Incremental Retail etc…


There is something to be said about how daunting it is to  open any type of business in Massachusetts. The barrage of bureaucracy and costs is a formidable combination no matter how big your dreams. I think this is true here in Mansfield. I think those that have started businesses here are to be commended regardless of whether the undertaking truly took off.

Getting back to the point of this post though I ask you to look at the image again. It shows wonderfully the potential evolutionary manner someone may decide to do business here in town. I strongly believe we should fully support and outright welcome undertakings all along this chart. I would also like to stress a point about #5 and #7 in the image as it relates to Mansfield ( and many communities)

The Small Retail/Brick& Mortar is the classic example of business model that dominated the American landscape for 100 + years Along with #6 Live/Work this model offered the affordable and flexible space to launch and grow a business and immerse that business into the community. We have storefronts along North Main St that has proven this to be true for many decades. Where some of these storefronts got off the line is they didn’t necessarily grow “up”,literally. Many factors caused this to be true and a number of factors have played a role in assuring it cannot easily and organically occur now. It is some of those factors that give us what we see in #7 Mixed Use. We’ve had this model here in town before. The likes of One Mansfield are hardly fresh news. The Wheeler Building at 127-129 North Main is a great example of this model and it isn’t new by any stretch of the imagination. It highlights how when development happens incrementally and organically you get the resiliency that the looming multi-use projects just can’t touch.

Multi-use is a crucial part of the scale,don’t get me wrong, it’s just that the finished state modern model defies history and unfortunately ultimately fails the community they show up in.

Mansfield! If you want to be a stronger,better looking,higher functioning town look no further than this chart as your primer.


** Some thoughts on the other models.

#1 Tents: We actually experience this model during the Family Fun Night as well as various activities on the South Common. A great low impact way to generate “place” and help foster the synergy that creates.

#2 Food Trucks: This model affords a low impact, low-cost, win-win, kind of thing. Typically targeting locations that do not have existing establishments food trucks offer a way to test the waters as it were. It also helps to introduce new food choices through the potential of a scheduled program of rotation. Lastly it helps to bridge areas of the community. By this I mean area type and people. An example here would be one of our parks hosting a food truck thus creating that place synergy I mentioned before. Another would be to mix residents with our corporate residents within the business park by allowing one of the businesses to host a food truck in the corner of one of their parking lots.

#3 Trailers. Most often seen in the food arena but not exclusively so, trailers offer a low-cost option for aspiring or expanding business owners to gain a foothold in a community. With a more relaxed zoning approach this model can integrate without disruption and potentially bring something to the table that would otherwise skip a couple of zip codes.

#4 Pods/Micro: This is an exciting area that is very flexible. More permanent than the previous three this model allows folks to enter into business on the full New England weather schedule. This model also allows for a more professional footprint even when being utilized for pop-up shops.