Wellesley Restaurant Group has announced plans to open a fourth location of The Local, with the newest one to be situated in Woburn this fall.
Owners and Wellesley residents Tom and Tricia Wynn and Frank and Stacey Santo first purchased The Local (formerly R.J. Crowley’s) in Newton in 2008. They then opened the Wellesley spot in November of 2014, followed by a Wayland restaurant shortly thereafter.
The 100-seat Local in Woburn will be located at 350 Cambridge Rd., in the Whole Foods shopping center.
The nonprofit Wellesley Theatre Project is celebrating its fourth annual Cone Crawl on Saturday, September 10, noon –5pm. Community supporters, students, parents, and folks wanting to have a crazy fun time visiting the best cone shops around are invited to purchase a WTP Fourth Annual Cone Crawl ticket for $10 each, which gets you one small cone at each of five shops during the 5-hour event.
Cone Crawl participants are also invited to the Wellesley Theatre Project studio at 98R Central Street to claim a WTP “I Conquered the Cone Crawl” T-Shirt. All proceeds from the fundraising event will go to support WTP programs such as Theatre Arts Classes, Camps, Productions, Work shops, Master Classes, Community Outreach Programs and Events, and the WTP Scholarship Fund.
Cone Crawl tickets are available for purchase online at www.wellesleytheatreproject.org and at the WTP Studio located at 98 R Central Street in Wellesley Square next to Boloco.
We love ice cream, so once again The Swellesley report has joined in as one of the Cone Crawl sponsors. Look for us wandering around town, trying to multi-task by simultaneously taking pics and eating ice cream. Sounds like a good day at the office.
Just in case you need convincing that this really is a fun event, here are some pictures of previous happy Cone Crawlers (photo credits to WTP):
The founder of a new mobile app dubbed Geome is inviting up to 50 Wellesley residents to test the free community-focused communications tool and provide feedback before it becomes generally available later this month. At least initially, Geome will be available exclusively for Apple iOS devices, such as iPhones, and users do need to log in via a Facebook account.
Founder and CEO Stacey Meeker, a former Wellesley resident with family still in town, describes Geome as “a location-based network that instantly connects users to where they live and allows for direct communication between all members via a single ‘Happening’ newsfeed.” The goal is to strengthen local communities and boost local businesses, says Meeker of her first startup.
“Right now the process of becoming locally integrated is incredibly makeshift,” Meeker says. “It depends on a number of variables including time spent at work vs at home per week, if you are a parent, a personal inclination toward seeking out local groups or events, and amount of free time. We aim to standardize and streamline this process so that becoming a local: connecting to the people and places where you live, gaining access to the local conversation and a full spectrum of local opportunity, is possible in just a few clicks.”
Meeker, who has a marketing background, says the idea for Geome stemmed in large part from her moving a lot over the span of six years and discovering how challenging it can be to rapidly hook into the local landscape. Meeker realized she wasn’t alone in this somewhat transient lifestyle. A town like Wellesley, where many executives coast in for a few years and then transfer elsewhere, is a good example of this.
Lots of effort has been put into “thinking through the various elements of an individual’s local world and how to move these elements into the virtual space,” Meeker says. Privacy is a major focus as well, and Geome does not share an individual user’s specific location with anyone.
If Geome catches on in Wellesley, expansion could take place next in Boston and Nashville. The Lincoln, Mass.-based startup has funding through development of the first version of its app.
“Right now we are focusing exclusively on Wellesley. Our goal is not rapid expansion, but to work within Wellesley until we have ironed out the best possible user experience,” Meeker says.
Linden Square‘s property management company says Talbots is moving in, Ace Hardware will be leaving, and the hope is that at least a couple of restaurants will be coming, too.
[Note: While we originally reported, based on a Federal Realty statement at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting, that the property management firm is looking to fill GlowGolf’s space, GlowGolf says it is not leaving anytime soon and a Linden Square rep confirms that.]
One of those restaurants will likely be Sweetgreen, a salady chain that has locations in Chestnut Hill, among other places, and that would move into the former CERI Boutique space now occupied by fine linens store Bonsoir. The other restaurant hasn’t been determined, but if permission was granted by the town, would likely fill a 4,000 sq. ft. space and have fewer than 100 seats. The timing on all of this is unclear.
Federal Realty representatives told the Board of Selectmen this week (tune in at the 40-minute mark in the video below) that they are looking to significantly upgrade the retail area, in particular the south side (opposite Roche Bros.), which currently is not nearly as inviting as the north side. Or as BoS member Barbara Searle put it, the south side looks like a strip mall.
Federal Realty’s Bryan Furze said they are looking to design more connectivity between the two sides (“a more pedestrian atmosphere” — and he meant that in a good way), so that if a patron parks on one side, it won’t be a huge hassle to get to the other side of Linden Street.
They’re also looking to just plain spruce up the south side, including by possibly having local artists (including students) work on a mural along the ugly cement wall between the stores and the railroad tracks. Another possibility is fancy “storyboard” sidewalks based on various themes. Also envisioned: benches and more landscaping.
Upgrades will be coming to that side of the street whether or not more restaurants are allowed, because Talbots and other potential new tenants would demand it. (Talbots, by the way, is looking to downsize from its current two-story space in Wellesley Square, and Furze says the hope is that Talbots will move to Linden Square by Q1 or Q2 of 2017.)
Federal Realty says the changes are desired both because Wellesley has become more welcoming to restaurants since Linden Square started up, and because retail itself has changed so much in recent years to a focus on “entertainment and experience-driven environments,” and that means places that serve food.
A neighbor who spoke at the BoS meeting said she looks forward to having more eateries within walking distance, and said other neighbors she spoke with felt likewise.
As always, parking is a big sticking point, and that’s mainly what the BoS members asked about. Otherwise, the board expressed general support for a Linden Square revitalization. If the town and Linden Square can work things out, look for a Town Meeting item on this next time around.
The signage at 67 Central St. still says Be Styled, however that hair drying salon has blown kisses and thank yous on its way out of Wellesley, making way for Mane + Mani, a new beauty spot that has swept right in before the Be Styled hair dryers even cooled down. The new owners are making good on their name by adding manicures to their list of services, and will keep the blow drying bar. Also look for pedicure, make up application, and waxing services, as well as a few other changes. (Here’s how to reach them: 781.909.5555 or here)
I hope they keep the “Be pretty every day” up on their wall. Somehow it always felt more like a lovely possibility rather than a direct order.
If you have a Be Styled gift card, SalonCapri located in Newton, Boston, and Dedham will honor them.
As evidenced by this notice-less bulletin board in Wellesley Square, we’re used to slow summers around here. Summer of 2016 broke that mold. Let’s just say the news offered more than concerts at Town Hall and the newest flavors of ice cream on scoop. Check out the Top 10 Wellesley stories of Summer 2016.
For most people, the news that Wellesley’s youth are increasingly wandering the streets, faces buried in their smartphones doesn’t seem revolutionary. However, the advent of new app sensation Pokemon GO has caused a sudden shift in the behavioral patterns of millennials in Wellesley and beyond…
A short and wicked late afternoon storm that blew through Wellesley on Tuesday, July 18 downed numerous trees, damaged homes and knocked out power in parts of town. One minute a friend and I were sitting in my family room sipping tea and commenting on the hail coming down outside (“Oh my, do you think those nasty flying ice chunks will chip the paint on the Subaru, dear?”). An hour later I stopped by that same friend’s house, not even a mile away, to survey her hard-hit home in the Cottage St. area…
Against a backdrop of racial tension across the nation this summer, Wellesley finds itself addressing allegations of racial and ethnic harassment of its own involving high school students…
The Swellesley Report learned over the summer that the Wellesley High Track and Field project‘s completion will be delayed. The $3 million effort, which was undertaken in order to widen the field so that it could be used by more athletes and help alleviate the squeeze on other fields in town, and to rebuild a track that had seen better days, will not be ready for its original grand opening date of September 24…
Lieutenant Paul Delaney says he was “in the right place at the right time and glad to help” while vacationing last week on an Eastham beach when he and a doctor performed CPR on a 40-year-old woman who had gone into cardiac arrest. Delaney also used a defibrillator, handed to him by a police officer, to revive the woman by the time a fire ambulance arrived on the scene…
Every now and then we’ve heard the rumors: there are certain volunteers at the Wellesley Recycling and Disposal Facility’s Reusables Area who are practically making a living by scooping up and spiriting away all the good stuff that gets dropped off before anyone else can get to it, and selling it on Craigslist, Ebay, and at flea markets. Over the summer, the hubbub ratcheted up a notch with a casual comment on a closed Facebook page: “Anyone else notice that there never seems to be anything decent at the dump’s Take-and-Leave anymore?” And the conversation and the accusations were off and running…
The Wellesley Historical Commission is lamenting one of the town’s latest and most stunning teardowns: a 1929 Tudor Revival at 1 Kenilworth Rd…
If somebody left you almost a million dollars with the caveat that it must be spent on a certain project, not socked away for a rainy day, would it take you over ten years to spend it? It might, if…
Openings and closings
OPENED: Bluemercury in Linden Square
GETTING CLOSER: Cocobeet in Wellesley Square
GETTING CLOSER: Thirst Juice at the Bel Clare
GETTING CLOSER: Caffe Nero in Wellesley Hills to open soon
GETTING CLOSER: Luxotic Nails Bar in Linden Square, which will take over a former furniture store space.
ON THE BLOCK: Chico’s Wellesley Square space is available and Dorset Tea (both are still open for business)
OPENING IN ITS PLACE: Wellesley wonders, how do you say brow threading in French?
Be Styled, the hair drying salon that opened in Wellesley Square three years ago, has announced it is shuttering all of its shops, including the local one. Other locations are in Chestnut Hill and Knoxville, Tenn.
Who can forget Mrs. Swellesley’s epic visit to the Be Styled location at 67 Central St. in Wellesley Square back in August of 2013?
The consolation prize for Be Styled patrons is that the related SalonCapri is offering free blow drys in Newton, Boston and Dedham. SalonCapri will also honor any Be Styled gift cards.
Every now and then we’ve heard the rumors: there are certain volunteers at the Wellesley Recycling and Disposal Facility’s Reusables Area who are practically making a living by scooping up and spiriting away all the good stuff that gets dropped off before anyone else can get to it, and selling it on Craigslist, Ebay, and at flea markets. Recently, the hubbub has ratcheted up a notch with a casual comment on a closed Facebook page: “Anyone else notice that there never seems to be anything decent at the dump’s Take-and-Leave anymore?” And the conversation and the accusations were off and running.
One Swellesley reader wrote to us recently that he has stopped bringing stuff to the Take & Leave area because he doesn’t think things he was bringing were getting to people who really needed it. Simmering tensions have bubbled to the point where some residents have created a Facebook group of their own aimed at setting up their own Reusables Area of sorts for people fed up with the status quo. That this new FB group, that would allow members to gain a modicum of control over where their goodies go, had to be hidden almost as soon as it went live is a commentary about how badly people want Wellesley’s cast-offs. The organizer told us “Yes, we created a group but we are finding that people who have no connection to Wellesley are trying to join. So we have hidden the group for now until we have a chance to vet all the requests.”
It isn’t pretty, is it? The Swellesley Report has been contacted numerous times in recent weeks with stories about long-running feuds, and entitlement, of treasures and greed, and of a growing climate of frustration that at times pits some residents against certain volunteers who, it is said, make a living off of the items dropped off.
About this possibility, one of the calmer FB commenters said, “That upsets me, because if I wanted to sell something I’d do it myself… People assume their items are being donated / given a good home, not sold!”
Well, you know what they say about making assumptions. The town’s policy about such commerce is clear, and that policy is one of hands-off. In a nutshell, all volunteers must undergo training, which lays out the rules of the dump, and sign a letter of agreement, as well as a waiver. The rules clearly state that “Shopping on duty is not allowed. A volunteer who is on duty and wearing their safety vest is not allowed to shop. Volunteers are allowed to shop before and after their shift with the same rights as other Wellesley residents.”
…with the same rights as other Wellesley residents.
What this means is that although your average Wellesley resident who is dropping off something as useless as a jigsaw puzzle with only one piece missing or as generous as the two beautiful Brown Jordan outdoor chairs I picked up last summer may assume that the notion of filthy lucre passing hands doesn’t enter into the Reusables Area, they would be wrong. Dump volunteers, some there for altruistic reasons, some there for the social aspect, many there for the gleanings, do not operate under more restrictive rules than the non-volunteer Wellesley residents.
Put simply, anytime I want I can take those two Brown Jordan chairs currently gracing my back yard (they each go for about $500 new, according to the company’s website), post them on eBay (where I could sell them for about $250 each), and pocket the money.
And yet, it rankles many that some dump volunteers are making tax-free cash. Superintendent Jeff Azano-Brown isn’t deaf to the complaints. “I think there needs to be a little soul searching about how that area should be at its best. If it’s true that people are making a business out of that area, yes it bothers me. The true purpose of the area is to keep items out of a landfill. That is the true spirit of the area. 95% of the effort is really productive and helpful and achieves the spirit of the area. The positive aspects of what goes on over there are so important.”
Important, and numerous. One thing residents, volunteers, and the town can agree on is that due to the Reusables Area, thousands of items are kept out of the landfill. In addition, it may not be common knowledge that what can appear to be volunteers hiding away the good stuff in their shed is in actuality an example of them setting aside items for charitable agencies and organizations. Volunteer Barbara Faubert says, “We get requests from lots of agencies and organizations, and we always help out. Nursing homes. Homeless families. Nobody knows about that. We help out two Alzheimers Centers, one in Wellesley and one in Needham. Family Promise. Individuals who are down on their luck. There are some very needy people in Wellesley. We got a request that a single mom with three young kids who are just getting out of a shelter need items, and yes, we take the items as they come in and bring them to the shed to set aside for them.”
Still, Faubert concedes, if not declares, that “This place runs on greed.”
That simmering undercurrent of greed is what makes people refer to some of the more aggressive volunteers as vultures. People complain about volunteers who try to unload their cars and of cars that are parked at the reusables area without a dump sticker (that particular complaint should subside once the dump puts the license-recognition program in place in the fall). Regulations state that all volunteers must be Wellesley residents.
Priscilla Messing, Chairperson of the Friends of Recycling group, doesn’t much see what being a Wellesley resident has to do with anything when it comes to volunteering. She doesn’t like the fact that there is profiteering involved by some, and would prefer a model of pure volunteerism to prevail, one that doesn’t run on greed or ulterior motives. Messing realizes that her ideals aren’t shared by many.
Others remember what they call the bad old days, saying “Before there were volunteers, there were fist fights over stuff, so the volunteers are earning a living, but also providing a service. Those guys often offer to help load cars and even to truck big items to people’s houses…They don’t get paid you know. I find them to be kind and helpful and if you tell them what you need they help you find it or will help you offload the most useless junk without any complaints or without embarrassing you.”
Others point out that if certain volunteers didn’t snag items and resell them, then someone else would. That’s a good point. Let’s say the volunteers were given more onerous restrictions on the items than the rest of the town’s residents. It’s not hard to imagine that they would all simply quit and hang out at the dump all day anyway, as private citizens, not sorting, not organizing, not sweeping, not fetching and carrying. Just grabbing.
I’m a regular at the dump and have heard some hilarious exchanges between volunteers and shoppers who treat them like department store personnel. Shoppers will hold up a set of curtains and ask if perhaps three more sets, with the hardware and some sheers, will be coming in soon. They’ll ask if that gas grill over there works. Seriously? If the volunteers were allowed to fire up gas grills, they’d be selling burgers out there.
I’ve also seen multiple requests answered with immediate assistance:
Can you help me carry this? (Thank you again to the volunteer who helped me do just that recently.)
Can I leave my name on this and pick it up later?
Will you help me unload my car?
And let’s not forget that you can bring anything to the dump and never get junk-shamed.
Here’s a thought. If the stuff at the dump is really as valuable as is said, perhaps it’s time for an additional town employee. Let’s call that employee the Ebay Czar. The job description: to review every item that comes into the Reusables Area, and set aside those that the Czar deems eligible to sell on Ebay or wherever. All monies would go to the Town of Wellesley’s general fund, just like the money the dump makes from selling recyclables. If the town is literally leaving as much money on those Give-and-Take tables as people claim, the Ebay Czar could handily cover his or her salary and then some. In a big way, right?
Former Superintendent Gordon Martin always had a dream that one year the dump would turn over a cool million to the general fund (it turned over $619,000 in 2015). Perhaps the Ebay Czar could help close the gap, if the treasure could be unburied and unloaded in just the right way.
In writing this, and thinking about the spirit of the Give and Take area, I was reminded of a brief exchange I had recently with current Superintendent Azano-Brown. When I asked if he ever went over to shop the Give and Take, he said he did stop by every now and then to see if he could pick something up for the RDF offices. “Just the offices?” I asked, a little surprised. “Not for home?”
“Oh, no. Not for home,” he said. “I’m not a Wellesley resident.”
Closet Exchange, a consignment business with four shops in Needham along Great Plain Avenue, will soon be opening a location at 30 Grove St., in Wellesley, replacing the Turnabout Shoppe. “We are so excited about it and expect to be open in October!”, Closet Exchange relayed via Twitter.
The Turnabout Shoppe is closing this month after 25 years of dressing the fashionably turned out.
Closet Exchange, which opened its first store in 1992, is owned by the mother-and-daughter team of Brenda and Maggie Stark. Their shops specialize in the resale of women’s clothing and other fashion items, and promise new merchandise daily priced 60% to 80% off original retail prices. Chanel, Gucci, Coach and other brands can be had.
Closet Exchange has specific requirements for what it will accept for consignment, including only current season clothing and accessories.
A bit of musical chairs has been going on in Wellesley lately. Bonsoir has moved from its former location in Linden Square to a new Linden Square location, into the spot where haute women’s fashion boutique Ceri used to be. All of Bonsoir’s Scandia Down is on sale right now, and is undoubtedly fresh as a daisy from being aired out during the move. The fine linens shop has never been shy about switching up its location — five years back, it used to lay its head in Wellesley Square.
Bluemercury, a chain of high-end beauty product stores founded in 1999 by fabulous couple Marla and Barry Beck, and under the wing of parent company, Macy’s, is taking over the old Bonsoir spot. The inventory-rich shop, which will have a soft opening of August 26, will bring with it all the Bobbi Brown, Nars, La Mer, and any other luxury brand the beauty junkies of Wellesley can handle. The September 10 grand opening will include a deluxe sample goody bag to the first 100 customers, makeup and skin consultations, and more.
To keep the pretty theme going, upscale Luxotic Nails Bar, also in Linden Square, is polishing up its space in preparation for its post-Labor Day opening.