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With businesses in the MV struggling to stay open after Gas explosions residents urged to shop local

by Kristin LaFratta, MassLive

It has been nearly 10 months since a series of gas explosions decimated parts of the Merrimack Valley. The failures of Columbia Gas resulted in a death, numerous injuries and destruction across Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

It also led to a serious decline in customers for locally-owned businesses.

Various government officials and non-profit leaders gathered in North Andover on Tuesday to announce the launch of a new marketing and media campaign, called “Rock the Register,” to get customers shopping at local businesses that were impacted by the gas explosions.

More than 70 percent of the nearly 900 small, locally-owned businesses -- more than half of which are located in South Lawrence -- have returned to “pre-crisis operations" according to officials. But all of the officials said that there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure every impacted business can return to a sense of normalcy.

“For so many residents in Andover, Lawrence and here in North Andover, when you can’t even take a shower at home or drop your kids off to daycare, the last thing people are thinking about shopping locally,” said Kellee Twadelle, the owner of the Rose and Dove in North Andover where officials held a press conference Tuesday morning.


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