Rocky’s Ace Hardware Inducted into Retail Hall of Fame
SPRINGFIELD — Rocky’s Ace Hardware, one of the country’s largest family-owned Ace Hardware dealers, was recently awarded the Award of Excellence in Retail by the Retailers Assoc. of Massachusetts and inducted into the Retail Hall of Fame. Recipients are nominated by their industry peers and local chambers of commerce and are recognized for their overall excellence, innovation, and service within the retail industry. Falcone’s grandfather, also named Rocco but nicknamed Rocky, opened the first Rocky’s in 1926 in Springfield. In 1966, Rocky’s son James began running the business, eventually expanding to a successful seven-store chain before affiliating with the Ace Hardware Co-op. James’ son Rocco is the third generation of the family to serve as president. Rocky’s Ace Hardware now has 47 locations in nine states: Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. Rocco’s son John represents the fourth generation to join the family business, currently serving as the company’s director of Merchandising. He attributes the success of the company to its three core values.
White Lion Brewing Co. Recognized Nationally
SPRINGFIELD — Brewbound, a leading multimedia industry trade publication, recently announced its 2022 award winners and class of Rising Stars during the trade publication’s Brewbound Live business conference in Santa Monica, California. The Brewbound Awards recognize large and small beverage/alcohol companies that thrived over the last year, while also celebrating notable industry figures, change agents, up-and-coming entrepreneurs, and philanthropic initiatives. Springfield-based White Lion Brewing Co. was named a Rising Star, joining seven other emerging beverage companies to keep an eye on.
AIC Receives Grant to Elevate Diversity, Equity Objectives
SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) announced it has received a $30,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts to uphold the college’s commitment to embracing diversity and fostering a sense of belonging. The 2022 Flexible Funding Grant will support the establishment of an Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) on campus to lead and facilitate the College’s DEIB Plan, outlined in AIC’s newly released five-year strategic plan, “AIC Reimagined.” The office’s focus will be on recruiting and retaining diverse students, faculty, and staff. AIC’s goal is to identify its structure and staffing needs by the end of the 2022-23 academic year. Founded in 1991, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts seeks to enrich quality of life for the people of the region. The foundation received nearly 250 applicants for the Flexible Funding Grants this year, about twice as many as in 2021. One of the priorities for its funding decisions was organizations where the leadership is racially diverse.
Kwench Juice Café Holds Ribbon Cutting
AMHERST — The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting at Kwench Juice Café, located at 19 North Pleasant St. in Amherst, on Dec. 9. Kwench Juice Café offers a selection of menu items made with nutritious, locally sourced ingredients, including freshly prepared juices, smoothies, and acai bowls, all served in a welcoming atmosphere in downtown Amherst featuring local art. The business is women-owned, Pacific Islander-owned, LGBTQ+-owned, and Asian-owned. “We are excited to show the Amherst community our passion and spread love through fresh nutritious juices and foods,” co-owners Chandra Hart and Janice Samson said.
AIC Graduate Strength and Conditioning Program Recognized
SPRINGFIELD — The Division of Exercise Science at American International College (AIC) announced that its Graduate Strength and Conditioning Program has been approved for continued recognition through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Education Recognition Program (ERP). The recognition renewal period is three years, lasting through Sept. 20, 2025. Recognition through the ERP demonstrates that the AIC Graduate Strength and Conditioning Program meets the requirements to prepare students for the NSCA-CPT and CSCS certifications and is committed to quality. The NSCA recognizes exemplary programs that provide the best education to students looking to become leaders within the field of strength and conditioning.
T-Birds Foundation Raises $10,000 for Cancer Charities
SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Thunderbirds announced that, through the T-Birds Foundation, it has donated $10,000 to cancer charities as a result of proceeds from the club’s annual Hockey Fights Cancer Night on Nov. 19. A total of $5,000 will be presented to the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada through the proceeds generated through both donations and sales of Bitsy’s Army merchandise. Thunderbirds and Blues forward Will Bitten and the T-Birds rebooted Bitten’s charitable efforts, which were inspired by the seven-year battle against brain cancer endured by Martin Piché, the cousin of the Springfield winger. Tragically, Piché passed away in January 2021 at the age of 31. In addition, a total of $5,000 will be donated across a number of local cancer charities in Western Mass, including Baystate Children’s Hospital, Sister Caritas Cancer Center, CHD’s Cancer House of Hope, and Survivor Journeys. Fans who could not attend Hockey Fights Cancer Night can still contribute to Bitsy’s Army by visiting www.gofundme.com/f/bitsys-army.
Home City Development Awarded Funding for Development in Pelham
SPRINGFIELD — Home City Development Inc., a Springfield-based affordable-housing developer, was awarded funding for the construction of 34 mixed-income rental apartments in Pelham. Gov. Charlie Baker awarded the funding in the form of low-income housing tax credits, soft debt, and rental vouchers on Dec. 8. Home City Development previously received funds for Amethyst Brook Apartments from the Life Insurance Community Investment Initiative and Community Economic Development Assistance Corp. This is the first multi-family affordable-housing development approved in the Town of Pelham. The 2.6-acre site at 20-22 Amherst Road will consist of two highly energy-efficient buildings. A 28-unit building will be certified to passive house standards, and a six-unit building which will be certified by Energy Star. The Pelham Zoning Board of Appeals issued a comprehensive permit for Amethyst Brook Apartments in August 2021. Construction is expected to begin in late spring 2023 and is expected to be completed within 14 months. Western Builders of Granby will be the general contractor on the project, and the design team is led by Architecture Environment Life of East Longmeadow.
Home Depot Honors FastenMaster for Innovative Decking System
AGAWAM — FastenMaster’s Cortex hidden fastening system has been named as one of the top three innovation award winners for 2022 by the Home Depot. Cortex is a fast and easy way to build a deck with fully hidden hardware and fasteners. The product comes with a proprietary drive bit that sets the screw to the perfect depth every time in composite, cap-stock, and PVC decking boards. The Cortex hidden deck-fastening system features fasteners with a Torx T-Tap drive system that is nearly impossible to strip out and comes with a strong setting tool that enables both pros and DIYers to install up to 350 fasteners with one tool. Cortex plugs are made from the same material as the decking board being installed.
Eppendorf Group Donates 682 Pounds of Food to Enfield Food Shelf
ENFIELD, Conn. — The staff at Eppendorf Group, a life-science company that develops and sells instruments, consumables, and services for laboratories worldwide, recently donated 682 pounds of food to the Enfield Food Shelf, which provides food assistance to local families. Enfield Food Shelf estimates that the donated food will provide an equivalent of roughly 800 meals. The mission of the Enfield Food Shelf is to ensure that no Enfield family in need is without food assistance. Its programs include weekly and monthly food assistance, SNAP enrollment, a hunger action team, and Healthy Meals=Healthy Minds initiatives.
UMassFive Employees Raise More Than $20,000 for Nonprofits
HADLEY — UMassFive College Federal Credit Union announced that its employees have raised more than $20,000 for two local nonprofits during the fall of 2022. Specifically, $15,700 was raised in support of the UMass Cancer Center via participation in the UMass Cancer Walk and Run, and $4,800 was raised for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts via participation in Will Bike 4 Food. A longstanding and top supporter of the UMass Cancer Walk and Run event for more than 20 years, UMassFive employees joined together as Team UMassFive to raise funds for the cause, both personally and in branch locations. In 2022, fundraising efforts included raffle baskets, bake sales, candy sales, and art and jewelry sales. Donations were also sought from credit-union corporate partners, whose support helps bolster efforts each year. Including the funds raised so far this year, Team UMassFive has raised more than $173,000 in donations to the UMass Cancer Center over the lifetime of their participation. For years now, UMassFive employees have also jumped on their bicycles in support of Will Bike 4 Food, a major fundraising event for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. In 2022, six team members worked together to raise $4,800 from supporters, which equates to 18,800 meals for neighbors in need. At the Will Bike 4 Food event, the team rode 300 total miles for this cause.