By: Jim Haddadin

FRAMINGHAM — With the holidays around the corner, local and federal officials highlighted one of Framingham’s small-business success stories Monday to underscore the benefits of shopping local.

Jack’s Abby Brewing played host to a delegation of small-business boosters, including Wendell Davis, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s regional administrator for New England.

The craft brewery, previously named the SBA’s manufacturer of the year, received kudos for giving a shot in the arm to the local economy.

“Jack’s Abby really does represent ... not only the economic engine that is Framingham and MetroWest, but also the ability of small businesses to have a very large impact on our economy, on job growth, and on creating community,” said U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, who also stopped by the beer maker’s restaurant and beer hall on Clinton Street.

Clark and others visited the brewery Monday to celebrate its success, and to encourage people across the state to support small businesses during the holiday shopping season. SBA is getting the word out in advance of Small Business Saturday — a term coined by American Express in 2010 to drive business to small retailers during the busy shopping period after Thanksgiving.

The credit card giant estimates U.S. consumers will spend more than $85 billion at independent retailers and restaurants during the eight-day period after the holiday.

Jack’s Abby, founded by brothers Eric, Sam and Jack Hendler, has been credited with boosting the profile of its home city during seven years in business and creating some 150 jobs.

“I think it’s so important that we continue to support and grow small businesses in Framingham,” Mayor Yvonne Spicer said. “I’ve seen a number of incubator things happen here in Framingham, and I’m looking forward to more as time goes on. Framingham is on the map. It’s on the worldwide map, and my job as the mayor of this great city is to continue to grow from the small businesses, but also the partnerships that we have at the state level, at the federal level, in order to make it work for our city.”

Jack’s Abby received an SBA-backed loan when it was getting up and running at its new facility about three years ago. According to information provided by SBA, the brewery launched a $5.4 million project to buy equipment and renovate its space at 100 Clinton St. when it relocated there from its original home on Morton Street in 2016.

Jack’s Abby participated in the SBA’s Section 504 Program, which offers a combination of private money and government-backed financing to help entrepreneurs get off the ground. Mutual One Bank, provided 50 percent of the funding, while another 40 percent came from Bay Colony Development Corp.

Bay Colony, a nonprofit, works with the SBA to help small businesses in New England purchase major fixed assets, such as land, buildings, machinery and equipment. Its money comes from private investors, such as pension funds and life insurance companies, and is backed by a federal guarantee.

Jack’s Abby was required to finance the remaining 10 percent in the form of cash or equity in its brewery.

The brewery also benefited from tax breaks from its host community. Jack’s Abby negotiated a Tax Increment Financing deal that exempts the brewery from paying an estimated $255,000 in property taxes over seven years. In exchange, the company committed to keeping its headquarters in Framingham and creating at least 35 new full-time jobs.

Jack’s Abby has far exceeded that target, employing a staff of 150 and opening a newer offshoot, the Springdale Barrel Room, at 102 Clinton St. City officials credit the business with breathing new life into downtown, drawing visitors from around New England to its restaurant and beer hall.

Jack’s Abby also donated a portion of the revenue it received from the sale of its Framingham Lager to Downtown Framingham, Inc., an economic development organization focused on the central business district.

Sam Hendler credited the SBA, Mutual One and the city with making the brewery venture possible and allowing the company to grow into one of the state’s largest beer makers in the course of less than eight years.

“We don’t have every tool that these giant businesses have,” Hendler said. “We need to lean on a lot more help outside of these four walls. We can’t do everything in here ourselves, and we’ve always gotten that help when we’ve turned to the city.”


Original story here.