Home 2005 February

We ’re told that Charlie Ryan is mulling over whether he should run for another term as mayor of Springfield.

Maybe we can help him make up his mind.

In the year that Ryan has been mayor, Springfield has made much-needed progress in repairing the damage to both its fiscal well-being and its overall reputation — but the job is far from finished.

It would be a great sacrifice for someone in Ryan ’s position and age bracket to give the city another two years, but we sincerely hope he does, because his leadership has been a great asset for the city.

From a fiscal perspective, Springfield is very much in recovery. Although a budget deficit remains, and closing it will be a daunting challenge, the city is moving in the right direction. Ryan has done what he said he would do — he has the city living within its means and he is working overtime on collecting every dollar he can to rebuild the city ’s depleted coffers.

Ryan has been equally successful in his fight to restore Springfield ’s tattered image.

We have talked often in BusinessWest about how the inept management practices that defined the Albano administration have handicapped this proud city, but it bears repeating so people never forget.

The Albano administration essentially ran the city into the ground with fiscal policies that can only be described as irresponsible. Meanwhile, he effectively handed the city over to a bunch of crooks, and his poor decisions about personnel and leadership put the city in a different kind of hole that is in some ways even more serious than the fiscal dilemma he inherited.

Appointments to key positions in city hall often went to unqualified individuals, such as the former head of the city ’s law department, Peter J. Fenton, who often made legal rulings favoring friends and supporters of Albano. City Hall, under Albano and Fenton ’s auspices, became a modern‚day Tammany Hall. Ryan ’s appointment of Patrick Markey to head the city ’s law department has restored confidence in one of the most important departments in city hall.

With every lurid headline about the goings on at the Mass. Career Development Institute under the direction of Albano ’s best friend, Gerald Phillips, and with every disclosure of a contract that benefited Albano ’s buddies, one can see how much damage Albano ’s lack of leadership and faulty judgment have hurt the city. We ’re not sure where or when the federal corruption probe will end and how many former members of Albano ’s administration will wind up behind bars or paying heavy fines, but it seems certain that the list will grow. What we do know is that the city is paying a huge price for the poor decisions made years ago.

Indeed, while it is impossible to quantify how the two-headed monster of corruption and fiscal collapse have hurt Springfield in terms of economic development and job growth, it is quite fair to say that this confluence of negative news, this black cloud, if you will, has given many cause to lose confidence in this city.

Which brings us back to Ryan.

If you talk to people in the business community (which we do every day), many will tell you that what Ryan is doing — slowly but surely — is restoring that level of confidence in this tarnished city. His decisions, many of them difficult in nature, have been made with conviction and with the city ’s well-being in mind, not a few individuals who stand to prosper.

More importantly, people in the business community are comfortable with Ryan, and they feel optimistic that the worst is finally behind us and that better days are ahead for the capital of Western Mass.

Make no mistake, the work is far from done. The fiscal mess is worse than anyone, including Ryan, could have imagined, and the task of righting the ship will go on for years. But Ryan has succeeded in making people believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

It would be easy for Ryan to return to private life and enjoy retirement, a right he has certainly earned. But we urge him to strongly consider a second term, because his strong sense of honesty and conviction are the two most important qualities one can find in a mayor.


‘Rodney Powell, the recently appointed president and COO of Western Mass. Electric Co., believes in tackling problems head-on. Two primary challenges for the utility are stimulating economic development in the region and helping existing businesses operate more efficiently — strategies that will enable the company to achieve desired growth.

Rodney Powell will long remember the day he was introduced as the new general manager of the Simsbury-area district of Connecticut Light & Power Company (CL&P).

"I think I was the only one stupid enough to take that job," he joked, recalling that at the time (early 1996), the Simsbury area was in the throes of a brutal winter that caused regular and seemingly endless power outages — and thus a public relations nightmare for the local utility and its administrators.

Powell told BusinessWest that the end of his first day on the job featured a public meeting in the Simsbury High School auditorium attended by large numbers of dissatisfied customers seeking answers about their problems with getting reliable electrical service. "I would call it a mob," Powell recalled. "I was introduced as the new general manager, and people started saying, ’you ’re the one that ’s going to fix our system, ’ and ’you ’re the one that ’s going to get things right around here.

"It was a real trial by fire, but also a great learning experience," he continued, noting that he spent the next two years working on the problem, which resulted from both inefficient infrastructure and ineffective systems for communicating with customers. "I learned a lot about the importance of tackling a problem head-on."

Powell plans to take what he learned in Simsbury — and at other stops during a 25-year career with Northeast Utilities, parent company to CL&P — to his new assignment as president and COO of Western Mass. Electric Co. (WMECO), another NU subsidiary. There, he faces a different kind of challenge.

"There ’s nothing broken here," he told BusinessWest, speaking broadly about WMECO ’s staff, systems, and operations. "We just want to get even better, or real good, at what we do, and sometimes doing that is more challenging than fixing something that ’s not working right."

To address that challenge, Powell, the subject of this month ’s CEO Profile, will start by first gaining a thorough understanding of WMECO ’s operations, the local market, and the Western Mass. business community. With that knowledge he hopes to improve customer service, provide more value to those clients, and help WMECO operate as a more efficient business.

And he stressed that a utility is, indeed, a business in every sense of that word.

"Most people don ’t think of us a business, but we are," he said. "The public thinks that whenever we run out of money we ask for a rate increase — it ’s not like that; we have budgets, we have goals, and, like many businesses, we have slim margins that we have to live with."

Like his predecessor, Kerry Kuhlman, who has been promoted to director of NU ’s newly established Corporate Shared Services Group, Powell said repeatedly that in its post-utility-industry-restructuring role as strictly an energy distributor, WMECO can achieve growth only if the region it serves remains vibrant and achieves residential and commercial growth itself.

Thus, the utility is — and will remain — actively involved in economic development initiatives and programs aimed at helping local businesses, especially manufacturers, become more competitive in an increasingly global economy.

This includes an active role in the Hartford-Springfield Economic Partnership, or the Knowledge Corridor, as it ’s called. Powell said the border-erasing initiative is a pivotal development strategy for both states.

"Massachusetts is no different than Connecticut — both states face the same challenges and want the same things," he said. "We ’ll see a number of advantages from them working together, collaboratively, on cross-border initiatives."

He said that economic development is a multi-faceted process, however, and that perhaps the biggest factor in achieving progress in Springfield, or any other community, is quality public education.

Transforming a Business

Recalling the situation he encountered in Simsbury, Powell said the problems there involved both technology — the system had two circuits that overlapped, so when one went down both did — and communications between the utility and the community it served. Or, in this case, a lack thereof.

"I remember writing a lot of letters to customers at that time," he explained. "I would end each one by saying that a representative of CL&P would be in touch with them. Someone at the company told me that I shouldn ’t be doing that — it was something we couldn ’t commit to — and I said, ’that ’s part of the problem here. ’"

Improving communication with customers has been one of Powell ’s many areas of focus within the NU system. He told BusinessWest that in his most recent position, that of vice president of Customer Relations at CL&P, he handled just about everything that wasn ’t on a pole or wire.

Specifically, he was responsible for the interface between CL&P ’s distribution organization, customer support functions, and the 1.1 million retail electric customers of the 149 cities and towns in Connecticut. He also managed CL&P ’s community relations, conservation and load management, customer services, and economic and business development fuctions.

Prior to joining NU in 1978, Powell, a native of Norfolk, Va. worked for Arthur Anderson and Company as a senior staff auditor and as an associate director of a federally funded community health program with the University of Connecticut medical School. With that background, Powell told BusinessWest that he has been more involved with numbers all of kinds than with technology.

Before becoming general manager of the Simsbury district, for example, he served NU as a consultant in marketing services and an area called "customer engineering." Powell explained that this involved oversight of an NU process called Customer Engineering and Management Services, which brought personnel — including service technicians, conservation ‚ and load managers, and others together in teams to address specific customer needs. The process was especially helpful during the higher-load-growth era of the late ’80s and early ’90s before conservation initiatives were well understood and utilized by commercial and industrial customers.

Most customers are now quite familiar with those conservation programs, he continued, but the team approach to problem-solving and customer service remains a vital component of NU ’s overall operating philosophy.

At WMECO, Powell said his preliminary challenges are to determine what drives customers and identify areas where the utility can help enhance economic development efforts and assist individual businesses in their efforts to become more competitive.

Discussing the specific hurdles facing manufacturers, he said that cost pressures impact businesses not only in Western Mass. but across the country, and many of these forces are beyond anyone ’s control.

"I don ’t spend one nano-second thinking that I can solve those problems, because I can ’t," he said, adding quickly that he expends considerable time and energy on those matters a local utility can do something about.

This includes the broad area of conservation, which, while it sounds like it is devoted purely to reducing consumption of energy, is also a broad method for making companies more efficient and more competitive — and to allow the utility to eventually sell more electricity.

"It sounds counterproductive in a way," said Powell, referring to programs like PRIME, in which WMECO provides financial and technical support for companies to utilize the Kaizen method for implementing process improvement, reducing cycle times, and, in the process, use less electricity.

"But by helping these companies become more efficient, we can also help them become more competitive," he explained. "As they do so, they will hopefully develop new products, expand their operations, and thus become bigger electric customers."

Powell said he has some general discussions with area business and economic development leaders, but wants to schedule some one-on-one sessions with business owners and managers to gain additional insight.

"I want to better understand not so much their business challenges, such as taxes and health care costs — I think there is a lot of commonality there," he said. "What I want to know is how, in spite of all those challenges, companies are able to stay here and be successful. I want to know what it is that drives people to stay here.

"I believe that if I can better understand that, I can articulate it to other customers and maybe help them find a way to succeed here as well."

Powell theorizes that most successful companies, specifically manufacturers, have been able to develop niches and superior products that customers are willing to spend more for. If that ’s the case, then these businesses can become models for companies already in this region and those potentially interested in relocating here.

What WMECO wants to do is become a partner with area businesses to help them clear the many hurdles in front of them, said Powell, noting that this is a somewhat new but very important role for all electricity providers in the age of restructuring.

Watt ’s Ahead

While striving to understand WMECO ’s customer base and its specific needs and challenges, Powell said another immediate priority is familiarizing himself with the individuals and operations of the Springfield-based utility.

As he said, nothing is really broken at WMECO and thus in need of fixing. "Here in Western Mass., we have a very reliable system that was well-engineered," he explained. "At WMECO, we have dedicated people — from the people in their field and on the poles to those in the office — who are committed to the customer. My goal is to build on the foundation, identify opportunities, and develop best practices."

There will be challenges with that assignment, specifically narrow margins and the ongoing need to widen the customer base in a region that has seen little overall growth for the past several years.

"The margins today are much smaller than there were when we generated electricity and also distributed it," he explained. "For that reason, we have to manage our costs better."

Powell said a recent agreement forged between WMECO and Mass. Attorney General Thomas Riley will give the utility some rates it can certainly live with, but that will also require some pencil-sharpening.

Powell, who has done a significant amount of home-restoration work, draws similarities between those exercises and taking a business and making it operate more efficiently.

Referring to home renovations, he said one never knows the full extent of the work involved until the work is started and the depth of the challenge is revealed. The same is true with managing a company.

And as WMECO partners with area organizations such the Springfield Area Council for Excellence (SPACE) to become more efficient and thus lower the cost of operating, the same process is ongoing within the utility itself, he said.

"That ’s our goal as well — to become increasingly efficient in how we do things," he explained, adding, again, that it is often more challenging to make a good operation better than to undertake a turnaround project.

As he has at other stops in his NU career, Powell will stress the importance of communication at WMECO. This includes everything from providing information on power outages — how they occurred, and when they will end — to continuing a dialogue with the business community about conservation and becoming more competitive.

Powell said that he and others in the utility will be visible in the community, playing a role in some of the obvious workforce- and economic development initiatives, and some that are perhaps less obvious.

As an example, he cited an ongoing initiative with the Springfield Urban League on a training program that would enable unemployed or underemployed individuals to gain the skills necessary to work at WMECO ’s call center in its new headquarters in the Technology Park at STCC.

"This is something I ’m excited about," he said, noting that NU will soon be consolidating call centers in Northern Connecticut, and skilled individuals will be needed for that facility. "Through this 12- to 14-week training program, we ’ll be creating some job opportunities for people in Springfield."

On the broader subject of economic development, Powell said the Knowledge Corridor initiative represents a real opportunity for the region. Like others involved in economic development, he said that both Springfield and Hartford have amenities and selling points. Combining the communities into one larger economic development region makes both areas more saleable.

Meanwhile, the collective minds on both sides of the border can collaborate to work on problems that impact economic development in all communities — poverty, crime, housing, and especially public education.

"I staunchly support public education, that ’s where it begins and ends," he said. "If Rome is burning, I ’m still focused on education — that ’s the key to a healthy community."

Power Surge

Powell, who has followed in Kuhlman ’s footsteps in his last two NU assignments, expects to follow her as well into an active role within the Pioneer Valley ’s business and cultural communities. While with CL&P, for example, he was involved with groups as diverse as the Capital Workforce Partners and the Hartt School of Music.

But he plans to ask those who might solicit his time and energy to give him perhaps a year to first tackle the learning curve ahead of him — getting to know the region, its business community, and the utility itself, and understanding the immediate needs and priorities for each.

By doing so, he feels he can better serve those various constituencies, and more effectively tackle issues head-on.

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


The business of streamlining operations and curbing stress in the workplace is booming and area Feng Shui practitioners are feeling the positive effects of a corporate climate that is beginning to welcome new ideas derived from an ancient science.

Many CEOs set up shop in ‘the corner office. ’ And according to one school of thought, there may be something more to where the boss ’s desk is placed than merely prestige.

Feng Shui, pronounced ’fung schway, ’ began to gain notoriety in the U.S. in the late 1980s, as a way to help plan various rooms in homes and apartments. It uses is based on the idea that one ’s environment both affects and reflects an individual, and can be modified to create a better balance.

Literally translated as ’wind ’ and ’water, ’ Feng Shui has gained both popularity and acceptance since its introduction to the western world, and Feng Shui practitioners of the science generally promote basic ways to de-stress, remove clutter, and focus on comfort and safety when designing spaces.

Now, those practitioners are entering the workplace, assisting not only with office design, but employee productivity as well.

Area Feng Shui consultants say that business is good, and more and more corporate clients seek their services each day. Explaining an ancient art to some can still be a challenge, but as corporate America continues to shift toward more progressive thinking, welcoming concepts like flex-time, working from home, and management styles that differ greatly from the ’top-down ’ structure of the 1980s, Feng Shui is becoming just one part of a greater culture change.

"In the business world today, a lot of people are feeling overwhelmed," said Susan LaForte, a certified Feng Shui practitioner based in Northampton, who works with both private and corporate clients. "Just making a small change can help. Look at your office; that ’s a good place to start. Provide yourself with a clear, uncluttered space in which to work, with a big view of the space in front of you. That can make you feel more in control."

Cornering the Market

Linda Courtney, owner of Harmony Design Feng Shui in Worthington, has worked with individuals who want to revamp their personal space, office space, retail stores, and other businesses in Western Mass. and parts of New York. She said that part of the reason why business owners are enlisting her services is because they understand the common sense of the Feng Shui practice and how it can change a client ’s perception of their business.

"A lot of people in business already understand intuitively some of the concepts of Feng Shui without even realizing it," Courtney added. "Especially people in advertising or marketing. They know that people can be affected subliminally by things around them. And when making changes in accordance with Feng Shui, many corporate clients see an obvious difference."

"Feng Shui focuses on environment, and how different surroundings can affect people," she continued, adding that in an office environment, the psychological aspect of feng shui often comes into play, as changes in the workplace are usually made to specific issues such as productivity or interpersonal relationships.

"Clients usually want to trigger positive change," Courtney said, "and physical changes in the office can help that process."

One classic change in an office environment is to position desks in the ’command position ’ at the far end of a room with a clear view of an office ’s entrance.

"It has been shown to increase productivity, and psychologically it is a more powerful position," she said. "It can make you feel more comfortable, and safer in your general environment."

Many high-level executives and CEOs already position their desks in such a way, without the help of a Feng Shui practitioner, Courtney said. In order to tailor the ’command position ’ to the workspaces of other employees in smaller offices or cubicles, she said she is a fan of subtle, though similar adjustments to give employees that same broad view that top-level executives may enjoy. Convex mirrors that can be mounted at the corner of an office cubicle, giving employees a better view of their surroundings, are one of her favorite tools.

"Employees can see people coming without being constantly distracted from their work," she said.

Color My World

Another reason for Feng Shui ’s surging popularity in corporate venues, according to LaForte, is its pliability. The practice does not need to be applied only to a room, office, or home. Rather, it can be incorporated into everyday life in a number of ways.

"Your environment in general can ripple out and change everything in your life," she continued. "Most people that contact me for a consultation say they feel ’stuck. ’ Often, all they need is a different pair of eyes to look at their entire situation to help them make a few small changes."

One aspect of the practice is the use of color to influence moods or perceptions. Again, the concept is not a foreign one to many people. Politicians and executives alike are often seen sporting bright red ’power ties, ’ and the term ’green room ’ the waiting area used before entertainers walk on camera or stage is derived from the use of light green paint in early dressing rooms to calm performers before the show.

The idea is much the same when using a Feng Shui approach, LaForte said. Red is seen as an ’active ’ color, which can work against procrastination and toward renewed energy. Orange is seen as a color that fosters communication, and is an excellent choice of paint color for meeting rooms.

Another important consideration of Feng Shui, and another reason it is translating so well in the American workplace, is eliminating clutter and increasing organization. LaForte educates her clients on clutter by breaking it down into nine ’clutter categories, ’ including broken things, unwanted gifts, collections, gizmos and gadgets, and forgotten items all common items in office spaces.

In order to sort through an office mess, LaForte said first it is important to distinguish between clutter and disorganization not everything needs to be thrown away, perhaps just compartmentalized in a smarter way. Further, when in doubt about an item, LaForte recommends the Chi test; evaluating what, if any, positive energy any given object adds to your life.

"Ask yourself does it express who you are or who you want to be? Do you feel stressed, anxious, pained, or emotional when you think about it? If so, it ’s probably clutter, and it ’s OK to get rid of it."

A Balancing Business

Both LaForte and Courtney said underscoring the practical applications of Feng Shui is important in order to better educate their clients and to promote the service.

"It ’s important to explain how down-to-earth it is, and that Feng Shui is rooted in eastern science," Courtney said. "Eastern science is not like Western science, so sometimes it ’s hard for Westerners to understand. But we ’re not talking about magic here; it ’s an effective solution to many problems."

Jaclyn Stevenson can be reached at[email protected]

Harmony Design
Fast Facts
Company: Harmony Design
Address: 61 Buffington Hill Rd. Worthington, MA 01098
Phone: (413) 238-4226
Business: Feng Shui for home and business
President: Linda M. Courtney
Email:[email protected]
Web site: www.harmonydesignfengshui.com

Feng Shui for Home and Business
Fast Facts
Company: Feng Shui for Home and Business
Address: 30 Washinton Avenue, Northampton, MA 01060
Phone: (413) 584-3540
Business: Feng Shui for home and business
President: Susan LaForte
Email:[email protected]

Sections Supplements

A planned industrial city, Holyoke has enjoyed a rich tradition of manufacturing. Today, it continues, but with a different look. Where once the landscape was dominated by large companies, many of them paper and textile makers, the city has recently become home to smaller niche players in search of available, inexpensive space.

When asked if he was surprised by the announcement late last month that the Ampad plant in Holyoke would be closing its doors in the spring, Jeff Hayden said yes — and no.

The Texas-based corporation had made some significant investments in the Appleton Street facility in recent years, said Hayden, the city ’s director of economic development. Such spending doesn ’t often precede a shut-down announcement.

But Holyoke and other area communities have seen a number of incidents in recent years in which national or international corporations closed local facilities and moved operations to other plants, said Hayden. The Ampad announcement merely continues a disturbing trend, he said, citing other defections in Holyoke, including Atlas Copco, Greitag Imaging, and Kodak Polychrome, and some in other communities, especially the well-publicized planned closing of Danaher Tool in Springfield.

"No one thought that a closing was inevitable," Hayden said of Ampad. "But, in many respects, this wasn ’t surprising."

And, partly because of this pattern, the city ’s long, distinguished manufacturing tradition is undergoing a fundamental shift, said Hayden. Where once the city was dominated by larger employers, many of them paper and textile makers, it is now seeing a manufacturing base dominated by smaller niche players, most with local ownership, that are coming to the city for its workforce and ready supply of affordable space.

Companies like International Container.

A maker of solid waste containers (Dumpsters) of all sizes, the company, which started out in Springfield and later relocated to Southwick, came to Holyoke because it desperately needs room to grow.

It found it in a 150,000 square-foot-building on North Canal Street that was formerly home to Atlas Copco, Worthington Compressor, and other industrial tenants. International started with 20,000 square feet, and quickly expanded to 50,000 and then 75,000, an indication of its strong growth pattern — it has doubled sales the past two years and looks to do so again this year — while increasing its workforce to 30.

Bill Searles, who founded the company with his five sons, said the company came to Holyoke because of the price and availability of real estate, and with no real idea of how long the stay would be. But it now appears to have settled in for the long haul; the Searles family expects to close on the property it is currently leasing later this month.

There are many similar stories being written in Holyoke.

C.A.R. Products recently relocated from West Springfield to a 31,000-square-foot building on Beaulieu Street in the Springdale Industrial park. There, it produces and distributes a wide range of auto cleaning products for dealerships, car washes, truck and van fleets, and other businesses in that broad sector.

Company President Bob Goldenberg told BusinessWest that the company came to Holyoke because it offered what he called the "best bang for the buck" when it came to real estate.

"I looked everywhere, and I mean everywhere," he said of a two-year search for space that was accessible and could accommodate office, manufacturing, and distribution operations as well as a small retail space. "Holyoke offered us what was easily the best deal."

Hayden expects the evolution of the city ’s manufacturing base to continue, and he is hopeful that Holyoke will turn the loss of Ampad into an opportunity by taking its 200,000-square-foot facility and two neighboring buildings, formerly home to Laminated Papers, and convert them into a business park that would house more of the smaller, locally owned ventures now dotting the landscape.

"What we want to do is get more of the small companies, family owned or locally owned, with specialty or niche markets and custom approaches," he said. "And let ’s give them the space and the cost-effectiveness they need to be successful."

BusinessWest looks this month at the changing manufacturing landscape in Holyoke and at some of the companies now doing business there.

Roll Players

Hayden said there are many challenges to reshaping a manufacturing base with smaller employers. Real estate is absorbed more slowly, and job growth comes in smaller increments, he explained.

But overall, such a shift brings a somewhat greater sense of stability, he continued, because there is far less reliance on one sector, such as paper, or a few large players. "When a company closes, we lose 10 or 20 jobs, not a few hundred."

Thumbing through a directory of manufacturing operations in Holyoke, a list that includes more than 200 names, Hayden said that the vast majority of the players have fewer than 50 employees, and many have 10 or fewer.

There are still some larger players in the mix — Edaron Inc., a maker of puzzles and gameboards that employs 140; Hampden Papers, (170); Hazen Paper, (185); Sealed Air Corp. (110); Specialty Loose Leaf (135); U.S. Tsubaki ’s roller chain division, (170); and University Products, a maker of archival products, (100) — but the majority of companies are much smaller.

Together, they employ thousands and help fill dozens of old mill buildings with long histories, said Hayden, adding that most of these ventures are surviving in these ultra-challenging times for manufacturers due to their ability to develop niche markets for specialized products.

Universal Plastics, a recent transplant to Holyoke, found one in plastic bus stop signs for New York City.

Joe Peters, the company ’s president, told BusinessWest that some cities and towns have discovered that plastic is an acceptable, less expensive alternative to metal, and the material is recyclable. New York did some research on the subject and thought enough of the concept to order about 15,000 of the signs (a $3.5 million contract) for all five boroughs.

"We would never in a million years have approached New York about bus stop signs, but this just came together for us," said Peters. "We were making kayaks out of recycled materials, and the people of New York were interested in having signs that were recyclable; they called us on a whim."

Universal has several niche products that are providing steady growth for the company, which recently took delivery of a $500,000 piece of equipment — a rotary twin-sheet thermoforming machine — that will enable it to diversify into other product lines, especially those that cannot be mass-produced overseas.

"For most manufacturers today, they have to go out and find niches where their products work," said Peters, "For us, it ’s small-to medium-volume products, things that people wouldn ’t go to China to have manufactured because it would be too expensive."

Universal came to Holyoke last year after spending 38 years in the sprawling Cabotville Industrial Park in Chicopee. There, it took progressively larger amounts of space as its orders grew. Eventually, the company occupied two floors of the former mill complex and had enough space, said Peters, but it was not efficient space.

"We had plenty of space, but it wasn ’t efficient space," he said. "We were moving things from one floor to another Ö that ’s not an efficient way to run a manufacturing operation today."

Clean Slate

Obtaining room to grow was also the primary motivation for C.A.R. Products, said Goldenberg, noting that the acronym stands for Complete Appearance Reconditioning, but the full name is rarely used today.

The company was started in 1969 by Goldenberg ’s father, then a vending machine mechanic looking for a less-stressful career option. It began as a distributor of auto cleaning products, and expanded into R&D and then manufacturing when the younger Goldenberg took over in the early ’80s.

It has grown from a one-person operation to one with 25 employees, and is in the process of becoming a national distributor as it continues battle with more-well-known names like Blue Coral and Simonize.

"We ’re ready to go national," said Goldenberg, noting that while there are several competitors in his field, there are certainly opportunities for strong growth.

To achieve it, Goldenberg knew he needed more space that was more easily accessible — the company was located almost across the street from the Eastern States Exposition and had grown weary of fighting Big E traffic. The search took Goldenberg to nearly every community in the Valley — he was close to finalizing a deal in Springfield before it fell through — before he found the one-story building on Beaulieu Street.

Hayden told BusinessWest that the evolution of Holyoke ’s manufacturing sector and the addition of companies like C.A.R., Universal, and International Container is not a recent phenomenon. For decades, small companies and sole proprietors have taken advantage of the millions of the square feet of mill space that became available when the paper and textile mills moved south. One of the classic examples is E.S. Sports, the tiny silk-screening venture founded by Eric Suher in 1983. The company started with two people, and now has more than 70.

There are dozens of similar stories, said Hayden, who said the exodus of many larger, national or international companies has actually accelerated the process. While Universal took over space vacated by Kodak Polychrome, others are moving into the former Greitag Imaging building — Baystate Health System has several operations there now, but manufacturers have expressed interest in still-available space — while the same is expected for the Atlas Copco property on Lower Westfield Road.

And while a number of scenarios could play out for the property being vacated by Ampad, the multi-story nature of that facility may make it less suitable for one large manufacturer.

This is one of the reasons why Hayden would like to pursue a business park at that location.

"The main plant is relatively modern, and Ampad has made a number of investments in it," said Hayden. "Meanwhile, the Laminated Papers buildings are clean and they ’re in very good shape. Holyoke should look at this event as an opportunity to plan something big for that neighborhood."

All the necessary ingredients would be in place for a business park, said Hayden, listing rail access, high-speed Internet service, and a quality workforce. "This would be the ideal location for a business park that would bring more locally owned and family owned businesses to the city; those are the businesses that represent our future."

Success Stories

Assessing the Ampad announcement and what it means for Holyoke, Hayden said that any time 200 jobs are lost at one time, there is a definite impact on a community.

"This will be a big loss for the city," he said. "But in this loss there could be some opportunity as well."

It will likely take several small companies to absorb the physical space once taken by Ampad and to make up for the jobs that will be lost, Hayden said. But long-term, these smaller, locally owned companies will likely provide more stability — and probably more jobs in the long run.

And they will continue an evolutionary process in this city built to be an industrial center.

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


The following building permits were issued during the month of January 2005.


Amherst College Trustees
College Hall A.C.
$60,986 — Reconfigure career center space

Gordon Chen
321 Main St.
$4,000 — Remove and replace storefront windows


CEL & Associates
591 Memorial Dr.
$3,194,000 — New retail building

Subway & Gamestop
645-649 Memorial Dr.
$239,270 — Renovate to business

William, Wright & John Lyman Co.
60 Depot St.
$3,669 — Loading dock


Pioneer Valley Girlscouts
40 Harkness Ave.
$8,000 — Interior alterations


Carl and Edith
206 King St.
$49,000 — Enclose porch into retail space, renovate second-floor apartment

Cooley Dickinson Hospital Inc.
30 Locust St.
$5,000 — Replace fire door, alterations

Cooley Dickinson Hospital Inc.
30 Locust St.
$2,900 — Install directional gates on ground floor landings

D. A. Sullivan & Sons
84 North St.
$150,000 — Renovate second floor

Gleason Bros. Inc.
7 Pearl St.
$15,700 — Move non-bearing wall

Jacobs & Jacobs Inc.
70 Old South St.
$25,000 — Convert first and second floors to commercial space

McCutcheon Development LLC
27 West Farms Road
$6,750 — Install drywall

Meadowbrook Preservation Assoc.
491 Bridge Road
$3,200,000 — Install vinyl siding, replace windows, handicap access, renovations

Pride Convenience Inc.
375 King St.
$10,000 — Change canopy panels

Soda Creek Trading Co.
17 New South St. #306
$23,500 — Interior renovations

Soda Creek Trading Co.
17 New South St. #312
$16,800 — Interior renovations

Star Northampton Inc.
37 King St.
$25,000 — Install ramps

293 Northampton Realty LLC
293 King St.
$2,893,579 — Construct car dealership


Antonio Palazzesi
100 Verge St.
$56,000 — Renovate existing building for animal shelter

44 Rose St.
$732,766 — Erect prefabricated building

Mass Mutual
1295 State St.
$22,238.61 — Interior renovations

Smith & Wesson
2100 Roosevelt Ave.
$289,490 — Frame new wall, install ceiling, wiring, sprinklers

Sovereign Bank
1350 Main St.
$56,280 — Interior office renovations

Sovereign Bank
1390 Main St.
$32,510 — Interior renovations


MP Consulting Inc.
309— 311 Elm St.
$9,000 — Exterior renovations

Pioneer Management
19 St. James Ave.
$295,137 — Interior renovations


The following Business Certificates and Trade Names were issued or renewed during the month of January 2005.


Chemex New England
54 Ramah Circle North
Anita Hoyle

Country Boutique
150 Country Road
Florence Pelletier

Crystal Ice and Fuel
343 Main St.
Albert Grimaldi

D & G Suffriti Construction Co.
228 Adams St.
Gary Suffriti

Gemini Therapeutic Massage
664 Main St.
Donna Chartier

Gorgo’s Kitchen
858 Suffield St.
Alex Attman

Greenright Design
9 Alfred Court
John Hollywood

The Hair Salon at Quail Run
50 Cardinal Dr.
Karen Mitchell

Lido Graphics
46 Sequoia Dr.
John Rioni

M & M l Inks
541 Springfield St.
Maureen Abdullah

Mark’s Auto Detail Service
9 Alfred Circle
Mark Kuralt

McCarthy’s Liquors
430 Main St.
John McCarthy

324A Springfield St.
Vananh Huynh

Quality Life Systems
20 Logan Place
Brian Knowles

Red Coach Transportation of Western MA
449R Silver St.
Linda Polep

Sapphire Art & Photo
107 Franklin St.
Peter Karanysh

Sasha Speaks Seminars
210 Beekman Dr.
John Zebryk

Segway of Western MA
396 Main St.
Walter Meissner Jr.

Steve’s Home Improvement
77 Walnut St.
Stephen Kiforishin

Vannah Hair & Nail Techniques
324A Springfield St.
Vananh Huynh


After Five Silver Jewelry & Accessories
6 University Dr.
Teeom Williams

Amherst Computersmith
19 Justice Dr.
Andrew Berg

Casimir Kocot
79 South Pleasant St.
Terri Kocot

134 East Hadley Road
Justin Viens, Jeffrey Costigan

Jane Taylor Jewelry
382 Middle St.
Jane Taylor, Jeffrey Fischer

Jones Properties LP
15A Pray St.
Gerald Jones

Love Myself Toys
15 Jeffrey Lane
Tiffany Johnson

Painting Unlimited Co.
18 Hunters Hill Circle
Alvaro Ramos-Jaco

Red Barn Music
409 Main St.
Kevin Collins

Whirlwind Fine Garden Design
29 Hartman Road
Christopher Baxter


AJ Chimney Services
161 Grattan St.
Adelph Andormenis

DeMatos Enterprise
9 Boisvert St.
Lee DeMatos

8 Wire Mall
17 Goodhue St.
Richard Sliski

Hair of the Dog
279 Montgomery St.
Paula Dane

HRS Trading
25 Highland Ave.
John Bellenoit

No Bones About It
62 White St.
Mary Apicella

No Heat Call Tommy
213 Bemis Ave.
Thomas Fregean

Robert Bernash Electrician
38 Ducharme St.
Robert Bernash

Royal Cigars
115 Front St.
Shahzao Ahmad


Crystal Nails Salon
613 North Main St.
Linh Ai Lam

Hampden Capital Funding
240 Parkerview St.
Ronald Fuller

Holistic Health Center
280 North Main St.
Alice Shabunon

James Scanlon Insurance
280 North Main St.
James Scanlon

Salon Karma
511 North Main St.
Jennifer Picard


Aurylius the Salon
74 Cabot St.
Margot Lugo

Desert Moon
50 Holyoke St.
Koang Yam

Downtown Delight
285 High St.
Carolann Stewart

Elegant Affairs
233 Easthampton Road
Margaret Boxold

Holyoke Sporting Goods
1584 Dwight St.
Elizabeth Frey

Jackson Hewitt Tax Service
515 High St.
Yogesh Patel

Phantom Security Service
15 Main St.
Samuel LaFleche

Project Works
64 Bemis St.
Deborah Long

Silvana Net
324 Homestead Ave.
Silvana Gravini

Specialized Security Service
15 Main St.
Samuel LaFleche

3B’s Variety
2014 Northampton St.
Randy Goldberg

Tuty Mini Mart & Restaurant
368 High St.
Margaro Crespo


Bri McCarroll
136 Dwight Road
Bri McCarroll

Creative Edge
7 Edgewood Ave.
Cynthia Bixby

Edward Joseph Bauchiero
80 East Greenwich Road
Edward Bauchiero

Firehouse Entertainment
156 Barrington Road
Dean Godfrey

Mortgage Giver
1650 Longmeadow St.
Daniel Edwards

Today’s Window Fashion
468 Frank Smith Road
Edward Comini


Bacon & Wilson P.C./Morse & Sacks
31 Trumbell Road
Bacon & Wilson P.C.

157 Main St.
Jennifer Wiseman

Curran & Berger
53 Gothic St.
Joseph Curran

KC Consulting
130 Cardinal St.
Kimberly Cook

Mindful Touch Bodyworks
13 Old South St.
Tammy Pease

Seeds of Transformation
25 Main St.
Susan Lellamo

Snook & Mohan Insurance Agency
149 Jackson St.
Owen and Lisa Snook Mohan

Youth Development Consultant: Guidance/College Counselor
241 King St.
Michelle Letendre


186 Main St.
Joseph Jeresaty


Home Facelifters
249 Brainard St.
Philip Stefanelli


A Cut Above the Rest
186 State St.
Nelson Davila

A Cut Above the Rest II
2662A Main St.
Nelson Davila

All Service
25 Groton St.
Michael Allegrezze

Al’s Used Cars
17 Newhouse St.
Alfred Hicks

Austin Auto Sales
15 Austin St.
George’s Auto Body Inc.

Beautiful Nails
1130 State St.
Ut Van Vo

Cleaning Galore
75 Narragansett St.
Brian Kenney

DA-V Delivery
39 Montrose St.
Andrae Davey

Double Door
60R Congress St.
John Smith

El Behio Rest 809 Liberty St.
Miguel Martinsen

El Mayimbe Barber Shop
28 Fort Pleasant St.
Milagros Guerra

Fabricated Computers
20 Marquette St.
Jesse Rushlow

Family Floor Sanding
73 Appleton St.
Shawn Schipper

Fancy Nails
1655 Boston Road
Mai Du

Harry Van Wart Painting
160 Cambridge St.
Harry Van Wart III

Home Image
57 Leyfred Ter.
Nathen Bloors

Jeh Pro & Co.
92 Ramblewood Dr.
Olusela Urhiafe

Kimmy’s Quality Cleaning
29 Bowden St.
Kimmy Brown

The Lions Den
312 Locust St.
Genaro Sarno

New York Pizza
161 Boston Road
Nazar LLC

Official Lifestylez Clothing 68 Federal St.
Keola Perry

Office Enterprise
23 Castlegate Dr.
Anna Jordan

121 Hartford Ter.
William Clow

Quality Disc
1127 Main St.
One Sound Place Inc.

Seafood Market
260 Hancock St.
Jorge Severino

Springfield Nails
682 Belmont Ave.
Omari Doctor

Sunny Day Communications
68 Merideth St.
Kenneth Smith

Torres Insurance Agency
2652 Main St.
David Torres

Total Property Maintenance
88 Butternut St.
Daniel O’Brien

Ultimate Anime
26 Mounton St.
Amber Frazier

Vintage International
91 Ramblewood Dr.
Olusela Urhiafe

W.T.C. Williams Training Center
29 Howard St.
J.S. Williams


Ace Beauty Systems
1053 Westfield St.
Beauty Systems Group Inc.

Advantage Staffing Associates Inc.
131 Elm St.
Patricia Connors

Affordable Decks-Beautiful Decks
29 Clara St.
Jerome McCarthy Jr.

Alkhabi Custom Installations
954 Westfield St.
Mohammed Alkhabi

Angelo Bertelli’s Liquor Mart Inc.
726A Main St.
Harold Passerini

Army Barracks
1053D Riverdale St.
Stephen Lopilato

Convenient Cards LLC
8 Sean Louis Circle
Jack Clemente

Dean Auto Sales
6 River St.
CEDT Corporation Inc.

Duquette Electric Co.
395 Morgan Road
James Dusquette

E-Zee Mart
662 Kings Hwy.
Fawad Khawaja

E-Zee Mart
83 River St.
Arshad Iman

First Choice Brokerage Corp.
117 Park Ave.
Michael Martin

Greenough Paper Co. Inc.
54 Heywood Ave.
Greenough Packaging and Maintenance Supplies Inc.

Gokul LLC
2260 Westfield St.
Sunil Patel

K & M Auto Sales
697 Union St.
Kyle Shoemaker

The Kid’s Place Inc.
915 Memorial Ave.
Scott Petersen
Martin Insurance & Financial Service
117 Park Ave.
Michael Martin

Mike’s Heavy Hauling
770 Prospect Ave.
Michael Vazquez

Pak Grocery
470 Main St.
Muhammad Sultan

23 Longfellow Dr.
Ashlee Picard

Professional Acoustics
2119 Riverdale St.
Professional Drywall Corp.

SSK Construction
43 Day St.
Sergey Petlyakov, Sergey Karnaukh

S.S.R. Construction
84 Maple Ter.
Peter Slivka

Summerwood Construction
34 Cass Ave.
Scott Harvey

Totally Floored
36 Second St.
Justin David

132 Myron St.
Jack Borgschult

United Sureties Fugitive Task Force
44 Exposition Ter.
Angus Rushlow

US Construction
26 Irving St.
Maksym Shalypin


A.G.E. Electric
77 Mill St.
Alexander Bielunis

Accounting Associates
92 Little River Road
Antonio Castro

Construction Unlimited
241 Main St.
Andrew Clough Sr.

The Hairport
148 Elm St.
Susan Austin

Hartley Brothers Landscaping
542 Montgomery Road
Daniel Hartley

LABA Dry Cleaners
51 Southwick Road
Aleksandr and Tammy Bolchunas

Magic Tan Western MA & Vermont
280 Russellville Road
Barbara and Stacie Phetteplace

Mohan Home Improvement
45 Parker Ave.
Aleksandr Monan, Ivan Mohan

Opportunity Knocks
74 King St.
Julianne Krutka

Republic Iron Work Inc.
84 Christopher Road
Gary Visconti

Western Parish Orchards
1780 Granville Road
Paul Tarnauskas