News & Updates

Taking it to the Back Streets: Industrial/Commercial Sector Office Hours with Sal Di Stefano

Jun 05, 2014

sal-(1).jpgSal Di Stefano (left in photo), Industrial and Commercial Sector Senior Manager for the BRA’s Back Streets program, now holds office hours in three of the major industrial areas in the City. Back Streets Office Hours are an opportunity for businesses to discuss their financing, workforce development, zoning, permitting and real estate finding needs without coming to City Hall.
The Back Streets program works closely with the offices of Mayor Martin J. Walsh and John Barros, Chief of Economic Development, to help industrial and commercial sector companies start and grow their businesses in Boston.

Back Streets Office Hours:
  • Mondays: 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM, First Highland Conference Room, 65 Sprague Street, Building B, Boston Dedham Commerce Park, Hyde Park
  • Thursdays: 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Victoria’s Diner, 1024 Massachusetts Avenue, Newmarket
  • Fridays: 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Bulgroup Properties conference room, 175 McClellan Hwy (2nd Floor), East Boston
We asked Sal some questions about his experience over the past few months:

What types of businesses stop in?

The program focuses on supporting industrial businesses, meaning manufacturers, wholesalers, commercial services, and others that are located in the “Back Streets” of our city. These businesses can employ anywhere from 20-200 people. I have been working with a lot of business owners in the brewery, distillery and commercial baking industries as of late.

Who should stop by?

Anyone who needs assistance for their business. We try to be a one stop shop for all of their needs. Business owners are busy running their business; they should not have to make a dozen calls to get a question answered. Any business that has a question relating to real estate site finding, loans, zoning and permitting or workforce development should stop in. Here are a few examples of the ways in which we can help:

A local food distributor reported that no parking signs were removed and illegal parking activity kept his trucks from delivering orders.  We connected him with staff at the Boston Transportation Department who immediately reinstalled the signs and the problem was resolved.

Another company needed help contacting a utility company to get permission to connect to a gas line.  We made sure that the right person responded the request to make the process move as quickly as possible.

One business owner was growing out of her space and needed to expand to meet the growing demand for her organic baked goods.  I was able to refer her to a company who had excess commercial kitchen space so she could service the order.

Are the meetings confidential?

Yes, information will only be shared with appropriate people at the right time and with permission of the business owner.

I don’t have a business in these areas, can I stop by?

Sure, as long as you own or operate a business in Boston, or are thinking of starting or moving your business to the City. The office hours are in different neighborhoods and different times to accommodate businesses who may start earlier in the day or may find it easier to get to one neighborhood over another. Our goal is to be as accessible as possible.

What is the most popular business owner request?

I would say the most popular request is for assistance in finding real estate. Every business has specific needs for their particular space, and they have a budget in mind, whether they are buying or leasing. By working with us, they will get an unbiased list of potential site options in our industrial areas throughout the entire city. Once they have identified potential locations, we connect them with the broker or owner of the building so they can view it. I have helped several companies find spaces ranging from 500 to over 50,000 square feet.

Sue Sullivan of the Newmarket Business Association recently said, “The Newmarket Business Association is excited to have Sal offer office hours in Newmarket.  As a district with over 300 businesses and 15,000 employees, we feel that it is important for us to get our questions answered and assistance given quickly to keep business running smoothly in Newmarket.  We are happy to sponsor free coffee at Victoria’s Diner for Newmarket businesses that want to take advantage of this service.  I have been invited to meet with some prospective new businesses during office hours for our district, and I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to pitch the Newmarket area.  The Back Streets office hours are another example of how our association partners with the City of Boston and the Boston Redevelopment Authority.”

For more information, please feel free to reach out to Sal Di Stefano by email or by phone, (617) 918-4338. You can also follow @BackStreetsBOS on Twitter.

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