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Is Tewksbury 'Suffocating' Small Business?

The Tewksbury Business Association posted a blog claiming the town smothers small business, but one member of the Board of Selectmen disagrees.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo
There are two sides to every story. And this week, Patch readers voiced both sides when it comes to the current state of the Tewksbury small business market.

Earlier this week, Patch user Hanson wrote a Tewksbury Business Association blog post titled "Tewksbury Suffocating Small Business."

During the post, Hanson wrote that a recent Tewksbury Business Association survey of local businesses showed that there are concerns among business owners in town.

"Tewksbury is a beautiful town that has many advantages over the surrounding towns but cannot seem to have the right formula to attract or keep existing businesses which is the key to town economical success," the blog reads.

According to the blog post, there are three ways how the town is taking "the oxygen out of the business community."

The blog cites high real estate taxes, water and sewer rates, and Town Hall, which the writer claims business owners consider "unfriendly," saying that it is "often who you know, not what you know."

Not everyone, however, agrees with the Tewksbury Business Association blog.

Writing representing himself only, and not the Board of Selectmen, board member Scott Wilson wrote a blog of his own called "Scott Wilson Speaking Out" that spoke against the claims made.

Wilson writes that "the restaurant industry in Tewksbury is booming. We have more great restaurants now than we did five years ago."

In addition, Wilson said that he believes the town previously operated in the "who you know" style of management, but says that is not the current state of Town Hall.

"I’m not naïve enough to believe that it happens but to suggest that this is Tewksbury today would be missing a lot of good work that has happened in recent years," wrote Wilson.

So what is your take on the state of Tewksbury small business? Do you believe local business is being suffocated, or are the claims overstated? What can be done to improve Tewksbury's business scene? Let us know in the comments section below.
Bob Gill June 06, 2014 at 12:07 PM
I think the truth (not saying either lied per se) is in the middle. I do think real estate and water/sewer taxes are too high in Tewksbury. I also think there is still a little of the "who you know" going on but not nearly as bad as it use to be. That happens in all towns and frankly I am not sure it can be 100% eradicated. It is human nature.
wicked cheesy June 06, 2014 at 03:51 PM
Ill bite...(no pun intended). I have seen over the past 8 years since we have been in business here in Tewksbury how things work here and frankly probably everywhere. I agree with Bob Gill, the truth is somewhere in the middle. Hanson does not speak for us as far as viewing Tewksbury as holding small business back. Nor do I believe that small businesses are greatly benefiting from the bylaws set up to assist small businesses,as scott may portray. I would like to say that working with the EDC and Mr. Sadwick, has been top notch as far as communication and taking the time to listen to our concerns. Although, I have had frustration with the departments as far as communication, they are just following protocol when they are presented a question. Towns do not have the resources to give small businesses the needed tools in which they can thrive. Example, a while back, I presented an idea that would adopt "Store Front Improvement Program". The program was to grant small businesses up to $50,000 loan to be paid back in five years, interest free. Along with this, businesses would need to follow such guidelines as far as no neon signs, landscape improvements and signage requirements. There is no way that the voters in this town would vote to approve lending to small businesses for these upgrades, nor does the town have the resources for such.
Tewksbury2001 June 07, 2014 at 05:24 AM
I would agree we have a nice selection of restaurants/pubs. Up and down Route 38. TCC, Angelina's, Al Fresca, Pushcart, John Ryans, Café Sicilia, Wicked Cheesey, Jimbo's, Skybox. All home grown small businesses. Not chains which is nice.
TONY D June 07, 2014 at 03:41 PM
I agree we have a nice selection of restaurants. With the possible exception of TCC, none of them can be considered "great". They are a mix of pub food, pizzas, sandwiches, so, so Italian food. If someone wanted a "great meal" they would have to seek it in another city/town.
Tewksbury2001 June 07, 2014 at 08:16 PM
TonyD. What is nearby that you would think is better than the options in Tewksbury

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