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Technical Assistance:

East Somerville Main Streets works alongside local businesses to find strategies to address a wide variety of improvement needs.

What do we do?

Some examples of Technical Assistance projects we've provided to local businesses include:


 - Strengthing Marketing and Online Presence

 - Business growth and expansion projects

 - Displacement Assistance

Are you a small business owner interested in receiving technical assistance?  Contact us for help.

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Small business technical assistance is funded through Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation and the City of Somerville Economic Development department.

City of Somerville's Small Business Assistance Program:

This program provided technical assistance and implementation support for businesses seeking to upgrade window displays, improve store layout, implement new social media strategies, enhance visual merchandising, implement best practices in creating a superlative customer experience and/or address other management concerns. 

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2021 Projects:

COVID-19 has made the past year unprecedented.  East Somerville Main Streets staff and volunteers have stepped up to help provide as much small business support as possible at this critical time.  

  • Leveraged over $500,000 in COVID-19 relief grants for East Somerville small businesses with application assistance.

  • Provided PPE kits for small business staff (masks, face shields and hand sanitizer).

  • Helped protect businesses at risk of eviction during state moratorium. 

  • Helped businesses with re-opening by working with volunteer archetect Cindy Larson and her team at Centrepointe Archracts on providing layout plans for indoor and outdoor dining.  

  • Additional assistance as described below:


Project 1: Rincon Mexicano

Assisted with owner Lorenzo with COVID 19 Relief applications, Health License renewal and dumpster license and outdoor dinging 

Project 2: Montecristo

Assisted owner Marlo with COVID19 Relief applications, health license renewal, outdoor dining and created new logo and business cards.  

Project 3: Recino's Cafe

Assisted owner Jose with COVID19 Relief applications, health license renewal, outdoor dining and created new logo and business cards.

Project 3: Tikal Uniform

Created a postcard promotion to help inform customers about his move to a new address. 


Project 4: Maya Sol

Helped owner Marta apply for COVID-19 relief funding.


Project 5: Los Paisanos

Assisted owner Orlando with COVID-19 Relief Funding.  

Project 6: Instant Shoe Repair

Assisted owner Sammy with a new logo and A-frame design for his business.

Project 7: Fadil African Hair Braiding

Assisted owners Anite and Illi with new A-frame Sign.

Project 8: Susanita's Fiesta

Assisted owner Susana with new business card and business opening press release.  

Project 9: Ola Cafe

Assisted with owner Gus COVID-19 relief funding.  


2020 Projects:

Project 1: Maya Sol   

Assisted with owner Marta with her application for Outdoor Seating by creating layout draft for the permit application and assisting with applying online city CitizenServe program.

Project 2: Recino’s Cafe

Paid for the creation of a logo design for Recino’s Café.

Project 3: Taqueria Montecristo

Helped owners send a call for estimates for a curb cut to add a dedicated parking space to their business for their delivery car.  When the bids came back far too high, we paid for a business parking permit to help this business. 


Project 4: Los Paisanos

Helped owner Orlando create new coupons to encourage repeat business for the restaurant. 


Project 5: Rincon Mexicano

East Somerville Main Streets assisted owner Lorenzo apply for entertainment license to be able to host Mariachi band at Rincon Mexicano 

Project 6: Hair-gineer

East Somerville Main Streets assisted owner Smiley with a logo design and A-frame sign for his barbershop business.


Project 7: Restaurant Shaddai

East Somerville Main Streets assisted owner Humberto on his restaurant license application.  As part of his application to the city, Humberto needed a layout and corresponding equipment list.  ESMS partnered with local high school student to create layout for the restaurant. 

Project 8: Jozy Hair Salon

East Somerville Main Streets assisted owner Jozy with updating her Google and Yelp profiles after her business moved to a different location within the business district.

Project 9: Fadil African Hair Braiding

East Somerville Main Streets assisted owners Anita and Illi on a logo design and business cards for the business. 


Project 10: TBD

2019 Projects:

Project 1: Ola Café
East Somerville Main Street worked with owner Gus Cunha with respect to his negotiation of an easement  agreement with neighboring property owners,.  With the help of ESMS, Gus was able to negotiate a stronger agreement to protect his interests with respect to property modifications and incurred third party costs while continuing to enable the adjacent property proposal to advance. 
Project 2: Tikal Uniform
East Somerville Main Streets supported owner Juan with his proposal for changes to the new storefront property.  ESMS developed a letter of support to the city planning department in support of his project.

Project 3: Los Pasianos
East Somerville Main Streets worked extensively with owner Orlando to help him with addressing safety concerns with the landlord of the property.


Project 4: Blanca Bakery

East Somerville Main Streets worked extensively with owner Raul to help him with negotiating his lease with the landlord and connected him to a lawyer who provided him with pro bono consulting time.


Project 5: Bonita Hair Salon and Blow Dry Bar
East Somerville Main Streets assisted the new business owner Nailah Montalvo to upgrade her online profiles on Google and Yelp as well as drafted and sent a Press Release about their opening to local media.


Project 6: Hair-gineer
East Somerville Main Streets assisted new business owner Smiley to upgrade his online profiles on Google and Yelp as well as drafted and sent a Press Release about their opening to local media.


Project 7 : Fadil African Hair braiding
East Somerville Main Streets assisted new East Somerville owners Anita and Iliassou Fassassi to get a third quote for a sink install necessary to their business operations and sent a Press Release about their opening to local media.


Project 8: Humberto with Shaddai
East Somerville Main Streets assisted small business owner Humberto to pay-back his Kiva Loan and submit an application for Common Victualer License to open a new restaurant in East Somerville.


Project 9: Gauchao Brazilian Cuisine
East Somerville Main Streets worked with Gauchao Brazilian Cuisine to assist them with their applications for Special Building Permit, Outdoor Seating permit, Outdoor Awning Permit, and Liquor License Application.  ESMS attended Planning Board Meeting and Licensing Commission meeting and spoke in support of their expansion.  East Somerville Main Streets also worked with City Councillor Matt McLaughlin to develop a letter of support for the expansion.  


Project 10: Maya Sol
East Somerville Main Streets worked with Marta from Maya Sol to help her with her Outdoor Seating permit application.

Project 11: Recino's Cafe

East Somerville Main Streets created a press release for their opening and attended their Common Vic License approval Meeting in support.  


Other Business Support

In addition to our Technical Assistance work, ESMS has strengthen our relationships with local businesses and promoted them in new ways including highlighting businesses on social media, featuring updates and highlights of businesses in our monthly business newsletter, and creating new events such as our Game Nights, Trivia Night, Bridge Closing Party and the Holiday Bar Crawl to encourage the community to patronize and connect with their local businesses more. 

2018 Projects:

Project 1: Ola Café
ESMS partnered with Thrive Hive to host a marketing seminar for small business owners. As a result of this meeting, Ola Café connected with a graphic designer to increase Ola’s online presence with a new logo launched in March 2018
Project 2: Sullivan Square Liquors

ESMS helped the owner of Sulivan Square Liquors brainstorm solutions to displacement from their longtime location. Once a promising new location was in the works, ESMS helped Sullivan Square Liquors with the liquor license hearing. The new location opened in February 2018.

Project 3: Taqueria Monte Cristo
ESMS collaborated with Taqueria Montecristo’s owners and a local artist to create a new, welcoming mural on the outside wall and make interior upgrades. Afterward, Taqueria Montecristo was listed as an iconic place to visit in East Somerville as part of a local photo series. 


Project 4: Shaddai Boutique and Decorations
Assisted owner of Shaddai with initial storefront designs and improvements and lease mediation as part of long term business plan. The owner was interested in the Somerville Storefront grants but would be unable to access that program without a long term lease that the building owners was originally unwilling to grant. ESMS mediation between the two parties clarified the potential improvements that would benefit all if a lease could be agreed to. ESMS assisted Shaddai in several good faith efforts to demonstrate Shaddai's commitment to improvement which resulted in the long term commercial lease being signed

2017 Projects:

Project 1: Rincon Mexicano            

ESMS assisted Rincon Mexicano successfully expand their business. In addition, ESMS worked hand-in-hand with Rincon to secure a permanent liquor license and plan the February 2017 grand re-opening.

Project 2: Deano's Pasta Factory

ESMS collaborated with the Somerville Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, Mudflat Studio, the Somerville Media Center, and Deano’s Pasta Factory to have local artists Laura Smith and Nate Swain create a beautiful, colorful mural along the wall of Deano’s on Cross Street E. After the first mural was completed, Deano’s wanted to add another mural to their factory, this time to aid in sales and exposure. ESMS connected Deano’s with street artist Nate Swain, who completed a stunning mural in 2018 that spans 2 sides of the building (Garfield Ave and Blakely Ave). The newest mural depicts the inner workings of the pasta factory.

Project 3: Paisanos Restaurant

ESMS facilitated multiple meetings with the owners of Paisanos Restaurant, the building owner, and a local architect to discuss expansion, updating the residential units above the restaurant, potentially adding additional floors, and other storefront improvement ideas. In addition, ESMS meet with the new owner regarding updating the menu by serving brunch.


Project 4: Blessings Caribbean Restaurant

ESMS partnered with Blessings Caribbean Restaurant to help improve and streamline their cash flow and financial management systems. In addition, ESMS conducted tenant advocacy with the landlord and worked with Blessings to ensure all codes were being met.

Project 5: Sullivan Square Liquors


Project 6: Shaddai

2016 Projects:

Project 1: Paisanos Restaurant             

Project 2: Magda’s Beauty Zone (now Hairgineer)

Project 3: Coco’s Hair Salon

Project 4: Blanca’s Bakery

Project 5: Botanica El Divino Nino

Project 6: Rincon

Project 7: Beautiful Stuff Project

Project 8: Rapid Retail Systems

Project 9: Ola Café

Project 10: East End Grill

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