Government Affairs Committee January 2017 Update

As we start 2017, the Government Affairs Committee is keeping abreast of proposals before the City of Cambridge which may impact locally-owned independent businesses.  Here are a few highlights and items of note from happenings in the City:
Central Square Restoration Petition
This zoning petition, also referred to as the Sater Petition, seeks to implement changes to Central Square’s zoning that have been discussed over the last 10+ years as part of multiple reviews of the Square.  Cambridge Local First is supportive of the Petition in general and its “Formula Business” requirements in particular.  The Petition and the Formula Business language, if adopted, would require a Planning Board review and input for any business meeting certain criteria such as having 10 or more locations in Massachusetts or 20 or more globally or sharing a common trademark or logo.  Businesses that do not meet the definition of a Formula Business would not be subject to a Planning Board Special Permit Review.  This will provide, in our opinion, small, independently-owned businesses with some valuable relief when seeking to open in Central Square.
This Petition is set to expire on March 1st unless acted on by the Council.  We encourage you to ask the City Councillors that you know or are your customers to support this Petition and the Formula Business language.
Inman Square
Inman Square is a difficult place for those who seek to traverse its tangled main intersection whether that be by foot, bicycle or automobile.  The City is working on plans to redesign the intersection with several options for enhancing pedestrian and cyclist safety.  Each of these plans has pros and cons to their designs.  If your business is in Inman Square or has you traveling through Inman Square frequently some of these proposals may have more of an impact on your business than others.  The redesign of Inman Square is going to happen, so we encourage you to review the options and provide your feedback, including any impacts to your business before a final design is selected.
We will link to the proposed designs on the Cambridge Local First website and we encourage you to look them over and provide feedback either to CLF or to the City.
The Cambridge Redevelopment Authority 2017 Forward Fund

The Cambridge Redevelopment Authority’s Forward Fund (the Fund) is a microgrant program intended toreinvest development funds generated in the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Area to fund pilot projects by non-profit organizations, community groups, innovative thinkers, and small businesses across the City of Cambridge. The Fund supports innovative civic improvement projects and creative physical interventions that better Cambridge’s built environment for the benefit of all the city’s residents, workers, and visitors.

The grants available for 2017 are the Civic Experimentation Capital Grant, with an award range of $5,000 – $25,000.  The second available grant is theCommunity Infrastructure Captial Grant, also with an award range of $5,000 – $25,000.  The grants are available to help support projects that create, maintain, or enhance Connections within Cambridge. 

This is a great opportunity to implement projects in your particular part of Cambridge while having them funded by the Forward Fund.  For more information visit the Forward Fund.

(Above taken almost entirely from CRA’s Forward Fund site.)
City Council Election Year
Its another odd year which means a City Council Election this November.  While that seems like a long time away, there is already a growing list of candidates who will soon be seeking your input, support and contributions.  CLF will once again be surveying the candidates on a variety of issues that impact locally-owned, independent businesses and their employees and will make the responses available to our members and the general public.
Join the Committee
We are always looking for new members to join the Government Affairs Committee and we welcome anyone who would like to undertake the work of making doing business in the City easier, reducing red-tape and working to have the voice of independently-owned, local businesses heard when the City considers changes to regulations to join us.

Look of Local 2016 Wrap Up

Over 100 guests joined us for our second Annual Look of Local Fashion Show on September 27th at the Garment District in Cambridge. Almost 20 businesses participated in our show, featuring everything from a fairy themed gown to a beautiful lingerie set.

Guests enjoyed delicious food and drink from Ole Mexican Restaurant in Inman Square and Cambridge Spirits in Kendall while perusing our pop-up fashion marketplace with 10 local vendors. DJBoom kept the party going with bumping music and Amador Bilingual Voiceovers MCeed. 

Several businesses contributed to help make this event a success. First and foremost we must thank our lead sponsor, New Leaf Legal and our hosts at the Garment District. The goodies for our gift bags were contributed by Cambridge Spirits, Irving House at Harvard, Cambridge Naturals, Harvest Co-op, Nift, and Kim Samuels (who also did makeup for the evening).

dscf6699Board President, Rachael Solem, introduces the evening's show!

CLF Executive Director and Board Members celebrate a successful event!

dscf6696Some of our beautiful vendor tables from Esmeralda Lambert, Boomerangs, and Singing Stones. 

dscf6778The gorgeous women of Rumba y Timbal!

dscf6786The designers of Simone Simon pose with their models. 

dscf6792Dianellie of Demand Di and Boomerangs poses with her models.


Our first three looks are all from local designer Simone Simon. First we have Molly, Cherry and Nana. She founded a women clothing line with structure and a passion for materiality and movement. For her, fashion is architecture:  it's a matter of proportion.



 Cherry Modeling Simone Simon.


Nana Modeling Simone Simon.


Liliana is wearing a bra and underwear set from Stella McCartney's Fall collection from Forty Winks


Elisenda is wearing a navy blue quilted Cassie pencil skirt with a colorful Irma tunic tied off to the side. She competes the LuLaRoe ensemble with buttery soft leggings to keep her warm on her commute to work!


From the racks of The Garment District, Lena Christopher is modeling an eastern influenced bohemian tunic ensemble from the1960s, with sheer sleeves and fine embroidery of gold, baby teal and light rose. A two piece ensemble that could very likely have been worn to a hipster jazz club of that era, it is updated with a new contemporary belt of teal and gold, and accessorized with a vintage gold sequined clutch, all from the Garment District.


Vyvy is modeling a beautiful midnight teal dress with a cinched waist from The Garment District. To complete the look, she is wearing a necklace from Boutique Fabulous.: Made by local artist Carole Sousa in Brookline, MA, this stunning necklace is a cluster of frosted glass and AB coated stones with a unique chain.


Lindsay is modeling a fun and flirty dress from Susanna and  of Porter Square. Open since 1982 Susanna is known for its stylish non-mainstream clothing, well designed accessories, and the wit and wisdom of its helpful staff. She is also sporting wedges from Sudo Shoes.


Deb, owner of Nomad, models the Nestor Skirt from Grub - combining modern asymmetrical lines with a flamenco flair. Paired with casual street wear like this USA-made Prairie Underground "Sportwardian" turtleneck and quilted vest from Mystree, you've got a fantastic ensemble. Add a handwoven bag from Colombia and Cottage and Pearl Designs necklace for the complete look!


Also from Nomad, this next look can go from day to night: the "Jules" mini skirt from Prairie Underground paired with the double-layer jean and tweed "Art Jacket" from Baci makes for a perfect Fall outfit. Jewelry from JEWELS of Santa Fe and Marrakech top it off with a statement!


These three looks have been provided by Boomerangs Cambridge, a thrift store owned and operated by the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts. Our first model, Corina, is wearing a vintage faux fur coat, a blue button down shirt, and a plaid yellow skirt.


Our second model, Angela, is wearing a faux leather biker jacket and a vintage floral patterned jumpsuit, also from Boomerangs. Both looks were styled by Dianellie Alexander.


Lastly from Boomerangs, Justin is sporting a purple top and sports coat, along with blue plaid pants. A day to night look that is sure to turn heads at the office or an evening out.


The wrap dress was handcrafted by gather here craft associate, Emma Fritschel. The dress pattern is by papercut patterns designed in Australia. She is accessorized by IK Bio jewelry, with a Necklace, earrings and rings.


Johan is sporting a Black diamond quilted two piece jumpsuit by Demand Di.


Another gorgeous look from Demand Di

Molly with a look from JocelynMercedes. JocelynMercedes is where the catwalk meets the sidewalk. We provide a wide range of unique, upscale and trendy clothing & accessories added daily to accommodate the everyday fashionista.


Designer Suzanne Watzman models her pintucked bamboo jacket in bright blue for her Tamaryn Design label. Shown over Second Yoga black jeans, and artprint tanktop. Convertible brown leather tote by Lolona Morse, accessorized with imported pink striped silk scarf. Her designs are available at Clothware

Up next is The Garment District and Boston Costume’s dapper representative, Rags the cat. Rags is proving he’s the “cat’s meow” as he strolls down the alley in this 40’s inspired pink, pinstripe zoot suit. This two-piece look is completed with white spats, a stylish watch chain, and a black wide brim fedora. You’ll need a saucer of milk to cool off this hot look.


Zoe is wearing a green dress with a fitted in the bodice, from African Gift Items in Central Square. Her shoes from the garment district, and a bracelet from Singing Stones.


Her sister Bobby is wearing a turquoise dress and bracelet also from African Gift Items.



Conscious Elegance gives new life to textiles through creative repurposing and sustainable sourcing. This fairy costume, entitled, 'Queen Mab', was crafted from reclaimed vintage wedding dresses, hand-dyed and re-assembled."


Liliana models a look for Rumba Y Timbal


Another beautiful look from Rumba y Timbal

dscf6757Final Look from Rumba Y Timbal

What does it mean to be Local?


While this may seem an easy question to answer, when we are trying to determine who can and who cannot be a member of our Local First network, it is not simple at all. Is a retail business with several outlets outside of our city still local?  How many stores can it have before it is no longer ‘locally owned’?   Does the size of a business matter? Size in revenues or number of employees? What about a bank?  Must it be privately held?  Or, how much of the bank can be publicly traded before it is no longer ‘local?’  If a business grows by franchising, is each of its locations now a separate entity?  Or, when does it become ineligible for membership in a local network (such as CLF) as its business structure no longer complies?

What matters to the consumer?  Perhaps it is knowing and being known by your local business owner/operator.  Or maybe it is just being conveniently located near a customer’s work or home.  Or maybe that business gets its products locally, or at least from fairly traded sources.

What matters to the community?   For the first responders, it is knowing whom to contact when street disruptions or emergencies occur.  For cultural and charitable organizations, it is getting their support for schools or theater groups, or the homeless, or underfed people in the neighborhood.

What matters to colleagues?  When we meet at an event, or sit at a board meeting, the locally owned businesses are represented by the owners of companies.  We do not have to defer decisions to a higher authority.  We speak and act from our personal business experiences and outlooks.  While we do not always agree, we DO listen, understand and respect others’ perspectives more clearly because we know that owners understand the consequences of their policies, of regulations, of movements in the marketplace far more intimately than those who are part of a larger corporate structure.  We can more easily partner with our owner colleagues, be quick and creative and respond to our community more appropriately than larger businesses with larger reach.

This is, I hope, the beginning of a larger discussion.  We welcome your input at all levels: responding to surveys, writing letters, or even writing your own piece on the meaning of Local to you, to all of us.

Join us for our second annual Look of Local Fashion Show!

The second annual Look of Local will take place on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 from 6-9PM at the Garment District at 200 Broadway in Kendall. Last year, over 100 Cantabrigians joined us for an amazing evening of food, fun and fashion at Workbar Cambridge, this year will be even better!

This year’s event will once again feature a fashion show with clothes and accessories from local vendors. We will also have a vendor fair, where guests can peruse and purchase items from the night’s show as well as other goods. With music by a local DJ and complimentary food and drink, it is sure to be a great night.

Last year, we had an incredible roster of retailers and makers at the show and on the runway. For more information about event details take a look at the online version of the event program or click any of the photos to be taken to the corresponding business's website.  


A little pre-show shopping at businesses pop-up tables.




Photograph by Michael Rose Photography



Having a hard time not laughing with hilarious co-host and actor, Michael Messina



The crowd cheers to start the show!


Have fun and kick butt at our next CMC Event!

Cambridge Local First (CLF) will host an exclusive kickboxing class on Saturday, June 25th at 5pm at Redline Fight Sports in Central Square (614 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139). Redline Fight Sports trains some of the best fighters around, but fear not, this event is designed for locals of all skill levels. Afterwards, head over to the Middle East Restaurant for some great food - all at 10% off for community members. Bring a friend or come solo, either way it is bound to be a great night!

This event is free to CLF Community Members; however, guests must show their CLF Community Card at the door. Space will be limited. CLF Community Cards are available for purchase for $20 online and in-store at Artisan Trading Co., Cambridge Naturals, Harvard Book Store, Harvest Co-op, Nomad, Out of the Blue Gallery, and Porter Square Book Store. CLF Community Membership includes deals and discounts at over 60 and growing local Cambridge businesses and access to exclusive community events.

RSVP Today

Reserve your space before its gone

Make Your Dream Home a Reality at Cambridge’s First Ever Home Show!

Cambridge Local First (CLF) will host Cambridge’s first Home Show on Saturday, June 18, 2016 from 11:00am – 3:00pm at Artisans Trading Company, located at 125 Fawcett St. in Cambridge. In addition to being the first in Cambridge, this event will also be unique as the only Home Show to feature exclusively locally and independently owned businesses.

Stroll through Artisans Trading Company’s expansive warehouse showroom, featuring handcrafted furniture imported from Indonesia. Chat with a variety of vendors specializing in everything from home improvement and architecture to personal concierge and home organization. Catch a couple of demos from industry experts on the main stage. You can also try your luck in our raffle for a chance to win outstanding prizes.

The Cambridge Home Show is designed to be a great outing for the whole family. Younger guests can enjoy a dedicated children’s area with activities from local businesses. CLF will also be serving complimentary refreshments courtesy of Bon Me and Iggy’s Bread of the World.

Founded in 2005, Cambridge Local First is a non-profit network of over 400 businesses and 1000 community members whose mission is to build a strong Cambridge economy and a vibrant community.

Happy #BankLocal Month!


Dear Cambridge Local First Members and Friends,


As a result of the national movement, the word LOCAL has become one of the best ways to attract customer attention and promote almost any business. We are all seeing it everywhere.

Cambridge Local First is celebrating its eleventh year of encouraging residents to patronize locally owned businesses and we continue to promote its many benefits for the owners, the residents, and the community. However, we all sometimes forget the extraordinary benefits of banking locally. Cambridge is fortunate to have several outstanding local banks. They are located close to our homes and businesses and they can absolutely do everything the big national and multinational banks can.

Why not keep the money in Cambridge where it can be used to improve our local economy? Here are four solid and practical reasons why you should Move Your Money to our local banks and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same:

  1. Receive the same services at a lower cost!
    Most locally owned banks offer the same array of services, from online bill paying to debit and credit cards, and often at much lower cost than big banks.
  2. Put your money to work growing our local economy.
    Small businesses create the majority of new jobs and depend heavily on local banks for financing. Small and mid-sized banks control less than one-quarter of all bank assets, yet they account for more than half of small business lending.
  3. Keep decision-making local.
    At local banks loan approvals and other key decisions are made by people who live in the community, have face-to-face relationships with their customers, and understand local needs. Because of this personal knowledge, local banks are often able to approve small business and other loans that big banks would reject.
  4. Support businesses that share a commitment to our Cambridge community.
    The fortunes of local banks are intimately tied to the fortunes of their local communities. The more the community prospers, the more the local banks benefits. This is why local banks are so supportive of Cambridge nonprofits in general and Cambridge Local First in particular!

Locally yours,
Rachael Solem and Frank Kramer, Co-Chairs of Cambridge Local First


CLF Member Banks
CSB -ThumbnailCTC -Thumbnail ECSB-Thumbnail

Eastern Bank-ThumbnailNCC-Thumbnail EBSB - ThumbnailLeader Bank -Thumbnail Naveo -Thumbnail


Maximizing your Restaurant’s Food Purchasing: A Business Seminar


Managing the cost of food and operations can be a challenge for any restaurant. But understanding food cost can maximize restaurant profitability. This seminar will explore topics such as lowering food and operational costs, maximizing profits, and increasing customer satisfaction.

Join us on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 from 9-11 AM at Cambridge Savings Bank in Harvard Square, 14 John F. Kennedy St. Light refreshments will be provided.

Gary Boudreau is the Principal of Bluefin Consultants, a Food Safety Consulting company. Bluefin Consultants provides ServSafe® courses and consultation for any foodservice establishment in operations, safety, purchasing, menu management and analysis. Gary has over 26 years of food service sales and management experience with the 2 largest Broad Liners in the nation, US Food and Sysco. He brings a unique look and perspective into how and why you purchase your goods to run your operation.

RSVP Today!

Tickets are $20 for members and $35 for non members

Sample great local Beer, Coffee, and Honey at LocalBuzz!

Cambridge Local First (CLF) is having a tasting to showcase buzzworthy treats from local and independent Cambridge businesses.

LocalBuzz will take place on Wednesday March 30, 2016 in the Venture Cafe of Cambridge Innovation Center at 1 Broadway Cambridge, MA 02142 from 5:00-8:00 pm. Come and taste different local Cambridge treats that will give you a buzz. Samples will include beer, coffee, chocolate, and honey. The first 150 guests will receive a free gift bag. Entry is free but RSVP is necessary. Guests must show ID at the door. This event is proudly sponsored by CLF members New Leaf Legal, Cambridge Spirits, and Revolution Capital.

Founded in 2005, Cambridge Local First is a non-profit network whose mission is to build a strong Cambridge economy and a vibrant community. Cambridge Local First advances this mission with several campaigns throughout the year including the annual business directory, the CLF Community Card, events, business improvement seminars, and educational materials on the benefits of choosing local first.


Raffle Prizes Sought for FOCRLS Fundraiser plus an update on the 100×100 Program

Raffle Prizes Sought for Fundraiser to Support CRLS Students


The Friends of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (FoCRLS) MayFair Raffle has become an annual tradition, and thanks to the enthusiastic support of Cambridge businesses – many of them members of Cambridge Local First – who have provided a wide array of gift cards and certificates, last year the raffle raised over $8,000!
If your business would like to donate a gift certificate or gift card as a prize for the FoCRLS raffle, please contact us at or 857-235-9290 to arrange for one of our volunteers to pick it up, or you can mail it directly to FoCRLS, P.O. Box 39-1541, Cambridge, MA 02139.
Raffle tickets will be sold in April at various venues and online and at the May 1st Harvard Square MayFair. FoCRLS actively publicizes the business raffle prize donors before, during, and after the raffle, including on, on raffle table signs, in emails, and in the nonprofit association’s Annual Report.

Proceeds of this raffle and all FoCRLS fundraising enhance the academic and social development of Cambridge’s public high school students through Student Travel Fellowships, Faculty Innovation Grants, Unsung Heroes, It Takes a Village College Success Program, Faculty Distinction Awards, and Scholarships for further education. For more information about Friends of CRLS, please visit
Thanks in advance to the members of CLF for your support of Cambridge Rindge and Latin students!

Friends of CRLS Reaches First Annual Goal  of $10,000 for the “100 by 100” Cambridge Business Community Scholarships!

Friends of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (FoCRLS) is thrilled to announce that their nonprofit association has reached the first annual  “100 by 100” Cambridge Business Community Scholarship Fund goal by raising $10,000 before the end of 2015 to award to members of the CRLS Class of 2016.  The Class of 2016 “100 by 100” Scholarships were made possible by the generosity and community spirit of the Founding Donors, many of whom are members of Cambridge Local First, are listed below.

The Cambridge Chronicle & Tab recently featured the success of the “100 by 100” with a photo taken at CLF business Broadway Marketplace and an article.

This community partnership has both immediate and long-term benefits to the local economy by highlighting the commitment of local businesses to the success of CRLS students, and by providing students with educational funds that reward commitment and achievement and help to reduce the burden of debt.

Starting with the CRLS Class of 2016, scholarships from the fund will be awarded to graduating seniors aspiring to higher education in the five STEAM fields:  science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math. Applicants submit personal essays, evidence of progressive engagement in the STEAM disciplines, and family income information.

“The outpouring of support from the business community is energizing,” said Elaine Schear, FoCRLS’s Executive Director. “Business leaders are showing us that they care deeply about the future of CRLS students. This is a meaningful and forward-looking community partnership, a win for all.”

Founding Donors have not only given generously but have openly embraced the opportunity to invest in the future of Cambridge.  Read what they say:

We all know the challenges facing parents and students planning for college. It truly takes a village to help our students achieve their potential, and it’s great to be a part of a business community that wants to make a difference. CRLS students and families give back every day by supporting local businesses, and the “100 by 100” initiative is the perfect opportunity to say thank you. 

– Charlie Bougas, President
Broadway Marketplace

The smartest investment a Cambridge business can make is in our up and coming workforce and leaders.  Donating to the “100 by 100” will make all our futures brighter.

– Paul Lee, Owner
Hong Kong Restaurant

We are pleased to be able to support our local scholars, wherever their academic pursuits take them and hope they return to Our Fair City to share their successes with all of us!

– Rachel Solem, Owner & General Manager
Irving House at Harvard and Harding House

Both my partner Alex Slive and I are alumni of the former Cambridge High and Latin School. The high school in Cambridge helped to form us and give us the tools to establish a business here in our home town. We believe that the FOCRLS “100 by 100” Cambridge Business Community Scholarship Initiative will help current students re-invest in their community.

– Doug Hanna, Partner
S+H Construction

We are continually inspired by the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that exists here in Cambridge.  The “100 by 100” program dovetails beautifully with Marriott’s core commitment to training and educating the next generation.  We’re grateful to Cambridge Rindge and Latin School for opening this channel to support our vibrant community and its future leaders.

– Alan Smith, General Manager
Boston Marriott Cambridge
“100 by 100” Founding Donors  

Silver Donor Circle
(Over $1,000)

The Barrett Family
Fitzgerald Donor Circle
($500 – $1,000)

Austin Architects
Broadway Marketplace
Cambridge Innovation Center
Chestnut Hill Realty
Grendel’s Den Restaurant and Bar
Irving House and Harding House
Marc Truant & Associates
S+H Construction, Inc.
Trademark Tours
Falcon Donor Circle
($250 – $499)

Boston Marriott Cambridge
Cambridge Auto Center
Cambridge Trust Company
Dickson Bros. Hardware Co.
Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty
Hong Kong Restaurant
Longleaf Lumber
M. F. Keane Contracting
Newbury Comics
Nine Athens
Porter Square Books
Sheraton Commander Hotel
Rindge Donor Circle
($100 – $249)

Arams #2 House of Pizza
ARC / Architectural Resources Cambridge
Barrell Plumbing & Heating Co.
Beat Brasserie
Black Ink Gifts
Bonny’s Garden Center
Broadway Bicycle School
Cambridge Bicycle
Cambridge Printing Company
Carlone & Associates Architecture and Urban Design
Charles Hotel
Club Passim
Courthouse Seafood
Crema Cafe
Custom Eyes
Daedalus Restaurant
Fleming Printing Company
Formaggio Kitchen
Forty Winks Lingerie
Four Burgers
Gnomon Copy
Harvard Book Store
Harvard Square Business Association
Klibaner & Sabino Law Offices
Local Root
Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub
Noble, Wickersham & Heart LLP Law
OPositive Coaching & HR Services, LLC
Pann Home Services & Remodeling
Petsi Pies
RV Print Solutions
Susanna Women’s Clothing
TAGS Hardware
Tayrona Jewelry and Gifts
Trinity Property Management, Inc.
University Stationery Company
Zoe’s Restaurant


To contribute online to the “100 by 100” Cambridge Business Community Scholarship Fund for the Class of 2017, please visit  To contribute by mail, please write “100 by 100” on the memo line, include your name and email address and your business’s name, and send to:  Friends of CRLS, P.O. Box 391541, Cambridge MA 02139.

To volunteer with FoCRLS on the “100 by 100” Cambridge Business Community Scholarship Initiative, please email  Please indicate if you would be able to reach out to businesses, work on media and communications, assist with mailings, and/or help with events.

To learn more about Friends of CRLS’s six programs, get involved with fundraising or events, become a career mentor for a CRLS alum, or make a donation, please visit, email, or call 857-235-9290.


This article is a guest post by CLF Member FOCRLS, views expressed in this article as entirely that of FOCRLS, and may or may not reflect the views of CLF.