Page 12 - BusinessWest December 12, 2022
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 Community Spotlight
Longmeadow Shows Resilience Amid Challenges
By Kailey Houle
Longmeadow is a quintessential small town, veined by Route 5 and a few other arteries and lined with historical homes
dating back to before the Revolutionary War. But with a much higher percentage of residen- tial properties than businesses, townspeople have long rallied around the town’s small commercial sectors.
“We did not have as much of an impact from COVID as some of those other larger communities that have large retail sectors.”
“Our economic development is not so much what you would see in some of the larger cit-
ies around us, but Longmeadow has held pretty strong, certainly, over the past three or four years now,” said Lyn Simmons, town manager. “We did not have as much of an impact from COVID as some of those other larger communities that have large retail sectors ... but this past year has been pretty good. I think a lot of them are trying to get back to whatever this new normal looks
like for us.”
Coming out of the pandemic, the small clus-
ters of business in town have kept residents engaged, said Grace Barone, executive director of East of the River Five Town Chamber of Com- merce, adding that the Longmeadow Shops have “done a wonderful job” with their ‘Stroll the Shops’ initiative and creating activities to keep town residents involved.
“It brings business in, they’ve got shops, they’ve got dining there, and then, across the street, you have more shopping. Wonderful things are happening there.”
Residents and folks from out of town can stop at Alex’s Bagel Shop as they get off the I-91 exit onto Longmeadow Street or stop at the Shops for retail therapy and a bite to eat.
The Maple Center shopping plaza, which was ravaged by a fire a little over a year ago, has long been an attraction as well. Students and their families from Bay Path University frequent the stores, adding to the impact of the economic development.
Bay Path, in fact, is closely identified with Longmeadow, drawing faculty, staff, and students into town from the surrounding areas of North- ern Conn. and Western Mass. Barone explained that, even though the college has been in busi-
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   12 DECEMBER 12, 2022
 Longmeadow at a glance
AREA: 9.7 square miles
COUNTY: Hampden
TYPE OF GOVERNMENT: Open Town Meeting; Town Manager; Board of Selectmen
LARGEST EMPLOYERS: Bay Path University; JGS Lifecare; Glenmeadow
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