Monday, November 24, 2014

Kamate Fitness Moves to 153 Concord Road

Kamate Fitness has moved to 153 Concord Road, the former location of the Bedford Montessori School.

I recently spoke with Nancy Griffiths, founder and owner of Kamate Fitness. Nancy started her career as an Electrical Engineer and over the year worked her way to become a Vice President of operations.

Although she felt successful, she also felt something was missing in terms of fulfillment. Nancy has always been interested in fitness and had taken lots of dance classes in gyms. So she decided to start her own fitness company. She was familiar with the Lotte Berk Fitness Method but wanted to expand on it. She really liked the ancestral war dances (haka) from the Maori people of New Zealand. Of particular interest was the Ka Mate haka which is frequently performed by the New Zealand National Rugby Team.

Example of the Ka Mata haka by the New Zealand National Rugby Team.

From this the name, Kamate Fitness was born. After starting the company, she went to the Bedford Recreation Department to see if they could partner together in setting up the classes. She rented space from various locations around Bedford. According to Nancy, the recreation department handles the marketing, payment and registration of the classes and then submits payment (minus operation costs) to Kamate Fitness. She originally started with one class but quickly grew to 13 classes.

At this point she rented space at Callahan's Karate Studio at 20 North Road and teamed up with a few additional instructors. She then added a Children's program called Kid's Jam which is geared towards grades 3-5. She found as the kids approached 6th grade they were not as interested in dancing and tended to segregate by gender. In response she added some teen weightlifting classes geared towards grades 6-8. And then by 9th grade she found many kids become more interested in dancing again so she also added classes for high school students. With all the new classes and programs she was outgrowing her space and needed more room.

She wound up speaking to the First Baptist Church who had availability next door in it's newly renovated Connections Building after the Montessori School moved to it's new location at 8 Alfred Circle (off Wiggins Avenue) so she decided to sign a lease.

In addition to it's main room that will be used for classes, the new location has a kitchen and some additional downstairs space. Nancy feels it will be great to provide snacks as well as other activities such as Arts and Crafts for kids who may not be interested in dancing. She thinks the new facility will really help make the kids classes a viable after school program.

Main area where Kamate classes are held. The new location includes a basement with a Kitchen and additional space.
In addition to the classes and kids after school programs, the space will also be used by Kamate Fitness for occasional seminars and lectures as well as a fully social dance four times per year.

The Kamate classes contain elements of Weightlifting, Yoga and Pilates. Nancy refers to Kamate as Zoomba on Steroids and believes that since you are following the music you tend to work out a lot harder than you realize which makes it more effective. All the instructors are certified by Les Mills International and some of the classes are now available on Bedford TV.
 
According to Nancy, her classes tend to attract people who are not in to the gym scene. Ages usually vary from around 16 to the 60's with more Women than Men. Her main goal is on getting bodies moving and more active. She feels that there is not enough movement nowadays.

Her biggest enjoyment is to see Women who take the classes, and then watch them realize the empowerment of the class. Whereby they see how they worked to improve themselves physically and then realize they can do the same thing in other areas of their life such as work and relationships. Nancy see's the classes as a way to ignite the spark and be transformational in building confidence and more.

In addition to Bedford, she runs a similar program in Concord and is now just starting in Carlisle using the same method of working with the town's recreation department. She expect to continue "spiraling out from Bedford" in to other towns.

An open house was held on November 8th.



Comment:
The space itself is interesting in that while Kamate Fitness is renting it out from Church, it's really shared space since the Church will sometimes use it as well as other community groups such as the boy scouts. Similar to the newer companies of Airbnb, Hubway Bike Sharing and Zipcar, this is an "old world" example of the increasing relevance of the sharing economy in taking advantage of resources that are not fully utilized. Instead of staying empty when there are no classes, it can be used for other purposes.





Friday, November 14, 2014

Dalya's Restaurant Set to Close in December with a New Indian Restaurant Taking It's Place


After 20 years in business, Dayla's Restaurant at 20 North Road is expected to close on December 20th. The Restaurant has been owned by Frans and Mita van Berkhout since it opened in 1994. Dalya's was named after Frans three daughters DAnielle, LYdia, and Alexandra. Previous to Dayla's, Frans and Mita ran Le Bellcour in Lexington since 1978. According to a note sent out to friends of Dayla's, while they both still enjoyed owning Dayla's, Frans just turned 70 and is looking to retire. Many of the kitchen staff have been with them for 20 years or more.

In it's place, a new Indian restaurant named Holi is expected to open in February. The new restaurant will be run by Amarjit Singh, who currently is an owner at Zaika Indian Bistro on Main Street in Woburn.

Stay tuned for more details.

Comments:
Dayla's owners seemed to be well liked and respected in Bedford. It's good to see that the location will remain a restaurant.

Bedford has been lacking an Indian Restaurant. I expect it to be well received. With it's open location next to Bedford Farms, it also seems like a good place to add outdoor dining.



Monday, October 20, 2014

Cucina D Restaurant Opens on Middlesex Turnpike


Cucina D Restaurant opened October 1st at 54 Middlesex Turnpike in the space previously occupied by The Boardroom Bistro. I recently talked with the owner Damiano DiCenso.

Damiano's family has been in the restaurant business for many decades. His Grandfather, who first taught him how to cook, was the original head chef of Davio's on Newbury Street. Next Damiano worked under both his father and uncle at Donatello's on Route 1 in Saugus. In 2004, Damiano become the head chef at his brothers restaurant, Luna Rossa in Tewksbury.

While Damiano enjoyed working with his family, he wanted to strike out on his own. So a few years ago he started looking at locations for a new restaurant he would run. He actually took a look at this location over a year ago but was not yet ready to move forward. Then a few months ago he got another call from the owners of Boardroom Bistro (who own the entire building at 54 Middlesex) asking if he was still interested. He met with them and decided to move forward.

Renovations started on September 8th and the new restaurant opened in less than one month. The new restaurant has 96 inside seats as well as 12 outdoor seats. Food is now provided by waitress service with takeout available. 

New paint, ceiling, and replacing the old chess pieces with wine bottles led to a more upscale look.
The menu focuses on authentic Northern Italian cuisine. Most items are made in house including Cannoli's. Since the restaurant recently opened, Damiano is just doing soup specials but will soon be adding specials for appetizers, entrees and desserts along with drink specials. The restaurant can also provide party platters and mini-desserts for corporate catering. While they do not offer delivery for regular orders it is available for corporate catering and large orders. He thinks once people try his food they will want to come back.

In the bar section he added another wide screen television. There is a bar menu which includes slices of Sicilian style pizza, bar bites and Italian specialties. There is also a wide selection of beers including a number of gluten free brands.

This room can be rented out for corporate events and other activities. 
According to Damiano, so far the lunch business has been very good with lots of nearby workers as well as people from local apartments complexes such as Taylor Pond and Heritage at Bedford Springs. He is still working on increasing the dinner business. He's added a trivia night and is looking in to open mike nights and well as special events like paint nights where people without painting experience can eat, drink and paint with friends. Cucina D's is also participating in Flavors of Bedford which should give it exposure to a lot of Bedford and other nearby residents.

Since it's in an office building that houses workers during the day, there is dedicated restaurant parking at lunchtime.
Cucina D is currently open for Lunch Mondays, Lunch and Dinner Tuesdays to Fridays and Dinner on Saturday. 

Comment:
Boardroom Bistro did well at lunch but seemed to have had trouble attracting the dinner and after work crowd. While the menu at Boardroom Bistro seemed more suited for lunch, the Cucina D menu appears to be a better fit for both lunch and dinner which should be a plus. The owner does have a lot of restaurant  experience. Getting the after work crowd and dinner folks in will be key to it's success. It will be interesting to see how it does.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Simply Natural Nails Opens in New Location


Simply Natural Nails has moved to 119 Great Road, the former location of Bedford Cupcakes. The Salon had been located at 50 Loomis Street since it's opening almost four years ago. I recently spoke with it's owner Kimberly Fosmire.

While Kimberly thought the previous location functioned well, it was located in a basic office building and she had trouble finding a sign that would be highly visible from the street. So she decided to look for a location that had a cozier environment and higher visibility. The Salon opened at the new location on October 1st.

The interior has been totally redone bearing no resemblance to the former cupcake shop.
After Kimberly made the decision to move, she also figured it was a good time to upgrade a lot of the equipment. For example, she added new Belava Pedicure chairs. Unlike traditional spa chairs, these feature a single use liner to ensure that each customer gets the safest possible pedicure.

Belava Indulgence Pedicure chairs have a disposable liner to save water.
Along with the new location, Kimberly has added services such as eyebrow threading which is an 
an ancient hair-removal technique practiced in Asia and the Middle East. She recommends it as an alternative to waxing, especially if you have sensitive skin.

The new location has two fireplaces. One in the Nail room and the other in the Pedicure room.

According to Kimberly, her customers really like the new location telling her it has a much more homely feel.

The new Salon has an additional Nail station.
Currently Kimberly is actively looking to add a third employee so she can add services such as skin care and massage. She also just got approval from the Historic District Commission for a new sign which is expected to go up before the end of the month. The Salon is open Tuesday through Saturday.

The Salon Was Recently Feature in Nails Magazine.
Comment:
The past few years have seen several restaurants try to make a go at this location which seems hard pressed to attract street traffic. I'm guessing a service business will be a better fit.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wall Bar Opens Inside The Great Wall Restaurant


The Wall Bar opened last Friday inside the Great Wall Restaurant at 309 Great Road in the Great Road Shopping Center. The new bar, which is sectioned off from the rest of the restaurant, features 8 seats at the actual bar and around 60 seats in the surrounding area.

The bar area features a mix of regular, high top, bar stool and booth seating.
While the Great Wall has had a full alcohol license and a service bar for many years, according to staff it was the recent changes to the Town of Bedford Alcohol Policy that made it a good time to move forward. Before the policy was updated in April, you had to order a full meal before you could order a drink. Many customers were going to Margaritas or Waxy O'Connors in Lexington.

The Great Wall staff felt there was no place in Bedford where you could get together after work or sports to meet up with friends for a drink and some food. Many Chinese restaurants have a bar, so they thought it would be a nice step up to add a sports bar.

The Wall Bar has five large screen TVs to watch sporting and other events.
Along with the interior renovation, The Great Wall also added a new cocktail menu along with several new bar type appetizers.


A new bar menu features several new appetizers
Currently the restaurant hours are the same (9:15 during the week and 10:15 on weekends) while they see how the new sports bar does. They do have the ability to stay open until 11 pm if there is demand.

Comment:
It's intriguing to see the economic effects of the updated alcohol policy. Along with the renovations to The Great Wall, the former Boardroom Bistro restaurant is undergoing a complete renovation and will soon re-open as an Italian Restaurant Cucina D. It will be interesting if the new sports bar can also attract events from Bedford groups, for example the Bedford Education Foundation has usually held it's Winter Bash event in Lexington.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Demolition Begins at 54 Loomis Street for The Crossing Mixed Use Residential and Retail Project

Rear View of 54 Loomis Street Building Coming Down
After several delays, demolition is currently underway at 54 Loomis Street. The current building, which was last used as corporate offices for Pharmalucence Inc, was originally built in the 1960's as an ice skating rink.

Demolition Started at the Rear of the Building
The two new buildings, known as The Crossing at Bedford will house 19 apartments and just under 3,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. The project is expected to be completed by next Summer.

Artist Depiction - View from Loomis Street. This building will house retail on most of the first floor.

View from Depot Park. A new pathway on this side of the building will connect Loomis Street with the Bike Path

Front of Building B. This building contains some design elements similar to the Depot Building

Rear of Building B. This building is set back from Loomis Street



Saturday, September 13, 2014

Updates at Great Road Shopping Center: Great Wall Adds Sports Bar and Mattress World Closes

While there are ongoing renovations and lots of updates at Bedford Market Place, a few changes have also taken place at the Great Road Shopping Center.

Mattress World has now closed. The 5200 square foot space has been fully vacated. The company, which now has nine locations south of Boston, closed the Bedford location after being open less than two years and also recently closed their South Yarmouth store.

Right next door, The Great Wall Restaurant  is finishing up an interior renovation that adds a sports bar. While there were initial plans to add a sushi bar, the restaurant decided to add a sports bar featuring multiple large screen televisions. The new bar which is expected to open next week, has 7 bar stools along with a high top seating area. Stay tuned for more details next week.

It's interesting to see that the shopping center is also listing the adjacent Radio Shack space as available for lease although that store is still open. In addition, over the next year Staples (which also has a location in Great Road Shopping Center) is expected to close over 10% of it's stores in the United States. The list of locations that will be closing has not yet been announced.