Moby Dick Brewing Co. closing in on opening day

NEW BEDFORD — A whale of a beer operation is brewing in the city’s downtown historic district.

The Moby Dick Brewing Co. is set to open its doors, and its taps, to the public on March 14 — making it the only grain-to-glass brewery in New Bedford.

Located on the corner of Union and Water street, the nearly 100-seat brewpub is aiming to cater to the craft beer crowd, the roughly 5,000 people working in the downtown area and the 120,000 people that live within 20 minutes of its doorsteps, says co-owner Bob Unger.

“We think we’re going to rejuvenate this whole section of the city,” Unger said.

Moby Dick is a joint venture of Unger, a former editor and associate publisher of The Standard-Times, and six other partners.

They hope to do for the historic district what the whaling industry did for the city two centuries ago.

Calling on the novel that helped put New Bedford on the literary map, Unger thought the name of the brewery was a no-brainer.

“Quite frankly, we felt the name is under-utilized around here,” Unger said. “Given where we’re located and the fact that this corner was once a place that outfitted whaling vessels, as most places in this part of the city did, it seemed to make sense.”

With the name and location out of the way, they enlisted the help of acclaimed local brewmaster Scott Brunelle to handle the beer and former Seattle-based chef Tom Mackley to create a menu to pair with Brunelle’s eight beers brewed in-house.

From the food to the beer to the artwork hanging on the walls the idea is evident: local sustainability. A beer Brunelle produces with wheat grain that’s spent at the end of the brewing process could be sent to a local farmer to be used to feed their livestock. They’d buy the local prepared meats from them in exchange for the wheat grain.

“We want to be good neighbors,” he said. “We want to support the work of other restaurants and businesses around us. Their success contributes to ours.”

Mackley added, “I think the idea was to reach out to the different local producers, purveyors and fishermen and see what type of ingredients were available and figure out what’s sustainable and what’s being caught responsibly.”

The lunch and dinner menus will blend classic pub fare with some of New Bedford’s seafood flare. The city’s well-known fishing industry and the possibility to work with a new set of ingredients are what excited the farm-to-table chef about coming to Moby Dick.

But even the classics will have a local, innovative spin on them. The fish and chips dish will be made from a beer batter of the American lager brewed in one of Brunelle’s five stainless steel brewing tanks, that hold 310 gallons each. The chowder will feature salt cod, a Portuguese favorite. Some more adventurous items will be the pan-seared redfish and skate wing, and the grilled whole fish.

“We’re hoping people won’t be scared off by the head being on the plate,” Mackley said.

Unger and Slutz dove head-first into the brewpub venture a little more than a year ago. He had just left his position at the Standard-Times and SouthCoastToday.com when Slutz had left Precix.

“What do you want to be when you grow up,” Unger asked Slutz while having coffee at the Green Bean one day.

It didn’t take more than 30 minutes for Slutz to be convinced. The seed was planted in Unger’s mind after sharing a few beers with his father, a former brewer for Schaefer Brewery, in St. Augustine, Florida. His 91-year-old father said, “If I was 25 years younger I would open a place like this. And you should too.”

Unger didn’t need to convince many more as he received investment backing with strong local ties.

The investment team includes David Slutz, former CEO of Precix; Maureen Sylvia Armstrong, CEO of the Sylvia Group in Dartmouth; Peter Kavanaugh, owner of Brownell Boat Stands in Mattapoisett and president of La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries in Dartmouth; Richard Lafrance, CEO of Lafrance Hospitality, which operates the New Bedford Fairfield Inn & Suites and White’s of Westport, among other hotel and restaurant holdings; Andy Gomes, owner of A Gomes Equipment in Acushnet; Randy Weeks, the partner-in-charge of Partridge, Snow & Hahn’s New Bedford office, and Unger, principal of Unger LeBlanc Inc. Strategic Communications.

The hope of everyone is to rebirth the area of the downtown facing the waterfont and make New Bedford a destination for tourists and locals alike.

“I think there are going to be more and more people coming to New Bedford, but as we become a local staple hopefully they’ll want to stick around more. We think that’s a good thing for New Bedford,” Unger said.

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Learn what offshore wind means for New Bedford

Events are happening so quickly as  the new US offshore wind industry begins to take shape that it’s hard to keep up. It’s harder still to know what is happening here in New Bedford, which will be home port for much of the work as the industry builds out. Just what will happen here, when will it happen and what will all of that mean?

You’ll have a chance to find out about what offshore wind will mean for New Bedford and southeastern Massachusetts businesses and workers at a Feb. 9 breakfast conversation hosted by the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce.

The discussion will feature a panel including:

— Paul Vigeant, managing director of the New Bedford Wind Energy Center;

— Derek Santos, executive director of the New Bedford Economic Development Council;

— Ed Anthes-Washburn, director of the Port of New Bedford;

— Matthew Morrissey, Massachusetts vice president for Deepwater Wind, one of three developers looking to build wind farms south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

They’ll talk about what the building of an offshore wind industry will likely mean for New Bedford and other Massachusetts and Rhode Island coastal cities. Deepwater Wind recently began producing electrical power at its wind farm just off Block Island and is expected to bid next spring on  a contract to build 400 MW of power on leased federal ocean waters 15 to 25 miles off the Vineyard. The Port of New Bedford is home to the nation’s only Marine Commerce Terminal built especially to accommodate the assembly and shipping of enormous offshore wind turbine components, and the New Bedford Economic Development Council and the Port of New Bedford are deep into planning how best to accommodate and encourage the growth of the new industry.

The discussion is part of the Chamber’s popular Good Morning SouthCoast series and will be held at 7:30 a.m. at the Waypoint Convention Center at the Fairfield Inn & Suites, 185 MacArthur Dr, New Bedford. Contact the Chamber for reservations.

 

Open Studios on Hatch Street draw big crowd

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Hatch Street Studios held its winter Open Studios over the weekend, and it was the most well-attended one they’ve ever had, artists said.

New Bedford has been ranked the 7th most artistic city in America by Atlantic Monthly and artists said they think their art might be reaching wider audiences.

“We’ve seen a lot of new people this year,” said Pat Kellogg, who shares a studio space with her husband, Michael Hecht.

Hecht, who does drawing, paintings and prints said a customer from Boston visited the event on Saturday who had previously bought one of his pieces at a gallery in Provincetown. Hecht said he knew someone had bought the piece, but didn’t know who purchased it until Saturday.

“With any luck, word spreads from year to year and we keep expanding our audience,” Hecht said. He said they’ve been in the building since 2003.

“We’ve sold a print, a painting. I’ve sold some jewelry and some t-shirts,” Kellogg said. The t-shirts were made by Kellogg’s son who has a t-shirt company in Brooklyn, she said. He’s in grad school and couldn’t be at the event, Kellogg said.

In a studio next door, Michael Pietragalla said he’s been in the building for 16 years and “this is by far the largest audience that I’ve seen come through this building since I’ve been here.” He said he noticed the parking lot on Saturday was so full that some cars were blocked in and others had to park on the street. He said the event has been going on for the past 10 years.

He specializes in custom wooden furniture and wooden utensils. “I’ve been selling these things like crazy,” he said, pointing to the utensils such as cheese knives, spatulas, scoops and spreaders. He said they’re made from recyclable, repurposed wood.

His furniture is made from “managed, renewable forests.” He had a cushioned chair with no legs next to a short table for sale. “My furniture is influenced by the Asian culture,” Pietragalla said.

Michelle Lapointe, who’s been in the building for 10 years, had various stained glass pieces, abstract paintings and photography. She said she thought the glass work was selling best.

“It was steady all day,” she said Sunday, noting that she sold quite a few pieces. “I’ve never seen so many people come through here.”

Lapointe explained how she does her work, pointing to glass of various shapes and colors that she first cuts and then grinds to smooth the edges. Then, Lapointe uses small machines and tools to boarder the glass and connect different pieces. “It’s a process, and people sometimes don’t get the work involved,” she said.

Jayne Pallatroni said she’d been to the event before and likes it.

“It’s fun to see what’s going on in New Bedford,” she said. “It’s nice to see all the art.”

Rose Lewis was with Pallatroni and said it was her first time there. “I was just curious,” she said. She had fun talking with the artists and seeing some of the work they produced, she said.

Janice Hodson purchased a necklace from artist Lindsay Mis on the third floor.

“I’ve been here multiple years, sometimes with friends, sometimes with relatives,” Hodson said.

Sunday, she was with her 10-year-old niece Ava Travassos who said, “I was lucky today.”

Hodson said last year Travassos got an ostrich egg from artist Scott Currier after they talked about things they collect in nature. This year, she got a bird feather on top of a nest placed in a box that Hodson was holding. Travassos has to tell Currier what birds the feather relates to when she returns next year, Hodson said. She also got a necklace from Mis.

“People are very generous with their time and talking about what they do,” Hodson said.

Follow Aimee Chiavaroli on Twitter @AimeeC_SCT.

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CEO Q&A: Servpro sees results from prime New Bedford spot

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NEW BEDFORD — Servpro of New Bedford President Doug Glassman proudly says that his volume of business has tripled in the four years he has owned the local franchise of the national chain. This past summer, he capped off a move to the former Sam Giammalvo’s car dealership building at 1476 Purchase St., which his team converted some from space into a suite of new offices.

Glassman said he employs about 12, but more in the colder months when there are all kinds of issues with structures including ice dams and broken pipes.

Servpro is easy to spot: The building now is vivid signature green, the brightest splash of color along Route 18.

You have just moved into this building, haven’t you?

Yes. We bought the building in January, and we did a full build-out. The office space around us is all new. We just gutted it out and started from scratch. We moved in at the end of May.

You painted the building green facing Route 18. That really makes a statement.

Yes, that’s one of the best parts. It’s the brand Servpro, the brand awareness and that color pops. So that was something that tastefully done looks good but also grabs your attention as well.

Where were you before this?

We were on Kempton Street. If you go remember back in the day, it was George’s Radiator Shop not far from the health food store at 45 Kempton St.

So you were sort of tucked away out of sight.

Yes, absolutely. It was a great move for us, obviously. A, the visibility we get, but B what we do because the type of work that we do for emergencies, restoration and getting to our customers as fast as possible. We’re right on the highway here so with a snap of the finger we’re on the highway and headed out to cover everybody on the SouthCoast.

You decided to locate essentially downtown as opposed to the industrial park or some other industrial area by the airport.

In my opinion, I wanted to be as close to downtown as we could. I feel like things are getting better and improving, and I want to be a part of it. I want to be down here in the heart of the city.

We do commercial and residential but were really in the heartbeat of New Bedford, and that also feeds out to all the veins that go out to the surrounding towns and communities in the area.

You do restoration. You do the dirty work when something bad happens to people, right?

Right. Think of it as sometimes when everybody is running away from a situation or it’s a mess they want to get to the house of things that are being destroyed, that’s when we’re heading in. So were that kind of restoration first responders, anything from water damage, a pipe breaks or a roof leaks and there seepage, flooding, fire cleanup. It could be anything from a small kitchen fire to complete devastation.

Do you occasionally go into a building and decide it’s not worth it, it’s too far gone?

Typically we can be part of the decisions sometimes, but it really comes down a lot of times to the property owner and especially when it’s an insurance loss. So at times they may deem that kind of thing and there are jobs where we go in and assess it. We bring in an architect, an engineer, and they assess the building. At times a job might not become a job for us because they just might have to tear the structure down.

How do you and your people learn to do what you do?

There are a lot of certifications in this industry, many of our guys have many of them.

I myself even went down to Servpro headquarters in Tennessee. I did aggressive training and I was there a month at one point when I was getting into this myself. Other than that it’s just more of continuing training and continuing to sharpen the skills. There’s a lot of training. The guys were continuously doing a lot of certifications that we have to sustain this industry and stay at the top of our game. There are several people here with a lot of experience.

Is there a concern with hazardous materials, even hazardous materials you might bring to a clean up job. What do you use? Is this proprietary chemistry?

There are Servpro products that we use that are made and created by Servpro. The cool thing is as we go along there the a lot of them that are becoming more natural and all-natural products. So the really hazardous stuff, I wouldn’t say we bring it into homes. We have a few products that are very strong for certain situations, but the majority that we use is very safe stuff like you’d buy off the shelf at a supermarket

As far as the jobs and some of the hazards that we go into and have to deal with in a day-in day-out basis, that’s where we’re heavily trained and follow procedures with personal protective equipment — PPE — follow those procedures and make sure that not only we’re having the safety of the customer but also our own workers as well.

Follow Steve Urbon on Twitter @SteveUrbonSCT.

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Entrepreneurship for All celebrates one year in the SouthCoast

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NEW BEDFORD — Say you’re at home in the city or surrounding towns and you’re hungry for a meal from a favorite local restaurant, but they don’t deliver and you don’t feel like picking it up. One of life’s irritating little challenges, right?

Soon, you might not have to worry about it — two New Bedford business owners Got Chew.

Ryan Caton and William Gilmour, working to launch their Got Chew food delivery service, were the top winners at EforAll South Coast’s All Ideas Pitch Contest and one-year anniversary celebration Friday at the Quest Center. The event was held in the Groundwork collaborative work space and drew an enthusiastic crowd, who heard pitches from eight entrepreneurs trying to win startup capital for their ideas.

Caton and Gilmour took home $1,500 split between two big checks: one for $500 as the “fan favorite” — attendees voted by text message, with live results projected onto a wall — and $1,000 as the first-place selection by a panel of four local judges, all with business expertise.

Gilmour is a 25-year-old sales associate for Comcast. Caton is a 26-year-old surveyor for Vivint Solar. The two Got Chew co-owners said they’d use their winnings Friday to develop a website and marketing materials, connect with local restaurants and spread the word about their business. They plan to add a 20-percent surcharge on top of the order price, calling the fee comparable to the tips customers would pay had they actually gone to local restaurants.

Gilmour and Caton said they hope to serve New Bedford and surrounding towns.

“We’re going to need a lot of drivers,” Gilmour said.

They were just two of several business or project owners who gave pitches Friday. Second place in the contest went to Temistocles “Tem Blessed” Ferreira, who won $750 to develop illustrations for “Planeta Blu: The Rise of Agoo,” a graphic novel he’s creating for teens. He described the story as “an epic adventure,” starring inner-city youth who struggle to save humanity and the animal kingdom from an evil world-conqueror named Zander.

“Think of it as ‘The Hunger Games’ meets ‘The Jungle Book,’” Ferreira said.

Third place went to Diana Painter, who won $500 for Miss Pockets, her idea to sew hidden pockets into women’s dresses and garments that were made without them.

“We make the pockets out of recycled material from thrift store clothes,” Painter said, adding that the cost could be $30 for a pair of pockets sewn into a customer’s garment, with matching fabrics.

Other ideas pitched Friday included Cycle Composting company, a pick-up composting service proposed by Caitlyn Kenney; Smart Joints, an industrial pipe innovation proposed by Abel Jimenez; The Collective, a community performing arts center and cultural hub proposed by Kevin Mitchell; an expansion of The New Bedford Book Festival, by Steven Froias; and Donna Motta’s Kalm Communications, a marketing and communications consultancy for businesses and professionals.

“We are so excited about the energy of the crowd tonight, and the diversity of ideas,” EforAll South Coast executive director Shelley Cardoos said.

EforAll South Coast is funded by a three-year grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, and is a local expansion of the EforAll model in Lawrence and Lowell. A new location is planned in Lynn.

Friday night’s event was EforAll South Coast’s fourth pitch contest over the past year, with a total of $2,750 in prizes given away at each one. The next pitch contest is Oct. 20 in Fall River, with an application deadline of Oct. 7. Applications are online at www.eforall.org.

Cardoos said several pitch contest entrants also have participated in EforAll South Coast’s business accelerator program, which has graduated 20 businesses and awarded $35,000 in startup funding over the past year.

EforAll South Coast’s summer accelerator program celebrated its graduates Sept. 7. The next program begins in December, with applications online and due Oct. 25. The program offers resources over a year, starting with an intensive three-month period.

Cardoos said all 20 businesses that have gone through the program are “still in process” of developing and moving forward. Many attendees at Friday’s pitch contest were past participants, reflecting the system of shared support that Cardoos and EforAll South Coast program manager Jeremiah Hernandez have cultivated.

“I’m really happy to see how far along we have come in one year, and how much of a community we’ve been able to build within our EforAll network,” Cardoos said.

Cardoos described simple goals as EforAll South rolls into its second year of operations.

“Just keep going strong, reach out to new businesses and make sure that everybody knows about this resource,” she said.

Follow Mike Lawrence on Twitter @MikeLawrenceSCT.