On Tuesday, May 5, 2020 Mayor Gove testified before the Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses in favor of Bill S.2564, an Act to Support MassMakers. The bill was proposed by Senator Diana DiZoglio, and would support small businesses in a variety of ways.
Included in this bill:
- The creation of an Office of Main Streets, which every state but Massachusetts has, for the purpose of protecting, coordinating, promoting, and revitalizing downtowns and commercial districts of the Commonwealth’s cities and towns.
- A "MassMakers Portal", a one-stop shop interactive web portal for prospective and established businesses in the Commonwealth, to serve as the single, unified entry point for business information and statutory and regulatory compliance.
- Extending Small Business Saturday, setting apart the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday following Thanksgiving Day as Local is the New Black Weekend, in recognition and to promote awareness of the vital role that local businesses play in the economy and general welfare of the Commonwealth throughout the year, and recommending that the weekend be observed in an appropriate manner by the people.
Below is Mayor Gove's testimony:
Good morning everyone. Thank you to Senator DiZoglio, Representative Coppinger and the entire committee for allowing me to speak this morning. My name is Kassandra Gove, and I am the Mayor of the City of Amesbury. Prior to this, I was the Executive Director of the Amesbury Chamber of Commerce. I am here to speak in favor of Bill S.2564, an Act to Support MassMakers.
For those of you who may not be familiar with Amesbury, we are a small City on the North Shore bordering New Hampshire. We are a community of makers; artists, entrepreneurs and business owners. We have a vibrant Main Street with retail stores, art galleries, salons and restaurants; the vast majority being mom and pop businesses with a single location. Many of these business owners started because they had a passion for something; they dreamed of owning their own store, selling beautiful art or cooking delicious food. But for many, they struggle with things like marketing, accounting, and inventory, and with the COVID-19 outbreak, they’re scrambling to open e-commerce sites and figure out how to keep their business alive while they can’t open their stores in a traditional way.
The passing of this bill means that there would be an Office of Main Streets, which every other state has, to help our small businesses and be a resource. For a community like Amesbury, we depend on our Main Street and revitalized downtown to draw people in to visit and to live. It’s a big part of what makes Amesbury, Amesbury.
This bill would also create a Business Portal where any business can find resources, information and guidance. While some communities have created their own portals, we can and should be leveraging the collective knowledge from business experts across Massachusetts. It would be a much-needed resource for our businesses who are looking for guidance and support on the best ways to grow and evolve their business in the changing market. We should be making it as easy as possible to do business here, to ensure that our businesses succeed and thrive.
Finally, I’d like to speak to the efficacy of Small Business Saturday. As the Executive Director of the Amesbury Chamber of Commerce, I ran our Small Business Saturday program for many years. As online shopping has gotten more popular, our brick and mortar stores have taken a hit. Small Business Saturday is one of their biggest sales days of the year, and it would be incredibly helpful to have this extended to the Friday, Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving. As one community, we could do this ourselves, but the power comes from having all of us working together.
I hope you will all support this bill, as I do. Thank you again for allowing me to speak this morning, and thank you to Senator DiZoglio for bringing this bill forward to support our businesses.