In need of a ‘Rescue’?
Nonprofits are always on the hunt for new revenue, and some of them dabble in retail to bring in extra money.
Think museum gift shops or online stores selling coffee mugs and note cards. Now NEADS, a Princeton, Mass., nonprofit that trains service dogs, wants to bolster its fledgling retail operation — and, if history repeats itself, the item it’s selling won’t stay in stock for long.
Beginning today, NEADS is offering a stuffed animal version of Rescue, a black lab named by the Worcester Fire Department in honor of firefighter Jon Davies, who rode on a truck called Rescue 1 and died in a 2011 building collapse.
Rescue was trained at NEADS, and he’s now a service dog for Boston Marathon bombing victim Jessica Kensky, who lost a leg in the attack, as did her husband Patrick Downes. Compounding that tragedy, Kensky’s remaining leg, which was also badly injured, was amputated last week.
Shortly before Christmas, NEADS put 30 stuffed Rescues up for sale — and they sold out in about a day.
Buoyed by that success, it has ordered another 150, but this batch is a souped-up Valentine’s Day edition with heart-shaped name tag, red service dog cape, and booklet describing the story of Rescue’s life.
Each one also comes with a miniature doghouse, created and donated to NEADS by Fitchburg-based Boutwell, Owens & Co., which makes printed paperboard packaging. Unicorr Packaging Group, a Connecticut company with offices in Marlborough, donated the boxes for shipping.
Given how quickly the first round sold, “it was just a no-brainer” to order more of them, said Tamara Beland, retail manager for NEADS.
Plus, Beland added, “the story of Rescue is so important — the fact that he was named after a fallen firefighter and then placed with a Marathon bombing survivor — and it really speaks to us at NEADS, who we are, and what we do on a daily basis.”
The stuffed animals are being sold online and at NEADS for $55 apiece, which includes tax and shipping, and proceeds benefit the organization. — SACHA PFEIFFER
A gentle dress-code ribbing, chamber style
Suffolk Construction chief executive John Fish is focused on the Olympics these days — so focused that he forgot his suit jacket last week in a rush out the door to a South Shore Chamber of Commerce meeting in Randolph where he was due to speak about the Boston 2024 effort.
While jacket-and-tie is the typical attire for men at chamber functions, it’s possible that Fish’s wardrobe malfunction would have gone unnoticed, if not for some good natured ribbing from chamber chief executive Peter Forman.
Forman encouraged the men among the crowd of more than 300 people in the Lombardo’s banquet room to take off their jackets in solidarity with Fish.
So instead of speaking to a room filled with guys wearing dark jackets, Fish ended up talking to a sea of white shirts.
The Suffolk chief seemed a little sheepish when we mentioned the incident to him. He said he left his jacket behind because he was focused on giving a great speech to the chamber.
“It was Peter’s way of taking a little shot at me,” Fish said of Forman’s unusual request of the audience.
In fairness to Fish, this wasn’t a normal day.
As chairman of the Boston 2024 Partnership, Fish and his team had that day unveiled the documents that enabled Boston to become this country’s pick to bid for the 2024 Summer Games.
And he was due back in Boston for another speech about the Olympics a few hours later.
— JON CHESTO
Let’s all drink to all those poor, suffering Texans
If you think the cold weather is bad here, maybe you should move to Houston.
Yes, we know it’s about as far south as you can go and not leave the country.
But an unscientific study, done this month in the name of promoting beer, discovered that Houstonians complain about winter weather much more than we do.
The Boston Beer Co. kept track of complaints about the cold on Twitter during Jan. 18 through Jan. 24, traditionally the coldest week of the year.
The South Boston-based company plans to award the biggest whiners with free parties to promote its Cold Snap spring seasonal beer, based on its survey of some 15,000 tweets.
Manhattan, Houston, and Chicago won the contest. Boston didn’t even make the top five.
“I was surprised but I also believe that we’re pretty tough people here in Boston,” said Jennifer Glanville, a brewer at Boston Beer. “I like to think we’re tougher than New York.”
— JON CHESTO
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