GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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May 31, 2009

'Grown Ups' seen bringing big-time gains for Essex

The celebrities are in town, the movie sets are built, and the excitement among the people of Essex is growing about the film "Grown Ups," which is shooting scenes  at Centennial Grove.

The movie stars Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James and Salma Hayek, and has brought $150,000 to the town already.

"About half the money is in and the rest is expected to come in the next couple of weeks as I understand it," said Jeff Soulard, chairman of the town Finance Committee.

The filming started May 18 in Southborough, but the crew moved to Essex last Thursday and intends to stay until Aug. 21. All of the construction workers and members of Lakefront Productions have been reasonable and easy to work with, according to sales manager Bob Bradford of the Building Center stores in Gloucester and Essex.

"The construction crews have been tremendous," he said. "They've been redoing houses and buildings down (on Centennial Grove) and all of the improvements will stay. They'll take down the movie sets when they go, but it's something else, what they've done down there; it's terrific."

That positive spirit has spread throughout the town, Selectman Ray Randall says. He said the work that the crews have planned for Grove Cottage will give it "curbside appeal" again.

"It's a gift to the town of Essex," Randall said. "Some folks have been inconvenienced, but most are excited about having Adam Sandler in town. It has worked out positively for businesses."

One restaurant is already seeing the benefits of having the huge project in town. Tom Shea's, at 122 Main St., has brought in a bigger lunch crowd and attributes much of it to the workers who have been in Essex for the past few weeks, preparing and building sets.

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