Rebuilding Howlingbird... Local business is opportunity for young local residents
I would like to thank the Chamber for giving us the opportunity to showcase the rebuilding of Howlingbird.
This business, Howlingbird Studio, with the exception of 5 weeks in March of 2020 has been in continuous operation in this location for over 46 years. Howlingbird is not your typical Main St. business. A functioning production company housed in the heart of the historic district of one of New England’s most charming and desirable seaside communities is truly a rarity. Howlingbird is a gem.
As a result of a series of serendipitous events and convenient business circumstances, I was given the opportunity to save this important and iconic Falmouth business from closure. Although the history of the new Howlingbird is interesting and I’ll share it with you anytime, Business After Hours is a time to connect The Falmouth Chamber members and the community as a whole to the future of Howlingbird, not the past.
From my experiences in business administration over a 40-year career in the Concrete Repair and Restoration Industry, I know that nothing gets done without people. I have learned that it is great fun to put together a cohesive team made up of thoughtful and forward thinking individuals who relish the opportunity to guide their own futures. With their wisdom, guidance, thoughtfulness and solid work ethic, it is the crew at Howlingbird, not I, who have made this project viable. I’m pretty good with a checkbook and I’m fairly handy at fixing things but when it comes to imaging, I defer to the professionals.
Most importantly, I want you all to know who is leading the success of Howlingbird. I would like to briefly introduce the staff. We are organized by areas of interest. Screen Printing, Embroidery, Dye Sublimation, The Howlingbird Brand (which is the store) and future on-line sales and marketing. Each of these individuals has risen to the challenges of running their own business unit.
First on the hot seat is Annie.
I am always thrilled when people randomly take up residence at our tables out front. That’s why they are there, please enjoy them. We are after all living on a Norman Rockwell calendar page here on Palmer Avenue. It’s fun to see dog walkers stop for a while or for families to have full-blown picnics. The patio is known as Tom’s Bistro.
Annie Yakovleva (yok-ov-leva) sat down at our front table one beautiful day just about a year ago. I was coming in from an errand and she had set herself up at our front door with her traveling office. I gave her a casual hello as I walked in. A short while later, I sat down at my perch at Carolynn’s desk to go over the day’s happenings. I looked out the window and Annie had taken out a sketch pad and was drawing what I assume was a beautiful fall Falmouth street scene. At this point, we had a running ad in Indeed for an artist/printer which had not produced a single qualified candidate for a very long time.
The sketch pad got my attention so I sauntered out to investigate this curious individual who landed at our doorway. Annie was on the cusp of walking for her pre-med degree at UMass Amherst. She had done some clinical work which she will openly admit was not to her liking. I offered her a tour of our facility and within minutes of her entering the building, I was trying to figure out where my new desk was to be because she clearly was not leaving any time soon and she needed a desk more than I did. Annie came into Howlingbird under full power.
Annie’s contributions to Howlingbird have been limitless. Her whimsical spin on science art is refreshing and fun, her personality is infectious and upbeat all the time. Annie is our in-house artist, she can draw anything. She manages the store and she can't wait to teach our next employee all about dye sublimation. She is responsible for producing the ever so popular Howlingbird videos on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
Shawn Keaney also joined us about a year ago as a referral from Cody Tiexiera. Cody and Shawn worked together through high school at The Falmouth Ice Arena. We brought Shawn in part-time helping Cody cleaning tools and screens. Shawn was quick to recognize that Howlingbird could be something so much more than an hourly job and we enthusiastically extended his hours to his liking. Shawn immediately recognized areas that needed improvement and took the initiative to make those improvements. He is not shy about making suggestions and he follows through on his commitments. I find it incredibly refreshing that Shawn presents concepts, ideas, improvements and opportunities in a well thought out and logical manner. His wisdom belies his age.
Shawn was instrumental in helping plan, budget and execute the development of our brand new embroidery department which he is pretty much solely responsible for. I thoroughly enjoy coming into the facility everyday to see what new things Shawn has been working on. His wit and enthusiasm are inspiring. Shawn has shown a particular acumen for the nuts and bolts of our business and is constantly excelling in everything he does.
Shawn manages all things embroidery. He also wears a constant path to the printing department as he works closely with Cody in screen printing.
Cody Tiexiera joined The Bird in the Spring of 2021. He was brought in, again, to do the dirty work. Carolynn and I were working with our printer Bergan, and a summer hire named Sara. At the time, Howlingbird’s only in-house process was screen printing. Cody supported our printers throughout the Summer. He contributed a refreshing combination of humor and hard work to our daily activities.
In late August of 2021, we found ourselves without a printer and Sara was back to school. It was a serious situation; Carolynn is a fantastic printer but her daily schedule didn’t allow for continuous printing production. All of a sudden we went from 5 to 3 people and we had a huge job on deck. Carolynn, Cody and I sat down and developed a collective strategy for survival.
Cody is a graduate of the IT Department at The Upper Cape Tech School and is an incredibly quick study. When I think of Cody he reminds me of the discussion I had with a tenured mathematician professor who explained his take on higher education in the electronic age. He argues that today one can gain an education without institutions and the financial burdens that come along with them, that there is no information that isn’t publicly available in today’s electronic world and that limitations to gathering information are simply personal limitations. Cody recognized that he could expand beyond the rote function of screen printing and become a student of the industry right at his own desk. He has learned to engage our vendor partners and he is constantly looking at new processes and technologies which have opened Howlingbird to endless opportunities and efficiencies. He is in charge of our core screen printing business, he has developed new skills and continues to build upon his strong work ethic and unwavering curiosity to be a leader in the future of Howlingbird.
Now I must introduce to you, Carolynn Sullivan. Many of you know and love Carolynn from her years at Howlingbird and also serving as a local advocate for the VNA. Those of you who don’t know Carolynn simply should, she does not disappoint.
When Cindy Moor and I walked into Howlingbird on a beautiful day in late April of 2020 we had no plan. Cindy simply said, we have to call Carolynn. Carolynn came into The Bird cautiously, neither Cindy nor I had any idea what direction Howlingbird was going. Howlingbird had been closed for roughly 5 weeks, Carolynn was the last employee out the door and she had heard nothing about the business since her last day, she was in the dark, and frankly wanted an explanation. I don’t think she had any expectation of working at Howlingbird again, she had in fact committed to another job which was indefinitely postponed as a result of Covid lockdowns.
Carolynn and Cindy shared a very positive working relationship in years past when Cindy was at the helm. We asked Carolynn to come in and give us a hand. The pandemic had shut everything down, her husband Paul was still working everyday and aside from having an affinity for Howlingbird, she had time on her hands. She rose to the bait but ever so cautiously, her presence was conditional. I know for a fact that she was thinking who the hell is this Tom guy? Cindy’s bike riding buddy?
The pandemic delayed her start of the other job which gave us the opportunity to get her back into Howlingbird. She ended up quitting for about 5 minutes when they called her in to work months later. I’ll never forgive her for putting me through that terror but as a small consolation, I had the pleasure of personally writing her letter of resignation to the other guy.
Carolynn brought Howlingbird back from the brink, it’s as simple as that. There is no task she hasn’t done or is not willing to do. She heads up this team tactfully and cheerfully. Howlingbird would be but a memory if it weren’t for Carolynn.
I can tell you, Howlingbird is the best place I’ve ever worked and Carolynn is the best boss I’ve ever had. Thank You Carolynn.
So before you is a young and energetic group of future business owners who need your support, your advice and your attention. This is a local company providing opportunities to local residents.
Howlingbird isn’t about Tom if it were, this meeting would have been postponed until another time so I could tell you all about myself! Howlingbird is about these workers, the ones who follow and the importance of supporting diverse businesses within your community so these neighbors of yours and residents like them can be part of the Falmouth dream. It’s an opportunity to continue the operation of a viable production business which supports local, stable, good paying jobs. With the investments we’ve made in top shelf equipment, this business is poised to meet the challenges of the future and frankly has no bounds for growth. We have invested in new popular processes to meet demand and we continually strive to improve.
Howlingbird is a model of what can be achieved by instilling trust and empowering people in creative and frankly, fun ways. I have the utmost confidence in this young crew. I have been doing my part to help to keep this legacy business alive for what I plan will be another 46 years. I trust that you as our business and community leaders will continue to do your part and support this fascinating small business.
April 1, 2020 | foleyfoleypc
It is April 1 and that means the FFCRA takes effect. Get your poster up or emailed to remote workers and have your policies ready to comply with this law. And yes, we have our FFCRA Compliance Package at the ready–which is evergreen so you get email updates as they unfold.
Speaking of updates, the IRS has provided guidance on how to document leave requests to get those tax credits. See questions 44-46 for the details.
And what about all that free money from the CARES Act? The SBA lenders are telling us applications for the Paycheck Protection Program will begin April 3, 2020. Here is a sample application. You can find the Emergency Disaster Loan Assistance application here, which is essentially a $10,000 grant for qualifying entities.
Find some joy today! Here is a fun video for home schoolers or anyone who wants a laugh.
Winter is known for being a time of celebration, family gatherings and staying cozy by the nearest fireplace. It’s also a season of potential challenges when it comes to your home, vehicle and health.
Want to keep the season as festive and problem-free as possible? Here are a few tips to help you enjoy the rest of 2019 and beyond:
It’s good advice for any time of the year: Give your home a thorough once-over and complete the maintenance tasks that can prevent you from having to make expensive repairs later on. This includes:
Winterize your car by checking all its vitals:
Health and Safety
Last but not least, take good care of your family and yourself during cold and flu season by getting a flu shot, washing your hands often and regularly wiping down commonly used items like light switches and remote controls.
And whether you’re getting your home ready for colder weather or the upcoming holidays, always exercise caution when using ladders, power tools, fireplaces and candles.
So many bookstores.....
Cape Cod & Islands Bookstore Trail Launches April 27
Follow the Cape Cod & Islands Bookstore Trail to discover a treasure trove of new and used bookstores from Sandwich to Falmouth to Provincetown, Martha's Vineyard to Nantucket.
The program will launch on Independent Bookstore Day, Saturday, April 27 and continue through October 31, 2019. The goal of the Trail is to highlight the unique and diverse array of independent bookstores on Cape Cod and the Islands.
20 independent bookstores (and counting!) will participate in the Trail, including Books By the Sea in Centerville, Booksmith/Musicsmith in Orleans, Brewster Bookstore in Orleans, Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Vineyard Haven, East End Books in Provincetown, Eight Cousins Books in Falmouth, A Great Yarn in Chatham, Herridge Books in Wellfleet, I Cannot Live Without Books in West Dennis, Isaiah Thomas Books & Prints in Cotuit, Main Street Books in Orleans, Market Street Bookshop in Mashpee, Mitchell's Book Corner and Nantucket Bookworks on Nantucket, Parnassus Book Service in Yarmouthport, Provincetown Bookshop in Provincetown, Reed Books in Harwich Port, Titcomb's Bookshop in East Sandwich, Wellfleet Booksmith in Wellfleet, Where the Sidewalk Ends Bookshop and Children's Annex in Chatham and Yellow Umbrella Book in Chatham.
Trail maps will be available at participating stores and can also be downloaded from the group's website at https://capeandislandsbookstoretrail.com/
People who visit 5 or more stores during 2019 will be given a Cape & Islands Bookstore Trail button.
Many of the participating bookstores will offer light refreshments, and some will have special events planned Independence Bookstore Day on April 27.
The Cape & Islands Bookstore Trail is organized by Caitlin Doggart from Where the Sidewalk Ends in Chatham, Sara Hines from Eight Cousins Books in Falmouth, and Vicky Titcomb from Titcomb's Bookshop in East Sandwich.
For more information, contact email@example.com
creating a press release
This was an article we read in the latest Cape & Plymouth Business magazine which completely answered a lot of questions we get from our members about sending press releases to the local newspaper. Don't overlook this important marketing tool. Just do it in a way that works!
The Do's and Don'ts of news releases
By Nicole Joy Hales
Although some people question the importance of press releases, or news releases, in an overall public relations campaign, they serve many purposes. These announcements are not only an effective way of sharing information about an organization, but they help to remind readers – and reporters and editors – about the organization, which oftentimes leads to a shift in perception about a company for the good. However, if your announcement is not written in a style that news organizations can easily modify or use, the likelihood of it appearing anywhere is minimal. Here are some tips to remember when writing a news release to ensure its visibility.
First, make sure that your news release is really sharing news. Many people confuse the opportunity for a news announcement with the possibility of being promotional. Announcing a new hire, an employee’s promotion, an acquisition, a donation to a local charity or even an organization’s anniversary is all news; announcing a “10th anniversary sale with hundreds of markdowns” is not. By making sure each of your releases shares worthwhile information, you establish yourself as a credible source in a growing, philanthropic, and/or specialized organization.
Once you’ve determined that your content is business news, be sure to write about the subject in a business style. Keep it simple and straightforward, with your main news at the beginning, and supporting or explanatory facts to follow. A news release should not be seen as an opportunity for creative writing – editors typically do not appreciate being kept in suspense.
Along those same lines, if an editor has little to edit when he or she receives your press release, the likelihood of it being published increases dramatically. Therefore, it makes sense to write in the style of the media outlet. Typically, for the business news sections of a variety of publications, this means writing the news release in third person, and referring to any people mentioned initially by their full name and subsequently by only their last name. Some people don’t necessarily like being referred to by their last name only, but you’ll find that this is fairly standard practice.
Whenever possible, also include a photograph. Not only will you attract more eyes to your news with a photo, but editors are also happy to receive images that break up text-heavy pages. Be sure to identify anyone in the photo with a caption.
Different media outlets do have different ways of accepting submissions, so if there’s one publication in particular you’re trying to get into, it pays to do a little research and determine their preferences. However, most times you can’t go wrong by sending an email, with the announcement as the body of the email message, your headline as the subject, and your photo attached to the email (with a note identifying the photo so that editors understand it’s not a malware infiltration attempt!). This allows for easy copying and pasting of text right from the editor’s email inbox to the publication software. Do not send a news release as a pdf – doing so requires many more steps for someone to extract the content and could result in a time-strapped editor simply ignoring it.
Finally, be sure to add your contact information (or the contact information of your organization’s spokesperson). Doing so not only provides an opportunity to clarify any information, but also offers an easy way for an editor to get in touch again in the future – maybe to ask you to serve as an interview source, or because he or she is interested in profiling your organization for a future issue.
Done right, news releases offer a great opportunity to demonstrate to readers and media professionals alike a variety of strong and positive characteristics about your organization – whether it be growing, innovative, charity-minded, community-based, or all of the above. By sending news releases on a regular basis (about one every two weeks), you can keep your company front and center in the minds of readers and editors alike!
Nicole Joy Hales is vice president, client services at PR first!!! (www.prfirst.com), a public relations firm based in Hanover, Massachusetts. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What We Do and Why we do it!
Employment law alert
New Gender-Based Equal Pay Obligations for all Massachusetts Employers
Gender-based equal pay is just a few weeks away in Massachusetts. All employers in Massachusetts with the sole exception of the federal government must comply with the new/amended Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA), a gender-based pay equity law, on or before June 30, 2018.
The assessment of gender-based pay equity in Massachusetts has changed significantly. The standard is different. The definitions are different. Exposure is different and potential corrective measures are different. The conversation about salary history and employee wages will be significantly different. Here is a link to the guidance issued by the Commonwealth’s Attorney General. That guidance includes links to the Pay Calculation tools and spreadsheet prepared by the Office of the Attorney General.
Please remember the AG’s caveat: “The Pay Calculator tools provided by the Office of the Attorney General will not tell employers definitively whether they have achieved compliance with the new law but instead are intended to assist employers with gathering and analyzing relevant information. Ultimately, the law requires a case-by-case determination.”
All members of the Chamber are covered by this new law and must conduct an evaluation of their pay practices in accordance with the new legal standard in order to achieve compliance with the new law on or before June 30, 2018. In general terms, the updated Equal Pay law requires employers to pay employees of a different gender the same pay if they perform comparable work. MEPA recognizes only six permissible reasons for differences in pay for employees of a different gender who perform comparable work: a system that rewards seniority with the employer; a merit system; a system which measures earnings by quality or quantity of production, sales or revenue; geographic location in which a job is performed; education, training or experience to the extent such factors are reasonably related to the particular job in question; or travel, if travel is a regular and necessary condition of the particular job.
We recommend using outside counsel as part of this process to protect findings under the Attorney/Client privilege.
FALMOUTH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & ITS MEMBERS
We promote Falmouth, its terrific businesses and our wonderful community. This blog is open to Chamber Members. Send posts for possible publication to Susan