Somerville Local First


Attention Business Owners

Ward 5 Online

Somerville Local First realizes the impact that city policy has on local businesses. Therefore, we have teamed up with Ward 5 Online, created by board member Courtney O'Keefe, to bring business owners and their patrons the latest updates on the legislative front in Somerville.

Welcome to Ward 5 Online

Renderings Show Roche Bros Marketplace Concept That Could Come to Davis Square
Roche Bros are offering a different type of market style for the Social Security Building in Davis Square, continuing with a theme they have implemented in other cities including Weston and Medfield. Using a smaller famers-market concept, Brothers Marketplace, is considerably smaller than normal sized Roche Bros Supermarkets.

As always, please comment your thoughts! Big thanks to Alderman at Large Jack Connolly for sharing on his Facebook page.

This Just In... Roche Bros In Davis Square?

Could the wait for a ground-level occupant of the Social Security Building in Davis Square be over? It is a possibility, according to Alderman At Large Jack Connolly's Facebook page (and Twitter).

The Vice-President of the Board of Aldermen broke the news that the market chain was interested and will hold a tentative meeting on-site (240 Elm Street), Wednesday September 10th at 6:00 PM.

Do comment your thoughts below...
Mayor Cites City's Strengths and Challenges in Business Town Hall Discussion
Mayor Joe Curtatone addressed a room full of business owners and residents in his May 20th Business Town Hall Meeting. This is his ninth time accepting the Chamber of Commerce's invitation to speak.

During his presentation titled, "Progress, Growth, Service," Curtatone pointed out ways the City's has invested in improving its economic performance, but also cited areas where the City could improve.

Whether it was improving the East Somerville streetscape or rolling out a new design for Davis Square, Curtatone highlighted the rapidly-changing physical setup of Somerville as one of the biggest changes the City is undergoing to attract new businesses and patrons. One future project noted was the grounding of the McCarthy Overpass and replacing it with a boulevard featuring bike lanes and wider sidewalks. East Somerville also features wider sidewalks giving restaurants an opportunity to expand services to outside seating and traffic upgrades in an effort to make the business district easier to navigate by foot or bicycle.

East Somerville and Davis Square are joined by Brickbottom, Innerbelt and Central Broadway as focus areas for rejuvenation according to the presentation. Davis Square is close to 100% design completion with renderings scheduled to be rolled out this summer. Brickbottom and Innerbelt are both slated for infrastructure upgrades while community feedback sessions are already underway for Central Broadway linking Foss Park to Magoun Square.

Major physical changes have made Somerville one of the top-ten most bikeable and walkable cities...honors that have led to economic stability, Curtatone insisted.

Although Somerville has made great strides in economic performance, there is still work to be done and Mayor Curtatone was not shy about pointing out areas where the City falls can certainly improve to be on the same pace as businesses.

For example, the Inspectional Services Department has been a main priority, not only for the Mayor, but for the full Board of Aldermen, as well. The addition of an Inspectional Coordinator, more convenient hours, dedicated inspectors for dumpsters and rodents, and an upgraded front office have been good steps forward for the department. The average response time for ISD has dropped from 30 days to just under a week, according to the presentation. The Mayor did, however, note that the department still has a long way to go to keep up with demand.

On May 21st, the City really stepped up their game with the launch of Citizen Serve where users can purchase permits and schedule inspections. Although not all permits or licenses are available at this time, the website alleviates a huge burden for those looking to do construction work in the City. The information compiled by the website will be available to inspectors, via iPad, out in the field. The Mayor announced the launching at the Business Town Meeting.

The administration is not only committed to making Somerville physically attractive for the current and potential business community, but also making it safer too. Somerville's crime stats have showed significant decreases since 2011. Curtatone credited smaller substations placed in the City for faster response times and more efficient policing that have resulted in a 1/3 cut in crime since 2008.

At the conclusion of the Mayor's presentation, a question and answer period brought up various topics on the minds of the business community. Here are some bullet points the Mayor's response to these questions.

Infrastructure issues with Union Square

  • Issues are being assessed 
  • Will work with chosen developer to resolve

Winter Hill Star Market

  • Appeal of previous court decision in the City's favor is being appealed. 
  • City has made it clear that they want to work with the property owner to have a "food source" in the location.

Affordable Housing

  • This is a State-wide issue that many Mayors (Boston included) are looking into
  • Increase housing stock to help stabilize prices
  • SomerVision will be reevaluated to see if housing availability needs to be increased

Davis Square Renovation

  • 100% design completed with plans set to be rolled out this Summer or Fall

Proposed Removal of Liquor License Cap (my question)

  • City is in support of Governor Patrick's proposal
  • City has non-transferable licensing program that requires a yearly nominal fee as an alternative to purchasing a license at an astronomical rate

Easing the process of opening a business

  • This is known and the City is looking into making this more predictable 

Bus line services not in sync with business operating hours

  • Conversations with MBTA continue, but will increase as Green Line approaches
Somerville Local First and Eastern Bank Present: Harvest Fest 2013!

5th Annual Harvest Fest 2013 presented by Eastern Bank
Local Beer, Food and Entertainment to Support Somerville Local First!
Fall is upon us, which means it’s time for Somerville Local First’s (SLF) Fifth Annual Harvest Fest 2013! Presented by SLF Member Eastern Bank, Harvest Fest is one of the premier beer and food tasting events of the year.

Somerville Local First, a nonprofit organization working to build sustainable local economies, will host its fifth annual festival and fundraiser in two sessions on Saturday, October 19, 2013, at the Arts at the Armory. All event proceeds go towards SLF's operating budget to build and strengthen the local movement and local business community in Somerville all year long.

Join Somerville Local First members and local economy advocates far and wide for a day or evening of delicious food from some of Somerville's best local restaurants, local beer from some of the favorite independent brewers from Massachusetts, great live music, games and much more.

This is not your average nonprofit gala and has become one of the most anticipated events in greater Boston. Tickets are on sale now:

Somerville Local First Executive Director Kat Rutkin says:

"This annual event showcases what is great about local businesses in Somerville­­innovation, hard work and passionate patrons. All have helped strengthen Somerville's local economy and have made it a great place to live, work and play. It is so exciting to be celebrating all of this in our fifth year of Harvest Fest! "

The festivities will be broken down into two sessions, Session 1 from 2 p.m.­5 p.m. and Session
2 from 6 p.m.­9 p.m., and will bring together the best businesses in the local movement all under one great roof at the Arts at the Armory.

Harvest Fest would be nothing without the beer; attendees will be able to sample unique brews from a wide selection of Massachusetts breweries. A number of locally­owned and operated Somerville restaurants will be highlighted at each session to satisfy every palate and participants will get a delicious serving of each.

These are the confirmed breweries and other libations to date:
*Bantam Cider
*Berkshire Brewing Company
*Blue Hills Brewing Company
*Clown Shoes
*Mystic Brewing Company
*Notch Brewers
*Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

These are the confirmed restaurants to date:
*Casa B
*Eat at Jumbo’s
*Olde Magoun’s Saloon
*A4 Pizza
More to come!

Entertainment will be provided by Somerville favorites:
*The Sun and the Moon
*Holmes Band
*The Pennies

This is a can’t miss event for supporters of strong local economies, beer lovers, foodies and all those who love Somerville. Harvest Fest has something to offer just about everyone.
Public Hearing Set for September 5th

Ward 5 Online:
Posts About SLF

The Training Room Hosting Symposium on Saturday!

Somerville Local First Hosts Local is for Lovers Valentines Day Market at Arts at the Armory on February 8

SOMERVILLE (February 3, 2015)—Valentine’s Day is almost here and nothing says “I love you” more than a gift for your beloved AND your beloved community! Find gifts from local artisans and crafters at Somerville Local First’s Valentine’s Day Local is for Lovers Market

The market takes place Sunday, February 8 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Arts at the Armory (191 Highland Avenue), is FREE and easily accessible by car or public transportation. Knucklebones will be setting up their mobile playspace (for a suggested donation of $3) so the kids have a place to get out some pent up winter energy while their parents shop or sip a local brew (coffee or beer!)

The Local is for Lovers Market will feature local vendors selling everything from jewelry and handmade soap to sweets and clothing.  Here is a full list of vendors:

Tamaryn Design
Somerville Soap Works
Philosophy Cards
13mL designs
Singing Stones Jewelry
Yeiou {paper objects}
Neighborhood Artesans
Sock Faery

Vendors and shoppers at previous Local is for Lovers Market have raved about their experience and the next market promises to be just as fun. Somerville Local First Executive Director says, “We’ve always aimed to do something different with these markets, creating a shopping and community experience that’s fun for the whole family.”  Shoppers have commented on the community feel of the markets, a place to gather and see friends while seeing some of the best local vendors around.
Somerville Local First's Local is for Lovers Market Set for November 30th!

Somerville Local First Hosts Local is for Lovers Holiday Market at Arts at the Armory on November 30th

SOMERVILLE (November 24, 2014)—With the holidays just around the corner it’s time to start thinking about holiday gifts! And there’s no better place to find the perfect gift than at Somerville Local First’s Local is for Lovers Holiday Markets on November 30th and December 14th.

Our first market takes place on Sunday, November 30, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Arts at the Armory (191 Highland Avenue), is FREE and easily accessible by car or public transportation. Knucklebones will be setting up their mobile playspace on 11/30 so the kids have a place to get out some holiday energy while their parents shop or sip a local brew (coffee or beer!)

The Local is for Lovers Holiday Market will feature 30 local vendors selling everything from jewelry and handmade soap to sweets and clothing.  Here is a full list of vendors:

Esoterica Jewelry
Barefoot Books (by Michele MacLean)
Somerville Soap Works (
The Bead Lady
Jasmine Doodles
Le Pants King
Original Antique Maps
MJ Paperflight
Designs by EVFB

In addition to the many local artisans selling their crafts, the Local is for Lovers Holiday Market will include workshops sprinkled throughout the day- Local love includes more than just shopping! Visit the Healey School PTO and make arts and crafts with the whole family all day! In addition, look at the following schedule and come learn with us this market season.

Jewelry making project class with Beadkreative

Learn how to make a chain cord bracelet. With 5 color options to choose from, this project takes about 30min, and will teach you how to make some of your gifts this holiday season! Class is free, but there is a $5 dollar material fee.

Cuisine en Locale cooking demo

Learn how to make your own condiments for the holiday season! CeL is here to show you the way!

Happier, Healthier Holiday Hints
with integrative nutrition health coach, Dillan DiGiovanni

Want to cruise through the holiday season feeling a bit healthier and happier than last year? Join local certified integrative nutrition health coach, Dillan DiGiovanni, for a fun and interactive workshop. You'll meet like-minded people and learn simple, practical hints including recipes and habits to shift your focus and feed your mind and body to welcome the New Year feeling better than you've ever felt in your life. Satisfaction guaranteed. :)

Shiso Kitchen cooking demo

Watch Shiso Kitchen make a Chipotle Tomato Soup which is a great seasonal recipe whether as a first course to a holiday meal, or as a weeknight dinner to cozy up to a fire with. It's a 'grown up' version of classic tomato soup, and is also perfect for dipping, parmesan crisps, cheese toasts or gooey grilled cheese sandwiches. Whether looking to learn the basics, fine tune your culinary skills, or just for some new tips and tricks, Shiso Kitchen offers fun cooking classes for all skill levels. As a date night, with a friend or two, or as a solo adventure, Shiso Kitchen is a unique way to experience local food for a night on the town.

Holiday training tips with The Training Room
This all-levels metabolic class is set up as a continuous strength circuit. Participants rotate through a series of stations, spending equal time on each exercise. Rest periods are minimal between stations, and longer when the entire circuit is complete. Exercises vary from class to class.

Vendors and shoppers at previous Local is for Lovers Market have raved about their experience and the Holiday Market promises to be just as fun. Beth Rosa of Pink Pigeon Creations said, “The crowd was great, and with the focus on kids, there were lots of families and people buying gifts for people with families, which is exactly my market.” Shoppers have commented on the community feel of the markets, a place to gather and see friends while seeing some of the best local vendors around.

Giving Tuesday Somerville: Call to Volunteers

Help raise $50,000 for nonprofit organizations in Somerville! 

Volunteers are needed for Giving Tuesday Somerville, a collaborative fundraising effort between 15 local nonprofit organizations. The event will be a telethon at SCATV in Union Square on December 2 from 6-9 pm.

Volunteers are needed BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER the event: tasks will include helping with a phone bank, picking up donations, distributing promotional posters, and more! This is a great way to get involved with your local Somerville community and #GiveMore during the holiday season.

Please fill out this form if you are able to volunteer before, during, and/or after Giving Tuesday Somerville, and we will contact you with more info! Please email if you have any questions.
Giving Tuesday...Somerville Style!

15 Somerville agencies collaborate on annual day of giving
Giving Tuesday Somerville: Give Local launches!

The Somerville nonprofit community has embarked upon a new journey of collaborative fundraising -  Giving Tuesday Somerville: Give Local.  This holiday season, 15 nonprofit organizations are joining forces to collaborate on a first-annual joint fundraising effort as part of the international Giving Tuesday program.  Giving Tuesday is an annual global day of giving that helps to raise funds and awareness for important causes everywhere. In our community, Giving Tuesday will be the 21st Century version of a telethon. Hosted on SCATV on December 2nd, this telethon delivers an exciting program of live entertainment, panel discussions, public service announcements, and local celebrities, helping us to raise $50,000 for the nonprofit community in Somerville.

"The complexity of the problems facing our city calls for greater coordination and collaboration among all of us - our Giving Tuesday Telethon is just one example among many of Somerville's non-profits working together for the collective good of our city's children and families," stated David Gibbs, Executive Director of the Community Action Agency of Somerville.

Participating organizations include:

Mark Alston-Follansbee, Executive Director of the Somerville Homeless Coalition, has been working on this project since its inception in early 2014. “After Black Friday and Tech Monday, Giving Tuesday is an opportunity for everyone to focus on giving to nonprofit organizations around the world.  Here in Somerville, agencies are using this day to collaborate and tell the story of our community; we hope you'll tune in and support us in any way that works for you.”

Giving Tuesday Somerville takes place on December 2nd, 2014. Giving takes place from 12:01am-11:59pm online, while the telethon is hosted from 6-9pm on SCATV. Give a little more this season. #GiveMoreSomerville

For more information on this effort, visit To become an event sponsor, please email

developed with a whole lotta local love by trulygood