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Former Necco Exec Hopes to Crowdfund a Gigantic $20 Million to Save the Candy Company

Plus, Bertucci’s has announced which locations closed this week, and more news

Necco’s Sweethearts Conversation Hearts
Katie Chudy/Eater

Welcome back to AM Intel, a round-up of mini news bites to kick off the day.

Got $20 Million to Save Necco?

Massachusetts candy company New England Confectionary Co. (Necco) urgently needs a big cash infusion, and people have been panicking about the state of the company: One woman offered to trade in her car to candy wholesaler Candystore.com for a giant supply of Necco Wafers, one local food writer made the case for why the Sky Bar is actually the Necco candy to be sad about if the company shutters, and somewhere there is probably one person who is crying about the potential loss of Squirrel Nut Zippers and Candy Buttons.

Former Necco CEO Al Gulachenski (2011-2015) wants to step in to save the company, but for that he estimates that he needs $30 million — $5 to $10 million of which he plans to raise himself — to relocate Necco to a more suitable home within Massachusetts, keep on as many current employees as possible, and bring back his executive team from his time with the company. He’s hoping to raise $20 million via crowdfunding, a bit of an ambitious goal considering that’s in line with a small group of the most-funded projects in crowdfunding history. The now-defunct Pebble smartwatch, for example, earned just over $20 million on Kickstarter. Nearly all higher-earning campaigns are blockchain-related. In any case, here’s the GoFundMe campaign, which has a ways to go before it approaches $20 million, but here’s hoping.

In Other Sad Local Company News

As every Bertucci’s fan has surely heard by now, the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with the aim of restructuring, a move that included the immediate shuttering of 15 locations that were not initially named. Now Bertucci’s has shared the affected locations, including six in Massachusetts: Wayland, Randolph, and Taunton in the eastern part of the state and Amherst, Longmeadow, and West Springfield in the west. In recent months, Bertucci’s also closed its Kenmore Square and Faneuil Hall-area locations when their leases came up for renewal. 29 locations remain open in Massachusetts, and there are 30 elsewhere on the East Coast.

Immigrant Learning Center Honors Local Food Entrepreneurs

The Malden-based Immigrant Learning Center — a non-profit organization that provides free English classes to immigrants and conducts research on and promotes immigrants’ economic contributions — has recognized a number of local restaurant owners in its 2018 entrepreneur awards. Honorees include Inna Khitrik of Russia, who is behind Inna’s Kitchen in Boston (and it is making its return to Newton soon, too); Jose Garcia of Guatemala, who is behind Ebi Sushi in Somerville, Sapporo Ramen in Cambridge, and Sushi Kappo in Boston; Elias and Juana Interiano of El Salvador, who own the growing group of El Potro Mexican restaurants; and more.

Minigrow Sneak Peek

With the openings of Boston’s first two Minigrow locations days away — they open at 565 Boylston St. in Back Bay and 125 Summer St. downtown on April 27 — customers can get a free sneak peek at the Philadelphia-based chain’s food ahead of time at either location. Snag a reservation here, good for one noodle or green bowl with one protein. Here’s the menu.

Got a news tip for the Eater Boston team? Email boston@eater.com.

Sapporo Ramen

238 Washington Street, , MA 02445 (617) 608-3141 Visit Website

Minigrow (Back Bay)

565 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116 Visit Website

Minigrow (Downtown Boston)

125 Summer St., Boston, MA 02110 Visit Website

Sushi Kappo

86 Peterborough St., Boston, MA 02215

Inna's Kitchen

547 Commonwealth Ave., Newton, MA 02459 Visit Website

Ebi Sushi

290 Somerville Avenue, , MA 02143 (617) 764-5556 Visit Website