Home 2006 November
Opinion

The countdown to the start of the Deval Patrick era continues, as does the speculation about what will happen once he assumes office.

While some in the Bay State are wary about a Democrat in the corner office (there hasn’t been one for 16 years) and the loss of some brand of checks and balances, we see an opportunity for some actual progress on issues, not the posturing for higher office that defined the Mitt Romney administration.

It’s up to Patrick, who invited weary voters to “check back in” during the campaign, and earned their support by pledging a different kind of leadership, a communal undertaking he announced with his campaign slogan Together We Can. Time will tell if the rhetoric translates into effective, shared leadership, but for now, there’s hope.

Here are some priority items for the Patrick administration, areas that need attention if the state and this region are going to achieve the kind of prosperity everyone desires.

  • The Control Board: Leave it alone. As we’ve said on a few occasions, while much of the hard work has been done with regard to balancing the budget and negotiating labor contracts, the Finance Control Board’s work is far from finished. Changes in the way the city is run need to be institutionalized, and progress must be made on several economic development projects. An intact control board, operating for at least a few more years, represents the best hope for getting these assignments done.
  • Pay Real Attention to Western Mass.: While campaigning in the region in 2002, Romney offered the obligatory ‘I’m bullish on Western Mass.’ He then proceeded to largely ignore the area, sending out the lieutenant governor to deliver a check once in a while and showing up (finally) at the Big E. Patrick is also ‘bullish,’ and offered similar campaign pledges. We hope he backs them up with policies and funding that will make the area more competitive and able to attract the kind of real economic development that has come to other sections of the Bay State, but not the Pioneer Valley.
  • The Brain Drain: It’s real, not imagined. While tens of thousands of people still come to Massachusetts to be educated, the number is, in fact, declining. Part of the reason is that some people can’t afford it. The private schools will always do well, but the public schools have been forced to raise tuition and charge higher fees because the state’s commitment to public higher education has fallen, and is now among the lowest in the nation. State and community colleges are viable options for many residents — sometimes the only option — and they drive economic development because a large percentage of their graduates stay in the region. Patrick should make efforts to increase the Commonwealth’s commitment to public higher education a real priority.
  • Push the University: Speaking of public high education, the state also needs to make a bigger, better commitment to UMass, on all campuses, but especially in Amherst. Perhaps this region’s best hopes for real job creation comes from research at the school. Research centers are built on facilities, faculty, and overall reputation, and thus the Commonwealth must continue to make significant investments in the state university.
  • Lower the Cost of Doing Business: This was another of Romney’s priorities, or so we were told. But today, the state is more expensive, in terms of doing business, than ever before. Part of it is taxes, fees, and red tape (although some of those numbers have actually gone down) but there are other issues, especially the cost of living, commuting, and heating one’s home or business. If the state is to remain competitive with other regions of the country, especially warmer climates, its leaders must take steps to ensure that fewer business owners and individuals are forced to say, ‘I can’t afford to be in Massachusetts.’

Patrick can’t do all this by himself — and according to his campaign rhetoric, he wouldn’t even try. By forging partnerships with the Legislature, local governments, and the business community, he can bring real progress on these issues and more.

And that’s critical, because the Commonwealth is at a crossroads, and needs to take the right path.

Departments

The following bankruptcy petitions were recently filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Readers should confirm all information with the court.

Assaf, Amena
552 Dutchess St.
Springfield, MA 01129
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/17/06

Barrett, Alan
78 Chase Ave.
North Adams, MA 01247
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/30/06

Biggins, Dennis T.
Biggins, Jane E.
41 South St., Unit 67
Easthampton, MA 01027
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/25/06

Bourgeoise, Tina M.
326 Westwood Ave.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/25/06

Bouton, Edward J.
535 Onota St.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/06

Braman, David
PO Box 275
Sunderland, MA 01375
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/17/06

Canela, Basilia I.
368 Saint James Ave.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/31/06

Carlson, Mary Esther
148 Sunset St.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/26/06

Carnevale, Joanne M.
6 Cady St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/31/06

Cintron, Mariam
70 Broadway St., Apt. 189
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/27/06

Colzie, Kenneth D.
63 Cambridge St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/31/06

Cruz, Leticia
21 Virigina St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/18/06

Diotalevi, Brian T.
19 Grant Ave.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/23/06

Diotalevi, Michelle A.
19 Grant Ave.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/23/06

Foster, David J
17 Harrison Ave.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/18/06

Foster, Karlene M.
17 Harrison Ave.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/18/06

Gasperini, Michael J.
Gasperini & Sons
45 Longview Dr.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/29/06

Granitto, Anthony
Granitto, Jean Torrance
9 Katie Lane
Palmer, MA 01069
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/06

Grunfeld, Mary M.
41 Glendale Circle
Ware, MA 01082
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/19/06

Hall, Regina
59 Stebbins St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/30/06

Hodgman, Parker Edwin
146 Nassau Dr.
Springfield, MA 01129
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/31/06

Hovsepian, George
96 Minechoag Heights
Ludlow, MA 01056
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/27/06

Hutchinson, George F.
Hutchinson, Luahn S.
PO Box 196
Williamsburg, MA 01096
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/27/06

Kiely, John F.
71 Outer Dr.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/24/06

Kooblall, Mahash P.
Kooblall, Denise I.
9 Bray Park Dr.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/16/06

 

Krassler, Erich E.
Krassler, Susan
5 McMahon Dr.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/24/06

Lightcap, Thomas K.
Lightcap, Ellen J.
60 White Fox Road
Feeding Hills, MA 01030
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/30/06

Lisboa, Carlos J.
161-1/2 Oak St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/06

McCollum, Madeline R.
26 Westminster St.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/24/06

Nahorniak, David C.
212 Breckwood Blvd.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/17/06

Pacula, Malgorzata/Malgosia M.
642 Beacon Circle
Springfield, MA 01119-2061
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/24/06

Pio, Otis P.
55 Dresser Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/30/06

Plummer, Donna M.
240 Brookside Road
Orange, MA 01364
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/31/06

Roda, Frank Joseph
Roda, Janet Theresa
52 Taylor St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/27/06

Rosa, Carmen M.
945 St. James Ave.
Springfield, MA 01104
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/25/06

Roznovsky, Constance B.
1111 Westfield St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/31/06

Saint Jean, Tracey A.
161 Otis Stage Road
Blandford, MA 01008
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/16/06

Sanchez, Omar A.
53 Ridgeway St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/23/06

Schreiber, Kenneth
Schreiber, Carrie A.
156 Lukasik St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/20/06

Silverman, Don
178 Brittany Road
Indian Orchard, MA 01151
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/31/06

Smith, Joseph
146 Fair Oak Road
Springfield, MA 01128
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/19/06

Torres, Bienvenido
Torres, Linda E.
1614 Carew St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/31/06

Tudryn, Theodore C.
21 Captain Lathrop Dr.
South Deerfield, MA 01373
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/16/06

Vozella, Mary Alice
78 Lawnwood Ave.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/30/06

Werner, Ellen M.
22 Magnolia Ave.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/24/06

Wilcox, Edgar H.
Master Star Window Contractor
135 Westminster St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/24/06

Williams, David L.
7 Whitney Ave.
Monson, MA 01057
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/26/06

Willridge, Paul Anthony
22 Vassar St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/23/06

Wood, David G.
7 Acton St.
Indian Orchard, MA 01151
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/26/06

Sections Supplements
Don and Judy Puffer Made a Name for Themselves with a Marriage of Ideas
Don and Judy Puffer

Don and Judy Puffer

Two very different careers within one marriage is not unusual, but two very different businesses that function under one umbrella as well as within one marriage certainly is, especially when both companies are consistently profitable. And as Don and Judy Puffer can attest, the metaphor of husband and wife as a team has never been more appropriate.

He owns a printing business; she owns a salon.

He taught school for several years; she’s always had an entrepreneurial itch.

But while some differences are evident, Don and Judy Puffer, two successful business owners and prominent community leaders in Westfield, share many similarities in addition to that distinctive last name, a home in Southwick, and two grown children.

Married for 35 years, the two have forged a unique professional presence in Western Mass. in almost the same time. Judy’s business, Puffer’s Salon and Day Spa on College Highway in Westfield, is now entering its 30th year and is bursting at the seams with a fast-growing client base. Don’s business, Puffer Printing, which opened in Westfield in 1990, expanded in 2000 to include a second location in Easthampton, and both shops are on decidedly solid ground.

Not bad for two kids from Minnesota, who moved to Western Mass. just one year into their marriage largely out of curiosity — Don had visited once before and liked the area, and Judy had never been to the Northeast and wanted to give it a try.

But as the saying goes, it stuck — or at least, the Puffers decided to stick around, and in doing so have created a name for themselves with two businesses that are vastly different in their services, but very similar in terms of how they’re run: with a strong emphasis on continuing education, employee retention, and careful, incremental growth.

In a candid interview with BusinessWest, Don and Judy Puffer frequently credited each other in large part for their individual successes. They also finish each other’s sentences and laugh at each other’s jokes — skills that enhance any partnership, business or otherwise.

“You can’t do it all by yourself, but with the two of us, we can share the load, take on different things, and grow together,” said Judy. “And, he’s my best friend.”

Shear Desire

The Puffers first entered the Westfield business world in 1976, when Puffer’s Salon was founded. At the time, Judy ran her business from a rented room in the back of an existing salon, while Don taught printing at Southwick High School. Later, the salon moved to Church Street, where spa services were first added. Ten years later, it moved to its current location.

“I’ve always had a passion for this,” Judy said, “and it was that passion that drove and developed the business.”

Don noted that a layoff from his teaching job, and not a burning desire to dig an entrepreneurial path of his own, was the original impetus for opening Puffer Printing. He even returned to teaching at Westfield High and later Westfield Vocational-Technical School. But he said the business, which has carved a niche as a short-run, multi-color commercial printer and accompanying copy shop in Easthampton, has been rewarding nonetheless.

“We’ve weathered the storms that printing businesses often face,” he said, “and we’ve constantly grown. Between the two businesses, we’ve gotten to know a great many people, and this community has been good to us.”

In turn, the Puffers have become recognizable faces in the Westfield community and the Western Mass. business landscape. Don currently heads the capital fundraising committee for the Amelia Park Children’s Museum in Westfield, slated for completion in 2007 (see related story, page 40), while Judy is an active Westfield Rotarian and also a member of the Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, the Noble Hospital Advisory Board, and the Cosmetology Advisory Board at Springfield Technical Community College.

“Being involved keeps us in the loop,” she said. “It let’s us know what’s happening in the community and keeps us visible.”

Inking the Deal

It also helps the pair bolster their already solid reputation in the business community.

“We have worked hard to build a good reputation, and we can’t walk away from that because it doesn’t stay that way unless you continue to work at it,” said Don. “It’s never over — this is a 24/7 operation we’re running.”

That notion resonates even more when the Puffer business model is further examined. Puffer Printing and Puffer’s Salon and Day Spa actually function under one umbrella corporation, Puffer International, which allows the Puffers to operate under one tax identification number and one payroll.

There are some challenges associated with the unique arrangement. The two businesses already translate into long days for both owners, and an S corp. adds a few clerical concerns.

“Sometimes it’s hard to get a true picture of how each business is doing from year to year at first,” she said. “There’s a little more math.” What’s more, when vacation time rolls around, more often than not both principals of Puffer International are gone at the same time.

But the two agree that, over the years, they’ve built a strong network of employees and managers with whom they both feel comfortable leaving their businesses temporarily, and also agree that, overall, pooling their talents and resources was the best decision they could have made.

“We do take time to unwind,” said Judy. “We’ll never be able to go away for weeks or months at a time as things are, but we’ve built a good staff. I think even if people make mistakes, which we all do, leaving our businesses in the hands of staff we trust makes them stronger.”

“Working together is what makes us successful,” Don added. “When all is said and done, everything goes into one pot anyway, so it makes sense to share.”

The Cutting Edge

That emphasis on creating a strong team is one tenet the Puffers share, and low turnover at both the salon and Puffer Printing speak to their success in that arena. Don, for instance, said he rarely refers to his longtime manager, Tim Champagne, as his employee, but rather his business partner.

“We’re good friends,” he said. “I taught him the ropes, he has run my business for me in the past, and now I think there are a few things he’s more knowledgeable about than me.”

Similarly, in an industry that typically experiences very high turnover rates, Judy will honor several employees this year at her annual holiday party who have been with Puffer’s for five, 10, or 15 years. Gina Yelle, Puffer’s senior stylist, has been with the company for 20 years, since its early days as a one-room salon and ‘micro-spa,’ a term Judy laughingly coined.

“Without our staff, neither of us would be sitting here,” she said. “I can’t stress that enough, because our people are what keep things going and what essentially causes growth.”

“Do you know how many weddings and baby showers we go through?” added Don with a grin. “It has become part of our job to remember all of these names — our employees, their spouses, their children … it’s not easy.”

But he agreed that, indeed, a strong set of employees — 30 at the salon and four at Puffer Printing — is a big reason for both companies’ steady growth. The salon and spa typically sees between 5% and 15% growth annually, and has never had a down year. Puffer Printing, as a younger business, continues to grow at a slightly faster rate, recording about a 25% increase in revenues last year.

Both companies have had to stay abreast of technological trends and make necessary upgrades — the salon, for instance, recently abandoned its appointment books in favor of a computer-based, automated system, and continues to expand internally to meet the needs of a growing number of clients. Puffer Printing has converted to an entirely digitally based printing system, and complements its core business with the Easthampton copy center.

But it’s that focus on the human factor that both Don and Judy Puffer return to when looking at the reasons for their success.

“We have to stay on the edge, to stay with what’s happening globally,” said Judy. “But it’s not just the technical equipment we use that brings that edge to the area. We also need to keep educating ourselves and our staff.”

Puffer’s stylists, for instance, are frequently exposed to new trends and techniques through New York-based seminars and shows as a matter of course. And within the printing business, the majority of Don’s employees are former students.

“We’re very software-driven, so we routinely send our people off to get trained,” he said.

The emphasis on training is an aspect both Don and Judy Puffer plan to hone in coming years. While both businesses continue to move forward steadily, Don said other than the renovations and additions already in the works — particularly at the salon and spa, which has already undergone a redesign and remodeling project and will continue to change throughout next year — no major changes to either facet of Puffer International are expected.

“We have this footprint that we grew into, and now we plan to make good use of the locations, the space, the staff, and the clients we both have,” he said, to which a nodding partner, in life and business, added a wrinkle.

“We’re thankful, because we know it could all change tomorrow,” she said. “That’s a feeling we like to keep in our minds. And we’re also proud of what we do — what we do together.”

Jaclyn Stevenson can be reached at[email protected]

Sections Supplements
Music-booking Business Creates Some Performances of Note
Amy Bateman and Charlie Apicella of CArlo Music Management

Amy Bateman and Charlie Apicella of CArlo Music Management

The strains of a new party-planning trend are being heard locally, as one area musician pairs creativity with commerce to offer a unique, intimate addition to any gathering.

Charlie Apicella, owner of CArlo Music Management based in Amherst, a live-music booking service that specializes in providing unique jazz and classical ensembles, has been a musician since childhood, as well as a performer. After completing his degree in Arts and Administration at UMass Amherst, Apicella put his musical skills to work in a number of music- and culture-based jobs, among them assisting with the management of the UMass ‘Jazz in July’ workshop and the Litchfield Jazz Festival in Connecticut.

But two years ago, he moved on to start his own venture, and said creating a business to serve as an outlet for his talents and those of several other area musicians has helped him cultivate a creative career and fill a niche in the entertainment scene, particularly during the holidays. But on a grander scale, Apicella, a jazz guitarist, said he also feels he’s resurrecting an important piece of American culture and introducing it to new audiences.

“I love jazz,” he said. “We need to go back to the time when there was more of a community for musicians, and we sadly are lacking that today. The environment I would like to help create is a partnership between the venue and the musicians.”

To that end, Apicella has begun to develop relationships with a number of local restaurants and businesses, providing music for events such as holiday celebrations and themed dinners, and tailoring programs to fit those themes.

Apicella performed recently at Yankee Candle in South Deerfield, for instance, as part of a trio put together solely for the event, a Veteran’s Day observance.

“We performed Dixieland, swing, and patriotic melodies for the people while they were shopping,” he said, noting that the performance was well-received, and is indicative of the personal touch music can lend to any event.

“It was really nice to see some older gentlemen in their military uniforms,” he said. “People were filled with pride, were very responsive to the Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong selections we played, and were noticeably touched when our trumpet player did his solo rendition of ‘America.’”

Apicella was also called upon to provide entertainment for Thanksgiving at the Delaney House, and said he worked to provide something both intimate and original for diners.

“I put myself with a violinist and trumpet player,” he said. “We performed in duo and solo formats and moved around among the tables to interact with the guests, and gave them something special to remember for the holiday.”

Apicella said bookings are moving briskly as he continues to develop entertainment packages for venues such as Del Raye in Northampton and Night Kitchen in Montague, and to book holiday parties throughout November, December, and January. That’s due in part to the way Apicella said he manages his musicians and his business — with a strong focus on professionalism and customer service.

He explained further that the music he provides adds a new layer to events, by complementing the ambience a restaurant strives to achieve.

“Wine dinners are meant to highlight the food and wine of a certain country or region,” he offered as an example. “I also do a lot of private parties for people, often at their homes. The versatility of music I can offer for such events is what I feel sets CArlo Music apart.”

Those styles include Latin jazz, tangos, bossa nova, Italian folk songs, light classical (particularly of France and Eastern Europe), and Dixieland jazz (especially of New Orleans and Kansas City). Apicella also manages three specific groups: Cidade, which provides tango and Latin jazz music; the Rhythm Kings, which performs ragtime and early jazz; and Iron City, a jazz groove ensemble. He also books performances in other styles in tandem with partnering musicians, such as string quartets and classical groups.

And while Apicella said his business can provide entertainment to venues across the Northeast, he plans to maintain a strong presence locally.

“The Pioneer Valley has been very good to me, and business is steady,” he said. “I feel very good when I am asked to do special events, and to put together something nice for a large audience.

“My philosophy is that I can help hosts exceed the expectations of their guests,” he concluded. “This is the obvious outcome when you offer music you are passionate about, in a way that is entertaining and engaging for the audience.”

Contact Charlie Apicella at CArlo Music Management at (413) 824-9267;[email protected]. Music samples can also be heard at www.cidadetango.com andwww.ironcityjazz.com

Departments

Spirit of Giving

The 15th annual meeting of the Community Foundation of Western Mass. provided an opportunity for 15 randomly selected attendees to recommend $1,000 grants to Pioneer Valley charities of their choice.

They included (above, left to right) Mary Hoyer of Amherst, Denise Granger of Springfield, Carla Oleska of Northampton, Constance Clarke of Shelburne Center, Nina Berman of Wilbraham, and Michael Korzeniowski of Holyoke. Pictured at left are Stephen A. Davis, new board chair of the Community Foundation, and Dr. Carol A. Leary, outgoing board chair.

Above, are Sandy and Wendy Pearson, who were recognized at the event for a charitable contribution made to the foundation.


Training for Tomorrow

More than 150 visitors attended the recent Health Careers Open House at Springfield Technical Community College. Guests enjoyed tours and demonstrations in 16 academic programs. At left, Corinne Lemoine works on Megan Carter’s hair; both are Cosmetology students.

At lower left, Nursing student Michelle Shilasi performs tests on one of the college’s 14 patient simulators. Below, Mary Beth Sienkiewicz, a Clinical Laboratory Science student, demonstrates a blood draw.

Departments

The following Business Certificates and Trade Names were issued or renewed during the month of November 2006.

AGAWAM

Agawam Church of the Bible
335 Walnut St. Ext.
Raymond E. Fowler

Al Adams Insurance
551C Springfield St.
Albert J. Adams

AFR Associates Landscaping
76 Ottawa St.
Albert Montagna

Bayside Beaches
32 Horsham Place
Steven W. Marasi

Baystate Instrument Repair
525I Springfield St.
Carl G. Ippoleto

Cecco
29 Albert St.
David R. Cecchi

Chestnut Hill Farm Services
625 Shoemaker Lane
Jon Benerakis

Custom Touch
39 Alfred St.
Peter Platt

David Dondi Dental Lab
764 Springfield St.
David C. Dondi

Fern I. Reimers
30 Federal St. Ext.
Fern I. Reimers

JMS Mechanical Heating
and Air Conditioning
140C Autumn St.
Stephen Brown

King’s Allstar Photo Service
65 Kathy Terrace
Suzette Donald

Lighthouse Christian Center
522 Springfield St.
Lee Dematos- Pastor

Vicki’s Hairstyling
351 Main St.
Vicki Fontana

Salon Tres Chic
339 Walnut St. Ext.

AMHERST

Kano Ventures
15B High St.
Sabir Zohir & Carson James Mitchell

SouperBowl Inc.
96 North Pleasant St.
John Sobieski

Tres Jolie
29 Grantwood Drive
Sandra Twohig

Western Massachusetts Darfur Coalition
26 Morgan Circle
Nancy Rothschild

CHICOPEE

Chicopee Check Cashing
65 Main St.
Jan Sudol

Crow’s Nest
264 Exchange St.
Andrea J. Carrier

DB Painting
61 Taylor St.
Darius Z. Borkowski

Export Auto Sales
454 Chicopee St.
Djamshid Karamshahi

Geno’s Auto Service
121 Memorial Dr.
Michael E. Nawrocki

J&S Handy Man Service
69 Hampshire St.
Vincent J. Cole

Kaput’s Auto Body Inc.
226 Granby road
Bernard L. Dupuis

Malbros Auto Body
84 East Meadow St.
Edwin J. Malikowski

Pioneer Auto Sales
168 New Ludlow Road
David J. Desmarais

Roger’s Auto Body & Glass
26 Old James St.
Roger G. Castonguay

EASTHAMPTON

Comprehensive Investigation Service
116 Pleasant St. Suite 301
Thomas C. Kirkpatrick

Mass-Nights
24 Chapman Ave.
Shane R. Swanson & Justin M. Wellman

Treasures
116 Pleasant St.
Thomas C. Kirkpatrick

EAST LONGMEADOW

All About Design
50 Holland Dr.
Amy L. Livingstone

Crystal Nails
613 North Main St.
Linh Ai Lam

First World Mortgage Corp.
44 Harkness Ave.
Armand Arce

Redstone Rehab and Nursing Center
135 Benton St.
Benton Drive Operating Co. LLC

Vanle’s Hair & Nail
613 North Main St.
Stephanie Le

GREENFIELD

Building Blocks Childcare
79 Shattuck St.
Melinda J. Roy

Homespun by Andy’s
329 Deerfield St.
Gloria J. Easton

MacLeay Associates
377 Main St.
Jeffrey G. Morse

MoJo’s Nightclub
10 Fiske Ave.
Maureen L. Johnson

Ron’s Coffee Brake
426 Main St.
Ronald Rollins

HADLEY

The Healing Zone Therapeutic Massage
245 Russell St. Store 11
Nancy Newton

X9 Games
367 Russell St.
Michael C. Jacques

HOLYOKE

Dakota Management Services
14 Wayne Court
Adam David

El Comeriano Family Restaurant
420 High St.
Lee Oscar Perez

Imagine Photographic Studio
321 High St.
Javier Negron

202 Liquors
518 Westfield Road
Carolin, LTD

LONGMEADOW

Dave’s Better Nutrition
165 Brookwood Dr.
David Alan Reburn

The Styled House
54 Kenmore Drive
Kristina M. Miller

NORTHAMPTON

Acadia Herbals, LLC
2 Conz St.
Nathaniel Petley

D.D.T.
12 Drewsen Dr.
Don Ahlgreen

Florence Business Services
57 Main St.
Jagdish Singh

 

High Ridge Financial Planning
30 High St.
Douglas J. Wheat

Sequential Computer Solutions
3 Valley St.
Maxim A. Charles

The Organization for Voter Integrated Democracy Inc.
49 Market St.
David Wilson McCormick & Jason Alan Urban

PALMER

G.P.W. Construction
2093 Calkins Road
Gregory Nowakowski

JD Cleaning Services
4125 Church St.
Nestor Chupany

New England Equipment
15 Third St.
Gary F. Como

SOUTH HADLEY

International Creative Alliance
7 Country Lane
Lorraine M. Lowling-Kwiat

Kaifer Appraisals
10 Sycamore Park
Verna M. Kaifer

Peoplestuff
7 Country Lane
Lorraine M. Lowling-Kwiat

Scolor Designs
7 Country Lane
Lorraine M. Lowling-Kwiat

SOUTHWICK

Bianca Zoie
27 Hastings Road
Biancan Zoie Borotto

Forget-me-nots
535 College Highway
Linda Sshwarz

Serarnino’s General Store
587 College Highway
Fransic F. Sevarino

Simplicity Salon
21 Depot St.
Jamie Lynn Melloni

The General Store
587 College Highway
Hasmukh Gogri

SPRINGFIELD

3GS Transport
110 Brandon Ave.
Gabriel Sanchez

Bari Inc.
32 Fort Pleasant Avenue
Khalida-Darueen-Bari

Ivy’s Glitz Glam Nail Salon & Boutique
435 Springfield St.
Tanya Young

JMS Business Systems
6 Macomber Ave.
James M. Skarbek

Julissa Kitchen Mobile Food
9 Hayden Ave.
Raquel Rijo

Ken’s Automotive
250 Verge St.
Kenneth Bernard

L. Glass Creations
119 Elmore Ave.
Lekethia Glass

Longhill Deli Store
26 Longhill St.
Gladys Rivera

Luis Trucking
52 Stebbins St.
Luis J. Navarro

Luz Construction
127 Dickenson St.
Luz Y Ortiz

MD Trading Corporation
249 Bay St.
Musa Dukuray

Main St. Produce
2560 Main St.
Anibal Martinez

MaryKay Cosmetics
34 Amherst St.
Sonya Lian Williams

Mass. Holy Assembly Church For All People
20 Euclid Ave.
Elder Robert Butler

Matt’s Auto Service
681 Dickenson St.
Matthew T. Bedarel

Must Have By Beth
1391 Parker St.
Beth A. Lemelin

Nails Model
459 Main St.
Truong Tai

New England Mutiny
422 Main St.
Joseph Ferrara Jr.

New England Power Sports
11 Harvey St.
Bruce J. Bemier

Rise & Shine Auto Repair
5 Fountain St.
Enrique A. Vargas

Roy’s Towing Service
1130 Bay St.
Andrea Roy

Shesid Construction
402 Page Blvd.
Maria Rodriquez

Startek Cleaning Services
198 Chestnut St.
Marcilene Silva

SunnysideUp Restaurant
89 Main St.
Karen A. Nunes

T-Mobile
774 Boston Road
Omnipoint Communications

Trustee Realty
2112 Wilbraham Road
Jason Gadson

WESTFIELD

Danek’s Auto
190Russell Road Suite A
David Danek

Hickory Hill Farm
325 Montgomery Road
Dennis L. Bishop

Ivan’s Carpentry
12 Crown St.
Ivan I. Biley Sr.

Jencaran Performance Inc.
46 Springfield Road
David E. Riddle

Manicures and More by Mary Faith
52 Court St. 2nd Floor
Mary F. Leblanc

WEST SPRINGFIELD

A to Z Vinyl
34 Hanover St.
Viktor Savonin

E.P. Letendre Inc.
349 Cold Spring Ave.
Omnipoint Communication Corp.

Mario Shoe Service and Clock Repair
211 Elm St.
Mario Cardinale

Pro Vac Systems
16 Ryan Dr.
Daniel J. Desnoyers

Safelite Auto Glass 1230
842 Main St.
Brent Johnson

Svad Rooter Sewer & Drain Cleaning
60 Colony Road
Svad Dizdarevic

The Original I Love My Jojo’s
179 Daggett Dr.
Jaydog Inc.

United Plumbing Supply Inc.
1060 Memorial Dr.
Bath & Kitchen Gallery

Departments

Forensic Science Night

Nov. 28: Bay Path College in Longmeadow will host a Forensic Science Night from 5:30 to 9 p.m. for young women who are high school students, their parents, and guidance professionals interested in exploring the growing forensics-related fields that include forensic science, forensic psychology, criminal justice, and legal justice. Lt. Regina Rush-Kittle from the Connecticut State Police, Troop K, will deliver the keynote address titled ‘Do You Have What It Takes? Making It as a Woman in Law Enforcement Today.’ Workshops will include ‘Take A Byte Out Of Crime,’ ‘Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity,’ ‘Making the Case,’ and ‘Forensics on the Road.’ The program is free; however, registration is required. For more information, call the Admissions Department at (413) 565-1331, or E-mail [email protected].

Communications Conference

Jan. 9: Western New England College in Springfield, in partnership with the Valley Press Club, will host the fourth annual communications conference, titled ‘Getting Noticed in the 21st Century,’ from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The conference is intended for business professionals, members of nonprofits, and students as an opportunity to build skills, including how to communicate effectively through various media and how to network with industry experts and colleagues. This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to regional broadcaster Jack O’Neill during a luncheon. Workshop topics will include: ‘The Art of the Interview,’ ‘Great Internet Resources for Communication,’ ‘The Power of Internal Communication,’ ‘Photo/Web/Design Software: Where Do I Start?’ and ‘Adobe Photoshop Basics.’ For registration fee information, call (800) 660-9632 or (413) 782-1473 or visit www.wnec.edu/communications.

Sections Supplements
Stress-management Expert Tells People to Put Themselves on Their To-do List
Kate Forest

Kate Forest says her various programs and seminars are designed to show people that they have options when it comes to coping with stress.

Kate Forest calls it the ‘red light shoulder turn,’ and that name pretty much says it all.

It’s a stress-reduction exercise designed to help transform a generally negative experience — an annoying stoppage in traffic — into something positive.

It’s a simple step that only takes a few seconds, said Forest, noting that the maneuver involves merely a few slow, deep breaths and a slight turn of the shoulders to reduce tension. But it could, if undertaken with other, similarly motivated steps, have a rather significant impact.

The shoulder turn is one of many exercises — physical and mental — that Forest recommends during a seminar she offers titled Time-saving Ways to Lower Stress. It’s the most popular of a short list of programs she has created in conjunction with her latest business venture, called the Kate Forest Life Wellness Connection.

Like her first business endeavor, the Bliss Yoga Center, it is designed primarily to change the way people think about things, or what is known as ‘cognitive restructuring.’

Indeed, in her marketing materials on the Wellness Connection, she borrows a quote attributed to Albert Einstein: When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

This was how Forest felt after completing her first experience with yoga nearly eight years ago — “I remember sitting at home that night and feeling differently than I was used to feeling; I felt a peace of mind, a calmness, that had eluded me for a long time” — and she was so motivated by the experience that she decided she wanted to teach the subject. Thus, the former salesperson, hair stylist, and CPR instructor turned entrepreneur.

And earlier this year, she became one in the serial category, starting the Wellness Connection and quickly booking seminars at several area businesses, including Health New England, Springfield College, and Landmark Realtors. The calendar for 2007 is quickly filling up, and Forest has already scheduled a women’s wellness program for next March at Valleystone Credit Union, a few blocks down Boston Road from her yoga studio in Wilbraham.

While her various programs have many goals, their basic mission is to help individuals find ways to reduce stress in their lives. The motivation is obvious, she said, adding that stress impacts every facet of one’s life — from overall health to life at home to productivity at the office — and therefore it must be addressed proactively.

“Stress can contribute to high blood pressure, sleepless nights, fatigue, anxiety, physical aches, and chronic illness,” she explained. “It can also cause you to become scattered and unfocused, and when you’re trying to juggle all of your many responsibilities, this can undermine even your best efforts.”

Reducing stress is a lifelong exercise, she said, one that starts with an attitude that this assignment is not only doable, but quite realistic. And it begins with people putting themselves on their to-do list.

“Too many don’t,” Forest explained, and that’s because they’re too busy taking care of everyone else — at home and the office. “What we hear from our culture is ‘work harder, do more, work faster, you’re not good enough, don’t rest, don’t relax, you need to just force yourself to work harder.’

“The truth is we need to rest, and we need to renew,” she continued, “even if it’s only for five minutes a day or one minute at a time — or three deep breaths at a red light.”

Stress Test

Forest told BusinessWest that her entrepreneurial ventures are, in some ways, reflective of the message she leaves with people through her various programs. In short, she tells them to never stop searching for what’s right for them.

She spent many years searching — and cutting hair — until she discovered yoga at an eight-hour session at Westfield’s Genesis Spiritual Life Center, and decided then and there that she wanted to become an instructor.

“I knew that I had found something that could not only help me, but help me to help others — on a number of levels,” she said. After successfully passing several courses and gaining certification as an advanced instructor, she opened Bliss Yoga Center in 2001.

She considers the Wellness Connection to be an expansion of the yoga venture, and a way to take its basic assignment — ‘bringing mindful living to life’ — to a much broader audience. And by mindful living, Forest means creating a balance in life, developing positive habits, and finding what many people believe is missing from their lives — that peace of mind that was missing from hers.

Accomplishing all this often requires an attitude adjustment, or cognitive restructuring, she explained, referring to individuals’ broad reaction to all that is happening around them, and the need to take a more positive, far less stressful general outlook.

“One thing that most people don’t realize is that they do have a choice in how they respond to stress,” she said, “and this is a big part of my teachings — helping people to understand that awareness and that they do have a choice in how they think and how they let their negative inner voice talk to them.

“Cognitive restructuring is just retraining your mind,” she continued, “because so many people are conditioned to think negatively about themselves, other people, and their work situation; I want them to focus more on what’s right than what’s wrong.”

Doing so will help an individual on a number of levels, starting with their physical health, she explained, adding that performance on the job will also likely improve, as well as interpersonal relationships. Why? Because people can be more focused on what’s in front of them.

Indeed, stress and the pressures of life and work have the ability to make people scatterbrained, she said, adding that, when one’s attention is divided, he or she is less likely to succeed in whatever it is doing they’re doing, be it a project at work or communicating with a spouse or child.

“We’re just so busy in our society, and we’re so addicted to rushing, that when we do get to spend time with our loved ones, often we’re lost in our thoughts,” she explained. “We’re thinking about our day, we’re thinking about what happened at work; we’re there, but we’re not really there.

“That’s why I tell people when they do have time to be with loved ones, to really be with them,” she continued. “So many people are, in essence, sleepwalking through their days. I try to teach people how to pay attention on purpose.”

These are messages she delivers through a series of programs, one that she hopes to expand in the months ahead. In addition to ‘Time-saving Ways to Reduce Stress,’ current offerings include:

  • ‘Change Your Perception — Change Your Life’: This program is designed to help people maintain a positive attitude, despite challenging work environments, pessimistic people, and individuals’ own self-critical inner dialogue;
  • ‘Mindful Eating’: Poor eating habits are a byproduct of today’s busy lifestyles, said Forest, adding that they contribute to a laundry list of problems ranging from sleepless nights to poor self-esteem. This program spotlights that cause-and-effect phenomenon and offers suggestions on how to fit healthy, mindful eating into a busy schedule;
  • ‘Stretch Away Tension to Renew in Minutes’: Physical tension causes tight muscles, which can lead to body aches, headaches, reduced circulation of blood and oxygen, a tired mind, and diminished energy levels, said Forest. This program provides participants with simple yoga stretches to reduce physical tension and chronically tight muscles, while improving flexibility, releasing stress, and creating an overall sense of personal well-being;
  • ‘Life Balance Through Mindful Living’: This program helps individuals who feel overwhelmed, overstressed, and disconnected from what matters most to create a better balance in their lives. It also demonstrates how to fit self-renewal into even the busiest of days.

Looking at her programs from a business perspective, Forest sees a strong market for her services — an indication of the prevalence of stress in today’s society, as well as a desire among many people to at least attempt to do something about it.

“These programs are popular, and they’re going to be more so in the future, because through them, people can see that they have options,” she explained. “It’s all about taking the small steps, not to just be more productive at work, but to find more meaning in life.”

It’s All Well and Good

Returning to the red light shoulder turn, Forest said that exercise is a simple yet effective example of how stress permeates life, and how individuals can deal with it.

A red light slows one down, possibly making an individual late for whatever they’re driving to, thus creating tension, she explained. Instead of focusing on these negatives, shoulder turn practitioners can instead work to alleviate tension by doing their mind and body some good.

Taking such an attitude from the intersection and into the office and the home requires some work on the part of the individual, she said, but it’s necessary if one is to counter all the many negative impacts of stress.

“The thought process can create more stress, or it can decrease your stress,” she said. “It all comes down to how we think about things.”

George O’Brien can be reached at[email protected]

Departments

The following building permits were issued during the month of November 2006.

AGAWAM

Louise Pananas
916 Suffield St.
$900,000 — Renovation of machine shop to new restaurant and banquet facility

AMHERST

Sunsations
6 University Dr. 109
$5,482 — Construction of two new tanning rooms and a storage area
EAST LONGMEADOW

Hafey Funeral Home
120 Shaker Road
$35,000 — Bathroom renovation

GREENFIELD

Bank of Western Mass.
45 Federal St.
$10,000 — Re-roof

HOLYOKE

Holyoke Mall Company
L.P. C/O Pyramid Companies The Clinton Exchange

50 Holyoke St. – Space G – 305
$16,500 — Remodel Existing Master Cuts Hair Salon Store

Holyoke Mall Company
L.P. C/O Pyramid Companies The Clinton Exchange
50 Holyoke St.
$325,000 — Remodel Existing Coldwater Creek Store

Holyoke Mall Company
L.P. C/O Pyramid Companies The Clinton Exchange
50 Holyoke St.
$446,325 — Lane Bryant — remodel existing store

Holyoke Mall Company
L.P. C/O Pyramid Companies The Clinton Exchange
50 Holyoke St.
$1,074,998 — Sports Authority — remodel existing store

Holyoke Mall Company
L.P. C/O Pyramid Companies The Clinton Exchange
50 Holyoke St.
$125,286 — Payless-remodel existing store

NORTHAMPTON

New Commercial Building
332 Pleasant St.
$202,200 — N.A.

Service Properties Inc.
84 Conz St.
$150,342 — Interior & exterior renovations

 

Ten Main Street
$43,000 — Construct interior walls to divide space

Pizza Factory
143 Main St.
$10,800 — Install kitchen exhaust system

SOUTH HADLEY

Center Redevelopment
29 College St.
$24,575 — New roof

Center Redevelopment
29 College St.
$21,575 — New roof

Mt. Holyoke College
50 College St.
$21,389,060 — New dorms

SPRINGFIELD

Derf Realty
1 Carando Dr.
$98,000 — Renovate office space for new tenant.

Laundromax
57 Allen St.
$340,000 — Fit out existing building into new laundramat.

Mercy Medical Center
233-271 Carew St.
$84,688 — Expansion of existing infusion area.

Pine James Apartments
25-45 Pine St.
$339,750 — Renovation

Springfield College
263 Alden St.
$718,000 — Addition of science classroom

WESTFIELD

Powdermill Village Apartments
126 Union St.
$600,000 — Renovation due to fire, buildings 9,10,19, and 20

WEST SPRINGFIELD

KFC
931 Riverdale Road
$90,000 — Remove glass atrium and re-side.

Opinion
A Smarter Look at the Bay State’s Costs

We aren’t in Taxachusetts anymore.

Think about the reasons young college graduates, working couples, or even retirees cite when they say they are leaving for North Carolina or Florida. The costs that are driving our workforce to other states and keeping new employers away are for housing, transportation, and energy — all of which are taking more money out of the family checkbook than other states.

Now that the debate about a tax rollback that would save most families only a few dollars a week is over, the new administration needs to work with the Legislature to find creative ways to control those big- ticket costs that even the anti-tax Pioneer Institute recently pegged as the leading cause of job and population loss.

House lots the size of football fields. Old farms converted to Anywhere USA subdivisions. New water pipes, utility lines, and roads flung farther afield while downtown infrastructure crumbles. The ever-expanding time and distance of commutes — these are things we can start to control, and when we do, costs will drop for all of us, and our tax dollars will be put to more efficient use.

Neighboring states have started to put price tags on ‘building anything anywhere.’ Maine spent $200 million on building new schools in the last two decades, even though the school population is declining — the children are just more dispersed. Rhode Island estimates it will spend $1.5 billion by 2020 on additional fire, police, utility, and road costs and lost urban tax revenue from haphazard growth.

While much attention in our state is focused on the brain drain due to high housing costs, a recent study by the Center for Housing Policy found that transportation actually eats up more of working families’ paychecks. Add to this a finding by Boston Consulting Group that after job availability, access to outdoor activities is the second- most important reason college graduates decide to stay or leave the state. Clearly, the next governor needs to encourage employers to locate in places where people already live, build affordable homes near public transportation, and preserve the parks, beaches, and forests that attract workers, as well as tourists, from around the nation.

To start working in earnest on the kind of reforms that will save us time and money in the next decade, the new governor and legislature need to:

  • Fund our crumbling transit systems. Let’s put jobs, schools, and shopping closer to homes and transit, adds seats to the T and commuter rail, and expand public transportation statewide to take some of the burden off our choked roads. Right now, we can’t even afford to fix what we have, so we need to consider a full menu of funding options. Proposing to cut tolls while we are raising T fares is exactly the wrong direction to take;
  • Enact zoning reforms and local aid incentives that remove impediments to affordable housing, encourage towns to recreate the traditional New England village, and protect land of ecological importance. Two-acre lot minimums are sending developers into cornfields. We need to reward towns that grow smart with funds they need to provide local services, not hamstring them into absorbing growth they can’t afford;
  • Invest $250 million more each year in public infrastructure. The state’s financial managers put a limit on how much new debt the state can take on and retain a good bond rating. Neutral experts believe the state can afford to borrow more to fix our deteriorated infrastructure.

The Patrick administration should build on the Romney administration’s attempt to coordinate investments and policy in transportation, housing, energy, environment, and economic development, ending the ‘silos’ of government that have led to contradictory planning, turf wars, and wasted tax dollars. The new governor and Legislature need to show real leadership in tacking the costs that have lightened our wallets for some time now.

Bold initiatives will cost money in the short term, but in the long term, families will stay and save money, and government will spend less.

Kristina Egan is director of the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance.