Cape Plymouth Business December 2020 Cover Mobile
Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle
Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle
Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle

Our final issue of the year focuses on — what else? — the topic that has colored our lives since March, the pandemic.

Several of our issues, if not all, have addressed the changes to “business as usual” that the global pandemic created. It wasn’t pretty; a lot of small shops and restaurants are gone for good. However, in our survey this month about how businesses adapted to the constraints imposed by COVID-19, we learned above all that people and business were resilient and creative in addressing an unforeseen crisis.

Cheers to a prosperous new year!

Carol K. Dumas
Dale Shadbegian

COVER STORY – The Pandemic: Lessons Learned
SPOTLIGHT ON GIVING: Cape Cod Maritime Museum

Cape & Plymouth Business Media is a full service marketing firm with a dedication to building a thriving business community. To contact us about our monthly or custom publications, sign up for our newsletter, connect on social, fund business events, or to be found on our network, please call 508-827-1065 or visit Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the written consent of the publisher. Although every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy of the content of this magazine and advertisements, Cape Business Publishing Group LLC cannot assume responsibility for any errors or omissions including placement of advertisements.

Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle
Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle

Shoppers Adjust to The New Holiday Normal

Holiday shopping will look much different this year, with more consumers turning to online shopping so they can social distance as much as possible. While the COVID-19 pandemic brings new challenges, it also brings the opportunity to create cherished memories with our closest loved ones. We’ll celebrate old traditions in different ways, and create new traditions as part of our new normal. However, don’t forget that your local small businesses still need that holiday injection! Shopping local is still possible, even online or with curbside pickup.

Retailers had planned ahead for an extended shopping season. Sixty-nine percent of retail respondents surveyed by the National Retail Federation expected consumers to start their holiday shopping in October, and they were ready to meet this demand with seasonal inventory and promotions.

A whopping 60 percent of shoppers said they will do their shopping online this year, as opposed to last year’s 56 percent. This is an all-time high number, to date.

This year’s Amazon Prime Day, which was moved from July to October because of the pandemic, saw a 36 percent increase in sales over 2019 figures.

Nearly all (87 percent) of holiday shoppers said they could be swayed to start their holiday shopping earlier this year. A great sale or promotion (53 percent) was the biggest reason, followed by a desire to avoid crowds (37 percent), according to the NRF.

Consumers still plan to spend $998 on average on items such as gifts, food, decorations and other holiday-related purchases for themselves and their families.


Cape Rep Theatre Names New Board Members

Cape Rep Theatre in Brewster announces the appointment of three new members of its Board of Trustees, as well its 2020 executive committee. This year marks the theatre’s 35th anniversary season.

Joining the board of trustees are Erica Tso Haidas of Brewster, Chris Hardman of Orleans and Kate Mundle of Brewster.

Elected to the executive committee was Jack Fracasso of Brewster as president, Marion Hobbs of Brewster as vice president, Rick Stone of Brewster as treasurer and Tom Genereux of East Orleans as clerk. Mary Ellen Ackerman, also of Brewster, who served on the Cape Rep Board since 2011, will hold the title of president emeritus.

Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle

No Networking This Holiday Season? There Are Still Ways To Connect

By Lisa Rangel

This is certainly a year that is different than any other. Many things have changed, as has job searching. And job searching during the holiday season is certainly different this year. Here are four ways holiday job searching is different and how you can make the best of it to still land your next role during this season and before 2021 starts.

1. No College Buddy Get-Togethers
The holidays are always a good time of year to catch up with college alumni groups and your college friends at a local watering hole. Well, not this year. You can still benefit from connecting with your college friends and new alumni connections safely in the pandemic. Set up a small group (i.e., 2-5 people) who meet outside in a socially distanced, masked fashion to rekindle your connection and share your COVID-year experiences. You can obviously always do this over Zoom, too, based on the local health regulations you must adhere to in your area first and foremost.

2. No Company Holiday Parties
The absence of a company holiday party means managers and employees cannot celebrate working together and all they accomplished throughout the year. Does this mean no party means no get together? Instead, take things into your own hands and schedule gratitude get-togethers either safely in person wherever possible or via online meetings. Make more of an effort to send handwritten notes (not emails) to show that you enjoyed working with someone this year and appreciate all they have done.

3. No Neighborhood Events
Again, a lack of local community events can leave you alone in your house devoid of inperson networking opportunities, right? Well, not if you are committed and creative about making the most of the holiday time. So figure out a good way to connect and stay safe at the same time.

4. No ‘Let’s Go Have A Drink’ Meetings
Former co-workers often meet during the holidays for a drink to reminisce and informally network. So what should you do? Think of who you met last year and reach out to them to do a virtual drink this year. Make a list of 10 to 12 people you would love to connect with and invite them to a virtual chat. The key to holiday networking in a pandemic is to be deliberate and make plans to reach out to people—new and familiar. And then follow through on your reach out plan. This year may be different…but it doesn’t have to be unsocial if you put in some effort.

Lisa Rangel is the founder and managing director of Chameleon Resumes LLC (, a premier executive resume writing and job landing consulting firm named a Forbes Top 100 Career Website.

Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle

Fishermen, Researchers Team Up To Solve A Mystery

When “the blob” struck Cape Cod Bay in 2019 it suffocated hundreds of lobsters and other animals that couldn’t get out of the way.

Low (or no) oxygen levels in the water worried commercial fishermen and scientists because it hadn’t been seen before. Less oxygen in the summer is not all that unusual, but not that low, that widespread or that deadly.

This year, lobstermen with the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, scientists, and the state Division of Marine Fisheries teamed up with Lowell Instruments to get more information on the size and scope of this year’s “blob,” and what may have triggered it.

Nick Lowell, engineer and founder of the Falmouth company, said the sensors he developed measure dissolved oxygen and temperature. But figuring out the scope of the blob would have been much more difficult and expensive without five lobstermen, from different ports on the bay, who signed on to create a study fleet.

Late this spring, each installed five sensors onto their pots and started collecting data which was instantly plotted onboard, so captains like Mike Rego of Provincetown saw it first. The information was then sent to the state.

Research is continuing. Information gleaned from the data loggers already has allowed the state to map this year’s blob and although conditions were not as bad as they were in 2019, some of the bay dropped to lethal low-oxygen levels. Alerted, lobstermen and others were able to move their traps and effort to help protect their businesses.

Lowell is hoping that with the assistance of the study fleet, more detailed information will help fishermen and policy makers improve both the environment, and the volume of catch.

Five Industries That Are Thriving During The Pandemic

Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the American economy and hit small businesses particularly hard. Yet, despite the well-documented plight of some industries, others have not only survived, but thrived during the pandemic. Here are five industries that are booming:

Online Retailing: Online retailers have indeed fared well during the pandemic. Amazon continues to be a juggernaut. While the company’s sales growth has been impressive for the past decade, Amazon received a big boost from the quarantine as consumers could not go to stores to make purchases. On March 12, the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown, the company’s stock price closed at $1,676.61. By the end of June, it was nearly $1,000 higher than it was just a few months prior.

Workspace Solutions: Out of necessity, businesses are increasingly moving to more remote and flexible workforces. Zoom became a video conferencing leader during COVID19. In fact, Zoom’s adoption rate surpassed previous industry frontrunners GoToWebinar and Cisco during the past several months when companies scheduled virtual meetings when it became impossible to host in-person gatherings.

Supermarkets: Restaurant closures meant that people who normally eat out would instead have to make their own dinners. Even with stay-at-home orders in place, supermarkets remained open as “essential businesses.” People who were out of work tried cooking on their own, and social media was filled with photos and videos of amateur bakers making breads, cakes, and other treats. Prices rose, as people feared shortages, and demand went up. Additionally, food stores did not have to rely so heavily on couponing and other price promotions to get customers in the door.

Liquor Stores: It is well documented that home alcohol consumption rose during the pandemic as stressed-out parents worried about their employment status and the added responsibility of home-schooling their children as they tried to work. Liquor stores were designated as essential businesses, and people starving for socialization began hosting virtual cocktail parties via Zoom.

Entertainment: Netflix added nearly 16 million new subscribers during the first quarter of 2020, and its growth numbers more than doubled what the company predicted January. Q1’20 was the largest three-month jump in the streaming service’s 13-year history, as people looked for entertainment options while theaters, cinemas, nightclubs, and concert venues went dark… and still have not fully returned.

Cape Plymouth Business December 2020 Post Corona BookPost Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity

The COVID-19 outbreak has turned bedrooms into offices, pitted young against old and widened the gaps between rich and poor, red and blue, the mask wearers and the mask haters. Some businesses — like home exercise company Peloton, video conference software maker Zoom, and online retail giant Amazon — woke up to find themselves crushed under an avalanche of consumer demand. Others — like the restaurant, travel, hospitality and live entertainment industries — scrambled to escape obliteration.

But as New York Times’ bestselling author Scott Galloway argues, the pandemic has not been a change agent so much as an accelerant of trends already well underway. In ”Post Corona” he outlines the contours of the crisis and the opportunities that lie ahead. Some businesses, like the powerful tech monopolies, will thrive as a result of the disruption.

Other industries, he says, like higher education, will struggle to maintain a value proposition that no longer makes sense when we can’t stand shoulder to shoulder. And the pandemic has accelerated deeper trends in government and society, exposing a widening gap between our vision of America as a land of opportunity, and the troubling realities of our declining wellbeing.

Combining his signature humor and brash style with sharp business insights and the occasional dose of righteous anger, Galloway offers both warning and hope in equal measure. As he writes, “Our commonwealth didn’t just happen, it was shaped. We chose this path – no trend is permanent and can’t be made worse or corrected.”

Scott Galloway is a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, where he teaches brand strategy and digital marketing to second-year MBA students. A serial entrepreneur, he has founded nine firms, including L2, Red Envelope, Prophet and Section4.
C&PB Staff

Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle

Around the Region

Form of Government: Open Town Meeting
Incorporated in: 1712

Total Population:…………………………………. 5,982
White ………………………………………………..94.4%
Black………………………………………………….. 3.5%
American Indian……………………………………… 0%
Asian………………………………………………….. 0.6%
Persons reporting two or more races………..1.5%
Hispanic or Latino………………………………… 2.7%
Family households: …………………………….. 2,857
Average household size: ……………………….. 2.10

Median Earnings:
Median household income: ………………. $77,878
Per capita income: …………………………. $61,480
Mean travel time to work: ………… 23.9 minutes

Educational Attainment (age 25+):
High school graduate: ………………………… 97.1%
Bachelor’s degree: …………………………….. 57.1%

Business (2012)
Female-owned: …………………………………….. 287
Male-owned: …………………………………………. 781
Minority-owned: …………………………………… < 25
Veteran-owned: …………………………………….. 175


Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle
Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle

June D. Goguen
June D. Goguen

Joe M. Costa
Joe M. Costa

Sonia T. Couto
Sonia T. Couto

Filomena F. Lopes
Filomena F. Lopes

News From BayCoast Bank

BayCoast Bank has announced its latest hires and promotions.
Filomena F. Lopes of Fall River was promoted to assistant treasurer, branch manager of the Airport Road, Fall River location.
Sonia T. Couto of Swansea has been named assistant treasurer, branch manager of the bank’s new Bristol, R.I. branch.
Joe M. Costa of Fall River has been named assistant treasurer, branch manager of the Pleasant Street, Fall River location.
June D. Goguen has been promoted to senior vice president and Commercial Lending team leader for the Greater New Bedford area.
Evelyn Ranone of Lincoln, R.I. has been promoted to vice president Marketing & Training.

NFI Corp., Design Mark Donate Face Shields To GiftsToGive

NFI Corp., in collaboration with Design Mark Industries has donated 2,000 face shields to GiftsToGive of Acushnet.
GiftsToGive is a volunteer-managed and -run organization that gives young people from all backgrounds the opportunity to learn and understand through their doing, the power of giving, and service, with a special focus on child poverty, literacy and ensuring that children are connected with what they need both physically and mentally.
NFI Corp. and Design Mark began producing face shields under its new product category of Safety Gear in late March, when it pivoted its manufacturing production to augment safety gear desperately needed earlier on in the pandemic. In addition to face shields, social distancing floor decals and wall signs are now available. For more information, visit

Logan Joins Peak Physical Therapy & Sports Performance

Peak Physical Therapy & Sports Performance has announced that Kelley Logan has joined the Quincy clinic as office manager.
A native of Dorchester, Logan brings more than 20 years of medical experience to her position. She has received numerous awards for her customer service skills and enjoys working with patients.

Rockland Charitable Trust Awards CDP $5,000

The Rockland Trust Charitable Foundation has awarded the Community Development Partnership $5,000 to support business and credit programs on the Lower Cape. Grant funds will be used to support comprehensive assistance to small businesses to provide them with the knowledge and tools they need to survive this current economic and health crisis. This includes educational workshops to provide businesses with new skills and resources; individualized technical assistance to help businesses start, pivot, stabilize, or grow; microloans to startups and existing businesses that are unable to obtain funding through conventional sources; and professional services grants to help offset consulting costs.
The Community Development Partnership, based in Eastham, promotes, develops and manages affordable housing; nurtures the launch and growth of small businesses and facilitates collaboration with business, nonprofit and government partners.
To find out more information go to

Cape Cod Sea Camps Closes

Due to the economic impact brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Cape Cod Sea Camps has made the decision to permanently cease its business operations. Closed in 2020 due to public health restrictions, Cape Cod Sea Camps will refund in full deposits and tuition payments made by campers toward 2020 and 2021 activities.
Established in 1922 and located on 60 acres of pristine beachfront property, Cape Cod Sea Camps is well-known as one of the longestrunning and most iconic camping communities in the world. The business has been owned and operated by the Delahanty family since its inception and has provided more than 1,400
campers every year with a unique camping experience on the shores of Cape Cod Bay.
Cape Cod Sea Camps’ owners and board of directors are exploring options for the future of the camp’s beachfront property.

Christina Bologna
Christina Bologna

Bologna Honored

Christina Bologna, The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod’s Community Relations Officer, has received the 2020 Giving Back Award from the Massachusetts
Bankers Association. The award was presented at the association’s Women in Banking Virtual Conference on Nov. 9. The award recognizes recipients for outstanding community service or mentoring and demonstrated achievement in leadership and professionalism.
“There is nobody more deserving of this award than Christina,” said Shanika Rogowski, Women in Banking Advisory Committee member and Senior Vice President and Chief Residential Lending Officer, The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod. “Her commitment to improving the lives of people in communities served by the bank is exceptional and unparalleled.”
Bologna is the community point of contact for the bank’s internal charitable giving program and played an important part in the 2018 creation and launch of The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod Charitable Foundation Trust.
Bologna currently serves on the board of directors for Calmer Choice and serves as both a work support volunteer and mentor for WE CAN. A resident of Yarmouth Port, she is a graduate of Waynesburg University.

Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle

Santoro Raises Funds For Joe Andruzzi Foundation

North Attleboro resident David Santoro, a principal in the firm Santoro Financial Planning Group, raised $1,400 this fall in the Boston (virtual) Marathon to benefit the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, an organization which helps provide support to families of cancer patients.
For Santoro, this was his 31st consecutive Boston Marathon. He has raised nearly $25,000 for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, founded by former New England Patriots three-time Super Bowl-winning offensive guard Joe Andruzzi and his wife Jen. Andruzzi is a cancer survivor and created the foundation to help other families with the costs of battling cancer.

SV Design Welcomes Three Professionals

SV Design of Beverly and Chatham, has added interior designers Kim McOwan and Jennifer Greene to its residential interiors department and Marissa Gudiel to the residential architecture department.
SV Design specializes in beautiful and functional architecture, interiors, and landscapes. For more information, email

Jessica Terry
Jessica Terry

Terry Promoted At The Coop

The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod announces the promotion of Jessica Terry to home equity loan officer.
She joined the bank 18 years ago as a teller in the East Dennis branch.
Since then, she’s been on a trajectory of steady promotions across the company, most recently as a loan specialist officer. In her new role, she’ll work with new and existing customers to benefit from the bank’s Home Equity Line of Credit and Financing programs.
A native Cape Codder, Terry is a Barnstable High School graduate who went on to study at Cape Cod Community College.

Encore Construction Wins Award

Encore Construction of Dennisport has won a 2020 EM NARI Contractor of the Year (CotY) Gold Award in the category of Residential Specialty Exterior for a project completed in Harwich.
Encore was presented the CotY Award at EM NARI’s Virtual Evening of Excellence event this fall.
The winning project was a barn that was remodeled with the addition of a home office space, two bathroom remodels, a bedroom remodel, a kitchen remodel and an open concept living room area.
Projects were judged on a 70 point scale with points awarded for how well the project met the client’s needs and enhanced the functionality and aesthetics of the space, innovative uses of materials and methods, the ability to overcome obstacles creatively, the craftsmanship displayed in the work, and the presentation of the project.

VERC Promotes Two

Nick Vercollone
Nick Vercollone

Courtney Buckley
Courtney Buckley

VERC Enterprises, a convenience store and Mobil/Gulf/Irving/Shell gasoline operator with locations throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire, has promoted Nick Vercollone of Pembroke to the position of director of Car Wash Operations and Courtney Buckley of Kingston to the position of director of Talent Management.
Vercollone will oversee the operations of the company’s eight car washes, located in Norwell, Marshfield, Webster, Plymouth, Manchester, Fitchburg, Bellingham and Randolph.
Vercollone has been with VERC Enterprises for three years. He studied Business Management and Entrepreneurship at Suffolk University.
As director of Talent Management, Buckley oversees all human resources management functions, practices, and policies to align the workforce with the company’s business goals.
Buckley joined VERC Enterprises nine years ago. She earned her bachelor’s degree with a concentration in Marketing from Boston College and has been enrolled in the Executive Leadership program at Cornell University in affiliation with the National Association of Convenience Stores.

BayCoast Mortgage Company Promotes Connell

BayCoast Mortgage Company, LLC has announced the promotion of Adam Connell of Bristol, R.I., to assistant vice president Retail Lending Compliance Manager.
In his new role, Connell, who joined BayCoast Mortgage Company in September 2018 as a Retail Lending Compliance Specialist, is responsible for managing the Retail Lending Compliance function within the lending areas. He is a graduate of the New England School for Financial Studies at Babson College.

Flannery Named VP, CFO At A.D. Makepeace Company

Lori Flannery has been named vice president and Chief Financial Officer of the A.D. Makepeace Company in Wareham, North America’s largest cranberry grower and a residential developer. Flannery, 56, most recently served as senior director of corporate finance for Shawmut Design and Construction in Boston. She holds an MBA from Providence College, and previously worked for Gilbane Building Company for 30 years, most recently as vice president, corporate controller. She is a resident of Walpole.

Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle

Cape Plymouth Business December 2020 Cape Cod Cutlery Oyster Knives“This is not just your knife but your grandchildren’s knife.”

Cape Cod Cutlery – Marstons Mills
Owner: Fred Carpenter
Established: 2015

The Business: Custom-made kitchen knives, oyster shuckers, hunting knives, bushcraft knives, custom cutlery and golf divot tools crafted from high carbon steel. Custom work and knife sharpening also offered.

Inspiration: I was interested in blacksmithing about 15 years ago and I had a forge and grinder and the tools used in making knives. I had been in the medieval armor business a bit before the knives developed. My friend (and business partner) Tom had been watching bushcraft videos on YouTube and decided he wanted a custom knife, but they sold for $500 and up. He looked around at my tools and said we could make a knife. I said OK. So began hundreds of hours of how-to-make-knives videos on YouTube. Our goal was to make a high quality knife with an attractive handle that you would be proud to display but not worried to use.

Early Days: After we felt confident enough in our comprehension of the process we went out and gave it a shot. We muddled around for two years
learning and applying what we had learned and went to our first local Christmas event run by Love Live Local when it was up in Dennis at the cable access building. We sold over a dozen knives in two days and looked at one another and said maybe this could be a thing. We have been pursuing it full time
ever since.

What Makes Our Products Unique: We embrace the Turkish rugmakers theory that only God is perfect. Our knives don’t look like anything else out there available commercially. It would be easy to pick ours out of a line up. “Shabby chic,” I guess you could call it, or rough from the forge. The pro shuckers and farmers around Wellfleet were instrumental in developing our shucker design to where it is today.

Where To Find It: Our website; Love Local and Cape Gun Works and Cape Cod Beer in Hyannis; Lexaco, Harwich Port; Newcomb Hollow Shop,
Wellfleet; Arcadia in Provincetown.

Do you have a cool or unique job specific to the South Coast? Let us know!

Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle

Vaughn Named Second Glance Thrift Shop Manager

The Family Pantry’s Second Glance Thrift Shop Store at 265 Route 28, West Harwich, is now being managed by Jennifer Vaughn after longtime manager Carol Chaves moved back to Connecticut.

Proceeds from sales benefit The Family Pantry of Cape Cod, a regional food pantry located in Harwich. Call the Pantry for more information at 508-432-6519 or visit

Arts Foundation Awards Grants

The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod has helped address the creative economy’s critical need for emergency funding by awarding $51,500 in grants to 16 cultural organizations across the region.

“Our local museums, theaters, and cultural institutions have been devastated by the pandemic. Some have halted all creative programming, laying off and furloughing staff during these difficult times. Others have significantly curtailed their hours of operation and shifted classes and performances online,” said AFCC Executive Director Julie Wake. “This funding helps recipients address their immediate needs so they can continue to remain a part of the Cape’s cultural landscape.”

Recipients for this round of AFCC grant funding are: Cahoon Museum of American Art (Cotuit), Cape Cod Collaborative Arts Network/Cotuit Center for the Arts, Cape Cod Museum of Art (Dennis), Cape Cod Theatre Company/Harwich Jr. Theatre, Cape Symphony (Hyannis), College Light Opera Company (Falmouth), Cotuit Center for the Arts, Cultural Center of Cape Cod (South Yarmouth), Highfield Hall & Gardens (Falmouth), Payomet Performing Arts Center (Truro), Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown Film Society, Provincetown Theater Foundation, Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill, Wellfleet
Preservation Hall and Woods Hole Film Festival.

During the first round of funding in the spring, the AFCC awarded nearly $30,000 in mini-grants to over 75 artists who had lost income or jobs due to the pandemic. It received more than 200 requests for financial assistance from individual artists. Businesses or individuals interested in helping the AFCC address this need should contact AFCC Director of Development Amy Tuttle at or at 508-362-0066, ext. 112.

Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle
Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle

CCYP Giving Circle Awards Grants

The Cape Cod Young Professionals Giving Circle recently awarded a total of $3,000 in grants to three local nonprofits supporting the needs of young working adults in the community.

The recipients are: Cape Cod Children’s Place,$1,000 to provide scholarships to subsidize early education and childcare for working families; WE CAN, $1,000 to support mentoring programs, personal development workshops, and legal, financial and work support services for young professionals; and Housing
Assistance Corporation, $1,000 to provide education and housing support to members of the workforce.

The Giving Circle Grant Program was launched in 2015 in partnership with The Cape Cod Foundation to expand CCYP’s community impact. As part of its annual grant cycle, it funds initiatives that address key needs for young professionals age 45-and-under on Cape Cod. For information, visit

Jodi Belson Joins OCHS

Outer Cape Health Services has announced that Certified Nurse-Midwife Jodi Belson will be joining the nonprofit community health
center as of Dec. 1.

Belson will offer prenatal and post-partum care to women with low health risks as well as family planning and gynecological care. She assumes the practice of retiring Certified Nurse Midwife Meredith Goff and will see existing and new patients at OCHS’ three locations in Harwich Port, Wellfleet and Provincetown.

Belson previously practiced in both private and hospital-based settings, most recently with Cape Cod Hospital. She is Board Certified with the American College of Nurse Midwives, and comes to OCHS with 25 years of experience. Belson holds a bachelor of science degree in Nursing from New York University and a master’s degree in Nurse-Midwifery from New York University. She resides in Harwich.

Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle

Lessons From A Marketing Luddite

By Robbin Orbison
I don’t know what possessed me but late in my career I went out on my own. I was fortunate in my prior situations to have learned a lot about business from some great leaders and some great technicians. The only aspect of running a business I had zero experience in was marketing.

Sure, I took marketing classes in school but I had no practical experience and honestly didn’t take it that seriously. I mean, how hard can this be? You run a few ads and voila, customers. Ok so here is what I have learned about marketing after five years of operating my own business.

Lesson 1. It’s hard, you need help, and finding help is hard.

Don’t take this part for granted. In today’s world there is a wide variety of marketing channels, many with technical complexities, and finding the ones that work for any given business is tricky. So yes, go out and find yourself a good marketing advisor, but even that is tricky. Theoretically any good marketing consultant knows how to choose marketing channels, develop content and work with your budget. But to be effective they also need to understand
both your business and your audience. So ask a lot of questions, be prepared to do a lot of educating and don’t settle until you are comfortable that your prospective advisor has these bases covered.

Lesson 2. You are going to waste money.

There is no getting around this. You will waste money trying things that don’t work. Unfortunately, it’s the only way to figure it out. And you will be told that your strategies will take time before you can even begin to assess their effectiveness, so you get to waste money for months before you have a verdict. I know, it sounds brutal. The best piece of marketing advice I have ever received is this: 80 percent of what you try will not work, but 20 percent will. So when trying new things avoid long term contracts and test in quantities sufficient to assess the strategy but with as little cash outlay
as possible. Look at the failed experiments as an investment and trust that you will eventually find the right channels.

Lesson 3. Don’t be afraid.

This could just be me, but I had a lot of marketing fears at first. There is a natural fear of doing anything you have never done before, fear of making dumb mistakes, fear of screwing it up. I also had to deal with a fear of seeming pushy. I actually remember that in my first few months in business someone complained about receiving too many promotional emails from me – and I developed an instant fear of sending promotional emails. But email marketing is a particularly effective and low cost strategy for small businesses. There will always be a few people who won’t like whatever you do, so I learned to get over the fear. Ever watch the 6 o’clock news? How many times do they run the same annoying car dealership ad in 30 minutes? The car dealer isn’t sitting around fretting about who finds her ads annoying.

It’s been a long, reluctant education for me. I know a lot less than the average marketing professional but a lot more than the average marketer. It took time and it cost money, and that will continue because the options keep changing and getting more sophisticated. But I eventually found the right help and learned enough to be comfortable making marketing decisions without terror. You will too!

Robbin Orbison is the founder and owner of CapeSpace, a flexible office space in Hyannis. Contact her at

Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle

Cape Cod Maritime Museum

135 South St., Hyannis MA 02601
P 508-775-1723


Our mission is to preserve the rich maritime traditions and history for which Cape Cod and the Islands are known. We strive to enable audiences of all ages to understand and enjoy the maritime culture through exhibitions, collections, public events, and educational programs.

The Cape Cod Maritime Museum is Cape Cod’s first non-profit museum dedicated to the maritime culture of the area and is the region’s premier center for celebration and exploration of our rich maritime heritage. The museum hosts informative and exciting programs, including a lecture series, children’s crafts and activities, boat building programs for youths, educational classes for high schoolers, partnerships with organizations whose work supports a healthy marine environment, and woodworking skill-building classes for women.

The Cape Cod Maritime Museum brings a yearround cultural and educational asset to the village’s waterfront and to Cape Cod. Every year, visitors from the immediate community, around the state, New England, and the world visit us to learn about our rich maritime history.

The museum’s goal for 2021 is to build the museum into a stronger resource for the community through programming that can directly educate and engage the year-round residents of Cape Cod. For example, a new program the museum will be launching in 2021 is the Young Mariner Program, a four-day long STEM based series of classes which will take over 250 8-11 year-olds out on the water to learn about boating and marine science.

How you can help

The Cape Cod Maritime Museum encourages ongoing engagement from our visitors, members, and donors. The best way to support the museum is by becoming a member or donating, or directly sponsoring an event. For more information on the benefits of becoming a member, donating, or sponsoring the museum, please visit our website, and click on Give/Join.

Elizabeth York
Craig Ashworth

Cape Plymouth Business December 2020 Sheply AD

Seaside Le Mans

Kelsey Ellis, Event Director
The Davenport Companies
20 North Main Street, South Yarmouth, MA 02664
P: 508-760-9265


Total number of employees: 150+ volunteers
Annual revenues: $7.5M raised in 20 years
through sponsorships and matching funds
Year established: 2001


To unify the Cape Cod community and motivate businesses and individuals to sponsor, volunteer and participate in a fun annual event which raises funds for Cape & Islands nonprofit organizationsin the areas of health and human services, social services and children’s organizations.

Geographic Area

Cape Cod and the Islands

How you can help

Become a sponsor, driver, volunteer or spectator at this fast-paced event featuring Formula One, European-style racing karts provided by X1 Boston. Drivers race for up to four hours on a 1/4-mile track around corners and under a footbridge in this exciting endurance race. Each kart team has six drivers, with sponsors choosing their own drivers. The Seaside Le Mans is a chance to help the community and have a great time in the process. The race is free for spectators and also features entertainment, kids’ activities, a volunteer bike build, music and food vendors.

DeWitt P. Davenport

Kelsey Ellis

Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle

South Shore Stars Raises Over $100,000 At Virtual Celebration

South Shore Stars, a nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive early education and youth development programs through a family-support approach and has served as a resource for working parents on the South Shore since 1970, announced recently that the organization raised $110,000 from corporate sponsors and individuals for its Five Decades of Impact Virtual Celebration, streamed live on Facebook on Oct. 14, surpassing the $100,000 goal the organization set for itself. The 50th Anniversary Celebration also honored the five facets of Stars: its visionary founder, the late Rosemary Wahlberg; government leaders, corporate supporters, community partners and its staff.

Cape Plymouth Business December 2020 Cazeault AD

New Cafe, Market Opens In Harwich Port

Stony Point Development Group announces the opening of Cape Roots Market and Café at Harwich Port Commons on Route 28.

The year-round market offers pastries, baked goods, locally sourced seafood, meats, artisan cheeses, seasonal produce and homemade ice cream as well as pantry items and Snowy Owl coffee beans and deli sandwiches.

The market is owned by Gabe and Brooke Leidner, who also own the Hot Stove Saloon in Harwich Port. Gabe is a native of Cape Cod and is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. Brooke moved here when she was 7 and is a first grade teacher. After traveling with the Air Force, they moved back to the Cape to be close to family and raise their two sons.

Stony Point Development’s building also includes condominiums above Cape Roots Market and Café, which the company rented out this past summer through New England Vacation Rentals and “had a fabulous first season this year,” said Director of Marketing and Public Relations Jodi Dean Mills. The company also
owns The Mooring and The Pineapple House nearby, For more information contact Cape Roots Market at 774-212-1887, email them at or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Cape Plymouth Business December 2020 PR First AD

MassDevelopment Financing Helps Nonprofit Dental Center Relocate, Renovate

MassDevelopment has issued a $1.5 million tax-exempt bond on behalf of Harbor Health Services, Inc., a nonprofit public health agency with locations in Brockton, Dennis, Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyannis, and Plymouth.

The organization used bond proceeds to make interior renovations and buy critical equipment for its Ellen Jones Community Dental Center, now located at the Patriot Square Shopping Center at 516 Route 134 in Dennis. The practice relocated from its former space at the Cape Cod Regional Technical High School in Harwich in June, when the school moved to a new building.

The new dental center features eight exam rooms, new furniture, fixtures, and equipment, and is now open for in-person dental care in compliance with the Commonwealth’s mandatory safety standards and protocols. Prospect, Inc., a subsidiary of East Boston Savings Bank, purchased the bond, which MassDevelopment enhanced with a guarantee.

“Ellen Jones is one of the few dental practices that accepts MassHealth for adults on lower Cape Cod,” said Harbor Health Services, Inc. President and CEO Chuck Jones. “The dental center sees over 3,300 patients each year and 88 percent are low income or uninsured. The support from MassDevelopment will
help us sustain access to local affordable dental care.”

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2020, MassDevelopment financed or managed 341 projects generating investment of more than $2.69 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 10,871 jobs and build or preserve 1,787 housing units.

Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle

Freedom Boat Club Comes To Provincetown

Freedom Boat Club has opened a new members-only boat-sharing franchise at 9 Ryder Street Extension at the Provincetown Marina.

Matt Carrick and Matt O’Connor, franchise owners and operators of 13 other Freedom Boat Clubs in Massachusetts, are bringing their premier fleet of pleasure crafts to the Provincetown Marina on the Outer Cape.

“Massachusetts, and Cape Cod in particular, is a great boating state where members have enjoyed unlimited access to over 170 boats from Beverly to Chatham. Now, our reach will extend as far as P-town,” said Carrick. “Members get all the benefits of boat ownership without having to worry about the hassles and high costs of owning a boat,” Carrick said.

During the pandemic, many Freedom Boat Club members have enjoyed boating to maintain social distance and to stay safe during recreational activities, Carrick noted.

Members can also use the premier boats at any of the other 240 Freedom Boat Clubs across the U.S. and Canada.

Freedom Boat Club plans to hire a dock manager, dock masters and training captains on the Cape.

“We are growing rapidly as more and more recreational boaters realize it’s much more convenient and affordable to become a member with access to multiple
types of vessels without having to deal with all the headaches associated with owning your own boat,” Carrick said.

Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle

Before All Else, Learn How to ‘Engage The Room’

By Ann Luongo

Stacey Shipman didn’t begin her career as an entrepreneur, teaching people how to be their natural and best selves. She started out working in a corporate setting and, after deciding that she wanted to own her own business, she set off on an entirely different career path. But, even that business was but a springboard to what would be her true calling.

Shipman’s business, Engage The Room,  based in Weymouth, provides unconventional public speaking and leadership development to the analytically minded, corporately trained and self-diagnosed introverts who are tired of formal protocols stifling their personality and ideas.

“I often tell people, this business chose me,” Shipman said. “In 2006, I left the corporate world to start a business. At the time I worked in wellness, teaching yoga, fitness and stress management. It was my desire and need to learn how to speak, sell, and motivate others that led me to where the business is today. It’s been a story of evolution.” 

Shipman’s original vision was to have more freedom and flexibility with how she worked, who she worked with and what she created. She had been “corporately trained” and “analytically minded,” and carried a lot of old beliefs, she said, that she needed to shed in order to have that freedom and flexibility to solve the problems she wanted to solve.

“Fifteen years and many entrepreneurial projects and business iterations later, I’ve taken all of those experiences and created Engage The Room, where the goal is to develop high-trust leaders who have important ideas to bring into the world – whether they own the business or work for one,” she said.  Shipman helps people shed the formalities that stifle their personality and ideas. “This will enable them to create the skills and relationships they need to deal with change, make decisions, run meetings/retreats, sell their vision, services or ideas, motivate people to take action, etc., in natural, engaging ways.”

Due to the pandemic, Shipman has had to pivot away from conferences, seminars and retreats for the time being,and is now engaging with her clients online, which has allowed her geographic area to expand. Based in Weymouth, she is now available to serve clients nationally, and those clients come from a wide variety of industries.

Stacey Shipman

“We work with fast growing startups, small- and mid-size companies, often in tech or research or healthcare,” Shipman said. “Their leaders get promoted because of strong technical skills. What they lack is the ‘people’ side – how to run a meeting, deal with difficult people, motivate employees, explain change, or create a strong team. We work with executive level leaders individually and in groups as well as emerging leaders.”

Additionally, Engage The Room offers a membership network for self-employed professionals and business leaders in very small companies where Shipman hosts networking and educational events. These programs are currently online and allow clients to engage with people from across the country.

Shipman said Engage The Room contrasts from similar businesses by means of two main differences:

“First, we take an unconventional approach to leadership development,” she said. “We facilitate learning experiences that build awareness, skills and a stronger connection among the people we work with. Our programs are experiential in nature, include simulations of real-life situations and debriefs. We have a ‘No PowerPoint’ policy in our work. Our programs go beyond the typical motivational seminar and are truly a catalyst for conversation, relationship building and the ability to do really good work.

“Second, we aim to shed the formalities that stifle personalities and ideas and keep people from interacting with clients, peers, employees in meaningful and productive ways. We are challenging the status quo and invite clients to step out of the conventional bubble and into who they are so they can become trusted leaders and thought partners to their clients and employees.”

A lot of Shipman’s clients are technically trained and get promoted for those skills. What they lack, she said, is the having people side. Her goal is to turn those “softer skills” into a hard-core competitive advantage. “Leadership goes beyond technical expertise. You must be able to manage and motivate people. That takes empathy, trust, patience, communication…we give them those skill and awareness building opportunities.”

Some clients have called Engage The Room’s approach “therapeutic.” 

“But since we aren’t therapists, what they are experiencing is our ability to create a setting where people feel comfortable speaking up, sharing ideas, talking to strangers without a fear of judgement, criticism, etc.,” she said. “They trust us. And that allows them to relax and participate fully. A lot of workplaces don’t operate that way. We want to show them there is real value in that part of human interaction.”

The most challenging aspect of her business so far, Shipman said, has been working solo. “As a solo professional you are sales, marketing, practitioner, IT, accounting, etc. Plus you don’t always have a team of people to go to for support and brainstorming. Working with a virtual assistant and finding small groups of solo professionals with similar drive and ambitious goals to meet with regularly helps with the loneliness and overwhelm that can accomplice working as a solo professional. Bringing my husband on board will ease this challenge. He’s a great thought partner and exceptional at his craft.”

Shipman’s husband, Michael, has joined her as an executive coach and facilitator. His 20-plus years of experience in talent, leadership development and culture strategy compliments the work she does and allows them to expand their offerings and work with clients in a more robust way.

The most rewarding aspect has been her connection to her clients. 

“Connection is at the heart of what we do at Engage The Room. So when executives leave a retreat feeling more connected to their vision and how to achieve it, team members feel more connected to each other, and individuals feel more connected to their personal power and potential – that is most rewarding. Lots of people leave my programs and tell me, ‘I didn’t know I needed this.’ 

“Knowing we provide something unconventional, unexpected and useful is also very rewarding,” she added. “We practice what we preach. And, personally, having the courage to push through my fears and bring my own ideas to life has been incredibly rewarding. I’m on the journey, too, and learn with every step.”

Shipman is also a member of a local Toastmasters group where she mentors new members on their speaking and leadership skills. 

“I love helping people grow and evolve, and am actively seeking out new opportunities for community involvement. I’m very excited for 2021!”

For more information, contact Shipman at m617-548-5877 or visit

Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle
Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle

What a year it has been. 

It was no surprise to hear that Webster’s Dictionary proclaimed “pandemic” as the Word of the Year for 2020. COVID-19 had a profound effect on our lives and especially the business world and it’s not over yet. We asked several companies how they made it through and what their plans are, going forward as we turn the page on 2020 and look forward with hope to 2021.



Tony Shepley, CEO and president

How did Shepley adapt to the pandemic?
Virtually overnight, we relocated half our office staff to remote operation, working from home. We worked out ways to be able to allow safe customer access to our facilities and a system of protocols that we have retained and refined to ensure customer and employee safety. We started bringing in lunch for all employees to minimize outside contact and we paid for all lunches for the next six months. We were very early adopters of plexiglass partitioning and we brought on a full time cleaner in our main branch in Hyannis to sanitize all surfaces daily or more frequently as needed. We had to send helpers out on deliveries in chase vehicles so as not to put two people together in a truck cab. Most importantly, we had to help people feel safe.

Did your business lay off personnel or cut services?
We kept everyone employed and cut no services. It was very important to us to keep our customers supplied and able to operate. Construction is a crucial element of our local economy.

 What is the status of the business as of now?
We have experienced one of the most challenging years of our 42-year history but have been impressed by the dedication with which our staff has pitched in and also faced the unknowns of COVID-19 and all that surrounds it. We are strong, we are wiser and battle tested and we are committed.

Did anything positive to come out of this dire time? Something that surprised you about the human spirit, your employees?

Watching our people on the front lines figure out how to deal with fear and uncertainty has been inspiring. Witnessing the inspiration that can come from catastrophe has been  uplifting. Seeing how people pitch in and do selfless good work for others has helped show the good that can come from adversity.

 Lessons learned; how you are moving forward:
This too, like all else shall pass. It always does and it always will. Faith, courage, and tenacity are a powerful antidote for any problem we face. Challenges are always the greatest teachers.

We must be ready for what comes, and no amount of worry makes things better. We are moving forward with focus, with preparedness and with dedication. 250,000 people should not die for nothing. 


Jen Villa and Blane Toedt, Owners

How did your restaurant adapt to the pandemic?
We created a new takeout menu, invested in takeout packaging and launched a new online ordering system. As a restaurant with no existing outdoor dining, we acted quickly and rented a large tent and set up tables in the parking lot while we simultaneously began to plan and design a permanent outdoor patio. By early July we opened our “Garden Terrace” adding nearly 100 seats outside with new outdoor furniture, propane heaters, patio landscaping and a tent. We invested tens of thousands of dollars to create new systems and new spaces just to make our business viable. If we hadn’t adapted in these ways we wouldn’t have been able to generate any revenue.

Did your business lay off personnel or cut services?
We initially had to lay off our entire staff when the pandemic first hit, when we reopened the restaurant to the public we re-hired a much smaller staff than past seasons.

What is the status of the business as of now?
We are currently open for indoor dining and offering takeout with a limited schedule Thursday-Saturday 5 to 9 p.m. and Sunday Brunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Did anything positive come out of this dire time?
Yes! We are located next to the Cape Cod Melody Tent which brings in hundreds of guests nearly every night in the summer, which is great for business but creates a very busy environment at the restaurant. This summer we had no shows, which was bad for revenue but good for our local customers who were able to enjoy a more relaxed dining experience. These locals turned into regulars and we were able to build an incredible rapport with them. We now have a beautiful outdoor patio! As a restaurant with over 200 seats inside, this is something we probably would have never invested in. We were able to focus on our staff, steps of service and our guests in a way the normal busy summer season doesn’t necessarily allow.

Lessons learned; how you are moving forward.
We are truly taking it day by day. It has been extremely difficult to predict customer behavior and manage spending with so many unknowns. We have been trying to think creatively and strategically to keep our business relevant, all while prioritizing the safety of our staff and community.

The pandemic has been a financial nightmare for most small businesses, especially for a restaurant like The West End. But we have worked so incredible hard as a team and face every day with an open mind and a willingness to adapt. We are so looking forward to getting on the other side and feel like if (when) we make it through this, we will be stronger and more successful than ever!


Bill Catania, CEO & President

How did your business adapt to the pandemic?
We decided to stay open even if business levels did not justify it as we wanted to be a stable place for our employees and customers. We cut expenses, adapted to new customer needs.

Did your business lay off personnel or cut services?
We had to furlough staff but have offered jobs back to all of them.

What is the status of the business as of now?
We have adapted well and we are stable and looking forward to next summer.

Lessons learned; how you are moving forward.
Be able to pivot quickly, positively and intellectually.


Peter Forman, CEO, Executive Director

Generally, we have seen resolve and resilience from our members.  Most small businesses made the determination early on that they would get through this year.  They have done it broadly by streamlining operations or finding ways to reposition their business to find some new markets or customers.  Next year could be tougher for some as financial cushions are thinner, economy reopens and they need to scale back up or changing habits force different changes in business models.

 One positive outcome has been unlocking the entrepreneurship that can often be lost when plans generally go along smoothly for a long period.  Necessity forced re-examination and creativity. This will likely lead to entirely new businesses in some cases and stronger businesses in others.  That could lead to a stronger economy coming out of this than we had going in.

ROGERSGRAY, Cape Cod/South Shore

Lynn Mason-Small, Chief Marketing Officer

How did RogersGray adapt to the pandemic?
Because of our industry (insurance), we already had protocols in place to operate remotely if needed (for instance in the case of a hurricane, we would still be able to serve clients). Within a week, we had all of our employees working remotely with little to no interruption to client service.  We were very mindful however, of the impact to our employees – especially those with young children and immediately took steps to keep our teams connected, informed and engaged during the first months of the pandemic. Much of what we implemented then still remains in place to keep our team connected – even if it’s virtual.  

Did your business lay off personnel or cut services?
 We did not – although ensuring staffing was at full capacity was a challenge because the numbers of employees with children is high within our agency. It’s was a juggling act those first few months for sure – our business and employee benefits clients were struggling and needed us to help guide them through employment practice changes/updates, make changes to policies, etc.…and we needed to be there for them.

What is the status of the business as of now?
 Because we were able to mobilize our team so quickly, our operation has stayed intact from the beginning of COVID-19. The changes have really been at the individual branch offices. We initially were closed all together, then open to staff but no outside visitors except by appointment and then open fully with all expected safety protocols. This is evolving however, with the rising number of cases we will likely be back closing the branch offices. Fortunately, we have in place all the tools needed to conduct business as usual – even if remotely.  

Did anything positive come out of this dire time? Something that surprised you about the human spirit, your employees?
Wow – we thought our team was great before…now we know they are just awesome. Under really stressful times, our team has come together, stayed connected, engaged and thoughtful. I would say our employee engagement is at an all-time-high and we’ve created new and interesting ways to keep that going – even after the pandemic.  

Lessons learned; how you are moving forward.
The big takeaway for us is that you can’t over communicate in a time of crisis. We had a daily email, weekly all employee zoom, as needed departmental meetings, individual check-in’s etc.…and it really did help. Instead of people feeling like they were isolated by not being “in” the office, they felt connected – and in some cases  even MORE connected than when they were in the office.  We were extremely transparent with our team…letting them know that we were doing the absolute best we could during a time when there really was so much unknown. That transparency creates trust and trust creates ease of mind.

The other lesson learned is how to pivot. For instance, the RogersGray University Seminar Series we have done for years had to be reimagined as COVID hit. We immediately moved to webinar-based and quadrupled our attendees, realized one of our staff members makes a great “host” and decided it was ok to do quick video content updates. That was a huge success in 2020 for us and as we enter into 2021, we’re trying to look at every aspect of the business with a new lens of “should we continue to operate this way?”. For instance in marketing – we’re not budgeting for in-person events for 2021 and looking for new ways of engaging our clients and community.


Brian Renstrom, Managing Partner, Massachusetts

How did your business adapt to the pandemic?
We are a business consulting firm and shifted to working remotely, both from our company’s perspective of ensuring our employees could work remotely, but also learning how to work remotely with our clients (many of whom were working remotely) as well.

Did you lay off personnel or cut services?
We did not – we maintained our employee levels throughout.

What is the status of the business as of now?
We are on the same pace of business as we were for 2019.

 Did anything positive come out of this dire time? Something that surprised you about the human spirit, your employees?
A lot of positive things have come from this, including that we have been able to stay connected as a business.  Our people have become creative in terms of figuring out ways to stay connected; we have successfully maintained relationships with our colleagues and delivered our work for our clients, even as all of this was done in very new ways.

Lessons learned; how you are moving forward.
The workplace itself is going to be different in the future, in that this has taught us that while we can work remotely, there needs to be a balance for when people need to come together as well.  As we move forward, we’ll be determining that balance and figuring out a mode to come together as a team or in various smaller groups as needed. 

Additionally, we’ve become more flexible and more empathetic in terms of understanding each other’s situations and in terms of expectations set on people based on their individual circumstances.  For example, many members of our workforce have school-age children who are now home learning remotely, and so may not be as available as they once were – we are becoming more creative and flexible in how we work together. 


Win Sargent, CEO

How did your business adapt to the pandemic?
We bought Plymouth & Brockton from the Anzuoni family of Plymouth, in 2019. We finished 2019 and started 2020 with plans to add routes to our service area, and introduce a new fleet of 27 motorcoaches to the service. We brought the first few buses to P&B and were preparing to introduce them to our passengers. Then COVID happened.

Did your business lay off personnel or cut services?
Yes, we did both. Because of the COVID restrictions and severely reduced need for commuting we temporarily halted our services. When this occurred in March we had no way of knowing how long it might last.

What is the status of the business as of now?
We’ve made considerable preparations for when we resume service, which we hope will be early in 2021. A lot depends on how soon the vaccine takes hold and what the attitudes of employers are. In other words, we’re watching to see how quickly demand returns for service. We’re optimistic for 2021. We have used this time when the buses aren’t running to make a number of upgrades. Our technology has been improved; we have implemented a number of very stringent cleaning protocols for when we resume service. We are considering establishing a Business Class service (dedicated buses for employers who want to provide transportation from the South Shore or Cape into Boston and back). We’ve used the time advantageously, but we are eager to get the buses rolling and serve our customers again.

Did anything positive come out of this dire time? Something that surprised you about the human spirit, your employees?
We’ve had many good conversations with business leaders, chamber of commerce members and leaders, employees, and our customers. We all want the same end result – to get back to a more normal existence – and we remain hopeful that this will happen sooner rather than later.

Lessons learned; how are you moving forward.
To use an old adage, better to be safe than sorry. The safety of our passengers comes first. We will build a stronger than ever company but we are going to do things the right way.


John Pappalardo, CEO

How did the fishing industry adapt to the pandemic?
Fishing is an essential service, so although the pandemic upended the economy, fleets still went out to harvest. However, the industry was hit hard when demand decreased because of issues in the supply chain and the loss of restaurant revenue. Some businesses, oyster farmers in particular, lost more than 80 percent of their anticipated income because most oysters are sold “on the half shell,” to diners at the table or bar. 

Working with public officials, we were able to help create availability for some fishermen to sell direct to consumers from their boats at the dock, especially, but not only, scallops and lobsters. Fishermen at ports across the Cape redid their business plans and marketing strategies to take advantage of this opportunity. Others split their catch between direct sales and wholesale buyers who are still an important part of the food chain. 

To help keep fishermen on the water and address growing need at food banks, the Fishermen’s Alliance started a haddock chowder program that pays fishermen a fair, consistent price for smaller haddock, then works with two family-owned Massachusetts businesses to make haddock chowder to donate to food banks and pantries. The first shipment in September went to regional food banks locally and across Massachusetts. We have now added distribution to Maine and New Hampshire, with hopes to expand the program to all of New England and perhaps nationally.  

Did anything positive come out of this dire time?
Direct sales at the dock has shown that the Cape community supports local fishermen, and many people are willing to prioritize buying local fish if given the opportunity. The personal connections many captains and crew have made with people across the peninsula is reminiscent of the close, direct relationship many Cape Codders had generations ago with fishermen and farmers. Interest and demand for fresh local catch will undoubtedly sustain far beyond this difficult time and hopefully drive sales of local fish not only in restaurants and fish markets, but regional and national grocery chains as well.  

Another positive in the tough year is the growing realization among consumers that fishermen are going out every day to catch fish to feed a nation. Even on Cape Cod, much of the fish people buy is imported; when that supply chain stuttered, the importance of buying locally and with fewer middlemen was highlighted. A shorter path from sea to table also helps shrink our carbon footprint and combat climate change.


South Easton, Middleboro and Bellingham
Leigh-Ann Larson, CEO

How did your business adapt to the pandemic?
When COVID-19 restrictions made it impossible for us to see our clients in person, we undertook the conversion of our therapy practice to a Telehealth Mental Health counseling model. That was a huge change. But, following the most stringent of protocols to provide secure connections and assure privacy, we were able to convert nearly 1,000 of our clients from in-person visits to the online model, with the use of telephone or videoconference. We have dedicated one of our therapists to overseeing our Telehealth Division. We have had very positive feedback to this change. Insurance does cover telehealth; and we believe we will continue the model for those who prefer it, even after COVID no longer prevents us from seeing people in person.

 Did your business lay off personnel or cut services? The only services we cut were custodial services in our brick-and-mortar location. We have begun to bring back the custodial services as we now brought back a skeleton crew which comes in for administrative functions and some Telehealth calls. In terms of personnel, we have retained all of our therapists and have added some new members to our team.  

What is the status of the business as of now? There is no in-person therapy at this time. We do see as many clients, and possibly even more, than at the beginning of the year. 

Did anything positive come out of this dire time? Something that surprised you about the human spirit, your employees? I won’t say that it surprised me, but I have been gratified by the resiliency of our team. Everyone pitches in to help in every way they can. We have a good team and a good culture here. We have learned ways to go forward even in these most difficult times. 

Lessons learned; how you are moving forward.
The lesson I take away is just how important it is to be as ready as we can for those unexpected twists and turns that we can’t foresee. We will continue with our Telehealth model, and we have also taken steps this year to set up a Professional Development Center, to help prepare therapists for their Licensed Mental Health Counselor Licensing or the Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker Licensing. We plan to offer CEU training and spearhead conferences and networking events for professionals looking to advance their skills and practices.

ERICHETTI MEDIA, Taste of Massachusetts

Vincent Erichetti, Founder

How did restaurants adapt to the pandemic?
If it was an option, the best thing restaurants were able to do was offer outdoor dining. Customers seemed to gravitate to it and it made them feel more comfortable once the initial lock down was lifted. 

Curbside pick up and take out was also a huge help, but the restaurants who were able to take advantage of it the most were ones with solid social media presences and email lists. This allowed them to communicate directly with customers. Anything that makes it easier for customers has been a huge x factor for restaurants surviving during covid.

While these adaptations helped, they never were able to replace regular business. 

Impact on the industry
Every hospitality business has at least cut hours and reduced their menu. Every single one. This is not to mention the 3,600 Massachusetts restaurants that have already closed due to COVID, about a fifth of all restaurants in the state.

Lessons learned, how you are moving forward

The advice I am giving current and potential clients is the same advice I am following myself: build your foundation and plan for the future.  No one is going to be able to make up any losses right now, and the only way is to make up these losses is to maximize the future.  I know the businesses that are doing best right now had the best foundation and diversified the most.

What that means is building your social media and email newsletter to communicate directly with customers. It means training yourself with skills that you don’t have that you want through youtube or Zoom seminars.  It also means planning within the current landscape.  I have no crystal ball, but I know Valentine’s Day is the holiday where you social distance from everybody except one person. I also know given the vaccines should start to be distributed soon, that gives us three months until then.  I would start planning now to maximize Valentine’s Day weekend as much as possible. 

There is no solution, but you can choose the best options of what is available. 


Linda Burke, VP, Marketing & Communication

How did the A.D. Makepeace Company adapt to the pandemic?
As an agricultural producer, the A.D. Makepeace Company was considered an “essential business” from the beginning of the pandemic. This was fortunate, because some of the cranberry crop’s most important cultivation activity occurs during March and April.

To keep our employees safe, we made sure staffing would allow for social distancing – for example, one field employee per pickup truck – and we outfitted everyone with masks, hand sanitizer, and other protective equipment.  

Did your business lay off personnel or cut services?
We operate a small function facility that hosts weddings and other events, and that has been closed since March.  

What is the status of the business as of now? Regular operations have resumed or?
As we speak, the Commonwealth is in the midst of an alarming resurgence, so we are reintroducing our efforts to keep well-intended members of the public away from our personnel when they are out on the cranberry bogs. In many locations, we allow neighbors to walk around the bogs, and unfortunately we have had to cut back on this.  

Did anything positive come out of this dire time? Something that surprised you about the human spirit, your employees?
We have a small administrative staff in the office, and many of those employees have been working from home since the start of the pandemic. We have found that they are more productive and self-directed when given the opportunity to work from home, and we will likely continue that on some level after the coronavirus is behind us.  

At our new Redbrook village in Plymouth, we have actually seen home sales velocity increase. We believe that for many, the pandemic changed their vision of “home,” and this community provides what buyers are looking for. 

Lessons learned; how are you moving forward.
Frankly, once we got into a social distancing/work-from-home rhythm, the drought conditions affected our company more than the coronavirus did. Our crew has a long tradition of working independently, but the challenges posed by Mother Nature this year were difficult to overcome.

BAY COPY, Rockland

Ray Belanger, President & CEO

How did Bay Copy adapt to the pandemic?
We maintained a hybrid model of in-office, on-site and remote. Where we could have our office support team work remotely, we did so. To the extent that our sales force could maintain client contact remotely, they did so via Zoom. Our in-the-field technicians were our “front line” people, the ones who needed to go to the offices that were open, or the home offices, to set up and service equipment. We needed to establish strict protocols for them, including the wearing of masks and the practicing of social distancing.

We worked on a large contract earlier this year with a major healthcare provider and that involved a lot of COVID-19 protocols. We adapted as well as we could during this time.

Did your business lay off personnel or cut services?
We did not lay off anyone. We did use PPP funds which helped us through a slow time.

What is the status of the business as of now?
We are hopeful as we enter 2021 that it will be a better year.

Did anything positive come out of this dire time? Something that surprised you about the human spirit, your employees? We have real longevity at our company; many of our employees have been with us 15 or 20 years, and some even longer. We have always had a tight-knit relationship. I have always felt that our employees go the extra mile and this year was no different.

Lessons learned; how you are moving forward.
 We are broadening the verticals that we service. We have some strong connections in the medical industry, and we are now expanding our reach into the banking and credit union space. Our take-away from this year is to spread our client base across a wider range of industries.


Stacie Peugh, President & CEO

How did the YMCA adapt to the pandemic?
If I had to pick one major area the YMCA adapted to upon the pandemic, it was adapting every program we offered to the “new rules” for health and safety.  We implemented hundreds and hundreds of new standards, quickly and thoroughly, to protect our people as best as possible.  

Upon the COVID-19 emergency shutdown, the YMCA Cape Cod team closed all services then turned around our early education programs in 48 hours to operate emergency childcare care for essential workers. Our four summer day camp programs opened on time for summer. Moving into the fall, as schools worked rapidly to reconfigure public school education, we responded to the needs of families by creating the Y LEAVES remote learning center at the YMCA facility in partnership with Barnstable public schools.  To date, we continue to hold an important safety record of zero COVID-19 transmissions between children and staff.  The YMCA Cape Cod child and youth development teams are truly heroes.

Did your organization lay off personnel or cut services?
 Unfortunately, we laid off 211 staff at the onset of the pandemic and fortunately, recalled every one of them with a PPP loan at the beginning of May.  Surprisingly, about 40 of our part-time staff elected not to return.  This has been a challenge to find qualified staff for these vacancies across many specialized programs we offer.  In July, we permanently laid off five full time staff.  Our chronic disease programs have been particularly hard to reinstate. 

 What is the status of the organization as of now?
 Unbelievably, we shrank and grew all in a very short time-period during this pandemic.  Membership and youth programs all remain much lower enrolled than before the pandemic.  For about six weeks, at the worst of the economy for the pandemic, I didn’t know if we would be able to hold onto all our full time staff.  Butt  PPP held us together until the seeds of our efforts in the fall of 2019 sprouted and we were awarded the Head Start grant for Barnstable and Nantucket County late summer 2020.  This will lead us to a significant expansion of our early childhood programs. 

Did anything positive to come out of this dire time? Something that surprised you about the human spirit, your employees?
Absolutely!  I’ve always known that our staff were amazing, but the courage our full time staff, especially our early education staff showed when the fear of death from this virus was at its height, was truly inspiring.  These staff put themselves in harm’s way to serve others before themselves.  They knew our health care workers were critical to our community and they stepped up.  And another silver lining – our entire country now understands that child care is essential to our economy and keeping our communities open.

 Lessons learned; how you are moving forward.
Never give up and leave no stone unturned.  I never gave up before and have a knack for being thorough.  Yet, this experience has deepened my appreciation for how these concepts work hand in hand to keep an institution like ours here forever.  One of my favorite leadership role models is John Wooden.  The pace of responding to community needs, implementing governmental requirements, and problem solving is changing faster than ever before.  Wooden always said, “Be quick, but don’t hurry.”  It’s so important to take time to think through the impact of change and communicate timely and openly.  


Steve Russo

How did your business adapt to the pandemic?
The ability to successfully adapt to the COVID-related shutdown relied heavily on two key factors.  First, our ability to quickly facilitate a work-from-home capability through technology utilization allowing for continuity in workflow that would have otherwise been unachievable.  Second, with the operating/technological structure implemented, enhanced communication and coordination was required to ensure all operating activities continued without incident.  This involved weekly company meetings to discuss challenges the company and each team member faced in order to maintain operating continuity.

Did your business lay off personnel or cut services?
We did not lay off any personnel and have no plans to do so in the future.  Direct client interactions were limited to an “as needed” basis.  We effectively utilized teleconferencing technology to coordinate client meetings.

 What is the status of the business as of now?
We continue to operate with over 50 percent of our employees working from home.  Given the status of the COVID infections rates, we anticipate maintaining our current operating structure well into the first quarter of 2021.

 Did anything positive come out of this dire time? Something that surprised you about the human spirit, your employees?
In this environment, the necessity of teamwork became very apparent.  In many cases that meant employees stepping in to perform functions that otherwise would have been performed by a coworker.  Our employees maintained a focus on putting the customer experience as the top priority.  Their willingness to step in where needed has ensured the continuity of operations and client-related activities.   

Lessons learned; how you are moving forward.
There are several elements of our current operating environment that will likely continue.  Enhancements in automation and process flow have no doubt made us more efficient in our daily activities.  Our ability to work remotely in a seamless fashion will likely allow us greater flexibility when we consider staffing requirements and the need for physical space.  Our ability to meet with clients effectively in a “virtual format” has also been a significant benefit, which will likely allow for increased communication as we move forward.


Rich Spencer, President & CEO

How did the bank adapt to the pandemic?
We primarily invested in two categories: safety and technology. Interestingly, we invested as much in our back-office as we did for the customer-level platforms. The safety component was very visible: hand sanitizers, distancing and dividers, platform adjustments, daily disinfectant cleans, etc. But we also invested in technology to help increase safety. Two examples: Our IT Team did a remarkable job upgrading our employee platforms and availability whereas now 95% of our team can be remote without any interruption to client services. Accordingly, we’ve also deployed significant resources to ensure our clients can do virtually anything bank-related directly on their mobile device without needing to visit a bank branch in person.

Did your business lay off personnel or cut services?
As the region turned to local banks over the past few years, we have been experiencing a rather significant growth cycle. In response, we had been expanding our workforce and talent pool in late 2019 and early 2020. Both trends have continued during Covid as our neighbors and partners move relationships to banks like ours, as opposed to the internationally focused big banks. This has led us to continue our hiring, at all levels from VPs to tellers, and we expect to keep investing in our human capital throughout 2021. 

What is the status of the business as of now?
We are focused on helping our business partners and community neighbors maintain operations while getting poised for future successes. At over $1 billion in total assets, we have an opportunity to make a significant impact on the vitality of our local economy. As this area’s community bank, we believe it is both a privilege and an obligation to support local businesses and families through every economic cycle. We recognize that when our neighbors and their businesses succeed, we all succeed. 


South Shore
Robert Corley, Executive Director

How did your business adapt to the pandemic?
During the spring, we were very concerned for the safety of the residents in our group homes and took extra measures to make sure they stayed safe.  We first focused our efforts on our special needs tenants living in our group homes.  Our goal was to make sure they had food, cleaning supplies, and additional supplies to keep themselves safe.  

We shifted our services to make sure they were more accessible to our clients.  For example, we organized weekly deliveries of food to some of our residents in Quincy, in particular to those in our group homes, who were and are at most risk and are most vulnerable.  We also organized delivery of fresh produce boxes to many of our housing units in Quincy, especially to those who are elderly or have children.  Many of the people we serve are in vulnerable populations and typically rely on mobile food pantries.  Having this food brought to them not only helps support them but also keeps them safe, and helps reduce the risk of exposure to them and to others in the building.   Additionally, many of our residents have children who are now learning remotely, further limiting their access to the school lunch program, and their family’s ability to access additional resources.  

And from the very beginning and now more than ever we’re serving families through the state’s Rental Assistance to Families in Transition (RAFT) financial assistance program.  (NHS administers RAFT funding in the South Shore and Plymouth County.)  Since the state’s eviction moratorium expired, we have seen a dramatic increase in demand for our services.  We’re fielding more than 1,000 calls a week pertaining to RAFT and securing resources to prevent evictions.  

We also signed onto the Massachusetts Housing Stability Pledge, and by doing so extended a moratorium on evictions for our more than 1,000 units of housing throughout southern Massachusetts through the end of March 2021.  

Did your business lay off personnel or cut services?
No – we have made some strategic adjustments and have worked to keep everyone on board.  

What is the status of the business as of now?
We are continuing to grow, even during the pandemic.  This past October we celebrated the opening of a home for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  We partnered with WORKInc, and were able to build a home for five adults who not only have I/DD, but who are also deaf.  This home is the only one of its kind in eastern Massachusetts.   It was an incredibly rewarding experience for everyone involved, but especially for the five who now have a home for the rest of their lives.  

Did anything positive come out of this dire time? Something that surprised you about the human spirit, your employees?
I think the most humbling experience has been seeing the incredible resiliency of our staff. The staff at NHS have stepped up to not only support our clients, but also each other.  They have creatively figured out ways to stay connected, even while being apart.  They organized Zoom lunches, coffees and happy hours.  In addition, they have also provided each other with significant moral support during very difficult times.  Our staff really care about each other.

Our supporters have also stepped up this year.  Many of our friends and partners have reached out in support of our programs and the people we serve. We also have an incredible board of directors who have been strong advocates for our work and have helped us move our mission forward even during a time of great challenge. 

Lessons learned; how are you moving forward.
We continue to focus on our mission and our values, which is based on the belief that everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home.  We are continuing to think creatively how best to serve our clients in a changing environment.  We have embraced new technology to help us better serve our constituents more efficiently.  

Just prior to the state shut-down, we rapidly mobilized staff and equipment to move all of our staff to remote work.  We created policies and procedures to help guide all staff through the remote process, and had regular check-ins with management to make sure communications continued to flow freely.    

We’ve also been able to move forward with the building of new housing in our community.  We recently completed a home for five adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Quincy.  We are due to complete eight units of housing for formerly homeless veterans in Marshfield later this winter, and an additional 48 units of work-force housing in Brockton, which is due to be completed in the summer of 2021.  


South Shore
Eric Edelman, Owner

How did your business adapt to the pandemic?
We immediately adapted by implementing Tele-health physical therapy. This was initially challenging and required a steep learning curve. However, it ended up being instrumental in allowing us to continue to provide some level of care while staying safe during the initial stages of the pandemic. We also made significant changes to our layouts of our clinics in order to create a safe environment when patients began to return to our clinics. Changes like spreading out treatment tables, extending visit times, etc. created an environment that patients resoundingly felt comfortable with.

Did your business lay off personnel or cut services?
We initially furloughed 75 percent of our staff, but quickly brought them all back within the first 2 months.

What is the status of the business as of now?
We’re even stronger than we were prior to the outbreak. Our company has been recognized as one of the leaders in providing a safe environment without sacrificing care and outcomes. We’re currently 5 percent busier than we were prior to the pandemic starting.

Did anything positive come out of this dire time?
Something that surprised you about the human spirit, your employees? Yes, we learned a lot about ourselves. Our ability to frequently adapt as the information changed has resulted in a much stronger team who truly believe there isn’t anything they can’t accomplish. The camaraderie has never been better!

Lessons learned; how you are moving forward.
We realize that we need to constantly adapt, increase communication, and never let anything deter us from our vision and mission.

Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle

Vaccinations, Voluntary Travel In The COVID-19 Workplace

By Kathleen R. O’Toole

On the COVID-19 front, the last few months have brought us recommendations from public health officials about the importance of receiving the seasonal flu shot, some optimistic news about the approval and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in coming months, as well as an increase in nationwide cases and stricter recommendations on safe travel. How does all of this translate to the workplace? Below are some questions and answers.

Can I require my employees to get a flu shot?

It depends. Generally, employers have the right to establish legitimate health and safety standards in the workplace, so long as they are job-related and consistent with business necessity. The current guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) avoids taking a firm position on mandatory flu vaccine policies and simply states, “Generally, ADA-covered employers should consider simply encouraging employees to get the influenza vaccine rather than requiring them to take it.”

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, employers that have implemented mandatory flu vaccines have typically been in the healthcare field, where employees are regularly exposed to vulnerable patients. Because of the clear relationship between vaccinated employees and patient safety, these policies have generally
been upheld in the courts as consistent with business necessity. Indeed, more than a dozen states, including Massachusetts, have regulations that establish flu vaccine requirements for health care workers. Of note, though, even mandatory flu vaccine policies must account for potential exemptions raised by employees on religious or disability grounds. Lawsuits related to mandatory vaccine policies often relate to a dispute over a religious exemption or disability.

Ultimately, developing and implementing a flu vaccine policy is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor, and will involve both legal and business considerations, such as the nature of the business, how physically close the employees work with each other, the extent to which employees interact with high-risk individuals
or the public, and the likelihood that employees are willing to cooperate and comply. In a unionized workplace, employers should review any collective bargaining agreements to determine if such a policy would be permitted, and address the topic with union representatives, if necessary.

In the end, while implementing a strict flu vaccine policy is possible, businesses should consult with counsel to ensure that its implementation is compliant with all state and federal anti-discrimination laws.

Can an employer mandate that employees obtain COVID-19 vaccinations?

Drafting and implementing a COVID-19 vaccine workplace policy remains premature because a COVID-19 vaccine has not yet been made available to the public. Broadly speaking, employers should think about this issue in the same way that they think about the flu vaccine issue.

It appears that there will also be multiple types of vaccines developed by different pharmaceutical companies. We do not yet know whether there are material differences between each vaccine in terms of side effects, effectiveness, cost, etc. For these reasons alone, it may not be pragmatic to implement identical workplace policies for flu vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines.

As the vaccines are rolled out to the general public, businesses should look for further guidance from federal agencies such as the EEOC, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control about how to address it within their workplaces.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, can I ask my employees to avoid out-of-state travel, even if it is personal travel unrelated to work?

Yes, employers may implement policies discouraging travel, consistent with state and federal public health guidance. Employers may consider taking actions such as:
• Actively reminding and updating employees about CDC recommendations and Massachusetts guidance regarding travel, as well as the subsequent quarantine periods required;
• Requiring employees to disclose any out-ofstate travel plans; and
• Requiring employees returning from travel to affirm in writing that they are currently symptom-free and have compiled with all state requirements.

As with all workplace policies, any personal travel policy should be applied uniformly, and should be consistent with business necessity. For example, if a business’s entire workforce has been working remotely for many months, with no plans to return the employees into a physical office space until the spring of 2021, an aggressive policy about personal travel may not be appropriate. On the other hand, it would be prudent for businesses that have ongoing interactions with the public or highrisk populations to provide their employees with clear guidance and expectations about personal travel during the pandemic.

Policies are most likely to be adhered to when they are clearly communicated to employees and are delivered as far in advance as possible so that employees can plan accordingly. For morale’s sake, it may be helpful to remind employees that personal travel policies are not meant to police but to protect employees, that these policies will not be in place forever, and that getting through the coming months safely demands a collective effort from the entire

Of note, whether a business has a formal travel policy or not, employees who are required to self-quarantine after travel and who are unable to work or telework may be entitled to paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, depending on the circumstances. The act is presently scheduled to lapse at the end of 2020, so this may not be an issue for much longer. However, businesses should be attuned to this issue in the event an employee seeks paid leave per the FFCRA following outof-state travel.

As always, the legal and business issues related to COVID-19 are myriad, complex, and often ambiguous. While the business community and employees in Massachusetts have done a remarkable job navigating challenge after challenge this year, I wish all of us a smoother and happier 2021.

Kathleen R. O’Toole, Esq., is a Centerville native,
Dorchester resident, and attorney at the Boston
law firm of Conn, Kavanaugh, Rosenthal, Peisch
& Ford LLP. Send questions to

Blackmur Joins Road to Responsibility Board

Road to Responsibility, a nonprofit organization supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, announced that Mary Ann Blackmur of Hingham has been named to the organization’s board of directors. A longtime volunteer dedicated to providing opportunities to empower individuals and organizations to be part of the community, Blackmur currently serves as regional community outreach program manager for Brigham Health, with a focus on the South Shore. Previously she worked as executive director of the Hingham Community Center, associate publisher of The South Shore Magazine, and administrative associate for the Pew Charitable Trusts Northeast Fisheries Team.

Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle

It’s A Time To Be Grateful

By Mark Skala
The Last Word for 2020?

Exasperating; concerning; divisive, uplifting, encouraging, hopeful; memorable. And the list goes on.

There are certainly many parts of this year we would rather forget. However, I’m focusing on so many others to be grateful for, those that give us pause as we close out 2020 and embark on 2021 with renewed hope about life resembling some form of normalcy again.

In late November 2019, the board of directors at the Cape and Islands United Way and I agreed we needed to create a fund to address emergencies that may arise in our community, allowing us to be responsive in the moment. The board voted to seed the Community Response Fund we created with $10,000.

Fast forward just 100 days and the pandemic hits. Never could I have imagined we would need to draw on this fund so quickly and face a major obstacle: we had not yet rolled out a fundraising plan. But as we all know, plans went out the window on or about March 17.

Within six weeks of the outbreak, we raised well over $100,000 (and since have raised another $25,000). Everything raised here, stays here – funding which immediately went to help with issues around food security, housing, child care – all exacerbated by the pandemic’s impact.

The contributions from our donors made it possible for the Cape and Islands United Way to collaborate with other funders to make a meaningful and measurable impact during these challenging times. The work of the Cape and Islands United Way is needed now more than ever and our supporters make it possible. I’ve been in constant awe this year by the generosity of so many individuals and businesses who have stepped up. We are truly inspired by the way the Cape and Islands communities have mobilized to take care of our family, neighbors and friends who may be struggling.

So that’s what I choose to focus on as we close out 2020 and move the calendar pages to 2021. This has been an unprecedented year to be sure with too much loss and suffering, but it has also been a year of resiliency and gratitude. Mark Skala is president and CEO of The Cape and Islands United Way. To learn more, go to

Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle
Cape and Plymouth Business Media Logo Circle