Housing Corporation

At some point I visited the Arlington Housing Corporation table and chatted a bit with its Executive Director (and AE member) Pam Hallett. Check out the work of the housing corporation if you hadn’t done so before. They do great work in the community and help make Arlington a more affordable, equitable place to live.

I also met the new Director of Libraries, Andrea Nicolay. I’m looking forward to seeing her again in my many trips to the Robbins Library (a/k/a “My second home”).

Andrea Nicolay New Director Robbins Library

Meet Andrea Nicolay, New Director of Libraries in Arlington

AE member Bob Sprague of YourArlington.com also made an appearance, along with his wife and local author, Marjorie Howard. Marjorie and fellow author Barbara Goodman are in the process of publishing  the book “Legendary Locals Arlington.” Be on the lookout for it!

There’s an arts area at Town Day, in front of the Jefferson Cutter house on Massachusetts Ave. It’s there I ran into Linda Shoemaker, Executive Director of the Arlington Center for the Arts. I just checked their website a moment ago and it looks like there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on: Arlington Open Studios in October, along with its regular lineup of courses and events.

AE Member Linda Shoemaker, Executive Director of the Arlington Center for the Arts

AE Member Linda Shoemaker, Executive Director of the Arlington Center for the Arts

Before finishing up, I thought I’d give a shout out to our Arlington business association neighbors, The Capitol Square Business Association and the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. It’s good to know we’re all here and pulling together for the economic development of our town!

East Arlington's Capitol Square

East Arlington’s Capitol Square

 

Beth Locke, Director of the Chamber of Commerce

Beth Locke, Director of the Chamber of Commerce

Check out all that Arlington has to offer. It’s just a walk, bike ride or short walk away!

Welcome to the New Arlington Entrepreneurs!

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I hope you like our new home. Don’t worry, the network is still there and you can go to it any time you want. This website will give us a community-facing home and, with it, increased visibility.

You’ll also notice a few new member features. First, we have some great, new AE partners who have graciously offered us a number of new services, either discounted or free of charge. Second, we’ll be featuring a number of posts from guest bloggers, most of whom are also AE members. This site has been a work in progress for some time now, so don’t be surprised if you notice a lot of updates and changes.

Arlington Entrepreneurs is a place for, and by, its members. We’re very small and wear a lot of hats. We deal with challenges that workers in larger organizations don’t experience. It’s easy to become isolated and overwhelmed. We’re here to help, whether it be our participation in a co-working venture with the Town, marketing services targeted to micro-businesses and/or arts organizations or events that bring us together and help us grow.

To our over 200 members – thank you for making Arlington Entrepreneurs a success! By all means, please contact our Community Manager, Margy Rydzynski, if you have a service or product to offer the community. Volunteers are always welcome. It’s a lot of work, but many hands lighten the load.

Enjoy!