The daughter also rises: 50 years of family at Foley & Son Fish and Chips

Back in 1967, the original Foleys – Evelyn and Eugene – thought it was a pretty sure bet that one of their five sons would want to be part of their new business. So they hung a sign above their shop at the corner of Franklin and Plantation streets that read Foley & Son Fish and Chips.

Fifty years later the shop and the sign are still there, but it’s their youngest and their only daughter, Patti J. Foley, with assistance from a few others each week, who is running the show – balancing the books, cutting the fish and sweating by the fryolators.

“When my mom opened it in 1967, she also sold grinders and pizza in addition to fish and chips. But the combination never really took off. So she decided to do only fish and chips,” Foley said. “This was her part-time job when we were all growing up.”

Art Simas / For Worcester Sun

The original sign still hangs above 274 Plantation St.

Years ago, there were several fish-and-chip restaurants in Worcester, including Robert’s Fish and Chips, named after Robert J. Sutherland, who was also known as the King of Fish and Chips in Worcester.

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Foley said, “My mother and he were best friends and he had about eight restaurants on one time, all named after members of his family. My mom ran his Belmont Street store for years before she landed at the Plantation Street location here. And the rest is history.”

Meet Worcester’s clinical trial pioneers

Clinical pharmacology. Clinical trials. These phrases may not roll off the tongue with ease. And they probably do not convey a warm and fuzzy feeling … think of cold, hard surfaces, procedures, and questions, questions, questions.

Let’s debunk these perceptions right now. Everyone here wants you to get better. And they do not stop looking for answers to your situation.

From its beginning as Clinical Pharmacology Group in 1989 inside the former City Hospital on Queen Street, to its present quarters at 25 Oak Ave., Advanced Clinical Care has been headed by Director Mary Coughlin, R.N., and medical director Dr. Charles A. Birbara.

Coughlin has been involved in more than 500 clinical trials. She and Dr. Birbara have been at the forefront of transforming painful, debilitating diseases into pain-free or almost pain-free lives for their patients.

“My initial role (in the business) was to replace a coordinator who had left,” Coughlin said. “At that time (1975), there was only one study for osteoarthritis with about six patients enrolled. It was really just a part-time job.

“In the beginning, in my spare time, I would call the various drug companies, asking for the rheumatology departments, and try to talk to someone about what trials were going on. We got involved in some trials that way,” she said. “Then, if we did well with enrollment and with the data collection, we would get several more trials with that company.”

In the 1980s and early 1990s, drug companies wanted to control their own trials with their own personnel. But as time went on, the companies drifted from this insular approach.

“Soon there were more CROs (clinical research organizations) that were hired by the drug companies to run the studies. The CROs would find the trial sites and do all the training and monitoring for the pharmaceutical company,” Coughlin said. “A large CRO would have hundreds of studies in all different fields of medicine. If we did well in a study, the CRO might have a trial for another indication (symptom), and ask us to participate.”

Far from their lean, uncertain early days, Coughlin and Dr. Birbara have been among the vanguard in their field, developing a specialty in rheumatology and helping to bring pain-relieving drugs like Humira and Xeljanz to sufferers of arthritis, Crohn’s disease and other disorders.

Bluefin Technology connects with customers, Worcester

When a company decides to “do the right thing” and stay with it, good things can happen after all.

For founding partners Jay Cahill and Michael Po, the entrepreneurial escapades of Bluefin Technology Partners eventually landed them in downtown Worcester in 2013. The company has 12 employees in a recently renovated building which was the former home of the Telegram & Gazette.

After several forays spanning eight years as a team with ventures in the States, Cahill and Po built a mobile application in the social media space for Instagram in Shanghai during the late 2000s that was solely for the Chinese market.

Because they had established their business before the Chinese government crackdown on social media, they were grandfathered in and allowed to pursue their business.

“We had millions of customers on the platform and we eventually sold the company to SINA Corp. of China, which has a Weibo platform that hosts their own social media content of its users,” Po explained.

After the sale Bluefin struck out as a consulting organization.

“A lot of people were tapping us for our … experience in developing large-scale applications for consumers that can handle millions of customers on the back end,” Cahill said. “That was what our pedigree had been, and we connected with Josh (Croke) and brought in a lot of the user experience design and a back end piece with our mobile experience.”

As the team was working within these parameters, the IoT (Internet of Things) market emerged as the next wave. So that’s when they established residence in Worcester.

Pete Levesque on living the dream and a musician’s harsh reality

Making music for a living can be a fine thing — except for the part about making a living.

So why do so many people choose it as a career?

For Pete Levesque, it is a lifelong commitment to constantly tune a noble craft … of practicing, learning, and sticking with it … of showing your skills to the world on large and small stages. But it requires facing truths about yourself and doing what needs to be done for your family.

His career choice started on the infamous “Choose Your Instrument Day” when he was in fourth grade in Pennsylvania.

“I chose the saxophone because it was nice and shiny and it looked good. I wasn’t interested in the trumpet. That looked like it was going to be too hard to learn, and the sax was definitely cooler-looking than a clarinet.”

His father’s Smithsonian Jazz Record Collection was his first inspiration. But it was the innovative sounds and playing speed of Ornette Coleman, the father of the free jazz movement of the 1960s, that converted him to an apostle of the instrument.

“I’d listen to him play tunes that had some really fast rhythm changes to it … I remember just laughing at the thought that someone could play that fast. That’s when I decided what I was going to do with my life. I was going to try to play like that,” Levesque said.

Ashley Jordan’s path to music stardom winds through Worcester

Many musical influences, lots of talent and her own take on “country” make Ashley Jordan one-of-a-kind as a singer and songwriter. Venue by venue — many of those along Park Avenue and in the Canal District — song by song, she’s working hard and enjoying it all. Find out about a hometown musical up-and-comer before it’s too late to jump on the bandwagon.

Local Business Spotlight: More than a century of sweet sounds at Union Music

“I started working [here] when I was 9 years old (1955), which was about the same time that my grandfather gave me a guitar. … And I still play classical guitar,” said Carl Kamp, owner and president of this three-generation family business. Trusted for instrument purchases, repairs, lessons and expertise, Union Music’s rambling old store on Southbridge Street echos with notes of history as it keeps today’s musicians supplied and inspired. Which makes it an apt entry in our Survivor Series, highlighting Worcester businesses standing the test of time.

Ukulele players string together a community at Union Music

“I couldn’t have the club meet in a bar or a hotel. But I knew that Union Music has a performance space that can hold 50 performers. So I approached Carl and he thought it was a great idea,” said Rich Luefstedt, who considers himself more of a facilitator than leader of the Ukulele Club, which he started with five or six people per month six years ago. That figure has now grown to 20 to 30 per month at Union Music. Art Simas tiptoes through the tulips to tell this timeless tale.

Ashley Jordan’s path to music stardom winds through Worcester

HARVARD — The musical journey for Ashley Jordan began when she was a toddler. She listened to her grandfather play country, folk and bluegrass tunes on guitar when he would entertain the family with his performances. He also recorded himself on various equipment, hoping to save those encores for future generations.

When Ashley was 6, though, he died.

“I didn’t have a direct connection to him being so young, but I grew up loving that kind of music,” she said.

“My dad grew up listening to Jewel, James Taylor, Alison Krauss and many others, so I had those songs in my head and enjoyed listening to them,” she said. “But then I took off and started playing guitar and writing lyrics,  and it transformed into a country direction. So, yes, my family had a big influence and they’ve always been so supportive of me and my music.”

Ashley Jordan of Harvard, an up-and-coming singer on the national stage, has honed her craft in Worcester.

Courtesy Ashley Jordan

Ashley Jordan of Harvard, an up-and-coming singer on the national stage, has honed her craft in Worcester.

It was some time, though, before young Ashley’s family realized it had a new hobby to support.

“My parents didn’t even know that I was a singer until I signed up to do a talent show in high school. And they asked me, ‘What are you going to do for the talent show, Ashley?’

“At that time I was too shy to sing in public and I kept that secret to myself – until the talent show,” she said. “My parents were shocked to find out that I really could sing well.”

Once Ashley learned guitar and gained confidence in her playing, she started to perform on the streets of Boston and Harvard Square in Cambridge, with her parents not far from the impromptu sidewalk concerts.


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