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Swing of Support

The YMCA of Greater Springfield recently honored a longtime community supporter, David Demos, and welcomed sports celebrities to the 20th Annual Scantic Valley YMCA Golf Outing. The event was held at both the Country Club of Wilbraham and the new Cold Springs Country Club in Belchertown. From top, Kirk Smith, YMCA president and CEO; Jules Gaudreau of the Gaudreau Group and a corporate board member; Demos, honorary co-chair; Jim Rice, Red Sox Hall of Famer; and “Coach” Willie Maye of the Boston Celtics. At top: Chris Ott (left), YMCA personal trainer, and Paul McConnell, YMCA member, wait their turn on the greens. Smith (center) stands with Barry and Kim Sanborn of ProShred. Maye (far left) and Rice (center) pose with Day of Caring volunteers from MassMutual.

































Common Ground

The historic Cooper’s Commons in Agawam recently celebrated the grand opening of a new marketplace of distinctive shops and services. The complex contains Cooper’s Gifts & Curtains and unique businesses in the former Country Squire Furniture Shop. The recent renovations complete phase 1 of two phases; phase 2 is expected to be completed in 2013. Surrounded by area supporters at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, above center, is Agawam Mayor Richard Cohen, and to his right is Kate Gourde, second-generation owner of Cooper’s Commons and Cooper’s Gifts and Curtains. Right, state representative Nick Boldyga, 3rd Hampden District, presents Gourde with a proclamation from the State House.

 

Family Business

Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. recently invited Dr. Michael Klein to speak to a group of family-business owners as part of an educational family-business event. Klein, at left at the head of the conference table, authored the recently published book, Trapped in the Family Business.

Features
Business Expo Offers Inspiration and Education to Attendees

A man who climbed Mt. Everest. A woman who built her business from nothing and sold it for over $200 million. The head of the company that makes FiveFinger running shoes. These dynamic speakers and more are all at the Western Mass. Business Expo on Oct. 11. Why would you be anywhere else?

“This Expo is exceptionally well-developed this year,” said Kate Campiti, associate publisher of BusinessWest, which is producing this second annual event. “The variety of our inspiring, high-level speakers, informative programs, and the depth of our educational seminars are unmatched.”

From the Expo Kickoff Breakfast, with Mass. Commissioner of Higher Education Richard Freeland, presented by the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield (ACCGS), to the Expo Luncheon with Michael Clayton, Ambassador for Trust, who led the most successful BBB in the nation, and 12 educational seminars throughout the day, the schedule is fully packed. After only one year, the success of the Expo’s outreach and the audience that it attracts demonstrate how it has evolved into yet another educational experience.

“We’ve created what we’re calling ‘co-located’ events,” said Campiti. “These are events that would have occurred elsewhere, but the ease of opening up to our public has brought them to the Expo.”

Of those events, the first, from 8 to 9:30 a.m., includes the Purchasing Management Association of Western New England, a membership organization that serves the manufacturing community and the purchasing arm of those companies. The group will host their monthly meeting with Herb Robins, who will speak on “Lean 8 Wastes and Inefficiencies.”

From 10 a.m. to noon, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, UMass, and the Scibelli Enterprise Center at STCC will sponsor a Business Service Provider MeetUp. This event offers the nonprofits and agencies that serve small startups and entrepreneurs a chance to meet each other and learn more about how each agency helps their clients.

From 1 to 4 p.m., the Assoc. of Operations Management, a group that supports the manufacturing sector, will welcome Birgit Matthiesen of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Assoc., who covers Capitol Hill and the Executive Branch, and works closely with U.S. associations toward heightened North American competitiveness.

In addition to more than 180 exhibitors, other highlights include Michael Matty of St. Germain Investment Management, who just recently climbed Mount Everest; Nancy Butler, author of Above All Else: Success in Life and Business; Michael Martin, GM of Vibram FiveFingers running shoes; four sessions about e-mail marketing and social media by Constant Contact; a Health Care Corridor; and the aforementioned co-located events that will provide impetus for the region’s business community to learn, build lasting relationships, and grow.

And speaking of relationships, the day will close out with what has become known simply as the Expo Social, where exhibitors and visitors can converse with each other from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Again, why would you want be anywhere else?

Sponsoring this entire event is Comcast Business Class, in addition to silver sponsors Health New England, Johnson & Hill Staffing Services, and Stevens 470. Booths are going fast, but a few are still available and can be ordered by calling (413) 781-8600, logging onto www.wmbexpo.com or www.BusinessWest.com, or e-mailing [email protected]

Agenda Departments

Photographers Click at Westfield State

Through Oct. 20: Westfield State University’s Arno Maris Campus Gallery is hosting “Through the Iris, the Photographic Perspective,” an exhibit featuring the work of local photographers Betsy Feick, Elizabeth Garcia, Bill Hughes, and Dan Minicucci. Feick’s collection, “The Meadows,” highlights local rustic scenery from Northampton. “My specialized infrared camera captures a part of the light spectrum invisible to our human eyes,” she said. “My slightly distorting wide-angle lenses put the viewer right in the picture and add an unearthly quality to the photos.” Garcia’s “Nebulous” is an abstract collection of photographs described as “science fiction-like.” There is a lack of clarity in terms of what subject matter the images are conveying and a slight level of confusion about how they were conceived. The collection “has cohesively morphed my visual aesthetics in painting and photography into an abstract world of suspension,” she said. “The ability to initiate imagination and pondering in the minds of others is an admirable gift that inspires me and sustains my intrinsic visual engagement as an artist and viewer.” Meanwhile, Hughes’ “Dream Sketches,” she said, “are pictures which explore visual possibilities that may exist when time, space, and motion are allowed to accumulate through the lens of a camera and be recorded. Finally, Minicucci’s photos reflect the more than 15 years he has spent documenting the flora, fauna, and scenery of the Westfield River Watershed. There will be an artist’s reception on Oct. 4 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., with live music and refreshments. Normal gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 2 to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 2 to 7 p.m.; and Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. The gallery is located in WSU’s Ely Campus Center.

 

World Affairs Council Annual Meeting

Oct. 10: Hampshire College President Jonathan Lash will speak at the World Affairs Council of Western Mass. Annual Meeting & Dinner in the Mahogany Room of the Springfield Sheraton Hotel in downtown Springfield. More details will be forthcoming. Lash is an internationally recognized expert on practical solutions to global sustainability and development challenges. Before he became president of Hampshire College in 2011, he served as president of World Resources Institute (WRI), an environmental think tank with offices in eight countries and partners in more than 50 countries. WRI is an international leader on issues ranging from low-carbon development to sustainable transportation. From 1993 to 1999, Lash was co-chair of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, a group of government, business, labor, civil-rights, and environmental leaders appointed by Bill Clinton that developed visionary recommendations for strategies to promote sustainable development. He played a key role in the creation and success of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, which in 2007 issued the highly influential “Call to Action” on global warming. Prior to WRI, Lash held posts as director of Vermont Law School’s Environmental Law Center, Vermont secretary of Natural Resources, and Vermont commissioner of Environmental Conservation, as well as a federal prosecutor. For more information on the event, call (413) 733-0110.

 

Brown, Warren to Debate

Oct. 10: Massachusetts citizens will soon cast ballots for U.S. senator in a nationally followed race. On behalf of the Western Mass. U.S. Senate Debate Consortium, the Springfield Public Forum will serve as coordinator of one of the debates between Republican Sen. Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren. Slated for Symphony Hall, this will be the only debate between the candidates held in Western Mass. Tickets are required, but are free and available on a first-come, first-served basis at various locations in the area, including the Economic Development Council, 1441 Main St., Springfield, as well as from event partners Mass Live, New England Public Radio, the Daily Hampshire Gazette, the Republican, UMass Amherst, the Amherst Valley Press Club, Western New England University, WGBY, WGGB (abc40 and Fox 6), WSHM (CBS 3), and WWLP (NBC 22). Tickets are general admission only.

 

Western Mass.

Business Expo

Oct. 11: BusinessWest will again present the Western Mass. Business Expo. The event, which made its debut last fall at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield, will feature more than 180 exhibitors, seminars, special presentations, breakfast and lunch programs, and the year’s most extensive networking opportunity. Comcast Business Class will again be the presenting sponsor of the event. Details, including breakfast and lunch agendas, seminar topics, and featured speakers, will be printed in the pages of BusinessWest over the coming months. For more information or to purchase a booth, call (413) 781-8600, e-mail [email protected], or visit www.wmbexpo.com.

 

Novelist, Playwright to Speak at STCC

Oct. 12: Andrea Hairston, novelist and playwright, will visit the region as part of the Ovations series, sponsored by the Chicopee Savings Bank Endowment for Academic Excellence, the STCC Office of Academic Affairs, and the STCC Honors Program. There will two performances, at 10:10 and 11:15 a.m., in Scibelli Hall. Both are free and open to the public. Hairston is the Artistic Director of Chrysalis Theatre. For more than 30 years, Hairston has created original music, dance, and mask productions. In 1997, Hairston turned her interest to science fiction and wrote a sci-fi theatre jam, Archangels of Funk. She also published her first sci-fi novel, Mindscape, which won the Carl Brandon Parallax Award. Tony Award winning playwright Pearl Cleage said, “Andrea Hairston’s Mindscape starts with a vision of the way things ought to be and then takes us along on the amazing journey that must be undertaken to make that vision a reality.” Hairston has spent her career exploring the links between arts and science. This multi-faceted presentation will feature readings, music, and performance. For additional information about the Ovations series, contact Philip O’Donoghue at (413) 755-4233 or [email protected]

 

An Evening of

Classical Music

Oct. 19: The New England Farm Workers’ Council, the North End Educational Development Fund, the Student Prince & Fort Restaurant, and the Puerto Rican/Latino Leadership Council will present “Diversecity,” an evening at Springfield’s Symphony Hall with the internationally renowned Puerto Rico Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring 70 musicians and guest singers. The symphony will be conducted by Maestro Rafael Enrique Irizarry III, with special guest Kevin Rhodes. The event, starting at 7:30 p.m. and hosted by Bax & O’Brien of Rock 102, is intended to bring local residents together in celebration of the strength, diversity, and cultural richness of this region and its people. Tickets may be purchased at symphonyhall.com or ticketmaster.com.

 

Writer, Essayist to Speak

Nov. 5: Anne Fadiman, a writer, essayist, and author whose first book, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, won her a National Critics Book Circle Award, will visit the region as part of the Ovations series, sponsored by the Chicopee Savings Bank Endowment for Academic Excellence, the STCC Office of Academic Affairs, and the STCC Honors Program. There will two performances, at 10:10 and 11:15 a.m., in Scibelli Hall. Both are free and open to the public. The Washington Post called Fadiman’s book “an intriguing, spirit-lifting, extraordinary exploration.” The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down tells the story of Lia Lee, the daughter of Hmong immigrants from Laos, who was diagnosed with epilepsy in 1981. What follows is the story of a clash of cultures as well as an examination of the U.S. healthcare system. The book is often taught in university literary journalism courses across the country and serves as a casebook for cross-cultural sensitivity. Fadiman also is the author of Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader and At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays. She currently resides in Whately and is a professor of English and writing mentor at Yale University. For additional information about the Ovations series, contact Philip O’Donoghue at (413) 755-4233 or [email protected]

 

40 Under Forty Reunion

Nov. 8: BusinessWest will stage a reunion featuring the first six classes of its 40 Under Forty program. Details on the event will be forthcoming. What is known is that it will be staged at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House in Holyoke, and will be open only to 40 Under Forty winners, sponsors, and their guests, as well as judges of the first six contests. For more information on the event, call (413) 781-8600, or e-mail [email protected]

Chamber Corners Departments

ACCGS

www.myonlinechamber.com

(413) 787-1555

 

• Oct. 2: Rake in the Business Tabletop Showcase, 4:30-7 p.m., 1599 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. The ACCGS has joined the Greater Chicopee, Holyoke, and Westfield chambers of commerce to bring members an affordable way to market their business. Platinum Sponsors: Charter Business, PeoplesBank, and Westfield Bank. Gold Sponsors: BusinessWest, First Niagara Bank, the Westfield News, and Harrington Insurance. Tables cost $100 and include table covering, skirt, and electricity (if needed). This opportunity is open to chamber members only. Make table reservations online at www.myonlinechamber.com, by calling CecileLarose at (413) 755-1313, or e-mailing [email protected] You may also fax your form to (413) 755-1322. The cost to attend the event is $5 if pre-registered, $10 at the door.

• Oct. 11: The Western Mass Business Expo, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., MassMutual Center, Springfield. The ACCGS is partnering with BusinessWest on the event, which starts with the Chamber Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. in the ballroom, where Commissioner of Higher Education Richard Freeland will release the report “Time to Lead: the Need for Excellence in Massachusetts Public Higher Education.” Also planned are brief comments by area college presidents. Tickets cost $25 per person for breakfast and $45 per person for lunch. For reservations to the breakfast or lunch, contact Cecile Larose at [email protected], or register online at www.myonlinechamber.com.

• Oct. 17: Business After 5, 5-7 p.m., Six Flags New England, Agawam. Come join the chamber as Six Flags offers an inside look at the Looney Tunes characters and how they prepare to meet the public. Sponsorships are still available for this event. The Chamber has reduced the price of its After 5 this season to $5 for members and $10 for non-members. Reservations are accepted at www.myonlinechamber.com or by emailing Cecile Larose at [email protected] There will be food and a cash bar.

• Oct. 26: Super 60 Luncheon, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Chez Josef, 176 Shoemaker Lane, Agawam. This annual chamber event recognizes the top 60 companies in both revenue and growth. Presenting sponsor is Health New England. Other sponsorship opportunities are still available. Guest speakers are Stanley Kowalski III, owner and founder of FloDesign Inc., and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki, who will show how government and private industry can work together successfully in this environment. Cost is $50 for members, $70 for non-members. Reservations can be made online at www.myonlinechamber.com or by emailing Cecile Larose at [email protected]

 

Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce

www.amherstarea.com

(413) 253-0700

 

• Oct. 4: Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Dinner, 5:30-9 p.m., Lord Jeffery Inn. Annual Awards Dinner presented by PeoplesBank. Emceed by Monte Belmonte of 93.9 FM. This year’s A+ Awards recipients are the Hitchcock Center for the Environment, Legacy Award for Environmental Leadership; Ray Shafie, former owner of Copy Cat Print Shop, Lifetime Achievement in Business; Chris Riddle, retired architect and founder of Kuhn Riddle Architects, Lifetime Achievement in Business; Youssef Fadel, New England Promotional Marketing, Chamber MVP. Additional sponsors: Health New England, J.F. Conlon & Associates.

• Oct. 12: Chamber Legislative Breakfast, 7:15-9 a.m., Lord Jeffery Inn. Cost: $15 for non-members, $12 for members.

 

Franklin County Chamber of Commerce

www.franklincc.org

(413) 773-5463

 

• Oct. 12-13: Brick & Mortar International Video Arts Festival, 4-10 p.m., downtown Greenfield. A walking tour of video art. Free admission. See www.greenfieldvideofest.org for more information.

• Oct. 19: Breakfast Series Program, 7:30-9 a.m., Bella Notte Restaurant, Huckle Hill Road, Bernardston. Thank you to U.S. Rep. John Olver. Sponsored by Greenfield Cooperative Bank and the Academy at Charlemont. Cost: $12 for members, $15 for non-members. Call (413) 773-5463 for reservations.

 

Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce

www.easthamptonchamber.org

(413) 527-9414

 

• Oct. 6: Casino Night, 6-11 p.m., One Cottage St., Easthampton. Come try your luck at an array of gaming tables. Lucky winners will win prizes. Hors d’oeuvres and a cash beer and wine bar throughout the evening. Major Sponsors: Easthampton Savings Bank, Finck & Perras Insurance Agency. Cost: $25 in advance, $30 at the door. For more information, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org.

• Oct. 11: Networking by Night Business Card Exchange, 5-7 p.m., hosted and sponsored by Cooley Dickinson Southampton, Rehabilitation & Outpatient Services, Big Y Plaza, College Highway, Southampton. Hors d’oeuvres and door prizes. Cost: $5 for members, $15 for non-members.

• Oct. 22: Celebrity Bartenders Night, 6-9 p.m., Opa-Opa Steakhouse & Brewery, 169 College Highway, Southampton. Join us for a night of fun with local celebrities mixing drinks. Your tips benefit the chamber’s holiday-lighting fund. Raffles and fun. Free admission.

 

Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce

www.holyokechamber.com

(413) 534-3376

 

• Oct. 2: Rake in the Business Table Top Showcase, 5-7:30 p.m., Chicopee Castle of Knights. Four area chambers — Holyoke, Chicopee, Westfield, and ACCGS — are getting together to present a tabletop mini-trade show. Tables cost $100. Call (413) 534-3376 to register, or sign up online at www.holyokechamber.com.

• Oct. 3: Sales Training Breakfast, 7:45-9 a.m., the Log Cabin, 500 Easthampton Road, Holyoke. “How to Close the Sale in the New Economy,” Marc Wayshak, author of two books on sales and leadership, shares his revolutionary selling system for salespeople, entrepreneurs, and companies alike. Cost: $25 for members, $30 at the door and for non-members. Call (413) 534-3376 to register, or sign up online at www.holyokechamber.com.

• Oct. 10: Autumn Business Breakfast, 7:30-9 a.m., the Log Cabin, 500 Easthampton Road, Holyoke. Sponsored by the Republican and Holyoke Medical Center. Recognizing new members, business milestones, and networking breakfast meeting. Cost: $20 in advance, $25 at the door, $30 for non-members. Call (413) 534-3376 to register, or sign up online at www.holyokechamber.com.

• Oct. 17: Chamber After Hours, 5-7 p.m., the Pioneer Valley Railroad train at Holyoke Heritage Park. Business networking event to take place on a train car and caboose, including a 50/50 raffle, a variety of door prize, and complimentary appetizers and beverages. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Call (413) 534-3376 to register, or sign up online at www.holyokechamber.com.

• Oct. 22: “Building a Small Business” Seminar, the PeoplesBank Conference Center at the Kittredge Business Center. Reception at 5 p.m., followed by a 6 p.m. panel discussion on “Writing a Business Plan, Sales, Marketing, Networking, and Adapting to a Changing Economy.” Free admission. Call Joanna Brown at (413) 552-2253.

 

Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce

www.explorenorthampton.com

(413) 584-1900

 

• Oct. 3: Arrive @ 5, 5-7 p.m., 99 Pleasant St., Northampton. Sponsored by Innovative Business Systems, Crocker Communications, and Pioneer Training. Cost: $10 for members.

Professional Women’s Chamber

www.professionalwomenschamber.com

(413) 755-1310

 

• Nov. 14: November Luncheon, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Max’s Tavern, MassMutual Room, Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield. Guest Speaker: Lynn Ostrowski of Health New England. Cost: $25 for members, $35 for non-members.

 

Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

www.westfieldbiz.org

(413) 568-1618

 

• Oct. 2: Rake in the Business Table Top Showcase, Castle of Knights, Chicopee. Presented by the Greater Chicopee, Greater Holyoke, Greater Westfield, and Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield. Exhibitor tables cost $100.00 (Westfield’s new members get a 50% discount), and each receive six extra passes to the show. Cost: $5 in advance, $10 at the door. Each ticket is entered into a drawing for a Kindle Touch with a leather case. Platinum Sponsors are Westfield Bank, PeoplesBank, and Charter Business; Gold Sponsors are BusinessWest, the Westfield News, First Niagara, and Harrington Insurance Agency Inc. Call Pam at (413) 568-1618 or e-mail [email protected] to register.

• Oct. 17: WestNet Oktoberfest, 5-7 p.m., East Mountain Country Club, 1458 East Mountain Road, Westfield. Sponsors: Comcast and Frosted Swirl Cupcakes. Cost: $10 for members, $15 cash for non-members. Your first WestNet is always complimentary. Call Pam at (413) 568-1618 or e-mail [email protected] to register.

Features
West of the River Chamber Taps into Youth

Michael Beaudry and Debra Boronski

Michael Beaudry and Debra Boronski are completing the first year of a new management arrangement that saves the WRC a significant amount of administrative expenses.

Remo Pizzichemi has passed the torch.

Specifically, Pizzichemi, vice president of the Welcome Group Inc., which manages the West Springfield Hampton Inn and the Springfield/Enfield Holiday Inn, has passed the chairmanship of the West of the River Chamber of Commerce (WRC), to 32-year-old Michael Beaudry, owner of Azon Liquors and TEG Business Consulting, a small marketing and branding company that focuses on social networking, both in Agawam.

Pizzichemi is proud of his past year helming the WRC, the business organization that serves West Springfield and Agawam — the towns directly west of the Connecticut River — characterizing his tenure as the start as a new way of operating (more on that later). But he’s cognizant of the need to keep a membership-based business organization interesting, active, and, most importantly, growing. With technology radically altering the various ways of communicating and doing business, the board felt strongly that a shot of youthful energy was necessary.

“We went in [to a new era of the chamber] with eyes wide open, knowing that we needed to address younger business officers on the board, and we did that primarily by asking Mike to be the chairman this year,” said Pizzichemi. “The fact that he owns two small businesses, it’s really helped us expand our horizons to not be the typical stale chamber, but to be a vibrant new chamber that focuses on young, new people and young, new businesses.”

Beaudry represents the demographic that the chamber needs to pay attention to, added Debra Boronski, the new executive director of the WRC, who also runs the Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce (again, more on that later). “And that is why, at our recent annual meeting, we had a speaker who talked about how each generation works with, and needs to work with, each other in the workplace.”

One of Beaudry’s first goals will be an overhaul of the chamber’s website, which he says will be user-friendly — offering the ability to purchase event or program tickets online, and providing a broad interactive forum for members, as opposed to a static, administratively managed blog — in addition to more Facebook and Twitter outreach.

While other chambers — not just in the Western Mass. region, but across the nation — are wringing their hands, wondering what they are going to do about their aging membership, and how they should appeal to that younger population that’s necessary for their survival, the WRC is actively creating events and programming that appear to be attracting that target audience, while retaining current businesses.

With catchy new names for networking programs — ‘Wicked Wednesdays’ instead of the typical ‘After 5’ event, for instance — and more attention to business advocacy, the WRC is healthy and growing, and not a moment too soon.

For this edition of Getting Down to Business, BusinessWest sat down with the past and present chairmen of the West of the River Chamber, as well as the relatively new executive director, who have all ridden out a recent storm of uncertainty that could have spelled the end of the WRC.

 

At a Crossroads

“This chamber finished last year with more members than it started with,” Boronski proudly stated.

In any chamber’s book, that would be a success, but it’s especially gratifying for this group, considering its recent turmoil. About two years ago, faced with a monthly management-fee increase request by the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield (ACCGS), which oversaw the administrative and event duties of the WRC, the board felt there was a need for an economical solution that wouldn’t continue to eat away at the bottom line.

“We were at a crossroads, where they asked us to contribute more money, and we just couldn’t see it; our board of directors formed a subcommittee to determine if there were any alternatives, because we literally had no idea if there was any alternative,” explained Pizzichemi.

The answer was to offer a unique deal to Boronski, who had been vice president of the ACCGS for 11 years and in 2008 founded, and remains president of, the Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, a statewide chamber which provides discount business benefits, but more importantly provides businesses a presence on every legislative level across the Commonwealth.  The deal enabled Boronski to handle day-to-day WRC affairs as executive director, at a significantly reduced cost.

“Local chambers of commerce are looking at more effective ways to use their resources to better serve their members,” she said. “That’s how progressive this chamber is; they partnered with me and are using their member resources to provide services and products as opposed to paying rent, insurance premiums, and high salaries.”

Now, for the same $300 member fee plus $4 per employee (the creation of a ‘micro-business’ dues level for sole proprietorships is being discussed), which Pizzichemi said hasn’t been raised in four years, members not only receive the benefits of the WRC — including discounted or free consultation services, networking events, and business representation with both towns’ municipalities — but also reap all of the Massachusetts Chamber benefits.

Initially, the migration away from the ACCGS and the new managerial change were confusing to some members who left the chamber, thinking they had been members of the ACCGS, not the WRC.

“Some left because they thought that the ACCGS was a chamber, but it’s really a management organization, and they were members of the WRC all along, so the numbers dipped from 217 to 177 at one point. But we’re back up there,” Boronski explained, noting that the WRC surpassed its former peak last year, with 234 members.

 

Share the Wealth

As the WRC sorted out its new position as a standalone chamber with no bricks-and-mortar central office, it relied on old-fashioned teamwork and launched a mission to appeal to a younger audience while offering business advocacy and a set schedule of more events.

Boronski pointed to ‘Business with Bacon,’ which offers “breakfast with sizzling-hot topics,” which caused all to laugh — but the underlying feeling is that, be it funny, cute, or catchy … it’s working.

“We are getting members to come out for those and network, and our Wicked Wednesdays are attracting 50 to 70 people and that’s a strong showing,” said Beaudry.

But two years ago, there weren’t many events at all, Boronski said. “We’ve really made it a mission to have set schedules for purely networking events. In fact, the tag line for Wicked Wednesdays is ‘no cost, no agenda, no program, no kidding.’ That’s what small businesses need, to network and meet with people with no agenda other than that.”

“And,” Pizzichemi added, “the ability to offer real substance in the form of education and business support.”

He and Beaudry counted on their fingers the amount of money given out by the WRC in the form of grants. Six grants for $500 apiece were awarded a few years ago to member businesses for advertising assistance, and recently, four $1,000 business grants were awarded to help businesses with educational costs.

“For example, one of our auto-dealership repair services was awarded a grant to further the education of one of his technicians,” Pizzichemi said.

Another recent win for both the WRC and Agawam was the chamber’s advocacy for modifications to the business personal tax valuation that were ultimately passed, resulting in lowered taxes for hundreds of businesses. Other big hits include the recent approval of two solar-power developments (by Rivermoor Energy/Citizen’s Energy) for H.P. Hood and the town of Agawam, support for Costco’s liquor-store license and expansion, and the encouragement of a new economic-development administrator in West Springfield, which resulted in the recent hiring of Michele Cabral.

The three also point to the creation of the Agawam Small Business Assistance Center (ASBAC), which was initially funded by the town of Agawam but is now funded by the WRC. From the basics of Excel and QuickBooks to the ins and outs of social-media marketing, the ASBAC provides monthly educational seminars that help startup business members.

Next up for the WRC is the high-profile 6th Annual Food Fest West on Nov. 1 at Crestview Country Club. Pizzichemi anticipates almost 20 restaurants and more than 300 attendees.

“In a climate where almost every restaurant is overshadowed by franchises — certainly Riverdale Street in West Springfield is home to many — this elegant event celebrates our dining quality, but we do let the franchises in,” Pizzichemi said.

Along with the annual summer golf tournament and the hosting of candidate forums for local political races, ‘Coffee with the Mayor’ programs — open forum where members may converse with new West Springfield Mayor Gregory Neffinger and Agawam Mayor Richard Cohen — began this spring and have been well-received by members, said Beaudry.

As he takes charge, Beaudry’s goal is to achieve a constant flow of new, young businesses and retention of longtime members. Tapping his social-media knowledge, Boronski’s experience, and what he knows his generation needs to succeed in business, he and the companies that make up the WRC may just make this body’s transitional years a model for other chambers.

 

Elizabeth Taras can be reached at [email protected]

DBA Certificates Departments

The following Business Certificates and Trade Names were issued or renewed during the month of August 2012.

 

AMHERST

 

ADG Contracting

18 Edgehill Place

Douglas Olsen

 

Cat and Dog Housecall Practice

760 Station Road

Christine Massaro

 

Clearpoint Communications

72 Pelham Road

Eddy Goldberg

 

Gamer Geek Heroes

34 Pomeroy Lane

Phillip Lanson

 

Hawkins Meadow

370 Northampton Road

Lucy Carlson

Quantum Breakthrough

401 Main St.

Deborah Maclin

 

Voice Male Magazine

44 North Pleasant St.

Emily Danielle

 

CHICOPEE

 

Precisions Barbershop

97 Main St.

Benjamin F. Lester III

 

Renewed Strength

222 Langevin St.

Dawn Jarrell

 

Re-Threads

246 Montcalm St.

Kelly Bicket

 

EASTHAMPTON

 

One Match Films

1 Cottage St.

Jeff Derose

 

Paint and Pixel

12 Fox Run

Margrette Twardowski

 

HADLEY

 

Comfort Inn

237 Russell St.

Laxman Parmar

 

ECO ATM Inc.

367 Russell St.

Drew Spayenta

 

Hartsbrook School

193 Bay Rd.

Stephen Volkmann

 

HOLYOKE

 

Belden Jewelers

50 Holyoke St.

George Frankovich

 

China House

322 Appleton St.

Hong Z. Wang

 

Kay Jewelers

50 Holyoke St.

George Frankovich

 

M.J. Transcriptions

20 Easthampton Road

Katie Jones

 

Patalarga Auto Repair

63 Commerical St.

Pablo Guerrero

 

NORTHAMPTON

 

Alexis Design

5 Strong Ave.

Alexis Neubert

 

Blue Ox Greenscapes

11 Franklin St.

Michael Felbeck

 

Easthampton Pet Sitting

726 Park Hill Road

Anne Pilewsky

 

Great Specs

15 Hawley St.

Jeffrey Bostian

 

JB Auto

605 North King St.

Joseph Barker

 

Local Lead Solutions

45 Maple St.

Garrett Fitzgerald

 

Lovelight Designs

44 Ridgewood Terrace

Joseph Sandler

 

Robinson Real Estate

35 State St.

Steven Slezek

 

Tech Cavalry

355 Bridge St.

Brian Scanlon

 

PALMER

 

Ken Wheelock Painting

54 South St.

Kenneth Wheelock

 

Lazy Lady Farm

60 Olney Road

Paul Lukaskiewicz

 

Milltown Inc.

3033 Main St.

Lance Ferrell

 

P-Madrid Human Services

44 Squire St.

Margaret Warrington

 

Palmer Package Store

1015 North Main St.

Jorge Martins

 

Pawhead Produce

3090 Palmer St.

Robert Schoonover

 

POS

51 Squire St.

Jay Heinicke

 

The NR Group

43 French Dr.

Nathan Olson

 

SPRINGFIELD

 

Short Line Track Inspection

5 Louis Road

James Anthony

 

A Touch of Class Remodeling

760 Sumner Ave.

Eddie Alicea

 

Aaron’s

1275 Liberty St.

Ray Simmons

 

Acorn Learning Center

62 Noel St.

Rita Panasian

 

Action Center

1 Armory Square

Bob Giannino-Racine

 

Ambassador Car Wash

1095 State St.

Jaime Rodriguez

 

BBP & Fast Transport

17 Olmsted Dr.

Ricky D. Boone

 

Bamboo House

676 Belmont Ave.

Hieu Le

 

Bezalel Prophetic Art

1676 Carew St.

Triny E. Vargas

 

Calvin Auto Repairing

170 Massachusetts Ave.

Calvin Fearing

 

Chestnut Transport

238 Rear Chestnut St.

Christopher J. Ortega

 

Color Your World Painting

2207 Page Blvd.

Johnson H. Lamont

 

CS-MA LLC

34 Rocus St.

Shawn P. Carroll

 

Delicias Caribenas

127 Stafford St.

Otero A. Luis

 

Ermosa Hair Design

20 Arnold St.

Carmen M. Silva

 

Ferrero Plumbing & Heating

200 Abbott St.

Jason M Ferrero

 

Gold Pizza

459 Main St.

Turkmen Tayfun

 

Gugies Trucking

36 Beauregard St.

Steven A. Gugenberger

 

IBS Electronics

225 Armory St.

Jonathan J. Waitt

 

International Health Services

604 Cottage St.

Margarita Blanter

 

J3T Set Design Group

108 Upton St.

James Frances

 

JBL Construction Company

100 Progress Ave.

Teixeira Carlos

 

WESTFIELD

 

Hair by Julie

34 School St.

Julie Ryan

 

JEP Distributing

18 Gladwin Dr.

James Schiep

 

Southern States Cooperative Inc.

323 Lockhouse Road

Wayne Sine

 

Westfield School of Music

347 Elm St.

Isabelle Boggs

 

WEST SPRINGFIELD

 

Colmatt Associates

50 Wishing Well Way

Sandra M. Fletcher

 

El Safi Supermarket

532 Main St.

Ashraf M. Galal

 

Haireast Inc.

8 Chestnut St.

Jennifer Gamelli

 

Metamorphosis Massage

201 Westfield St.

Kathleen A. Cullinan

 

NTB

400 Memorial Ave.

Orland Wolford

 

Park Street Convenience Store

54 Park St.

Pravinbhai Patel

 

Rehab Resolutions Inc.

1111 Elm St.

Sofia Zanzarella

 

Stop & Save

2011 Riverdale St.

Alqaim, Inc.

 

The Courtyards

1139 Westfield St.

Mass Courtyards

 

Westside Aikido

452 Main St.

Lorraine Dianne

 

Wingate at West Springfield

42 Prospect Ave.

Michael S. Benjamin