Economy

Panera Cares, but for how long?

Panera Cares, but for how long?

Compassionate café not making ends meet

FOUR YEARS AFTER the Panera Cares community café opened at Center Plaza in Boston, it’s still in business. But the restaurant’s unorthodox approach to addressing hunger isn’t working out exactly as planned. The concept is simple. Customers walk into the café, pick their food, and pay whatever they can afford. The hope is that enough(...)

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Mega booze store out for self

Mega booze store out for self

Total Wine’s challenge of state liquor laws could undercut public safety

MASSACHUSETTS LAWS AND regulations governing the sale of alcohol are partially based on the idea of maximizing carefully considered controls and oversight to help reduce negative impacts associated with over-consumption. Recent reports show the Commonwealth’s regulatory approach works. The Bay State has the nation’s second-best record on limiting driving under the influence (DUI), trailing just(...)

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More tools needed to combat wage theft

More tools needed to combat wage theft

Problem costs state workers $700m a year

MASSACHUSETTS HAS AN epidemic of wage theft. An estimated $700 million in wage theft occurs annually in our state, robbing workers and their families of essential income and the ability to stay afloat financially. That’s also bad news for good employers. It creates an uneven playing field for companies that follow the law and that(...)

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Holyoke’s mayor isn’t afraid of pot

Holyoke’s mayor isn’t afraid of pot

Alex Morse sees potential for urban farming in his old city’s mills

Photographs by Mark Morelli  OUTSIDE HOLYOKE CITY HALL is a stone fountain that once gurgled with water, offering a more wholesome substitute for alcohol to “a thirsty humanity,” as the inscription reads. Erected in 1901, the monument was one of several put up by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union around the country as part of(...)

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Banking on the pot industry

Banking on the pot industry

Conflicts with state laws and federal regulations create anxiety for most banks

AT LEAST ONE Massachusetts bank is offering services to the nascent legal marijuana industry in the state despite uncertainty over federal drug and banking regulations that still classify all pot sales as money-laundering, making it a risky venture both for the businesses and financial institutions. According to marijuana and banking industry officials, family-owned Century Bank(...)

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