Yankee Magazine Focuses On Legendary and Local Horticultural Business

Green Giant
Once there was no more famous horticulturist than Allen C. Haskell.
His family continues his legacy.
By Lisa Palmer. Reprinted from Yankee Magazine, October 2006

Small stones crunch beneath David Haskell’s boots as he strolls along a shady path amid Allen C. Haskell Horticulturists in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Son of the late genius plantsman Allen Haskell, David now presides over the seven-acre retail nursery and landscape design business created by his father over the past 50 years. The nursery, which draws plant lovers from all over the world, includes the city’s oldest house, a Colonial structure dating back to 1725.

Cardinals whistle overhead as David walks past a handsomely crafted aviary and onto the stone patio of his father’s private garden and former home at the north end of the nursery. David ticks off a long list of distinctions heaped upon his father over the years, including being named a Great American Gardner by the America Horticultural Society and inducted as a permanent member of the Smithsonian Institution – a rare tribute. Haskell was called variously “the kind of topiary,” “an epic figure in American gardening,” and “an American treasure.”

At 6’6”, David stands with sturdy confidence but without the slightest hint of pretentiousness as he talks about filling his father’s role in the horticulture world. “This life is all I’ve ever known. He taught me my trade,” David says, sweeping one of his large hands in the direction of the impeccable, lush landscape where he worked alongside his father ever since he could walk. “For 40 years, I was exposed to his standards.”

The Haskell’s family’s exacting standards have attracted diverse patrons, from Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis, Martha Stewart, and Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands to local do-it-yourself gardeners. David says this breadth of clientele is the nursery’s greatest strength. “People tell us it’s like a museum. It’s one of the most flattering comments we get,” he says.

Allen C. Haskell Horticulturalists is a salmagundi of beautiful gardens and resembles an English country estate. Twelve greenhouses, including four classic Lord and Burnham glass structures, teem with exquisite plants not found elsewhere. Dispersed among them are some 3,000 orchids; tropical plants; scores of flawless myrtle, ivy, and rosemary topiaries that Haskell’s nursery made famous; 30 types of coleus; and rare camellias, among many others.

On this day, David walks among the several garden buildings that are located throughout the grounds. Each one is distinctive. Espaliered trees rest on some of them; statuary, planters, and pottery fill the others. On the eastern edge of the property, near David’s office, a hardy jasmine shrub releases its fragrant scent as he passes by. Along the shady, meandering paths that link the brick buildings, David points out the nursery’s enormous collection of hostas, including the largest hosta hybrid, ‘David Allen Haskell’, which his father cultivated. On the west end, laid out with geometric precision, dozens of raised beds showcase masses of nursery stock (such as shrubs, trees, and perennials) in a gardenlike setting.

Except for the four years when he studied plant science at the University of New Hampshire, David has worked all his life in the family business. Before his father’s death in December 2004, he handled the landscape-design end offsite during the week and pitched in at the retail nursery on weekends. These days most of his time is spent at the nursery. During peak landscaping season (April through June, plus September and October), he splits his days between the garden center and his clients’ sites. David’s mother, Ellena Haskell, and sister, Felicia Cruz, are among the nursery’s 12 year-round employees. “None of us are in the business to make the most money that we can,” David says. “It’s a lifestyle. It’s what we do – gardening and greenhouses.”

David says his father’s lasting legacy is garden design. He’ll wager that enthusiasts can pick out a Haskell garden from among others. A strong focal point is one quality; masses of under-plantings are another. “My father was uncompromising and unyielding in his tastes,” David says. “He was discriminating. He had strong opinions on a selective use of one plant, but he would also back it up with why he would be in favor of a plant. We’ve all developed that awareness. He was a great mentor.”

David Haskell’s Picks
One of David’s fall favorites is an unusual plant called Heptacodium miconioides (seven-son flower). It is a shrublike tree with green leaves during summer, but it puts on a command performance come fall. First, it produces panicles of star-shaped white blossoms in September and October. Then, its calyxes, which are green when flowering, ripen to a rosy red in October and November. In late fall, the plant drops it’s leaves to reveal showy, shaggy brown bark during winter months.

David says another fall knockout is the daisy Chrysanthemum ‘Sheffield Pink’, which produces silvery-pink flowers. “It stays flowering through November,” he says. “It’s a true perennial and is very hardy. It will come back year after year, unlike a lot of mums that don’t reliably survive the Northeast climate.”

David likes the look of berry-producing plants, too. In autumn, he favors the bright red berries of the Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly). Also consider Callicarpa ‘Profusion’ (beautyberry), a fast growing shrub. “Its purple fruit is quite stunning,” he says, adding that the berry clusters remain on the plant long after the leaves fall.

Allen C. Haskell Horticulturists, Inc., 787 Shawmut Avenue, New Bedford, MA 508-993-9047. www.haskellnursery.com

Small Business Innovation Research Seminar To Be Held At Quest Center

A seminar focused on the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), a federal grant program that funds research projects by small business, will be offered on October 26 at the Quest Center in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The goal of the seminar is to instruct small business owners of the region how to not only access funding through SBIR, but how to manage an SBIR award if an application is successful.

Presenters for the program include: Jack Griffin, SBIR Program Manager, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Newport, RI; Dan Lilly, Procurement Specialist, Massachusetts Small Business Development Centers; Larry Nannis, CPA, Levine, Katz,Nannis & Soloman, Needham, MA.

The Quest Center, a partnership between the City of New Bedford and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, is a business incubator focused on marine science and technology.

The program is sponsored by The Rockland Trust Company a full-service community bank serving southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod. www.RocklandTrust.com.

The seminar will be held Thursday, October 26, from 12 Noon to 4 p.m. at the Quest Center, 1213 Purchase Street, New Bedford, MA 02740. For directions, visit the Quest Center website: www.qcnb.org.

For additional information or to sign up for the seminar, please contact Dave Sheehan at 508 717 0375 or dsheehan@umassd.edu.

State-Wide Media Giving New Bedford a Fresh Look

Whale of a Rebirth
Old Fishing Community Rides a Wave of Youthful, Arts-Driven Energy
By Patricia Harris and David Lyon, Boston Globe Correspondents October 18, 2006

New Bedford is a down-to-earth city that has always gone down to the sea. Herman Melville memorialized its whalers in “Moby-Dick,” and Ahab, Starbuck , and Queequeg still cast long shadows on those Quaker streets of uneven granite paving stones. But today’s stars of the waterfront are mostly Portuguese fishermen whose trawls and dredges haul the most valuable fish catch (mostly groundfish and scallops) in the country. The golden age of whaling, roughly 1820-85, has been captured in amber (or ambergris) by a national park, but New Bedford has a future, too. Preservationists have been quietly saving the handsome old downtown buildings for decades, and the Star Store campus of UMass Dartmouth’s College of Visual & Performing Arts has injected a critical mass of youthful energy, artistic intensity, and cockeyed optimism into the city. Ishmael’s drizzly “November of my soul” has been exorcised at last, as surely as the fog lifts ahead of the sweet breezes of a westerly.

Play

Some kids like boats — big boats. When most of the fishing fleet is ashore on weekends, the waterfront becomes a fascinating forest of masts and cables. Along the wharves where vessels are berthed three abreast, crew members hop from boat to boat while other trawlers steam past with their birds up (the wing-like extensions used for stability in rough seas).

Other kids prefer pony rides, available on weekends for $3 (or $5 with a photo) at the Buttonwood Park Zoo (425 Hawthorn St., 508-991-6178, bpzoo.org , adults $6, seniors and teenagers $4.50, ages 3-12 $3). This gentle, low-key zoo focuses primarily on regional wildlife, including creatures that inhabit the zoo property, such as muskrats, mink, and songbirds. Even such old-fashioned exhibits as the elephant enclosure and the WPA-era bear pit emphasize understanding the captive animals rather than merely gawking at them.

Rest

Predictable roadside convenience is the strong suit of Days Inn (500 Hathaway Road, 508-997-1231, www.daysinn.com , $69-$129). It’s near the intersection of Interstate 195 and Route 140, but more than 2 miles from the downtown and waterfront. Within strolling distance of downtown, lodgings in two former mid-19th-century whaling captains’ manses offer more local color. The Orchard Street Manor Bed & Breakfast (139 Orchard St., 508-984-3475,
www.the-orchard-street-manor.com  , $125-$250) has just one single- room and two two-bedroom suites but elegant common areas, including a formal billiard room. The animal-loving innkeepers at Captain Haskell’s Octagon House Bed & Breakfast (347 Union St., 508-999-3933, www.theoctagonhouse.com, $125-$145) welcome pets in the two guest rooms and one suite of two single rooms. And you might catch the blossoming of the night-blooming cereus in the Victorian conservatory.

Fuel

New Bedford’s dining scene reflects the city’s newfound energy. Practically next door to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Cafe Balena (24 North Water St., 508-990-0061, $15-$28) opened in April with a Sardinian menu that includes a cioppino (fish stew) of the day’s best catch. It’s BYOB, with a corking fee of $5.

Portuguese food gets serious respect here. For traditional fare like Alentejo-style pork (marinated loin with clams), it’s hard to beat Mimo (1526-30 Acushnet Ave., 508-997-8779, $9-$14). But the biggest recent splash on the dining scene is chic Adega.

Restaurant and Wine Bar (418 Rivet St., 508-992-1313, www.adegafinedining.com, $13-$25). Start with mussels in champagne sauce, followed by one of six cataplana preparations.

Spend

Martha’s Vineyard has the Black Dog, but New Bedford has the Black Whale, a modern avatar of Moby-Dick in his negative image.

For a T-shirt, ball cap, or tote bag emblazoned with said leviathan (or an outrageous getup for Halloween or Mardi Gras), stop at Elaine’s T-Shirts & Costumes (772 Purchase St., 508-999-2166, www.theblackwhale.com).

More serious whale hunters might harpoon an authentic relic of the trade at the Whalemen’s Shipping List (17 Johnny Cake Hill, 508-990-3786). Look for such artifacts as seamen’s chests, crew manifests from whaling vessels, and containers that once held sperm whale oil. The shop is open through December before owner Frederick Mitchell, like the whales, migrates south for a few months.

Do

New Bedford’s heyday as the Houston of the whale oil industry left its mark in the 13-block district set aside as New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park (visitors center at 33 William St., 508-996-4095, www.nps.gov/nebe). Temple-like banks, converted chandleries, and even a candleworks-turned-restaurant recall flush times. Walk across granite pavers where ancient mariners swaggered and pause in the Seamen’s Bethel (15 Johnny Cake Hill, 508-992-3295, donation), where tombstone-like cenotaphs relate terrible demises in the far corners of the world: yellow fever, a fall from a mast, being pulled overboard by a line attached to a whale. The New Bedford Whaling Museum (18 Johnny Cake Hill, 508-997-0046, www.whalingmuseum.org, adults $10, seniors and students $9, ages 6-14 $6) captures the gore and glory of whaling, with a strong bent toward conservation.

The work was on the docks, but the wealth stood high on the crest of County Street. Built in 1834, the Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum (396 County St., 508-997-1401, www.rjdmuseum.org, adults $5, seniors and students $4, 12 and under $2) surveys nearly two centuries of life among the elite.

Party

New Bedford’s streets turn into an art and culture festival on the second Thursday of each month with gallery openings, live music, special museum programs, and theatrical performances (AHA!, 508-264-8859, www.ahanewbedford.org). Open Mike Night at 50-seat Cafe Arpeggio is part of the action, but the confab continues every Thursday. The stage also hosts concerts by professional touring musicians, usually on the third Friday of the month ($15).

Live bands hold forth every Thursday and Saturday at the Catwalk (34 Union St., 508-994-3355, www.catwalkbars.com), a bar and restaurant where the weather, alas, is starting to get a little nippy for the rooftop terrace overlooking the harbor.

For the last 25 years, the Zeiterion Theatre (684 Purchase St., 508-994-2900, www.zeiterion.org) has been New Bedford’s performing arts center. The Z has such luminaries on tap as McCoy Tyner, Bo Diddley, Garrison Keillor, and the Bulgarian State Opera. On Nov. 11, it presents two showings of John Huston’s “Moby Dick” in honor of the 50th anniversary of the premiere, when Huston and Gregory Peck (Captain Ahab) came to town.

© Copyright 2006 Globe Newspaper Company

NBEDC Client Company Is Growing!

Businesses get NBEDC help adjusting to new insurance regulations.

Beginning January 1, 2007, new insurance regulations take affect in Massachusetts. The New Bedford Economic Development Council together with La Pointe Insurance is offering help to business owners in preparation for the changes.

The NBEDC will conduct a seminar Friday, October 27, 2006, on health care reform and workers’ compensation in Massachusetts, focusing on how the new regulations affect business owners. The seminar will be held from 8:00 to 9:30am at the NBEDC office, 1213 Purchase St., 3rd floor of the Quest Center.

For more information or to RSVP, call 508.991.3122 ext. 12. If you know someone who may also be affected by the new insurance regulations and could benefit from the seminar, please invite them along.

Topics to be covered:

Health Care Reform
– Implementation Dates
– Employer Mandates
– New Markets for Purchase of Group and Non-Group Health Insurance
– HSAs and Section 125 Plans
– The Massachusetts “Connector”
– Compliance Costs: Fines & Fees
– Workers’ Compensation
– Employer Mandates
– Independent Contractors
– “If Any” Policies
– 2007 Rate Changes
– Saving Money
– Qualified Loss Management Programs
– Contractor’s Credit

NBEDC Client, Adega Restaurant Enlivening Rivet Street!

Looking For Something New And Hip?
Get To Adega, Restaurant & Wine Bar
Reprinted from SoCo™ Magazine, July 2006
“From Saloons to Salons”

I’m going to write this review in the reverse order of events as they occurred. The reason being, under normal circumstances, I thought the chef/owner would have greeted me and my guest walking into his very cool establishment, instead of chasing us out the door and into the street at Goulart Square, located at The New Bedford Seaport.

Let me explain. We had finished our meals – along with a rich, frothy chocolate mousse (shared), accompanied by slices of strawberry and pineapple, served in a champagne glass; and a very authentic espresso that was hot, thick, and strong (outstanding and recommended) – when we settled up with our waiter, Carlos, and planned our photo shoot outside under the street lights, which reflected off the newly remolded building’s façade.

Upon exiting and setting up across the street, a man with a slight build and light hair, wearing all black, including his apron, came running out shouting: “Don’t go anywhere!” My companion and I looked at each other with glances of amazement drizzled with slight annoyance; we wanted to get the task over with so we could go home. It was already 10:00 p.m., and we still had to drive at least 30 minutes to our home in a neighboring town.

“Please, I want to talk to you,” he said, beginning to lose his breath. We cautiously met him in the middle of the road. “My name is Tony Fialho. I own Adega, and I can’t let you leave without thanking you for coming for dinner,” he exclaimed. We both started to smile, and I shook his hand.

This meeting is the most relevant part of this review, and I felt compelled to share it with your first and foremost.

Adega is brand new. It’s very classy, well designed and decorated, and carefully thought out. Its menu is unique, its wine list superb. The bar is well stocked compared to others on the SouthCoast, but best of all, the restaurant is one man’s dream turned reality!

After introducing himself, Tony shared with me his compassion for the restaurant business and his dozen-plus years working for others. “I want people to be comfortable here and to be a part of this. I want to improve my community,” he said with a genuine spark in his eyes.

When you approach the entrance to Adega, you can’t but feel you are in a large city, perhaps just off the main drag in an up-and-coming neighborhood. For instance, while we were speaking, a young Portuguese boy came up on his bicycle and shouted: “Hey, Tony, how’s the restaurant doin’?” Tony responded, “Great, thanks.” Even the fancy cars and the very sexy crowd waiting out front created just the right vibe.

Once inside, we were seated in comfortable chains at a table that seemed a bit higher than one would normally expect. However, after about 20 minutes, the awkward felling dissipated. I ordered a large bottle of Pellegrino, which was served perfectly chilled, and a glass of wine that I believe came from a vineyard called “Pocas: the Director’s Choice.” The busboy brought over a breadboard with a full loaf atop. The bread was room temperature; warm would have been better.

We started with small plates of Favas (large Portuguese beans sautéed with port and mild Portuguese sausage, served in a bread bowl) and Chourico a Adega (a spicy Portuguese sausage flambé). Don’t be fooled, these were not small plates. They were huge, so much so that by the time dinner arrived, we knew that most of it would be wrapped up for lunch tomorrow.

The very nature of Adega’s menu is decadent. It is full of tempting foods sure to add to anyone’s waistline. We opted for a couple of low-calorie choices. My guest ordered the Bifinhos de Galinha Grehados (charbroiled chicken breast in a special aromatic butter sauce), and I decided upon the Galinha a Moçambique (sauteed cubes of chicken breast in a Mozambique sauce, served with fried potatoes and rice). This is one of the most popular meals in Portuguese restaurants on the SouthCoast, but what made this one different was that the rice and raisins mixed in – a very nice flavor. But one thing I didn’t care for was the sauce had a shrimp taste, which overpowered the flavor of the chicken. I’m not sure why this occurred, but I believe the sauce should have had a more neutral taste. This should not prevent you from trying the restaurant’s varied selections, all of which are very reasonably priced.

As for service, I happen to know that some customers have been critical of it, but let me assure you, the Adega staff is up to par and in sync. I paid very close attention to the wait staff, and their efforts in running around the dining room affirmed the fact that changes have been made for the better.

It’s clear that Tony caught the wave but is humble of his newly earned success. He shared with me the story of a recent night: there was a two-plus-hour wait and some slipped the maitre d’ $40 for a choice table. “I could allow this, it happens all the time in other places, but here, these people are my friends – if not before they come in, they are by the time they leave. I fired the guy,” he said an ear-to-ear smile. “Everyone is treated the same here.”

From the scantily clad women at the bar to the grandmothers and grandfathers with families at the banquet-size tables, Adega is the place to be on the SouthCoast.

Adega is located at Goulart Square at The New Bedford Seaport.
For directions, call 508-992-1313. The kitchen is open Sundays, Mondays
Wednesdays, and Thursdays from noon to 9:00 p.m., Saturday from noon to
10:00 p.m.; Adega is closed on Tuesdays.

New Bedford Celebrates Small Business Success!

Six New Bedford businesses were awarded for their success at the New Bedford Economic Development Council Third Annual Small Business Awards Dinner the held September 27 at the Hawthorne Country Club.

“We consider the annual awards dinner as a kind of graduation ceremony. The owners of these businesses have successfully embarked on the next step–the growth of their business,” said Scott Costa, NBEDC board chairman. “The backbone of a local economy is its small business community,” he continued, “and their efforts should be recognized.”

The award-winning business owners are first nominated in their respective category by the NBEDC loan committee and then measured for performance regarding such criteria as job creation, investment in the city, community benefit, and overall goal achievement such as reaching sales benchmarks and new product development. The committee makes the final selections.

“With the aid of the NBEDC, award winners were able to access working capital–whether it was to buy a building, purchase inventory and equipment, or just make leasehold improvements. They have been successful and the Small Business Awards Dinner is a celebration and recognition of those accomplishments,” Matthew A. Morrissey, Interim Director of the NBEDC said.

Many thanks to Nancy Gibeau for her efforts in working with each of these small businesses and putting this outstanding testimony to New Bedford’s small business’s together!

Congratulations to the 2006 Small Business Award recipients:

Entrepreneur of the Year
Owners, Knuckleheads Bar and Grille

Woman Owned Business of the Year
Mary Costa & Edna Rivera, Genesis Hair Salon

Minority Owned Business of the Year
Antonio & David Depina, Depina Brothers Trucking

Technology and Innovation Award
Craig Lindell, Aquapoint

EDA Title IX Fishing Loan
Owners, Luzo Fishing Gear

Micro Loan Business of the Year
Frank Joseph, Whaling City Graphics

Route 18 Redesign Project Back On Track!

The redesign of Route 18 has been studied from the days prior to the completion of the new roadway in the 1970s. In January 2006 Mayor Scott W. Lang formed a project team to kick-start the long-stalled project. This project team is made up of staff from key city departments, Waterfront Historic Area League (WHALE), National Park Service (NPS) the New Bedford Economic Development Council and several private and public stakeholders. Mayor Lang gave clear direction to the project team that this project must be designed and constructed at the highest level possible, seeing the project has a critical economic development opportunity for downtown and the waterfront.

The “pedestrian experience” that connects the downtown and the waterfront will be safe and attractive, ensuring that ferry and cruise ship passengers find their way up the hill to the many shops, restaurants and galleries that we have to offer. Enhanced “visitor experience” areas at the Wharfinger building (waterfront visitor center) and at Coast Guard park will also be key elements to the downtown portion of the project.

The construction of the highway during urban renewal provided substantial improvements to automobile and truck connections to regional and interstate roads that became a major asset to the successful development of the seafood industry in New Bedford. However, the current roadway suffers from poor pedestrian connections linking the downtown back to the waterfront, allows automobile use at often unsafe speeds and lacks the physical characteristics that are needed to allow Route 18 to function as a suitable and attractive gateway to the city.

In the mid 90’s Congressman Barney Frank secured $15 million in TEA-21 funding for the project. The three principal objectives of the project are: 1) improving roadway vehicular and pedestrian safety; 2) improving the visual quality of the roadway within the national park; and 3) significantly improving the safety and visual attractiveness of the pedestrian crossing function between downtown and the waterfront.

Mass Highway is currently reviewing the final scope of work for the project and the final design of the highway will be developed over this fall and winter. This will be an exciting time for the project designers as new tree planting, lighting and special paving treatment make the jump from concept to final design and start of reconstruction. Look for regular public updates during this phase to show progress and seek input.

From Nickels & Dimes to the Federal Reserve

Forty-one children from the YMCA summer day camp participated in the Savings Makes Cents Program implemented as part of the NBEDC Community Outreach program with the help of Downtown New Bedford Inc, Citizens Union Savings Bank, Community Development, and the Economic Stabilization Trust.

YMCA Executive Director Michelle Rodericks and Youth Director Maxine Hebert, lead the children through a series of activities in preparation for the climax of the program—a trip to Boston and a tour of the Federal Reserve Bank. For some, this was their first visit to Boston. The children behaved magnificently and were great ambassadors for the city of New Bedford.

To help save their money, the children created their own piggy banks as part of an art project. They made weekly contributions or “deposits” to save spending money for the field trip. Prior to embarking for Boston, the children were greeted by Kevin Pelland, Vice President at the Citizens Union Savings at the bank’s headquarters in downtown New Bedford. Mr. Pelland explained how important it is to save money, how money earns interest, and how money is re-invested after deposits are made. The children enjoyed walking around the bank, interacting with bank employees and peeking in the vault. The bank made a $1.00 contribution to each of the children’s piggy banks.

At the Federal Reserve Bank, Beth Badger from the Trust greeted the youngsters and later acted as tour guide around the city of Boston. The children toured the Federal Reserve Bank and participated in fun learning activities. They had lunch at the food court in busy South Station. While they were able to spend their savings on lunch or dessert, the day campers learned they could save some money for buying something else at another time. After lunch it was off to Faneuil Hall –the kids where dazzled by outside musicians, street performers, and even magicians.

This was the second annual trip for the NBEDC. Last year 40 children from the YWCA participated and we are looking forward to working with more youth next year.

Come to the City’s first Chowder Fest!

Come, participate in the First Annual New Bedford Seaport Chowder Festival
By Kevin T. Pelland- Chairman, Downtown New Bedford, Inc.

By now word has probably reached you about Downtown New Bedford, Inc.’s efforts to put together a first class annual chowder festival in the center of the city. This will be no ordinary event. It will be an extraordinary new event that will rival similar tasting festivals in other parts of the country, with a strong annual following. Of course I am referring to the 1st Annual New Bedford Seaport Chowder Festival. The “cook-off” will take place on Sunday, September 17 from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM, rain or shine, under a large tent at Custom House Square in the middle of downtown’s Historic District.

We are anticipating 20 or more area restaurants serving their best in clam chowder, seafood chowder, and kale soup. Attendees will vote their preferred choice for the coveted People’s Choice Awards in each category. To promote a festive atmosphere, we will also recognize the restaurant/caterer with the most creative and lively booth presentation.

There is fun to be had by all at this family-oriented festival. In addition to the great tastes of some of the best chowders and soups ever, there will be children’s activities including face painting and scallop shell decorating as well as the live sounds of the popular band Shipyard Wreck. This new event is focused on strengthening the positive energy and ambiance of the New Bedford Seaport while building on our seafood heritage. The New Bedford Seaport Chowder Festival will serve as a great testament to our fishing and seafood industry, as there is no other place in America you can go to get fresher or tastier seafood. It will also showcase our fine restaurants and caterers, and it will bring hundreds, if not thousands, of people into the heart of our city to enjoy and showcase our Downtown and Historic District.

Many hours have been spent organizing this event by a very dedicated and committed group of individuals. We are now
reaching out to the restaurant and catering community for your commitment to make this a first class annual happening. Where else can you expose your products to thousands of people in a single afternoon? Where else can you walk away with cash prizes, a “Chowder Cup” Trophy to display in your restaurant and the bragging rights to further promote and advertise your business? Newport has done it successfully for many years. Boston Harborfest has also had great success for a number of years. New Bedford, the NUMBER ONE Seaport in the country will have a tremendously successful Chowder Festival as well.

Downtown New Bedford, Inc.’s mission statement is “To make the downtown district a better place to live in, work in and to visit.” This annual event will go a long way towards achieving that goal. So the next time you’re in your favorite eatery let them know about the festival. Let them know how good their chowder or kale soup is, and challenge them to win the 1st Annual New Bedford Seaport Chowder Festival Chowder Cup trophy. Oh, and don’t forget to tell them that you’ll be there at the event to support them!

Call (508) 990-2777 for information about participating, sponsoring or buying tickets or e-mail dnb@downtownnewbedford.com.

Lang’s Plea Helps Keep NuTex Afloat

Textile firm’s bankruptcy protection extended
By AARON NICODEMUS, Standard-Times staff writer
Reprinted from the Standard-Times, September 12, 2006

NEW BEDFORD — A small textile company in the city’s South End has staved off a shutdown — at least until November — thanks to the intervention of the city and Mayor Scott W. Lang.
Since 1982, NuTex Industries Inc., located in the former Furniture City mill on West Rodney French Boulevard, has manufactured woven textiles used to make belts and suspenders, as well as webbing products that have military and medical uses.

The company employed 75 workers eight years ago, but is down to 38 as overseas competition took a substantial portion of its business. When the company’s debts totaled $1.2 million in May, NuTex filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

NuTex president Andrei Klein said the company’s primary lender, Citizens Bank of Rhode Island, called on the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Boston to liquidate the company last week. And Mr. Klein believed it was Mayor Lang, testifying on the company’s behalf before the bankruptcy court in Boston, that swayed Bankruptcy Judge William C. Hillman’s decision to grant the company another two months in bankruptcy protection.

“I cannot measure the magnitude of his impact on our well-being,” Mr. Klein said. “Without the mayor, I think we would have been out of business last week.”

The company’s bankruptcy attorney, Timothy Mauser of Mauser & Mauser of Boston, said in his 18 years as a bankruptcy attorney, he had never seen a political figure testify on behalf of a struggling company.
Mayor Lang said he got involved to save 38 jobs in the city, and because he believed that the company had a viable plan to turn itself around.

“I believe it’s a business with a potential to grow, and I wanted to do everything possible to advocate for it,” he said.
Mayor Lang also got the New Bedford Economic Development Council involved, as well as U.S. Rep. Barney Frank. While neither the city nor the EDC has provided the company with any financial support, the city will consider granting the company a tax increment financing deal and will work with other economic development agencies on funding.
The EDC actually turned the company down for a low-interest loan last year because the company’s finances at that time were too shaky, according to EDC interim executive director Matthew A. Morrissey.

Mayor Lang said he felt the company had “a new look and a new attitude” since then, but did not promise that the EDC would give a low-interest loan to NuTex.

Six years ago, the EDC loaned $500,000 to Cliftex Corp., a major men’s clothing manufacturer that had financial troubles. Cliftex stayed open for six more months after receiving the loan, paid the city back, and then closed its doors for good.
NuTex’s business used to center on woven belts and suspenders for the fashion industry, and it still holds the contract to manufacture all of the Boy Scouts of America belts nationwide. Last year, though, overseas competition had eaten away so much of its fashion business that NuTex had to find other markets. Its fire-resistant elastic is used in the manufacture of parts of fighter pilot suits for the U.S. Army, and the company is developing a line of anti-microbial products for both military and medical uses.

“Our customers still have faith in us, and there are so few companies left that have the know-how and capability to make some of these products,” Mr. Klein said.

The terms of U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge William C. Hillman’s decision allowed NuTex’s customers to pre-pay orders, allowing NuTex to stay open through November, provided that it continues to pay Citizens Bank and agreed-upon monthly payment and keeps its cash flow above $218,000 per month.

Contact Aaron Nicodemus at anicodemus@s-t.com