Haverhill’s Southwick to Rehire Workers, Switch From Brooks Brothers Suits to Medical Supplies

The 400 laid off employees of Haverhill’s Southwick Clothing, manufacturer of Brooks Brothers suits, could be coming back to work making medical supplies. The Computer Drive company said Monday it is in the process of converting its factories from manufacturing ties, shirts and suits to making gowns and up to 150,000 medical masks per day. Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini said he has worked with Congresswoman Lori Trahan and other local, state and federal officials to help. “Over the past few weeks we’ve heard from medical people all throughout this area that they’re desperate for masks, gowns and the certified masks, which are called N95 masks,” he said. The mayor explained production of certified masks will take longer to accomplish because of required regulatory approvals.

Rumbo, Bilingual Newspaper, Temporarily Distributes Online Only as Stores Close

Rumbo, the bilingual newspaper of the Merrimack Valley, has temporarily ceased traditional printing as store closures due to COVID-19 have made physical paper deliveries impossible. In an email message from Director Dalia Diaz said “we decided to create this digital edition to continue providing local information to our community.”

The current edition of the newspaper may be downloaded here or by visiting rumbonews.com.

UMass Lowell’s Haverhill iHub Offers Virtual Events for Entrepreneurs

UMass Lowell’s Haverhill Innovation Hub is having what it calls “a virtual event” next month on the web, entitled “How Analytics & Big Data is Influencing the World Around Us.”

Part of the university’s Emerging Technology Speaker Series, the iHub webcast focuses on how analytics and data is influencing today’s interconnected world that is driven by mobile technologies and the internet. Talking on a variety of applications such as language processing and image recognition, participants learn the capabilities of analytic technologies to become better contributors and users of data. The event is Wednesday, May 20, 6 p.m. For more information and registration click here.

Update: Haverhill Chamber Resumes Dollar-4-Dollar Gift Card Program with New Limit

Update: The Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce has resumed the gift card program. The story below has been updated to reflect a new $25 match limit per customer. The Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce is resuming its successful dollar-for-dollar gift card program after temporarily closing it until more donations arrived. The program was created to help local restaurants and employees maintain some income after the recent ban on indoor dining. “I am delighted, if not, overwhelmed to see the success of this program.

Haverhill Servpro Owners Acquire New Stoneham and Wakefield Franchises

Servpro Haverhill and Newburyport owners Michelle and Patrick Lavigne recently acquired the Stoneham and Wakefield franchises. The Haverhill-based company completed the transaction with former owner Marc LeBlanc Feb. 25. The company provides local and large-scale disaster recovery by removing biohazard contaminants through cleanup that involves facility and structural disinfection, focusing on high-touch surfaces including doorknobs, switches, toilets, phones and tables. Jodi Feil, the local company’s sales and marketing manager, told WHAV, COVID-19 has not changed the firm’s operations and they are proceeding normally.

Merrimack Valley Chamber Gears COVID-19 Webinar to Business

Andover lawyer Mathew D. Batastini and Lawrence General Hospital’s Paul Brennan, during a webinar tomorrow morning, discuss issues facing businesses during the current coronavirus scare. Hosted by Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce, the free webinar provides room for discussions regarding the current state of the virus, its impact on business and provides opportunities to ask questions. Batastini is a managing partner at Schwartz Hannum who counsels corporate and educational clients on aspects of employment issues, including practices applicable to students, employees and communities. Brennan serves as the Lawrence General Hospital’s pre-hospital emergency medical services. The webinar begins at 8 a.m. Register at register.gotowebinar.com/register/3839982093470327810.

Business Aid: Buy a Restaurant Gift Card and Haverhill Chamber Plan Doubles Its Value

In an effort to prop up local restaurants and workers affected by shut down orders, the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce will double the value of gift cards residents buy. Under the plan announced Wednesday, anyone who purchases a gift card to any restaurant in Haverhill, or a restaurant outside of Haverhill that is a Haverhill Chamber member, will receive a dollar-for-dollar match up to $50. “Our restaurants are facing unprecedented challenges and we have an opportunity at the local level to help them out,” said Haverhill Chamber President Dougan Sherwood in a statement. “For families worried about their wallets, we hope this will offset the cost of enjoying a little takeout for dinner one of these nights—or lots of these nights.”

The program is comprised of three steps. First, citizens purchase a gift card at any restaurant in Haverhill—whether a Chamber member or not—or any restaurant elsewhere that is a Chamber member.

With Restaurant, Gathering Bans, Officials Look to Economy, Seek Business Relief

As more work and gathering restrictions took hold Monday—aimed at limiting exposure to the coronavirus disease, or COVID-19—officials began focusing attention on the expected economic fallout. Local, state and federal officials called for immediate relief for restaurant and bar owners and their employees. Such relief could come in the form of delayed tax payments, letting business owners keep meals and hotel taxes, deferral of utility payments and other measures. Some of those business and political leaders appeared live over WHAV yesterday and continued meeting throughout the day. Rep. Andy X. Vargas told radio listeners what state government must do.