Thursday, June 16, 2016

Construction Continues on New Terminal Building for Jet Aviation FBO at Hanscom Field in Bedford

Construction is well underway on a new terminal building and airplane hanger for Fixed Base Operator Jet Aviation at Hanscom Field, which is the largest general aviation airport in New England. Groundbreaking for the new building took place in July 2015 and the new facility is expected to be completed later this year.

An illustration of the front entrance of the new building. The building it's replacing, is over 30 years old.
According to press reports, the new building will encompass 70,000 square feet. The hanger portion will make up around 40,000 square feet and house private and corporate aircraft. The new hanger will be larger than the current one and will be able to handle larger aircraft such as a Gulfstream G650 or a Bombardier Global 6000. The remainder of the building will be divided between office space and the actual customer facing FBO that serves Jet Aviation clients flying in and out of Hanscom Field.

Along with the new building, the construction includes new ramps for aircraft, an updated parking lot and improved landscaping.

Parking for Corporate Limousine Inc. Fleet Vehicles has been relocated to accommodate the construction.
In addition to Jet Aviation, there are two other FBO's at Hanscom; Rectrix which opened in 2014 and Signature Flight Support.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Corner Antiques 2 Opens at 52 Great Road

Corner Antiques 2 opened earlier this month at 52 Great Road which previously housed a showroom for Harvard Green Builders. I recently spoke with Jan McGrath, the owner of Corner Antiques 2. Jan originally opened up the first Corner Antiques at the old Blake Block in 2008 and then moved it around the corner to 53R Great Road.

The new shop looks directly on to Great Road
While Jan likes the current location and layout of her first Corner Antique store, it does not have high visibility from the main road so she decided to open up a second location. Although this location is smaller, it gets a lot more exposure. According to Jan, there already have been a number of people who noticed it while driving by and decided to stop in.

The store host a wide variety of antiques and collectibles.
As far as collectibles, Jan mentioned there is now less interest in traditional antiques and tchotchkes. She explained that many people from the next generation no longer want to wash dishes, dust or spend a lot of time cleaning antiques. On the flip side, she has seen a lot more interest in memorabilia, especially from the 1960's.

Two collectibles on display at the new store.

Jan gets most of her antiques and collectibles from auction and estate sales. She also takes some items on consignment. In addition to her two stores, Jan also offers estate sales management which involves advertising the sale itself, organizing merchandise, pricing and staging a home in order to maximize the value of it's assets.

The new store is currently open Friday to Sunday to start. She hopes to expand the hours in the next few months.

This new store should get a lot more exposure which should also help drive sales for the original store. Since the second stores has very limited hours, it was smart to add a sign referencing the original location. I'm wondering if adding the word annex to the name (i.e. Corner Antiques Annex) would make it more obvious that the main store was right nearby.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Elite Freestyle Karate is now open at 285 Great Road

Elite Freestyle Karate opened on May 31st at 285 Great Road in the space adjacent to Salem Five Bank. This location replaces their Lexington branch which recently closed. The business which has been around for about 25 years, has additional locations in Reading and Winchester.
The new space in Bedford is larger than the previous location in Lexington. There are now seats for people who wish to watch the classes.
I recently spoke with instructor Sensei Ethan Wager and Owner Gary Meyer. According to Ethan, Elite Freestyle Karate has been offering classes for Kids and Teens for many years. Recently they started getting requests from many parents who saw their kids enjoying the classes, so they added classes for adults. As the name implies, Freestyle combines many of the different types of Karate.

According to Gary, Elite Freestyle Karate is unique in that all of their instructors are full-time professional staff. Gary mentioned this is a rarity in the Martial Arts industry, where many companies employ part time instructors.

Students learn life skills including hand shakes and how to use their voice as a weapon
While the classes teach self defense techniques, as part of the process, students learn Confidence, Courage, Discipline, Respect and Strength. According to Ethan, many students eventually get their black belts. There is a big sign on the studio wall with the names of the students who have made a commitment to getting a black belt. Ethan mentioned when kids commit to their name on the wall, they are much more likely to get their black belt.

Ethan has found that the classes are very useful in building confidence, leadership skills and conflict resolution techniques. Students learn to look people in the eye. After a while, experienced students can get more involved by acting as secondary instructors which teaches them responsibility.

Elite Freestyle Karate is offering a Grand Opening promotion.
About 70% of students are Children between the ages of 3-12. Classes which can hold up to 20 students, are offered Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. On Fridays, Elite Freestyle Karate offers special educational programs that are open to all students.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

b.good Restaurant Reopens in Bedford Marketplace

b.good restaurant which closed last August as part of the Bedford Marketplace renovation, has reopened in a new building at 158 Great Road. The new restaurant is in a premium corner location with frontage on Great Road.

The new location has two entrances, including this one along Great Road
While the menu has stayed fairly consistent, the number of b.good locations has continued to grow to about 40. The chain has recently expanded to Canada and Switzerland.

The Grand Opening included Free Samples and Giveaways.
The new space is much more modern and includes about 60 seats. Outdoor dining has been expanded as well.

The interior features butcher block tables, lots of windows and high ceilings giving the restaurant an open feel.
As before, the menu focuses on burgers, fries, salads, shakes and vegetables. Most of the food is locally grown. In place of Heinz condiments, b.good features Sir Kensington's Ketchup, Mustard and Mayonnaise. The restaurant is open from 11 am to 9 pm daily except closes at 8 pm on Sundays.

The new outdoor seating area is much larger and no longer adjacent to the parking lot.
A 2014 picture of the old b.good location. This space was previously used by Cambridge Savings Bank

The new drink area is larger and has additional selections including four types of Lemonade. 

Most of the menu is sourced from the New England area.

First view of Bedford Marketplace's new "Greenway". Grass and additional landscaping is coming soon.
The new Greenway path uses stones in place of asphalt. 

While most of the Bedford Marketplace has undergone renovation., the current sign has
become ramshackle and is in need of replacement

Friday, May 20, 2016

Peppers Grille Coming Soon to Great Road Shopping Center

Peppers Grill is expected to open this Summer at 321 Great Road in the Great Road Shopping Center. The restaurant, which is taking over the space formerly occupied by Sparta, will feature Brick Oven Pizza and Gourmet Sandwiches along with regular entrees as well as Beer and Wine. The restaurant will also offer Breakfast on Saturday and Sundays.

Stay tuned for more details.

It's good to see they will be offering breakfast on weekends. This was sorely needed.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Spring Showers Brings May Flowers and New Signs

Cambridge Savings Bank has unveiled a new corporate logo with a more modern design. The three signs at the Bedford Branch have recently been upgraded to incorporate the new design. You can view what it used to look like here.

The Orange Chair opened at it's new location at 54 Loomis Street on April 6th. Their new sign just went up last week.

Signs are up for the Comella's Restaurant in Bedford Marketplace. The new Italian restaurant, which will have over 100 seats, is expected to open before the end of May.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Virsa De Punjab Indian Kitchen has Grand Opening

Virsa De Punjab Indian Kitchen located at 347 Great Road (previously occupied by Firebox BBQ) held it's grand opening on April 27th.

I recently spoke with Kishan Singh, one of the owners. Kishan and his best friend Baljit Singh have had a long time dream to open up a restaurant together. They both grew up in the India state of Punjab and relished the flavors of their families kitchens, always viewing cooking as a passion. Shortly after arriving in America in 1985, Kishan got his start as a bus boy at the Windows on the World restaurant which was located on the 107th Floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center in NYC. He was quickly promoted to Captain (a Captain typically oversees a group of tables along with a team of busboys and waiters) and since then has had extensive experience managing several restaurants. According to Kishan, Baljit has over 15 years experience in the restaurant industry. Last year, they agreed the time was right and decided to move forward and open up a restaurant. They thought Bedford would be a good place to do so.

Kishan described the Virsa De Punjab menu as being focused on North Indian cuisine that is rich in spices. The head chef hails from the Five Star Sun-n-Sand Hotel at Juhu Beach in Mumbai India. They have a few specialties such as Black Pepper Chicken with Sour Cream and Tandoori Rack of Lamb.

Virsa De Punjab offers a Lunch Buffet (along with a regular lunch menu) from 11:30 am until 3 pm during the week and a brunch on Sundays. According to Kishan, the Buffet is more extensive than most other Indian Restaurant with over 20 items with about half of those vegetarian.

The Lunch Buffet consists of a wide assortment of North Indian cuisine
The restaurant, which has a full liquor license, consists of about 40 seats plus six seats at the bar and provides free WiFi to customers. Along with takeout, they also offer free home delivery as well as corporate catering. The establishment is open from 11:30 am to 10 pm seven days a week.

There seems to be a lot of interest in Indian Food as this is the second Indian Restaurant to recently open in Bedford (Holi opened just over one year ago). This location has been a number of restaurants over the past ten years and is a little bit challenging as it's hard to see from the road. Key to the restaurant's success will be attracting employees from the nearby Wiggins Avenue Business District in Bedford as well as Hartwell Avenue in Lexington to come in for lunch or after work for dinner.