JP Merchants talk cooperation

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) hosted two meetings with local merchants and business organizations during the last week of January.

The Jan. 26 evening meeting and Jan. 30 morning meeting drew about 60 people representing about 35 local businesses as well as representatives from local business associations and JP’s three Main Streets programs.

The Friday meeting featured a presentation by Steve Bumpler from the city’s Office of Business Develop-ment describing a new city-sponsored utility buyers co-op for small businesses.

The program, called Boston Buying Power, is six weeks old, Bumpler said, and is “beating NStar’s rates by 20 percent.”

Elected officials who attended the meetings included Mayor Thomas Menino, City Councilor John Tobin and state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz.

JPNDC staffer Kyle Robidoux said the meetings were a chance to “capture a snapshot of JP as a whole.”

The conversation at the meeting reflected themes brought up at a similar meeting hosted by the JPNDC in October. Business owners expressed concerns about rising rents, crime and parking issues. The group also continued to discuss the cross marketing of JP’s three main business districts—Egleston Square, Hyde/Jackson Square and Centre/South Street.

Next, Robidoux said, the JPNDC plans to convene a meeting of merchants associations and the Main Streets programs to discuss those groups’ collective capacity to support the merchants in different ways.

At the Monday meeting, Menino announced that 25 solar- powered BigBelly compacting trashcans will be in-stalled in JP as part of a city-sponsored Centre and South streets improvement process. Community meetings to discuss design ideas for the Centre/South corridor between the Forest Hills and Jackson Square Orange Line T Stations are under way. [See Agenda].

Information about Boston Buying Power is available at

David Taber

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