Citizens For A Better Norwood

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lupe Gonzalez-Hoyt: What’s on your wish list for local commerce?

As a new trustee with the Norwood Chamber of Commerce, Lupe Gonzalez-Hoyt, Executive Director of Norwood Service League, wants to know our readers’ thoughts about the state of business, especially small businesses, in our community. With her guest blog below as a starting point, what do you think we can do to attract new businesses and help them thrive?

It’s no secret since 1964, that the Pike lost a lot of local business and customers with the opening of shopping centers and malls. Check out the photo displays at the Norwood Historical Society archives to view the crowded sidewalks back then. In the 1980’s, Montgomery Rd. lost it cozy customer feeling when the road was widened to a football field. The habits of shoppers changed, the products people bought changed. The commercial market changed. So here we are in 2010, beginning of a new year and we still hear people say, “We ought to have….” “I wish there were…” in regards to the kinds of businesses they need or want.

But the buying public isn’t aware of what it takes to open, maintain and grow a small business, are they?. Small business has been the backbone of any community economy. There is a place for small businesses in the landscape of commerce with larger corporations, conglomerates, and international companies. The newer retail developments which have revitalized that neck of the ‘wood are different from the Norwood Central Business District.

For the local small business owners, times are tough and we need to work together to get through. With the recent closing of Kruse Hardware Store, it reminds that we are losing businesses. Yes, the overall economy in our country is a bitter pill, but we have some control of the local economies of our homes and small businesses.

As small business owners we have a dream, a desire to serve and impact our community. Sometimes we need extra help to adapt to changes that affect business. And it gets lonely working all by yourself. For the local business man or woman, what would you say are your needs? Networking, technical assistance, new ideas for PR and marketing, better parking? You tell us. Are you interested in starting a small business one day? What information do you need?

Do we want our Central Business District to look like Montgomery & Dana/Brewster? Or do want to redevelop and expand what we have on our main street? As a new board member of the Norwood Chamber of Commerce, I‘d like to hear your thoughtful comments. This is serious business, so please let’s work together on this. My intent here is to provoke thought, inspire planning, brainstorming, and start a new conversation. This is an exhaustive subject, but one I enjoy delving into for too many reasons to explain in one sentence.

Just for fun, this is my own wish list for new businesses in Norwood, based on my personal needs and what I know about our community:

1. An attractive, friendly community conference center where companies, organizations and groups can hold meetings, trainings, seminars.
2. More family restaurants, eateries, mobile restaurants (seasonal) w/ specialty foods. I know of several local new corporations with employees who need variety beyond what we currently offer.
3. More child care centers for 0-4 years old. Quality learning begins in the early years. Believe me, we do not have enough to meet the needs In our area.
4. A hardware store. My 98 year old Tudor home needs special hardware, wood, tools, equipment, to maintain its functional and architectural integrity. The hardware store sells new stuff doesn’t fit my house. The average age of Norwood housing is 1939.

In the meantime, there are great small businesses who are members of the Norwood Chamber of Commerce. Need your computer fixed? Need a CPA? Need jewelry redesigned? How about printing projects? Check out the NCC website at for a listing of services, and support the small businesses with your business.

Lupe Gonzalez-Hoyt
Phone: 924-1200