For Love and/or Money



Whatever you do, don’t make fun of EBSCO. Don’t get them mad at you. Don’t do anything that could even remotely be misconstrued as disrespect toward Ipswich’s biggest employer. Look at any gathering of 13 people in this town, and chances are — literally, statistically speaking — one of them works at EBSCO. This is a major American company. It appears to be totally legit. There is almost no chance whatsoever that EBSCO is a front for a Colombian drug cartel’s money-laundering operation.

Keep EBSCO happy, I’m telling you, because we need these people. It’s not just that they graciously donate the use of their patio for our Down Town Tuesdays concerts. It’s not just that they let the public park for free on their employee parking lots after work hours (one of the best-kept secrets in Ipswich). It’s that EBSCO is making tons of loot, and a lot of it is sticking here. Every Ipswich resident who works there is kicking back part of every paycheck to the Town in taxes. And the rest of EBSCO’s employees come in from out of town to go to work, and find themselves buying lunch here, buying gasoline here, buying last-minute gifts here because they forgot it was their anniversary, and if they get off the train in Beverly without something in hand, the marriage is in trouble.

So we never, never, never want EBSCO to leave. You know they have a Topsfield location too, right? It’s their “place down south,” I guess. God forbid they should decide they like it better there, because of the climate or something. We want them here. We need them here. Like EBSCO. Love EBSCO. When possible, perform random acts of kindness for EBSCO.

Don’t let it bother you that you don’t really understand what they do. Officially, they provide “a complete and optimized research solution.” This has something to do with things called “e-journals,” “e-books,” and “research databases.” If you think this sounds like a very large and very fancy Kindle hooked up to a very large and very expensive Google, I’m with ya. But I suspect it’s really much more sophisticated than that, and you and I just don’t get it.

But whatever they’re doing in those buildings, I’m for it. And they seem to keep doing it in more and more buildings. They started out in that wonderful building on the river (and commissioned Alan Pearsall to adorn it with a fantastic history-of-Ipswich mural); then they added the place on Route 1 in Topsfield (“Tired of Your Commute? Work Local”); then they added their “Annex” here in Ipswich, right where Washington Street scissors into the mash-up between Hammatt Street and Depot Square. But these three facilities are only the North Shore tip of the global EBSCO iceberg. The website lists offices in such exotic locales as South Africa, China, Spain, Brazil, New Zealand, even Alabama. Even New Jersey.

And now, once again, opportunity knocks. The Zodiac paint store at the corner of Market and Union is closing down. There’s going to be a beautiful glassy corner-location storefront available for lease. It’s about 14 steps from EBSCO’s headquarters building. It’s perfect.

How could EBSCO use this space? I humbly offer these suggestions:

1. There’s so much window space, you could put a couple of representative workers in there, and let them do their work, and let the rest of us stand on the sidewalk and watch. Maybe we would finally understand what EBSCO does.

2. Put the bosses in there. Let Ipswich residents just drop by to stand on the sidewalk and admire them and applaud. We could actually sign up for shifts. I would applaud the EBSCO guys from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday.

3. Back up the EBSCO money truck to the front door and dump all the money in there. At 8,020 square feet, the Zodiac building has enough space for nearly $1.2 billion in neatly stacked singles.

Assuming all goes well, this EBSCO money showcase could become a huge tourist draw. Little old ladies will tumble off the CATA bus to feast their eyes on $1.2 billion. CNN will send Anderson Cooper to shoot a feature. “EBSCO Money Mania” will become schoolchildren’s favorite field trip of the year. Market Street businesses will be happily overrun with foot traffic, hordes of out-of-towners viscerally inspired by the money exhibit and inexplicably eager to spend their own.

Just think! We’ll have even more to thank EBSCO for than we do now!


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