One city neighborhood is bucking the economic trend

The Herald News, Thursday, September 30, 2010 – Page A1


FALL RIVER – Store owners by the intersection of New Boston Road and Robeson Street told Mayor Will Flanagan during his walking tour of the area on Wednesday that business has held up, or in some cases grown, during the recession. Some concerns aired during previous tours by businesses and residents in other areas of the city — like crime or a shortage of parking — didn’t apply in one of the city’s busiest and most coveted commercial areas. Many of the shops — like the Fall River Prescription Center and KG Crafts — have been around for decades.


“I’ve never had a downturn in business,” said Karen Galib, the owner of the craft shop. “We’ve grown every year.”


Ugly American, a restaurant known for both its burgers and fried Twinkies, has been popular and was featured on the TV show “Phantom Gourmet.” Owner Gary Janczynski told Flanagan that business has picked up now that fall has arrived.


George Malatantis of the Highland Luncheonette said business has been steady, and Gale Powers of New Boston Bakery said the shop has been doing well.


Flanagan walked through part of New Boston Road with Community Maintenance Director Kenneth Pacheco and Economic Development Coordinator Lynn Creamer, asking about business and offering any help if needed. Flanagan has also toured South Main Street, the Niagara neighborhood, the Flint and Corky Row this year.


“It seems to be a niche that has a loyal customer base,” Flanagan said of the New Boston Road area. He called it “uplifting” to walk through an area that has been doing well while so many areas — not only in Fall River — are struggling.


The signs of years of job losses is sometimes evident though, said Maria Vlahos, the owner of Highland Pizza. A series of large-scale layoffs over the years has meant that fewer customers have been stopping by less often.


The owner of a New Boston Road shop moved more than a year ago from a location on Second Street. Flanagan asked why she moved. “Second Street,” she answered. “I needed to get out of there.”