Two V-One Vodkas Win Top Honors at Warsaw Spirits Competition
HADLEY — Valley Vodka Inc. announced that its V-One Original and its new V-One Peppermint were honored with two of the highest awards, the Double Gold medal, at the Warsaw Spirits Competition this month. Now in its third year, the number of entries and producers in the Warsaw Spirits Competition was record-breaking, with hundreds of alcoholic beverages from more than 25 countries in this year’s tasting. Because of COVID-19, all alcohols were blind-tasted over a 45-day period. At age 27, Kozub started crafting vodka in the basement of his Hadley home to honor his recently deceased Polish grandfather and entrepreneurial father. Two years later, he took his recipe to Poland, where it has been crafted since 2005. In the summer of 2019, Valley Vodka Inc. completed a multi-million-dollar purchase and 12,000-square-foot expansion of the company’s own distillery in Kamie, Poland, about two hours southeast of the capital of Warsaw and just a few miles from the birthplace of vodka.
American Bus Assoc. Names Big E to ‘Best of the Best’ Listing
WEST SPRINGFIELD — The Big E, North America’s fifth-largest fair, has been named to the “Best of the Best” listing for 2020 by the American Bus Assoc. The listing includes events and attractions from throughout the U.S. and Canada. “Best of the Best” honors outstanding travel-industry members who go above and beyond for the group-tour industry. Categories include Adventure, Culture, Entertainment, Festivals & Events, Food & Beverage, Lodging, and Shopping. The Big E, which has also been named a “Top 100 Event” and an “Internationally Known Event” by the ABA in recent years, is featured in the Festival & Events category. Bright Nights at Forest Park was also named in this category. Plans are underway for the 2021 Big E, scheduled for Sept. 17 to Oct. 3. A concert by country superstar Brad Paisley was announced last month. For more information, visit www.thebige.com.
Monson Savings OpensEast Longmeadow Branch
EAST LONGMEADOW — In June, Monson Savings Bank announced its plan to open a full‐service branch located at 61 North Main St. in East Longmeadow. While opening a new location during the height of the COVID‐19 pandemic may seem like an uncommon move, the bank’s leaders felt it was important to serve the East Longmeadow community. The newly renovated East Longmeadow branch features an open-concept lobby layout, a team of knowledgeable and friendly banking professionals, two drive‐up lanes, a 24‐hour drive‐up ATM, and a coin machine. It also has offices specifically for mortgage lending, investment, and business-banking specialists who will be available to customers on site or by appointment.
UMassFive Donates $13,552 to Food Bank of Western Mass. in 2020
HADLEY — UMassFive College Federal Credit Union announced it has provided more than $13,500 in donations to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts during 2020. These donations have been facilitated through community giving campaigns in partnership with staff and members of the credit union. Early this year, UMassFive supported the Food Bank by donating $1,000 to help offset the increase in demand presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The credit union also sponsored and participated in the Food Bank’s annual Will Bike 4 Food event. A team of 11 UMassFive employees raised money and rode bikes as part of the event, which took place virtually, resulting in donations of $3,422. In the interest of supporting the community, UMassFive also encouraged participation from those who bank at the credit union. A campaign called “Share Your Story” allowed members to choose a local organization to receive a $25 donation from UMassFive on their behalf. A total of $5,000 in donations was split between five local organizations, of which $1,300 was donated to the Food Bank. Members were also encouraged to redeem their earned Buzz Points — a debit-card spending reward program — as charitable donations, which has contributed the equivalent of $2,830 in donations to the Food Bank this year. UMassFive’s latest endeavor was a “Spend and Give” campaign, which involved a collaboration with its members and credit-card servicer PSCU. During the month of July, 1% of every purchase made on an eligible member’s UMassFive credit card was donated to the Food Bank. Based on member purchases, the credit union met its goal of raising $2,500 and unlocked a matching grant from PSCU, resulting in a $5,000 overall donation to the Food Bank. This donation brought UMassFive’s total contribution to the organization so far in 2020 to $13,552.
STCC Wins Four Marketing and Communications Awards
SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) won four medals at this year’s District 1 National Council for Marketing & Public Relations (NCMPR) Medallion Awards. The Medallion Awards recognize excellence in design and communication at community colleges within the district, which covers the Northeast, parts of Eastern Canada, and the United Kingdom. STCC won three bronze medallions and one silver. The Communications and Marketing team was recognized for excellence in creating the following promotional products on behalf of the college: a brochure with facts about STCC and information about how to apply for financial aid (silver medallion); a spring 2020 semester newsletter (bronze); a fundraising pennant (bronze); and the “STCC Around” radio segment that airs on WTCC 90.7 FM on Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. (bronze). The work was judged by marketing and communications professionals who are members of NCMPR at community colleges. Winners are awarded gold, silver, or bronze medallions. The Communications and Marketing staff at STCC includes Paul, Media Relations Coordinator Jim Danko, and Design and Production Services Coordinator Kerry Ferrero.
SkinCatering Marks 10 Years with Expansion to New Location
SPRINGFIELD — SkinCatering, LLC, an all-natural skin-care brand, announced its 10th anniversary on Nov. 10. After catering to the health and well-being of busy clients for the past decade, the company is expanding to a new location in Tower Square. SkinCatering, a local, women-owned business, produces its own line of clean beauty skin care, in addition to offering a variety of high-end spa services. It uses high-quality ingredients to provide effective, cruelty-free treatments and products without the use of harmful chemicals. Everything is formulated and manufactured by the SkinCatering team to monitor every ingredient, catering to those with sensitive skin or allergies, and products are offered for retail, boutique wholesale, and private label. Leanne Sedlak founded SkinCatering in 2010, offering mobile relaxation to busy professionals in their homes. In 2012, licensed aesthetician Kim Brunton-Auger joined the company and has played a significant role in the growth of the business, now serving as vice president of skin-care development. They opened a space in Tower Square in downtown Springfield in November 2013 and have grown the business significantly over the years. Now in need of a larger space, they are expanding to include a salon and nail services in a new location inside Tower Square.
Colony Hills Capital Acquires Apartment Complex in Georgia
WILBRAHAM — Colony Hills Capital, based in Wilbraham, announced its recent acquisition of Lakeshire Village Apartments located at 4395 Washington Road in East Point, Ga. Colony Hills paid $22.3 million for the 284-unit, multi-family community. Built in the 1970s, Lakeshire Village was completely redeveloped in 2003 by the seller using low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs). Colony will rebrand the community and aims to reinvigorate it with fresh capital and fresh ideas. According to David Kaufman, president of Colony Hills Capital, the company will focus its capital investments on neglected community areas by adding sports courts, bringing the pool back on line, adding a dog park, and installing community picnic and grilling areas. Colony Hills will also add a fitness center, kids’ learning lab, and resident event area to the Community Center building. Lakeshire Village is Colony Hills’ second LIHTC affordable-housing acquisition in the past year.
Bulkley Richardson Named 2021 Best Law Firm in 11 Practice Areas
SPRINGFIELD — Best Lawyers, in partnership with U.S. News and World Report, ranks Bulkley Richardson as 2021 Best Law Firm in the following 11 practice areas: banking and finance law, bankruptcy and creditor-debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law, commercial litigation, corporate law, criminal defense: white collar, criminal defense: general practice, litigation: labor and employment, medical-malpractice law: defendants, personal-injury litigation: defendants, tax law, and trusts and estates law. To be eligible for a ranking, a law firm must have at least one lawyer who is included on the Best Lawyers list. Bulkley Richardson has 14 lawyers included on the 2021 list, and two of the firm’s partners, Liz Sillin and John Pucci, were named 2021 Springfield Lawyers of the Year.
Hamre Martin Team of Rovithis Realty Names Square One a Charity of Choice
SPRINGFIELD — The Hamre Martin Team of Rovithis Realty, LLC has named Square One a charity of choice for the real-estate agency’s charitable-giving initiative.
At the closing of each real-estate transaction, clients have the opportunity to select a charity to receive a portion of the commission from the transaction. Square One has recently been added to a list of preferred organizations to receive funding. The designation comes at a critical time as Square One recently expanded its early-education program to include full-day remote learning support for children in kindergarten through grade 5, in addition to its traditional preschool classrooms and family childcare offerings. Funds raised through this undertaking will support Square One’s Campaign for Healthy Kids, a multi-year fund-development initiative focused on the agency’s commitment to providing healthy meals, physical fitness, social-emotional well-being, and a healthy learning environment. To make a donation, text ABC123 to 44-321, visit www.startatsquareone.org, or e-mail Allard at [email protected].
Junior League Donates Backpacks to Girls Inc. of the Valley
HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley received a donation of 90 backpacks for their elementary-school girls from the Junior League of Greater Springfield (JLGS). Girls Inc. of the Valley aims to inspire all girls to see themselves as leaders with the skills and capabilities to improve and influence their local communities. This donation from JLGS, a nonprofit organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, allows both organizations to accomplish their missions. The Junior League of Greater Springfield is committed to the promotion of literacy and serving women and children in the community. JLGS aims to improve the lives of children and families in the community by collaborating with other organizations to assist families in need and to promote literacy and education. This directly aligns with the mission of Girls Inc. of the Valley, helping both parties accomplish their goals.
Bradley Recognized by Condé Nast Traveler Readers as Eighth-best U.S. Airport
WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — The Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) announced that Condé Nast Traveler released the results of its annual Readers’ Choice Awards, with Bradley International Airport recognized as the eighth-best airport in the U.S. The awards are the longest-running and most prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry. Bradley International Airport was recognized as a top-10 airport for the fourth consecutive year. “This award is a tremendous honor during a challenging year for the travel industry, and we are proud to once again be recognized among our nation’s best airports,” said Kevin Dillon, executive director of the Connecticut Airport Authority. “We thank the travel community for their continued vote of confidence in Bradley International Airport and for underscoring the value of traveling through a smaller airport. Now more than ever, Bradley Airport stands out by always offering a clean, safe, and convenient travel experience.”