US2 Announces Round Two Small Business Technical Assistance Program Awardees

Partnership With City of Somerville & Union Square Main Streets 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 have been selected to participate in a second round 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. The program is co-sponsored by Union Square Main Streets. First round awardees were announced in March.
“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, US2 wants to help them 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. 


“We are pleased to join US2 in sponsoring this important program that offers Union Square’s small businesses expertise and perspective to help them grow and prosper,” said Esther Hanig, Executive Director of Union Square Main Streets.


Funding from US2 is allowing Retail Visioning to work with a total of 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. 
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. 


The second round awardees are:
• The Juice Union: Juice Union will open early this year in Union Square and offers healthier beverage alternatives such as freshly squeezed juices and smoothies. Owned by Diana Krefetz, it is located at 23A Bow St.
• RiverDog: Owned by Peter & Priscilla Lareau, RiverDog is a dog daycare, training facility and pet supply store that carries health foods, treats and supplies for dogs and cats. It is located at 321 Somerville Ave.
• Beadkreative: Opened in July 2014 by Millali Marcano, Beadkreative is a unique beading supplies store that also offers classes and a consignment shop for local artists to sell their bead-inspired art. It is located at 369 Somerville Ave.
• Pao de Acucar Market: This corner shop owned by Francisco Valadares Silva is located at 57 Union Square, and offers Latin American groceries, spices and general wares as well as a Brazilian buffet.


“The revitalization of Union Square is extraordinary in its potential,” said Diana Krefetz, owner of Juice Union. “As a local resident and business owner, I appreciate that US2's involvement will help support our neighborhood shops and restaurants to maintain the character that makes Union Square so special.”


“Union Square’s revitalization is going to be a great thing for local businesses,” said Peter Lareau, owner of River Dog. “I appreciate US2’s interest in supporting our neighborhood shops and restaurants to help us thrive during this exciting time.”


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 atmmaccarthy@somervillema.gov or at 617-625-6600 x 2515 or visit http://www.somervillema.gov/businesses/small-business-assistance.