Tuesday, August 29, 2017

New Hotel and Restaurant Proposed for Crosby Drive


A new 5 story hotel has been proposed for 39 Crosby Drive. The Hotel which expects to have 130 rooms, also includes a 1500 square foot restaurant directly adjacent. The project has been proposed by Lexington based Jamsan Hotel Management which operates hotels throughout New England including newly renovated Best Westerns in Danvers and Woburn, Days Inn & Suites in Lincoln NH, a Fairfield Inn & Suites in Keene NH and others.

Artist Rendering of Proposed Hotel

According to project plans, the Hotel is to be built adjacent to Crosby Drive in front of 39 Crosby Drive which is currently rented by Arty's Warehouse which should remain. An agreement has made with Fuji Film, the owner of 45 Crosby Drive who will provide an additional parcel of land. The project will include about 140 spaces for cars and 8 for bicycles.

The Hotel is expected to be built in the forested area on the right side of Crosby Drive. The small building behind it is 39 Crosby Drive while the larger building at 45 Crosby Drive is owned by Fuji Film.
While the brand of hotel is still under negotiation, it's currently proposed to be a EVEN Hotel,  the newest  brand under the InterContinental Hotels Group which owns Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, InterContinental and others. EVEN Hotels whose motto is Eat Well, Rest Easy, Keep Active and Accomplish More, currently has six existing locations in the United States with 8-10 more in the pipeline and has recently signed an agreement for additional locations in Australian and New Zealand.

2015 Google Street View of the proposed project. The driveway on the right leads to 39 Crosby Drive.

This is the second hotel recently proposed for Crosby Drive. Last year, National Development submitted plans for a hotel at Crosby Center at 32 Crosby Drive but later withdrew them after objections by existing tenants.

Stay tuned for more details.

Comment:
If local hotel prices are any indications, it seems like there will be strong demand for additional hotel rooms in Bedford. The hotel should be beneficial to neighboring businesses and the restaurant should provide an additional lunch option for nearby employees.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

New Jet Aviation FBO Terminal Set to Open in August at Bedford Hanscom Field




A new terminal building for the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) Jet Aviation is scheduled to open in August at Hanscom Field. As previously reported, construction on the new building started in July of 2015. Adjacent to the terminal building is a new 40,000 square foot hanger which opened last month..

Finishing touches are ongoing at the new 30,000 square foot Terminal Building.

The new two story terminal building which is LEED Silver certified, includes expanded amenities for Jet Aviation clients that fly in and out of Hanscom Field. In addition to the client areas, the new building contains 16,000 square feet of office and shop space.

The new Hanger can accommodate larger aircraft such as a Gulfstream G650. 
Along with the new terminal building, Jet Aviation has upgraded the ramp area for aircraft along with improvements to surrounding roadways and landscaping.

A closeup view of the new Jet Aviation Hanger also known as Building 17. Jet Aviation was acquired by General Dynamics in 2008.
The past few years have seen a lot of new construction and activity at Hanscom. Another FBO, Rectrix opened it's new flagship facility in 2014 and last September announced General Electric will move it's corporate flight department (which includes 70 employees, two Bombardier Challenger 605's and two AW139  twin-engine helicopters) to it's facility. In June, Medflight had a groundbreaking for a new $17 million facility at Hanscom. The new 54,000 square foot building is expected to open in 2018.

It will be interesting to see if Signature Flight Support (which is the 3rd FBO at Hanscom) decides to upgrade it's facilities.

The View from Virginia Road in Concord. The New FBO Terminal is just to the right of the Jet Aviation Hanger. 
The more modern facility replaces a 30 year old building.
Stay tuned for more details on the new Terminal Building in August.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Peppers Grill Restaurant Opens in Great Road Shopping Center



Peppers Grille has opened at 321 Great Road Road in the Great Road Shopping Center. The location is next to Hanscom Federal Credit Union and was the previous location of Sparta Restaurant. The restaurant will initially be open for dinner but expects to open for Lunch and Weekend Breakfast later this week.

I recently spoke with the owner Jim Morris. Jim grew up in a close-knit Greek Family in Bedford and has always loved the town. About 10 years ago, he opened up Roasted Peppers in Maynard. He always had a dream to return to Bedford and open up a restaurant. Recently he got an offer to sell his restaurant in Maynard and he decided to move forward with his dream.

This was the previous location of Sparta Restaurant.
Upon finding the location in Bedford he decided to completely renovate the space. He wanted to make it a place to go for casual dining and families.

The interior features led lightning for a more modern appearance.
Jim really loves the small town aspect of Bedford, so he asked local artist Concepta MacNamara to take pictures all around Bedford to display in the restaurant.

One of about a dozen recent photos of Bedford are on display.


Along with the renovations, Jim also installed a Marsal's and Sons old world style pizza oven which cooks a pizza in just 3 minutes. Jim explained how the oven's design enables it to absorb moisture resulting in a crispier crust.

Jim customized the stonework on his WF Series Pizza oven.
The lunch and dinner menu features brick Oven Pizza and Gourmet Sandwiches along with regular entrees. A full breakfast menu is available on the weekends until 1 pm and includes Pancakes, Belgian Waffles, Eggs, Omelettes, Homemade Home Fries as well as Breakfast Burgers, Pizzas and Wraps.

The restaurant has a full alcohol license and offers a wide selection of Craft Beer, Mixed Drinks and Wine.


Peppers Grille includes a bar area with just under 10 bar seats.

Comments:
It's good to see this restaurant finally open. It should drive more business for the other stores in the Great Road Shopping. I expect it's full weekend breakfast will be popular.



Sunday, April 30, 2017

I Do Nail Bar Opened Earlier This Month on Great Road


I Do Nail Bar opened earlier this month at 50 Great Road, which was the former location of The Orange Chair. I recently spoke with Maggie Li, the owner. Maggie has been working in several nail salons for the past few years. She liked the business aspect and decided to open her own salon.

Nail stations for Manicures

Maggie spent some time figuring out the best location to open. She picked Bedford after a lot of research. She likes the fact that her location is on a busy road that will help provide exposure.

Nail drying stations

She describes her store as a high end nail salon committed to hygiene and comfort. Maggie explained how I Do Nail Bar uses a dental autoclave to sterialize every single metal implement. Non-mental tools such as pumice stones and nail buffers are all one time use and so are disposed after each client.

I Do Nair Bar offers hundreds of colors. Like many paint stores, they also have color charts to help you decide.

The Salon itself consists of five nail stations, four nail drying stations and several pedicure sinks. Unlike many other nail salons in Massachusetts, the pedicure area features benches and sinks in-place of the more typical large chairs and bowls. Maggie explained how this is typically more comfortable for clients and also makes it easier to keep clean. This style is more common on the West Coast.

Clients sit on the bench and place their feet directly in the sink.

The Salon offers a wide variety of manicures and pedicures starting with the basic classic and french versions. Manicures options include a gel manicure which adds a polish that is then cured in order to provide a longer lasting result. Common pedicure options include green tea and rose organic spa.

Appointments can be made online or via phone. They also take walk ins.

Maggie mentioned that while most customers tend to be Women, Men are very welcome. Along with individual services, the salon offers customized services such as bridal and birthday packages. They also have offer add on "teeny" manicures and pedicures for accompanying children. For smaller children, they have a play room.

Cold drinks and fresh fruit are available for clients.

I Do Nail Bar is open 7 days a week. From 10am-7pm Monday through Friday with slightly reduced hours on the weekend.




Comments:
1. The past few years have seen a number of new nail salons open in Bedford. This is a nationwide trend driven by more Women deciding to have their nails done in a spa instead of at home. I expect this trend to continue for the next few years. I would not be surprised to see some regional and national nail salon chains become established. If so, it will be interesting to see if these chains can get significant market share.

2. Play areas and/or childcare for small children are becoming a lot more common for service retailers.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Short Stop Cafe Set to Open April 5th in The Depot District


The Short Stop Cafe at 54 Loomis Street in the Depot District is expected to open on April 5th. The new restaurant, which is adjacent to The Orange Chair and Body Boutique, rounds out the retail space at Bedford Crossings.

I recently spoke with Short Stop Cafe co-owner Sandy Duan. Sandy has always loved sweet foods and pastries. A few years ago while on a ski trip, she tried her first Belgian Waffle and really enjoyed it. After she got back, she did some research. It turns out that the Belgian Waffle is an American term and that the Belgians have two main types of waffles, Brussels and Liege. She then came up with own recipes and let her kids try them. Her kids loved them and soon after, her friends, neighbors and even her co-workers kept asking her to make more of them. So many people kept asking her, that she thought it would be a great idea to open a restaurant that focused on "Belgian style" Waffles along with Coffee and sandwiches. Soon after, Sandy and her Husband Ji Su went ahead and purchased the corner retail unit at 54 Loomis Street.

The Venezia II Espresso Brewing Machine is designed to dispenses single or double espressos. 
It can handle up to 240 cups per hour.

As a Bedford resident, Sandy really wants the restaurant to be a local spot where people enjoy the food while also providing a social setting where customers can sit and enjoy themselves. As far as the name, Sandy explained that Depot Park was a train stop a long time ago and the restaurant is next to a bus stop and across the street from a baseball field. So they named it Short Stop Cafe for the athletes, bikers, hikers, bus passengers and other visitors that will stop by for a short break.

An outdoor seating area will get tables once the weather warms up.
Sandy likes the fact that the location is near the bike path and people can easily stop by. She thinks it would be great to have local artists. The restaurant  plans to add chairs to the patio once the weather warms up. According to Sandy, the patio is a open space provided by the building and she welcomes everyone. For example people can get pizza across the street and then sit at the patio or just people who are walking by who want a break.

Sandy also explained that she made sure her Cafe is fully wheelchair accessible including an entrance and the restroom.

Customers place their order at the main counter. The Liege Waffles can be 
ordered with a variety of toppings including ice cream, fruit and jams.
While the menu will focus on Liege Waffles, The Cafe plans to offer Croissant sandwiches such as Cranberry Chicken Salad, Tuna Salad and Buffalo Chicken Salad. The restaurant will also feature a wide selection of Coffees and Teas along with Chocolate Lattes and Iced Coffee. According to Sandy,  the restaurant will also have fresh bakery items every day including many different flavors of Danish and Croissant.


Along with Apple Cider and Soda, the Cafe features six different flavors of teas.
The initial plan is for the Short Stop Cafe to be open for Breakfast and Lunch from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm from Tuesday to Saturday. They hope to expand those in the future.

Main entrance of the new Restaurant. Note the outdoor surveillance camera above the door. These are now becoming more common in Bedford.
Comment:
It will be interesting to see how much foot and bike traffic this restaurant can draw from The Minuteman Bikeway.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Signs of Spring


The Short Stop Cafe is expected to open in March. The new restaurant at 54 Loomis Street, will specialize in Belgian and Brussels Waffles.



Barre 3 Studio, which opened in January, has added permanent signage.



Now that the new Post Office has opened in Bedford Marketplace, the temporary trailers have been removed. Expect the remaining telephone poles to come down over the next few months.

While all of the stores currently under lease in Bedford Marketplace have now opened, there are five remaining storefronts still available. Stay tuned for more details.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Permanent United States Post Office Returns to Bedford


After almost 18 months of operating out of two "temporary" trailers, a permanent United States Post Office retail location has returned to Bedford. According to Bedford Postmaster Bill Booker, the new location opened at 8 am on February 21st. The new location is in the Bedford Marketplace at 158J Great Road which is between Bruegger's Bagels and Barre 3.

New lobby of the Bedford post office. The lobby is open for self service 24 hours a day.
The new location includes a retail counter as well as PO Boxes and will be staffed from 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday and from 8am until 1pm on Saturdays. While the retail unit post office has moved to this new location, Bedford mail delivery will continue to come from the mail distribution facility in Burlington

The temporary trailers near Red Heat will soon be moved out of Bedford Marketplace. The sign on the door states that the new location is now open.
The Bedford Post Office was first established in 1826. You can find a list of all its Post Masters here.

Comments:
1. It's good to finally see the new Post Office open. This gives Bedford Marketplace more of a Town Center feel. The additional foot traffic will also be beneficial to adjacent businesses such as Simply Nail & Spa and Barre 3 by enabling Post Office customers to discover them as they walk by.
2. The USPS Employees I spoke with, all went out of their way to express their appreciation for the patience of Bedford residents and businesses and how happy they are that the new location is now open.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

More Breakfast Options Coming to Bedford


If you're interested in getting Breakfast in Bedford, there are currently just a few non fast food options such as Prince Street Cafe and the DoubleTree Bedford Glen.

Prince Street offers Breakfast Mon - Sat with Pastries, Muffins, Omelets and Quiches. 
On Saturdays they add Pancakes, French Toast and Belgian Waffles.
Two new restaurants that will be serving breakfast are expected to open in March.

Peppers Grill at 321 Great Road in the Great Road Shopping Center will be serving Breakfast from 7 am to 1 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. This was the previous location for Sparta Restaurant. Accord to owner Jim Morris, they will be serving a  full Breakfast menu including Pancakes, Belgian Waffles, Eggs, Omelettes, Homemade Home Fries as well as Breakfast Burgers, Pizzas and Wraps.



Short Stop Cafe which is located in the Depot District at 54 Loomis Street adjacent to the Orange Chair, will be serving breakfast 6 days a week. Breakfast items are expected to center around Belgian & Brussels Waffles.

Interior construction is wrapping up at the Short Stop Cafe. The new restaurant includes space for outdoor dining.
Stay tuned for more details.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Barre 3 Studio Opens in Bedford Marketplace

A permanent sign for the new Barre 3 location has just been approved and should be up in about three weeks.
The Bedford Barre 3 Studio is now open at 158 Great Road in Bedford Marketplace.

Barre which was inspired by Ballet, was named after the wooden bar Ballet dancers hold onto when they’re doing their warm-up exercises. It was developed in Europe and brought over to the United States in the 1970's. From that, several different versions of Barre evolved. Barre 3 was created by Sadie Lincoln out of Portland Oregon who then opened her first Barre 3 studio in 2008. Barre 3 has seen a surge in popularity over the past five years and now has 108 locations.

I recently spoke with the Barre 3 Studio Owner and Franchisee Natasha Groblewski. Natasha grew up in Lexington just outside of Bedford. After College she went out to Portland Oregon where she was introduced to Barre 3. She loved it and had a dream of opening her own studio but she first decided she would need to learn a lot of different skills to maximize her chances of success.

In 2010 she moved back to Massachusetts. She then worked a variety of jobs with focus on specific areas including HR and Consulting as well as with a number of startups to hone her entrepreneurial skills. In 2015 she became a certified instructor at the Needham Barre 3 Studio and started to study the business model. In 2016 she decided she was ready to move forward with her own Studio and began looking for the right space. Her first choice was the renovated Bedford Marketplace but this space was under agreement. Shortly after, she found out the deal with the other tenant had fallen through. She jumped at the opportunity as this was her dream location. She remembers coming to the shopping center as a kid to shop at Marshall's and eat at Cafe Luigi's. The Bedford location is the 2nd in Massachusetts with locations in Brookline and Sudbury expected to open shortly.

Natasha explained that the Barre 3 is a combination of thee disciplines; Yoga, Pilates and Ballet. The classes which are open to everyone, are designed to target the arms, legs and core. While the classes see age ranges from about 20 to 80 years old, they tend to be mostly female. The average person goes to 2 to 3 one hour classes per week. According to Natasha, many of her new clients get convinced by a friend to try one class. They usually love the community focus and tend to find the classes fun and energizing.

The Studio offers a cork floor which is designed to reduce heavy impact on the joints.
Unlike some other fitness classes like Yoga which may have different levels, Barre 3 offers one level of classes. The postures can be easily modified to accommodate injuries and physical challenges. The classes are generally considered low impact and makes use of interval training. Each class is led by a Barre 3 certified instructor. Natasha mentioned that the certification process is fairly long and detailed to ensure each instructor is well trained.

The Studio offers childcare for parents with young children
The studio averages about 5-6 classes a day during the week (early morning, lunch time and after work) and 2 classes on Saturdays and Sundays. The Bedford Studio, which can hold up to 27 people at one time, offers childcare during most classes.

While you can pop in to most classes, Natasha recommends making use of the online scheduling tool via their web site or app to ensure there is space in the class.

Front desk at the new Studio.
According to Natasha, drop in classes are $25. You can also buy 5, 10 or 20 classes packs at a slightly lower per class rate. For those people that expect to attend a lot of classes, Barre 3 offers a monthly unlimited pass (currently $99) that lets you attend as many classes as you want. Unlike some other fitness places that have a one or two year contract, with Barre 3 you go month to month and the starting monthly rate you pay is locked in as long as you continue each month. The monthly membership also gives you access to hundreds of different fitness videos from their workout library and recipes. In fact Natasha herself provided some of the recipes.

Along with classes, Barre 3 apparel and accessories are available for purchase.
The studio has five instructors including Natasha. For the grand opening week, they are offering both free classes and free childcare.

Comments:
The past year has seen a surge of Barre studios opening in Massachusetts such as Pure Barre and Xtend Barre which are in Burlington. It will be interesting to see if this surge continues.

It's good to see an entrepreneur follow a focused approach to fulfill their dream. Most of the time, people either jump in to a business without realizing some of the skills they will need to learn or they convince themselves they are not going to be ready and thus never take the plunge.



Sunday, January 15, 2017

AFC Urgent Care Gets Ready to Open in Bedford Marketplace


AFC Urgent Care Bedford is set to open on January 20th at 154 Great Road in Bedford Marketplace. The location which is adjacent to Red Heat, was previously used as a temporary location for Brookline Bank.

AFC, also known as American Family Care was started in 1982 by Dr. Bruce Irwin and has grown to become one of the largest providers of walk in urgent care in the United States with 185 locations in 31 states. The Bedford location will be the 21st location in Massachusetts. Similar to hotels and some restaurants chains, AFC locations are typically owned and operated by local franchisees.

I recently spoke with Dave Adams who is the co-owner of the Bedford location. Dave started his career as a Captain for the United States Marine Corps. After about 8 years, he left the Military and got an MBA from The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. After graduating, he worked briefly for an Investment Bank before transferring to Sullivan Construction where he worked his way to up to become Vice President, of Operations.

The waiting area provides complimentary hot and cold beverages along with iPads for Children.
While he enjoyed his work, he wanted to focus more on the greater good and he decided healthcare would be a good place. About 5 years ago, he formed a management company called Patriot Urgent Care in order to open and operate a Doctors Express Urgent Care center in Waltham. Shortly after, he persuaded Emergency Medicine Physician Dr. Kristina Orio (whose background included being an Emergency Medicine combat physician in Iraq for the United States Air Force) to come on as Medical Director. Two years later they opened a second location in Burlington. In 2013 Doctors Express merged with AFC retaining the AFC name. In 2014, Patriot Urgent Care opened a third location in Stoneham and is now opening in Bedford. The management company which employs about 65 people, owns and operates all four locations. The headquarters for the management company is also moving to the Bedford location. Dave is now the President while Dr. Orio is a co-owner and still serves as the Medical Director.

The Clinic is comprised of Eight Exam Rooms along with on-site lab and X-ray.
They picked Bedford for their fourth location because there is no local hospital or existing Urgent Care Facility. As part of the selection process, they reviewed detailed population and traffic studies which showed the Bedford Marketplace location would be a very convenient one.

According to Dave, their clinic is designed to quickly see people who are unable to get in to see their primary care physician (PCP) right away. The clinic is open from 8 am to 8 pm seven days a week including holidays (which covers 35% of the time when most PCP's are closed). Dave mentioned their average wait time is 7 minutes with a total door to door time of about 45 minutes. They post the current  wait time on their website for all their locations, so patients can figure out which would be most convenient for them.

One of the eight Exam Rooms. This one is specially designed for pediatric patients.
AFC takes insurance from most of the major carriers. Dave stated that the average co-payment is $22. After being seen, records can be sent electronically to a patients PCP. About 30% of patients end up getting a referral, mostly to Orthopedics. Less than 1% of their patients end up needing to go to a Emergency Department. According to Dave, an Urgent Care Clinic requires more extensive licensing and checks from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health than a solo primary care physician.

Dave also explained how AFC has set up relationships with many specialists so they are now able to schedule most referrals for the next business day, which is frequently faster than a patient's own PCP.

A nurses station is used to coordinate patient care. All patients are seen by a board certified Physician.
In additional to Urgent Care, AFC also provides DOT Medical Exams, Drug Screening (both corporate and court ordered), FAA Flight Screening, Immunizations, Laboratory Services, Physicals and Travel Medicine.

The Bedford location which encompasses over 4,000 square feet, consists of eight exam rooms, an X-ray suite and an on-site lab designed to quickly do many common tests. Other tests are sent out with results usually available within 36 hours.

With both owners having a Military background, they want to be able to provide services to Hanscom AFB personnel. While Hanscom does have a Clinic run by the 66th Medical Squadron, it has more restricted hours than AFC. Dave is currently working on getting an agreement with the TRICARE health care program in order to enable uniformed service members and their families to access the Bedford location.

The Digital X-Ray Suite.
According to AFC founder Dr. Bruce Irwin, a standard American Family Care center needs 30 patients a day to break even. To help drive business, AFC clinics typically employ a Business Development Manager who works with local businesses and other community entities to help drive business. These marketing efforts are similar to how many local banks market themselves in the community.

One of the challenges with a Urgent Care clinic is the amount of staffing. You want to have enough staff on hand to ensure patients are seen quickly but not too much in that you are paying for staff that is not needed. The AFC clinics make heavy use of analytics to forecast activity levels for staffing. The analytics includes past history on the specific day/day of week, current weather, recent flu reports and other information.



Dave has found Bedford very welcoming so far and is very excited to be here. They really want to help people get medical care while saving them time and money. Bedford AFC has already become involved in the community including being a sponsor for Bedford Rotary's Breakfast with Santa program. Once fully up to speed, the Bedford locations will have about 25 employees.

While the official opening in is on Friday January 20th, there is a public open house on Thursday January 19th from 2-4 pm.



Comments:
1. While urgent care has been popular across most of the country (there are close to 10,000 locations), it only has taken off in Massachusetts in the past couple of years. The most recent trend is for hospitals to open their own branded clinics. For example Emerson is in the process of opening two locations while Partners Healthcare already has three locations running in the Boston area and has plans to open ten more before the end of 2017. In some cases, such as Emerson, the clinics are run directly by the hospitals while others are joint ventures. For example Partners Health Care has partnered with MedSpring Urgent Care. 

2. It will be interesting to see what impact all the new and upcoming Urgent Care clinics will have on Emergency Department visits. Lahey is opening a new expanded Emergency Department on January 25th. The new Department, which cost just under $80 Million, has been designed to be able to handle 50,000 patients annually. It currently gets about 40,000 per year and it has projected a rise to 45,000 in 2021. I wonder if the growth of Urgent Care clinics was taken in to account in their projections?