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Finance: A Primer on the TCJA

By David Kalicka

David Kalicka

David Kalicka

It is important to note that, although many business changes are permanent, the individual changes are temporary. The changes in tax rates, standard deductions, and personal exemptions will expire in 2025, unless extended at some future date.

Individual Tax Changes

Tax rates: Lower individual income-tax rates of 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and a top rate of 37%. (The current rates would be restored in 2026, i.e. 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35%, and 39.6%).

Standard deduction: Single $12,000, increased from $6,350 (2017). Married filing joint $24,000, increased from $12,700 (2017).

Personal exemptions: Eliminated. Under prior law, exemptions would have been $4,150 each for 2018.

Child tax credit: Temporarily increased to $2,000 per child under 17 (was $1,000) and new $500 credit for dependents other than child.  These credits phase out for higher-income taxpayers.

Itemized Deductions: Deduction for taxes (income taxes and real-estate taxes) limited to $10,000 per year.

Mortgage interest: For mortgage debt incurred after Dec. 15, 2017, interest deduction limited to acquisition debt of $750,000. Acquisition debt incurred prior to that date is still subject to the $1 million limit.

Home equity loan/line of credit interest deduction eliminated beginning in 2018, regardless of when the home-equity loan originated.

The deduction for contributions of cash to public charities will be limited to 60% of AGI beginning in 2018 (prior limit was 50% of AGI).

Miscellaneous itemized deductions have been eliminated. This category included unreimbursed employee business expenses and investment expenses. Under prior law, these were deductible to the extent they exceeded 2% of AGI.

• In view of the elimination or limitation of certain deductions and the increase in the standard deduction, fewer taxpayers will be itemizing. To maximize the benefit of deductions, you should consider bunching allowable deductions in alternating years. For example, a married couple with no mortgage and state and local income taxes and real-estate taxes of at least $10,000 will need an additional $14,000 to exceed the standard deduction. Combining multiple years’ charitable contributions in one year may be a way to benefit from itemizing in a particular year. One technique for doing this is a donor-advised fund.

Elimination of other deductions: The moving-expense deduction has been eliminated.

Alimony: For divorce agreements executed after Dec. 31, 2018, alimony will no longer be deductible by the payer or taxable to the recipient. If anticipated, any such agreement should be reviewed in light of the new law to determine the effects of timing.

Alternative minimum tax: The individual AMT has been retained, but the exemption has been increased. With the limitation on taxes and the elimination of miscellaneous itemized deductions, fewer people will be subject to AMT.

Section 529 plans: These plans can now be used to pay up to $10,000 per year for private elementary or secondary school tuition.

Casualty and theft losses: The itemized deduction for casualty and theft losses has been suspended except for losses incurred in a federally declared disaster.

Estate and Gift Taxes

For decedents dying and gifts made after Dec. 31, 2017 and before Jan. 1, 2026, the federal exclusion has been doubled to roughly $11 million per person. Keep in mind that this expires in 2025 and then reverts to about $5.5 million per person.

Taxpayers with large estates should consider the benefit of making large gifts now to take advantage of this temporary increase in exemption.

Business Tax Provisions

These provisions have been made permanent in the new tax law unless otherwise indicated.

C-corporation: Flat corporate tax rate of 21% (old law 15%-35%). This low tax rate is attractive; however, keep in mind that there is a second level of tax when the corporation pays dividends or is liquidated. Also, C-corporations have additional potential penalty taxes (personal holding company tax and accumulated earnings tax).

Pass-through entities: Many S-corporation shareholders, LLC members, partners, and sole proprietors will be able to deduct 20% of their pass-through income. This seems like a simple concept. Unfortunately, there are some very complex rules depending upon the individual’s taxable income and whether the business is a professional service business or real-estate business. It is not practical to try to explain these rules in this communication. Therefore, you should consult with your tax adviser to discuss the optimal entity choice for your business and how you can plan to take additional advantage of some of these rules.

DPAD repealed: The new law repeals the domestic production activities deduction for tax years beginning after 2017.

Entertainment expenses: No longer deductible (50% deductible under prior law). Business meals remain deductible subject to the same substantiation rules and limitations. The 50% disallowance is expanded to cover meals provided via an in-house cafeteria or otherwise on the employer’s premises

Section 179 expensing: Annual limit increased to $1,000,000 (previous limit was $500,000). Also, the expanded definition of assets eligible for section 179 includes certain depreciable tangible personal property used predominantly to furnish lodging or in connection with furnishing lodging. The definition of qualified real property eligible for expensing is also expanded to include the following improvements to non-residential real property after the date such property was first placed in service: roofs; heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning property; fire protection and alarm systems; and security systems.

Bonus depreciation: increased to 100% (from 50% under prior law) for property placed in service after Sept. 27, 2017 and before Jan. 1, 2023, and expanded to include used tangible personal property. After 2022, it phases down by 20% each year until Jan. 1, 2027.

Luxury auto depreciation limits: Under the new law, for a passenger automobile for which bonus depreciation is not claimed, the maximum depreciation allowance is increased to $10,000 for the year it’s placed in service, $16,000 for the second year, $9,600 for the third year, and $5,760 for the fourth and later years in the recovery period. These amounts are indexed for inflation after 2018. For passenger autos eligible for bonus first-year depreciation, the maximum additional first-year depreciation allowance remains at $8,000 as under pre-act law.

Business interest deduction limitation: For businesses with gross receipts in excess of $25 million, interest-expense deductions will be limited to 30% of adjusted taxable income. For years beginning before 2022, adjusted taxable income is computed without regard to depreciation and amortization. Any excess interest expense is carried over to future years. Real-estate businesses may elect out of this limitation. However, the election requires use of ADS depreciation, which results in longer depreciable lives and loss of bonus depreciation.

Net operating losses: There is no longer a carryback provision; however, the carry-forward period is now unlimited (previous law provided that NOLs could be carried back two years and forward 20 years). In addition, any losses incurred after Dec. 31, 2017 can offset only 80% of taxable income.

Excess business limit: The new tax law limits the ability of a non-corporate taxpayer to deduct excess business losses. After application of passive loss rules, the deduction of business losses is limited to $500,000 per year for taxpayers filing jointly and $250,000 for others. The excess loss is carried forward as part of the taxpayer’s net operating loss. This provision applies to tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017 and prior to Jan. 1, 2026.

As you can see from this brief summary, the new law is extremely complex. You should consult with your tax adviser to fully explore how to take advantage of the opportunities and to minimize the impact of the negative changes.

David Kalicka, CPA serves as partner emeritus for the Holyoke-based public accounting firm Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C.; (413) 536-8510; [email protected]

Holiday Gift Guide Sections

Green Expectations

Nicole Sweeney

Nicole Sweeney says new offerings like Gifted Tones Paint and Music Lounge will keep shoppers engaged during holiday-season visits to Eastfield Mall.

Carolyn Edwards is surrounded by dozens of stores on a daily basis, so she tends to do her holiday shopping late in December.

But this year, she purchased two Christmas gifts in mid-October and joined the growing ranks of consumers on an early quest to find the perfect gift for everyone on their list.

“It’s not something I normally do, but sales inspired me to start shopping early,” said the general manager of Lee Premium Outlets.

Tempting gift items also spurred Nicole Sweeney to start shopping well in advance of Christmas, and by Halloween she had a pile of holiday gifts sitting on her desk.

“I don’t wait until Black Friday to shop, but I have never done it this early before,” said the marketing manager at Eastfield Mall in Springfield, noting that purchasing things over a period of several months helps to mitigate the sticker shock that many people face at Christmas.

National surveys show that two in 10 shoppers began their annual quest for the perfect present in early October, and big-box stores put Halloween and Christmas decorations and merchandise on display at about the same time.

“Black Friday preview sales were started early to get people’s appetites going for the holiday spending that leads up to the day after Thanksgiving [Black Friday]. But that day is not like it used to be,” Sweeney said.

Indeed, retailers have already begun to cash in on the final quarter of the year, and the forecast for the season is green. The International Council of Shopping Centers has predicted a 3.5% increase in holiday shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, compared to the 2.2% gain last year; the National Retail Foundation (NRF) expects retail sales in November and December (excluding autos, gas, and restaurants) to increase a solid 3.6% to $655.8 billion; and Deloitte predicts holiday spending to increase between 3.6% and 4% from November through January, topping $1 trillion.

Although online shopping is on the rise and cuts into the pockets of mom-and-pop operations that don’t have websites with free shipping, PwC’s 2016 Retail and Consumer Holiday Outlook survey notes that almost 75% of consumers plan to shop locally, 56% will seek independent retailers, and consumers with annual household incomes less than $50,000 will increase their spending more than consumers overall.


List of Companies Offering Corporate Gifts


In addition, more people will have cash to spend because retailers have hired, or are planning to hire, between 640,000 and 690,000 seasonal workers, in line with last year’s 675,300 holiday positions.

Gifts are expected to run the gamut from toys to clothing, and high-tech items such as tablets, phones, and gaming devices are expected to be popular, but many people will choose their own presents after the holidays, because gift cards are expected to make up 32% of purchases.

“The stores had their holiday décor in place by the end of October, and the day after Halloween, we went into the holiday season full force,” Edwards said, echoing other retail spokespeople who said Christmas music began playing Nov. 1 and the sound of cash registers humming added to the spirit of the shopping season.

New Attractions

Lisa Wray says the unofficial kickoff for the holiday season at Holyoke Mall was Veterans Day weekend.

“Santa arrived Nov. 12 in a fire truck escorted by the Holyoke Fire Department, and we were ready for the people here to do their holiday shopping,” said the marketing director for Holyoke and Hampshire malls.

Lisa Wray

Lisa Wray says Holyoke Mall’s holiday sales should be in line with national projections, but foot traffic should get a boost from several new stores.

She expects sales to be in line with the NRF’s predictions, but expects foot traffic to get a boost, because Holyoke Mall has added eight new stores in the last seven months.

They include Zales Jewelers, a cell-phone accessory and repair shop called Shatter and Case, a women’s plus-size clothing store called Torrid, a newly remodeled Bath & Body Works and White Barn Candle, a Touch of Beauty Nails & Spa, Sprint, CilantroMex restaurant, and Billy Beez, an indoor play park with a jungle theme featuring fun that ranges from bouncing to jumping, sliding, climbing, and more.

Although people will not be camping out on Black Friday like they did years ago, Wray said, it’s still a significant day at Holyoke Mall; many large retailers will open their doors at 12:01 a.m. and people will be lined up to take advantage of promotions.

“Stores like Target, Sears, and Best Buy will all have doorbuster sales that are still a big draw,” said Wray, adding that Holyoke and Hampshire malls will open at 7 a.m.

All of this year’s holiday carts and kiosks at Eastfield Mall were in place Nov. 1, but Black Friday is not as big as it used to be, Sweeney told BusinessWest, adding that Eastfield also has new stores and venues, including a Bounce! Indoor Inflatable Park that opened earlier this fall and is already attracting families.

“My instinct is that places that offer experiences will have an edge this year, because that allows people to wrap in something festive with their shopping,” she said, explaining that parents can combine a trip to Bounce! and shopping in one visit; people can shop, then listen to live music at Donovan’s Pub or take in a movie before and after making purchases.

“Foot traffic is important because we have a lot of mom-and-pop stores. It’s getting easier and faster to shop online, so it’s become very competitive, but one-day preview sales generate a lot of excitement because they offer really good deals in advance of Black Friday,” Sweeney noted, explaining that special promotions will continue throughout the season to accommodate those who shop early, late, and anytime in between.

Other new ventures at Eastfield Mall include V-Stream Dreams, a store that sells an alternative to a TV cable box that allows people to get a multitude of channels with minimal or no lag time; and Gifted Tones Paint and Music Lounge, an art store where people can learn to paint alone or with friends.

Lee Premium Outlets also has new stores, including Kay Jewelers, Guess, a Toys R Us Express, and 10,000 Villages, which will be open only during the holiday season.

“Outlet centers are driven by promotions, and the stores here are offering really good sales. They are difficult to pass up, and folks are already taking advantage of them; they aren’t waiting for the snow to fly or for the week of Thanksgiving to get started on their shopping,” Edwards said, noting that handbags and accessories are always popular, and Michael Kors and Coach are good places to find these gifts.

She added that sales will be heavily promoted, and the right price point will inspire people to make purchases, which often include gifts for themselves.

Positive Signs

The fourth quarter of the year is a critical time for retailers, an obvious point that still needs to be stressed.

“The holiday season is so important to them that they can’t let a day go to waste,” Sweeney said.

Holyoke Mall expects to meet expectations forecast by the NRF and other retail groups, and the forecast is equally bright at Lee Premium Outlets.

“All of the early indicators this year are that we will meet or exceed last year’s sales. The numbers should come in for us,” Thomas said.

Which will indeed bring joy to local retailers who hope the sound of cash registers processing sales will continue to ring in a very merry Christmas.

DBA Certificates Departments

The following Business Certificates and Trade Names were issued or renewed during the month of June 2016.

AGAWAM

Lek’s @ Abella’s skin/lash/nail
159 Main St.
Somchai Daniels

Nails Shine & Spa
1325 Springfield St.
Giang Thai

S D Business Services
26 Franklin St.
Said Mandour

S & M Landscape/Garden Design
27 Kirkland St.
S. Clay & M. Ogden

Sweet Serendipity
16 Lealand Ave.
Angela Johnson

T & R Dining Service
67 Hunt St.
Ronald/Tiffany Perry

CHICOPEE

Becker Services
46 Arlington St., Floor 3
Timothy Becker

Brian Hebert Electrician
8 Carew St.
Brian Robert Hebert

Elite Mobile Technology
50 Angela Dr.
Robert Nadeau

Memories of Life & Celebration lamps
527 Grattan St.
Debra Teal, Janis Foraker

Seibold Building/Remodeling
75 Marble Ave.
Brian Seibold

Wicked Clean Professional Cleaning Services
111 D Colonial Circle
Dean R. Mastorakis

HOLYOKE

International Center for Unity Healing and Exploration
2 Laurel St.
Brendan Walsh

Jay’s Bed and Breakfast
1109 Dwight St.
Jesus Candelaro

My Daughters Grocery
301 High St.
Jesus Hernandez

Tastee Freeze
915 Main St.
Sagheer Nawaz

NORTHAMPTON

A & E Landscaping
612 Bridge Road
Anthony Reardon, Eric Cooper

Alyssa Black Design
26 Dewey Court
Alyssandra Black

Auntie M’s Bakeshoppe
3 Hampton Ave., Apt. 32
Amanda Wasseman

Clay of Dough
107 North St.
Lily Fariborz

Inner Networks
50 Center St.
Sheryl Waxler

KM Operations, LLC, d/b/a Subway
91 Main St.
Kimberly McCarthy

North Kinut Motel
504 North King St.
Shwere Patel

SPRINGFIELD

66 DKR LLC, d/b/a Hampton Inc.
851 East Columbus Ave.
Dinesh Patel

Ayalas Handyman Services
111 School St.
Santos Ayala

Benovations
43 Rockland St.
Benjamin Lynch

Bettermen Construction Inc.
1 Federal St.
Mark P. Failey

Boost Mobile Wireless
385 Belmont Ave.
Angel O Alban

C and C Grocery and Restaurant
546 Worthington St.
Candida Caraballo

Carrier Northeast
467 Cottage St.
Carrier Enterprise

Diva’s Hair and Nail Salon
136 Oakland St.
Phuong Thai

E & M Construction Service
19 Eddy St.
Egidio Robinson

Eldred Enterprises
205 Norfolk St.
Eric Carl Eldred

Exclusive Autos
152 Sumner Ave.
Eduard Shvetsov

Fan Yin Li and Zhou Lin D
907B Carew St.
Fan Yin Lin

GS Trucking
175 Brittany Road
George Samuels

Honeycomb Target Supply
154 Garnet St.
Ronald Claire Behnk

Isaiah Dyer Photos
92 Alderman St.
Isaiah Xavier Dyer

Just B
900 Allen St.
Bianca Gall Jackson

Ladycparkle Cleaning Service
98 Brandon Ave.
Chalonda Jaunee

Lucky Me 33
2 Gunn Square
Maria Matos

Mark M. Murray
56 Garland St.
Mark M. Murray

Mercy Women’s Health
1777 Dwight St.
Kevin A Jourdain

Mr. B’s Vending Services
17 Sumner Ave. #3
Kiyen Ky-Lee Boyd

Near Photography
747 South Branch Pky.
Eli Matthew Schwartz

Northeast Distribution
467 Cottage St.
Carrier Enterprise

Punto Market LLC
2760 Main St.
Claudio Canela

Reef Dimensions
97 Somerset St.
Richard Steven

Rodriguez Restaurant
17-A Rutland St.
Isidro Rodriguez

Santiago’s Restaurant
2 Chestnut St.
Orlando Santiago

Shrub Man
153 Plainfield St.
Thomas Mauer

Street Entertainment
90 Cherrelyn St.
Gregory Lamont Thomas

Swagger Apparel Line
54 Herbert Ave.
Teressa Doris

Valuer Advertising
105 Princeton St.
Andre Yarns Jr.

Weed Man
0153 Plainfield St.
Thomas Mauer

Wheelers Market
21 Locust St.
Faiz Rabbani

WEST SPRINGFIELD

98 Front St. LLC
98 Front St.
Suzanne Halpin

Boxing Northeast
654 Elm St.
Patricia Makowski

Cosmo Prof #6097
464 Riverdale St.
Debra Cox

G and G Interiors
302 Circuit Ave.
Juan J. Goitia

Guitar Center #556
935 Riverdale St.
John W. Unger Jr.

Janna Juice Bar Grill & C
751 Union St.
Ibrahim A. Babetti

M.C.L. Mechanical Services
26 Kelso Ave.
Paul Lichwan

Sewer Drain and Cleaning
60 Colony Road
Svad Disdarevic

Throwbacks
450 Main St.
Sharroya M. Charles

W R B Auto Sales
194 Baldwin St.
William R. Bayton

WESTFIELD

DB Tractor Works
177 Bates Road
Daniel S. Bienvenue

Glamorous Creations
34 School St.
Jennifer Suarez

Governor’s Center Re LLC
66 Broad Street
Northeast Health Group, Inc.

Hair Cuttery
459 East Main St.
Creative Hairdressers Inc.

Igor’s Construction & Remodel
134 Little River Road
Igor Kravchuk

Lularoe – Guy Gautreau
7 Stuart Place
Guy Gautreau

Pillar to Post Home Inspections
181/2 Malone Ave.
Joseph F. Beaton

Whip City Pitbike
253 East Main St.
Christopher P. Kasperek

DBA Certificates Departments

The following Business Certificates and Trade Names were issued or renewed during the month of December 2015.

AGAWAM

Servpro of Springfield
71 Ramah Circle
Olga Gold

AMHERST

Next Wave Power Technologies
131 Middle St.
Michael Biron

Round the Corner Brownie Company
3 Laurel Lane
Dawn Lepere

Solarpunk Press
58 North East St.
Faith Gregory

Visual Concepts
170 East Hadley Road
Yvonne Mendez

CHICOPEE

Connie’s Cuts
104 Lauzier Terrace
Connie Mendes

ELB Realty
239 Naragansett Blvd.
Bruce Topa

Harmony House
66 View St.
Judith Trudell

Odor is Gone
57 Clarendon Ave.
Oksara Bukansova

Royal Coach Sales, LLC
658 Fuller Road
John Garcia

The Ticket Master
28 Myrtle St.
Luke Vincente

HADLEY

63 East Realty, LLC
63 East Realty, LLC
Babak Gojgini

Advance Auto Parts
346 Russell St.
Michael Norona

Affordable Autos of Hadley
11 Railroad St.
Norman Wilber

Elements Massage
379 Russell St.
Marmich, LLC

Hadley Hops
83 Rocky Hill Road
David Moskin

Hadley Tax
229 Russell St.
Robert Lowney

Kentucky Fried Chicken
3 South Maple St.
Michael Houston

HOLYOKE

Dunkin Donuts
225 Whiting St.
Lori Martins

Heritage Auto Transport
49 Laurel St.
Nathan Charette

Jackson Law
573 Northampton St.
Karen Jackson

Paper City Tattoo
1735 Northampton St.
James D. Riddle

Shammas Pizza
172 Sargeant St.
Joseph Ortiz

NORTHAMPTON

Sage & Cedar Landscaping Home Improvement
284 Spring St.
Brian Eaton

The Research Group
51 Day Ave.
Nancy Mihevc

Urban Exchange
233 Main St.
Silvia Namburgev

PALMER

Fredette Construction
3 Fairfield Dr.
Andrew Fredette

M.G. Janitorial Services
405 Springfield St.
Margaret Guberous

Rogue Chocolatier
2022 Bridge St.
Colin Gasko

S.V. Cleaning
1084 Pleasant St.
Sergey Ukranets

SPRINGFIELD

Fraternity of Grace
1 Federal St.
Robert J. Greeley

Fresh Cut
56 St. James Ave.
Ernesto Padilla

Gentiva Health
2069 Roosevelt Ave.
Kim Hill

Hanna’s Diner
184 Main St.
Hanna Kucharzyk

Hiraldo Transport
244 Sumner Ave.
Miguel Hiraldo

Honor Foods
207 Liberty St.
Burris Springfield

JKJM Studios
115 State St.
Jamarri Kwame

LW Development, LLC
104 Dunmoreland St.
Lancelot Watson

MW Kitchen
81 Ranney St.
William Sanchez

Maxim Seamless Gutters
21 Cluster Circle
Maksim Barabolkin

Moda Lola
86 Renee Circle
Alice Gonzalez

O’Connell Care at Home
1 Federal St.
Francis P. O’Connell

Phenomenal Beauty
10 Orange St.
Ysabel Santana

Pipetek
49 Judson St.
Graham J. Boggis

Plus One Convenience
907 Carew St.
Sageer Nawaz

Presto Digital Transfer
472 Main St.
Christopher David

Primus Mason Credit Union
815 State St.
Greg Ellerbee

WESTFIELD

Direct Home Improvement
71 Wyben Road
Mark Sychev

SmokedBear Industreez
1 Crown St.
Kyle Thomas Smith

The Hairport
148 Elm St.
Mike’s Barber Shop

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Century Auto Service
1615 Riverdale St.
Peter Plantatis

Diamond Gold Connection
389 Park St.
Corporation GX

Maxim Healthcare Services
25 Capital Dr.
Centrus Premier Home Healthcare

S.T.A.N.
791 Piper Road
Stanley Zalewski

Storrowton Tavern
1305 Memorial Ave.
Vintage Inc.

True Crew
204 Baldwin St.
Jeffrey Gil

Wholesome Barn
78 Highland Ave.
Maksim Zhuk

Holiday Gift Guide Sections

Beating the Crowds

Louis and Kathy White

Louis and Kathy White say holiday shopping started early at A.O. White, and they have boxes and bags filled with items that have been gift-wrapped and are waiting to be picked up.

’Tis the season to be shopping, and local retailers say consumers began their annual holiday shopping for friends, family, and loved ones — and themselves — right after Halloween.

“Shoppers aren’t waiting until the last minute anymore,” said Nicole Sweeney, marketing manager for Eastfield Mall, adding that it seems that people are buying a few things each week after they get their paycheck.

“The old metric of measuring sales from Black Friday to Christmas is no longer accurate, and retailers have responded to the growing trend of people shopping early. Old Navy has had a sale almost every day since late October, and most of the national chain stores offered pre-Black Friday sales,” she told BusinessWest.

Lisa Wray agrees. The marketing director for Holyoke and Hampshire malls said their unofficial season kickoff took place on Veterans’ Day, as many people had the day off. “We’ve definitely seen an uptick in traffic since then, and a lot of stores started holding sales early, rather than waiting for Black Friday,” she said.

Louis White of A.O. White in East Longmeadow believes shoppers may have been inspired by the fact that the big-box stores put up Christmas decorations in October and held pre-holiday promotions in October. “It’s one thing we can thank them for,” he said. “People have been buying gifts here for weeks, and we have boxes and bags filled with items that we gift-wrapped and are waiting to be picked up and taken home.”

Kathy White agreed. “We’re seeing a lot of positive energy, and I think it will be a good year for specialty stores because of the service we provide and the uniqueness of our merchandise,” said Louis’s wife and business partner. “People are looking for novelty this year more than ever.”

Indeed, all signs point toward a very healthy sales season. The National Retail Foundation (NRF) expects sales in November and December (excluding autos, gas, and restaurants) to total $630.5 billion, which equates to an increase of 3.7, significantly higher than the 10-year average of 2.5%. Average spending per person is expected to reach $805, and surveys show that nearly 57% of people celebrating the holidays started buying gifts in early November.

“The window between Thanksgiving and Christmas is shorter this year, so retailers are offering really good deals,” said Carolyn Edwards, general manager for Lee Premium Outlets. “Our sales have been very promotion-driven. They started before Black Friday and will continue throughout the holiday season.”

Catering to Customers

Joy Leavitt, who owns KiddlyWinks in Longmeadow, says the store held two special events long before Black Friday to kick off the holiday season. The children’s toy store sent 12,500 catalogs to customers on a mailing list and invited them to attend an Adult Shopping Night that included hors d’oeuvres and raffles. More than 100 guests showed up and enjoyed the evening; and it was followed by a Wake Up with KiddlyWinks morning that attracted 50 shoppers who received discounts and free gift wrapping, along with coffee and donuts.

Joy Leavitt

Joy Leavitt says the holiday season is off to a great start at Kiddly Winks, and the response to two November sales promotions was fantastic.


“Our store is ready to go, and the shelves are stacked to the top. We had a nice, brisk beginning to the season and are really thrilled that people chose to shop here,” Leavitt said. “We’re starting our 30th year in business, and children who once received gifts from us are now parents or grandparents buying toys for their children.”

Louis White said A.O. White also offered incentives to its good customers. “We want to reward them around the holidays, but we are not sales-driven,” he noted. “We have generations of people who have shopped here and we really like to think we are a destination for special things.”

Edwards said footwear and apparel account for a significant portion of the gifts purchased during the holiday season at Lee Premium Outlets. “And we are anticipating a large sale of gift cards. They’re always our number-one seller, and as we get closer to Christmas, we always see an uptick in demand for them,” she told BusinessWest, explaining that they make an ideal gift, as the shopping season doesn’t officially end until Jan. 1, and many people crowd stores the day after Christmas to take advantage of post-holiday sales.

Wray said electronics are expected to be the winner this year when it comes to gifts. “People are buying tablets, iPhones, and mobile devices. We don’t have the actual data yet for sales, but they seem to be the hot gifts.”

Although the NRF says Americans plan to do almost half of their holiday shopping online this year, and one in five will use a smartphone to purchase holiday merchandise, local retailers say the joy of holiday shopping is an experience that can’t be duplicated by ordering remotely.

“Every single business has been affected by online shopping; it has changed the world. But we hope people make some of their purchases at local businesses and family-owned stores. We are the tapestry of the community and are so appreciative of the business,” Leavitt said, adding that KiddlyWinks looks for the hottest and best toys for children from February until September in advance of the holiday season, and when people shop locally, the tax dollars stay in the community.

Edwards believes people often go online to find what they want to purchase and compare pricing. “But nothing compares to seeing something, trying it on, and feeling the merchandise, so I don’t think online shopping will ever replace the experience of shopping in a store,” she said, adding that, when people are buying for others in a retail store, they often purchase something for themselves.

Indeed, the NRF says 54% of shoppers treat themselves during the holiday season. “People often come in with a shopping list and leave with a few things for themselves,” Louis White noted.

Optimistic Predictions

Although it’s too early to determine exactly how much people will spend this holiday season, the owners of local stores have done all they can to attract the growing number of people shopping early, as well as those who wait until the last minute. Weather can affect business and prevent people from going to their stores, but it has been an unseasonably warm fall, and they are optimistic about the 2015 holiday season.

“We’re thrilled, energized, and excited about this season,” Leavitt said. “I can’t predict anything yet, but I have a feeling it will be a very, very positive year.”

Louis White concurred. “We are off to a good start at ground level,” he said. “We merchandised and planned for an increase in sales, and since our biggest nightmare is that we will run out of items, we continue to reorder until the week before Christmas.”

Edwards said last holiday season proved to be a very good one at Lee Premium Outlets, and this one looks equally bright. “We have had a very busy fall, and we expect the momentum to continue.”

And Wray expects stores in the Holyoke and Hampshire malls to meet the NRF’s prediction of an increase of 3.7%.

All of which should add up to a very merry season for retailers and shoppers beginning their annual quest to find the perfect gift for everyone on their list.

Entrepreneurship Sections
Serial Entrepreneurs Scale New Heights with Qnect

From left, Jef Sharp, Jeff Hausthor, and Henry Lederman

From left, Jef Sharp, Jeff Hausthor, and Henry Lederman created QuickQnect, software the connects the joints in a steel structure via an automatic process.

Jef Sharpe and Jeff Hausthor are on the edge again. The cutting edge, that is.

The entrepreneurs, who have been partners in five business ventures, joined Henry Lederman last October to start a new company called Qnect, and are launching a new software product called QuickQnect at the three-day NASCC Steel Conference in Toronto.

They say the product will revolutionize the way the joints in a steel structure are connected. “The idea of turning this manual process into a software solution is brand-new, and QuickQnect is up to 100 times faster than the conventional way of connecting the joints in a building,” said Sharp, adding that the service is available in the cloud.

Lederman, who has spent 42 years in the steel-detailing industry, developed an early version of the software that has already been used in 11 buildings, including structures at UMass and Harvard. And when BusinessWest spoke to the three entrepreneurs, they were looking forward to introducing their breakthrough product at the Toronto conference, which is expected to attract more than 3,500 structural engineers, steel fabricators, erectors, detailers, and educators involved in the design and construction of fabricated steel buildings and bridges.

Lederman said QuickQnect combines two critical components of the steel-connection process into one, eliminating weeks or months of manual labor required to connect each joint in a multi-story steel structure.

He created the new software to stay competitive in an industry that has cut costs by outsourcing work overseas. Developing it was a process, but the first step was recognizing there was room for improvement in the three-dimensional system used by steel-detailing companies.

Lederman’s history includes high-profile projects, including the World Trade Center Memorial Museum in New York City and Tata Hall at Harvard University. He has been a speaker at industry events and is a leader in detailing innovation.

“It’s fun starting something from scratch that has never been done before. And what this new product [QuickQnect] does is pretty extraordinary. But developing it was tempered by my desire to see it in its fullest commercial form,” he said.

That pursuit brought Lederman together with Sharp and Hausthor last fall. They were introduced through a friend, and his original plan was simply to get ideas from the successful entrepreneurs.

But the meeting proved to be serendipitous. Sharp and Hausthor were looking to start a new business, and Lederman was impressed by their background and knowledge. “They had amazing expertise, as they had grown other companies and also had IT experience. They had what I needed to take the company beyond what I had envisioned,” he said. “They viewed things I might have had doubts about as minor obstacles.”

Sharp and Hausthor said working with Lederman met the criteria they have established for a new venture (more about that later) as they know what it takes to transform a novel idea into a product, then market it successfully. But it’s work they truly enjoy.

“It’s exhilarating to start a new company, and even though there is risk, stress, and tension, there is also a feeling of accomplishment you can’t get with most 9-to-5 jobs,” Sharp said. “And this is an amazing company.”

Each of the entrepreneurs has different skills, and their titles at Qnect reflect their honed talents. Sharp is CEO, Hausthor is COO, and Lederman is CFO. They all agree that education is critical and learning must be an ongoing process. “It’s an interesting path, and the importance of entrepreneurs can’t be fully stated,” Sharp said.

However, he was quick to add that it takes a team effort to be successful. “Identifying great people is the most important job of a CEO.”

Lederman concurred. “There are many amazing business people doing wonderful things, but it’s very hard to find the right resources,” he said.

Still, they are confident they will reach their goals because their product will save time and money. But it took sophisticated engineering skills to create the software that automates a manual process. “Two hundred calculations are necessary for every joint, and there can be upwards of 2,000 joints in a building,” Hausthor said as he spoke about a building, constructed with the pre-commercial version of the software, that had 11,000 joints.

Sharp said they have also put together an exceptionally talented development team.

“I’m confident they will be unstoppable in building and expanding our software breakthrough. The design of the joints in a building is really important, and reducing months of work to a few hours drives everything else, including the cost of using steel, which is the most environmentally friendly solution for large buildings and is 97% recyclable,” he noted, adding they hope to identify powerful local investors.

Storied Past

The three men have impressive backgrounds. Lederman has built three successful companies, Sharp has founded six, and Hausthor has directed IT and software-development efforts and operations logistics for six firms.

“I like all new technology and enjoy investigating new things,” Hausthor said.

Sharp and Hausthor have been partners in five ventures and love being on the cutting edge of development. They also share a passion for helping the planet.

“It’s exciting to do things that have never been done before,” said Sharp. “You can start a business by buying a franchise in which everything is set up for you. But it’s not as creative or interesting as starting something from nothing and building something of great value that will last.”

His first business was a mobile food service he named the Clam Scam, which he launched when he was in college.

His next venture was started in 1999 after he moved to Western Mass. from New York, where he had been running a manufacturing company called Gravity Graphics. “I had a burning idea for a dot.com company that would sell excess manufacturing capacity online,” he said.

The idea didn’t require resources or capital, since he simply wanted to make more efficient use of what already existed on the planet. “Having a company that has an impact on the world has always been important to me, and in the past, green has always been a theme,” Sharp told BusinessWest.

Hausthor, who joined Sharp in the business known as XSCapacity, was a self-described “Fortune 500 guy” before they met. He had been a programmer analyst for Deloitte, an associate at Morgan Stanley, a technical specialist for Sony Electronics, and a project manager for Sony Corp. of America.

A friend introduced the two men, they had lunch together, and a short time later, Sharp asked Hausthor to help him start XSCapacity.

The idea appealed to Hausthor. “I had moved to Western Mass. and was working from home. I was in charge of 40 people in New Jersey, but I felt isolated,” he said. “So I made the jump.”

The idea took flight as other firms adopted the novel idea of using real estate, autos, and more to maximum capacity. “XSCapacity was a concept,” Sharp explained. And although they were reasonably successful in building their product and raising money, the company became part of the dot.com collapse.

Their next venture was TechCavalry in Northampton, which provided computer service for small businesses and homes. “We needed to do something quickly which we could fund ourselves that would provide us with relatively instant revenue,” Sharp said, adding they sold the firm in 2012 after 11 years, and it is still in business today.

Although TechCavalry was successful, “we felt compelled to do something good for the world that would have a positive impact,” Hausthor said. So in 2006 they founded Qteros Inc. with two other partners.

“The company was created to start green companies,” Sharp said. “We worked nights and weekends, and it took us nine months to find our first project.” They combined talents with Susan Leschine, a professor at UMass Amherst, who had discovered a microbe that made ethanol from cellulose.

“But we had to scale up the technology, as it was still at the test-tube level at UMass,” Hausthor said. “We had to make it into a product that needed to go into a $200 million facility. We were still running Tech Cavalry, and suddenly we were microbiologists at a facility in Marlborough.”

Sharp describes the time as “a whirlwind. We hired two scientists a month and grew quickly.” They secured a government grant, and their backers included the petroleum giant BP. The firm had 50 employees when the pair left in 2008, although Sharp continued to serve on the board of directors until 2012.

They were discussing what to do next when Sharp met Steve Frank from Florence, who had started a supercomputer business and was looking to expand. “He convinced us it should be our next company,” Sharp said, adding that Paneve, which has grown into a large data firm today, made a new type of computer chips.

But when the operation moved to Colorado at the behest of its engineers, and its Amherst office closed, Sharp and Hausthor decided to remain here and began a new search for another startup, which occurred when they met Lederman.

By that time, the duo had developed criteria to determine whether a business opportunity fit their needs. “It has to have good people,” Sharp said, adding that it’s important to him to have control of who is hired. “The product also has to be reasonably close to being ready to sell, as we have already owned two companies that spent a long time in the development stage. When we joined Henry, he was already using a pre-commercial version of the product, but wanted help scaling up and driving the business. The chemistry was good, and it was an excellent combination of our skills.”

Hausthor agreed. “The product also has to be protectable in terms of patent and other intellectual properties and has to be a technology that helps the world,” he added.

The fact that Lederman’s business was local made it especially appealing, he added. “We had met people in Boston who wanted our help, but we didn’t want to drive long distances or have to fly to do business.”

Conscious Choice

Sharp says starting new companies has become a way of life. “It’s pretty cool knowing that you can start something from an idea. But no entrepreneur does it alone. It’s very much a team effort, and it’s critical that the team gets credit, because without them you could never be successful.”

Sharp admits it’s not for everyone. “Starting your own company can be very exciting, but it can be just as exciting to join a young company,” he said, reiterating the importance of a strong team.

But people like Sharp, Hausthor, and Lederman will always thrive on work that is on the cutting edge.

“I was an entrepreneur before the word was coined,” Sharp said, “and what is really exciting is that we are always doing things that haven’t been done before.”

Bankruptcies Departments

The following bankruptcy petitions were recently filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Readers should confirm all information with the court.

Aldrich, Lisa M.
156 Pleasant St.
Orange, MA 01364
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/24/13

Anthony, Tony
62 Westminster St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 05/23/13

Arroyo, Ricardo
Arroyo, Milagros
5 Deveau St.
Indian Orchard, MA 01151
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 05/17/13

AZPCO of Hadley Inc.
Arizona Pizza
AZPCO of Clifton Park Inc.
Montra, Inc.
Trask, Robert W.
Trask, Erin M.
3 Silvermine Lane
West Stockbridge, MA 01266
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/17/13

Ball, Charles M.
Ball, Dawn Y.
1286 North St.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/24/13

Barton, Kimberle P.
a/k/a Schneewind, Kimberle P.
4 Mount Vernon Road
Chicopee, MA 01013
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/21/13

Boisvere, Michael S.
31 Sunset Dr.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/30/13

Boyd, Michael A
Boyd, Tammy L.
82 Strong Ave.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/25/13

Bozyk, Christopher
Bozyk, Francisca
a/k/a Navarro, Francisca
2452 Roosevelt Ave.
Springfield, MA 01104
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/20/13

Brownson, Shannon
434 Stockbridge Road
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 05/22/13

Casterella, John
23 Westminister St.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/21/13

Conrad, Richard
P.O. Box 811
Goshen, MA 01032
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 05/17/13

Cote, Kelsey L.
a/k/a Dixon, Kelsey
100 Pequot Point Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/30/13

Cote, Raymond W.
a/k/a Dukette, Raymond M.
100 Pequot Point Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/30/13

Crapps, Ronnie E.
Barber-Crapps, Sarah A.
133 St. James Ave.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/25/13

Czuchra, Kenneth J.
a/k/a Zukes Mac Shack
25 Rita Mary Way
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/19/13

D & D Remodeling
Beach, David J.
121 Boston Road
Palmer, MA 01069
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/30/13

Dallmeyer, Mark E.
Dallmeyer, Marcia M.
75 Shaker Lane
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/17/13

Davis, Donald V.
263 Grove St.
Apartment 1B
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 05/21/13

DeCaro, Elvia Giovanna
137 Nonotuck St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/23/13

DeChristopher, Donna C.
a/k/a Jorgensen, Donna C.
26 Old Mill Road
Agawam, MA 01001
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/24/13

Dufresne Entertainment
Dufresne, Dusti V.
85 Lincoln St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/17/13

Echard, Jason B.
Echard, Lisa A.
76 Highland Ave.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/23/13

Fatima, Bilqis
32 Charbonneau Ter.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/20/13

Ferguson, Sean A.
14 Royal Ave.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/24/13

Glenowicz, John J.
Glenowicz, Louise M.
405 Ryan Road
Florence, MA 01062
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/17/13

Graham, James F.
63 Harvard St.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/22/13

Graves, Ashley W.
a/k/a Reopell, Robin M.
Graves, Robin M.
P.O. Box 297
Granby, MA 01033
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/28/13

Gwozdzik, Katherine Ellen
a/k/a Marinello, Katherine Ellen
27 Labrie Lane
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/17/13

Herr, Traci D.
a/k/a Czelusniak, Traci Donna
955 Stony Hill Road
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/29/13

JLEM Landscaping Co.
Hulland, Robert L.
a/k/a Hulland, Larry
Hulland, Jill M.
12 Kathy Way
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/23/13

Kelly, Richard F
Kelly, Debra A.
34 Meadowbrook Lane
Hampden, MA 01036
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/20/13

King, Raymond J.
229 Cadwell Road
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/23/13

Kirby, Tara L.
92 Union St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/22/13

Krstyen, Daniel
16 Sargent St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/19/13

Le, Bong
P.O. Box 81412
Springfield, MA 01138
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/17/13

Ledoux, Verna
5 Ronald Cir.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/29/13

Leone, Ann Marie
85 Euclid Ave.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/23/13

Lovely, Michael Arnold
Lovely, Allison Marie
854 Main St.
Agawam, MA 01001
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/20/13

Lyne, William R
Lyne, Dina M.
a/k/a Peters, Dina M.
54 Kensington St.
Feeding Hills, MA 01030
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 05/30/13

Mann, Holly Marie
4B Cummings Road
Ware, MA 01082
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/17/13

Manning, Susan
9 Grant St.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/17/13

Meeker, Harold A.
119 Acrebrook Road
Springfield, MA 01129
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/30/13

Moreno, Lawrence A.
55 6th St.
Brimfield, MA 01010
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/29/13

Muzzy, William
Muzzy, Adrianne
43 Noblehurst Ave.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/30/13

Orange Blossom
Royal, David W.
Royal, Leanne
85 Lincoln Ave.
Orange, MA 01364
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/24/13

Pavlakos, Antonios
Pavlakos, Jacqueline Ann
11B Sunnyside Ave.
Rutland, MA 01543
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/30/13

Pelletier, Maria S.
149 Fernbank Road
Springfield, MA 01129
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/28/13

Poreda, Michael J.
125 Beech St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/28/13

Rand, Jill A.
75 Commercial St.
Adams, MA 01220
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/22/13

Rent to Own Autos
Gaynor, Brian David
127 North St.
Granby, MA 01033
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 05/30/13

Rogers, William I.
P.O. Box 609
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 05/20/13

Savage, Katherine M.
47 Mountainview Dr.
Hampden, MA 01036
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/22/13

Shamleffer, William Paul
Shamleffer, Noel Alwood
18 Wesson St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 05/30/13

Sherokow, Dana G.
Sherokow, Candace L.
a/k/a Thibodeau, Candace L.
101 Regal St.
Springfield, MA 01118
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 05/23/13

St. Pierre, Kathrine J.
30 Tom St.
Feeding Hills, MA 01030
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/22/13

Subocz, Jason E.
12 Harvey St.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/23/13

Swanson, Philip L.
303 Fairview Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/21/13

Torres, Janessa M.
98 Brandon Ave.
Springfield, MA 01119
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/24/13

Vail, Michael Kane
Vail, Jennifer Marie
73 Hall Road
Apt No. 10
Sturbridge, MA 01566
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/23/13

Vescovi, Paul A.
Vescovi, Domenica A.
46 Arthur Ave.
Athol, MA 01331
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/17/13

Vickery, David R.
18 Kent Ave., Apt. 1A
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/23/13

Waters, Kristopher Alan
178 Commonwealth Ave.
Springfield, MA 01108
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/17/13

White, Darnelle
65 Broadway St., Apt. 10
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/30/13

Wolons, Martin D.
23 Mt. Jefferson Road
Hubbardston, MA 01452
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/24/13

Woods, Kelly
77 Laurel St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/21/13

Wright, Bruce G.
38 Jasper St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 05/28/13

Banking and Financial Services Sections
Understanding Changes from the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012

Dan Eger

Dan Eger

As you may know, one of the fastest-changing tax laws deals with deductions for the depreciation of assets acquired during the year.

Congress is continually adjusting, changing, and, quite frankly, confusing us with continual depreciation-rule amendments. Lawmakers say this is all intended to stimulate the spending habits of companies. However, at the end of the day, it causes confusion to the business owners, internal accountants, public accountants, salesmen, and anyone else who tries to remember the actual deprecation rules from year to year.

To help you transition from prior rules to the current rules under the new American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, a comparative summary has been provided below. Understand that the new rules listed are as of the date of this publication and, as always, are subject to change.

• Section 179. The deduction limit was increased with the Small Business Act of 2010 and extended thereafter with the addition of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. This deduction applied to both new and used capital equipment and ‘off-the-shelf’ software. You generally need taxable income in order to take this deduction, unlike bonus depreciation, which can be taken regardless of taxable income (i.e., you can generate a taxable loss with bonus deprecation).
DepreciatingAssets-BW0313b
Be aware that Section 179 limitation rules state that, for every dollar spent over the capital purchase limit, there is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the deduction. That means, in 2012 and 2013, if you spend more than $2.5 million on qualified items, your Section 179 deductions have been completely phased out.

• Bonus depreciation. The 2012 American Taxpayer Relief Act has extended the 50% first-year depreciation under Code Sec. 168K. The qualified assets need to be acquired and placed into service before Jan. 1, 2014. It is available only on new equipment — meaning its first use by anyone (qualified leasehold rules are discussed later). In addition, there is no capital purchase limit on spending like in Section 179 rules. In 2012 you can deduct the first 50% of the asset cost as bonus depreciation; the remaining basis is then depreciated under normal rules. In 2011, the bonus depreciation was 100% of the asset cost, effectively allowing a full and immediate deduction.

One drawback is that most states do not recognize bonus depreciation, and you cannot take the additional expenditure. You may need to weigh this against the fact that, for state purposes, most states allow Section 179 deductions to the extent of the federal limit.

In 2011, qualified leasehold improvements, qualified restaurant property, and retail improvements were allowed to use a reduced depreciable life of 15 years. With the new 2012 relief bill, this is extended to anything placed into service after Jan. 1, 2012 and prior to Jan. 1, 2014; the extension allows for the 50% bonus depreciation and 15-year depreciable life.

• Auto and truck depreciation. Various rules dictate what you can deduct:

• Passenger autos: the maximum deduction 2012 is $11,060.

• Trucks and vans: the maximum deduction in 2012 is $11,160.

• Heavy SUVs used 100% for business: uses are eligible for 50% bonus. A SUV is considered heavy if it has a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 6,000 pounds but less than 14,000 pounds.

Additionally, a heavy SUV qualifies for Section 179 expensing of up to $25,000. (As a planning tool, you would be able to take bonus of 50% of the cost first, and then take the Section 179 of $25,000).

• Many vehicles, which by their nature are not likely to be used for personal purposes, qualify for a full Section 179 reduction in cost. They include the following:

— Heavy non-SUV vehicles with an open cargo area of at least six feet in interior length (like a full-size pickup truck);

— Vehicles that seat nine-plus behind the driver’s seat (like shuttle vans); and

— Vehicles with a fully enclosed driver’s compartment/cargo area, with no seating available behind the driver (basically a classic cargo van).

As stated previously, these favorable bonus depreciation provisions are scheduled to expire on Dec. 31, 2013. If you wish to take advantage of these provisions, you should plan to have the qualifying items acquired and placed in service by then. After that date (unless the laws are changed), there will be no more bonus depreciation. In addition, after 2013 the Section 179 deduction rules are scheduled to revert to the 2003 limit of $25,000 total deduction on $200,000 of qualified additions.

If you have any questions regarding depreciating assets, be sure to consult your tax advisor.

 

Dan Eger is a tax associate for the Holyoke-based public accounting firm Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C.; (413) 322-3555; [email protected]

DBA Certificates Departments

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

AMHERST

Calm Computing
4 Potwine Place
Brian J. Cook

DP Dough
96 North Pleasant St.
Dawn Hamilton

Hangar Pub & Grill
55 University Dr.
Harold Tramazzo

Mallett Pipe Insulation
459 South Pleasant St.
Stephen Mallett

Sonam Adventures
33 Pomeroy St.
Sonam Gyaltsen

Winn Residential
420 Riverglade Dr.
Samuel Ross

CHICOPEE

Jossy’s Beauty Salon
882 ½ Chicopee St.
Josefina Navarro

Liberty Maid Service
52 Ellsbree St.
Debra Lucia

Perfect Fit Dental Lab
210 Exchange St.
Yuri Murzin

Red Fez
70 Exchange St.
Maria Pragoza

The Book Mark
35 Theodore St.
Jared Debettencourt

GREENFIELD

All About Beads
223 Main St.
Christi Bartos

Acupuncture Center of Greenfield
474 Main St.
Daniel Post

Balan Painting Company
15 Summer St.
Peter Balan

Brookside Animal Hospital
279 Plain Road
Edward L. Funk

Byrne Racing & Used Autos
86 River St.
James J. Byrne Jr.

Connecticut Valley Oral Surgery Association
285 High St.
Alan C. Garlick

Dad’s Liquor
402 Federal St.
Andre Guilmet

Greenfield’s Market
144 Main St.
Patricia Waters

Le Petite Café
426 Main St.
John Denebruere

McCarthy Funeral Home
36 Bank Row
John C. Davis

Music Academy of Greenfield
22 High St.
Dorota Wilhelme-Kol

O’Neil Tree Service
76 Wisdom Way
Brendan O’Neil

Tags-Bags-Containers
698 Country Club Road
Paul Butters

The Brass Buckle
204 Main St.
Anika R. Balacouis

The Country Jeweler
220 Main St.
Donna Pfeffer

Tire Warehouse
291 Federal St.
Leonard P. Weeks

Victoria Diner
4 Chapman St.
K & D Inc.

Village Pizza
42 Bank Row
Betty Gionles

HADLEY

Copperhead Farm, LLC
4 East St.
Dee Scanlon

Ras Campbell Vegetables
135 Mt. Warner
Clifford Campbell

HOLYOKE

Abstract Heating & Cooling
66 Taylor St.
Todd Nareau

Flat’s Market
36 Ely St.
Evaristo Almonte

Holyoke Rehab. Center
260 Easthampton Road
Mark Partyka

Kool Smiles, P.C.
217 South St.
Dr. Tu-Tran

Mayimbe Grocery
518 High St.
Diomedez Chavez

Partners Express
6 Crestwood St.
Jane Bardsley Shepard

PALMER

Clearliner
21 Wilbraham St.
Creative Materials Tech., LTD

Dayspring Home Health Care
60 Dunhampton Road
Emilie Brodeur

Mohegan Sun at Palmer
1426 Main St.
Mohegan Resorts Mass, LLC

Palmer Counseling Center
1085 Palmer St.
Bonnie Gaumond

Salon Trendz
1110 Park St.
Wendy Fullam

SPRINGFIELD

Lauren H. Follett
1 Monarch Place
Lauren H. Follett

Mayancela Corp.
1660 Wilbraham Road
Marcial Mayancela

Miguel’s Repair
700B Berkshire Ave.
Miguel A. Santiago

Moyo-Mail Out Your Orders
111 Warrenton St.
Johnny Torres

MS Zela and Daughters
43 Pearl St.
Rhonda L. Jones

New Rock Drywall Company
183 Warrenton St.
Donald N. Creighton

Nicecars LLC
526 St. James Ave.
Daniel G. Daigle

O.G. Breakthrough
95 Timothy Circle
Kevin C. Ward

Onerma Inc.
27-29 St. James Blvd.
Ersin Cinarlik

P.J. Computers International
95 Maplewood Terrace
Paul J. Ehiwele

Precision Abrasive Jet
395 Liberty St.
Robert W. Willis

Precision Auto Repair
70 Union St.
James U. Stephenson

Preterotti & Sons
36 Alderman St.
Anabela Marie

Rehabcare
1400 State St.
Kindred Rehab

Santa Enterprise
83-85 Magazine St.
Edwin Santa

Shaili Love Inc.
500 Page Blvd.
Suresh V. Patel

Shoukat & Saeed Inc.
61-67 Locust St.
Saeed Rahman

Springfield Museums Association
21 Edwards St.
Holly Smith-Bove

Stephanie Beth Photograph
301 Plumtree Road
Stephanie B. Brown

Stowe Technologies
439 Cadwell Dr.
James E. Pease

Stylez Da Lymit
602 Page Blvd.
Miguel J. Tena

Tebaldi’s Line Right
353 Page Blvd.
Anthony J. Tebaldi

Tripticstar
298 Allen Park Road
Michelle Barnaby

Tufts Health Plan
1441 Main St.
Tufts Associated

Two Brothers Automotive
1307 Worcester St.
Nathan Jensen

Window Preservation, LLC
81 Mill St.
Pamela J. Howland

Winn Residential
251 Allen Park Road
Samuel Ross

Dillomart
74 Bartels St.
Keiko Ardolino

WESTFIELD

Ames Plumbing Service, LLC
130 Joseph Ave.
Patrick Ames

DDMJ Transportation
14 Sycamore St.
Vataliy Ganovsky

D.M.Z.
170 Elm St.
Patricia Lee

Good Bird Studio
29 Alexander Place
Ellen Westerlind

Misty Valley Farm
10 Tannery Road
Violet Hall

Paul’s Barber Shop
236 Elm St.
Pablo R. Torres

Progress Enterprises, LLC
3 Progress Ave.
Ron Mousette

Quality Property Management
87 Franklin St.
Mark Slayton

Rite Aid
7 East Silver St.
Maxi Drug Inc.

Steve’s Motor Works Supply
20 Lisa Lane
Steve Cipriani

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Brodsky Heating & Air Conditioning
37 Hewitt St.
Paul Edward Brodsky

Discounted Soccer
212 Ely Ave.
Paul Klorer

Hazen Enterprises Inc.
61 Winona Dr.
Lawrence Hazen

Little George’s
1648 Westfield St.
Anamisis, LLC

Nina’s Beauty Salon
446 Main St.
Nina Boissonneault

DBA Certificates Departments
The following Business Certificates and Trade Names were issued or renewed during the month of November 2011.

AMHERST

Amherst Chinese Medicine
409 Main St.
Xiaqiang Zhao

Amherst-Ideal Weight Loss
379 College St.
Jeanette Wilburn

Brigade
6 University Dr.
Kirsten Modestow

Ghoghoo Ghora
22 Southpoint Dr.
Shireen Chaudhy

Good & Healthy Inc.
1 Boltwood Walk
Robert Lowry

Thrada Design Studio
17 Walnut St.
Brian Devore

Valley Frameworks
534 Main St.
Archival Matters Inc.

HADLEY

Affordable Autos of Hadley
11 Railroad St.
Norman Wilber

Carey Farm
26 East St.
Cam Carey

Chinese Kung Fu Wushu Academy
206 River Dr.
Binh Q. Nguyen

Hadley Picture Framing
44 River Dr.
Thomas Vachula

Ken’s Catering
136 Russell St.
Ken Berestka

Payless Shoe
367 Russell St.
Cheryl Falk

River Drive Auto Body
81 River Dr.
Stephen Szymkowicz

Southern New England Spice
35 Lawrence Place
Diane Kirby

TJ’s Taylor Rental
301 Russell St.
James Falcone

HOLYOKE

All in One
92 Suffolk St.
Luis A. Arena

El Rincon Boricua Restaurant
216 Lyman St.
Virgen Lopez

K & C Cellphone Outfitters
166 High St.
Christopher Nieves

Schermerhorn’s Seafood
224 Westfield Road
Michael J. Fitzgerald

Southwest Crafts
50 Holyoke St.
Luis A. Chaguipuz

Wow Family Entertainment Center
50 Holyoke St.
Michael Fabrizi

NORTHAMPTON

Audobon Partners
118 River Road
Robin Fields

Burrows & Weiss
78 Main St.
Mikal Weiss

Chaput Marketing
152 Crescent St.
Christopher Chaput

Collaborative Restoration
239 State St.
Kevin Hayes

Gusakor Woodworks
23 Myrtle St.
William A. Wallace

Healthy Home Care
71 Gleason Road
Sarah Zabriskie

Industry Mint
97 State St.
Daniel Kates

Simona’s
74 South Main St.
Simona Pozzetto

Sullivan Companion Care
83 Maynard Road
Roberta Sullivan

The Botaniste
33 Summer St.
Corina Miller

SPRINGFIELD

Abdul Baki Exporting
8 Cherrelyn St.
Rayan C. Abdul

Alert Ambulance Service
1131 Boston Road
David George

Ambis
142 Dickinson St.
Tazeen Rafiq

Avtel Solutions
553 White St.
Moses L. Diaz

Barifamily Inc.
383 Belmont Ave.
Wahab Abari

Baystate Employee Assistance
50 Maple St.
Mark R. Tolosky

Bling Bling Style
625 Boston Road
Mian Ashiq

Calendar Holdings, LLC
1655 Boston Road
Felix A. Cordero

Chuk’s Bait-n-tackle
436 Boston Road
Carlos M. Ayala

Cost Cutters
370 Cooley St.
Regis Corporation

DJ Nails Supply
200 Dickinson St.
Tuan Dam

El Bohio Restaurant
809 Liberty St.
Luis R. Cotto

Gentle Family Dentistry
1206 Boston Road
David W. Chou

Grace Jewelry
1210 Main St.
Hwa Y. Kim

Honor Capital
1 Monarch Place
Founders Finance, LLC

WESTFIELD

Lifetime Tilers Inc.
565 North Road
Patrick Smith

ZING
104 Mainline Dr.
James Fogarty

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Infinity Auto Rental Inc.
52 Baldwin St.
Joseph Gallo

Olympia Ice Center
125 Capital Dr.
Massachusetts Skate I Corporation

Petsey Schreiber Transport
80 Brush Hill Ave.
Philomena Schreiber

Stone Installation Solutions
1029 Elm St.
Russell C. Kern

Agenda Departments

Classic Cars and Classic Music
June 10: The Holyoke Parks & Recreation Department and Wistariahurst Museum on Cabot Street invite area residents to enjoy a night of live entertainment and fun on the grounds of Wistariahurst, beginning at 6 p.m., with classic cars and music by Patrick Tobin, known for his international touring Tribute to Frank Sinatra. While attendees stroll the grounds and gardens, antique autos will be out for viewing. The family event is free and open to the public. Seating is not provided, however, so attendees are asked to bring a lawn chair or blanket, since the program is outdoors. For more information, call the museum at (413) 322-5660 or visit www.wistariahurst.org.

HR and Social Media Workshop
June 16: Representatives from Royal LLP and the Vann Group will present a free seminar titled “Social Networking Media and the Workplace: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” from 8:30 to 10 a.m. in the NUVO Bank community room, 1500 Main St., Springfield. Discussion will include the benefits and the drawbacks of using social media during the recruiting and hiring process as well as within the workplace. Registration begins at 8:15 a.m., and seating is limited. To register, contact Ann-Marie Marcil at [email protected] or call (413) 586-2288.

40 Under Forty Gala
June 23: BusinessWest will present its 40 Under Forty Class of 2011, at a not-to-be-missed gala at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House, beginning at 5 p.m. The 40 Under Forty program, initiated in 2007, has become an early-summer tradition in the region. For more information call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100, or visit www.BusinessWest.com.

Skinner Family Tour
June 25: The curators of Wistariahurst and the Joseph Allen Skinner Museum will host a jaunt around Holyoke and South Hadley to learn more about the lives of the Skinner family from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. William Skinner and his descendants are famed as much for their philanthropic gifts to social and educational institutions in this region as they are for business innovation and expertise in producing the highest-quality silk thread and satin fabrics. As manufacturer of Skinner’s Satins, William Skinner came to be widely known, and his own success was generously extended to Holyoke and the working people who lived there. The Skinner family supported the construction of a chapel, a hospital, a city library, a gymnasium, a coffeehouse, and a state park. The program includes transportation and tours of various Skinner venues including Wistariahurst, the Skinner Chapel of the United Congregational Church, and the Orchards (former home of Joseph Skinner and his family), and will conclude with a tour of the Joseph Allen Skinner Museum. Tickets are $25 per person, $20 for students and seniors. To make a reservation, call (413) 322-5660.

Summer Business Summit
June 27-28: The Resort and Conference Center of Hyannis will be the setting for the Summer Business Summit, hosted by the Massachusetts Chamber of Business and Industry of Boston. Nominations are being accepted for the Massachusetts Chamber, Business of the Year, and Employer of Choice awards. The two-day conference will feature educational speakers, presentations by lawmakers, VIP receptions, and more. For more information, visit www.masscbi.com.

Jazz & Art Festival
July 8-10: A Mardi Gras theme will kick off the 5th annual Hampden Bank Hoop City Jazz & Art Festival on July 8, featuring Glenn David Andrews with the Soul Rebels, and hosted by Wendell Pierce, star of the HBO series Treme. The celebration, planned at Springfield’s Court Square on the Esplanade, continues throughout the weekend with a lineup of world-class entertainment. On July 9, performances are slated by Marcus Anderson, the UK Kings of Jazz Groove, Down to the Bone, 17-year-old jazz newcomer Vincent Ingala, and Gerald Albright. On July 10, performances begin with the Eric Bascom Quintet, followed by Samirah Evans and Her Handsome Devils. Kendrick Oliver and the New Life Orchestra will also perform, and Latin jazz performer Poncho Sanchez will close out the festival. Organizers will also be increasing the number of merchandise vendors, artisans, and crafters, as well as food vendors. For more information, visit www.hoopcityjazz.org.

Western Mass. Business Expo
Oct. 18: Businesses from throughout Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire counties will come together for the premier trade show in the region, the Western Mass. Business Expo. Formerly known as the Market Show, the event, produced by BusinessWest and staged at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, has been revamped and improved to provide exposure and business opportunities for area companies. The cost for a 10-by-10 booth is $700 for members of all area chambers and $750 for non-members; corner booths are $750 for all chamber members and $800 for non-members; and a 10-by-20 booth is $1,200 for all chamber members and $1,250 for non-members. For more information, log onto www.BusinessWest.com or call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100.

Class of 2011 Difference Makers

Executive Director, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

Tim Brennan

Tim Brennan

Tim Brennan was talking about the specific skills one must possess to be a successful planner, especially a long-range planner, which is his unofficial job title.

And he focused on two traits — patience and tenacity — noting that one must have them in abundance in this arena, because some — actually, it’s more like most — initiatives don’t take a few months or years to become reality; they take a few decades, at least.

“If you get disappointed easily, and you don’t have the grit to keep coming back over and over again and make the plans work that you think should work, then you’ve picked the wrong job,” he told BusinessWest, laughing as he did so. “And it happens; some people just don’t have that demeanor for this.”

As an example of patience and tenacity, he cited work to create bike paths in the region, an initiative that dates back to when he started working for what was then known as the Lower Pioneer Valley Regional Planning Commission (LPVRPC), as the transportation planner, in 1973.

“There were none at that time, but the temperature started to change and the federal government became interested in things other than autos and transit,” he explained. “We started working on what was then the Five College Bikeway, which was a conceptual idea. Once the media-release value was gone, everyone abandoned it; but we stayed with it, and 20-something years later, I’m at the ribbon-cutting for the trail. I’m not the planner in the Transportation Department, I’m the director, and I’ve got two young daughters who are going to be able to use the Norwottuck trail.

“That’s a long time to wait for some satisfaction,” he continued, putting extra emphasis on that word ‘long.’ “But now we have these bikeway projects springing up across the area, and I think they’re really attraction amenities; they add a lot of value to communities, and when we get them to hook up with one another, they’re great assets.”

There are several other examples from Brennan’s tenure with what is now simply the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. They include everything from Connecticut River clean-up efforts to initiatives to bring more and better rail service to the area; from work to maximize the CSX complex in West Springfield as a regional economic-development asset to efforts to promote greater regionalization in this region and also neighboring Northern Conn.

For achieving progress in these areas and, overall, for giving that grit he described earlier, Brennan has been named one of BusinessWest’s Difference Makers for 2011. Some of the work he’s led is easy to see, such as those bike trails, a cleaner Connecticut River, and a reconstructed Coolidge Bridge. But some of it is outwardly less visible, yet equally important, such as the creation in 1994 of the Plan for Progress — a blueprint for helping the Valley remain competitive in an increasingly global economy — and its many updates since.

Brennan has seemingly always been a little ahead of his time, dating to when he did his thesis at UMass Amherst on issues concerning the collection and management of solid waste, and, specifically, the need for greater recycling. “That was kind of a radical idea at the time,” he said.

While at UMass, he took part in an internship with the city of Northampton, “which at that time was as downtrodden as any city you could imagine,” and worked on solid waste and, eventually, planning issues for then-Mayor Sean Dunphey. He was part of efforts to create a new master plan and revamped zoning laws, and was there to see the very beginnings of that city’s renaissance.

After graduating from UMass, Brennan commenced a search for employment in the region and found an opportunity at the LPVRPC as transportation planner. While in that position, he led the formation of the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA), one of many regional transit systems created by the state Legislature.

In 1980, when the directorship of the LPVRPC came open, Brennan applied, but did not get the nod. But when the individual who was chosen ultimately decided not to relocate from Illinois, another search was commenced, and this time Brennan triumphed.

When asked what’s kept him in this job for more than 30 years, working for and alongside countless mayors, selectmen, and planning and development leaders, Brennan said it’s the diversity of the work and the satisfaction that comes with overcoming the many challenges it takes to bring projects that are decades in the making to fruition.

He also likes the balance between working in both the present and future tenses.
“I tell people, and I really believe this, that one of the interesting things about planners is that you have to be bipolar in terms of your time zone,” he explained. “And I don’t know if you can quantify it, but both switches are always on because, if you can’t demonstrate that you’re relevant to the present, all your conjecture about the future gets completely tuned out.”

So when asked what the Greater Springfield area might look like in 30 years, the man who always has one eye focused at least that far down the road said there will be some recognizable changes.

“What’s going to shape the region is energy and climate change,” Brennan said. “Suddenly, it’s politically unpopular to talk about climate change, but the scientists are screaming that it’s real and we have to do something about it. A few weeks ago, the state set greenhouse-gas emission-reduction goals for 2020 and 2050. I don’t think I’ll be around in 2050, but it’s my job to start, with my colleagues, to take this seriously and try to get us ready.

“So what I see is that we won’t be on fossil fuels anymore; we’ll be running off different kinds of fuels, and we’ll need a more-compact land-use pattern — we can’t keep spreading out like we have been,” he continued. “We’ll be going back to the future in a way, where some of the places that we depopulated get repopulated, including many of the urban areas, the downtowns.”

Meanwhile, the Valley will have to focus its energies on successfully existing in one of what are projected to be a dozen or so ‘super regions,’ the one in question stretching from Philadelphia to Boston.

“We have to be connected to the Northeast mega-region, or we’re toast,” Brennan told BusinessWest. “There was a guy here 10 years ago who has a national reputation, who said that if we didn’t have firm plans and follow through on them, much of New England, including this region, could end up as a cul-de-sac, and that really stuck in my mind.

“I think the Valley has all the right building blocks to be one of those regions that can sustain itself going into all these major changes,” he continued. “That’s why we’re working on rail, that’s why we’re working on the broadband, that’s why we will be working on food security; these are all designed to put the infrastructure in place for the region to be vibrant and attractive.”

Getting to that place won’t be easy, but Brennan has the requisite personality traits — patience, tenacity, and that all-important grit — to get the job done.

— George O’Brien

Departments

The following is a compilation of recent lawsuits involving area businesses and organizations. These are strictly allegations that have yet to be proven in a court of law. Readers are advised to contact the parties listed, or the court, for more information concerning the individual claims.

FRANKLIN SUPERIOR COURT

B & H Foto & Electronics Inc. v. Hallmark Institute of Photography Inc.
Allegation: Non-payment of goods and equipment sold and delivered: $150,866.10
Filed: 6/10/09

GREENFIELD DISTRICT COURT

Leader Home Center Inc. v. Charbonneau & Associates
Allegation: Non-payment of goods sold and delivered: $8,218.01
Filed: 6/12/09

Lexjet Corporation v. Hallmark Institute of Photography Inc.
Allegation: Monies due on suit for judgment: $67,129.26
Filed: 6/29/09

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT

Bartholomew Company v. Hilltop Construction Inc.
Allegation: Non-payment of judgment: $65,028.44
Filed: 6/12/09

David Matlasz v. Stanley Swierewski, III, M.D.
Allegation: Permanent bladder damage from negligent ureteral burns: $1,172,201.40
Filed: 6/11/09

Francis R. & Marguerite Miles v. The Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House Inc.
Allegation: Personal injury slip and fall: $39,000
Filed: 6/17/09

Hitachi Capital America Corporation v. G.W. Transport Inc.
Allegation: Non-payment of commercial financing agreement: $57,300.78
Filed: 6/08/09

Max P. Marek, Executor of the estate of Julie Marek v. Louis Durkin, M.D. & Holyoke Medical Center Emcare Inc.
Allegation: Wrongful death following improper diagnosis and treatment for pulmonary embolis: $2,036,000
Filed: 6/11/09

Northcan Investments Inc. v. AAH Corporation and Humberto M. Ventura
Allegation: Breach of commercial lease: $200,000+
Filed: 6/12/09

T.D. Bank, N.A. v. Hawk Liquors & Spirits Inc. and J.E.V.A. Inc.
Allegation: Monies owed on two unpaid and defaulted notes: $149,487.24
Filed: 6/12/09

HAMPSHIRE SUPERIOR COURT

Marois Construction Company Inc. v. Frank Pendergast Inc. et al
Allegation: Fraud and breach of contract concerning agreement to provide labor and materials: $140,000
Filed: 7/02/09

Peter Shea v. Tarnow Nursery Inc.
Allegation: Defendant provided defective mulch causing damage to home: $30,000+
Filed: 6/29/09

HOLYOKE DISTRICT COURT

Marcotte Ford Sales Inc. v. M.D. Autos B.V. a/k/a Inter Leasure Management
Allegation: Vehicle storage claim: $8,950
Filed: 6/12/09

NORTHAMPTON DISTRICT COURT

Premier Supply Group, Inc. v. Kahlenbeck Plumbing & Heating
Allegation: Non-payment of goods sold and delivered: $5,503.31
Filed: 6/30/09

Premier Supply Group Inc. v. Raulston Plumbing & Heating
Allegation: Non-payment of goods sold and delivered: $5,455.87
Filed: 6/30/09

Premier Supply Group Inc. v. Shed Plumbing & Heating Corporation
Allegation: Non-payment of goods sold and delivered: $15,358.57
Filed: 6/30/09

PALMER DISTRICT COURT

Dorothy Davis v. Wales Lounge
Allegation: Unsecured sign fell on patron’s head causing injury: $7,056.67
Filed: 6/03/09

NE Waste Inc. v. MJR & Sons Inc.
Allegation: Non-payment of services rendered: $4,269.20
Filed: 6/17/09

Siok and Son Excavation v. WAL Development, LLC
Allegation: Non-payment of services rendered: $18,956
Filed: 5/19/09

Smurfit-Stone Container Enterprises Inc. v. Huntington Products
Allegation: Non-payment of goods sold and delivered: $3,945.26
Filed: 5/22/09

SPRINGFIELD DISTRICT COURT

Bradco Supply Company v. Elad General Contractors Inc.
Allegation: Non-payment of goods sold and delivered: $6,278.91
Filed: 6/26/09

Comcast Spotlight Inc. v. Templeton Auto Parts
Allegation: Non-payment of advertising services: $8,336.47
Filed: 6/29/09

Liberty Mutual Insurance Company v. Cerqueira Construction Company, LLC
Allegation: Non-payment of a workers compensation policy: $9,627.68
Filed: 6/29/09

WESTFIELD DISTRICT COURT

Poggi Transport v. W & I Construction
Allegation: Non-payment of transportation services: $4,031.44
Filed: 6/09/09

Sections Supplements
What Several New Tax Acts Mean for Individuals and Business Owners

In an attempt to stimulate the economy, Congress has passed several significant tax acts in 2008. Two of the acts were targeted toward special groups, while the other two were for the general taxpaying public.

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 carries a host of specialized tax breaks for the farming industry, while the the Hero’s Act of 2008 targets relief for members of the military and their families. The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 offers a range of tax breaks for individuals and businesses — the act allows individuals a tax rebate of various amounts based on their filing status and number of dependents claimed on their 2007 tax return that was filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Businesses are given significant tax breaks from an increase in the Section 179 depreciation limits and additional depreciation available on assets placed in service for tax years beginning in 2008.

Lastly, Congress passed and the president signed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 into law on October 3, 2008. While this act was primarily signed into law to solve the credit crunch in the financial markets, there are some major tax provisions included in the act.

What follows is a look at some of the highlights of these acts.

First, the Economic Stimulus Act increase in the Section 179 expense for 2008 only. Under the Small Business and Work Opportunity Tax Act of 2007 (SBWOTA), the maximum Sec. 179 expense on qualifying tangible property and off-the-shelf computer software for 2008 was $128,000, and the total qualifying asset phase-out threshold was $510,000. The deduction has also been limited to the amount of taxable income from the taxpayer’s active trades or business. However, the Economic Stimulus Act increases the Sec. 179 expense amount to $250,000 and the phase-out threshold to $800,000 for tax years beginning in 2008. With the increased phase-out threshold, it is unlikely that a small business would eclipse the $800,000 phase-out level and therefore be able to deduct the full cost of assets placed in service in 2008 up to $250,000. In 2009, the limits will revert back to the SBWOTA limits adjusted for inflation.

The Economic Stimulus Act also amends the Code to allow taxpayers to take ‘bonus depreciation’ in 2008. The rules are similar to the bonus depreciation allowed in 2003 through 2005. For assets placed in service after Dec. 31, 2007 and before Jan. 1, 2009, taxpayers are allowed to take an additional 50% first-year depreciation deduction on qualified property. Qualified property includes most tangible personal property, ‘qualified leasehold improvement property,’ and most computer software. The bonus depreciation deduction is available only on new assets placed in service and not used assets. The adjusted basis of the property is reduced by the bonus depreciation before computing the amount otherwise allowable as a depreciation deduction for the tax year. The deduction applies to the regular tax and the alternative minimum tax.

Under the luxury-auto dollar caps, the allowable depreciation for the first year on passenger automobiles is usually limited under the code to $2,960 for autos placed in service in 2008. To allow taxpayers to take advantage of the bonus depreciation provisions, the Economic Stimulus Act allows for the increase of the deprecation limit by $8,000 to $10,960 in 2008 for qualified vehicles.

Heavy sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) are marketed and sold as trucks. SUVs that have a gross vehicle weight (GVW) rating in excess of 6,000 pounds are exempt from the luxury-auto dollar caps because they are not within the code’s definition of a passenger automobile. The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 imposed a limit on the Sec. 179 deduction of SUVs to $25,000. With the Economic Stimulus Act, the owner of an SUV placed in service in 2008 could be entitled to write off most of the cost of the vehicle. For example, if a taxpayer purchased a $50,000 SUV in 2008 and used it 100% for business, he or she may write off $40,000 of the cost of the vehicle in 2008. The SUV would be eligible for a $25,000 Sec. 179 deduction, $12,500 of bonus first-year deprecation ($50,000 – 25,000 Sec. 179 x 50% = 12,500) plus $2,500 of regular first-year depreciation.

Not all vehicles with a GVW greater than 6,000 pounds are considered SUVs. Vehicles with a GVW greater than 6,000 pounds, built on a truck chassis, with an open cargo area or converted box, not readily accessible from the passenger compartment, of at least six feet in length are not subject to the $25,000 Sec. 179 limitation. These vehicles may be depreciated under the regular rules that apply to five-year property, including the first-year bonus depreciation and increased Sec. 179 deduction explained above. This exception can apply to many pickup trucks, but be careful, since some ‘quad’ cabs do not have six-foot beds and therefore fall under the SUV rules.

The standard mileage allowance for owned or leased autos has been increased 8 cents from 50.5 cents to 58.5 cents per business mile for travel from July 1, 2008 to Dec. 31, 2008 to better reflect the real cost of operating an auto in this period of rising gas prices.

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act tax incentives impact both individuals and businesses. The item that will possibly have the greatest effect on individual taxpayers is the alternative minimum tax (AMT) patch. Under the Act, the AMT exemption amounts increased to $69,950 for married couples filing jointly and surviving spouses, $46,200 for single taxpayers and head of households, and $34,975 for married couples filing separately for 2008. The patch is designed to help middle-income taxpayers avoid the reach of AMT. It is estimated that the patch will save middle-income taxpayers approximately $61.8 billion in 2008. The patch is only for 2008. The patch also allows taxpayers to use nonrefundable personal credits to reduce their AMT liability.

Tax relief for individuals has also come in the form of the extension of many popular tax breaks that have become somewhat permanent since they are extended every year or two. The items that have been extended are: state and local sales tax deduction as an itemized deduction, the teachers’ classroom expense deduction as an above-the-line deduction, tax-free distributions from IRAs for charitable purposes, higher-education tuition deduction as an above-the-line deduction, and the additional standard deduction of real property taxes for non-itemizers, which is new for 2008 and has been extended through 2009.

The new act also includes many incentives targeted to businesses, several of which revise and extend tax benefits. The most significant are revised research tax credit and the enhanced depreciation for leasehold and restaurant improvements. The new act extends the research tax credit to amounts paid or incurred in 2008 and 2009.

It also modifies the credit, increasing the alternative simplified credit while repealing the alternative incremental research credit. Qualifying restaurant improvements and leasehold improvements will be eligible for 15-year cost recovery rather than a 39-year period for two more years or through Dec. 31, 2009. Congress also authorized a 15-year recovery period for depreciation of certain improvements to retail space through Dec. 31, 2009. There are several other provisions that do not have a wide-ranging effect on businesses.

There is still time to take advantage of these tax-saving items offered in the various acts of 2008. Please consult your tax advisor with any specific tax questions or scenarios that you may have or to understand how these provisions may benefit you.v

Sean Wandrei, CPA is a tax manager at Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. He also serves as treasurer of the Young Professionals Society of Greater Springfield; (413) 536-8510.

Cover Story
Rising Fuel Costs Force Tough Decisions for Businesses

It’s an election year, so it’s no surprise that, as soaring energy costs fuel increasing concern across America, the rhetoric is flowing as freely as $4-per-gallon gas.
A Congressional panel recently called a group of oil-company CEOs on the carpet, berating them for profiteering during an economic slowdown. The execs, in turn, blamed Congress for restricting drilling and refining at home, contributing to an unhealthy dependence on oil-rich but often-unfriendly foreign governments.
Caught in the middle of this heated exchange are average Americans, who increasingly find themselves diverting money from other household needs to filling up the gas tank, leading to often-difficult spending decisions.

Receiving less media attention, however, are businesses of all kinds, which are also forced to make tough decisions, whether it’s retail stores pondering whether to pass hefty shipping surcharges to customers or construction firms seeing profits shrink as the cost of fuel and supplies far outstrips what they had anticipated during the bid process — not to mention auto dealers watching as consumer anxiety keeps would-be buyers from making that big purchase.

“It’s certainly having an effect on the auto business,” said Don Pion, president of Bob Pion Buick Pontiac GMC in Chicopee. “Any time people feel uncertain about the economy, they tend to hold back and not make long-term purchases — and that’s what automobile purchases are. Few people are coming in paying cash; it’s a four-, five-, six-year commitment. A lot of people are standing on the sidelines and seeing how this all shakes out.”

Big Y Foods, with more than 50 stores across the region, has seen its fuel surcharges on produce trucked from California and other distant locales increase by $1 million over just the past six months, on top of everyday energy costs that also continue to rise.

“Our customers are accustomed to having a great variety of produce, and we want to provide it, but those costs have gone up tremendously,” said Claire D’Amour, Big Y’s vice president for corporate communications. Rising energy costs have also raised the cost of paper and plastic packaging, and while the chain looks for alternative products where possible, that’s not always — or even often — possible. “If you’re buying Cheerios,” she said, “well, that’s the package it comes in.”

“Paper costs are higher than they’ve been in years, because of the higher fuel costs to get that paper to our door,” added Greg Desrosiers, sales and marketing director at Hadley Printing in South Hadley. “And it’s costing us more to fill up our own delivery trucks.”

It’s a story BusinessWest heard repeatedly from local companies, which are often saddled with the double burden of their own rising energy costs and the additional costs being passed on to them from their suppliers. No one wants to increase the prices they charge customers, but when the resource that runs much of the American economy costs so much, they often have no choice.

Cost Drivers

The auto-sales business would seem to be on especially shaky ground these days, and Pion said it’s difficult to know how much buyer reluctance has to do with gas prices and how much is typical behavior in a softening economy. But car sales have actually been holding up fairly well, he noted — it’s recreational purchases that are being hit the hardest.

“I think the biggest impact we’ve seen is with the discretionary truck buyer, who doesn’t need to buy a truck, but likes trucks and wants to own one as a first or second family vehicle,” Pion explained. “That person isn’t buying right now, and truck and SUV sales have fallen off because of that.

“Now, the person who needs a truck for work, or they’re towing a boat or a camper, or need it to do some other job, that customer is still buying,” he added. “But it seems like the only people buying a truck or SUV right now are those people who need it for a specific purpose.”

Rising fuel costs have forced many businesses to rethink their energy use, and a large, regional supermarket chain like Big Y deals with the issue on multiple levels.

D’Amour said Big Y buys as many goods as it can with each shipment, “stocking up just as we would encourage customers to do.” And, in fact, she has already started to see changes in customer behavior brought on by higher gas and food prices, such as shopping less frequently, combining food shopping with other errands, and buying more generic brands.

When examining rising grocery prices, however, factors other than energy costs are at play, she said, including a decline in wheat production in the U.S. while demand for the grain rises worldwide. “Corn is a more lucrative product because you can make more things with it, including ethanol,” she explained. But the fact that consumers demand a wide variety of produce year-round makes the shipping surcharges a more central issue.

Big Y has taken steps over the years to reduce its energy costs, D’Amour noted, including efforts to fill its own trucks completely before transporting items, installing lighting regulators in stores to avoid peak brightness during less-trafficked times of the day, and reclaiming heat from the freezer generators to heat the stores.

“The older stores are also replacing equipment,” she told BusinessWest. “After awhile, it becomes cheaper in the long run to replace an older refrigerator case than to keep repairing it.”

Culture Change

Municipalities struggle with energy costs on an even larger scale than most businesses; for example, the city of Chicopee spends about $4 million per year on electricity and $750,000 on gasoline and other fuel, out of a total budget of $150 million. Mayor Michael Bissonnette said the city has been proactive in reducing those costs, including implementing a Texas-based conservation program called Energy Education in Chicopee schools — a program that will soon spread to other city departments.

“It’s not rocket science. Either you’re proactive, or you pay more for energy use,” said the mayor, whose city also benefits from its own electric department to keep costs down. “This program is designed to assess and then curtail the use of energy in buildings. We hired a full-time staff person to take all that data and apply it to reducing energy use. In the past 18 months, we’ve saved $920,000.”

Energy, Bissonnette said, is something that most municipal governments don’t keep a careful enough eye on, but it can be shocking to discover how many lights, heating systems, and computers are left running all night when offices and buildings are unoccupied.

Besides cutting down on that type of waste, Chicopee — which boasts a fleet of 225 vehicles, from passenger cars to heavy-duty trucks and police and emergency vehicles — has begun replacing its SUVs with hybrid models and its Crown Victorias with Tauruses, both changes offering better fuel economy. In addition, the routes driven by patrolling police officers and sanitation vehicles have been studied and altered to reduce miles driven.

“It’s really about changing the culture,” Bissonnette said of the efforts, which will allow him to avoid an increase in the energy budget next year, despite the rising cost of fuel — efforts, he said, that homeowners and businesses can replicate. “If every single household in America were to change from a regular lightbulb to one of those newfangled, funny-looking, energy-efficient lightbulbs — just one bulb per house — it would be the equivalent of taking 600,000 autos off the street in terms of reducing pollution and global warming.

“People are coming to accept that we can’t use energy the same old way,” he continued. “It’s like it was with recycling — it takes awhile for people to change their behavior and accept a new reality, but that’s what’s happening now.”

Reality Check

All industries are now getting an education in that reality.

“Gas prices are certainly affecting our business,” said Andrew Crane, president of A. Crane Construction in Chicopee. “Every time the trucks leave in the morning, we have to make sure the trips are efficient,” meaning combining trips in order to do the most work on the least miles. “We’re just starting a job in Sturbridge; I made that deal a year ago, and now I’m trying to stay within what I thought the budget would be. It costs me $30 a day, per truck, just to get there and back.

“How do you stay competitive?” he continued. “Every two months, I get letters from our suppliers saying costs have gone up 8% to 10%. So we have to pay more attention to how we’re managing jobs to make them efficient, and that takes time and energy.”

Desrosiers said the rising cost of paper, because of production and shipping costs, is unavoidable, but Hadley Printing is reluctant to pass along to customers its own rising energy costs — both from operating the heavy printing machinery and using its own trucks for transport. That makes energy conservation a must if profits are to remain steady.

“Paper costs more, and that’s figured into costs,” he said. “But for the smaller jobs, we really try to absorb those other increased costs through volume, and try to do more with less.

“We have to make some tough decisions because people, including our customers, are very sensitive to the way everything is going up,” Desrosiers continued. “This isn’t a nickel-and-dime type of business. I don’t put line items in for fuel charges. I find that to be a big turnoff to many people, and not a good business tactic.”

In addition, Hadley Printing has embarked upon efforts to win ‘green’ certification from the Forest Stewardship Council, an organization that promotes ethical, environmentally friendly, and economically viable business practices. “We hope that spurs some interest from people and gains us some new business from people looking to print with companies that are greener,” he said — another way to increase volume and lessen the impact of rising fuel and electricity costs.

Driving Home a Point

If business owners are finding it challenging to stay profitable in such an environment, gasoline costs often pose a more immediate threat to employees who commute long distances to work.

Meredith Wise, president of the Employers Assoc. of the Northeast, said members of that organization are sensitive to the fact that employees who live check-to-check can find the extra cost of commuting crippling — and even a reason to search for a different job. But they’re divided on what to do about it.

“We found a split,” Wise said. “There are some organizations that are saying, ‘you know, that’s just a part of life,’ and continue with business as usual, but there are a few companies doing some neat things — they’re actually looking at the regular commute people have and giving them a monthly fuel adjustment because the price of gas has gone up so much.”

Companies taking this route are calculating the benefit in different ways. Some are paying a set amount per mile, while at least one takes the total weekly miles commuted and multiplies that by the difference in gas prices between today and 12 months ago. “Others are pulling a number out of thin air,” Wise said.

“The important thing is, they’re doing it for the regular commute, and that’s not something they have to do,” she continued. “But they’re recognizing that they need to keep their people, some of whom might drive 30 or 40 miles each way to work. This is a way of saying, ‘we understand what you’re going through.’ I don’t know how long these programs will stay in place at companies that have rolled them out, but my expectation is at least for the remainder of this year, as long as gas prices stay high.”

Wise hasn’t seen a rise in telecommuting at companies that don’t already offer the option widely, but businesses are examining other options, from shifting toward leasing company vehicles to increasing the mileage reimbursement for salespeople and other employees who spend a lot of time on the road. The problem is, it’s difficult to relieve costs for employees and ownership, so companies are forced to walk a difficult tightrope.

Already, many are preparing for changes in consumer habits. Pion noted that trucks and SUVs actually get better mileage, on average, than they did five years ago, but they’re still a tough sell with gas prices so high. “I think people are being cautious in how they’re spending their money today,” he said.

“We’re riding it out,” D’Amour added. “It’s a little frightening, frankly.”

That’s a sentiment that business owners across Western Mass. — not to mention their customers — certainly share.

Departments

The following Business Certificates and Trade Names were issued or renewed during the month of January 2008.

AGAWAM

Amgari-Com
417 Springfield St.
Cassandre Gagnon

Michael P. Losito
489 Shoemaker Lane
Michael P. Losito

The Garden
1422 Main St.
Kuldeep Sandhu

AMHERST

Amherst Landscape & Design
256 Harkness Road
Steven Prothers

Andr-Meda Translations & Language Consulting
232 Northeast St.
Molly M. Lim

Greenhorn Farm
599 South Pleasant St.
Marc D. Cesario

Hangar Pub & Grill
55 University Dr.
Harold Tramazzo

CHICOPEE

Croppers Circle
246 Montcalm St.
Kimberly Chmura

Custom Racing Hose
130 Greenwood Ter.
Barry J. Pasterczyk

Debra’s Beauty Solutions
591 Grattan St.
Debra L. Watson

Dollywood Inc.
13 View St.
Daniel J. Sypek

J.W. Landscapes
14 Clyde St.
Lukasz J. Wolanczyk

Winn Residential
68 Eastern Dr.
Winn Managed Properties

EASTHAMPTON

J.A.K. Enterprises
37 East Green St.
John A. Karakula Jr.

Pioneer Valley Crossfit
105 Pleasant St.
Sean Manseau

EAST LONGMEADOW

Premier Realtors
200 North Main St.
Michael G. Robie

Redstone Automotive
174 Shaker Road
Darrell Bosworth

Runway 73
60 Shaker Road
Amy Dodd

GREENFIELD

Alternative Merchant Services
13 Cedar St.
John Michelson

Bob’s Health Fitness & ACS
154 Main St.
Bob E. Uguccioni

Dad’s Liquor’s
402 Federal St.
Andre L. Guilmet

Genesis Massage
207 Main St.
Jennifer Schmidt

Independent Administrative & Technical Support
82 Sanderson St.
Mary Ellen Calderwood

Meadow’s Lawn Care
49 Lunt Dr.
Todd Wiles

Rubicon Solutions
41 Madison Circle
Jorge Luiz Gonzalez

V.O. Rell Enterprises
332 Deerfield St.
Dan Viorel Oros

HADLEY

CAV Motor
129 Long Pond Road
William Cavanaugh

Mountainview Auto Sales
71 Lawrence Plain Road
John Mieczkowski

HOLYOKE

E & C Services
19 Concord Ave.
Edward J. Glica

Friendly Variety Store
1373 Dwight St.
Olga Lopez

NRL Service Group LLP
50 Holyoke St.
Maria Lepkowski

Pearl Bridal Boutique
1 Open Square Way
Ryan Mainville

Tan Factory
512 Westfield Road
Darlene Chalifoux

NORTHAMPTON

Kristy’s Nails
137C Damon Road
Orehid Nguyen

Northern Light Studio
221 Pine St.
Phoebe Dent Weil

PALMER

Periera Landscaping
P.O. Box 517
John D. Perry

The NR Group
43 French Dr.
Nathan R. Olson

Wendy Deboise @ The Mane Attraction
1020 Central St.
Wendy Deboise

 

SOUTH HADLEY

DM Towing
254 Old Lyman Road
Darlene M. Forget

KennRose
4 Hunter Terrace
Michael P. Dowd

Mass Valley Plumbing
14 McDowell Dr.
Joel M. Rivera

SOUTHWICK

Wermon Enterprises
642 College Highway
Brian Drenen

Zanto
137 Sunnyside Road
Lawrence Bannish

SPRINGFIELD

Nubians Beauty Supply
874 State St.
Regina S. Haines

Oncore Manufacturing
225 Carando Dr.
Arthur James Jackson

Ortiz Professional Services
1593 Main St.
Dianna R. Lefevre

Papale Eye Center
1515 Allen St.
Center For Eye

Precision Abrasive Jet
395 Liberty St.
Robert William Willis

Precision Auto Repair
70 Union St.
James Stephenson

RECAAT
67 Northampton Ave.
Miguel Velez

Shamrock Home Improvement
31 Chase Ave.
Jason Clark Rebelo

Sheehan Financial Group
1365 Main St.
Gregory R. Sheehan

Shepherds Real Estate
87 Fountain St.
Neal Boyd

Signature
1232 Main St.
Ik Joo Moon

Strait Way Cuts
6 Johnson St.
Timothy Dwayne

Talk of the Town Restaurant
320 Wilbraham Road
Cornel Forbes

Tebaldi’s Line Right
353 Page Blvd.
Anthony J. Tebaldi

Thomas Sanitizing Solutions
120 Fargo St.
Cynthia D. Thomas

TMK
15 Crestmont St.
Tracy M. Kelly

Undercutters Heating & Company
72 Elijah St.
Robert Luis Irizarry

VIP Cuts
445 Main St.
Hector Gonzalez

Veritek Manufacturing LLC
225 Carando Dr.
Arthur James Jackson

Wheeler’s Convenience
597 Dickinson St.
Faiz Rabbani

William’s Courier Service
147 Rosemary Dr.
Jerome Timothy

Winn Residential
769 Main St.
Samuel Ross

WESTFIELD

Autos For Less
300 Main St.
Kenneth E. Scharmann

Scott’s Handyman Services
94 Pontoosic Road
Scott Rines

Speech Therapy Services
30 Court St.
Elizabeth Jury

WEST SPRINGFIELD

American Construction
24 W. School St.
Anatoly Kishko

Cabot Creamery Cooperative
958 Riverdale St.
Agri-Mark Inc.

Elite Paintball
677 Westfield St.
Marshall Royce

Marjan Transportation
79 Day St.
Bakhtiyar S. Agayen

MW Tux
1321 Riverdale St.
Men’s Wearhouse Inc.

Peachy Massage
81 Exposition Ave.
Deborah Parker

Polonez Parcel Service Inc.
143 Doty Circle
Jan A. Chrzan

Sections Supplements

If your business relies upon and operates commercial vehicles to get your work done, then the expense of keeping those vehicles on the road is probably a significant cost center for your company. But how much do you really know about the factors that impact the cost of your business automobile insurance?

A better understanding of what insurance underwriters look at in determining your premium can lead to lower insurance costs. Even more importantly, you can be confident that your policy is rated to accurately reflect your actual exposures, and therefore provides proper protection for your business.

An insurance underwriter generally relies upon the answers to the following questions when pricing business automobile insurance: What do you drive? Where do you drive? How do you drive? And Who are your drivers? How these questions are answered can have a significant impact on driving down your insurance costs.

The question of ‘what do you drive’ not only considers the physical characteristics of the vehicle, but how you use the vehicle and what is driven in or on the vehicle. Vehicles are first classified by their GVW, or gross vehicle weight. GVW is usually assigned to a vehicle by its manufacturer and simply translates into the weight of the vehicle when empty, plus the maximum load it is capable of carrying. Vehicles used to transport people for hire are classified not by their GVW, but rather by their seating capacity. A general rule of thumb is that the higher the GVW or seating capacity, the more it will cost to insure said vehicle.

Vehicles are next classified by their predominant use within your business. The standard classes include private-passenger types, service, retail, and commercial. A car that is driven by a salesperson to sell and service clients is a good example of a private-passenger type. A vehicle that is used to transport tools, equipment, and supplies to and from a job site or workplace, or used to service your business, is an example of a service auto.

Any auto used to pick up or deliver property to individual homes or businesses is an example of the retail class. Autos used to transport goods or people are classified as commercial, with further classification, depending upon what they carry, into either ‘truckers’ or ‘public auto classes.’

The question of ‘where do you drive?’ is answered by your operating radius, measured as the crow flies. Your radius typically originates from your vehicle’s principal place of garaging, but in some cases more weight is given to where your vehicles are customarily operated. For instance, if your vehicles are garaged in Chicopee, but spend most of the day traveling within Boston, you may find your vehicles assigned to the Boston territory, a much higher-rated territory than Chicopee.

Private-passenger vehicles typically have no radius restrictions. All other vehicle classes are assigned to either local (50 miles or less), intermediate (51 to 200 miles), or long-distance (over 200 miles). While one might think that long distance vehicles are the most expensive to insure, that is not always the case. In some instances, long-distance rates can be very advantageous.

The question of ‘how do you drive?’ is answered by reviewing the loss experience for your fleet. Businesses with few or no losses will receive better rates than those with poor loss experience. Typically businesses with five or more vehicles (power units) will be subject to experience rating. A modification formula compares your actual losses to the expected losses of a similar-type business, or industry standard. To the extent that your company’s experience is better than what is expected, you receive a credit. Conversely, if your experience exceeds the norm, your premium will be debited. If your policy is subject to experience rating, it is very important that you request a copy of the rating to ensure that it is accurate. Your local independent insurance agent can help you identify potential errors. Inaccurate calculations can cost your business plenty.

Finally, ‘who your drivers are’ can significantly impact your premium. Pay close attention to your driver selection. A written driver qualification program is a simple, yet very effective way to manage who is allowed to operate your vehicles. Select only the most qualified applicants for positions, and then ensure that your drivers remain eligible to operate your vehicles. A qualified driver is someone who obviously has a valid driver’s license and a clean driving record. If an applicant has a history of speeding, accidents, license revocations, or worse, it may be just too expensive for your business to risk having them on the road, driving up your insurance costs.

David Matosky is operations director of Chicopee-based First American Insurance Agency Inc.;www.faiagency.com

Departments

The following business incorporations were recorded in Hampden and Hampshire counties and are the latest available. They are listed by community.
     

AMHERST

Kiln Works Inc.,
460 West
St., Suite 1, Amherst 01002.
James A. Jemison, 33
Kellogg Ave., Apt. 69,
Amherst 01002. (Nonprofit)
To promote the arts,
especially ceramic arts
through educational space
and a co-operative
atmosphere to learn and
pursue creative ideas.

BELCHERTOWN

The Belvedere Restaurant
and Cafe Inc.,
9 North Main
St., Belchertown 01007.
Dennis A. Graham, 4 Jon
Dr., Belchertown 01007. To
operate a restaurant and cafe.

CHICOPEE

Chicopee Festofall Inc.,
89
Bell St., Chicopee 01013.
Robert Liswell, same.
(Nonprofit) To promote the
civic well-being for all
citizens and business in the
greater Chicopee area.

Kung Fu Academy Inc.,
551
East St., Chicopee 01020.
Mark A. Ostrander, 360
Osborne Ter., Springfield
01104. Operation of a martial
arts school.

Polish Legion of American
Veteran USA Western MA
Post 193 Inc.,
6 Roosevelt Ave., Chicopee 01013.
Edward J. Kaplita, 615 West
Main St., Plainfield 01070.
(Nonprofit) To preserve the
true spirit of fraternity and
patriotism arising from the
sacrifices in the wars and
conflicts of the USA, etc.

Steve Beshara Inc.,
42 Robin Ridge Road, Chicopee 01022.
Steve Beshara, same. Copy
shop, printing and related
activities.

Westfield Auto and Truck
Center Inc.,
31 Cecile Dr., Chicopee 01020. Nicolas K.
Korny, same. Repair,
servicing, maintenance and
inspection of autos and trucks.

EASTHAMPTON

Bacis Properties Inc.,
67
Division St., Easthampton
01027. Thomas M. Bacis,
same. Home construction and
land development.

Summit Ridge Builders
Inc.,
110 Union St., Easthampton 01027.
Matthew B. Gawle, 36 Holly
Circle, Easthampton 01027.
Construction of homes and
land development.

EAST LONGMEADOW

Holistic Retreat Inc.,
280 North Main St., Suite 7, East
Longmeadow 01028. Alice
Shabunin, 168 Mountainview
Road, East Longmeadow
01028. Holistic health care.

NLB Appraisal Services Inc.,
2 Athens St., East Longmeadow 01028.
Christopher Bertelli, same.
Real estate appraisals.

GOSHEN

Goshen General Store Inc.,
31 Main St., Goshen 01032.Judi Christine Morin, same.
Retail sales of groceries and
general merchandise.

HADLEY

South Middle Street Inc.,
31 Campus Plaza Road, Hadley
01035. Douglas A. Kohl, 59
Summer St., Northampton
01060. Real estate
development.

South Middle Street Inc.,
31 Campus Plaza Road, Hadley
01035. Douglas A. Kohl, 59
Summer St., Northampton
01060. Real estate development.

HAMPDEN

GTech Manufacturing Inc.,
95D Commercial Dr., Hampden
01036. Gary L. Lombardo,
same. General machine shop.

 

HOLYOKE

Fragrance Source
International Inc.,
88 Winter St., Holyoke 01040.
David L. Peskin, 25 Warwick St.,
Longmeadow 01106. To
manufacture, market and sell
perfumed plastic beads, etc.

Maki of Japan Holyoke Inc.,
50 Holyoke St., Ste. #CS1,
Holyoke 01040. Bi Qiu Wu,
507 Bryant Place, Riverdale,
NJ 07675. Bi Qiu Wu, 50
Holyoke St., Ste. #CS1, Holyoke,
registered agent. To own and
operate a restaurant business.

LUDLOW

CS Landscaping Design and
Construction Inc.,
14 Salli Circle, Ludlow 01056. Lee H.
Corbert, same. Landscaping
and design.

NORTHAMPTON

Turnkey Imaging Consultants Inc.,
161 Crescent St., Northampton
01060. William Orr,
Consulting to and equipping
the photo imaging trade.

PALMER

Doyle’s At Forest Lake Inc.,
702 River St., Palmer 01069.
William J. Doyle, 23
Fieldstone Dr., Palmer 01069.
Operation of restaurant/bar.

Doyle’s Realty Holdings Inc.,
702 River St., Palmer 01069.
William J. Doyle, 23
Fieldstone Dr., Palmer 01069.
To deal in real estate.

Sweet Dreams Anesthesia
Corp., 119 Boston Road,
Palmer 01069. Tammy
Rackliffe, same. To provide
nurse aesthesis services to
various hospitals.

PELHAM

Gary Hyman Consulting Inc.,
49A Gulf Road, Pelham
01002. Gary Hyman,
same.Consulting.

SOUTH HADLEY

Stadium Renovation
Initiative Inc.,
153 Newton St., South Hadley 01075. Mark
Dubois, 4 Scott Hollow Dr.,
South Hadley 01085. (Nonprofit)
To renovate, construct, operate
various public recreational
facilities and public works
within South Hadley, etc.

C.S.O.R.K. Inc.,
27-81 Crooked
Ledge Road, Southampton
01073. Constanza S. Ontaneda,
same. Importing of finished
goods for sale in the US.

SPRINGFIELD

Debra’s Beauty Solutions Inc.,
64 Boston Road, Springfield 01109. Debra L.
Watson, same. Retail sale of
beauty supplies.

Greenleaf Pest Management Inc.,
177 Shawmut St., Springfield 01108. Enoi
Chonmany, same. Pest
management and control.

Manjlee Inc.,
1624 Main St., Springfield 01103. Young Kil
Lee, 10 Chestnut St., Apt.
#3408, Springfield 01103. To
operate a jewelry sale and
repair shop(s), etc.

Wak Services Inc.,
125 Liberty St., Suite 406, Springfield 01103. Kiyoko Ogoke, 116
Hunters Green Circle,
Agawam 01001. Management
of health care practices and offices.

WESTFIELD

Marvon Construction &
Development Inc.,
396 Prospect St. Ext., Westfield
01085. Lori Ann Kurtz, same.
Construction and real estate
development.

Departments

INCORPORATIONS The following business incorporations were recorded in Hampden and Hampshire counties between mid-November and mid-December, the latest available. They are listed by community.

AMHERST

Craftsbury Kids Inc., 310 Montague Road, Amherst 01002. Cecilia Leibovitz, same. Online retail of handmade products

Sharevision Inc., 800 Main St., Amherst 01002. Richard Baldwin, same. Therapy, counseling, coaching, training, and consulting services, etc.

Ultimate Hall of Fame & Center for Cultural Change through Sport Inc., 352 East Hadley Road, Amherst 01002. James D. Pitts, same. (Nonprofit) To celebrate the living history of ultimate, to promote the continuing growth of the ultimate sport (frisbee), etc.

CHICOPEE

Electronic Distribution Corp., 698 Chicopee St., Chicopee 01013. Michael Roth, 477 Main St., Hackensack, NJ 07601. C T Corporation System, 101 Federal St., Boston 02110, registered agent. (Foreign corp; DE) Data base typesetting.

Northeast Construction Roofing Services Inc., 140 Joy St., Chicopee 01013. Elliott Beals Jr., same. To deal in real estate, perform roofing services, etc.

EASTHAMPTON

Blue Moon Grocery Inc., 3 Chapman Ave., Easthampton 01027. Deborah Robinson, 41 Edwards Road, Westhampton 01027. To operate a natural food store.

Easthampton Tire Inc., 141 Northampton St., Easthampton 01027. George R. Dion, 205 Elm St., Northampton 01060. To sell and service all types of motor vehicles — trucks, autos, and vans.

HOLYOKE

ElderCare Initiatives Inc., 4 Mill Valley Road, Holyoke 01040. Constance A. Clancy, 73 School St., South Hadley 01075. (Nonprofit) To provide elderly and handicapped persons with appropriate housing and services, etc.

Iglesia de Cristo LA.vidverdadera, 326 Appleton St., Holyoke 01040. Noemi Torres, 137 Cobb St., Springfield 01119. (Nonprofit) To engage in all community services, improve the social status, etc.

Massachusetts Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Inc., 225 High St., Suite 410, Holyoke 01040. Hector Bauza, 101 Cabot St., Suite 601, Holyoke 01040. (Nonprofit) To promote the industrial, commercial, civic, and cultural welfare of the four counties of Western Mass., etc.

United Trading Corp., 110 Lyman St., Holyoke 01040. Shahzad Ahmad, 380 Hatfield St., Northampton 01060. Import, export (wholesale).

INDIAN ORCHARD

SKCS Inc., 537-539 Main St., Indian Orchard 01151. Karen Scott, 11 Maximillian Dr., Granby 01033. To own and operate one or more bars, taverns, restaurants, grilles, etc.

Smith & Son Jewelers II Inc., 568 Main St., Indian Orchard 01151. Andrew W. Smith, 11 Woodside Dr., Wilbraham 01095. To deal in watches, timepieces, jewelry, giftware, etc.

LUDLOW

Baystate Bookkeeping Services Inc., 18 Keith Circle, Ludlow 01056. Lisa L. Roger, same. Bookkeeping and income tax preparation.

Poppi’s Pizzeria Inc., 351 West Ave., Ludlow 01056. Jorge Martins, 35 Mass. Ave., Ludlow 01056. To operate a restaurant.

NORTHAMPTON

Bailey Tebaldi Enterprises Inc., 348 King St., Northampton 01060. Adam A. Tebaldi, same. (Foreign corp; DE) (Foreign corp; GA) Auto parts sale.

Edible Atoms Inc., 38 Gleason Road, Northampton 01060. Paul Hathaway, same. To operate a restaurant.

Pioneer Valley Food Factory Inc., The, 320 Riverside Dr., Suite 10, Northampton 01060. Van Sullivan, 323 Prospect St., Northampton 01060. To conduct a catering service for on- and off-premises consumption.

R B & G Inc., 223 Pleasant St., Northampton 01060. Peter St. Martin, 7 Lyman St., Easthampton 01027. To operate a restaurant.

Urban Design Group Inc., The, 20 Strong Ave., Northampton 01060. Lynne Elizabeth Lande, 537 West Road, Ashfield 01330. Land development and construction.

PALMER

Katie-Sue Inc., 166 Peterson Road, Palmer 01069. John W. Morrison, same. Real estate development.

SOUTH HADLEY

Wall Tax & Financial Group Inc., 34 Bridge St., South Hadley 01075. Edward Wall, same. Tax preparation and financial services.

SPRINGFIELD

B Big Boys Social Club Inc., 827 1/2 State St., Springfield 01109. Tennison S. Clark, 255 College St., Springfield 01109. (Nonprofit) A fraternal organization to promote the development of its members, etc.

Better Homes Liberty Hill Inc., 5 Northampton Ave., Springfield 01109. Jeffrey Sullivan, 300 Florentine Gardens, Springfield 01108. To deal in real and personal property.

Iglesia Pentecostal Maranata Inc., 22 Ringgold St., Springfield 01107. Osvaldo Colon, same. (Nonprofit) To promote the teaching of the Gospel of God among members and non-members.

Liberty Grill Inc., 67 Liberty St., Springfield 01103. Frank L. Newman, 89 Hill St., West Springfield 01103. Restaurant.

Northstar Recycling of New Jersey Inc., 89 Guion St., Springfield 01104. Seth Goodman, same. Paper recycling.

O’Shea, Getz & Kosakowski, P.C., 1500 Main St., Suite 912, Springfield 01115. Patrick J. O’Shea, 61 Wilkin Dr., Longmeadow 01106. Professional legal services.

Pioneer Valley Diagnostic Center Inc., 7 Sorrento St., Springfield 01108. Dmitriy Shlemanov, same. To operate an ultrasound medical facility.

Potters House of Refuge Inc., 802 Alden St., Springfield 01109. Cynthia L. Curtis, same. (Nonprofit) To provide housing, personal, and educational services to needy veterans in Massachusetts, etc.

Springdale Education Center Inc., One Carando Dr., Springfield 01104. John A. Foley, Jr., 1308 Northampton St., Holyoke 01040. To provide highly structured programs for people with severe emotional disturbances, etc.

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Foley Insurance Group Inc., 37 Elm St., West Springfield 01089. Brian T. Foley, 100 Jonquil Lane, Longmeadow 01106. Insurance agency.

Rental Remarketing Inc., 74-80 Baldwin St., West Springfield 01089. Michael M. Gentile, 8 Devonshire Dr., Wilbraham 01005. To deal in automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, etc., of all kinds.

WESTFIELD

CMS Transportation Inc., 46 Sheppard St., Westfield 01085. Joseph S. Cressotti, 33 Harold Ave., Westfield 01085. General freight — refrigerated and non-refrigerated, trucking and hauling.

SS and CJ Corp., 524 Pochassic Road, Westfield 01085. Guy E. Waldo, same. To operate a package store.

The Light House Fellowship Inc., 110 Union St., Westfield 01085. Pari Lirim Hoxha, 50 1/2 Jefferson St., Westfield 01085. To spread the Gospel through ministries, via media, evangelical services, etc.

WILBRAHAM

Harrington Trace Corp., The, 198 Main St., Wilbraham 01095. John D.L. McBride, 196 Main St., Wilbraham 01095. (Foreign corp; DE) The importation of specialty foods and beverages.

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