Newburyport, Downtown Economic Overlay

Why are the Buy Local, folks so important? Because they are fighting for the retail and economic spirit and soul of Newburyport, MA.

It is what Steven Tait wrote about in his article in the Newburyport Daily News, December 3, 2007.

“Whatever product lines they (Chico’s) bring in they are going to be in competition with existing businesses we have in town, for instance the Monkey’s Fist and the Elephant’s Trunk,” said Allyson Lawless, the founder of, the group that submitted a chain store ban ordinance to the City Council earlier this year.

Unless there is some real oversight we will lose our independent businesses by introducing chain stores like this…”

“Lawless said the concern from chain stores is that they will muscle out the small, independent stores. She said that it will also hurt the local economy. Studies show that for every dollar spent at local stores, 60 to 70 cents stays in the community, whereas with large chain stores just 11 to 15 cents stays locally, Lawless said.

She said that all the other local businesses – such as legal, financial and supply companies – will also be hurt by chain stores.

“All those people are going to be affected,” he said. “Chico’s is not going to be banking at the Institution or the Newburyport Five.”
(Newburyport Daily News, December 3, 2007, by Steven Tait)

Are we powerless over all of this? No we are not. I think that there has been some frustration that there has not been enough traction to get people focused now on some sort of economic overlay for downtown Newburyport, MA that comes from the people via our own municipal agents.

As things stand, the economic overlay for Newburyport, MA appears to be being fostered by New England Development. Is this what we as citizens and residence of Newburyport, MA would like?

Some would be quite happy with that particular overview. But I know for a fact, that a whole lot of folks would not. But if those folks don’t get their rear into gear now, well, who knows.

And if you are one of those folks who wants desperately to get their rear into gear and do not know where to start, by all means contact the Buy Local folks, As far as I understand it, everything is good to go. It’s just a matter of “political will.”

Mary Eaton