Register to 'Like' ideas you'd like to see realized!

Author Archives: Carol Robidoux

About Carol Robidoux

Profile photo of Carol Robidoux

Local Editor for Nashua Patch, a new hyperlocal source of news, information and community building.

Carol Robidoux

Nashua Patch: Going Local: Cashing In on ‘Mob Mentality’

Wanted: Supporters for the city’s first ‘Going Local’ campaign.

By Carol Robidoux, March 5, 2012, 5:46 am, originally posted in Nashua Patch.

Carrot Mob is coming to Nashua.

Yes, it’s conceptual. And no, it has nothing to do with actual mobsters or organized crime – unless you are like James Vayo and Neil Takemoto, who believe that it’s criminal for downtown merchants to be forgotten by local consumers, and left with no choice but to shutter their businesses.

Vayo and Takemoto have been hard at work developing a Going Local campaign that they hope will gather steam and influence the evolution of Nashua.

Now all they need is a mob.

This sort of “mob mentality” has been taking hold around the country, including right here in New Hampshire.

Case in point: March 24 a group of Concord consumers will be circling their downtown, armed with wads of cash which they plan to spend on an unsuspecting local business or two. Their mission: Boost the local economy while building loyalty and lasting relationships between downtown businesses and local consumers.

It’s a concept in Concord they’re calling “cash mob,” a distant cousin of the carrot mob. You may have noticed that cash mob rhymes with flash mob, and by now you know that a flash mob is an event organized via social media to get people in the same place doing the same thing at the exact same time, for maximum effect.

Now, apply that to local economics.

While flash mobs usually involve music and choreography, cash mobs are a completely different animal. Emphasis is on local activism through the power of consumerism, an idea that has evolved from CarrotMob.org (i.e. dangling a carrot on a stick to get someone to do something.)

Which brings us back to Vayo and Takemoto.

Vayo, assistant project manager for Renaissance Downtowns, and Takemoto,  founder CS Placemaking, (csplacemaking.com) have already developed a Going Local Manifesto, which summarizes the thrust of their Going Local campaign:

We’re building a vibrant local culture and economy. We are invested in our community, supporting homegrown talent and food, and nurturing a distinctive, authentic culture that says Nashua is where it’s at. We’re celebrating the best of our artists and cultural experiences to foster an exciting creative culture; and the best of our entrepreneurs and businesses. Whether it’s a farm-to-table restaurant, a marketplace and farmers market, a community garden, an open-mic night or a coworking space for startups and freelancers, we’ll develop the next generation of local in Nashua and establish an incredible sense of community and collaboration while doing it!”

Beyond economics, it’s truly about building a livable community that serves those who live and work there.

For the past nine months the concept has been gaining momentum with the help of a committed core of a dozen or so city dwellers who answered the call, and have been meeting downtown monthly at Renaissance Downtowns to contribute ideas and feedback.

All are welcome and encouraged to join, Vayo said. A good place to start is coming out March 8 for the monthly Visualize Nashua Meetup event.

Takemoto sees this kind of local ownership of ideas as the best way to engage the dreamers, thinkers and doers needed to build a vibrant and engaged community and take Nashua to the next level.

Explained Takemoto: “Time’s Person of the Year in 2006 was ‘You.’ Time’s Person of the Year in 2010 was Mark Zuckerberg, representing Facebook and all its users. Time’s Person of the Year for 2011 was the Protestor. Notice the pattern? Who are Nashua’s equivalents of You, Mark Zuckerberg and the Protestor? Well, we’re trying to help create those.”

While Visualize Nashua isn’t likely to win ‘Person of the Year,’ says Takemoto, it could certainly support a resident of Nashua in getting there.

By driving more people to their Visualize Nashua website to “upvote” existing ideas or contribute and “champion” new ones, Takemoto and Vayo believe the best idea will emerge. From there, they will plan to stage a “carrot mob” style event that can be replicated every quarter.

Currently, there are two ideas in the running posted on the site: A Farm-To-Table Community Dinner Supporting Local Farmers; and a Local Featured Menu Item, which would involve a Main Street eatery creating a signature dish using all locally-sourced ingredients.

All that’s needed now is some momentum. Vayo and Takemoto are asking everyone who hears about this campaign to go to the website and register for free, and take some time to look through the posted ideas, and then vote for their favorite.

And then, they’d like everyone to pass the link along, via Facebook, Twitter, email and word of mouth in an effort to reach mob proportions.

Takemoto has included a “How To” page dedicated to helping participants navigate the Visualize Nashua website. The tutorial is based on the success of a similar campaign currently underway in Bristol, CT., called Bristol Rising.

Voting deadline for Nashua’s first Going Local campaign is March 15.

Join Visualize Nashua on Facebook.

Related Topics: Local Campaign and Visualize Nashua

[Visualize Nashua: Discuss the Local Campaign in the community forum here, check out this Carrot Mob video to see how it works.]

Profile photo of Carol Robidoux

Name: Carol Robidoux
Website: http://www.nashua.patch.com

Short bio:

Local Editor for Nashua Patch, a new hyperlocal source of news, information and community building.


Nashua Patch: Visualize Vacancies: 34 Franklin Street

How would you fill this space? We’re soliciting your best ideas.

By Carol Robidoux, February 15, 2012, 12:00 pm, original post in the Nashua Patch

If you stand on the corner of Franklin and Main and head west, past Bonhoeffer’s Cafe, you will find yourself facing down a looming 310,000 square-foot bricks-and-mortar blank canvas.

First up in our new series, Visualize Vacancies, is the Franklin Street Mill.

It’s time to figure out what to do with this renovated paper mill building, which has been in and out of long- and short-term relationships until it was foreclosed on and returned to the bank a couple of years ago.

Jack Heaney of Fulcrum Properties is working with Renaissance Downtowns to see if they can create a vision for this $18 million space that will add value to the city, enhance the neighborhood and perhaps even become a draw, especially with the planned Broad Street Parkway.

Heaney said the original plan for the building was to create some renovated rental housing, but a similar plan was already approved by the city for a mill building across the river.

“In the short term we’re looking at possible commercial uses, particularly for the west end of the building, which has a lot of community facility potential,” said Heaney.

His Manhattan-based firm is looking for some out-of-the-box proposals that might require some investment on their end – perhaps a green market, a pop-up concert venue – some sort of short-term lease that pays for itself while creating some buzz for the downtown, and hopefully, draws in that next big idea that becomes an economic game changer for the city.

Heaney said right now the short list of ideas to move things forward includes an open house tour of the space for the public, Realtors, developers and VIPs who might be looking for a big space with unlimited potential.

Interested? Contact Heaney at jack[at]fulcrumprop[dot]com

Got a great out-of-the-box idea? No matter how out there, this is your time and space to share your vision for this downtown vacancy in the comment section below the story.

About the Franklin Street Mill: Located at 34 Franklin Street in Nashua offers a developer/user the opportunity for an mixed-use mill redevelopment. The property is partially occupied by approximately 16 tenants occupying approximately 32,353 SF on a month-to-month basis, many of whom have expressed interest in entering into longer term leases.

Located adjacent to the beautiful Nashua River, the site is alongside a working rail line with future plans to connect Nashua to Boston via the newly-formed NH Rail Transit Authority and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

The Franklin Street Mill sits within Nashua’s Riverfront West development project, planned to create a pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use neighborhood linked to parks, shopping and recreational areas by a river walk. The City’s enthusiasm for urban redevelopment should lead to the renaissance of Franklin Street, centered around a waterfront park, connecting it to the existing Main Street.

Site specifications:

Building Size 310,000 SF

Year Built 1889 – 1949 (many renovations and updates over the years)

Site Size 3.39 acres

Floors 

  • Main mill – 4 floors plus basement
  • South mill – 6 floors plus basement

Ceiling Height 

  • Main mill – 12′ ceilings
  • South mill – 8′ ceilings

Construction 

  • Main and South mill – brick exterior with heavy timber beams
  • East mill – brick exterior with concrete floor and pillars

 Zoning General Industrial with Mixed-Use. Overlay allows for a variety of uses including office, R&D, lab, warehouse, light manufacturing and some residential and retail.

Column Spacing 

  • Main mill – 10’ x 14’ and 10’ x 16’
  • East mill – 23’ x 21’

Elevators Four shafts with two working freight elevators – (1) 10,000 lb. capacity Stanley (1) 6,000 lb. capacity Otis.

Loading Power Two tailboard height docks; 3 drive-in doors on south side (11’8″w x 15′ h); 1 tailboard height dock on west end.

Lighting/Heating 480 volt, 3-phase service throughout 4160 volts serve in-building substation feeding 8 primary transformers; (1) 300 KVA transformer on roof, (1) 1000 KVA transformers (1) 300 KVA transformer on train dock (6) 100 KVA transformers in basement

Additional transformers throughout the facility PSNH switch yard on east side of Front Street. Primarily fluorescent 250 HP Cleaver Brooks steam boiler Forced hot water & steam.

Note by Visualize Nashua:

Profile photo of Carol Robidoux

Name: Carol Robidoux
Website: http://www.nashua.patch.com

Short bio:

Local Editor for Nashua Patch, a new hyperlocal source of news, information and community building.