Interise business accelerator holds fourth SouthCoast graduation ceremony for small business owners

By Mike Lawrence

March 29. 2016 8:05PM

NEW BEDFORD — Michael Melo has been working at his family-owned M & C Café long enough to see North End mills transition, over decades, from full of textiles to empty and now to gradually filling again, with housing and growing businesses.

Melo said his parents opened the Portuguese seafood spot in 1967, and he’s been a co-owner on Belleville Avenue since 1984.

George Kirby IV also cited long experience, saying he’s the seventh generation of family ownership at George Kirby Jr. Paint Co., which has operated in New Bedford for 170 years.

But both men said their experience didn’t mean they knew everything about running a business. And both men celebrated their graduation Tuesday evening from Interise SouthCoast, which uses public and private partnerships to provide its Streetwise “MBA” program. The program gives support and training to small, established businesses that are looking to take the next step.

“You can always learn something more,” Melo said at Cork Wine & Tapas Bar downtown, where Interise SouthCoast held its fourth graduation event.

“I just took over for my Dad,” added Kirby. “I’ve been working there my whole life, but now I have to learn how to run the place.”

He’ll have some help — Kirby took the latest Interise program with his wife, Shari Kirby, who does accounting for the paint company.

George Kirby said the program taught him better ways to track sales patterns, improve profit and loss statements, and market Kirby products, such as a new line of latex interior and exterior paints he hopes to publicize on social media and the company website.

“I think it will help me make better decisions in the future,” he said.

Interise SouthCoast is a regional branch of the Boston-based business accelerator Interise, which began its Streetwise “MBA” program in 2004 and now offers programs nationwide.

Jackie Raposo, senior program manager for Interise, said 11 business owners across eight businesses graduated with this year’s group.

Not all participants had as many decades of business experience as Melo and the Kirbys. Elissa Paquette, for example, has run her Calico clothing business for about 10 years, including seven years in the current location on Union Street downtown.

Paquette, 35, said the Interise program taught her how to stabilize her cash flow across the full year, despite a business that can see a rush of sales during the holidays but fewer sales in slow periods.

Paquette said Calico, which sells new women’s fashion, has had a second location open in Providence for about a year.

Interise SouthCoast will start its next Streetwise “MBA” program in September. More information is available online at

Follow Mike Lawrence on Twitter @MikeLawrenceSCT

Original Article Here:

Vision for New Bedford’s waterfront focuses on fishing, revamped State Pier

Posted Mar. 24, 2016 at 12:01 am

NEW BEDFORD — Expanding the scope of New Bedford’s commercial fishing industry — and showcasing it with greater public access on a revitalized, multi-use State Pier — are key components of a detailed vision for the city’s entire waterfront outlined in a report that culminates an 18-month planning process and looks decades into the future.

Boston consultants Sasaki Associates focus on three waterfront sections: northern, roughly from the Whale’s Tooth parking lot to I-195; central, roughly from Route 6 into the NStar site of a failed casino bid, now used by Sprague Oil and Eversource Energy; and southern, primarily involving the Marine Commerce Terminal and surrounding parcels.

Ed Anthes-Washburn, port director for the Harbor Development Commission, emphasized a primary theme that he said permeates the entire plan.

“Fishing is threaded throughout,” Anthes-Washburn said Wednesday.

Sasaki’s final report follows numerous public and private meetings last year, and incorporates input from business leaders, industry representatives, property owners and other stakeholders up and down the waterfront.

“Every single parcel, and every single parcel owner, was contacted,” said Derek Santos, executive director of the New Bedford Economic Development Council (EDC).

It envisions a northern harbor that’s focused heavily on expanding space and waterside access for the fishing industry, recommending 1,500 linear feet of new bulkhead space that could allow more activity on the docks and spur development of fish processing facilities inland.

“As the No. 1 fishing port in the U.S., dockage is at a premium,” said Roy Enoksen, president of scallop giant Eastern Fisheries, Inc., and a member of the study’s steering committee. “Recommendations like the expansion of the North Terminal bulkhead reflect the needs of the waterfront’s stakeholders and will solidify New Bedford’s place at the top of the commercial fishing industry for decades to come.”

Anthes-Washburn said “25 to 30 businesses” already located in New Bedford or Fairhaven indicated desires to expand if deep-water access was improved on the North Terminal.

On the central waterfront, Sasaki envisions a mix of uses on the 8-acre State Pier site, including commercial buildings in the northwest corner, a fish auction and offloading area on the south side, and a large “flex space” in the southwest corner, close to MacArthur Drive. That painted asphalt space could provide parking or cargo storage when needed, Anthes-Washburn said, while at other times serving as a site for events, festivals and other public uses.

State Pier could spur significant debate on the waterfront as plans develop in coming months and years. State Sen. Mark Montigny, a New Bedford Democrat who long has advocated for mixed use on State Pier, called the site “grossly under-utilized.” He said the Sasaki report could help him convince Gov. Charlie Baker to allow the use of a $25 million bond, which Montigny said has been signed into law and is dedicated to redevelopment of State Pier.

“I’m working with the governor to get that money released,” Montigny said. “I now am able to say to him…this works. It’s much, much easier for me to make the argument.”

But state Rep. Bill Straus, a Mattapoisett Democrat and House chairman of the state’s joint Transportation Committee, reiterated “concerns” Wednesday about a mix of uses on State Pier.

“We have had success in individual or periodic events, but what we have not had occur, or presented as an option for State Pier, until this (report), is that in a marine and industrial use property, that we would put fixed structures and buildings in a way such that the marine and industrial uses would be restricted,” Straus said.

Mayor Jon Mitchell said recommendations in the Sasaki report would enhance uses of State Pier.

“The uses on State Pier don’t radically change — all the same businesses remain on the pier,” Mitchell said. “What the plan adds is more space for commercial fishing on the south side, and public accommodation in the 1 acre on the northwest corner, which is completely underutilized right now and can’t readily be used for other purposes.”

The report’s recommendations for South Terminal, meanwhile, focus on future development of heavy cargo and industries such as offshore wind, focused around the Marine Commerce Terminal.

Half of the report’s $400,000 cost came from a federal grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The city provided an additional $133,000, and Santos said the EDC provided $67,000 in staff time. The city’s Harbor Development Commission and Redevelopment Authority also contributed resources.

Mitchell said the report will be invaluable in guiding planning and development decisions for years to come, “to make the most of the port, which is the most important economic asset in the entire region.”

The city’s waterfront is home to more than 370 businesses and nearly 3,900 employees, totaling $2.7 billion in business sales, the report stated. The fishing industry alone accounted for 140 million pounds of catch in 2014, with a total value of $329 million, according to NOAA Fisheries.

“New Bedford is and will remain primarily an industrial port that focuses on fishing, but which continues to diversify,” Mitchell said. “We believe that this plan will make the fishing industry more profitable, but at the same time open up other possibilities for cargo and offshore wind expansion.”

Santos put it another way, stressing the potential of developing under-utilized areas.

“What we want to lose is nothing,” Santos said. “All we want to do is gain.”

Original Article Here

New Bedford firm cashes in on others’ mistakes


Jeff Glassman joined his family’s apparel business in 1994 and things almost immediately went south — literally.

That was the same year the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect. By 1996, the New Bedford factory had lost so much business to lower-cost competitors in Mexico that it laid off more than three-fourths of its workers.

Then, to add insult to injury, an old customer asked if Glassman could fix 30,000 trousers that had torn seams, oil stains, and crooked labels because of shoddy work in Mexico.

That request — which Glassman admits ticked him off at first — led him to launch his own company that specializes in repairing and refurbishing clothes, whether damaged in flawed manufacturing processes in China or returned to retailers in less than pristine condition. At any given time, the company, which Glassman named Darn It!, may be involved in a dozen or more rescue projects, from fixing clasps on costume jewelry to sewing seams on poorly stitched trousers to correcting the size label on 40,000 bras.

“We have no idea what we’re going to get,” said Glassman. “It’s our job to be prepared for anything that comes on the way.”

Darn It! has grown from the handful of employees who fixed the NAFTA rejects to more than 80, who not only fix clothing, but also watches, hats, shoes, jewelry, housewares, and camping equipment. Glassman, who declined to disclose revenues, said he refurbishes products for more than 150 customers, including retailers, wholesalers and major brands. He is prohibited by contract from disclosing their names.

The company’s biggest job came in 2010, when it inspected 470,000 T-shirts for stains, flaws, and crooked necklines over six weeks.

The company expanded beyond textiles when a wholesaler, for whom DarnIt! had relabeled T-shirts, asked for help saving 10,000 cheese trays stained by the black dye from their zippered canvas bags. Darn It! figured out a solution in a couple of days. It sanded and refinished the boards, repackaging them in wax paper. “They looked brand spanking new,” Glassman said.

Glassman, 47, grew up with the clothing manufacturing business. Both his grandfather, Meyer, and father, Norman, owned and operated textile companies in New Bedford. He recalls as a child sorting buttons and thread at Ronnie’s, his father’s company.

Ronnie’s, named for Glassman’s mother, produced women’s apparel for various brands and stores.

Glassman graduated from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 1990 with a bachelor’s in business administration. At his dad’s urging, he gained experience elsewhere, working at retailers before entering the family business a few years later.

As competition from low-cost foreign factories drove Ronnie’s to slash its workforce to 75 from 350, Glassman lined up a job as a financial adviser at Smith Barney in Boston.

But the rescue of the 30,000 pairs of Mexican-made pants stoked his entrepreneurial instincts. His mother suggested the name “Whoops” for his new company, but that had already been taken by a competitor in New Jersey.

By 1996, when Darn It! was established, Ronnie’s had closed. Glassman’s family still operated a spinoff company that produced Polar fleece garments, but that, too, succumbed to foreign competition a few years ago.

Clients typically turn to Darn It! after they discover through spot checks an unusually large number of defects in a shipment, or if they want old inventory and returns inspected. Their orders often come with demanding deadlines.

“If a customer comes in tomorrow and says, ‘I need 30,000 units looked at, and you’ve got five days,’” Glassman said, “our job is to figure out a way to get it through our system.”

One worker may press wrinkled garments in the morning, remove stains in the afternoon, and inspect shoes for scuff marks or excess glue the next day. Darn It! has several processes for cleaning and deodorizing clothes that become mildewed because they aren’t sufficiently dried before being stuffed into shipping containers.

“Most of our people are cross-trained on all sorts of operations — sewing, inspecting, pressing, spot cleanings, Glassman said. “It’s our job to make sure we can shift gears at any time and have the people to do it.

In 2007, he bought a 315,000-square-foot New Bedford mill or $1.6 million. Afterward, he learned that it once housed a sewing plant where his great-grandfather had worked.

Darn It! also operates a warehouse and distribution arm, which now accounts for 40 percent of revenues. The division has more than 20 customers, mostly wholesalers and Web-based businesses, looking to save on overhead. Their merchandise — which ranges from clothes to books to watches — is shipped in bulk to Darn It!, which then separates orders and sends them to stores and homes.

Glassman said that by offering refurbishment, packing, and shipping services under one roof, Darn It! has a leg up on its competitors.

BayCoast Bank of Swansea helped provide financing for the mill purchase. Its first vice president, Stuart Lawrence, has overseen loans to three generations of Glassmans.

“They don’t jump into something very quickly without doing their research,” Lawrence said. “They are hard-working and extremely savvy business people.”

Savvy enough to see the profits — and poetic justice — in capitalizing on the very foreign competition that nearly did them in.

Original Article Here

Upgrades coming to downtown New Bedford parking garage

By Sandy Quadros Bowles

Posted Jan. 24, 2016 at 3:57 PM
Updated Jan 24, 2016 at 4:17 PM

NEW BEDFORD — A $5 million project scheduled to start in the spring aims to upgrade the Elm Street Municipal Garage and make the aging structure safer and more appealing to potential users.The garage, which dates back to the 1970s, is “dark, dank’’ and “underutilized,’’ said Ari Sky, chief financial officer for the city.

“It’s a real resource for downtown,’’ he said. “It’s got to look nice.’’

The project will not use taxpayer money, Sky said, but will be paid for by a $511,524 Federal Lands Access Program grant and the downtown parking enterprise fund, which is supported by parking fees.

Current conditions at the garage make it a “less desirable parking location,’’ according to information provided by the city and presented to the City Council.

“Visitors’ perceptions of security in the garage are a critical consideration for achieving higher usage,’’ according to the information. “The single most significant factor is ensuring that there is adequate, uniform lighting without dark areas.’’

Lighting plays a key role in keeping buildings safe, said Detective Capt. Steven Vicente, public information officer for the city Police Department. “Lighting is extremely important,’’ he said. Well-lit areas tend to be less vulnerable to crime, he said.

Police have responded to car breaks and complaints of loitering at the garage, Vicente said.

Police have used specialized patrols downtown at the Elm Street and Zeiterion parking garages to stop people from staying there overnight.

Capt. Joseph Cordeiro, commander of the downtown police station, has said there have been problems with people urinating and defecating in the garage.

The garages are posted for no trespassing.

The first phase of the project is scheduled to begin in the spring and will include a series of improvements, including structural repairs and stabilization, enhancing the curb appeal and appearance of the facade, redesigning and installing new lighting and security for all interior spaces, and installing auto-pay units in both the Elm Street and Zeiterion garages.

The first phase will cost an estimated $3.1 million.

These changes will create a “wow factor,’’ Skye said.

The second phase will include resurfacing the concrete deck, replacing deteriorating parking stops and installing a fire prevention system.

With the installation of auto pay, two positions are scheduled to be replaced, Sky said, although the employees may be reassigned, he said.

The work will be done in phases, Sky said, and it is unlikely that the entire lot would have to be closed for an extended period.

“I think it’s going to look terrific,’’ Sky said. “It’s going to be such an image booster.’’

Original Article Here

Entrepreneurs hoping to take flight in EforAll business accelerator program

NEW BEDFORD — City native Miriam Guillotte, 29, said she highly values her job as a medical scientist in Rhode Island Hospital’s molecular biology lab.

But that’s not stopping her from pursuing a passion — in this case, for pets — and the potential for a radically different career path.

She’s working to start a business called Paw Place, which she described as “a self-serve dog wash and boutique, where we’re going to sell high-end dog food, treats and toys.”

Guillotte is one of 11 entrepreneurs from around the region who are participating in the first business accelerator program by EforAll South Coast.

The 12-week incubator started this month and will offer participants shares of a $30,000 prize pool over the next year. Participants also have begun twice-weekly workshops, Tuesdays in Fall River and Thursdays in New Bedford, along with weekly meetings with mentors from the local business community.

Entrepreneurs include Christian Smith, who hopes to open a bacon-themed food truck in New Bedford; Krysten Callina of Mastermind Adventures, a Somerset-based company that provides educational and imaginative activities for children; Steve Bouley of BCube Analytics in Fall River, which provides cloud-based software solutions; and others.

Guillotte said while businesses similar to Paw Place exist in greater Boston and Providence, there aren’t many options on SouthCoast.

So, she’s eyeing locations in New Bedford, Dartmouth and Fairhaven, while trying to talk to plumbers about extensive tub and water needs. Guillotte said she hopes to open this summer.

She’ll get plenty of good advice in coming weeks — EforAll has about 35 local business leaders acting as mentors for entrepreneurs in the program. Guillotte said her mentors for the Paw Place project are Keri Cox, communications director for mediumstudio, a New Bedford graphic design business; Ken Shwartz, founder of KAS Investments in Mattapoisett, and Rick Kidder, president and CEO of the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce.

Shelley Cardoos, executive director of EforAll South Coast, said personal interactions have been at the heart of the business accelerator program so far.

“It’s been going great — people are definitely finding value in the classes,” Cardoos said. “We started our class off (Tuesday) just asking them about different connections they’ve made with each other, and it was pretty remarkable how, already, this cohort is networking together.”

EforAll South Coast is a local expansion of the EforAll model in Lawrence and Lowell. Program manager Jeremiah Hernandez said EforAll South Coast is funded by a three-year grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, and hopes to move to private and foundation funding in the future.

Guillotte called the incubator an exciting opportunity to act on her lifelong passion for animals.

“The energy of being in a room with 10 other entrepreneurs … it inspires you to really chase your dreams,” she said.

Follow Mike Lawrence on Twitter @MikeLawrenceSCT

Original Article Here

Pours from a family vineyard in Portugal


Winemaker Marco Montez expects the unexpected now that he runs two wineries — one in New Bedford and another in the Portuguese hinterlands.

Recently, his phone rang at 6 in the morning. His father was calling from Portugal to tell him that several inches of rain had made a muddy mess of the family’s vineyards. Montez had already spoken with the vineyard foreman, so he had a plan in motion to shore up the damage. “It’s up to me,” he says with a good-natured shrug. “For good or for bad, I’m responsible.”

When Montez first arrived in Massachusetts as a teenager, he could not have guessed that two decades later he would be running both Travessia Urban Winery, in downtown New Bedford, specializing in Massachusetts-grown grapes, as well as the family estate in the tiny village of Loivos, in northeastern Portugal, where he spent most of his childhood.

“One of my earliest memories was picking grapes,” he says, recalling how family and friends harvested the fruit, carted full baskets back to the house, and dumped the clusters into a concrete tank his father had built. “Then we got in there, bare legs and all,” he says. The squishy berries would slip out from underfoot as they were trod into a juicy slurry. “That was just how you did it back then,” he says. “It wasn’t about being cute,” as the old-school practice might be viewed today.

His family’s vines grow in Tras-Os-Montes, which translates as “beyond the mountains.” Montez hopes wine enthusiasts will get to know the region through his new line of blends, called “Ensaio,” under the brand Penada, named for the mountain where his grapes grow. His bottles are crafted from indigenous Portuguese varietals, including touriga nacional, tinta amarela, and fernao pires, cultivated on terraced hillsides at an elevation of 1,600 feet. His winery is one of about 40 independently owned wineries in the region that market their wines. Home winemakers and growers who sell their fruit to government-run cooperatives make up the balance of production.

Among enthusiasts, Montez observes a growing awareness beyond iconic styles like port and vinho verde, and openness to indigenous grapes. “People are realizing that Portugal is a phenomenal country for quality table wines,” he says. In addition to the bottles he himself crafts, he recommends two from other producers — a red blend from the Alentejo region in the country’s sunny south, and a single varietal white, made from alvarinho, hailing from Vinho Verde in the northwest.

Nowadays, the revamped Loivos winery uses all modern equipment, but Montez still loves the feel of crushing grapes barefoot. Last year, he introduced the grape-stomping tradition to his 12-year-old daughter, for whom the old-timey practice is cute. “She thought it was crazy!” he says with a chuckle. Her reaction was not entirely unexpected.

Penada “Ensaio” Vinho Branco 2013
Sprightly and fresh with a whiff of mineral, sweet citrus, and green herbal notes, this pleasing pour sports an off-dry (subtly sweet) profile balanced by bright acid. Serve with creamy goat’s milk cheese and a crusty loaf. Around $17. At Sudbury Wine & Spirits, Sudbury, 978-443-1300; Social Wines, South Boston, 617-268-2974.

Penada “Ensaio” Vinho Tinto 2013
This lithe-in-weight red offers spiciness on the nose plus notes of blue flowers and a hint of dried citrus peel. Flavors of red plum and plum skin combine with lively acidity. Perfect with a warming bowl of caldo verde, kale soup with potatoes, and chourico. Recommended for you Around $17. At The Cheese Shop of Salem, Salem, 978-498-4820; The Spirited Gourmet, Belmont, 617-489-9463.

Muros Antigos Alvarinho 2013
Clean, citrusy scents and notes of white flower petals lead to a tart palate full of lemon pith, green herbs, and the tang of saline and white pepper. A winner with shredded Brussels sprouts salad with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano. Around $19. At Marty’s Fine Wines, Newton, 617-332-1230; Wollaston Wine & Spirits, Quincy, 617-479-4433.

Cortes de Cima Vinho Tinto 2011
This deep-hued pour (a blend including syrah, aragonez, and touriga nacional) offers appealing aromas and juicy flavors of berries, plum, and sweet oak. Tannins are plentiful yet soft, an easy pairing with pork tenderloin. Around $25. At Inman Square Wine & Spirits, Cambridge, 617-945-2902; Jerry’s Liquors, Somerville, 617-666-5410.

Ellen Bhang can be reached at

Original Article Here


City of New Bedford, Whaling Museum, Cape Verde forge a cultural link

By Steve Urbon
Posted Jan. 4, 2016 at 12:08 PM
Updated Jan 4, 2016 at 6:22 PM

NEW BEDFORD — In a milestone for the Whaling Museum and for Cape Verdean history and culture, museum and Cape Verdean officials are joining with Mayor Jon Mitchell to reveal the details of a permanent cultural link between the city, the museum, and the government of Cape Verde.

The long-term cultural partnership will involve a permanent exhibition on whales and whaling in Sao Nicolau and Sao Vicente following a research visit exploring venues and logistics last year by museum managers.

An official cultural exchange protocol between the city, the museum and the Cape Verdean Ministry of Culture was signed in the summer of 2015 during the visit of the historic Charles W. Morgan to New Bedford. The details of the new exhibits will be revealed at a noon press conference Tuesday in the Harbor View Gallery of the museum.

“I am excited beyond words to see what has developed from the opening of the Cape Verdean exhibit in 2011,” said former Trustee Eugene Monteiro, now co-chairman of the museum’s Cape Verdean Advisory Council along with Dr. Patricia Andrade.

“A number of events have taken place leading up to where we are now,” Monteiro said, heaping praise on museum President James Russell for doggedly pursuing ways to bring Cape Verde and the Azores close to the museum.

Monteiro accompanied Russell on a trip to Cape Verde last April to identify what could be done with the available spaces on the islands and what artifacts and exhibits would be suitable for the museum’s first annex locations.

Russell said that the museum will supply about 50 artifacts for the exhibits including ship models, maps and whaling gear.

But in a twist, Russell said the museum has decided not to make long-term loans or reproductions, but to give the artifacts to Cape Verde outright as gifts.

He also said that he would like to make visits to the islands an annual event, so that the museums can explore expansion options. He said this will complement the superb artistry of Cape Verdean musicians, dancers and actors in a country without enough financial resources to fully support the mechanism of keeping a museum open.

Cape Verde has a special relationship with New Bedford dating back to the whaling days of the 1800s when whaleships became important conduits of immigration to the United States from Cape Verde.

Cape Verde became the main port of entry for many Cape Verdean immigrant whalers and their families. Their legacy is all around SouthCoast and Boston, a major element in the history of this part of the nation.

Attendees for today’s event will include: Mayor Jon Mitchell; Pedro de Carvalho, consul general of the Republic of Cape Verde; Ligia Timas, senior adviser to the Cape Verdean Ministry of Culture; Russell; Dr. Patricia Andrade, co-chair of the Cape Verdean Advisory Committee; and Monteiro.

Follow Steve Urbon on Twitter @SteveUrbonSCT

Original Article Here

New Bedford schools show clear improvement in state rankings

By Sandy Quadros Bowles

December 09. 2015 12:18PM

For New Bedford Public Schools Superintendent Pia Durkin, the annual school accountability results the state released Wednesday might as well have come gift-wrapped.

“Christmas came early for the New Bedford public schools,’’ a smiling Durkin said in her office shortly after the numbers became public.

Two schools, Taylor and Pulaski elementary schools, improved to the state’s top accountability ranking, Level 1. They and Jireh Swift School are now the city’s three Level 1 schools.

Casimir Pulaski Elementary School in the North End leapt two levels, from Level 3 to the top ranking.

Pulaski and William H. Taylor, in the South End, were also named commendation schools, becoming the first New Bedford schools to receive that status since 2010. Commendation schools are a select group of Level 1 schools recognized by the state’s Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. Only 44 schools across the state receive the honor, New Bedford Public Schools spokesman Jonathan Carvalho said.

Both schools were recognized for significant progress. Pulaski also was recognized for narrowing proficiency gaps for all students in all areas.

Sixteen New Bedford schools showed improvement with increased percentile rankings, which compare overall student performance in schools across the state.

The results show that the school district is moving in the right direction, Durkin said.

“This definitely gives us momentum,’’ she said.

“These results reflect real progress in our schools. Much work remains, but it’s clear that the administration and teachers are moving the New Bedford Public Schools in the right direction,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell said in a statement.

The state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) guaranteed that schools that took the PAARC tests, as New Bedford schools did, would not see their accountability levels drop. Percentile rankings still could drop, though.

Durkin acknowledged the news was not all good. Hayden-McFadden Elementary School remains a Level 4 school, in its fourth year of a transformation school improvement model. “We will be carefully reviewing how we are working there,’’ she said.

Hayden-McFadden faces “very serious issues,’’ she added, saying four years at Level 4 is “just not acceptable.’’

Durkin said she will look at a “robust and accelerated’’ improvement plan for Hayden-McFadden. The school’s transformational model does not make significant changes quickly enough, she said. That model was put in place before she was hired as superintendent.

A turnaround plan that’s now in place for New Bedford High School and Parker School is more aggressive and could involve staffing changes or alterations to the school calendar, she said.

Parker School, in its second year of a turnaround plan, dropped in statewide percentile from 18 to 8. The school has added new family engagement techniques, a positive behavior intervention system and a retooled school schedule, Carvalho said.

At Pacheco School, which dropped from 40 to 17 in statewide percentile, Durkin said the addition of a new principal, a new assistant principal position and a new teaching coach have been put in place.

In Dartmouth, the Joseph DeMello and James M. Quinn elementary schools improved from Level 2 rankings in 2014 to Level 1 rankings this year. Dartmouth Middle School and George H. Potter Elementary School remained Level 2 schools in 2015, though, keeping a ranking that, according to DESE, means a school is “not meeting gap-narrowing goals.”

Dr. Bonny L. Gifford, superintendent of the Dartmouth Public School District, said administrators and staff were “absolutely thrilled” about the improvements, and about student growth across the district.

“Even our schools that maintained the Level 2 status, they still had good growth,” Gifford said.

Assistant Superintendent Michelle Roy said Potter and the middle school “just missed” Level 1 status this year, and could move up next year with continued improvement on the state’s four-year accountability formula. Roy credited an increased focus on embedding science in daily lessons and activities with the improvement at DeMello, and cited strong improvement in English language arts at Quinn.

In Acushnet, the Acushnet Elementary School and the Albert F. Ford Middle School retained their Level 2 status.

Superintendent Steve Donovan said the Ford Middle School’s cumulative PPI scores increases, “which is progress toward being Level 1.” The cumulative PPI combines information about narrowing proficiency gaps, growth, and graduation and dropout rates over the most recent four-year period.

Information about the levels in the Fairhaven school system could not be obtained late in the day by deadline.


In New Bedford, the 2015 levels are:Level 1: 3 schoolsLevel 2: 4 schoolsLevel 3: 11 schoolsLevel 4: 2 schoolsLevel 5: 1 school

EforAll South Coast offering entrepreneurs a chance at mentors, funding

By Mike Lawrence

December 05. 2015 4:07PM

NEW BEDFORD — In a business setup that resembles a stack of Russian nesting dolls, a New Bedford and Fall River startup is helping launch other startups while basing its local office inside of, yes, a startup.

Entrepreneurs Shelley Cardoos and Jeremiah Hernandez are taking online applications through Wednesday for a 12-week business accelerator program that’s slated to start in January and will offer shares of a $30,000 prize pool to selected participants over the next year. Participants in the 12-week program also will have access to twice-weekly workshops — often with local business leaders — weekly meetings with mentors, and more.

Cardoos and Hernandez are offering the accelerator program through EforAll South Coast, a local expansion of the EforAll model in Lawrence and Lowell. Cardoos is executive director of the SouthCoast branch, which launched in late September and operates in New Bedford and Fall River. Hernandez is its program manager.

Hernandez is a former co-owner of the U.G.L.Y. art gallery, which closed its doors on Union Street earlier this year. Cardoos said she worked for 12 years at Ahead, an embroidery company based in the New Bedford Business Park. Both said a love of entrepreneurship led them to start EforAll South Coast. They hosted a “pitch contest” for new business ideas at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center in October.

Hernandez said the accelerator program that starts in January is focused more on mentoring than money.

“This is a very basic incubation,” Hernandez said. “It’s really about the encouragement of startups — it’s not funding $4 million buildouts.”

Cardoos said they’ve had about 10 applicants for the accelerator program so far, with ideas ranging from a food truck to a youth empowerment program, a new design for a professional woman’s handbag, and more. About three to five winners initially will share $15,000 from the prize pool, she said, with shares of the remaining $15,000 then allocated to participants quarterly.

Hernandez said EforAll South Coast is funded by a three-year grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, and hopes to move to private and foundation funding in the future.

They base their New Bedford operations at Groundwork, a newly renovated, shared office space on the first floor of the Quest Center, on Purchase Street just north of downtown.

Groundwork also reflects the Russian nesting doll aspect of New Bedford’s entrepreneurial community.

Groundwork co-founders Sarah Athanas and Dena Haden are now a year into their business, which they opened in December 2014. They began upstairs in the Quest Center and opened the renovated first floor space — featuring a kitchen area, wall mural and gleaming wood floors — in November. Athanas said they now have 10 full-time members, five part-time and 15 or so drop-ins who regularly pay a fee to use the shared office space and resources.

Haden and Athanas acknowledged the quirk of growing a startup that, like EforAll South Coast, helps other startups. Athanas said the situation is mutually beneficial, for Groundwork and its clients.

“We kind of are going through our growing pains along with our members, so it really strengthens our community as a whole,” Athanas said.

The local business community grew even larger in Groundwork on Wednesday, when the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce hosted an orientation for more than 10 new Chamber members.

Rick Kidder, the Chamber’s president and CEO, said Groundwork and EforAll reflect the growth of a “new economy,” built by entrepreneurial enterprises focusing on web-based businesses, applications and a location-neutral environment that can be based anywhere while reaching global markets.

“I think New Bedford is well-served if we develop a lot of time and attention to building our own businesses and growing our next generation,” Kidder said. “I think New Bedford is a town that is ripe for startups.”

Kidder said a large amount of local creative talent, the presence of higher education, low costs of office space and other startup costs, and more, all create potential for new endeavors.

“It becomes a place where a great business could start,” he said.

Follow Mike Lawrence on Twitter @MikeLawrenceSCT.

To apply

EforAll South Coast is taking applications through Wednesday for a 12-week business accelerator program, that’s slated to start in January and will offer shares of a $30,000 prize pool to selected participants over the next year. Participants also will have access to twice-weekly workshops — often with local business leaders — weekly meetings with mentors, and more. The program is aimed at new businesses in the early stages of development. It’s free to apply, and applications can be found at Winners will be selected through an interview process.

Business Newsmaker: New Bedford Factory awarded for its local job creation and growth

December 06. 2015 2:01AM

NEW BEDFORD —  Joseph Abboud Manufacturing Corporation (JAMC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Men’s Wearhouse Inc. located in New Bedford has been recognized numerous times by the Massachusetts community for supporting the local economy.

On September 21st, The Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) recognized JAMC for its dedication to the proud heritage of Made in the USA as the Southeastern Regional Awardee of the “Next Century” Award in celebration of its 100th anniversary this month. AIM represents more than 4,500 employers from every sector of the Massachusetts economy to promote the well-being of employers with a forceful voice for fair public policy and with reliable services that help companies succeed.

The Greater New Bedford Chamber of Commerce bestowed its 2015 Economic Impact Award on JAMC on November 12th in recognition for its commitment to manufacturing and local job creation in the city of New Bedford. In addition, MassEcon, a non-profit entity that serves as Massachusetts’s private sector partner in promoting business growth, honored JAMC on November 24th with the Team Economic Impact Gold Award in the southeast region of Massachusetts for its outstanding contributions to the local economy. JAMC was selected for its job growth, facility expansion, investment and community involvement.

It is a rarity in an industry where most clothing production has long since moved overseas. JAMC, instead of joining the mass exodus offshore, decided in 2004 that the company’s appeal lays in its cachet as a custom designer of men’s tailored garments, Made in America. “These awards demonstrate the commitment JAMC has to this community, to the quality of the men’s suits we manufacture, and to the workers who have made it all possible,” said Tony Sapienza, President of JAMC. The company invested heavily in lean manufacturing and state-of-the-art equipment that now makes it possible to deliver individual made-to-measure suits in 10 working days. JAMC is now the third largest private employer in New Bedford making 1,300 suits each day and employs 786 skilled workers.

Men’s Wearhouse Inc. acquired JA Apparel and JAMC in August 2013 for $97.5 million. Since the acquisition, JAMC’s workforce has grown 61%. The founder now serves as Chief Creative Director.