Union Square Station Associates (US2) Announces Small Business Support Program Awardees

Partnership With City of Somerville Provides Four Local Businesses Free Access To Marketing Consultants And Funding For Recommended Improvements

Union Square Station Associates (US2), Somerville’s master developer partner for Union Square’s revitalization, today announced four local businesses that have been selected to participate in a Technical Assistance Program to help storefront small businesses refine their business approach and take advantage of the new opportunities that will be presented by the community-driven redevelopment and enhancement of Union Square.

“US2 is pleased to sponsor this valuable program to support local businesses and assist them in taking advantage of the new opportunities presented by Union Square’s revitalization,” said Greg Karczewski, president of US2. “We are committed to the growth and prosperity of Union Square’s small business community, and with the neighborhood poised for tremendous progress, employers of every shape and size stand to benefit.”

The program is delivered by business consulting firm Retail Visioning and operated by the City of Somerville Office of Economic Development’s Small Business Suite initiative with multi-lingual support from the City’s SomerViva program. It provides assessments, recommendations and implementation support for business improvement in the areas of identity and positioning, store and restaurant design, visual merchandising and retail marketing. Businesses selected to participate in the program will have a one-on-one consulting relationship with a Retail Visioning expert who will work with the business owner at their place of business to help address their specific needs.

Funding from US2 will initially allow Retail Visioning to work with up to eight Union Square small businesses. Along with providing retail expertise and recommendations specific to each business, the program will provide grants of up to $1,000 each to help owners implement improvements.

The first round of funding attracted ten applicants, of which four were selected. To be selected, businesses must be a small, independent storefront business that fits the unique character of Union Square; owners must desire to grow their business in Union Square and interested in taking advantage of new opportunities presented by Union Square’s redevelopment; and their specific needs must fit with the strengths of the program, including retail consultation, customer experience, marketing, branding, and other management issues. There will be another round of selections later in the spring and businesses that did not get selected in this round, along with new applicants, will be considered. New applications are being accepted currently and the form can be found here.

The first round awardees are:

Cantina La Mexicana: Owned by Robert Rendon, Cantina La Mexicana is a sit-down and take-out restaurant and bar, and has been in business for two decades. It is located at 247 Washington Street.

Reliable Market: Owned by Pokye Casserly, Reliable Market is a large Asian market with fresh foods and packaged groceries that opened for business three years ago. It is located at 45 Union Square.

CrossFit Somerville: CrossFit Somerville is a fitness studio and community center located at 35 Prospect Street. Owned by J.T. Scott, it has been in business three and a half years.

Local Supply Company: Co-owned by Kim LaFoy and Ryan Habbyshaw, Loyal Supply is a design firm, retailer, and distributor of home, office and studio supplies. It opened in at 21 Union Square just three months ago. 

“This program will help us grow our business in ways that benefit our community,” said Kim LaFoy, co-owner of Local Supply Company. “We appreciate the support we’re receiving from US2, and it’s nice to know they're supporting existing local businesses as they revitalize Union Square.”

“I moved here and founded my business with the intention of growing with Union Square as it grows and changes,” said J.T. Scott, owner of CrossFit Somerville. “I hope this program will help strengthen my business, and it’s a great first step by US2 to demonstrate their commitment to our local small businesses.”

Retail Visioning has provided small business technical assistance to over 500 retailers, restaurateurs, salon owners and other types of small businesses in urban centers all around Massachusetts including Boston, Lowell, Westfield, and Cambridge. They have also provided assistance to businesses in other neighborhoods of Somerville through the Somerville Small Business Suite.

For more information about the Technical Assistance Program, please contact Max MacCarthy at mmaccarthy@somervillema.gov or at 617-625-6600 x 2515 or visit http://www.somervillema.gov/businesses/small-business-assistance.