Page 92 - BusinessWest May 12, 2021
P. 92

Continued from page 23
In the future, with support from faculty leaders, stu- dents will engage with industry partners on enhanc- ing and inventing their own products.
“We are deeply grateful to the Hluchyjs for their generous support of our vision to improve patient treatment and advance the healthcare industry through interdisciplinary collaboration,” said Allison Vorderstrasse, dean of the College of Nursing. “Since the onset of the pandemic, UMass nursing and engi- neering students have successfully partnered on proj- ects addressing, for example, the need for rapid PPE- manufacturing technologies. This center is the natu- ral progression of that partnership, and I am excited to see the innovations it produces.”
In April 2020, nursing and engineering researchers at UMass Amherst created one of the first COVID- related interdisciplinary teams to design an effective, efficient and low-cost face shield. The shield, created with rapid mass production in mind, was then shared for free with frontline workers in regional healthcare facilities.
Soon after, UMass established both symptom- atic and asymptomatic testing centers on campus, and, with the release of the COVID-19 vaccines, has since created a community vaccination center. These centers have been, in large part, run by nursing stu- dents. More recently, Sarah Perry, associate professor of Chemical Engineering, launched a research col- laboration with Michigan Technological University to develop a new method of keeping vaccines stable
without refrigeration.
“As engineers, our students work tirelessly to build
systems and products that solve some of the world’s most challenging problems,” said Sanjay Raman, dean of the College of Engineering. “By working in direct collaboration with nurses on projects for medi- cal devices, they can also incorporate the insights and experience nurses have to offer — allowing them to
resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic make clear the critical need for innovative solutions in clinical settings where both nursing and engineering play vital roles.”
make their designs safer, more efficient, and more end-user-friendly.
“A key element of our vision is an integrated nurs- ing-engineering faculty and student team working on every problem we tackle,” he went on. “We are deeply grateful to the Hluchyj family for their forward think- ing and investment in this barrier-breaking center.”
The impact that a nurse-engineer collaboration can make is not a new concept for the Hluchyjs. While Michael was working toward his engineering
pers World, a large retail complex boasting 27 stores, including Chick-Fil-A, Olive Garden, TGI Fridays, and Chipotle.
“That whole area is called the Golden Triangle,” said John, referring to the retail district in Framing- ham and Natick. “And it’s the number-one retail des- tination in metro Boston. So it’s kind of a big jump for us, but our business model now supports that.”
and Chipotles around. Wherever they’re going, that’s where we want to be. We want to compete with the nationals.
By ‘big jump,’ he meant, among other things, the rates for the property being leased, which was also the case in West Hartford and a spot in Corbin’s Cor- ner next to Shake Shack, although, as noted earlier, the pandemic has eased some of the sticker shock, while also creating some opportunities as stores — and restaurants — went out of business.
“There are more opportunities in the form of spac- es becoming available,” said Calcasola. “Meanwhile, the asking price dropped in some locations, includ- ing West Hartford; we’re still paying a good amount
of money, but not what they were advertising it for a year and half ago.”
As to the question of where the chain might go next, there are many ways to answer it.
For starters, the company wants to go where those major brands listed several times above are going.
In fact, that’s usually the first question being asked, said Chris, noting that, as Hot Table ponders whether to expand into Rhode Island, the presence of other
degree, Theresa was studying to become a nurse. They currently live in the Boston area. Michael
serves as a board member for Uptycs and is a fel- low of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He is also an Ernst & Young New England Entrepreneur of the Year winner and has served
on the Electrical and Computer Engineering Advi- sory Board at UMass Amherst. Theresa has served
in many community organizations, including the Wellesley Service League and the Wellesley Scholar- ship Foundation. She is currently a member of the Newton-Wellesley Hospital Board of Advisors, a guide at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and a member of the university’s Amherst Campus Council.
Karen Giuliano, joint associate professor for the College of Nursing and the Institute for Applied Life Sciences, will serve as the inaugural co-director of the Center for Nursing and Engineering Innovation along with Jenna Marquard, professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.
“The ability to quickly and effectively tackle every- day challenges in healthcare requires both nurs-
ing and engineering expertise,” Giuliano said. “The power of a nurse-engineer approach is derived from mutual collaboration, where the nurse identifies the problem, the engineer creates potential solutions, and, through bi-directional, real-time, continuous collaboration, iterations and tradeoffs occur until the best solutions are found.” u
chains is a key consideration.
“We’ll ask if there are Chick Fil-As and Chipotles
around,” he told BusinessWest. “Wherever they’re going, that’s where we want to be. We want to com- pete with the nationals.”
Availability of real estate is another issue, said John, adding that the company has long sought to be on Riverdale Street in West Springfield, specifi- cally the stretch south of I-91, but has not been able to secure a location because of exclusivity clauses secured by some competitors. Meanwhile, price remains an issue in some areas, including Boston, although the pandemic, as noted, might bring that city into reach.
“We have a consultant that we work with. Before the pandemic, he said, ‘guys, don’t even bother going into Boston; it’s crazy — don’t do it,’” said John. “The last meeting we had with him, he said, ‘you may want to think about exploring opportunities in Boston.’”
Pressing On
When and if the company goes down that road remains to be seen. For now, its principals, as noted, have other things on their plate.
Lots of them.
Indeed, this will be a year when Hot Table takes giant strides toward becoming that established brand the partners want it to be, a year when that image
of the panini top with the grill marks on it becomes known in new markets and in new ways, like that sign on the property in Chicopee.
That location isn’t the future — but it is a big part of the future, with additional growth and territorial expansion on the menu.
As John DeVoie said, this company has come a long way from the Breckwood Shoppes — and in all kinds of ways. u
George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]
The worldwide health crises
        Hot Table
Continued from page 83
in the rota-
 tion,” Chris said. “When Chick-Fil-A and other competitors came
to Enfield, our sales went up.”
Location, Location, Location
When asked about the chain’s ‘formula’ when it comes to identifying markets they want to be in and then locations within those markets, the partners said it involves a blend of science and intuition, but mostly critical masses of traffic, retail, diners, and, yes, competitors.
All these ingredients are found in Hadley, said Calcasola, noting not only the large college popula- tion (there are four colleges within a few miles of the store’s location on Route 9), but also a host of fast- casual competitors and a large and growing cluster of retail that draws people from three counties.
Most of these same essentials can be found in Worcester, in the chain’s site in the the Trolley Yard,
a mixed-use development that is also home to Star- bucks, Chipotle, Sprint, and other national brands. Indeed, Worcester boasts seven colleges and a grow- ing business base, said Chris, noting that it benefits greatly from being within easier commuting distance from Boston.
Meanwhile, in Marlboro, there are no colleges, little retail, and a less-dense population than in other communities the chain calls home. But there are a number of office parks and hotels, said John, adding that this was the store most impacted by the pan- demic — although it, too, has rebounded.
In Chicopee, Memorial Drive has been trans- formed into a retail destination over the past decade, said Chris, noting that the changes have caught the attention of Chipotle, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Chick Fil-A, which made that the address for its first (and still only) location in Western Mass.
Meanwhile, the Framingham store now under construction and set to open in June is in Shop-
We’ll ask if there are Chick Fil-As
   92 MAY 12, 2021

   90   91   92   93   94