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Daily News

AMHERST — Liz Larson, currently director of Operations at the Amherst Business Improvement District (BID), has been named interim executive director, effective Feb. 26.

Larson has been with the BID for six years and has worked closely with departing Executive Director Gabrielle Gould, creating events for the community, revitalizing downtown, and ensuring the health of the BID’s finances. She is the creative force behind the Makers’ Market at the annual Sip and Shop Stroll and the recently launched “Take a Dino to Dinner” campaign.

“Liz stepping into the interim job is perfect. She has worked with Gabrielle every step of the way and shares her passion and commitment to the downtown, our small businesses, and this community,” Amherst BID President Barry Roberts said. “She is incredibly creative and detail-oriented. We have been lucky to work with her thus far, and we know our immediate future is on solid ground with Liz.”

Gould added that “Liz has been such a great co-worker, co-conspirator, and co-creative. We developed many great concepts over the years. She is launching a new Amherst retail destination campaign soon, among other ideas. I have been so very lucky to work with Liz and could not think of a better person to take the helm. I know I leave the BID in a great place with great leadership on the board of directors and Liz.”

With a background in arts administration and nonprofit management, Larson moved to Amherst with her family in 2007 and has been active in the community, serving on several boards and committees, including professional growth objectives for the public schools and the city’s Participatory Budgeting Commission. She is currently a trustee and board treasurer for the Amherst Historical Society. Prior to moving to Amherst, she spent 20 years in New York and Tokyo.

“It has been such a joy to be part of the BID team, advocating for and creating a downtown that is welcoming and attractive to our entire community,” Larson said. “Plans are already underway for the summer concerts in July and the block party in September. I am also looking forward to continuing to work closely with our partners at the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce and the Visitors’ Information Center.”

Daily News

AMHERST — Gabrielle Gould, executive director of the Amherst Business Improvement District (BID) and the Downtown Amherst Foundation (DAF), announced she will be stepping down from her position at the BID to form a consulting business. She will continue in a leadership capacity for the DAF and its management of the Drake, the live performance venue in downtown Amherst. Her final day at the BID will be Feb. 22.

“The BID board is forever indebted to Gabrielle for her ideas, energy, and integrity,” said Barry Roberts, board president of the BID. “She has changed the discussion about downtown, and her leadership has been a model for BID directors throughout the Commonwealth. We wish her well.”

Appointed executive director in August 2019, Gould’s four-plus years at the helm of the organization have been filled with notable successes, including strengthening the BID’s relationship with town government and institutional partners, teaming with the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce on COVID relief for small businesses, producing signature downtown events like the Sip & Shop Stroll and Makers Market holiday event and Fire & Ice, and conceiving and launching the Drake, the downtown’s first-ever live performance venue.

In recognition of their efforts, Gould and Claudia Pazmany, the chamber’s executive director, were named Difference Makers by BusinessWest in 2023.

“I’ve walked into the office each day with passion, excitement, and a million ideas on how to make downtown Amherst a vibrant, beautiful, and destination-worthy town for all to experience and enjoy,” Gould said. “The BID and downtown Amherst are in a great place, and I feel that now is the perfect time for me to transition to a new chapter in my career.”

A search for Gould’s successor will commence in the coming weeks, Roberts said.

Business Talk Podcast Special Coverage

We are excited to announce that BusinessWest has launched a new podcast series, BusinessTalk. Each episode will feature in-depth interviews and discussions with local industry leaders, providing thoughtful perspectives on the Western Massachuetts economy and the many business ventures that keep it running during these challenging times.

Go HERE to view all episodes

Episode 130: September 26, 2022

George talks with Gabrielle Gould, executive director of the Amherst Business Improvement District

Downtown Amherst was among the regions hardest hit by the pandemic. With more than 30,000 students, faculty, staff, and more gone from the equation, it became, in many respects, a ghost town. But it’s staging a strong comeback as the students and everyone else return and many new businesses open their doors. Gabrielle Gould, executive director of the Amherst Business Improvement District, talks about these developments with BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien on the next installment of the BusinessTalk podcast. It’s must listening, so join us for BusinessTalk, a podcast presented by BusinessWest  and sponsored by PeoplesBank.

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