The obituary of the Ames Safety Envelope Company was written in February 2010. The Somerville company had grown to about 600 employees in the mid-20th century, making sturdy envelopes, boxes, and file folders for medical records. But as the world started going digital, its business shrank, and eventually Ames was bought by a Wisconsin company rolling up similar manufacturers.
The last 150 jobs at Ames vanished in 2010. Most of the equipment was sold at auction, and the factory went dark.
Skip ahead four years: The final chunk of space in the Ames complex was leased this month. And what is now known as the Ames Business Park is not only fully occupied, it also has become the entrepreneurial epicenter of Somerville, home to a brewery, dozens of start-ups, a pinata maker, an electric guitar maker, a climbing gym, coffee roaster, t-shirt printer, artists, bicycle hackers, and a team building a giant, eight-legged walking robot called Stompy. Read my latest Innovation Economy column in The Sunday Globe.
Scott Kirsner writes the Innovation Economy column every Sunday in the Boston Globe, in which he tracks entrepreneurship, investment, and big company activities around New England.
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