Businesses, Consumers Differ on Economic Outlook Under President Donald Trump

Businesses, Consumers Differ on Economic Outlook Under President Donald Trump
Annual Economic Outlook Survey Results Released

On April 12th, over 250 guests joined the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and Fidelity Bank at the DoubleTree in Leominster to get an idea of what the future holds for the economy under the current administration. This is the 6th year that the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and Fidelity Bank have partnered on this event. This year additional support came from the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. J.D. Foster, Vice President, Economic Policy Division and Chief Economist of the US Chamber of Commerce, provided keynote remarks with his presentation: What a Trump Economy Means for Us. Jeff Fuhrer, Executive Vice President and Senior Policy Advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston also spoke at the Economic Forecast Breakfast, presenting on the state of the economy and its outlook specifically for Massachusetts.

The breakfast sponsor, Fidelity Bank, presented on two economic outlook surveys they conducted of local business leaders and consumers from across North Central Massachusetts. “Getting the insights of these top economists, as well as our local consumer and business population, provides real value to the decision makers in our region,” said Ed Manzi Jr., chairman and CEO of Fidelity Bank. “In support of our LifeDesign promise, we’ve sponsored this event for the past six years, and once again it’s very gratifying to have partnered with three local chambers to support the business community in Central Massachusetts.”

“The surveys and presentations by our speakers is really a great way for our region to get a better understanding about what direction our economy is heading,” said Roy Nascimento, President and CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “The presentations, combined with the surveys allow for a comprehensive view into conditions that could impact both consumers and businesses”

The economic outlook survey for both consumers and business leaders pointed to the political climate playing a significant role in the economy, but the two groups differed on President Donald Trump’s impact on the economy. On President Trump’s impact on the economy, 53% of consumers felt it would be negative, while 58% of business leaders feel that the president will have a positive impact on the economy.

Consumers overall did not have overwhelmingly positive feelings about a rising economy, with 76% of respondents indicating that the economy would be the same or only somewhat better a year from now.

Although the survey revealed that consumers believe that the high cost of living will be a threat to economic growth, only 22% of consumers believe that in 2017 they will be spending less money, while 44% believe they will not make any change to their spending habits.
The availability of skilled labor in the region was a major concern for business leaders. Workforce issues were the top challenge that businesses expect to face in the next two years, and was high among the greatest threats to economic growth for respondents.

“You can see from the survey that consumers have leveled off on Trump’s impact to the economy,” said Chris McCarthy, President and COO of Fidelity Bank. “In comparison business leaders have a more positive outlook on the upcoming year.”

Half of business leaders surveyed did indicate they would be increasing capital investments in their business in the next year. Investment priorities for business in 2017 include equipment, new hires, training, and expansion.

Complete results of the economic outlook survey are available online at www.NorthCentralMass.com/Research.

Getting to Know Your Chamber Scheduled for Thursday, April 20, 2017

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce will host “Getting to Know Your Chamber” on Thursday, April 20, 2017 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Devens Common Center, 31 Andrews Parkway, Devens, MA.  This presentation is designed to help new members navigate the perks and programs of Chamber membership, but is equally valuable for current members who want to get the most value from their membership, or those interested in learning if chamber membership is right for them.

Chamber staff will explain the many benefits and programs of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce including networking events, government affairs, educational workshops and seminars, advertising opportunities and health insurance, to name just a few.  Attendees will also learn about the different affiliate organizations under the Chamber umbrella that focus on specialty areas and allow the Chamber to achieve more for its members and for the advancement of North Central Massachusetts. There is no cost to attend the “Getting to Know Your Chamber” meeting, but pre-registration is required.  Register online at www.NorthCentralMass.com/news/calendar-of-events/.

The Chamber will also be hosting a Business After Hours event at the Devens Common Center immediately following the orientation from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.  The Chamber’s Business After Hours series provides an opportunity for members and non-members to mingle and build business relationships in an informal relaxed business setting.  These networking mixers are held throughout the year in partnership with member businesses and attract business professionals from many industries. The cost to participate in the Business After Hours is $15 for members and $25 for non-members and includes a cash bar, hors d’oeuvres, tours of the common center and networking with business people from throughout North Central Massachusetts.  For more information or to register visit www.NorthCentralMass.com/news/calendar-of-events/ or contact the Chamber at 978.353.7600 ext. 235.

Business owners unable to attend but interested in learning more about Chamber membership may contact Jeff Ardis, Manager of Member Services and Business Development or David Ginisi at 978.353.7600 or by sending an email to jardis@northcentralmass.com or dginisi@northcentralmass.com to schedule a one-to-one meeting.

All-Day Workshops Scheduled for Entrepreneurs in Fitchburg, MA

 

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation and Bank Hometown are holding two business workshops on May 4, 2017 aimed at assisting potential and existing entrepreneurs.

These free workshops are approximately 2 hours each and are being held in partnership with the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center, SCORE, NewVue Communities, and City of Fitchburg and Leominster’s Economic Development Office.  Both workshops will each run approximately two and a half hours and will be held at the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, 860 South Street in Fitchburg on Thursday, May 4.

Session I: Fundamentals in Planning, Preparing, and Financing Your Business will run from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and will focus on evaluating and understanding the fundamentals of owning one’s own business.  Information on how to get started, where and how to get financing and the loan application process will be presented.  Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. Continental breakfast will be provided for all participants.  Presented by Bob Aspell, SCORE

Session II: Understanding the Purpose of Financial Statements and How They Can Help Determine the Health of Your Business will run from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and will focus on understanding a balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement.  The workshop will also explain how a small business owner can anticipate financial needs in order to operate his/her business more efficiently.  Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. Lunch will be provided for all participants. Presented by Robert C. Alario, CPA

To register, please contact Sandie Cataldo at 978.353.7607 ext. 232 or SCataldo@northcentralmass.com.  You may also register online at www.NorthCentralMass.com.

 

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) is a non-profit corporation with the mission of creating jobs and improving the economy of North Central Massachusetts. NCMDC is certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the U.S. Department of the Treasury under the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Program. The NCMDC works in partnership with local banks, credit unions, chambers of commerce and area nonprofits to support emerging microenterprises, small businesses, and community projects with loans and business assistance.  Since 1996, the NCMDC has granted over $4,200,000 in loans to small businesses to help grow jobs and the economy in 26 communities in the North Central Massachusetts region.

 

For more information about the NCMDC loan or technical assistance programs, please call 978.353.7607 or visit www.choosenorthcentral.com.

Tourism Industry Celebrated its Economic Impact at Annual Tourism Day at the State House

 

The tourism industry celebrated its economic impact and its legislative champions at the annual Massachusetts Tourism Day at the State House on Thursday, April 6, 11am-1pm, in the Great Hall.

Hosted by the 16 Regional Tourism Councils (RTCs) of Massachusetts, in partnership with the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development and the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT), Massachusetts Tourism Day included a mid-day program that featured presentations of the Champion of Tourism awards to Sen Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland) and Rep. Mathew Muratore (R-Plymouth).

Other speakers included Joint Committee Co-chairs Rep. Cory Atkins and Sen. Adam Hinds. Francois Laurent-Nivaud, director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT).

The third largest industry in the Commonwealth, tourism accounts for 135,000 jobs, thanks in large part to the direct spending by 23.5 million visitors to Massachusetts.  In 2015, for example, visitors to the state spent $20.2 billion on lodging, meals, culture and recreational attractions, transportation, and retail.  That spending yielded $1.3 billion in local and state tax revenue.

“Tourism plays a major role in the North Central Massachusetts economy, accounting for over $127 million in direct spending in the region,” said Roy Nascimento, President and CEO of the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association. “The visitor industry is not something we should take for granted – we need to continue partnerships with state and local government, together with the private sector, to leverage investments in the tourism industry that will help grow our economy.”

As part of Thursday’s celebration, the RTCs offered food samples representing the culinary traditions of their regions, ranging from chowder to maple and apple products.

“The Regional Tourism Councils have a deep understanding of their unique regions coupled with marketing know-how. Their promotional efforts showcase all that Massachusetts has to offer, “said Representative Cory Atkins. “Over 23 million visitors frequent our restaurants, hotels, museums, cultural institutions, and attractions. The economic impact of a robust tourism industry is a boon to the Massachusetts economy.”

Community Leadership Institute visits Beacon Hill Future Leaders Learn about Pressing State Issues

 On Thursday, March 23, 2017, nearly 40 North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce members, including the 2017 class of the Community Leadership Institute, visited the Massachusetts State House to meet with legislators, government leaders and policymakers.

 As part of the Community Leadership Institute, a year-long program for emerging community leaders, North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce members started their day with a tour of one of the United States’ oldest and most storied State Houses, met with delegates in the Members Lounge, and discussed policy with state and non-government organizations.

Representatives Jennifer Benson, Kim Ferguson, Stephan Hay and Natalie Higgins were all in attendance to greet the members as well as provide information.

Over the course of the day, Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack, Secretary of Health and Human Services Mary Lou Sudders, State Budget Director Catharine Hornby  and Benjamin Forman, research director of MassInc, discussed policy, initiatives and had frank dialogue with participants about the State of the Commonwealth.

“Participating in the Chamber’s Community Leadership Institute was key to my personal and professional development within our community,” said CarrieAnne Cormier of Avidia Bank and CLI alumni member. “I was proud to have the opportunity to come back to CLI this year as an alumnus for the recent State House event. It was an important way for me to support my team’s current CLI participants, connect with other leaders within North Central – and of course re-energize with a fun and informative day in Boston”

“I have always lived in North Central Massachusetts, but the CLI has opened new doors for me and expanded my knowledge of the many resources in our own backyard,” said Amanda Landry of UMass Memorial – HealthAlliance Hospital and current Community Leadership Institute participant. “Touring the State House and visiting with key leaders who praised initiatives in North Central as well as voiced their continued support to develop the region made me even more proud to live and work here. I look forward to the continued partnerships with our elected officials in the future.”

The Community Leadership Institute has three program days left in the 2017 session which include sessions focused on healthcare, law & justice, arts & culture and a wrap up session prior to the graduation ceremony at the Chamber’s 2017 Annual Business Meeting & Luncheon held on June 15th. For more information on the Community Leadership Institute, please contact Maria McCaffrey, 978.353.7600 ext. 235 or mmccaffrey@northcentralmass.com

Be a Champion for North Central Massachusetts!

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation, and the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association today announced the launch of the new North Central Massachusetts Champions program to help promote the region through social media as a great place to live, work, visit and grow a business.

Anyone with a social media account and who loves North Central Massachusetts can become a North Central Massachusetts Champion.  Whether they live here, work here, own a business here or just enjoy visiting here, they are invited to become a Champion and show their civic pride and help advance the community by spreading the word about positive news and information about the region.  The goal of this new initiative is to arm proud residents, local business leaders and public officials with the region’s key selling points and then encourage them to talk up the benefits of the communities located in North Central Massachusetts to their business and personal contacts via their social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

“We are rallying the entire community to get behind this initiative,” said Roy Nascimento, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce.  “This is a great opportunity to join us on the front lines of economic development and help make a difference in promoting all the good things that they love about North Central Massachusetts!”

To participate and become a North Central Massachusetts Champion anyone can visit northcentralmass.com/champions to sign up.  The process is easy and can connect any social network.  Champions will then receive an email 2-3 times per month with new and exciting content about the region that they can share.  Each email contains a status update and link to the content that is being shared with them.  With a simple press of the button, Champions can share the status update automatically on their social networks that they select.

North Central Massachusetts Champions will never have content posted to their social networks without being explicitly notified.  Even if they choose to auto-post content, they have the option to opt-out of each post before it is shared.

This new program is one of a series of recent efforts to help promote the region and advance the local economy.  In addition to the Champions program, the website ChooseNorthCentral.com and the hashtag #ChooseNorthCentral were recently launched to promote the region as a great place to grow or relocate a business.  The Chamber and Development Corporation also recently launched a social media campaign to promote the region as a great place to operate a business, expanded its micro loan program and published a comprehensive directory of manufacturing and industrial parks in the region.

JATA hosts FAM tour for Barbara Gallucci

The Johnny Appleseed Trail Association (JATA) helped host a New England FAM tour in May, 2016 with award winning Italian travel writer  Barbara Gallucci that resulted in a feature in the April, 2017 edition of Touring Magazine highlighting New England. The Town of Harvard and several members in region were included in the feature.  Touring Magazine is the official magazine of the Italian Touring Club Association, which is similar to AAA in the United States. The publication has a circulation of 300,000 copies and a readership of 571,000 people.  The FAM Tour was conducted in partnership with the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism and Discover New England. JATA wishes to thank members who participated.  The purpose of these familiarization (FAM) tours is to generate positive awareness among travel writers and positive coverage in their travel publications, which ultimately generates additional tourists and additional dollars to our state and our region. The marketing generated from this travel article is estimated to have a value of $300,000.

 

Click here to view the article

North Central Mass Development Corp Provides Financing to Little Explorers Child Care Center

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) is proud to announce that Little Explorers Child Care Center, LLC has secured a micro-loan of $39,750 for the purchase of real estate.

Lindsey Page opened the Child Care Center in July of 2012, which is conveniently located off Route 2 in Templeton, and attracts families from surrounding towns.  With the help of this loan, Lyndsey plans to purchase the building that she currently leases to accommodate her growing business.  Quality care, convenient location, and flexibility to suit the individual family’s needs separates Little Explores Child Care Center from the competition; giving her a huge advantage over her market.  This loan was in partnership with Bank Hometown and will create 2 jobs.  For more information on Little Explores Day Care call (978) 939-8080.

As a microloan lender, NCMDC can provide loans to small businesses up to $150,000 for working capital, equipment, inventory, expansion and working with our banking partners to provide gap financing for the final piece of a project. 

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) is a non-profit corporation with the mission of creating jobs and improving the economy of North Central Massachusetts. NCMDC is certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the U.S. Department of the Treasury under the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Program. The NCMDC works in partnership with local banks, credit unions, chambers of commerce and area nonprofits to support emerging microenterprises, small businesses, and community projects with loans and business assistance.  Since 1996, the NCMDC has granted over $4,200,000 in loans to small businesses to help grow jobs and the economy in 26 communities in the North Central Massachusetts region.

 For more information about the NCMDC and its loan programs, call 978.353.7607 or visit www.choosenorthcentral.com.

Retail Visioning Workshop Comes to North Central MA Professional Advice and Fresh Ideas for Storefront Business Owners

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Cities of Fitchburg and Leominster along with the Towns of Clinton and Westminster, is pleased to be bringing an exciting workshop to our area for the benefit of our storefront small businesses.  The retail industry is facing changes large and small — but there are things that can be done!

The workshop provides ideas and instruction in the areas of business identity and positioning, store and restaurant design, visual merchandising and retail marketing.   Tips, tools, trends and tricks of the trade will be shared — and business owners’ specific questions will be answered.  There are even ways to compete with online businesses … come and find out how!

Retail Best Practices – The Power of Presentation is delivered by Christine Moynihan of Retail Visioning.  This program has helped hundreds of business owners improve the look and feel of their establishments as well as the customer experience and marketing messages in print and online.  Formerly the VP of Retail Marketing for a national footwear brand, Chris has helped launch a number of new store concepts around the country and has worked to support and improve independent retail establishments for over 10 years.  Over 1500 retailers have attended her workshops.  Every attendee at the workshop will receive a copy of her booklet: A Retailer’s Gut Check, A Self-Assessment Guide for Small Business.

The workshop will be held on April 5, 2017 at the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce at 860 South Street, Fitchburg, MA.  The program will run from 8am to 10am.  Coffee and an opportunity for business owners to network with one another will begin at 7:30am.

Pre-registration is requested to prepare for the arrival of all of our attendees. Attendance is just $10. Registration is available online at www.northcentralmass.com. For more information, contact Maria McCaffrey, Events & Programs Manager, at 978.353.7600 x. 235 or mmccaffrey@northcentralmass.com

 

North Central Development Corporation Publishes Manufacturers Directory

Expansive guide highlights the region’s vast manufacturing firms and industrial space

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) announce the publication of the 2017 edition of the Manufacturers Directory and Industrial Parks Guide for North Central Massachusetts. The publication is designed to promote and connect manufacturers with suppliers as well as serve as a resource for companies looking to relocate or expand throughout the region.

This new version of the directory was nearly a year in the making and represents the first new edition since 2015. Working with multiple sources, the NCMDC confirmed the operating status and primary product line of each company listed in the directory. In addition to the listing of local manufacturers, the publication also includes a section on life science companies, a listing of suppliers and a guide to business and industrial parks in North Central Massachusetts.

“We published this directory to help support our local manufacturers who are so critical to the long term vitality of the North Central economy”, said Roy Nascimento, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation. “We hope that this publication will be a resource in connecting manufacturers with their peers and helping them find local suppliers.”

This new publication is part of the Chamber and Development Corporation’s continuing efforts to help promote the region and advance the economy of North Central Massachusetts.  In addition to this new manufacturing directory, the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation has recently expanded its loan programs to include a new Express Loan program, a Second Chance loan initiative and has grown its technical assistance offerings for new and established small businesses in the region. NCMDC has been expanding its reach to small and growing businesses in neighboring communities through partnerships with local chambers. Partnerships have already been created with the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Assabet Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the North Quabbin Chamber of Commerce. The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation also recently launched the new website ChooseNorthCentral.com and the hashtag #ChooseNorthCentral to promote North Central Massachusetts as a great place to grow or relocate a business and the organization has been engaged in new workforce development initiatives to improve the pipeline of skilled workers for local employers.

The 2017 edition of the publication was supported by advertising and is being circulated to manufacturers throughout the region. For more information, please contact the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce at 978.353.7600.

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) is a non-profit corporation with the mission of creating jobs and improving the economy of North Central Massachusetts.  The NCMDC acts as a connector, facilitator and partner and works in partnership with local banks, credit unions, chambers of commerce and area nonprofits to support emerging microenterprises, small businesses, and community projects with loans and business assistance.  The NCMDC is certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury under the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) program and is a micro-loan intermediary for the U.S. Small Business Administration.  Since 1996, the NCMDC has granted over $4.2 million in loans to small businesses to help grow jobs and the economy in 26 communities in the North Central Massachusetts region.

For more information about the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation please call 978.353.7607 or visit www.choosenorthcentral.com or www.northcentralmass.com.