Author: Josh Norton, BSU student
Haynes Private Music Lessons is a music studio in Bridgewater, Massachusetts that provides one-on-one lessons for a variety of different instruments to people of all ages. After talking to Mr. Carlton Haynes, the owner of the business, it was no surprise to me why he decided to dedicate himself to music education for other people in the community. Mr. Haynes is a true lover of music and enjoys playing all sorts of different styles including gospel, jazz, R&B, rock, and classical. Mr. Hayne’s love for music began at a young age when he learned to play the piano. Although the piano was his favorite, he went on to learn multiple other instruments including the guitar, bass, violin, and the drums, all of which he teaches to his students. Mr. Haynes has done big things in the music industry playing professionally for 25 years and, winning multiple classical piano concerto competitions in different states across the US. When hiring teachers Mr. Haynes has high standards and chooses highly qualified musicians with impressive credentials like his, all of which you can see on the website.
Mr. Haynes opened the studio at 625 Bedford Street in Bridgewater just less than a year ago in 2019 and began teaching music to over 40 different students. Lessons are provided for the piano, guitar, violin, trumpet, drums, cello, and singing as well, in half hour or hour-long sessions. Instruments can be rented out inexpensively from the studio for anyone who doesn’t yet own them to be taken home and practiced, which makes trying out a new instrument much less expensive. Every six months students have the chance to show off everything that they have learned at concerts put together by the team at Haynes Private Music Lessons.
During its first year of opening, the business faced a major obstacle with the Covid-19 Pandemic. Students were no longer able to come into the studio for lessons, but this did not stop Mr. Haynes and the rest of the staff from teaching their students. The studio immediately started putting out very detailed lessons online so they would be able to continue learning from home. When the state began reopening the studio was finally allowed to open back up and began rushing to comply to all of the states Covid-19 social distancing and sanitation policies and so that they’d be able to take students back in for in person lessons as soon as they could. Once again, the number of people coming in for lessons began to rise.
Mr. Haynes has big goals for Haynes Private Music Lessons and wants to continue spreading his love for music to many more people throughout the South Shore by taking on even more students and opening another studio. Through the use of different social media outlets more customers are finding out about the studio and taking interest and it is clear that once people find out about Haynes Private Music Lessons they are hooked. The proof is in the reviews, with all of them encouraging people who are interested in learning an instrument to reach out to Mr. Haynes.
Visit Haynes Private Music Lessons at: 625 Bedford Street in Bridgewater, MA
Contact them via:
Author: Alexandra Powers, BSU student
Q: Tell me about your business. Why did you choose this line of business?
A: I run a children’s gym where we teach beginner level gymnastics, as well as offer birthday parties, open gym times, vacation camp programs and a monthly movie night. I was a competitive gymnast and coach when I was young and have always had a great love for both the sport and for kids.
Q: Are you from this local area?
A: I am originally from Long Island, NY. I have lived in Bridgewater, MA for 23 years where I raised my daughter with my husband.
Q: When did you start your business?
A: I opened Stardust Gym in October, 2008.
Q: What was it that made you want to start this business?
A: I walked away from my love for gymnastics to pursue a professional career as a real estate paralegal. I had always wanted to open my own gym and when my daughter was a teenager, I decided it was time to take the leap and do this for myself. It was scary but the best career decision I ever made!
Q: What was the toughest thing you went through when opening?
A: Self-doubt was the toughest thing I went through. I didn’t know if people would come. I stuck to my beliefs of what kids and parents would want in a children’s gym and did extensive marketing in the beginning. The grand opening was a huge success and the parties took off right from the beginning but the gymnastics enrollment took a few years of perseverance and building a reputation.
Q: What inspired you to keep going as you were getting the business off the ground?
A: The positive feedback from parents and smiling faces from the children kept me going.
Q: If you had to start over from day one what would you have done differently? Or what was your most difficult challenge?
A: I don’t think I would have done anything different. The mistakes I made were only minor and made me a better business owner.
Q: What is the toughest part about having a business in 2020?
A: I think the toughest part about having a business in 2020 is continuing to grow the customer base to cover the constant rising costs and maintaining quality staff. Also keeping up to date with the latest marketing trends thru social media.
Q: If a customer was to choose between your business and three others just like it why would you suggest they at least give you a try ﬁrst? What makes you stand out?
A: We specialize on beginner level gymnastics and the size of the gym isn’t overwhelming for children. It’s easy for parents to see their child at all times and the gym is clean and safe. The parties are memorable for the children and easy for the parents. The staff is well trained and love working with the children. We get a lot of positive feedback about the gym and the staff and great reviews can be found on the internet.
Q: What is the number one way you currently bring in new customers?
A: Word of mouth has always been our number one marketing tool. But we also have a good social media presence on Facebook and Instagram as well as an informative website and newsletter.
Q: If you had to look 6 months to a year into the future where would you like to see your business be?
A: I would like to see it continue to grow as is has in the past. I have no plans for any major changes in the business model because of my age as I plan to retire in 4 years.
Q: Would you increase or decrease the amount you personally tend to within the business?
A: I have gradually decreased my hours at the gym recently doing just the behind the scenes work like marketing, accounting, supplies and payroll. I currently have a great staff to run the gymnastics program and only work a few hours during the week with most of my hours over the weekend. Most of my hours are now from home.
Q: Finally, what is the best way for the readers to connect with your business and to take advantage of what your company has to offer?
A: They can see what we have to offer and get a good feel for our business on our website, Facebook and Instagram. They can also sign up to receive our newsletters by email to keep up to date on what’s going on at our gym.
Visit Stardust Gym at:
612 Plymouth St., Unit 3R, East Bridgewater, MA
Author: Patrick Benedict, BSU student
Round Table Games is a hobby store located in the Carver Square Shopping Center, in Carver, MA. They offer a space for players to come play games like Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, Pathfinder, and others. Founded by Chris and Candi Zahnzinger in 2015, the store was opened with the goal of creating a space in which people could walk through the door and leave their troubles behind, if only few a little bit. Round Table Games provides an escape to their players in a homey and welcoming environment.
Embracing a third space philosophy, they wanted to build a store that would help people find a fun environment with other players, away from work and home. That is exactly what they have accomplished at Round Table Games – every night you can find a myriad of games going, sometimes lead by Chris, in which potential players are welcome to drop in and have fun. They have thrived doing so, and continue to grow their player base. People are also welcome to come to the store with their own games and have a good time.
The environment and culture of Round Table Games has been built behind a huge effort Chris and Candi. They understand that many types of people want to play games with others, but may not know where or how, or may have challenges in the social realm – all players are welcome, as long as they are there to have fun. Round Table Games is all about hosting social games and fostering the sort of camaraderie that comes with that experience. Chris describes that feeling of joining alongside fellow adventurers as very satisfying, one that can’t be beat by staring into a phone or computer screen – even if get someone little too heated, maybe a little too angry – it’s an experience that’s hard to beat!
The business opened in September 2015; Chris had been working as system administrator, following a passion for customer service. They had been running a weekly gaming group for years, from early in the morning to after midnight, and it just kept getting bigger and bigger. Their kids were growing up, and getting involved in gaming as well. With a deep interest in gaming and gaming spaces, and seeing their children really come alive and grow in those spaces, Chris and Candi decided to take the risk to open Round Table Games. To them, it was a space where no one had to worry about religion or politics or what as troubling them, when you’re there you’re just trying to make the “biggest duck egg” or conquer the boss or whatever the game might be.
The store started out on a shoestring budget; sitting on a shelf in the store are dozens of games that they brought from home to start the building the space. They put together fixtures, tables, chairs, and decorations to bring it all together, and hoped for the best – and combined with their extraordinary talent for making players feel at home, the store is now doing great; if one visits their website, they have gaming events nearly every day, for all kinds of players. Creating a welcoming environment for all players is shown in other ways at the store too. When discussing why people would choose their store over others, Chris says it’s all about fit. Chris and Candi want players to feel at home – but they do have to respect the rules, which means no walking around in your underwear! And they also want to build a store where effort is rewarded. They have a robust rewards system, something they developed out of their humble beginnings, trying to figure out the right amount to give away to players. They developed a system of leaderboards, in which when people show up to play, they get points on the leaderboards that they can use to spend in the store. They also run tournaments in which rewards pools are divvied up amongst all players; that way, if you participate, you get to walk away with something. Chris says it has cost them some of the more competitive players, but a key part of their philosophy is that they stick to building their culture and don’t try to fight over other customers: if a player is more competitive and wants to play winner take all, they just aren’t a good fit, and would be happier elsewhere. They also have a rule in which you can’t bad mouth other stores; Round Table Games fosters a positive environment however it can. This has resulted in a great deal of customer loyalty.
Round Table Games is not just a space to play – it’s a space to buy games too. Chris works extremely hard to research the latest in gaming and hobbies, and keeps a well curated inventory. If you come in and ask, they will be able to point you in the right direction, and if they can’t, they will find where to send you. Chris stresses that when customers come in looking for a game, he understands that those people have already used the internet to research it, and may even know more than he does about it – but he’s more than happy to talk about it with you, and try to find the best way to help you with what you need.
Visit Round Table Games today, or give them a call; they’d be happy to have you!
Author: Maxwell Kroll, BSU student
An Interview with Busy Bee Jumper Owner Sal Longo
Question: How did you get involved with this business? And why did you believe it was going to be successful?
Answer: When I was 18 years old, I met my current partner at a football game through the introduction from a mutual friend. Jim, who is my current partner, was just starting up Busy Bee Jumpers and needed help with deliveries. So, from when I was 18 to 24, I worked for him part time. When I graduated college, I invested my own capital into this business and became an owner. What made me believe this business would be successful is the need for our services in the market. Most of our competitors are smaller mom and pop type businesses who only service a small area. We believed that by establishing a trusted brand, due to top notch service, that we could establish a large geographic area to service. This allows us to have better margins which gives our customers the best service at very competitive prices.
Q: What was the toughest thing you went through when opening?
A: The toughest thing that we went through around 11 years ago was reaching the customers. At that time, we were listed in yellow pages and internet advertising wasn’t nearly as popular. I have lived in Bridgewater my whole life, so I have a strong connection with this community. We were able to reach local customers, but it was difficult to reach customers who lived far away. Once we began advertising through google and other internet avenues, our market expanded dramatically. We were able to reach customers over an hour away, north of Boston. Once we serviced these customers, we were able to expand our services to farther geographic locations. Our customer service is what makes us stand out, so when a neighbor recommends us and then people begin to hear our brand name, we become trusted in that community.
Q: How has technology effected your business? And do you think technology will continue to help your business grow?
A: Like I said before, google advertising has helped us grow tremendously. We use technology mainly in two ways. First is the advertising and marketing side, google has allowed us to reach customers that aren’t physically close to us. Secondly, technology has helped us with our operational process. We use a software that allows us to track our business, simply and accurately. This software gives us the ability to grow steadily, without having to worry as much about how we will process and organize our business activities.
Q: Which style of owner would you describe yourself as? Passive, hands on, or a mix of both?
A: I am just as much of a manager as I am an owner. My day to day revolves around ensuring the operations are running smoothly. I’m the first one in the building, briefing our staff of the day ahead. I like to have a presence in the warehouse for our staff to see. I’m probably a little too hands on as a manager but its working for us currently. As we grow, we may hire or promote other management positions that allow myself to step back a little as a manager. This would allow me to focus more on the big picture part of our operation.
Q: Where do you see this company a year from now?
A: We believe in steady attainable growth and we currently are achieving that pace. In about a year I would like our growth to continue into locations that we are not currently servicing. Our plan is to continue our growth so in order to do that we have to go into markets that we aren’t in yet. This always brings new challenges, but we believe that our plan for future expansion will continue at a steady rate.
Try Something New for Girls’ Night Out or Vacation Fun For The Kids at Just Claying Around in Bridgewater, MA
Author: Zoe Todisco, BSU student
In April of 2008, Jaryn Conway took the risk of buying Just Claying Around a popular Bridgewater arts studio that has since become a pillar of the local community. Having a lifelong love of art, Conway earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting/2D Studies from UMass Dartmouth. She first discovered her love of pottery while taking a ceramics class during this time. She went on to work in the art world for several famous artists and galleries while also trying to start her own business selling art online. While working on her MBA, she took a break from the art world working several office jobs. After completing her MBA, she continued to work in managerial positions for several environmental companies while still longing to get back into the arts. When she found a listing for an art studio, it was the perfect opportunity to get back into the arts while growing an established business.
Question: Why did you choose Bridgewater as the location? Did you consider other locations?
Answer: The business was already located in Bridgewater. I have thought about moving to other towns, especially when I decided to move my business at the end of 2014, but I could never bring myself to leave. I love this town and the people in it. I have watched my customer's children grow up. I have employees who had their birthday parties at my studio when they were 8. Some kids are now bringing in their kids, mothers are now bringing in their grandkids. I went to High School in East Bridgewater and I've lived from Quincy to New Bedford, so sometimes customers are people who I knew 20 years ago that are coming in with their kids to make something. 12 years is a good amount of time to build a business with a solid customer base made up of people who either are friends or become your friends.
Q: Can you tell me about starting Just Claying Around? Was it relatively quick once you decided to start or was it a long process?
A: As it was already an established business, the start-up was pretty quick. I dove into the financials, wrote a business plan, secured a loan, and made an offer on what I thought the business was worth. That offer was accepted. I opened an LLC, opened a bank account, got the loan, and wrote a check. I then started working in the business with the previous owner, before we changed ownership so I could learn as much as possible. When she gave me the keys, I put on an apron and the phone rang. The customer asked me a question I had no idea how to answer. I handed the phone to her and asked can you just answer this one last customer. She did, then told me that I would have to figure out the rest on my own and I did.
Q: What was the toughest thing you went through when opening? What inspired you to keep going as you were getting the business off the ground?
A: The toughest thing was buying a business in 2008. The economy tanked right after and I had quit my full-time job and had no idea what I was doing. I kept pushing myself to move forward. I knew if I could get through this, I could get through anything. It was and still is really hard. There were many times I wanted to quit, but I had a loan I had to pay back, a lease, and no job to go back to. I had no choice but to figure it out and make it work.
Q: You guys have a very strong online presence (a very clean and user-friendly website and a consistent social media presence), do you think that has contributed to your success and differentiated you?
A: First, thank you. We try really hard to keep up with posting in our social media accounts. My wife Cynthia who runs the business with me is 100% (maybe 95%) in charge of our posts. She takes phenomenal pictures and makes great graphic designs. I feel like we are only now starting to "get good" at these things and I do think it has driven more people into the studio.
Q: If a customer was to choose between your business and 3 others just like it why would you suggest they at least give you a try ﬁrst? What makes you stand out?
A: Our customer service. We have great employees working for us who all know the customer experience while in our studio has to be top notch. All of our employees are trained and then retrained to deliver the best customer experience we can. This includes, being friendly, knowledgeable, and knowing how to help customers make pieces they can show off.
The projects we have are also of the highest quality. We take great care in processing pieces we need to finish for our customers. We only buy from reputable companies with a long history of good craftsmanship.
Stop by and visit Just Claying Around at 552 Bedford Street, Bridgewater, or contact them via:
Website URL: https://myjca.com/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/justclayingaroundllc/
Things are shaping up in the Cape Cod arts community, as The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod awarded Cape Cod artists and organizations $53,000 in grants for the year. They believe that the arts are not nice that they are necessary. 33 local artists and organizations in the Cape Cod area will benefit from the grant money, which would offer cultural opportunities for a variety of ages and capabilities.
This is the fourth year that the program has been able to increase the amount of funding that was funded and the number of projects that would soon benefit from the grants. There were more than 91 applications submitted seeking a total amount of $190,000 for funding. The officials who had to determine who would receive the grants said that the applications proved that the project could have a significant impact on the region and the economy.
They see requests for funding projects that will help use art as a way for healing and that can be used as inspiration for the next generation. The initiatives proposed are a reminder of the power that art can have on those in the community. Four of the grants, totaling $10,000 would go to projects that align with the goals of the AFCC Access Program. Their goal is to create opportunities for youths who are socio-economically disadvantaged and might otherwise face challenges benefiting from art programs.
In 2020, the funding would double the amount and double the number of participants from four years ago. In 2016 grants $25,000 went to 18 recipients. Over the past 30 years, the foundation has granted $1.6 million to the arts.
Here are this year's recipients:
Cape Cod Collaborative Arts Network – awarded $2,600 – this would be for an eight-week photography workshop for persons with developmental and physical challenges.
The Boys and Girls Club of Cape Code – awarded $2,500 – the fund's award to this organization would be used for before and after school art programs.
Fine Arts Work Center – awarded $2,000 – will provide free, creative and visual art workshops to Provincetown Public School students and seniors.
Cape Symphony and Conservatory - $1,500 – these funds would go toward Suzuki-method violin instructions for preschool children. Cape Cod Chamber Orchestra for a commissioned piece in celebration of the 400h anniversary of the history-changing Mayflower voyage that will be presented at a future concert.
Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill – awarded $1,250 – to be used for the 15th annual Provincetown Dance Festival
Sturgis Library in Barnstable – awarded $1,200 – these funds would support a six-week flash-fiction writing workshop for ages 16 and older.
TEDx Provincetown – awarded $1,000 – this would be for a third annual art vent for October; Harbor Stage Company for a summer series of readings; Nauset Regional Middle School for an Arts Day in participating schools; Provincetown Film Society for second annual Jamaica on Film Festival held in September; Provincetown Theater Foundation will use funds for off-season programming.