By Rod Lee
The ball has dropped at Times Square, the first babies have been born at hospitals around the country and businesspersons in South County are reading the tea leaves and seeing an economy that is flourishing heading into 2020.
Prior to the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas and the first of the year, everyone goes into relax mode,” Mark Marzeotti of the Marzeotti Group-REMAX Advantage 1 in Dudley, said. “Before that until now I would say the economy is very brisk, there is a lot of optimism and excitement about what’s to come. Investments are doing well, everyone is comfortable about spending money.”
“ As a realtor,” Mr. Marzeotti said, “we are seeing for the first time in a long time that people are going from an older home to an upgrade, maybe something even smaller. Home sales are strong, especially in the Webster-Dudley-Oxford area. The biggest issue is a lack of inventory, that’s why it’s a great time to put your home on the market because they are selling so quickly.”
Life coach, motivational speaker and author Gayle Suzanne of Charlton said, from her standpoint, “business has been consistent. I have been thinking of new ways to increase business.” Her “online coaching academy” is central to this objective, as are “one-on-ones” and workshops. “There is a huge need” for the kind of services she provides, she said, “but I don’t think people realize how much difference a few coaching sessions can make. I have a passion to help people, to move them forward. A lot of people get stuck, they don’t think outside the box, they don’t think differently.”
Ms. Suzanne urges businesspersons who might be interested in the expertise she offers to check out her TV show “Moving Forward with Gayle Suzanne” on YouTube.
Even the increasing minimum wage, which rose to $12.75 per hour in Massachusetts this month as the second in a series of annual hikes toward a goal of $15 by 2023 kicked in, has not substantially dampened the business community’s upbeat mood. Nor has The Tax Foundation dropping Massachusetts to 36th for business tax climate, with the adoption of a new payroll tax.
For Robert J. Morton, president and CEO of bankHometown, another issue, which could be troublesome in the long-term, looms large.
Mr. Morton agrees with the general thumbs-up assessment offered by business owners around the area, saying “everything still seems to be going well. But I have a concern about another recession twenty-four to thirty-six months from now. It’s been a while since we had one, 2014 I think. Hopefully it’s a mild one. I get a little worried, that’s my only concern.”
Mr. Morton is in the midst of helping oversee the merger of Millbury Savings Bank and bankHometown and said the transition is going smoothly. “We have such similar cultures, that really helps, and we’re people-centric,” he said.
“I was pleased, it was steady,” Deb Horan, owner of Booklovers’ Gourmet in Webster, said, of customers’ patronage of her store during the holiday shopping season. “It was definitely worth being open every day, we had a steady flow. I think, as long as people remember, it does make a difference when they support their local business.”
Susan LeBlanc of Charlton Furniture expressed gratitude for “our customers who continue to support the business” as the store comes off a “good year-end.” Ms. LeBlanc said she is feeling positive about prospects for a stellar 2020.
Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.