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Mike’s Auto Brings the Green Oil Change Revolution to Somerville

Oct 18 11:24 am
Mike's Automotive Somerville Green Oil Change

Mike's Automotive in Union Square

Today’s post comes from SLF member Mark Pedersen of Mike’s Automotive Services in Union Square. Mark works alongside his father, Mike Sr., and brother, Mark Jr., at this family run Somerville autoshop that’s committed to protecting the environment and building a more sustainable community. Learn more about their new green oil change service and how it benefits Groundwork Somerville:

Today marks a seminal moment in the movement for sustainability here in Somerville. Like many years ago, a revolution is taking place in Union Square at the foot of Prospect Hill. This time, the rebel color is green. At Mike’s Automotive Services we’re  issuing a sustainability call to arms by being the only auto shop to offer a green oil change in the Boston area.

What is a green oil change? A green oil change is one that uses re-refined motor oil. Mike’s green oil change uses EcoPower - a premium API-certified re-refined motor oil. What’s that mean? It means that EcoPower oil meets all of the same manufacturer specifications as any other conventional motor oil you’ve ever used.

A green oil change has tremendous benefits for the environment:

  • It results in 99.5% fewer heavy metal emissions and 85% less greenhouse gases than if used motor oil were used for fuel.
  • It saves more than one million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the equivalent of taking 200,000 cars off the road every year
  • It takes 85% less energy to produce than motor oil made from crude oil.

Those are just some of the benefits of choosing a green oil change (along with that great feeling you get when you choose sustainability). The State and Federal governments have been required by law to use re-refined oil since the mid-1990s. Now, the rest of us can use it too!

A lot of people talk about the fact that re-refined oil is much more expensive than conventional oil - and it is. But Mike’s is committed to sustainability. So we’re offering our green oil change for only $4.00 more than our conventional oil change.

For us, this is about leadership. If we are ever going to truly build a more sustainable community, it is going to take local businesses to stand up and lead the way. That’s what we’re doing - we’re putting principles before profits.

As part of our commitment to sustainability, we’re celebrating our green oil change in a big way. This week (October 18-22), for every green oil change we provide, we will donate $5.00 to Groundwork Somerville. Request your green oil change online with our convenient Mike’s Automotive web appointment scheduler.

So, no more excuses - the green oil change is here! Let’s see you show your green stripes by getting the word out. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Tell your co-workers. And above all, when it’s time to change your oil - go green at Mike’s!

Support Your Local Comic Store

Oct 15 2:24 pm

by James Welborn, owner Hub Comics

The cold facts

This summer has been hard on us. If you don’t know, it’s been a little more than a month since we had new comics in stock. Earlier this week, the comic industry’s monopoly distributor cancelled our account.

A combination of product glut, neglected subscription holds and over-ordering combined to put us behind on our weekly shipments. That lapse dropped revenue here more than 30% in September, and it looks like another 30% drop in October.

What does this mean for Hub?

First, it means we won’t have new monthly comics for a while. Our book shipments will now come from different distributors until we get stabilized.

If you’re an active subscriber, let us know and we’ll arrange to make sure you get your comics via a fellow shop. (You can still buy them here.)

If you’re an inactive subscriber, please let us know if you’re going to pick up what you requested or whether we can put it back on our shelves. We’re holding thousands of dollars worth of merchandise for customers we haven’t heard from in more than a month.

We still have a huge, deep stock of books, tons of comics, toys, games, T-shirts, et cetera. And we will get new items slowly.

Any special orders outstanding will not be filled immediately because of the distributor situation. We apologize for the inconvenience.

What can you do to help? Immediately, we’re having a sale to try to raise some basic survival revenue. There’s also the option to buy “Comic Credit” (see below) and gift certificates.

Hub plans to be around for a long time. This is just a bump in the road.

That said, it’s time for that sale info!

Sale on!

  • Selected books and toys are 50% OFF
  • Other books are 20% OFF
  • Back issue comics and magazines are also 50% OFF!
  • Buy more than 30 floppies and make it 75% OFF!
  • Dollar Box comics are 50 cents each! (With lots of great new stuff filtering in!)
  • Toys are 20% OFF!
  • T-Shirts are 20% OFF!
  • Supplies are 20% OFF

Sale does not include held items or local comics. Sale items don’t count toward Trade Paperback Club.

New way to save!

We’re looking for a little liquidity lately here at Hub, which has prompted a new idea: Comic Credit.

You can buy Comic Credit for any amount over $100 and get a 5% bonus. The total amount will spend just like cash at the shop.

With Comic Credit this week, for example, you’d be saving an additional 5% (give or take, we’re not math whizzes) on all our sale items — on top of that previously $20, now-50%-off classic John Byrne Fantastic Four book, for example, making it $9.50.

Let us know what you think, and feel free to call or email with any questions if you want to participate.

Events!

Walking Dead viewing party Sunday, October 31, at 10 p.m., the new Walking Dead TV show premieres on AMC. (See the trailer here.) Come by the shop and watch it with us on the gigantic TV!

Second annual “Dark Knight on a Dark Night art show Again this year, we will host a Batman-themed art show, opening around the Winter Solstice. Deadline for submissions is December 10.

Tuesdays are Game Nights!: Hub hosts Tuesday-night game nights every week. We have a few games on hand (Settlers, Uno, Fluxx, whatever), but PLEASE bring your own! We’d love to find out what games our customers like. We start at 7 p.m. and go through 10 or so.

See us on Facebook

Show us some love on our Facebook page, where you can find out about upcoming events and other cool stuff!

Follow us on Twitter

You can find us on Twitter here.

Our Tweeps (Twitter-peeps, apparently) will hear from us first about sales, shipment arrivals and recommendations. Nothing personal; we’re just lazy.

You can also see our now-famous “Tuesday Twitter Specials,” “Theme-Song Thursdays” and the ever popular “FanFic Fridays!” Our man Jesse is a Twitter twendsetter!

Hours

As usual, we’re open Noon to 9 p.m. weekdays, 10-9 Saturdays and 10-6 Sundays.

See you soon!

-James, for Hub Comics

Hub Comics is a small locally-owned business and is a member of Somerville Local First

Filed under: Our Members — Tags: — SLF @ 2:24 pm

Harvest Fest 2010 - A Celebration of Each Other

Oct 14 2:28 pm

by Joe Grafton

Where to begin?  I guess, to get a real picture for what Harvest Fest 2010 meant to me and to SLF, we have to go back a few months to the summer.

We’ve talked about our weather-related misfortune at our first outdoor event this year, SomerFun. The fallout from that rainy day in June was that we lost money, had disappointed vendors, I didn’t get paid for seven weeks, and my confidence was shaken.  Needless to say, I’ve started on projects from better head-spaces than where I started  with Harvest Fest.

But, following the lead of the entrepreneurship on which we were founded, we bootstrapped.  Harvest Fest was in our yearly schedule and we were going to make it happen.  And we would, as the kids say these days, ‘go big or go home’.

I’m not sure if it was the right decision at the time (in retrospect, I think it definitely was), but we on the board agreed to not only hold Harvest Fest this year, but to do it ‘right’.  Doing it right meant following the vision for the event and incorporating what we learned last year.

And even with donations of product from the beer vendors and the restaurants, Harvest Fest was not a cheaply produced event.  In fact, our P&L (Profit & Loss statement) for the event puts our total costs at just over $10,000.  Between fire prevention ($2,000 alone), the venue and fairly compensating the performers, SLF stuck its neck out to make Harvest Fest all it could be.

And for me, standing here on the other side of the event, it was all worth it.

Here’s why:

  • We got the food mostly right this year.  After 12 months of listening to people remark about Harvest Fest 2009′s lack of food, I’m excited to be past that with this years strong performance by the Somerville Restaurants.
  • The amount of excitement that Harvest Fest built, and the resultant awareness in the importance of shifting your shopping to local businesses, was a breakthrough for SLF.  I think there are many more people in Somerville and beyond that understand what we do, why we do it…and most importantly, why they should also participate in the local movement.
  • While almost all opinions matter to me, the opinions of colleagues tend to matter most.  At and after Harvest Fest 2010, people who are involved in the event produciton world were incredibly positive and offered tremendous praise.  There will always be some guests who don’t enjoy an event, but when people who produce them for a living tell you you did something right, it’s a really good sign.
  • Local MET Local.  I heard so many of our vendors and participants talking about how they met and conversed with other local businesses.  We hoped this would happen organically, and it seems like it did.

But if there’s one thing I’ll take away from Harvest Fest 2010, it will be the ubiquitous vibe of happiness that permeated the Armory.  Everyone that I talked to at Harvest Fest was just really happy to be there.  Vendors were happy to talk to their guests, and guests to proprietors.  Performers felt valued and were excited to share their skills for the audience.  Guests seemed really excited to enjoy all the local love.  And from what I can tell, the staff also exuded happiness and thankfulness to be part of the production.

For one day, for a few hours, we brought together hundreds of people to eat, drink and be merry together.  We showed our guests and participants that the community surrounding ‘local’ looks better, tastes better and is just more fun.

Its been said many times in the movement, by leaders with far more experience and wisdom than me, that in order to take our movement to a tipping point, we have to make our work “a better party”.  (Side note:  this is why we try to avoid negativity.  Negativity ruins a party)

By the end of Harvest Fest 2010, at least for a day, it was apparent to me that ‘local’ can be one of the best parties out there and that community, far from a dirty word, is in fact it’s what most of us are seeking.

Harvest Fest 2010: Where Local was a better party

Filed under: Harvest Fest, Local First — SLF @ 2:28 pm

Samara Yoga: Yoga in the Heart of Davis Square

Oct 13 10:27 am
Nicoline Valkenberg, Owner of Samara Yoga

Nicoline Valkenberg

Today’s post comes from SLF Member Nicoline Valkenberg. Nicoline owns Samara Yoga in Davis Square, where she is also an instructor. Find out why Nicoline decided to set up shop in Davis and how you can get a taste of Samara at their upcoming open house below:

“Yoga in the heart of Davis Square”. We chose this tagline for our new studio - Samara Yoga – a sunny 1,500 square foot space tucked above the urban canopy of Davis Square- not just because of our location in the middle of this eclectic Somerville neighborhood, but because of Yoga’s capacity to help us live from our hearts amidst the chaos of modern life.

A nod to our location on Elm Street - our name Samara refers to the winged pockets that carry off the seeds of the elm tree - a lucky metaphor for the process of personal transformation on the mat becoming positive change carried out into the world.

Having just enjoyed Honk Fest from our windows overlooking Davis, I really feel I am in the right place. After having taught for years on the Boston side of the river, I am reminded of Somerville’s crowds of creative change-makers, movers and shakers. I’m excited to be contributing to this rockin’ community, a dedicated Yoga space with some of my dearest friends – who I can honestly name as some of the Boston area’s most sought-after Yoga teachers.

This weekend, October 16-17, Samara Yoga will celebrate joining the vibrant Davis Square community with an Open House! Come tour our beautiful space, and sample our weekend long schedule of free Yoga classes accompanied by live music, complimentary massage and acupuncture by the studio’s resident specialists, and a Sunday evening potluck party where students and instructors can meet and mingle over bean salad instead of bakasana.

Open House with Free Yoga, Massage, Acupuncture and Potluck Dinner

Sat. Oct. 16 9am-6pm - Sun. Oct. 17 10am-6:30pm (Dinner at 7pm).

For more information on this weekend’s events please visit Samara Yoga’s Events page.

Filed under: Our Members — Tags: , , , — SLF @ 10:27 am

Harvest Fest Recap

Oct 10 3:51 pm

Harvest Fest was a huge success! Based on the comments, tweets, and Facebook posts we heard and saw all day yesterday, folks had an amazing experience.

Share your Harvest Fest photos on our Facebook page, and check out the blog later this week for how things looked on our end, including the official photos from the SLF Photo Booth.

Filed under: Harvest Fest — Tags: — admin @ 3:51 pm

Your Last Chances for FREE Harvest Fest Tix

Oct 07 1:38 pm

The hour approaches for local love to flow throughout the Armory.  While Harvest Fest pre-sale tickets for Session 2 are sold out, there ARE still pre-sale tickets for Session 1 available AND there WILL BE a limited number of tickets available at the door at Arts at the Armory.

But all this doesn’t matter if you win tickets.  So, for your chance to do so, check out these two Facebook Contests:

Tell Secret Boston your fav local brand for a chance at Session 1 tix

From now until 2:00 PM tomorrow, Secret Boston is running a contest for a pair of Session 1 Harvest Fest tix.  Tell them your fav local biz/brand for a chance to win….GO!

A chance at Session 2 Tix for you!

And over on the Citysearch Boston facebook page, tell our good friend (Editor & Union Square Resident Christine Liu) what your favorite local beer or wine is for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the session of your choice!  GO!

Filed under: Local First — SLF @ 1:38 pm

Ceviche, Crostini, Creme Fraiche oh MY! Menu items announced for Harvest Fest 2010

Oct 07 10:37 am

We’re excited to start announcing some of the menu items that will be served at Harvest Fest 2010. To be honest, we are blown away by what we’re hearing so far. The forecast most surely calls for Om Nom Noms.

Foundry on Elm - Doing Double Duty plus 1

Foundry on Elm is not only our Food Sponsor this year, helping us transform from what was a pretty big issue with last year’s event into a clear strength for 2010, they are also working on the “go big or go home” philosophy.  Participating in both session and providing TWO different bites at Session 2.

Session 1 & 2 Menu:  Smoked Trout Pate over Crostini

Session 2 Additional menu Item: Chilled Gazpacho with Avacado Creme Fraiche

Ronnarong Thai Tapas Bar - Both Sessions

Chef Ronnarong (aka The Great Thai Chef) from Ronnarong Thai Tapas Bar will be preparing two dishes to sample at each session of Harvest Fest.

Ginger Chicken

The Greath Thai Chef’s Fried Rice (Vegetarian w/ Tofu)

Highland Kitchen - Serving at Session 1

Highland Kitchen’s Deviled Eggs were a hit last year.  This year they’ll be serving up Ceviche (!!!) for our Session 1 guests.

Trina's Starlite Lounge - Serving at Session 1

Trina’s Starlite Lounge will show all of our Session 1 guests that they’re not just a great place to enjoy a drink.  They’ll be serving a Squash Tart with Apple Slaw and Spicy Pecan

Lion's Share Foods - Session 1

Lion's Share Foods - Session 1

And for all you fans of Fermented food (and for those who want to see what it’s all about), Lion’s  Share Foods has you covered in Session 1.  They’ll be serving: Soup and Samples of Kimchee and Saurkraut

More menu announcements coming soon…hurry, presale tix are gone for Session 2 but some still available for Session 1!

Filed under: Harvest Fest, Local First — SLF @ 10:37 am

Your rundown for the HONK! Festival in the ‘ville

Oct 05 12:15 pm

The HONK! Festival - Celebrating 5 Years of Awesome

As we mentioned earlier, we are really excited about the HONK! Festival this weekend in Somerville and beyond.  We love what HONK! stands for:  Music. Community. Justice. Diversity.  That’s a values line up that’s tough to beat.

From their About Us section on their website:

“Just as important, (The Street Bands) honk their horns because it’s the best way they know to protest a world of violence and oppression.”

Who wouldn’t love that?!?

For more info on HONK!, here’s a great mini-documentary produced at Tufts University.

Louder Than Words from Tufts Film Works on Vimeo.

So if you’re looking for something to support this weekend, HONK! is a great option.  Here’s a rundown of what’s happening from their Schedule page

Friday, Oct 8, 1 – 5 pm

HONK! in the Neighborhoods: Visiting bands will play for students at local Boys & Girls Clubs, and alongside local community bands in East Somerville, East Boston, Cambridge and Boston.

Saturday, Oct 9, Noon – 9 pm

HONK! on Davis Square: 25 activist street bands, from around the country, perform outdoors for free. Opening Ceremony at 12:00noon at 7 Hills Park in Davis Square.

Sunday, Oct 10, Noon – 2 pm

HONK! Parade to “Reclaim the Streets for Horns, Bikes and Feet” featuring all the bands plus Bread & Puppet Theater and many local arts and community organizations, from Davis Square to Harvard Square’s Oktoberfest celebration. The parade leaves Davis Square at 12 noon, travels down Elm Street, then Beech Street onto Massachusetts Ave to Harvard Square. We need 123 volunteers for this parade–contact [email protected] if you are interested!

Sunday, Oct 10, 2 – 6 pm

HONK! bands perform at Harvard Square Oktoberfest.

Sunday, Oct 10, 8 pm-midnight

Blow-out final show at Somerville Theatre in Davis Square!
All-ages, general admission – 20 brass bands in 4 hours, for only $10!
Tickets available online, at the Theatre box office in Davis Square — or pick them up at a HONK! table during the festival weekend! Saturday at Statue Park in Davis Square, and Sunday at Brattle and Mt. Auburn Streets in Harvard Square. (additional theater fees apply if purchased online or at the box office)

Filed under: Local First — SLF @ 12:15 pm

Tuesday is HONK! Day at SLF

Oct 05 10:10 am

October is, to say the least, a busy month when it comes to festivals.  When we were booking the dates for Harvest Fest, we found a beer festival scheduled almost every weekend in October.  So we picked October 9th.  Then, after we announced it, we found out we programmed the same day as the HONK! Festival.  Whoops!

The Fifth Annual HONK! Festival Saturday, Oct 9, Noon – 9 pm Davis Square.

We reached out to Redbones Owner Rob Gregory (one of HONK!s founders) and the HONK! Organizers.  After speaking with them about the conflict, we investigated a date change (Oct 23rd was booked at the Armory and there was a competing festival every other weekend in October…except for the last one…but we didn’t want to do Halloween).  When that didn’t work, we  discussed how we could minimize the impact with HONK! Organizers.  We made sure to not impinge on their resources and promised to also inform folks about HONK!

So today, on the Tuesday before our biggest and most important event of the year, we’re only going to be talking about the HONK! festival, why its awesome and why you should go and support it.

Also….we’ll probably announce the date of Harvest Fest 2011 sooner next year :)

Filed under: Harvest Fest — SLF @ 10:10 am

Getting Tickets at the Door for Harvest Fest? Read this…

Oct 04 2:33 pm

Pre-sale tickets to Harvest Fest 2010 are just about gone and, we’re getting really excited to produce one of the best events of the year for our guests.  THERE WILL BE TICKETS AVAILABLE AT THE DOOR, so we wanted to let you know how things will work if you plan on getting tickets the day of the event.

Consider this our disclaimer for those who won’t make it into the event.  To avoid that disappointment, buy your pre-sale tickets here.

We have a plan for walk up ticket sales at Harvest Fest 2010...here it is.

Harvest Fest door tickets will be available on a first come, first served basis.  While last years event saw a lot of turnover (people leaving after an hour or two), we’re not sure that’ll happen this year.

***IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT FOOD****
If you buy presale tickets you are guaranteed a taste at each participating restaurant.  We are printing 400 postcards for each session that will get our guests and our staff 1 bite/small serving each at the participating restaurants.  This is our way of communicating exactly how much food each restaurant should bring.  After each card has been distributed, they are gone.  We will offer reduced admission of $15 for anyone that wishes to enter the event without receiving a food card. (Update:  This was $10, then about $1,000 in costs came out of nowhere, as they do, so we’re upping it to $15.  Hope you understand…it is a fundraiser after all)

Arriving at the Armory

The Armory will have two receiving lines for each Harvest Fest Session.  One for ticket holders and one for walk  ups.   If you’e bought your tickets pre-sale, you’ll be in the Fast Lane to Harvest Fest

The capacity at the Armory is only 395 at one time and we have approximately 100 staff/volunteers/performers for each session.  Once we have reached capacity, we will begin distributing numbers from 1-40 for guests who’d like to wait in the Armory Cafe.

As guests leave (if they do), we’ll call those numbers in order for admittance.  We can not guarantee that any waiting guests will be able to get into Harvest Fest.

So there you have it.  Our plan to deal with guests and ticketing.  We’re also open to suggestions if you feel any of this isn’t cool or doesn’t make sense.  There are still a few days for us to modify and improve our plan.  Do leave comments if you have thoughts  you’d like to share. (Update:  No comments, this is how we’re doing it)

Or avoid the issue altogether by buying your tickets right now.

Filed under: Harvest Fest, Local First — SLF @ 2:33 pm
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