From the Framingham Economic Development & Industrial Corporation’s (EDIC) July 1, 2019 newsletter
Since purchasing 92 Blandin Avenue in 2015, the Stonegate Group has made a number of important improvements to the property, including a new roof, signage, parking lot improvements, various building improvements, energy-efficient lighting as well as a 1,070kW rooftop solar energy system completed in 2018.
Shortly after acquiring the property, the occupancy rate dipped to the mid-30% range. Today the building is over 90% occupied with one remaining unit available for lease (a 22,454 square foot high-bay industrial space).
The businesses at 92 Blandin Ave are a diverse group including Phoenix Trading Company (retail), DetraPel (tech) and the MetroWest Dance Academy (creative economy). This month, Choose Framingham spoke with representatives of these companies to learn more about them. Other companies at this location include Show Rig Boston, Philips Lifeline, West Springfield Auto Parts, C&R Flooring, and United Way of Tri-County.
Phoenix Trading Company
Marc Cohen, the President of Phoenix Trading Company, talked about why they have found Framingham to be the ideal location to grow the company.
Tell us a little about Phoenix Trading Company – what do you do?
Phoenix Trading Company (PTC) is a direct-to-consumer (B2C), online retailer of off-price merchandise. The Company sells a wide variety of branded merchandise, but specializes in plus size women’s apparel, health & beauty products and home goods. Our primary sales channels are online, 3rd-party marketplaces such as eBay, Sears, Walmart, and Kmart among a few others.
Tell us a little more about your history – how did you start and why did you end up choosing Framingham as a location?
In 1999, I left my career as an engineer in the defense industry to join a dotcom. When the “bubble” burst, I picked up the pieces, subleased 700 sq ft from a machine shop, and started Phoenix Trading. Our space requirements grew over the years, and now we occupy 18,000 sq ft here on Blandin Ave. The space is ideal for our operation, super cost-effective, with good access to a hard-working labor force.
Describe how you benefit from being in the space on Blandin Avenue and what you like best about that location.
The space itself is very efficient for us. It’s an old building, but there have been significant upgrades. There is plenty of room for the tractor-trailers which pull up to our docks weekly. There is also a great selection of interesting little restaurants when I need a quick lunch.
What do your employees like best about being located in Framingham?
The staff appreciates the easy access. About half of our people live in Framingham, the others, including myself, live east of here. The reverse commuter traffic and proximity to major roadways makes it an easy commute.
Choose Framingham also caught up with David Zamarin at DetraPel to find out more about his growing tech company.
Tell us a little about DetraPel.
Our company manufactures superhydrophobic non-toxic coatings that prolong the life of your favorite belongings. Using innovative nanotechnology, DetraPel liquid repellents create harmless, PFAS-Free, invisible barriers that protect your items from damage caused by water, other liquids and even food! The benefits and surfaces are endless based on the technology. Whether you want to protect your white carpet from wine stains, your new shoes from getting dirty outside, or your car seats from morning rush-hour coffee spills, DetraPel has got you covered.
DetraPel’s guiding philosophy lies in our commitment to provide non-toxic protective coatings that do not contain harmful fluorochemicals. Unlike the vast amount of carcinogenic chemicals currently present in widely used products from other manufacturers, we reject incorporating toxic components in our production. We have developed a line of products that people can use without the fear of harming themselves, their children, friends, pets or planet. We believe our ability to lead by example will make a significant impact on the chemical manufacturing industry.
What brought you to Framingham?
When looking for a place to settle our headquarters in, we looked for striking the right partnership with the right people. Stonegate Group was a big portion of the reason we chose Framingham. The environment and central location was key for manufacturing and logistics. Overall, we were convinced that we could attract talent to our Shark-Tank featured company and could retain the talent because of the area. With Framingham’s expansion plans, we expect our growth to interdependently work with the local government and hope that we can give back to the families of Framingham.
MetroWest Dance Academy
Choose Framingham lastly caught up with Gemma Williams, the Director of Metrowest Dance Academy.
What type of space were you looking for?
I had been looking for a very large open plan space to house dance studios and sizeable reception area so that families would have the space to relax while waiting for their children. I found just that at 92 Blandin Avenue and additionally the space is entirely lined with huge windows throwing natural light across the whole length of the school. We love it!
Why did you choose Framingham?
The site is situated very close to downtown and this means that families can enjoy the local area as they wait. We have students from Framingham and surrounding towns that can easily drive to our studio. We also employ teachers and trainee teachers from Boston Conservatory at Berklee that use the commuter rail in downtown Framingham, which is only a 10-minute walk away.
For more information on the unit still available for lease, contact Marlene Aron of Metrowest Commercial Real Estate.