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Hometown Marketplace

Dukakis jokes, advocates for better rail service at Chamber’s 40th

By Rod Lee

He is much older now and long removed from his position as the 65th governor of the Commonwealth and then a candidate for president whose bid in 1988 against the late George H.W. Bush was doomed by mistakes that he himself admits were catastrophic.

Anticipation nevertheless ran high for the appearance of Michael S. Dukakis as guest speaker at the 40th annual meeting and awards ceremony of the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton on November 16th.

UniBank was presenting sponsor of the event for 2018.

Auburn selectmen shower business community with love

By Rod Lee

Life for business in the town of Auburn was once not so good but is now much better and looking even rosier in the years ahead.

In exclusive comments they made to The Yankee Xpress, Mark Sarkisian Jr. of Capitol Siding & Home Improvement, Steve Londregan of Chuck’s Steak House & Margarita Grille and Dick Taylor of Masterman’s all praised the recent unanimous decision by the Auburn Board of Selectmen to move ever closer to a single tax rate for commercial/industrial and residential properties.

No fuzzy math as Webster inches toward single property tax rate

By Rod Lee

Whether the discussion is with Chief Assessor Marc D. Becker or members of the business community, there is widespread agreement that the town of Webster is a welcoming place for enterprise thanks to a relatively low commercial tax rate of $16.40 per $1000 of assessed valuation—down significantly from a high of $28.35 in 2002.

State’s foot dragging on tax free weekend rankles merchants

By Rod Lee

It should come as no surprise to legislators on Beacon Hill that the owners of appliance and furniture stores in Central Massachusetts are more than slightly perturbed—and miffed—that  the state is again dragging its feet about whether to approve a “sales tax-free weekend,” good for transactions conducted August 11-12.

“They’re waiting until the last minute like they do every year,” Raoul Chalifoux of Spencer Furniture, 6 Olde Main St. (Rt. 9) in Spencer, said the morning of July 23rd. “It would be nice to know. Summer can be a little slow.”

Enchanted Passage bookstore a fantasyland for kids

By Rod Lee

Eighteen months or so have slipped by since the grand experiment that is Enchanted Passage began operations on Armsby Road in Sutton. Long enough for Kimberly Cake, who owns the children’s bookstore and enrichment center with her mother Sandy Loomis, to feel that a corner has been turned.

Speaking of which, there are a fair number of those in traversing the hallways of a building that once housed Vaillancourt Folk Art, in discovering the treasures that can be found room to room (including unique gifts).

Saddle Shed is Horseman Terry Therrien’s best friend

By Rod Lee

Get Master Horseman Terry Thierrien talking about Ridge Valley Stables on Upton St. in Grafton and in no time at all the conversation turns to his longstanding relationship with the Saddle Shed.

 I have been dealing with them from the day they opened,” Mr. Therrien said the morning of June 14th in his ranch-style home overlooking some of the fourteen acres that Ridge Valley Stables occupies on the westbound side of Rt. 140. The property abuts the Grafton Flea Market.

Auburn is A-OK for merchants and customers they serve

By Rod Lee

Wherever one turns along the main corridors (Routes 12 and 20) that thread their way through the town of Auburn it is obvious that business is thriving.

That is certainly true at Bentley Pub, 602 Southbridge St.; attributable, Owner Jim Taylor said during the noon hour on May 9th, to “a great crew and great staff” that keep customers coming through the door for lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. seven days a week.

“My sales have increased annually for the last three years,” Mr. Taylor said.