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Court Dockets

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.

CHICOPEE DISTRICT COURT
Carmen Lopez v. Gleason Johndrow Landscaping Inc.
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing injury: $5,729+
Filed: 10/11/19

FRANKLIN SUPERIOR COURT
Christian Goodchild v. Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Hospital, Dr. John Benson, and Dr. Kira Randall
Allegation: Negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress: $37,500
Filed: 8/23/19

Tricia Torrey v. United Personnel Services Inc. and James Kervick
Allegation: Employment discrimination: $70,000
Filed: 9/12/19

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT
Kathleen Rapoza and Joseph Rapoza v. Bond Street Development
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $219,026.03
Filed: 10/3/2019

Smith & Wesson Inc. v. Frontier Enterprises, LLC
Allegation: Money owed for goods sold and delivered: $47,433.88
Filed: 10/4/2019

Heritier Kampew v. Balise Motor Sales Co. Inc.
Allegation: Fraud, emotional distress, defamation: $100,000
Filed: 10/7/2019

Michelle Magner v. Balise Motor Sales Co., James E. Balise Jr., and Timothy Ingerson
Allegation: Employment contract: $25,000
Filed: 10/7/2019

Jonathan Crothers, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated v. Crosstown Courier Service Inc. and Christopher J. Noyes
Allegation: Money owed for labor and services: $25,000+
Filed: 10/15/2019

HAMPSHIRE SUPERIOR COURT
Mason Woolley v. Smith College and Hampshire College
Allegation: Breach of contract, violation of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment: $32,500
Filed: 10/8/19

PALMER DISTRICT COURT
Daniel Narreau v. Zoetis Inc.
Allegation: Breach of contract, negligence, gross negligence, animal cruelty, negligent design and manufacturing: $7,000
Filed: 10/15/2019

WESTFIELD DISTRICT COURT
John Deere Construction & Forestry Co. v. Joshua A. Ayotte d/b/a Ayotte Tree Services
Allegation: Default on loan for equipment purchased: $13,540.02
Filed: 9/3/19

Court Dockets

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.

HAMPDEN DISTRICT COURT
Anna Coriano v. Chapin Laurel, LLC; Atlas Property Management Inc.; and Ilya Shnayder
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $2,094
Filed: 8/12/19

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT
Crystal Rodriguez v. Big Y Foods
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $11,903.08
Filed: 7/26/19

Ted Decosmo v. MGM Springfield, LLC
Allegation: Breach of contract, unjust enrichment: $25,000+
Filed: 7/29/19

Carlos Santiago v. Wil-Sites Truck Lines, LLC and Top Truck Services Corp.
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury and property damage: $288,000
Filed: 7/29/19

F.P. McNamara Rubbish Removal Inc. v. Joseph Freedman Co. Inc. and Stevens Street Realty Inc.
Allegation: Nuisance, negligence, trespass: $25,000+
Filed: 7/30/19

NMD Inc. d/b/a A&M Landscaping v. Wingate Healthcare Inc., SRC East Longmeadow Inc. d/b/a Wingate at East Longmeadow, and SRC Springfield Inc. d/b/a Wingate at Springfield
Allegation: Breach of contract, unjust enrichment: $55,245
Filed: 7/31/19

Anileda Tudisco v. Riverside Park Enterprises d/b/a Six Flags New England
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury, breach of warranty: $368,132
Filed: 8/2/19

HAMPSHIRE SUPERIOR COURT
Jehann Elbisi v. Related Village Park, LLC
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $6,388
Filed: 8/7/19

Kate Faulkner v. Double Edge Theatre Productions Inc.
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $233,202.13
Filed: 8/9/19

PALMER DISTRICT COURT
QuadGraphics Inc. v. Turley Publications Inc.
Allegation: Balance due for marketing and printing services rendered: $4,795
Filed: 8/23/19

WESTFIELD DISTRICT COURT
Saltine Warrior Inc. v. C and C Contractors, LLC and Reginald Cole
Allegation: Breach of contract, unpaid bills: $7,572.34
Filed: 8/7/19

Court Dockets

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.

CHICOPEE DISTRICT COURT

Lazarito Martinez v. Diane Rose and the May Institute

Allegation: Motor-vehicle negligence causing personal injury: $3,435

Filed: 7/2/19

FRANKLIN SUPERIOR COURT

Barbara Sullivan v. Healthcare Services Group Inc.

Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing injury: $700,000

Filed: 6/27/19

Robert T. Akey v. Meadowview Manor Condominium Trust, Steve Moran, and Noreen Nowak-Moran

Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $16,234.78

Filed: 7/3/19

Chrysta Marini v. Demetrious Konstantopoulos and Demetrious Konstantopoulis d/b/a Castaways

Allegation: Assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress

Filed: 7/3/19

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT

Catherine Kelly v. L & J Properties, LLC and Q & M Christy’s Inc. d/b/a A Bica Bar & Grill

Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $28,496.94

Filed: 6/20/19

Stacey Hathaway v. Eastern States Exposition and Donna Woolam

Allegation: Employment discrimination: $450,000

Filed: 6/21/19

Yvette Frisby v. City of Springfield

Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $9,476.80

Filed: 6/21/19

NGM Insurance Co. as subrogee of Beverly A. Scott and James Scott v. Pioneer Valley Transit Authority

Allegation: Motor-vehicle negligence: $12,420.17

Filed: 6/27/19

Steven S. Follett and Caitlin C. Follett v. Dan Roulier & Associates Inc., the Joseph J. Mottes Co., and Becker Construction Co.

Allegation: Breach of contract, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, negligence, breach of implied warranty of habitability, breach of express warranty: $250,000

Filed: 7/1/19

International Container Co., LLC v. Sheboygan Paint Co.

Allegation: Breach of contract: $1,000,000+

Filed: 7/2/19

Systemart, LLC v. Cloudbourne Global Inc. f/k/a Ospyn Technologies Inc.

Allegation: Balance owed for staffing services: $39,337.88

Filed: 7/3/19

Syme Inc. d/b/a Packaging Specialties Inc. v. BKA Inc. d/b/a Custom Pak Inc.

Allegation: Breach of contract: $109,853.04

Filed: 7/3/19

HAMPSHIRE SUPERIOR COURT

David S. Reid v. Louis S. Strauss, M.D.

Allegation: Medical malpractice: $505,100+

Filed: 6/21/19

Court Dockets

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.

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT

Richard Green Jr. v. the Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $406,225.60
Filed: 6/6/19

Michael Sullivan v. Dr. Matthew Charles and New Beginnings Chiropractic, P.C.
Allegation: Medical malpractice: $271,867
Filed: 6/7/19

Mercedes Balcewicz as representative of the estate of Angel A. DeCastro v. the Collins Cos., et al
Allegation: Wrongful death: $6,000,000+
Filed: 6/10/19

Maria D. Mendoza v. Riverside Park Enterprises Inc. and Six Flags Entertainment Corp.
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $25,152.34+
Filed: 6/11/19

Erick Santana-Colon and Anette Rivera-Colon v. National Retail Systems Inc. and Schneider National Inc.
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $23,993.90
Filed: 6/17/19

Nancy Paquette v. Home Depot U.S.A. Inc.
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $15,000
Filed: 6/18/19

Tina Lynch v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP and UE Chicopee Holding, LLC
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $25,529.63
Filed: 6/19/19

Mabel Lemieux v. American Blue Ribbon Holdings, LLC; Ninety Nine Restaurant Inc.; and Kantany, LLC
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $35,294.01+
Filed: 6/20/19

HAMPSHIRE SUPERIOR COURT

Five Star Building Corp. v. Hadley Concrete Services, LLC and Christopher J. Baj
Allegation: Breach of contract, negligence, breach of implied warranty of good faith and fair dealing: $288,534.20
Filed: 6/18/19

FRANKLIN SUPERIOR COURT

Hilda Worden v. the Thomas Memorial Golf & Country Club Inc.
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $37,332.07+
Filed: 5/8/19

Financial Pacific Leasing, LLC v. Leroy Page Sr. d/b/a Page Construction
Allegation: Breach of equipment finance agreement: $69,803.88
Filed: 5/16/19

Laura Liebenow individually and d/b/a Laura Liebenow Handling v. Stephen Blanco individually and d/b/a Empyrean Australian Shepherds
Allegation: Breach of contract, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing: $31,269.47+
Filed: 5/21/19

Joanne Kuzmeskus, personal representative for the estate of Louise Kujdzio v. Jane Doe, RN; Jennifer Jordan, RN; Sarah Marchefka, NP; Lisa Levheim, M.D.; and Joshua Mintz, M.D.
Allegation: Medical malpractice, wrongful death: $25,000+
Filed: 6/5/19

Court Dockets

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.

CHICOPEE DISTRICT COURT
Amanda Banks v. William Lonny Koons, J.B. Hunt Transport Inc., and Family Dollar Inc.
Allegation: Motor-vehicle negligence causing injury: $3,922
Filed: 4/10/19

HAMPDEN DISTRICT COURT
Michael Morales v. Stephen Smith and Fletcher Sewer & Drain Inc.
Allegation: Motor-vehicle negligence causing personal injury: $6,938.84
Filed: 4/2/19

Geraldine Lauriente v. Liberty Medical Building Assoc., LLP and Samuel D. Plotkin & Associates Inc.
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $7,034.22
Filed: 4/17/19

Mary Lou Madigan v. State Street Retail, LLC d/b/a Family Dollar
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: 7,680.57
Filed: 4/24/19

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT
D. Bradley Sullivan, Ph.D. v. Western New England University
Allegation: Breach of contract, family medical leave retailiation: $568,546
Filed: 4/19/19

Deborah Alves v. Stop & Shop
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $83,598.28+
Filed: 4/20/19

Gerald M. Daniele v. Our Lady of Mount Carmel Society Inc.
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $35,560.30
Filed: 4/22/19

North Mill Capital, LLC v. Green Publishing Co. Inc.
Allegation: Money owed for goods sold and delivered: $45,908.64
Filed: 4/24/19

Springfield Florist Supply Inc. v. Pat Parker and Sons Florist
Allegation: Money owed for goods sold and delivered: $32,888.03
Filed: 4/25/19

Mariahelena Andre as personal representative of the estate of Barbara Leitao v. Wingate Healthcare Inc.
Allegation: Personal injury and wrongful death: $65,000
Filed: 4/25/19

Yolanda Rosario v. Northeast Health Group Inc. d/b/a Willimansett Center West
Allegation: Discrimination, retailiation, wrongful termination: $25,000+
Filed: 4/29/19

Fred C. Gloeckner & Co. Inc. v. Liberty Family Farms Inc.
Allegation: Money owed for goods sold and delivered: $92,560.70
Filed: 4/30/19

Mohamed A. Ali v. Bernardino’s Bakery
Allegation: Employment discrimination: $36,060
Filed: 5/2/19

Maria Cruz v. Willimansett Center West RE, LLC; Willimansett Center West; and the Northeast Health Group Inc.
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $35,000
Filed: 5/2/19

HAMPSHIRE DISTRICT COURT
Julie Foley v. ServiceNet Inc.
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $26,426.25
Filed: 5/1/19

HAMPSHIRE SUPERIOR COURT
Nancy L. Abdalla, personal representative of the estate of Isam Abdalla v. Vijaya K. Vudathaneni, M.D.; Ghanshyambhai T. Savani, M.D.; and Syed S. Ali, M.D.
Allegation: Medical malpractice, wrongful death: $1,517,302
Filed: 4/29/19

Court Dockets

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

Jonathan Bones v. Stokes and Lipski Construction Inc.

Allegation: Failure to pay prevailing rate of wages

Filed: 3/5/19

HAMPDEN DISTRICT COURT

Perkins Paper, LLC v. One Importers and Distributors, LLC d/b/a Terra Nossa Center Bakery and Joao Cardoso Araujo a/k/a Joao C. Dearaujo a/k/a Joao Araujo a/k/a John Damota

Allegation: Money owed for goods sold and delivered: $24,199.93+

Filed: 4/10/19

Perkins Paper, LLC v. Diesel Inc. and Robert Passaretta

Allegation: Breach of contract, money owed for goods sold and delivered: $7,408.81

Filed: 4/5/19

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT

Frances Mohsin v. Gandara Mental Health Center Inc., Jerry Mercardo, and Madeline Martinez

Allegation: Employment discrimination: $25,000+

Filed: 4/1/19

Tammy L. Newsome v. Baystate Medical Center Inc.

Allegation: Employment discrimination: $25,000+

Filed: 4/3/19

Janis Creeger v. Friendly’s Ice Cream, LLC

Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing injury: $84,352.68

Filed: 4/4/19

Ingram Micro Inc. v. Daniel Mugure d/b/a Ivory Onyx Inc.

Allegation: Money owed for goods sold and delivered: $108,712.49

Filed: 4/5/19

Autumn Padilla v. Mont Marie Operator, LLC

Allegation: Employment discrimination: $25,000+

Filed: 4/8/19

Joan Marie G. Turgeon as personal representative of the estate of Raymond P. Turgeon v. Berkshire Health Care Systems Inc. d/b/a East Longmeadow Skilled Nursing, et al

Allegation: Medical malpractice, wrongful death: $925,000

Filed: 4/8/19

Seth Luciano v. Aldi Inc. and Aldi Inc. (New York)

Allegation: Negligence: slip and fall causing personal injury: $100,000

Filed: 4/10/19

Glenn Mackintosh v. Ludlow Housing Authority and Robin Carvide

Allegation: Whistleblowing violation, breach of contract, tortious interference with contractual relation, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing: $34,174.40

Filed: 4/11/19

Northern Tree Service Inc. v. Newport Construction Corp.

Allegation: Breach of contract: $67,075

Filed: 4/11/19

Ruddy Santana v. Positronic Farms Inc., Morriss Partee, Matthew Moriarty, and David Caputo

Allegation: Violation of overtime law, violation of minimum-wage law, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing: $25,000+

Filed: 4/12/19

HAMPSHIRE DISTRICT COURT

Loretta Stober and Gregory Fournier v. Vivint Solar Developer, LLC and DC Generals, LLC

Allegation: Breach of express warranties, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, negligence: $20,203.25+

Filed: 4/11/19

HAMPSHIRE SUPERIOR COURT

Novum Structures, LLC v. Barr & Barr Inc., Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., and trustees of Amherst College

Allegation: Breach of contract, money owed for labor and materials: $526,019

Filed: 4/4/19

Catherine Darcy v. Friendly’s Ice Cream, LLC

Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing injury: $25,000

Filed: 4/23/19

WESTFIELD DISTRICT COURT

Bobby Pinkney v. Rocky’s Hardware Inc. and Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.

Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $7,215

Filed: 4/4/19

Court Dockets

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.

HAMPDEN DISTRICT COURT

Beacon Sales Acquisitions Inc./Allied Building Products v. Rhode Island Solar Solutions Inc., Anestis Taskos, and Michael Staab a/k/a Michael D. Staab

Allegation: Money owed for goods sold and delivered, breach of personal guaranty: $20,638.93

Filed: 4/10/19

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT

Bruce Langevin v. Parts Tool and Die Inc.; Cheryl Holtham Havel, CPA; Ronald D. Coleman Jr.; Red Deer Investments Inc.; Deborah L. Elias; and Aziz L. Elias, Azdeb, M.F.G. Inc.

Allegation: Employment discrimination: $25,000+

Filed: 3/18/19

Raymond E. Kemple v. Costco Wholesale Corp.

Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $23,902.72

Filed: 3/18/19

Darrian Plasse v. Merchants Metals, LLC

Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $20,592.72

Filed: 3/19/19

Cari Kasulinous v. Garra, LLC

Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $17,097.52

Filed: 3/15/19

Commerce Insurance Co. as subrogee of Mausela Rivie and Aisha Correa v. Pioneer Valley Transit Authority

Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury and property damage: $3,737.52

Filed: 3/18/19

Landon Lima, a minor, by and through his mother and next best friend, Liat Lima, and Liat Lima individually v. FIC Restaurants Inc. and Friendly’s Restaurants, LLC

Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $21,517.54

Filed: 3/21/19

Candy Fagone v. WJFP 4 Inc. d/b/a McDonald’s Restaurant and McDonald’s USA, LLC

Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $101,610.54

Filed: 3/21/19

Janet Cossette v. Costco Wholesale Membership Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp.

Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $143,447.13

Filed: 3/21/19

Shonnelle Norman v. Pioneer Valley Transit Authority

Allegation: Motor-vehicle negligence causing personal injury: $26,143+

Filed: 3/26/19

Kimberly Reynolds as personal representative for the estate of Robert J. Siddell Jr. v. Amat Victoria Curam, LLC and RR and Co. Realty, LLC

Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury

Filed: 3/28/19

Craig E. Tirrell v. Mr. Home Inc.

Allegation: Improper deduction of wages, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment: $55,350

Filed: 4/2/19

Court Dockets

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.

CHICOPEE DISTRICT COURT
Nilda Nunes v. James Smith and EAN Holdings, LLC d/b/a Enterprise
Allegation: Motor-vehicle negligence: $8,970.53
Filed: 3/26/19

HAMPDEN DISTRICT COURT
Harold Levinson Associates Inc. v. Mehran Enterprises Inc. d/b/a Pick N Pay Food Mart and Jessica Newman a/k/a Jessica L. Newman a/k/a Jessica Lyn Newman
Allegation: Money owed for goods sold and delivered: $24,171.76
Filed: 3/1/19

Beacon Sales Acquisition Inc. d/b/a Beacon Sales Co. v. James J. Shiels Jr. d/b/a Jimmy Shiels General Contracting
Allegation: Money owed for goods sold and delivered: $12,078.29
Filed: 3/4/19

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT
Now Plastics v. Longmeadow Park, LLC
Allegation: Breach of lease contract: $500,000
Filed: 2/27/19

Matthew Levy, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated v. Pride Stores, LLC
Allegation: Failure to pay wages: $40,000
Filed: 3/1/19

Miranda Arthur-Smith v. Mass. Westfield Limited Partnership and Aspen Square Management Inc.
Allegation: Negligence causing personal injury: $88,500
Filed: 3/4/19

Elizabeth Jimenez v. Pyramid Management Group, LLC
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall at Holyoke Mall causing personal injury: $29,735.39
Filed: 3/4/19

Theresa Grant McElwain and Andrew McElwain v. Bacarella Trucking Services Inc. and William Kampfman
Allegation: Motor-vehicle negligence causing personal injury and property damage: $10,599.88
Filed: 3/7/19

Annette Jung v. Trustees of Financial Plaza Trust
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $111,586.46
Filed: 3/11/19

Gianmy Castillo v. Zamiah Restaurant Corp. d/b/a Malecon Bar & Restaurant
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: 95,638.20
Filed: 3/11/19

HAMPSHIRE DISTRICT COURT
Mitchell A. Lopes and Brittany O. Shawanda v. World War II Veterans’ Assoc. of Hampshire County Inc. d/b/a World War II Club – The Deuce, Steven J. Connor, and Mathieu Tebo
Allegation: Unpaid wages: $23,000
Filed: 4/3/19

HAMPSHIRE SUPERIOR COURT
Stephen Allard Trudel v. Clement Grassi, M.D.
Allegation: Medical malpractice: $500,000+
Filed: 3/6/19

Fernanda Ferrando v. Amherst Shopping Center Associates, LLC; Wilson Construction General Contractor; Peter Wilson d/b/a Wilson Construction General Contractor; and Daniel Wilson d/b/a Wilson Construction General Contractor
Allegation: Negligence; slip and fall causing personal injury: $74,999.99
Filed: 3/29/19

Kelly Loncrini v. Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC and Sean Eagan
Allegation: Employment discrimination: $25,000+
Filed: 4/3/19

Features

Hopes Are High

After recreational marijuana use became legal in Massachusetts in 2016, the expectation was that retail stores would pop up quickly within a couple of years. That hasn’t happened, as the state — and host communities — have taken a deliberately measured approach to permitting. But with early returns strong from a few shops, and towns reporting solid tax benefits and no real community disruption, the pace of openings should begin to increase — and so will the economic benefits of this new industry.

If Western Mass. was full of people who thought the sky was falling when recreational marijuana was legalized, well, Mark Zatyrka thinks fewer of them are saying the same thing now.

“I knew it would change. But I feel like it’s changed at a more rapid pace than I would have expected,” he said of public perceptions about the new access to cannabis products in the Bay State. “When we held our public meetings, we had a few folks who thought we were going to destroy the world and everything would come crashing down once we opened. But the opposite has been true.”

Take the location of INSA, the cannabis dispensary he owns in Easthampton, which has sold marijuana for medical purposes since February 2018, but began selling for recreational, or adult, use in December. Tucked beside Eastworks at the rear of the Keystone Mills building on Pleasant Street, he said some may have worried about INSA’s proximity to a nearby park where people hike.

“But, really, we bring more people to the area, we have cameras all over the place, it’s well-lit, so it’s actually a safer place to be,” Zatyrka said. “If the perception was that customers are hoodlums who come in, go out back, and get high and do crime, well, look around — we serve almost every demographic you can imagine, from seniors to millennials, rich and poor, and they’re not violent criminals. They’re not here to cause trouble. Yeah, the perception has changed pretty rapidly.”

Perceptions — pro and con — of this new industry have undoubtedly shaped a permitting process, on both the state and local levels, that has moved more slowly than first expected when recreational use became legal in 2016. The state’s first adult-use retail shops were expected to be open last July, but instead, the first two opened in November, and the pace of new shops since then has been leisurely at best.

But they’re coming. And the ones that are open are changing those worst-case perceptions.

Mark  Zatyrka says INSA has attracted a diverse array of customers

Mark Zatyrka says INSA has attracted a diverse array of customers since starting recreational sales in December.

Take New England Treatment Access (NETA) in Northampton, the Bay State’s first retailer of cannabis products for recreational use.

“For us, it’s been a positive experience,” Northampton Mayor David Narcewicz told BusinessWest. “We’re starting to see some of the economic benefits in terms of taxes, and I know our local businesses have been creative in embracing the new industry. Businesses back in November were offering specials to people who came into town and showed a receipt for shopping at NETA. If anything, I think the business community has been receptive.”

He noted that Northampton’s voters were among the most enthusiastic in their support of legal cannabis, both during the 2012 statewide vote to legalize medicinal marijuana, then for adult use in 2016. As mayor, he said, his approach has been to respect the community’s voice.

“So we’ve been very open and proactive; we created zoning regulations that essentially treat this new industry like any other business, and we did not impose caps on the number of retailers like many communities did.

“We also had the experience of having one of the first medical dispensaries in the state,” he added, speaking of NETA’s original business plan. “We had a track record of seeing how they had operated and had the chance to see what the potential impacts were. They’ve been a good member of our business community; they worked with us to make sure their opening went smoothly, and have been working with surrounding businesses to make sure there’s no disruption.”

Stories like this are why, despite the slow rollout of pot shops so far — and state tax revenue well under early projections — proponents are confident that the trends toward greater public acceptance of this industry, and tax revenues to match, will soon accelerate.

“As an industry, we’ve done a good job to ensure that things are done correctly, and the state’s done a good job putting measures in place to help ensure it is a safe industry and people are getting a safe product and it’s dispensed in a safe way,” Zatyrka said. “The state did a lot of things right, which is why we’re seeing a successful rollout. I know some people wish it moved quicker, but I understand why it didn’t. There are thousands of applications, a lot of inspections, a lot to oversee. It takes time. It’s a new industry for everybody.”

Green Growth

As part of its new marijuana laws, Massachusetts imposes a 17% tax — a 6.25% sales tax plus a 10.75% excise tax — on cannabis businesses, while cites and towns take another 3%, plus whatever else they may choose to impose as part of their host-community agreements.

In Northampton’s case, that’s an additional 3%, called a ‘community-impact fee.’ The city received two checks recently: $449,825 from the Department of Revenue representing the 3% tax rate for recreational marijuana sales in November, December, and January, and $287,506 from NETA itself, reflecting the 3% community-impact fee on recreational sales for December and January.

“When we held our public meetings, we had a few folks who thought we were going to destroy the world and everything would come crashing down once we opened. But the opposite has been true.”

Other towns are seeing their coffers benefit as well. Theory Wellness opened in Great Barrington in December, paying $90,000 in taxes to the town in its first month.

“They opened to long lines, which should level off as they get more competition,” Ed Abrahams, vice chair of the town’s Select Board, told BusinessWest last month. “This is new for all of us, but so far, there have been logistically few problems.”

Southern Berkshire County communities that embrace the cannabis trade are sure to benefit from the continued illegality of the drug in both Connecticut and New York, though leaders in both states have been talking about whether that should remain the case. Brandon Pollock, CEO of Theory Wellness, told the New York Post last week that about 15,000 New Yorkers have made purchases there since its Jan. 11 opening.

“I’d say we get dozens, if not hundreds, a day from the greater New York City area,” he noted. “We get people coming up in Zipcars, people carpooling, people who say they hardly ever drive at all — but will drive to purchase cannabis.”

That sort of consumer response is intriguing to towns that see this industry as a new economic driver.

“Some cities have been great to work with, some a little more difficult to work with,” Zatyrka said. “Easthampton is very progressive city, and early on it was very obvious they wanted us here.”

That’s important from a competition perspective, he said, because the application process is already time-consuming, and communities that want to make it even more difficult to move through permitting and craft a host-community agreement can tie up a project for years, while other shops in more amenable towns are opening and picking up crucial market share and customer loyalty.

“Easthampton was great,” he went on. “Everyone wants to find a solution instead of putting up roadblocks. They want us to be successful, to get their name on the map, and they saw the benefits early on.”

He’s seeing a gradual shift, too, in where proposed projects will be located, noting that, when INSA started cultivating marijuana for medical use, most such outfits were setting up in old mill buildings or industrial parks. “Now it’s not so restrictive — people can open up on Main Street, and wind up in locations that are made for retail use, for people to come visit.”

That’s certainly the goal in Northampton, which is looking at myriad applications from cannabis manufacturers, cultivators, testing labs, and retail establishments, Narcewicz noted. It welcomes them because it sees value in how NETA, which isn’t even located downtown, has impacted business.

“NETA has created good-paying jobs in the community, and it’s an important way to expand our tax base and grow our local economy,” he said. “We have a local economy focused on retail, dining, entertainment, and a very vibrant cultural economy. And I think this complements it.”

There have been traffic and parking challenges, he added, “but if you talk to most retailers, downtowns having too many visitors is never a bad thing. We’re kind of equipped to handle a lot of visitors. And NETA has been very responsive in terms of renting additional parking from neighboring businesses, which helps them as well by providing an income stream. So far, it’s been a very positive experience, and there’s no reason to believe that’s going to change.”

Making a Name

BRIGADE has certainly benefited from this new industry. The Hadley-based brand-services company has worked with INSA extensively, including the creation of the designs for all its products and marketing.

“Everyone calls cannabis the wild west, and it is from a branding and design perspective, too,” said Kirsten Modestow, BRIGADE’s owner and executive creative director. “The rules for a whole category are being written overnight. That’s challenging, but it’s also some of the most exciting stuff we’ve ever worked on.”

With some cannabis businesses coming out with 100 or more products, it presents a unique branding challenge, she added, because the goal is not only to create a memorable look, but to help customers, many of whom have little experience with marijuana, navigate the products.

“One of the upsides of this industry is the impact it’s having on our communities, and it’s providing a lot of new opportunities and jobs,” she said. “It’s providing a lot of work for people, even tapping into farmers and other people who have services to offer and know what they’re doing.”

The education aspect Modestow touched on is one that continues in the store, Zatyrka said. The sales associates — he prefers that title to the flip industry term ‘budtenders’ — are the same ones who have worked with medical patients for a long time, and they have the training to dig deep into the science behind the products, so they can effectively explain them.

“We understand it’s a product that needs to be consumed safely, and we take that seriously,” he said. “We don’t want to be liable for someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing and eats an entire chocolate bar and has to go to the ER. We do all in our power to prevent that from happening.”

The coming months and years will see more education (and more tax revenues) as pot-shop openings pick up the pace — including Evergreen Strategies, LLC, which recently inked a host-community agreement with Belchertown to bring a facility to that town as early as this fall.

The Boston Globe recently cited industry analysts who say Massachusetts has a much slower local approval process and a more complex system to navigate than other states, and the state Cannabis Control Commission has placed a premium on an adult-use regulatory structure that supports public health and public safety. The measured pace ensures that stores pass inspections, sell lab-tested products, hire vetted workers, and track their products.

“It’s a growing industry, and will continue to grow,” said Zatyrka, who plans to open an adult-use dispensary in Springfield and has a cultivating and manufacturing license in Pennsylvania as well. Meanwhile, INSA is doubling its cultivation — located directly above the Easthampton store — and is looking to triple it in the future. “We’re still a few years out before we can meet the demands of the state. So it’s going to be hard work until then to keep up our supply with demand.”

The work is rewarding, though, especially for someone who treated his chronic pain for more than 15 years with oxycontin, oxycodone, morphine, and methadone, and suffered side effects that drastically outweighed the benefits.

“Thanks to cannabis, I was able to stop taking them,” Zatyrka said. “Cannabis helped with the withdrawals, and now I only use cannabis to treat my chronic pain, and it works 100 times better than all the opioids. I know firsthand the power of cannabis versus painkillers.”

He tells that story not because it’s unique, but because it’s representative of many people he comes across, with stories about how cannabis has helped them with seizures, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. And if legal adult use is helping to tear down the last bits of stigma around cannabis, he’s all for it.

“It’s incredibly gratifying to hear the stories and how grateful people are,” he said. “They’re able to get benefits from cannabis, and don’t have to hide it like they once did.”

Joseph Bednar can be reached at [email protected]m

Incorporations

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

ADAMS

Quick & Easy Waste Disposal Inc., 69 Melrose St., Adams, MA 01220. Donna M. Macdonald, same. Waste disposal.

BELCHERTOWN

STS Homes Inc., 210 Bardwell St., Belchertown, MA 01007. Heather A. Twining, same. Contractor.

EAST LONGMEADOW

S L Beauty Inc., 30 Shaker Road, East Longmeadow, MA 01028. Nga Thihang Nguyen, 123 Enfield St., Indian Orchard, MA 01151. Personal care service.

GRANBY

RZ Granby Convenience Inc., 30 West State St., Granby, MA 01033. Radwan Zaitoun, 3 Silver St., Springfield, MA 01107. Convenience store/gas station.

LONGMEADOW

Rockefeller Systems Incorporated, 266 Pinewood Dr., Longmeadow, MA 01106. Paul W Gorman, same. Electronics, software, control systems.

MONSON

Streamliners Inc., 8 Waid Road, Monson, MA 01057. Joseph R. Hamm, same. Manufacture, distribution and sales of products.

NORTHAMPTON

Team Finch Inc., 22 Ford Crossing, Northampton, MA 01060. Jennifer S. Bryan, same. Educational consulting.

PITTSFIELD

Saba Petroleum Reality Inc., 1030 South St., Pittsfield, MA 01201. Sallam Mokbil, 535 Elm St., Monroe, CT 06468. Real estate.

SPRINGFIELD

Star Wireless Inc., 895 Carew St., Springfield, MA 01104. Abdul Ghani, 198 Stafford St., Worcester, MA 01603. Cell phone services.

WENDELL

Roxdot Property Management Inc., 82 Wendell Ave., Ste 100, Pittsfield, MA 01201. Colin Kelly-Rand, 1189 Boylston St., Newton , MA 02464. Real estate management.

WESTFIELD

R & R Tours Inc., 38 M St., Westfield, MA01085. Randolph McBride, same. Passenger transportation.

Shafiq Mizan Rahman & Augustine Inc., 69 Franklin St., Westfield, MA 01085. Akm Mizanur Rahman Bangladesh, 616 Broadway Unit 6, Revere, MA 02151. Accounting, payroll, tax, and consulting services.