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Company Notebook

Big Y Completes LED Lighting Retrofit
SPRINGFIELD — Big Y Foods and Groom Energy recently announced the completion of a significant LED lighting retrofit at Big Y’s distribution facility in Springfield. The energy-efficiency upgrade is part of a broader scope of sustainability-oriented investments in its operation that will reduce the company’s environmental impact. The newly implemented LED lighting system applies the latest lighting and networking technologies, bringing better illumination, operating efficiency, and energy-savings monitoring to the Springfield distribution center. The upgrade replaced existing T5- and T8-based fluorescent lighting systems, both within the dry and cooled areas, and will reduce annual energy consumption by more than 521,833 kilowatt hours. This initiative will eliminate more than 4,000 pounds of carbon annually. Groom Energy worked closely with the Big Y energy-management team to design, test, and install the upgrade. The system is based on LED products from Digital Lumens, a Boston-based LED-systems manufacturer. The project was supported by financial incentives from Western Massachusetts Electric Co., which regularly supports energy-savings upgrades by its commercial and industrial customers. “We’re very pleased with the results of our lighting-upgrade project,” said Gary Kuchyt, manager of the Energy and Sustainability Department at Big Y Foods. “It has been a successful collaboration from the onset and will help us to dramatically reduce our energy costs — a great outcome for our company and our customers.”

INK Products Supports Square One
CHICOPEE — INK Products, an office-products, printing, and promotional-products supplier, is teaming up with local businesses in an effort to raise funds for Square One. Tom Guertin, founder of INK Products at 25 Grove St., noted that Square One will receive a percentage of a business’ purchases as a donation direct from INK Products. “This is another way local businesses, including mine, can give something extra to Square One,” he said. For more information on the promotion, contact Guertin at (413) 594-7533.

Hampden Bank
Charitable Giving
Tops $716,000 in 2011
SPRINGFIELD — The Hampden Bank Charitable Foundation Inc.’s charitable giving topped $716,000 in 2011, according to Glenn Welch, president and COO of Hampden Bank. “In addition to our foundation grants, the bank also provided significant financial support to area communities in excess of $116,000 through our marketing and human-resources departments’ community-relations activities,” noted Welch. He added that much of the funding was allocated to youth development, school enrichment, and Little League programs throughout Hampden County. “As we prepare to celebrate our 160th anniversary on April 13, I can think of no better way to mark the occasion than by recommitting ourselves to our long history of community service and support as we move through the 21st century,” he said. Community organizations receiving grants included the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, DevelopSpringfield, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Friends of the Soldiers Home of Holyoke, Square One, and Rebuild Together.

Three Companies Join to Create Red Thread
BOSTON — Three New England businesses have joined forces to become Red Thread, according to Jenny Niemann, chairman of the company. The newly combined regional enterprise connects work, workers, and the workplace as the authorized Steelcase dealer in New England. Red Thread is comprised of three companies that previously operated under the names of Office Environments of New England, bkm Total Office, and Business Interiors. “When we initially brought these three companies together, we knew they were three strong brands, each with its own brand equity in its own territory,” said Niemann in a statement. “An ancient legend describes a red thread as an unbreakable link between those meant to be together. Rebranding under Red Thread enables us to express to our customers the connection we see between our culture, values, and business mission.” Niemann added that the name also “articulates our aspiration to help our customers identify their own common threads — the way their brand, culture, and promise can be effectively expressed through their environments’ furniture, technology, architectural systems, and audio-visual solutions.” For more information, visit www.red-thread.com.

Monson Savings Reports ‘Outstanding Results’
MONSON — Monson Savings Bank President Steve Lowell recently announced that the bank’s 2011 results surpassed national and statewide benchmarks for growth and profitability while posting a record year for giving back to the community. During the bank’s annual meeting, Lowell noted that deposits grew in 2011, predominantly in core deposits, by 11%. Also, Monson Savings achieved a return on assets of 0.66%, which ranked first among peer banks throughout Massachusetts, according to Lowell. “The bank also announced outstanding results for its Financial Advisory Services division and compared these results to the 172 other banks that partner with Infinex Financial Group throughout the East Coast,” he said. “Specifically, Monson Savings ranked second of the 50 peer banks and 24th out of all Infinex partners.” He also noted that the bank gave back a record $142,000 to the community in charitable donations. “What I am most proud of is that we were able to give back so much to our community last year,” said Lowell, “while at the same time keeping our institution growing and financially healthy. We had an outstanding year, and I can’t thank our customers, staff, board, and corporators enough for their contributions.”

Open Square Welcomes Brave One Agency
HOLYOKE — Brave One, an agency specializing in corporate social responsibility and sustainability communications, recently selected Open Square for its new location. The agency plans to grow considerably in the coming year, and Brave One founders Lukas Snelling and Jesse Mayhew feel the building will allow them to grow while staying true to its commitment to sustainability. “We are really excited to be in Holyoke and participate in the Paper City’s digital revival,” said Snelling. “We think this city provides a great platform for us to do business, and we look forward to the possibility of expanding even further here.” Mayhew echoed the sentiments of Snelling. “Open Square seemed like a natural fit,” he said. “Not only are they reusing beautiful mill space, but they are generating their own renewable energy to power our office. We couldn’t be happier to be part of such an amazing and growing community.” Both founders hope their growth “will be a contributing force in Holyoke’s continued revitalization.” Brave One’s new office is located at 4 Open Square Way, Suite 219. For more information, visit www.braveoneagency.com.

Easthampton Savings Launches eBranch
EASTHAMPTON — Easthampton Savings Bank has introduced a new eBranch that will be replacing its Web site at bankesb.com, according to William Hogan, president and CEO. “Our goal was to mirror what a typical experience would be for one of our customers visiting a branch and to bring it to our virtual site,” Hogan said. “This will allow greater online functionality and resources for our customers, making the entire site more convenient and easier to use.” The new eBranch will offer site search, online account opening, loan applications, and customer service along with fun and useful tools such as interactive calculators and an educational-resource center. To celebrate the launch, the bank is offering a CD and auto-loan special online. For more information, call (413) 527-1111.

JN Phillips Auto Glass Expands Service
CHICOPEE — JN Phillips Auto Glass recently opened a 7,500-square-foot distribution center in the city, and also added a Springfield service center and relocated its Northampton service center to 144 King St. “Combined with its service centers in Chicopee and Pittsfield, JN Phillips has increased the company’s ability to provide Western Mass. customers even faster, more convenient auto-glass replacements and repairs while ensuring the highest safety standards possible,” said Robert Rosenfield, CEO. Rosenfield also noted that the company has begun offering windshield recycling. “It took some time, almost two years, and a financial commitment to figure out how to do it, but it was worth it, and our customers really appreciate knowing that, when they have us replace their windshields, the damaged ones don’t end up in landfills,” said Rosenfield. “For all of us in this beautiful Pioneer Valley, preserving our environment is paramount.” In related news, Dan and Matt Bean, former operators of Bean’s Auto Glass, a locally owned family business for more than two decades, have joined JN Phillips Auto Glass. “We are very proud to be part of JN Phillips Auto Glass now,” said Dan Bean. “This is another family-owned business that puts customer service and community values first. The company’s commitment to safety, convenience, and expertise leads our industry.”

United Bank Foundation Awards $34,500
WEST SPRINGFIELD — The United Bank Foundation recently awarded $34,500 in grants to community initiatives in the Springfield area during the organization’s most recent round of funding, according to Dena Hall, president. Womanshelter/Companeras, a Holyoke-based nonprofit dedicated to assisting victims and survivors of domestic violence, received $5,000 in support from the foundation. In Springfield, students will benefit from the foundation’s $5,000 grant to Springfield School Volunteers to support the Science, Math, and Reading Tutoring (SMART) program. Also, a $5,000 grant will provide support to the Enchanted Circle Theater, an educational theater company based in Holyoke that inspires learning through the arts. The foundation awarded grants of $4,000 each to the Community Adolescent Resource and Education (CARE) Center in Holyoke, to fund a portion of the teen Rowing Strong, Rowing Together program; to Noble Hospital in Westfield, to purchase recliners for psychiatric patients in the Emergency Department; and to Springfield College, to fund the East Campus renovation project. Additional grants included $3,000 to the Carson Center for Human Services in Westfield, to fund a fully accessible spray park for Kamp for Kids; and $2,500 to Valley Community Development Corp., to support a foreclosure-prevention counseling program for Hampshire County residents. Grants of $1,000 each went to Domus Inc. to support the community youth and adult basic-education program in Greater Westfield; and to the Northampton Center for the Arts, to support Northampton Draws, a free community art festival and workshop. The United Bank Foundation has awarded more than $1.4 million in grants since it was established in 2005 as a permanent source of funding to benefit communities in United Bank’s market area.

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