Posts Tagged ‘#MomandPop’

#WalkingBoston – A Marathon in every Boston Neighborhood: East Boston Part 2

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 09/5/2022

Thank you for joining the adventure. To learn more about the inspiration, mission, goals, and updates on this project, please see the #WalkingBoston launch blog post.

For information on East Boston Part 1, click on this link.

The second 13.1+ mile walk, ‘East Boston Part 2,’ is happening on Wednesday, 9/7, leaving from the Wood Island T Station on the Blue Line at 8am. All are welcome to join, even for a portion of any walk. We will meet at the Bennington Street side at the bus circle. Eastie Part 2 will head through Eagle Square to Condor Street Urban Wild and beach, explore the coast down to Nay Street, then zig zag south through the neighborhoods ending in the Eastie Shipyard. Below is the map of the area that will be covered, excluding Bremen Street Park, Eastie Memorial Park, and Logan. Those areas will be covered in the third, bonus Eastie walk.

[Please note: Post-walk pics, videos, summary and reflections can be found at the end of this blog post.] 

In preparation for Eastie Part 2, I walked 9.59 miles on Sunday, 9/4, including Section 1 of Boston’s Walking City Trail by Miles Howard. I really enjoyed the adventure, discoveries, and exercise and encourage you to research and support the great work that Miles is doing:

Miles Howard website: Miles Howard | Journalist, Author, Storyteller

Boston’s Walking City Trail: Walking City Trail (bostontrails.org)

Google Photo Album in chronologic order of my adventure.

This map and artwork on the side of an old, abandoned Orange Line trolley was one of the best finds of the day:

Please consider a donation inspired by #WalkingBoston:

#1- Make-A-Wish MA & RI is the primary beneficiary of #WalkingBoston. As most of you know, the mission of Make-A-Wish is to create life‐changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. I love the work that they do and am honored to partner with them. Thanks to Hillary Muntz for her professionalism and attention to detail. Please consider a donation inspired by #WalkingBoston by clicking on this link.

#2- Stride for Stride is also a beneficiary of #WalkingBoston. Stride for Stride is a non-profit running organization that buys race bibs for immigrant, BIPOC, and low-income runners – the goal is to make races more accessible, inclusive, and diverse for everyone. Stride for Stride founder, Tom OKeefe, aka @BostonTweet, “Our logo signifies equality. It’s simple, bold, and shows that you support running for all. Our goal is a simple concept too, but one that changes lives. Having a race to strive for keeps you focused and healthy, while crossing the finish line is pure joy and empowering in both sport and life – it proves that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Never give up!” Donations inspired by #WalkingBoston can be made to Stride for Stride by clicking here.

#3- Several folks have reached out asking how they could sponsor/support my #WalkingBoston project and expedite the publication of my Server Not Servant book. A grassroots fundraiser of small donations has been set up to keep me walking and writing. Donations can be made here.

#4- Additional, local beneficiaries may be added if they can provide a dedicated link for donations inspired by #WalkingBoston. Please email patrick@servernotservant.com for consideration.

Post ‘Eastie Part 2’ Walk Update, 9/15/22:

To map the course of the walks and confirm distance, I’m using MapMyWalk and All Trails apps. I’ve also ordered a Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch 5 as a 3rd way to verify distance and map the walks. One of my biggest concerns is losing the data of each walk and not being able to report and verify the course. Using 2 apps and having an independent (of my phone) GPS and tracking device should alleviate this concern.

For maps to verify the distance walked, please click on the highlighted links below.

MapMyWalk = 15.23 miles

AllTrails  = 16.2 miles

I’m not sure why there is a discrepancy between the 2 apps – I started them at the same time, paused and restarted them simultaneously at lunch. I’ll use the lesser of the 2 as official total distance moving forward.

Google Photo Album: I encourage you to view the 234 pics and videos in chronological order of the adventure from home (6:32am) to St. Mary’s T at the Green C Line, to Wood Island on the Blue Line as the starting point. This was a solo walk departing Wood Island at 7:29am.

Summary, observations, and reflections from Eastie 2:

  • No problem getting up at 5:30ish. I love #GameDay.
  • I had plans for my first walking companion to join me to stretch at 7:30 at Wood Island, then join me for a portion of the walk. She messaged me shortly after 6am to let me she couldn’t make it because her daughter was up all night with anxiety about her first day of school. Wishing her, and all parents and students a fulfilling school year. My niece, MaryKathryn Conceison, is a teacher and shared her thoughtful reflections on the new school year in this Medium post.
  • Cereal w/fruit consumed, and detailed checklist studied before leaving the house at 6:32am.
  • 61 degrees when I left the house-crisp, cool, perfect day.
  • Departure from Wood Island was scheduled for 8am. Because my walking companion cancelled, I started walking at 7:29.
  • Loved discovering Urban Wild, a very cool view, and great example of the importance of recommendations from residents of each neighborhood I explore.
  • Todisco Towing, ah, that’s where they take them… $$$
  • Great views of the Tobin.
  • Multi miles of multi-families…
  • Satellite dishes on the front of homes in Boston neighborhoods is something I’d like to know more about. So far, I only remember seeing them in Brighton, Allston, and Eastie.
  • ‘Band Saw Zen’ is a thing on city walks. (See the video in the Google Photo Album.)
  • LOTS of neighborhood markets deep in the residential areas.
  • Very cool, interesting, diverse, old architecture and craftsmanship.
  • Loved the “Welcome to Paradise” sign w/parrot on the fence leading to a backyard pool.
  • Very gritty area beyond the “Keep on trying, you’ll get there” sign. I don’t advise traveling there alone.
  • One of my favorite pics is from that “off road” adventure, w/boat in the foreground and Boston skyline in the distance.
  • The water is a lot cleaner in that industrial area than I would have expected.
  • I love the tiny Mom & Pop shops, like the one selling only mattresses, Lolly’s Bakery.
  • Rino’s (famous Italian restaurant) location, in the middle of a non-descript residential location, reminds me of where Sarma is situated in Somerville. Embarrassed to admit that I still haven’t been there…
  • As I have often stated, the Boston skyline views from Eastie are stunning.
  • I LOVE city murals and old buildings.
  • Note to self: Don’t walk on trash pick-up days… Rookie mistake.
  • The pizza slice and hospitality at Dirty Water were very good.
  • “A city is not an accident, but the result of coherent vision and aims.” -Leon Krier Architect and Urban Planner.
  • If you haven’t been, you must visit the Eastie Shipyard & Marina, Piers Park, and Navy Fuel Pier.

Despite the attention/’traction’ that the walks are receiving, a major challenge ahead is inspiring donations to Make-A-Wish MA & RI and Stride for Stride. I’m going to make a concerted effort to reach out to businesses to pledge minimum donations tied to the total number of miles walked. There are a lot of creative ways that walk sponsors can get involved, including matching pledges, grant money, and product & brand endorsement. I’d love to hear from everyone who wants to be part of supporting #WalkingBoston and my non-profit partners. Email: patrick@servernotservant.com.

Please subscribe to future blog posts for scheduling of upcoming walks by entering your email in the blue box on the upper left side of this post. Follow along via Twitter and IG: @PatrickMBoston

Grass-roots donations to support #WalkingBoston and keep me walking and writing can be made by clicking here.

I included a few favorite pics from the ‘East Boston Part 2’ walk at the bottom of this post.

Thanks to everyone for your support and for following the #WalkingBoston journey. I hope to see you #ontheroad.

Cheers-Patrick

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Maguire Promotions-PR, Marketing, Social Media & Hospitality Consulting Monthly Subscription

Book Chapter: Rules of Engagement

Posted: 07/4/2022

I’m proud to announce the launch of Maguire Promotions Monthly Subscription Service available to restaurants and small businesses. This ‘pivot’ is the culmination of more than 8 years of operating an independent business providing PR, marketing, promotions, social media, and hospitality consulting. It is the continuation of my strategic initiative to leverage, monetize, and collaborate with the valuable network that I have cultivated and partnered with over the last 40+ years.

My current network consists of 2,800 (IG), 4,690 (Twitter), 10,400 combined Facebook platforms, 3,500 email, and 2,693 (LinkedIn) contacts, totaling more than 24,000 people. Every day of the week I review my social media feeds, multiple media platforms, email, and targeted Google alerts, constantly seeking ideas and tools to benefit my clients. I get it that business owners are looking for someone to sort through all of that for them because most are consumed with the day-to-day operations of their restaurant or business. I also know that independent, Mom & Pop, neighborhood businesses have been ravaged by the plague (myself included) and don’t have budgets for PR and many of the services that I provide. I’m offering a fair and reasonable way to supplement what you are currently doing to keep your brand current and relevant, broaden your customer base, increase your media coverage, and make more money.

I have immediate openings for new subscribers beginning August 1. The first businesses to commit via email, text, or DM by the end of business on Friday, 7/29 will begin the first 3 months of service upon receipt of payment. First come, first served. Beyond 7/29, pricing and availability will be TBD, based on availability of my time and ‘supply and demand.’

Email: patrick@servernotservant.com. Cell: 617-510-5682.

Services Included with 3-Month Subscription

  1. Copies of Maguire Promotions Social Media Strategy, Social Media Daily Checklist, Event Promotions, Instagram Strategy, Successful Strategies at jm Curley, and Complimentary Content (media, reviews, etc.) Response.
  2. Previous 3-month audit/review of all of your social media posts/content. Report findings and make recommendations to your designated team via group email. Phone consult after review of findings, if necessary.
  3. Review of website, all social media profiles, branding, Google search, newsletters, and media coverage.
  4. Read past 3 months of all online reviews and make recommendations. Discuss and understand business strategy with respect to ‘amateur’ reviews.
  5. Daily review of all of your social media posts and threads. Provide feedback and recommend edits and responses in comment threads when necessary.
  6. Amplify your social media posts by liking, commenting, defending, and sharing when appropriate, especially events you are hosting and participating in, and food & drink specials. This includes retweets with personal comments and #hashtags. (Yes, you should have a twitter account. I can help you establish one if you don’t.)
  7. I will notify your staff of any opportunities I see to invite potential customers to your business. I often see threads online where people describe a scenario seeking a restaurant that is a great fit.
  8. As I mentioned above, I will constantly be seeking ways to promote your restaurant/business and improve your operation. I read and review everything I can locally, nationally and internationally about restaurants and business, and will forward anything that I feel is relevant and can help you.
  9. Access to my network for vendors, contractors, legal, licensing, and potential staff/recruiting referrals. I am often contacted by people seeking employment. For management positions, please see #12 in ‘additional services’ below.
  10. Referral and introduction to Boston’s most professional and well-respected hospitality publicist.
  11. Confidential vetting of prospective new hires.
  12. Subscription includes at least one visit to eat and drink at your restaurant and promotion on my social media platforms. [$100 gift certificate included in pricing below.]  This includes encouraging my ‘followers’ to follow all of your social media platforms.  Just don’t call me a ‘foodie’ or an ‘influencer…’  (For additional visits and promotions, please see #5 below.)
  13. Live phone conversations/consults following up on all of the above.

It’s very important to note that my services outlined above do not include taking over the management of your social media and creating content for you. My collaborations with monthly subscribers will work best with restaurants and businesses that have dedicated, internal, social media managers on your staff, or an external vendor. My complementary consulting role is best described as a ‘watchdog’ or advocate looking out for you, your business, and your team.

Pricing: Minimum 3-month commitment is $750, paid upfront, plus $100 gift certificate. The cost breaks down to $250/month. After 3 months, the cost to continue the subscription is $275 per month, payable 30 days in advance. After 3 months, the subscription will continue month-to-month until cancelled by either party with one month lead time. Payment can be made via Venmo @Patrick-Maguire-32, PayPal, or check.

FYI, I personally will be servicing all accounts and communicating directly with your team, no interns or anyone else.

Additional à la carte Services

Please Note: Services listed below are available to all, but discounted for subscribers.

  1. Press release and distribution to media for special events, anniversaries, etc. (Pricing depends on whether or not I’ll be creating the content or just editing.)
  2. In-person brainstorming/consult/strategy sessions.
  3. Crisis Management.
  4. Dedicated Blog Post featuring your restaurant/business, similar to this feature of Formaggio Kitchen, or this one on Vee Vee in Jamaica Plain. (Those offerings are no longer complimentary.)
  5. As I indicated in #11 above, the initial, 3-month commitment includes eating and drinking at your restaurant or patronizing your business at least once. Promotion on my social media platforms accompany the visit. Additional visits and promotions can be negotiated with additional gift certificates beyond the initial $100. We can also work something out if I attend and promote events you are hosting.
  6. Evaluate current training manuals and recommend edits, editions, improvements.
  7. Attendance and/or participate in special events, ‘guest’ bartending, etc.
  8. Staff Training-Hospitality Workshop.
  9. Editing content of newsletters, emails, negotiations, strategic communications, etc. I also refer 2 retired English teachers to clients seeking technical, grammatical scrutiny.
  10. Attend and evaluate staff training sessions.
  11. Company email database management and newsletter services.
  12. Management level staff recruitment. (Fee-for-service, 2-tiered. #1-Posting job. #2-Refering hired candidate = % of salary.)

If you’re looking for the most affordable way to boost for your business, I look forward to working with you.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you-Patrick

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Boston ‘Mom and Pop’ Shops-Chapter 2: Vee Vee-Jamaica Plain

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 02/15/2016

This series, introduced in a blog post on 1/30/16, celebrates ‘Mom and Pop’ shops in the Boston area, and possibly beyond. These blog posts are dedicated to owners of restaurants and small businesses who respond to a questionnaire designed to capture their experiences of owning, working, and operating a business together.

Vee Vee is a 35-seat neighborhood restaurant opened in 2008 by Kristen and Dan Valachovic at 763 Centre Street in Jamaica Plain, MA. Thanks to Kristen and Dan for their insight and experiences. If you’d like details about the “Reiki session gone awry,” you’ll have to visit their restaurant…

SNS: Please provide a very brief description of your restaurant and mission.

Kristen & Dan: Our goal is to create a comfortable neighborhood restaurant with simple, tasty food for both vegetarians and omnivores, featuring local beers and a small, but excellent selection of wines.

Panoramic

What are your individual titles, roles, and responsibilities?

Kristen: I’m a server and host, also in charge of bookkeeping, payroll and pretty much all admin stuff. Dan tends bar, hosts, and is in charge of the physical plant. He also knows where every single thing in the restaurant is. If you can’t find it, just ask — he knows.

Where did you grow up and how did you end up in Boston?

K: I was born and raised in Dedham, MA, spent a few years in Brookline, and moved to JP in 1994.

Dan: I grew up in upstate NY. I had a rock band with some high school friends and we came to Boston in 1991 to make a go of it. I moved to JP in 1994 as well, when the band thing was fizzling out.

As a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you “grew up?”

K: I thought I would be an artist — whatever that means.

D: A rock musician.

What other jobs have you worked besides restaurants?

K: For many years I had a “real job” in the design field; first as an interior designer, then in graphics. I continued to work part-time at my old firm through the first year we were open. I remember on the restaurant’s opening day I had a deadline at my design job. It was stressful doing both, but I had to make sure we had some reliable income.

D: Sadly, nothing too interesting.  My first job was at the bottle return counter in the local Grand Union.  My next job was slightly cooler– clerk at Strawberries Records and Tapes.  After that, all of my jobs were restaurant-related.

K: Dan always forgets, but there was a period of about a few years in there where Dan worked landscaping. He took a step back from restaurant work for a breather, and I must have as well because that was the only time in our 18years together that we had “normal” schedules. We both got up in the morning, went to work, came home and had dinner together every night. We had weekends off, too. It was weird. Not terrible, but ultimately not for us…

Dan on the bar

Dan on the bar

What was your first restaurant-related job and where was it?

K: There’s a tiny restaurant in Endicott Circle in the Dedham called Fisherman’s Restaurant. I worked there for one day in junior high school until they fired me. Then it was on to a multi-year stint at Mister Donut on Route 1 in Westwood. This was in the 80’s, when it was apparently acceptable to have a teen-aged girl or two working alone at a donut shop on the side of the highway.

D: I worked for a summer as a delivery driver at a steak delivery spot called “Steak Out”. I wish I still had that hat…

How did you meet?

K: In 1998 when Centre Street Cafe moved to its current location, owner Felicia Sanchez turned the old spot (current home of Ten Tables) into a little Mexican place called Mi Casita. I lived around the corner and was a regular customer, so Felicia hired me to design the sign and asked me to coordinate with Mi Casita’s manager, Dan. I set up a meeting to discuss the sign with him, and he didn’t show up.

D: I had a lot going on…

K: I wasn’t impressed. He seemed entirely uninterested in talking to me, and I had no romantic interest in him. But then, we found ourselves finding excuses to be together. We never had a proper date and have been solid since then.

How long have you worked together?

K: I ended up working weekends at Mi Casita in order to be close to him; it was a small place: a cook, a server, and a dishwasher. Later our friends opened Zon’s, and we were both on the opening staff, Dan as manager, me as a server (I was still working full time in design).

How many hours a week do each of you work at your place of business?

K: Dan is actually there more than I am, he likes to putz around. I’m probably there officially 30 hours a week, but I’m in and out of the office, plus doing things from home. We work on the floor together on Friday and Saturday nights, plus whenever else we need to.

Did anyone give you any advice before you started working together?

K&D: Well, everyone said it would ruin our relationship. It hasn’t.

How would you describe your working relationship?

K&D: “Good cop/bad cop?” Maybe a little of that, but also, in day to day operations we trust each other enough to go with something if one of us feels strongly about it. We pick our battles for small stuff, but for bigger things we always have to be on the same page.

Is working together harder or easier than you anticipated?

K: Easier. We came about our division of labor organically and it seems to work well. I can’t imagine doing this solo, though!

What do you like the most about working together?

K: Seeing our hopes come to fruition, but also having Dan’s perspective instead of just my own. He often sees things I miss and vice versa.

What do you like the least about working together?

J&D: Difficulty in stepping away from work, from thinking about it and talking about it 24/7/365.

How have you avoided killing each other?

K: Dan is very calm and patient, that’s why he hasn’t killed me yet. We defer to each other’s strengths.

What do you rely on your partner to do in the restaurant that you’d hate doing?

K: Taking care of broken equipment. I don’t speak the language and I’m not especially handy.

D: Paying the bills

What qualities do you value most in employees?

K&D: Commitment to our vision, loyalty, respect.

What is the wildest thing that’s ever happened at your restaurant?

K&D: A Reiki session gone awry, at a table, on a jamming Friday night. It was shocking and gross, let’s just leave it at that.

What do you enjoy doing most when you’re away from the restaurant/business?

K&D: Heading to the outer cape, definitely. It’s our happy place. We don’t have a house there, but aspire to someday. We also love a good road trip to experience other restaurants and bars. Portland, Maine is a favorite.

Any issues you care deeply about that you want to share?

K&D: We love our JP neighborhood. When we decided we wanted our own place, we never considered looking anywhere else. It’s like a small town in the big city.

Do you cook at home?

K&D: We had our kitchen redone last year, so, yes, finally we can cook at home. We have 2 nights off together, one we go out, one we eat in. Often we’ll have overly ambitious cooking plans but then end up doing something simple like spaghetti carbonara.

Do you schedule ‘date nights’?

K&D: We’re good about having date nights, pretty much every Monday. We really try to stay connected in a way that doesn’t involve working. Once upon a time we had things to talk about besides the restaurant, and we don’t want to forget that. Our last date was a big one — a 6-day trip to the Caribbean, very relaxing.

What are some of your favorite Boston area restaurants?

K&D: So many restaurants, so little time! We love other Mom & Pops like Seven Stars Street Bistro and Brewer’s Fork, although we don’t get to Charlestown nearly as often as we should. We also love Neptune Oyster, Toro and eating at the bar at Mistral.

Any dreams\fantasies about opening a restaurant completely different than Vee Vee?

K&D: All the time! Sometimes we look around and think maybe we should have done this or that differently, and wonder what it would be like to start all over.

What characterizes your favorite type of customers?

K&D: We have an excellent group of regulars and it often feels like an ongoing conversation with old friends. We just continue where we left off the last time they were in. We love that. But we also love when someone comes in for the first time and tells us how comfortable they feel, like they’re a guest in our home. That’s the best.

What are you most proud of about your restaurant?

K&D: We’ve been doing this for 8 years now, and I’m thrilled that we we’ve been able to create the neighborhood spot we envisioned, with wonderful customers and an outstanding Vee Vee family. We couldn’t ask for better people around us.

Any advice for couples thinking about  opening a joint, or working together in a restaurant/small biz?

K&D: Figure out where your partner excels and let them run with it. Trust your guts. If something feels wrong to either of you, it probably is.

K: If you’re thinking about opening a place, have a firm vision. It can be tempting to try to be everything to everyone, but the sooner you realize you can’t, the better. That said, a bit of flexibility can be necessary, too. There’s a balance in there somewhere. Also, your relationship with each other should always be more important than the business.

D: Choose the name very carefully. You’d be amazed how often people mistakenly assume that we are a vegetarian or vegan restaurant just because of our name.

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If you’d like to participate in this series, please email Patrick@servernotservant.com. And please forward this blog post to ‘Mom and Pop’ Shop business owners who might enjoy sharing their stories. I’m also seeking a Boston media partner to share these posts. Thank you.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. No compensation was exchanged between Vee Vee and Patrick Maguire/Server Not Servant in exchange for publication of this post. Sharing of this post by Kristen and Dan Valachovic, Vee Vee and affiliates via social media is anticipated but not required. Thank you.

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