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Education Equity

The Lumina Foundation recently awarded $1.2 million in grants to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, with half the money earmarked for six state colleges and universities. Holyoke Community College will use its $100,000 award to further the work of its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion task force and expand mentorship programs that focus on students of color, including its ALANA Men in Motion program (pictured, in pre-COVID days). Latinx students participating in the program at HCC show a fall-to-fall retention rate of 75%, compared to 45% for Latinx students not participating in ALANA.

 


 

 

Driving for a Cure

Carla Cosenzi and Tommy Cosenzi, owners of TommyCar Auto Group, recently donated nearly $100,000 to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute thanks to the generous support of sponsors of the 12th annual Tom Cosenzi Driving for the Cure Charity Golf Tournament. The event, named for their late father, drew the interest of nearly 148 golfers and 156 sponsors this year. Since the inception of the event, more than $1 million has been raised to support brain-tumor research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

 

 


 

 

The Bionic Kid

On Sept. 15, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Springfield outfitted 8-year-old patient Sam with the first custom-built, 3D-printed bionic arm in the health system. The device, known as the Hero Arm, customized for Sam with Marvel Comics superhero Iron Man covers, was made possible through a collaboration with UK-based bionics company Open Bionics and will enable Sam, a bilateral amputee, to live life to the fullest. Pictured: Sam shows off the arm alongside his mother, Michelle, and Brock McConkey, manager of Orthotics and Prosthetics at the hospital.

 

 

 


 

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First Responders Luncheon

The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce recently hosted its annual First Responders Luncheon. Pictured below, from top to bottom: chamber board members and event organizers (from left) Hannah Rechtschaffen of the Mill District, Beth Pearson of Pearson Wallace Insurance, and Heidi Flanders of Integrity Development and Construction, gather outside Pasta E Basta to receive fresh lunches to deliver to first responders in seven communities the chamber serves; Amherst firefighters and EMTs gather for lunch at North Station, flanked by Rechtschaffen and Claudia Pazmany, executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber; Pearson (left) delivers meals to the Leverett Police and Fire departments.

 

 

 


 

Strike Out Hunger

KFC was the presenting sponsor of the Westfield Starfires Strike Out Hunger Campaign, donating $10 for every strikeout at Bullens Field during the 2020 season. $1,500 was presented at the Starfires season finale to benefit the Westfield Boys & Girls Club summer meals program. Pictured: Starfires Manager Tony Deshler, Director of Baseball Operations Evan Moorhouse, Westfield Boys and Girls Club Chief Advancement Officer Bo Sullivan, Starfires co-owner Christopher Thompson, Westfield Boys & Girls Club CEO Bill Parks, and Starfires pitcher of the year and strikeout leader Chase Jeter.

 

 

 

 


 

Community Spotlight Special Coverage

Punching Back

Peter Picknelly, left, and Andy Yee

Peter Picknelly, left, and Andy Yee are partnering in a restaurant project at the former Court Square Hotel property.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno noted that his city is certainly well-versed in dealing with natural and man-made disasters — everything from the tornado in June 2011 to the natural-gas explosion a year and a half later.

“Battle-tested” was the phrase he used to describe a community that has been though a lot over the past few decades.

But the COVID-19 pandemic … this is a different kind of disaster.

The new façade of the Tower Square Hotel, which expects to be under the Marriott flag next spring.

“It’s like shadow boxing in a lot of ways,” he said, using that phrase to essentially describe a foe that’s hard to hit and an exercise that amounts to punching air. “With those other disasters, I knew what hit us, and I knew how to jab back; with COVID-19, we don’t know when it’s going to go away, and we don’t know what’s going to happen next.”

But the city is certainly punching back against the pandemic, said the mayor and Tim Sheehan, the city’s chief Development officer, noting that it has undertaken initiatives aimed at everything from helping small businesses keep the doors open to assisting residents with paying their mortgage, rent, and utility bills.

And while the pandemic has certainly cost the city some vital momentum, the development community, which usually takes a long view, remains bullish on the city, said Sheehan, noting that there has been strong interest in projects ranging from the former School Department headquarters building on State Street to properties in the so-called ‘blast zone’ (damaged by that aforementioned natural-gas explosion), to buildings in the general vicinity of MGM Springfield in the city’s South End.

“One of more positive things we’re seeing is that development interest in Springfield remains strong,” he told BusinessWest. “And for some larger-scale projects, it’s new interest, from outside the area. And that bodes well for the whole effort that’s been made in terms of the downtown renaissance and the casino development; the development community’s message on Springfield is a good one.”

In the meantime, some projects are already moving forward, most notably the conversion of the long-dormant former Court Square Hotel into apartments and retail space, but also the extensive renovations (although that’s not the word being used) at the Tower Square Hotel in anticipation of regaining the Marriott flag that long flew over the facility, the new Wahlburger’s restaurant going up next to MGM Springfield, the new White Lion Brewery in Tower Square, the conversion of the former Willys-Overland building on Chestnut Street into market-rate housing, movement to reinvent the Eastfield Mall, a plan to redevelop Apremont Triangle, and much more.

But despite these projects, and despite the mayor’s confidence that the city will rebound quickly once the pandemic eases, there are certainly concerns about what toll the pandemic will take on existing businesses, especially those in retail, hospitality, and the commercial real-estate sector — specifically, the office towers downtown.

Mayor Domenic Sarno

Mayor Domenic Sarno says he’s confident that the city can make a strong — and quick — rebound from COVID-19.

There is strong speculation that businesses that now have some or most employees working remotely will continue with these arrangements after the pandemic eases, leaving many likely looking for smaller office footprints. Sheehan noted that such potential downsizing might be offset by businesses needing larger spaces for each employee in a world where social distancing might still be the norm, but there is certainly concern that the office buildings that dominate the downtown landscape will need to find new tenants or new uses for that space.

“There’s some conflicting data out there — the average size of a typical commercial office lease was going down prior to COVID, and a big reason was the rise of the communal working space,” he explained. “Well, now, the communal working space isn’t working so well anymore; there are some impacts that are forcing companies to require more space, not less.

“It’s like shadow boxing in a lot of ways. With those other disasters, I knew what hit us, and I knew how to jab back; with COVID-19, we don’t know when it’s going to go away, and we don’t know what’s going to happen next.”

“Still, before COVID, the vacancy rate for commercial real estate was somewhat high,” he went on. “We collectively need to be working with the building owners and businesses to make sure those numbers don’t exacerbate as we come out of COVID. But, clearly, there is concern about the commercial real-estate market.”

For this, the latest installment in BusinessWest’s Community Spotlight series, the focus turns to the unofficial capital of the region, the current battle against COVID-19 and the many forms it takes, and the outlook for the future, both short- and long-term.

View to the Future

As he walked around the former Court Square Hotel while talking with BusinessWest about his involvement with the project to give the landmark a new life, Peter A. Picknelly pointed to the windows in the northwest corner of the sixth floor, and noted that this was where a City Hall employee had just told him she wanted to live as he and business partner Andy Yee were leaving a meeting with the mayor.

But then he quickly corrected himself.

“No, she was referring to that corner,” he noted, pointing toward the windows on the northeast side, the ones with a better overall view of Court Square and Main Street. “That’s the one she said she wanted.”

Talk about actually living in the still-handsome structure that dominates Court Square is now actually real, whereas for the better part of 30 years it had been nothing but a pipe dream. That’s how long people have been talking about renovating this property, and that’s how challenging this initiative has been.

Indeed, like Union Station, another project that took decades to finally move beyond the talk stage, Court Square’s redevelopment became real because of a public-private partnership with a number of players, ranging from Picknelly’s Opal Development and WinnCompanies to MGM Springfield, to the city, the state, and federal government.

“This project was a bear, and that building was an albatross around the neck of a lot of mayors,” Sarno said. “This was all about persistence and not giving up when it would have been easy to do that.”

As for Picknelly, this is a legacy project of a sort, he said, noting that his father, Peter L. Picknelly, had long talked about creating a boutique hotel at the site — which, after its days as a hotel, was home to a number of law offices because of its proximity to the courthouse — as a way to inject some life into a still-struggling downtown.

Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan

Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan says the city’s first priority has been to assist businesses and help ensure they’re still in business when the pandemic eases.

The boutique-hotel concept became less viable as new hotels were built in the city, he went on, but the urgent need to convert the property for a new use — identified as the top priority in the Urban Land Institute study completed more than a decade ago — remained.

“How can Springfield really see its full potential if this building is vacant?” asked Picknelly, who again partnered with Yee — the two have resurrected both the Student Prince and the White Hut — to create a restaurant in the northwest corner of the property (more on that in a bit). “This is going to be the centerpiece of Springfield’s renaissance.”

The Court Square project is just one example of how things are moving forward in the city, even in the midst of the pandemic, said Sheehan, noting that, in the larger scheme of things, Springfield remains an attractive target for the development community — and for the same reasons that existed before the pandemic, namely an abundance of opportunities, growing momentum in the central business district, the casino, Union Station, the burgeoning cannabis industry, and more.

Still, the the pandemic has certainly been a major disruptive force in that it has imperiled small businesses across many sectors, especially hospitality; brought a relative stillness to the downtown area as many employees continue to work at home; closed the casino for nearly four months and forced it to reopen at one-third capacity; cancelled all shows, sports, and other gatherings at the casino, the MassMutual Center, Symphony Hall, and elsewhere; and even forced the Basketball Hall of Fame to reschedule its induction ceremonies (normally held this month) to the spring and move them to Mohegan Sun.

So the first order of business for the city has been to try to control, or limit, the damage, said Sarno and Sheehan, adding that it has been doing this in a number of ways, including its Prime the Pump initiative.

The Court Square project

The Court Square project, roughly 30 years in the making, was made possible by a comprehensive public-private partnership.

The program, using Community Development Block Grant monies, has provided small grants to city businesses in amounts up to $15,000. The awards have come over several rounds, with the first focused on restaurants, perhaps the hardest-hit individual sector, with subsequent rounds having a broader focus that includes more business sectors and nonprofits. Sheehan said businesses receiving grant funds have also represented a diversity of ownership.

“Prime the Pump numbers in terms of minority representation were huge — more than 72% of the awards were to minority-owned, women-owned, or veterans, and all of the nonprofits we supported had 30% or more minority participation on their board of directors,” he explained, adding that these numbers are significant because many minority-owned businesses had difficulty attaining other forms of support, such as Paycheck Protection Program loans.

In addition to helping businesses weather the storm, the city has also provided financial assistance to residents, said the mayor, noting that this aid has gone toward paying mortgages, utility bills, and rent, assistance that also helps the city’s many landlords.

“In this region, I don’t think any community has done more to help their businesses and their residents,” Sarno noted. “We have put out well over $5 million, and perhaps $6 million. We’ve been very proactive, and we’re going to continue working with businesses, such as our restaurants, to help them stay open.”

Such support is critical, said Sheehan, because in order to rebound sufficiently once the pandemic subsides, consumers will need to find outlets for that pent-up demand the mayor mentioned.

“How can Springfield really see its full potential if this building is vacant? This is going to be the centerpiece of Springfield’s renaissance.”

“When there is a vaccine, or when our numbers are so low that people feel safe and feel willing to go back out, the responsiveness will be there,” he noted. “My concern is making sure that the businesses we have are still in business when we get there.”

When We Meet Again

While he talked about COVID-19 using mostly the present tense, Sarno also spent a good deal of time talking about the future.

He said the pandemic will — eventually and somehow — relent. And, as he said earlier, he is confident the city will rebound, and quickly, and perhaps return to where it was before ‘COVID’ became part of the lexicon. For a reference point, he chose Red Sox Winter Weekend in January, an event staged by the team but hosted by MGM Springfield. It brought thousands of people to the city, filling hotels and restaurants and creating traffic jams downtown as motorists tried to maneuver around closed streets and various gatherings.

In many ways, Red Sox Winter Weekend is emblematic of all that’s been lost due to the pandemic. It won’t all come back overnight, Sarno and Sheehan noted, but the vibrancy will return.

“COVID-19 has really knocked us for a bit of a loop,” the mayor said, stating the obvious. “But I think there there’s a lot of pent-up … not only frustration, but desire to get back out there, so when we defeat this, I really think we’re going to rebound very nicely, and even quickly, because we continue to move projects forward and put new projects on the board.”

Tower Square Hotel

These renderings show what the front lobby (above) and ballroom will look like in the Tower Square Hotel that is being ‘reimagined’ and ‘redesigned’ and will soon be flying the Marriott flag.

This optimism extends to MGM, which had been struggling to meet projections (made years ago) for gross gambling revenue before the pandemic, and has, as noted, been operating at one-third capacity since early summer, with the hotel and banquet facilities closed.

“When MGM was hustling and bustling, with shows coming in, downtown was thriving,” Sarno said. “I’m hoping that, as we head into the last quarter and eventually the holiday season, if people can regain their confidence in going out to places like this, we see things pick up.”

And there will be some positive changes to greet visitors as they return, starting with a new Marriott.

Indeed, work continues on a massive project that Peter Marks, general manager of the hotel, insists is not a renovation, because that word doesn’t do justice to the massive overhaul. He instead said the hotel has been “reimagined” and “redesigned.”

Indeed, slated to open — or reopen, as the case may be — next spring or summer, the 266-room facility is getting a new look from top to bottom, inside and out. The most visible sign of the change is a new, more modern façade that greets visitors coming over the Memorial Bridge. But the entire hotel is being made over to new and stringent standards set by Marriott.

“This is not a reflagging; it’s a new build, and that’s why the work is so extensive,” he explained. “Everything that that a guest could see or touch is being replaced. Beyond that, we’ve moved walls, we’ve moved emergency staircases in the building to accomplish higher ceilings … it’s impressive what has been done.”

The timing of the project — during the middle of a pandemic — has been beneficial in one respect: there was minimal displacement of guests due to the ongoing work and, therefore, not a significant loss of overall business. But the pandemic has also been a hindrance because it’s made getting needed construction materials much more difficult, causing delays in the work and uncertainty about when it can all be completed.

“You might get a shower wall in, but not the shower tub,” Marks explained. “And you can’t do the wall without the tub, so you have to wait, and this happens all the time. If everything goes smoothly from here, it might be April when we reopen, or it could also be summer.”

By then, he thinks the world, and downtown Springfield, will look considerably different, and there will be a considerable amount of pent-up demand.

“Especially for the leisure travelers,” he said. “People are really itching to get out; they’re all waiting to go somewhere, and also go to events, weddings, family reunions, and other celebrations. I’m hopeful that we’ll be opening right when the pent-up demand is coming.”

As for the restaurant planned for the Court Square property, Picknelly and Yee project it will be open for business by the fall of 2022, and that, when it does debut, it will be an important addition to a downtown that may look somewhat different, but will likely still be a destination and a place people not only want to visit, but live in.

“Winn has done 100 renovation projects like this around the country,” Picknelly said. “They are 100% convinced that this building will be fully occupied by the time we open — there’s no doubt in their minds, based on the projections. I think that says a lot about people still wanting to live in urban areas, and I think it says a lot about Springfield and what people think of this city.”

Fighting Spirit

Returning to his analogy about shadow boxing, Sarno said COVID-19 has certainly proven to be a difficult sparring partner.

Unlike the tornado, which passed through quickly and left a trail of destruction to be cleaned up, COVID has already lingered far longer than most thought it would, and no one really knows for sure how much longer we’ll be living with it.

Meanwhile, as for the damage it will cause, there is simply no way of knowing that, either, and the toll creeps higher with each passing week.

But, as the mayor noted, the city is already punching back, and it intends to keep on punching with the goal of regaining the momentum it has lost and turning back the clock — even if it’s only six or seven months.

George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

Picture This

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Feed the Body – Feed the Mind

Link to Libraries and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts announced a partnership to provide books and meals to hundreds of local families in need in Western Mass. In partnership with Northampton Radio Group and Springfield Rocks Radio Group, the organizations launched the “Feed the Body – Feed the Mind” campaign, distributing children’s books and meals to families at several Food Bank member organizations’ designated meal-pickup sites in Springfield, Easthampton, Greenfield, and Holyoke.

 

 


 

Red Alert


Springfield was among cities nationwide to participate in a Red Alert event on Sept. 1 to draw attention to the plight of the entertainment and live-event industry. Zasco Productions, LLC lit up downtown Springfield (pictured) in the color red to raise awareness of the 12 million event professionals currently out of work due to COVID-related economic shutdowns. In addition, CJC Event Lighting lit up its offices, Chez Josef, and the Log Cabin.

 


 

 

Community Spotlight

Community Spotlight

By Mark Morris

Despite what she described as “shifting sands and shifting times,” Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle believes her city is more than holding its own in the face of COVID-19.

By that, she meant this community of roughly 16,000 people is moving ahead with a number of municipal projects and economic-development initiatives. And it is also undertaking several efforts, often in cooperation with other entities — such as the Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce — to help its business community, and especially the very small businesses that dominate the landscape, weather this intense storm.

“We’re focused on a good, basic plan that addresses infrastructure and quality of life for everyone in our city,” she said, as she addressed the former — and the latter as well.

In that first category, she listed everything from a $100 million school-building project to a $45 million mixed-use development, called One Ferry, that involves renovating old mill buildings and reworking the infrastructure in the Ferry Street area.

“Easthampton’s grit and resilience has gotten us through things like this in the past, and it’s getting us through these scary times. It’s not graceful, but we’ll still be standing at the end.”

And in the second category, she mentioned several initiatives, from small-business grants to a community-block-grant program designed to help microbusinesses, to efforts to help renters. Indeed, the city has put aside $300,000 in relief for renters; the relief begins in the fall and is meant to keep an important source of affordable housing in place.

“If you start losing renters, many of the owners will have to sell because they’ll have trouble paying their mortgages,” the mayor said, adding that there are many ripple effects from the pandemic, and the city’s strategy is to keep the ripples from gaining size and strength.

Overall, LaChapelle acknowledged that COVID-19 is forcing businesses, families, and institutions to make pivotal changes during very uncertain times, but she remains an optimist.

“Easthampton’s grit and resilience has gotten us through things like this in the past, and it’s getting us through these scary times,” she noted. “It’s not graceful, but we’ll still be standing at the end.”

Progress Report

Like other mayors BusinessWest has spoken with in recent weeks, LaChapelle said COVID-19 has certainly impacted businesses in every sector, changed daily life in innumerable ways, and even altered how city government carries out its business.

But in many respects, it hasn’t slowed the pace of progress in the city — at least when it comes to a number of important municipal and development projects, including the aforementioned school project.

Mo Belliveau

Mo Belliveau

“It’s one place where anyone who wants to do business in Easthampton can go to learn about what resources are available to them.”

The as-yet-unnamed school, located on Park Street, is an example of several elements of the city’s plan coming together. The new building will house students from pre-K through grade 8, replacing three older elementary schools in Easthampton. New road infrastructure is planned in front of the building as well, with the addition of a roundabout intersection.

LaChapelle noted that the $100 million project is slightly ahead of schedule and should be completed by late 2021 or early 2022. The roundabout will be completed this month.

Meanwhile, other projects are taking shape or getting ready to move off the drawing board. One involves River Valley Co-op, the Northampton-based food cooperative, which is currently building a 23,000-square-foot market in Easthampton on the site of the former Cernak Oldsmobile Pontiac dealership. The co-op is scheduled to open by spring or summer of next year.

Once complete, the mayor explained, River Valley will employ 60 full-time union workers with the potential to expand to nearly 100 workers in the next two years. Road improvements that will benefit the new co-op include a dedicated turning lane into the market and straightening the road in front.

“This is an area along Route 10 that has been a traffic pain point for economic development,” she said. “While it’s a $400,000 project, we expect the return to far exceed those dollars.”

Another project in the works is One Ferry, an initiative expected to bring new residents, new businesses, and more vibrancy to the city.

“In the next 18 to 24 months, this project will add quality apartments, condominiums, and office space,” LaChapelle said, adding that public infrastructure to support this project includes a roundabout that connects a residential area, the industrial park, and the mill district of Easthampton. The first building in the project, recently completed, provides space for two businesses and two apartments.

“Right now, this project is providing jobs and vitality for the area, and that will only increase,” she noted. “One Ferry is huge for our future.”

Dave Delvecchio

Dave Delvecchio

“While many restaurants in the city were affected by the virus, they’ve adapted well by doing things they didn’t do before, like offering takeout options. It’s remarkable that they’ve been able to continue to offer a service to the community, but in a different way.”

Another bright note for the future involves Adhesive Applications, which makes adhesive tapes for use in more than a dozen industries. The longtime Easthampton manufacturer is planning a 40,000- to 50,000-square-foot addition to the company, the mayor said.

The chamber and the mayor’s office are also working together on Blueprint Easthampton, a resource map designed for entrepreneurs and business people.

“It’s one place where anyone who wants to do business in Easthampton can go to learn about what resources are available to them,” said Mo Belliveau, executive director of the chamber.

According to a news release on Blueprint Easthampton, the mapping initiative will improve access to available business tools and strengthen the links between the city and the business community.

New Normal

While work continues on these projects, efforts continue to assist those businesses impacted by the pandemic. And the Greater Easthampton Chamber has played a large role in such efforts.

Prior to the pandemic, Belliveau had begun shifting the emphasis at the agency away from events and more on education and discussion-type programming. After organizing and scheduling programs for the year, stay-at-home orders went into effect in March and wiped out all those plans.

“Like so many small businesses, we at the chamber had to pivot along with our partners and find new ways to provide meaningful value to our community,” Belliveau said, adding that many of these new ways involve providing information — and other forms of support — to businesses during the pandemic.

Indeed, Easthampton received a $30,000 grant from the state attorney general’s office designed to help small businesses pay for COVID-19-related expenses and allow them to continue their operations. LaChapelle invited the chamber to be the administrator of what became the Greater Easthampton Sustaining Small Business Grant (SSBG) program. Applicants could request up to $1,500 and use the grant for buying PPE, paying their rent, or purchasing supplies needed to comply with state guidelines on reopening.

A total of 31 businesses qualified for the grants, which were to be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Fortunately, all 31 applicants received grant money totaling more than $43,000, thanks to donations from Easthampton-businesses Applied Mortgage, which kicked in an additional $10,000, and Suite 3, which covered the remainder of the funding requests.

“My goal going forward is to find other businesses that are able to contribute to this effort so we can do another round of funding,” Belliveau said. “The need is great, and the money from this first effort went fast.”

In addition, Easthampton and six surrounding communities recently became eligible for a $900,000 Community Development Block Grant to help microbusinesses get through the pandemic. Businesses with five or fewer employees can apply for up to $10,000 in grant money. Easthampton was the lead community in applying for the block grant.

“We have many innovative small businesses in Easthampton who still can’t reopen,” LaChapelle said. “This grant program is designed to help them stay afloat.”

Dave DelVecchio is president of Suite3, a company that provides IT services for businesses of all sizes. While most of his customer base is in Western Mass., Suite3 also has clients internationally and in several U.S. states.

As an IT service provider, DelVecchio measures success by “ticket requests,” an indication that a customer needs support. When COVID-19 started taking its toll and many businesses were shut down in March and April, ticket requests were at their lowest point. Since then, Suite3’s business has come back to pre-pandemic levels.

As a past president and current treasurer of the chamber, DelVecchio was concerned about the impact COVID-19 was having on the business community, and especially its growing portfolio of restaurants.

“While many restaurants in the city were affected by the virus, they’ve adapted well by doing things they didn’t do before, like offering takeout options,” he said. “It’s remarkable that they’ve been able to continue to offer a service to the community, but in a different way.”

He added that Easthampton has a good number of other businesses affected by COVID-19 that did not receive as much attention as the restaurants.

“Businesses such as travel agencies and professions that require personal interaction, like chiropractors and massage therapists, were also affected by the virus,” he said, noting that the SSBG and Community Development Block Grant can make a real difference for such businesses.

Coming Together

DelVecchio credits Belliveau with changing the focus of the chamber to more education without losing its important role as a provider of networking opportunities. Part of the changing organization involved moving from an annual fee model to monthly dues. While that can be a risky move, DelVecchio noted there was almost no attrition in membership.

“We are grateful that we continue to get support from the business community and they see value in the chamber,” he said, “especially at a time when expenses are being put under greater scrutiny.”

This support is another indication of how the community, which had been thriving before the pandemic, has come together to cope with a crisis that has provided a real test — or another real test — for residents and businesses alike.

As the mayor noted earlier, Easthampton’s grit and resilience has helped it survive a number of economic downturns and other challenges in the past. And those qualities will see it through this one as well.

Senior Planning

It’s Important to Understand Your Alternatives

By Eric Aasheim

Moving from home to a senior-living community is one of the most consequential decisions elder loved ones may be faced with in their lifetimes.

The move is usually permanent; is unfortunately often made in crisis mode or under duress, and involves a host of emotional and psychological implications around declining physical capabilities, perceived loss of independence, and financial worry.

“Moving from home to a senior-living community is one of the most consequential decisions elder loved ones may be faced with in their lifetimes.”

Knowing the answers to these commonly asked questions will help seniors and their adult children plan ahead and ultimately put themselves in a position to make thoughtful and informed decisions about the most appropriate living and care options for their needs.

What is the difference between independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing?

Independent living (IL) is intended for seniors who do not need assistance or supervision with independent activities of daily living (IADLs) like showering, dressing, toileting, eating, or transferring (mobility, bed to standing, sitting to standing, etc.).

Most IL communities provide apartments with full kitchens, and the monthly fee includes one main meal per day in the dining room. Independent living in Western Mass. ranges from $2,000 to $5,000 per month.

Assisted living (AL) communities are appropriate for seniors who require some level of assistance with two or more IADLs and help with medication management; apartments are typically equipped with a kitchenette only because the monthly fee includes three restaurant-style meals per day. Assisted living in Western Mass. ranges from $4,000 to $9,000 per month.

Memory care (MC) is intended for individuals who have dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other neurogenerative diseases and require an intensive or specialized program of care and supervision. Memory-care communities are secure settings with passcode entrances and enclosed outdoor spaces to keep residents on site, and can be stand-alone facilities or a separate wing or ‘neighborhood’ within a traditional assisted-living community. Memory-care communities most often provide private studio or shared companion suites for their residents. Memory care in Western Mass. ranges from $3,500 (companion suites) to $11,000 per month.

Skilled-nursing facilities (SNFs) are licensed healthcare residences for individuals who require a higher level of medical care than can be provided in an AL setting. Skilled-nursing staffs consisting of RNs, LPNs and CNAs (certified nursing assistants) provide 24-hour medical attention for their long-term and short-term rehabilitation residents. While private rooms are available in many SNFs, shared living arrangements with two or three residents to a hospital-style room are much more common. Skilled-nursing facilities in Western Mass. range from $250 to more than $500 per day.

Can I receive care at home rather than moving to a senior-living community?

Absolutely. There are any number of quality home-care companies that can provide a wide range of custodial and healthcare services in the comfort of your own home. Home care is often referred to as non-skilled care (grooming, dressing, bathing, cleaning, and other everyday tasks) and home health care as skilled care (skilled nursing and therapy).

Seniors who are largely independent but can benefit from limited home care or home-healthcare services may choose to continue living in their homes as long as these services help them do so safely. Unless you hire a full-time live-in, skilled and non-skilled care are typically provided for only a few hours per day a few days per week, meaning family members often are called upon to supplement the home-care schedule on their own.

Seniors who are at risk for (or have experienced) frequent falls or who require consistent overnight supervision or assistance may find that moving to an assisted-living community provides them with a more secure living environment.

The choice between home care and senior living is highly personal and almost always comes down to a question of safety, location, the desire and need for socialization, and finances.

What is a continuing-care retirement community (CCRC), and what are the benefits compared to other senior-living communities?

Continuing-care retirement communities (CCRCs) are senior-living communities that offer a complete continuum of care (IL, AL, MC, and SNF), usually on a single campus. The primary benefit of a CCRC is that you can stay in the same community and never have to move, even as your care requirements change as you age. CCRCs (also referred to as life-plan communities) do typically require a substantial up-front community fee that can range from $10,000 to $300,000 or more depending on the community, the structure of the life-care plan, and the size and type of apartment.

Many CCRCs offer declining, refundable options that can return 70% to 90% of the up-front community fee to the resident when he or she moves, or to her estate when the resident passes away. CCRCs do still charge monthly fees, but they are often lower and increase less from one level of care to the next than traditional senior-living communities. CCRCs also offer a potential tax-deduction benefit that many non-CCRCs do not provide.

Will my health insurance cover the cost of assisted living or memory care? What if I am eligible for Medicaid?

Medicare and private insurance plans do not cover the cost of assisted living or memory care. Medicare will cover short-term and intermittent home care or rehabilitation stays in a SNF following hospitalization, but will not pay for either long-term. Seniors generally must pay for assisted living, memory care, and home care privately unless they have long-term-care insurance with benefits specifically designed to cover these services.

Qualifying veterans and their spouses may be eligible for the aid and attendance benefit from the VA to help pay for the cost of assisted living, memory care, home care, and skilled-nursing facilities.

Some, but not most, assisted-living and memory-care communities do participate in programs administered by Medicare and Medicaid that are designed for low-income seniors who could otherwise not afford senior-living communities.

Medicaid does cover the cost of long-term care in Medicaid-certified skilled-nursing facilities and home healthcare services for recipients who would qualify for nursing-home care.

What other senior-living and care options are there?

• Residential care facilities (also called rest homes) provide meals, housing, supervision, and care for seniors who need assistance with activities of daily living but don’t yet require skilled nursing care.

• Congregate housing is a shared-living environment that combines housing, meals, and other services for seniors but does not provide 24-hour care or supervision. Public congregate housing is administered by municipal housing authorities and is partially subsidized by the state and federal government.

• Adult foster care is an alternative to residential care and matches seniors who can no longer live on their own with individuals or families who provide room, board, and personal care in their homes.

• Respite care is short-term care and supervision provided for seniors at home or in assisted-living or skilled-nursing facilities to provide family members who need some time off from their caregiver duties.

• Adult day health programs (also called adult day care) provide a wide array of community-based services for seniors during the day (skilled nursing, supervision, direct care, nutrition and dietary services, and therapeutic, social, and recreational activities) so that family members can work or attend to other responsibilities.

• Hospice care is available for individuals with life-threatening illnesses or a life expectancy of six months or less and can be provided in the home, in assisted-living or skilled-nursing facilities, in the hospital, or in specialized hospice facilities. When curative treatment is no longer an option, hospice professionals work to make a patient’s life as dignified and comfortable as possible and provide critical emotional and spiritual support services to the patient and family members.

How have senior-living and care options been impacted by COVID-19?

In short, the impact has been profound, and the ‘new normal’ is taking shape as we speak. Most home-care providers and senior-living communities have resumed services to current and new clients at some level. However, the provision of these services is governed by strict protocols to protect the health and safety of residents, staff, and family members.

For instance, many assisted-living communities are not currently offering in-person tours and assessments and instead facilitating these interactions virtually. Since most senior-living communities are observing social-distancing guidelines, new residents must quarantine for 14 days after move-in, and residents are dining in their apartments rather than in the community dining room. Social activities and outings have largely been modified or canceled, and visits from family members have been curtailed for the time being.

Eric Aasheim is a certified senior advisor and owner of Oasis Senior Living of Western Massachusetts. He assists seniors and family members through the entire process of transitioning from home to senior-living communities in Hampden, Hampshire, and Berkshire counties and surrounding areas.

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Brewing Up Some News

Joined by state Rep. Tom Petrolati and leadership from Westmass Area Development Corp., Loophole Brewing Services announced plans for its new location at 90 First Ave. in Ludlow. The planned 21,000-square-foot brewery, taproom, and beer garden will occupy the former jute-processing building on a 2.5-acre parcel at the eastern end of the Ludlow Mills complex. Loophole co-founders Jeff Goulet, Aaron Saunders, and Todd Snopkowski plan to acquire the space from Westmass. In addition to the brewing operations, Loophole plans to have food offerings and more for taproom and beer-garden guests.

 


Meeting a Surging Need

Easthampton Community Center

Easthampton Community Center Executive Director Robin Bialecki and Thomas Conner, Florence Bank branch manager and vice president

Florence Bank donated $7,500 to the Easthampton Community Center to support its Food Pantry Program that serves 22 towns throughout the Pioneer Valley and provides food each month to 6,000 food-insecure individuals in need, including more than 600 children in the greater Easthampton area through the Kid’s Summer Pantry Program.

 

 


Drive-by Party

On July 15, Fleming Cocchi, a longtime resident of Wilbraham, turned 100 years old, and Visiting Angels of West Springfield, the home-care service that has taken care of Cocchi and his wife since 2014, organized a drive-by celebration. A parade of friends, family, and community members — including fire trucks and police cars — gathered to drive by Cocchi’s house with signs, balloons, bows, and birthday wishes. Cocchi waved from his porch with a big smile on his face as the cars and trucks passed by.

 


 

 

Company Notebook

Daniel O’Connell’s Sons Tapped for WSU Parenzo Hall Renovation

WESTFIELD — Westfield State University, in partnership with the Massachusetts Division of Capital Assets Management and Maintenance (DCAMM), announced the selection of Holyoke-based Daniel O’Connell’s Sons Inc. to serve as construction manager for the university’s $40 million Parenzo Hall renovation project. The construction manager selection committee — consisting of three DCAMM representatives, architect James Loftus of Miller Dyer Spears of Boston, and David Riggles, associate director for Projects and Space Management at Westfield State — received 12 responses to DCAMM’s request for qualifications and eight final proposals for the project. The final construction-manager selection was made based on the firm’s qualifications, experience, past performances, and reviews of performance records in comparison to the others. The university plans to transform the 64-year-old Parenzo Hall — the oldest building on campus — into a state-of-the-art hub for student success and development. Renovations will include the creation of two new centers — the Center for Student Success and Engagement (CSSE) and the CoLab (collaboration laboratory). The renovation of swing space to relocate current Parenzo Hall tenants is underway and expected to be completed this winter. Groundbreaking for Parenzo’s reconstruction is anticipated in summer 2021. The renovation is expected to take approximately two years. The CoLab will leverage technology to serve as a nexus for innovative collaboration in Western Mass., partnering with K-12 school districts, community colleges, and industry partners. It will teach students and community partners how to productively engage in online and hybrid environments that increase flexibility for students, facilitate co-enrollment, expand course choices, and provide a bridge to employment. The CoLab will work with community colleges to ease the transfer process by offering financially supported hybrid-style programs and boot camps. It will work with chambers of commerce and economic-development boards to broker relationships, inform curriculum, and secure support. The CSSE will address the university’s goals of increasing retention and graduation rates, as well as reducing achievement gaps and the continuing decline in the number of working-age adults. In addition, it will increase student preparation for advanced learning and support exploration of career pathways in elementary and high schools to prepare them for on-the-job training. New and in-demand certificate programs and advanced study options will be offered to its business partners, utilizing technology. The Commonwealth is helping to finance the project via a $21.25 million spending bill that was signed by Gov. Charlie Baker during a July 2018 visit to campus.

Baystate Health, Kindred Healthcare to Partner on Behavioral-health Hospital

SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Health and Kindred Healthcare, LLC announced plans to form a joint venture that will build and operate a $43 million, state-of-the-art behavioral-health hospital in Western Mass. The 120-bed facility will address the shortage of behavioral-health beds in the region, increasing patient access to Baystate Health’s specialty inpatient behavioral healthcare for adults (including geriatrics), adolescents, and children by more than 50%. Kindred will manage day-to-day operations of the hospital, and Baystate Health psychiatrists and advanced practitioners will provide care under the medical leadership of Dr. Barry Sarvet, chair of Psychiatry at Baystate Health. The hospital will be designed specifically for behavioral-health services to foster a better healing environment for patients. The hospital will feature distinct units to meet patients’ varying treatment needs and is expected to employ more than 200 direct caregivers and ancillary staff. Baystate had planned last year to partner with US HealthVest, LLC on a $30 million behavioral-health hospital, but ended that relationship in November following news reports alleging substandard care at other HealthVest facilities, and began searching for a new partner. Baystate Health remains interested in a centrally located Holyoke location and is in discussions with the city of Holyoke regarding the potential acquisition and development of a property on Lower Westfield Road. It is anticipated that, from the time the site is secured, it will be at least two years before the new hospital is operational, pending regulatory and other approvals. Until the new hospital is completed, Baystate will continue to operate its inpatient behavioral-health units at its community hospitals — Baystate Franklin Medical Center, Baystate Noble Hospital, and Baystate Wing Hospital. Upon completion of the new facility, those units will be closed. Emergency-care services will continue to be provided at all Baystate Health hospitals, and the treatment of medically complex patients will continue at Baystate Medical Center in its Adult Psychiatric Treatment Unit.

Elms College Receives Grant to Fund Experiential Learning

CHICOPEE — Elms College announced it has been awarded a $240,000 grant from the Davis Educational Foundation (DEF) in support of its Experiential Learning Mastering Success (ELMS) – Real World Ready! learning initiative. The grant will be dispersed over the next three years. The overall goal of the ELMS – Real World Ready! learning initiative is to provide at least one high-impact experiential learning opportunity to every student during their college career. Experiential learning is one of the five pillars of the college’s 2020-23 strategic plan. Students can participate in internships, research, study-abroad trips, and service learning opportunities. The first-year disbursement of the grant will support hiring a director of Experiential Learning, providing professional development for faculty and staff, and broadening of the college’s third annual Innovation Challenge (IC). The IC is a three-day event in which students work in teams and explore the intersection of social relationships, business economics, public education, and social justice. Over the past two years, Elms students have developed creative ideas to alleviate homelessness and address bullying. The upcoming Innovation Challenge in the fall 2020 semester will expand participation from 60 students to the entire first-year class. The ELMS – Real World Ready! learning initiative and the DEF grant build on the philanthropic scholarship funding currently available to students through the donor-funded Keating Schneider Experiential Learning Fund and the Elms Advantage Internship program.

WNEU to Offer MS Program in Construction Management

SPRINGFIELD — Western New England University (WNEU) announced the addition of a new master of science program in construction management to the list of graduate-degree offerings. U.S. News and World Report ranks construction manager first in “Best Construction Jobs” and 43rd in “100 Best Jobs” with a low unemployment rate of 2.3%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics website shows that the job outlook growth (2016-26) for Construction Managers is 11% (faster than average), with a median salary of $93,370 per year. With courses rooted in civil engineering, industrial engineering, and engineering management, the program strives to provide a well-rounded knowledge base in engineering as it pertains to construction management. Elective opportunities in business and management will give students a perspective into the business world that will prepare them for management and leadership roles. The program is tailored for students to choose from three options to complete the degree. The all-course option allows students to complete the 10 graduate courses that include open electives, choosing from courses in civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering as well as engineering management and business. Through the project or thesis options, students will work with a faculty advisor to take a deeper dive in a topic of interest, culminating in a final report and presentation. Applications are now being accepted for the MS in construction management program. Classes begin Sept. 28. To learn more, call the Office of Graduate Studies at (413) 782-1517 or e-mail [email protected].

Dress for Success to Collaborate with the Links Inc. on Mentorship Program

Dress for Success of Western Massachusetts announced a partnership with the Greater Springfield chapter of the Links Inc. Founded in 1946, the Links Inc. is an international, not-for-profit organization that brings together professional women of color to serve their communities through volunteerism and philanthropy. Its ultimate goal is to sustain the culture and economic survival of African-Americans and people of African ancestry. The work of the Links Inc. aligns well with the mission of Dress for Success, specifically the Margaret Fitzgerald Mentor Program. This program, named for a Physics Department secretary from Mount Holyoke College who provided help and encouragement for women entering that male-dominated field in the 1970s, pairs women who are overcoming great odds to achieve economic independence with professional women who volunteer to work with them one-on-one. Together, they establish individual goals and work on self-esteem, résumé building, workplace etiquette, interview skills, work/life balance, and more. By establishing a trusting rapport and sharing the wisdom of experience, mentors helps move their mentees from career readiness to action. Though the mentorships last one year, the impact lasts a lifetime. Beginning on Aug. 14, women from the Greater Springfield chapter of the Links Inc. will serve as mentors to women of color who have been recruited to the Margaret Fitzgerald Mentor Program from both Dress for Success programs as well as their partners in the community. The mentorships will continue until August 2021, when the mentees will be invited to join the Dress for Success Professional Women’s Group.

6 Bricks Wins Provisional License to Advance Cannabis Dispensary

SPRINGFIELD — 6 Bricks, LLC was chosen to receive a state provisional license from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission. Last year, the city of Springfield awarded 6 Bricks one of just four licenses to operate a cannabis dispensary in the city. For more than a year before the award by Springfield, 6 Bricks had been preparing for the city application process, engaging and working with architects, industry and profession experts, security professionals, and others as to how best to propose a community-oriented facility and operation that would include and benefit the city and surrounding neighborhood community. 6 Bricks incurred substantial expense and invested significant time securing data and planning strategies to put forth a winning application to the city and the state, including hiring and working with engineering firm Vanhasse Hangen Bustin Inc. to produce traffic and other studies. 6 Bricks worked extensively with former Springfield Police Officer John Delaney on a security plan for operation; he assembled a team of former law-enforcement professionals who have advised the project from the idea stages to the present. Achieving provisional-license status means 6 Bricks, LLC has moved one step closer to being able to open a facility on Springfield. Of the four Springfield applicants, 6 Bricks is the first to be awarded this status.

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Camp Days

The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke opened its seven week, in-person summer camp on July 6, serving up to 75 youth a day. The camp will help kids combat summer learning loss while focusing on one primary theme: diversity. With the topic of racism at the forefront of the country and Holyoke being a community of color, the club will continue to create a platform to educate children on inclusiveness, acceptance, and equality for all. Program activities will incorporate elements of diversity, and additional activities will include project-based learning, targeted literacy support, STEM and coding, arts and crafts, daily challenges, sports and recreation, gardening, culinary arts, dance, non-contact boxing, and more.

 


Food Donations

The United Way of Pioneer Valley recently received its first food shipment — 11 pallets of shelf-stable food items, pre-packaged in boxes, made to feed a family of four for several days — secured through a relationship with MEMA as part of pandemic-response efforts. If a family needs assistance and isn’t covered by one of the community agencies receiving food, they can call (413) 737-2691 for assistance. Pictured: Jennifer Kinsman, director of Community Impact, and Emmanuel Reyes, Thrive financial coach, unwrap a pallet of food.

 


 

 

Agenda

Big E 2020

Canceled: For the safety of fairgoers, staff, vendors, entertainers, exhibitors, sponsors, suppliers, and the broader community, the leadership of the Eastern States Exposition have canceled the 2020 Big E. “We know our faithful fairgoers will be disappointed,” a statement noted. “This decision was difficult and complex, but we all know in our hearts that it’s the right thing to do for the health and safety of the 1.6 million people who support us each year. Our staff has spent the last few months working tirelessly to figure a way to bring our annual New England tradition to everyone this fall. Despite exploring all our options and planning extensively, we realized that the Big E experience that everyone has come to know and love would not be the same.” Next year’s edition of the Big E is scheduled for Sept. 17 to Oct. 3, 2021.

Café Creations

July 8, 15, 22: Café Creations, an interactive learning program designed by transition specialist Kelsey Poole in conjunction with the Mental Health Assoc. (MHA), will provide opportunities for creativity, friendship, and increasing independence for 15 adults ages 18 to 22 with autism or developmental disabilities. The program was made possible through a grant provided by the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism Inc. Café Creations will run for three consecutive Wednesdays from 3 to 4 p.m. via the Zoom virtual meeting platform. To participate, students need access to an internet-enabled computer or tablet that can connect to Zoom. Interested individuals should sign up no later than Friday, July 3 by contacting Poole at (413) 454-7112 or [email protected] Café Creations is designed to provide adults with autism or developmental disabilities a virtual, interactive, and fun learning experience that enables them to walk away with something they created. Along the way, students have the opportunity to connect with others outside of their community, mostly in towns in Western Mass, while focusing on recreational and educational activities that incorporate meaningful connections and sustainable friendships. To finish each weekly session, students play interactive games with incentives and prizes. Materials required for each session’s creative project will be delivered to each student’s residence in time for each session. These materials include vision boards, which enable students to get to know something about themselves and then share that with others in the group; food ingredients for students to make their own pizzas; and materials to create a lava lamp. Students are encouraged to have a job coach or parent nearby to assist with some activities, notably making pizza, which involves using an oven. According to Poole, the program promotes independence and builds friendships through creation. “Folks with autism or developmental disabilities don’t always know how to meet others like themselves in their community,” she said. “I designed Café Creations to be an alternative way of learning and, at the same time, an alternative way of connecting with others. It provides that linkage and does so in a manner where there’s something creative happening. With this population, it’s important to peel back the support and get them to spread their wings.”

Asnuntuck Information Sessions

July 13, 22, 28; Aug. 6: Asnuntuck Community College has scheduled several virtual information sessions with the Admissions and Financial Aid departments during the summer. The sessions will be held on Monday, July 13 at 5 p.m.; Wednesday, July 22 at 3 p.m.; Tuesday, July 28 at 5 p.m.; and Thursday, Aug. 6 at 3 p.m. Prospective students need to attend only one of the sessions. Participants will be able to learn about the admissions and financial-aid process. The July 13 session will feature information regarding Connecticut’s community-college debt-free scholarship, Pledge to Advance Connecticut (PACT). Students must apply and be registered for a full-time schedule of courses by July 15 to be eligible for PACT. It is free to apply to the college. The sessions will also include time for questions and answers. To register for a session and learn how to register for classes, visit asnuntuck.edu/admissions/how-to-enroll. Registration for the fall semester is now open.

Healthcare Heroes Nominations

Through July 17: BusinessWest and its sister publication, the Healthcare News, will pay tribute to the heroes of COVID-19 by dedicating their annual Healthcare Heroes program in 2020 to those who are have emerged as true heroes during this crisis. The deadline for nominations is July 17. Healthcare Heroes was launched by the two publications in 2017 to recognize those working in this all-important sector of the region’s economy, many of whom are overlooked when it comes to traditional recognition programs. Over the years, the program has recognized providers, administrators, emerging leaders, innovators, and collaborators. For 2020, the program will shift its focus somewhat to the COVID-19 pandemic and all those who are working in the healthcare field or helping to assist it at this trying time. All manner of heroes have emerged this year, and we invite you to nominate one — or several — for what has become a very prestigious honor in Western Mass.: the Healthcare Heroes award. All we need is a 400- to 500-word essay and/or two-minute video entry explaining why the group or individual stands out as an inspiration, and a truly bright star in a galaxy of healthcare heroes. These nominations will be carefully considered by a panel of independent judges, who will select the class of 2020. For more information on how to nominate someone for the Healthcare Heroes class of 2020, visit businesswest.com/healthcare-heroes/nomination-form. Videos can be sent via dropbox to [email protected]. Healthcare Heroes is sponsored by Comcast Business and Elms College.

Nominations for Humane Awards

Through July 31: Dakin Humane Society is accepting nominations from the public for its Dakin Humane Awards until July 31. Nominees should be people who go out of their way to care for animals in need, people who volunteer to help animals, or people and/or animals who have provided significant public service or shown courage in a crisis. Finalists in each of the award categories will be picked from among the nominees and notified of their selection in August. The award ceremony will be livestreamed at a later date in the fall, and one winner in each of the categories will be announced. There are five awards to be bestowed: the Frances M. Wells Award, given to an individual recognized for notable contributions to the health and welfare of animals; the Youth Award, honoring a hero, age 16 or younger, whose extraordinary care and compassion makes a difference in the life of an animal, and makes the world a kinder and gentler place; the Champion Award, given to a public servant who makes life better for tens of thousands of animals and people in their community, and recognizing their dedication and compassion on behalf of animals and people in need; the Richard and Nathalie Woodbury Philanthropy Award, paying homage to an individual who displays a remarkable sense of stewardship in sharing time, talent, and financial resources to improve the lives of animals and people who love them; and the Animal Hero Award, recognizing an exceptional animal and handler (when applicable) whose valor and extraordinary devotion to people proved life-saving in disastrous or challenging heath circumstances. Nominations are being accepted online only at bit.ly/2NOcgps. Mail-in nominations will not be accepted. Nominees should be residents of Central or Western Mass. or Northern Connecticut.

MCLA Gallery 51 Virtual Artist Series

Through Aug. 8: MCLA Gallery 51 will continue its online program, the G51 Virtual Artist Series, live via Zoom at noon on alternating Saturdays. Local, regional, national, and international artists will give virtual tours of their studios and discuss their practices. Discussions with the artists will also be recorded for later viewing. The series kicked off on May 16. The gallery’s full spring programming schedule is available on its website. Upcoming artists include Sula Bermudez-Silverman (July 11), whose conceptual work intertwines multiple issues, investigating and critiquing the issues of race, gender, and economics; Kim Faler (July 25), a local, multi-disciplinary artist working in painting, drawing, installation, sculpture, and photography, whose art practice unpacks the emotional weight found within everyday objects and architecture; and Anina Major (Aug. 8), who works with topics of identity, slavery, the female body, Bahamian culture, and more. She considers her creative practice to be a response to continuous erasure and a culture that is constantly being oversimplified.

Submission Period for Virtual Art Show

Through Aug. 13: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NAMI Western Massachusetts will present a virtual art show this year, and is now accepting artwork for the show. Submissions are limited to individuals living with a mental-health diagnosis, and the artwork will be displayed on the organization’s website and social-media pages for a limited time, then switched out for new artwork. To submit, e-mail a picture of the art to [email protected]. Note the size of the piece, the medium, and the price if it is for sale. The artist should also specify if they want their name used. The deadline for submissions is Aug. 13.

Elms College Executive Leadership Breakfast

Sept. 22: Elms College has rescheduled its third annual Executive Leadership Breakfast due to state-mandated caution regarding large crowds and coronavirus. U.S. Rep. Richard Neal is still slated to be the keynote speaker for the event, which was originally scheduled for April 9. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, the college will announce more details as necessary. This annual event features talks by the region’s leaders on topics of relevance that impact all sectors of business and the economy in Western Mass. Speakers at past events have included Dennis Duquette, head of Community Responsibility at MassMutual and president of the MassMutual Foundation, and Regina Noonan Hitchery, retired vice president of Human Resources at Alcoa.

Opinion

Opinion

A quick look around downtown Springfield and other area communities would reveal that the economy, which had been in a kind of deep freeze for the better part of three months, is showing signs of coming back to life.

Let’s start with the tents. Indeed, they’re an interesting symbol of how the restaurant industry is emerging from a state-forced hibernation of sorts that saw them relegated to takeout service only. Such tents are now to be found in a number of parking lots, alleyways, and even closed streets as restaurants try to claw back with outdoor dining.

Perhaps the most visible sign of all this is Fort Street in downtown Springfield, where the owners of the iconic Student Prince restaurant have placed several tents and created an atmosphere that not only speaks of Europe — where outdoor dining is far more commonplace — but prompts one to wonder why it took a pandemic to create something like this. It’s a wonderful atmosphere that will be in place until the fall, and could become a yearly addition to the downtown landscape. Let’s hope it does.

And there are other signs of life as well, including the pending reopening of the Basketball Hall of Fame, the Springfield Museums, and other attractions. Tourism has become a huge part of this region’s economy, and this economic engine, if you will, won’t be firing on anything approaching all its cylinders until this sector roars back to life.

And that’s the sobering news amid the positive signs we’ve seen lately. Indeed, while these businesses are reopening, they are not roaring back — yet, anyway. As the story on page 10 reveals, hotels and tourist attractions have had a miserable spring, and the summer is dominated by question marks about whether the tourists will come back, and how many of them.

There is optimism that concern about traveling in anything but an automobile will spark a surge of interest in so-called staycations that might benefit the region and its many tourist attractions. The theory goes that, instead of traveling across the country or to other countries — or even Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard, for that matter — residents of this state and neighboring states might take in the attractions of Western Mass.

We have to hope some of this happens.

But matters are complicated by several factors, starting with the MGM casino and the many restrictions likely to be placed upon it. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is still discussing a number of guidelines, but at the moment, craps, poker, and roulette will not be allowed, and overall capacity might be set at perhaps 25% of previous levels. These restrictions will make it difficult for MGM to operate in anything approaching a profitable manner, and they will also limit the number of visitors who might come to the casino and then take in more of the region.

Then there’s the matter of the Big E. Huge questions surround what the 2020 fair might look like and whether there will even be a 2020 fair. No Big E, or even a much smaller Big E, would be a huge blow to the hospitality industry that depends on it.

So, while there are some signs of life in the region when it comes to the economy and tourism, we still have a long way to go. v

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Breaking Ground

 

Florence Bank broke ground earlier this month on its third Hampden County branch at 705 Memorial Dr. in Chicopee, the former Hu Ke Lau site. The full-service location will open later this year. The bank has been working with Marois Construction of South Hadley, HAI Architecture of Northampton, and R. Levesque Associates, an engineering firm in Westfield, on the project. Pictured: Florence Bank President and CEO Kevin Day (left) poses with Chicopee Mayor John Vieau at the groundbreaking.


Feeding the Front Lines

 

Ludlow-based Pioneer Valley Financial Group and Mill’s Tavern & Grille recently partnered to cook and deliver food to front-line workers during the pandemic. Starting on April 10, PV Financial donated $350 to Mill’s Tavern each week to help pay for the cost of food and delivery, while a GoFundMe campaign raised more than $2,280 from the community. The donations have allowed Mill’s Tavern and PV Financial to deliver more than 400 meals to hospitals, police and fire departments, and pharmacies across Western Mass., including the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke (pictured), Baystate Mary Lane in Ware, and CVS Pharmacy in Ludlow.

 


Deserving Scholars

This spring, the Holyoke Community College Foundation awarded nearly $210,000 in scholarships to 200 incoming, current, and transferring HCC students and will set a record for the number of scholarships it distributes for the 2020-21 academic year, with 233. The number of applications for scholarships this year increased by 22%, from 391 to 479. Pictured: HCC business major Alexandra Clark is the recipient of this year’s Marguerite I. Lazarz Memorial Scholarship from the HCC Foundation.

 

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Special Deliveries

With campus closed, Holyoke Community College donated its perishable food supplies to three area nonprofits: Martin Luther King Jr. Family Center in Springfield, the YWCA Transitional Living Program in Holyoke, and Easthampton Community Center. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts helped coordinate the donations.

load a cargo van with surplus produce and other food

Sarah Schmidt, director of programming for HCC’s Center for Excellence, and Stacy Graves, coordinator of the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute, load a cargo van with surplus produce and other food

ready to deliver a load of food

Mark Pronovost, director of Aramark/HCC Dining Services, gets ready to deliver a load of food to the Easthampton Community Center.

 


Needed Supplies

UMass Amherst recently donated 300 face shields — developed by UMass researchers, engineers, nurses, and other healthcare professionals — to the Skilled Nursing Center at Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing. UMass contributed more than $30,000 toward the initial production of face shields and hundreds of volunteer hours designing, testing, revising, and manufacturing them.

a box of shields designed and donated by UMass Amherst

Tomara Meegan (left), assistant director of Nursing and infection preventionist at Loomis Lakeside, and Patty Coughlin, director of Nursing at Loomis Lakeside, carry a box of shields designed and donated by UMass Amherst.

 

 


Gear for the Front Lines

Lenco Armored Vehicles recently donated nearly $300,000 worth of personal protective equipment to regional first responders working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, including sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and spray, respirators, masks, eyewear, gloves, protective clothing, and power air respirator supplies — about 35,000 pieces of equipment in all. Recipients include Dalton, Lanesborough, Pittsfield, and Richmond fire departments; Dalton, Lanesborough, and Pittsfield police departments; County Ambulance and Action Ambulance in Pittsfield; and the emergency room at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.

Community Spotlight

Community Spotlight

Mark Avery, co-founder of Two Weeks Notice Brewing, says the company is working hard to build its brand.

Mark Avery says he doesn’t tell the story as much as he used to — maybe because so many people have heard it by now — but he still gets asked on a fairly regular basis.

And he never tires of telling it, because it’s a good story — and, perhaps more importantly, it’s good marketing.

As he recalls, he was out driving one day and thinking about how great it would be to finally give his two weeks notice at work and start making a living doing what had become his passion — brewing beer.

“And that’s when a lightbulb went off in my head,” he said, “and Two Weeks Notice Brewing was essentially born. I Googled it to see if anyone else had it, and luckily no one else did.”

“The vast majority of what we see is redevelopment projects, and we see a steady amount of development happening every year.”

Today, Avery and business partner Derrick Upson — the individual to whom he left those two weeks notice — are brewing a number of labels at their location on Bosworth Street in West Springfield, across Memorial Avenue from the Big E. They include everything from ‘Resignation IPA’ to ‘Casual Friday,’ a pale ale; from ‘West Side Big Slide,’ another IPA that features the Big E’s famous yellow slide on the label, to ‘Bumby Love,’ an imperial stout. Meanwhile, the tap room the partners opened soon after labeling their first can has become an increasingly popular venue, as evidenced by the large crowd on a recent Saturday.

Thus, Two Weeks Notice has become one of many intriguing development stories in West Springfield in recent months. Or redevelopment stories, as the case may be. Indeed, while this community of 29,000 lies on the crossroads of New England, literally — both I-91 and the Mass Turnpike have exits in it — there isn’t much undeveloped land left. Thus, most of the new-business stories involve redevelopment of existing property.

City Planner Allyson Manuel says many of the business projects in West Springfield involve redevelopment of existing properties.

In the case of Two Weeks Notice, it was a comprehensive renovation of the former Angie’s Tortellinis property, a complicated undertaking, as we’ll see. And there have been several others in recent years, said City Planner Allyson Manuel, listing everything from a new seafood restaurant taking the site of the old Bertucci’s on Riverdale Street to remaking an old junkyard operation into the Hot Brass shooting and archery range just off Memorial Avenue.

And now, the city is looking to write more of these stories, especially at two landmark restaurants on or just off Memorial Avenue that are now sporting ‘closed’ signs in their windows.

One is the site that most still refer to as the Hofbrahaus, even though that restaurant closed several years ago, with 1105 Main (also the address) opening in that same space. The other is the small but nonetheless significant White Hut, an eatery with a very loyal following that closed abruptly a few weeks ago.

The site has been in the news almost constantly since, with TV film crews seen getting close-up shots of that aforementioned sign, with most of the news centered on exploratory efforts by Peter Picknelly and Andy Yee, principals of the Bean Restaurant Group, to launch another rescue operation.

The first, of course, was a reopening of another culinary landmark, the Student Prince in downtown Springfield, after it closed briefly in 2014. At press time, the partners were still essentially crunching numbers, said a spokesperson for the Bean Group, adding that a decision on the fate of the beloved burger restaurant would be coming “soon.”

Two landmark restaurants in West Side — the White Hut, above, and 1105 Main (formerly the Hofbrauhaus), now have ‘closed’ signs in their windows.

Meanwhile, there are other properties awaiting redevelopment, said Manuel, listing the former home to United Bank on Elm Street and a mill property off Front Street that was gifted to the city by Neenah Paper Co. in 2018, among others.

But the more pressing news involves infrastructure, she told BusinessWest, adding that the city, and especially businesses along Memorial Avenue, eagerly await the completion of what amounts to the replacement and widening of the Morgan-Sullivan Bridge, which connects the city to Agawam; the latest target date is late summer 2021, an improvement over the original timetable due to incentives being offered by the state for early completion. The other major project is an upgrade to Memorial Avenue itself, a comprehensive project that calls for reconfigured lanes and a bike lane and promises improved traffic flow.

For this, the latest installment in its Community Spotlight series, BusinessWest tells West Side’s story, which is increasingly one of redevelopment.

Feeling a Draught

Avery told BusinessWest that the Angie’s Tortellinis property — it actually had other uses after Angie’s moved to Westfield several years ago — had been vacant for some time when he and Upson first looked at it.

By then, at least a few other brewers had been through and decided that the property would be too difficult to convert for that use. They thought otherwise, although they conceded it would be a stern challenge.

“There were drop ceilings everywhere, the heat hadn’t been on in more than a year, probably … it was a dump when we got it,” he recalled, adding that a number of refrigeration units had to be ripped out and the area that is now that tap room required almost complete demolition and rebuilding.

Backing up a bit, and returning to that story about the name now over the door, he said Upson was his boss at a company called Pioneer Tool Supply, which was located in West Springfield when he started and eventually relocated to the industrial park in Agawam. When not working, Avery was spending most of his time home brewing — and thinking about taking that from a pastime to a career.

After that lightbulb moment noted earlier, he had a name, and he also had several recipes. He was set to partner with another individual and open a brewery in Westfield, but the two eventually concluded that the partnership wasn’t going to work. That’s when Upson, who by then was big into craft beers, entered the equation, and Avery eventually did give his two weeks notice.

They started selling cans in the fall of 2018 and haven’t looked back. The company’s various brands are now on tap in a number of area bars and restaurants, including several in West Springfield and Agawam, and loyal followers can buy cans at the brewery. On the Saturday we visited, Avery had just finished brewing a batch of what he called Performance Review 13 — and, yes, there were a dozen versions before it.

“These are the beers where I kind of play around with different hops, different yeasts, and different styles if I want to,” he explained. “It gives me a little creativity to break up the monotony of production.”

The tap room is now open Thursday through Sunday, and while business — and growth — have been steady, Avery says more aggressive marketing, and just getting the word out, is perhaps the company’s top priority at the moment.

“We’re working to get our name out — we’re still fairly unknown at this point,” he explained. “People will come in and say, ‘this is the first time we’re been here,’ or ‘we’ve never heard of you guys’ — even people in West Side. So we need to change that and grow the brand. For the most part, it’s just doing interesting and fun events.”

While Two Weeks Notice Brewing goes about building its brand, there are other things brewing in West Springfield, pun intended. Especially those infrastructure projects.

Like its neighbor to the west, Agawam, West Side has struggled during the lengthy but very necessary project to replace the 70-year-old Morgan-Sullivan Bridge. Gene Cassidy, president and CEO of the Big E, which worked with officials in both cities to minimize the impact of the bridge work during the fair’s 17-day run, said businesses along Memorial Avenue have definitely been affected by the project, which began roughly 18 months ago.

“In the late afternoons, traffic gets backed up all the way to our to our main entrance,” he said, noting that it is several hundred yards from the bridge. “Many businesses are struggling, and people are going elsewhere to do business.”

He praised the state for incentivizing the contractor handling the work, Palmer-based Northern Construction Service, thus pushing up the closing date and making this fall’s Big E hopefully the last that will have to cope with the bridge work.

But not long after that project is over, another much-anticipated project, the redesign and reconstruction of Memorial Avenue, will commence, said Manuel, noting there is no timetable at present, but the target date is the spring or summer of 2022 — after the bridge project is done.

When asked to summarize the scope of the project, she summoned the phrase ‘road diet’ to describe what will take place before elaborating.

West Springfield at a glance

Year Incorporated: 1774
Population: 28,529
Area: 17.5 square miles
County: Hampden
Residential Tax Rate: $16.99
Commercial Tax Rate: $32.65
Median Household Income: $40,266
Median Family Income: $50,282
Type of Government: Mayor, City Council
Largest Employers: Eversource Energy, Harris Corp., Home Depot, Interim Health Care, Mercy Home Care
* Latest information available

“This is the new best practice, and it involves reducing the amount of pavement while at the same time incorporating amenities or facilities for transportation other than personal vehicles, such as bikes, pedestrians, and buses,” she explained. “By designing it more efficiently, especially when it comes to the intersections and turning areas, you ideally need fewer lanes — that’s what is meant by road diet.

“The plans are not finalized,” she went on. “But it will have a bike lane and new sidewalks and trees; in addition to trying to improve traffic flow, it’s also a beautification project.”

Thus, there will be significant change to a thoroughfare that is already in a seemingly constant state of motion, not only with vehicular traffic, but also with businesses coming and going.

That’s certainly the case today, with a new, larger Planet Fitness opening in the Century Plaza, and the fate of both the White Hut and the Hofbrauhaus property still unknown.

Both landmarks date back to the 1930s, and they have become part of the landscape on Memorial Avenue, said Manuel, adding that the hope is that both will soon have new names over the door, or, in the case of the White Hut, perhaps the same name but with new ownership.

As for the Hofbrauhaus property, it presents both challenges and opportunities.

“The size of the facility is a bit daunting for another restaurant,” she noted. “But the location is so good that I’m sure that something will happen there.”

Meanwhile, movement is also a constant on the other major thoroughfare in the city, Riverdale Street, where the new seafood restaurant is set to open soon, said Manuel. It’s not far from a recently opened Marriott Courtyard, which was built on the site of the former Boston Billiards, yet another example of redevelopment in this city.

“The vast majority of what we see is redevelopment projects, and we see a steady amount of development happening every year,” she said, adding there are many other examples of this, including the ongoing expansion of Titan Industries on Baldwin Street, Hot Brass, and the Holyoke Creative Arts Center moving into one of the mills vacated by Neenah Paper.

Lager Than Life

The hope, and the expectation, is that this pattern will continue, Manuel said, adding that, while the city is indeed land-poor, it is opportunity-rich given its location, easy accessibility, and inventory of properties that can be redeveloped.

Sometimes it takes some imagination and determination — as was certainly the case with Two Weeks Notice and the former tortellini factory — but West Springfield has generally proven to be a mailing address worthy of such diligence.

Avery noted the same while finishing that batch of Performance Review 13, which will hopefully become yet another positive chapter in a business story written in a city where more such sagas are penned each year.

George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

Agenda

40 Under Forty Nominations

Through Feb. 14: BusinessWest is currently accepting nominations for the 40 Under Forty class of 2020. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 14. Launched in 2007, the program recognizes rising stars in the four counties of Western Mass. Nominations, which should be detailed in nature, should list an individual’s accomplishments within their profession as well as their work within the community. Nominations can be completed HERE. Nominations will be weighed by a panel of judges. The selected individuals will be profiled in the April 27 issue of BusinessWest and honored at the 40 Under Forty Gala on June 25 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. The event’s presenting sponsor is PeoplesBank, WWLP-22News is the media sponsor, and the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield is a partner. Other sponsorship opportunities are available.

Elms College Art Exhibit

Feb. 4 to March 2: The Borgia Gallery at Elms College of Our Lady of the Elms will present an exhibition of artwork by Andrae and Priya Nadkarni Green, married painters from Springfield. “Ambidextrous” will be on display in the gallery from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, except college holidays and school closures. An opening reception will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 4 from noon to 1 p.m. Andrae and Priya have been married for the better part of the last decade. Although they work separately in their respective styles, they find inspiration in similar experiences and concepts. The couple recently began working together through public art projects, teaching together, as well as challenging each other to ‘paint battles’ where they both paint the same image in their own styles. This exhibition celebrates the spirit of competition, camaraderie, and partnership. Each time the show travels, the work changes, and it is a chance to see their works in conversation with each other — to observe the similarities, differences, and the overall effect of the two bodies of work in harmony. Admission to the Borgia Gallery is free and open to the public. The gallery is located on the second floor of the Dooley College Center on the Elms College campus at 291 Springfield St. in Chicopee.

Black History Month Event at Bay Path

Feb. 5: Vocalist, strategist, and speaker Traciana Graves believes people have the ability to change the world with the power of their voice, and she’ll bring that inspirational message to Bay Path University as the keynote speaker for its Black History Month celebration. Having presented to more than 300 Fortune 500 companies and colleges, including Forbes, JPMorgan, American Express, and the WNBA, Graves strives to make the potentially uncomfortable conversation about diversity and inclusion safe, engaging, and effective. Voted one of America’s Most Fearless Women by the Huffington Post, Graves’ will bring her unique perspective to Bay Path with a discussion focusing on hopes, dreams, and social justice. The talk will begin at 7 p.m., with a reception to follow. This free event is open to the community and will be held on the Bay Path Longmeadow campus at Mills Theatre in Carr Hall, 588 Longmeadow St. For more information and to register, visit tracianagraves.eventbrite.com.

Rotary Club of Enfield Wine and Beer Tasting

Feb. 6: The Rotary Club of Enfield announced that local musician Brian Jarvis will perform at the club’s wine- and beer-tasting event from 6 to 8 p.m. in Asnuntuck Community College’s Conference Center. The evening includes live music, appetizers and desserts, beer and wine tastings, and a silent auction. Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased by contacting Julie Cotnoir at (860) 745-3350 or Caroline Salazar at (619) 997-0548.

Sweetheart Dance to Benefit Harmony House

Feb. 15: Harmony House of Western Massachusetts will be the beneficiary of the upcoming Sweetheart Dance sponsored by the Pioneer Valley Harley Owner’s Group (HOG) and the Knights of Columbus (K of C) Council 4044 of Chicopee, to be held at the Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. The event begins at 5 p.m. with cocktails, and dinner will be served at 6 p.m., followed by dancing, fun, and raffle prizes. The cost is $40 per person or $75 per couple, and included will be dinner, dessert, and music by DJ Stephan. Dress is casual — Valentine’s Day attire is optional — and seating is open. Proceeds from this event will benefit Harmony House of Western Massachusetts, a home for the terminally ill, along with the Thanksgiving Dinner produced annually by the Knights of Columbus, Council 4044. Tickets are available at the K of C member lounge on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6 to 7:30 p.m., or by calling Steve Dubreuil of the K of C at (413) 250-1677, Libby Martel of Pioneer Valley HOG at (413) 530-1389, or Amy Corcoran of Harmony House at (954) 495-3236.

Children’s Safety Program

Feb. 15, 22: Holyoke Community College (HCC) is running a two-day program designed to teach children how to protect themselves from violence and harm in their daily lives. The program, called radKIDS, is for children 6 to 12 years old and will run over two consecutive Saturdays at HCC’s Bartley Center for Athletics and Recreation. The sessions will be led by Kellie Cournoyer-Cronk and Maggie Brown, two area law-enforcement veterans and trainers certified by the radKIDS national nonprofit network. According to its website, radKIDS is a “fun, activity-based program” whose curriculum includes home, school, and vehicle safety; bullying prevention; abduction defense; and personal space/personal touch safety with a goal of “replacing fear with knowledge, skills, and power by enhancing a child’s critical-thinking abilities and physical-resistance skills.” The $75 program fee includes snacks, water, and a T-shirt. To register, visit hcc.edu/bce and search for ‘radKIDS’ or call HCC Community Services at (413) 552-2123.

Real-estate Licensing Course

Feb. 19 to March 19: The Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley will sponsor a 40-hour, 14-class sales licensing course to help individuals prepare for the Massachusetts real-estate salesperson license exam. The course will be completed on March 19. Tuition is $400 and includes the book and materials. For an application, call the Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley at (413) 785-1328 or visit www.rapv.com.

Legal Interpreting Certificate Program

Starting Feb. 25: Interested in working as a legal interpreter? Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will a training course that runs through April, with classes meeting Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Offered as a certificate program through the Workforce Development Center at STCC, this class is open to Spanish-, Portuguese-, Arabic-, and Russian-speaking students who would like to expand their interpreting skills in legal settings. Interpreting is a high-demand field, with jobs expected to grow by 19% through 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Large increases in the number of non-English-speaking people in the U.S. will drive growth, the bureau reports. The course will cover the most in-demand types of hearings, such as due-process hearings, unemployment hearings, and depositions. Students will learn legal terminology and procedural protocols needed to interpret for these various types of hearings. In addition, students will have the opportunity for intense practice through mock hearings, which will give them the experience and comfort level needed to apply for work in the field. Trained legal interpreters are in demand throughout Massachusetts and nationwide in law offices, schools, state agencies, and contracting agencies. For more information and to enroll online, visit stcc.edu/wdc/descriptions/legal-interpreting. To contact the Workforce Development Center office, call (413) 755-4225.

Difference Makers Gala

March 19: The 11th annual Difference Makers gala will take place at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. BusinessWest launched its Difference Makers program in 2009 to celebrate individuals, groups, organizations, and families that are positively impacting the Pioneer Valley and are, as the name suggests, making a difference in this region. The class of 2020 is profiled in this issue of BusinessWest. Tickets cost $75. To reserve a spot, e-mail [email protected] or visit businesswest.com. Difference Makers is sponsored by Burkhart Pizzanelli, Royal, P.C., and TommyCar Auto Group, while the Tom Cosenzi Driving for the Cure Charity Golf Tournement, MHA, and United Way of Pioneer Valley are partners. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available.

Women’s Leadership Conference

March 27: Bay Path University’s division of Strategic Alliances announced that producer, author, entrepreneur, educator, and, of course, top model Tyra Banks will bring her bold attitude, unique style, and well-honed business acumen to Springfield as the keynote speaker at the 25th annual Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC). This year’s theme, “Own Your Now,” will encourage conference guests to examine the forces that have shaped their careers, relationships, and aspirations; recognize what drives them and what holds them back; and empower them to confidently move forward. Suzy Batiz, who will deliver the morning address to open the conference, earned a place on Forbes’ list of most successful self-made women — and an estimated net worth of $260 million — by creating of a suite of eco-minded household products, including Poo-Pourri, a toilet spray she developed to combat bathroom odors. Patrice Banks (no relation to Tyra) will address the audience at lunchtime. She is the owner of the Girls Auto Clinic and Clutch Beauty Bar, an auto mechanic shop and beauty bar staffed by women. She is also the founder of the SheCANics movement, which looks to demystify car repair and engage more women in the automotive industry. For further information on the conference and to register, visit www.baypathconference.com.

Agenda

40 Under Forty Nominations

Through Feb. 14: BusinessWest is currently accepting nominations for the 40 Under Forty class of 2020. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 14. Launched in 2007, the program recognizes rising stars in the four counties of Western Mass. Nominations, which should be detailed in nature, should list an individual’s accomplishments within their profession as well as their work within the community. Nominations can be completed online at businesswest.com/40-under-forty-nomination-form. Nominations will be weighed by a panel of judges. The selected individuals will be profiled in the April 27 issue of BusinessWest and honored at the 40 Under Forty Gala on June 25 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. The event’s presenting sponsor is PeoplesBank, media sponsor WWLP22 News, and partner YPS of Greater Springfield. Other sponsorship opportunities are available.

Howdy Award Nominations

Through March 1: Through March 1, the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau (GSCVB) is providing an opportunity to thank individuals who provide great service by nominating them for a Howdy Award for Hospitality Excellence. To nominate someone, visit explorewesternmass.com and click on the Howdy logo. For 25 years, the Howdy Awards for Hospitality Excellence program has recognized outstanding restaurant servers, attraction attendants, bartenders, hotel personnel, retail clerks, and others across Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties. Official categories include accommodations, attractions, banquets and meetings, beverage, food casual, food tableside, public service, retail, transportation, and people’s choice (a category voted on by the public via social media). Since the program’s inception, she noted, dozens of winners have taken home a trophy from the annual awards dinner. This year’s dinner is Monday, May 18 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. Howdy sponsors for 2020 include Yankee Candle Village, Eastern States Exposition, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, MGM Springfield, MassMutual Center, Aladco Linen Service, Freedom Credit Union, New Belgium Fat Tire, Baystate Health, People’s United Bank, iHeartMedia, WWLP, the Republican, and MassLive.

Valley District Dental Society Winter Membership Meeting

Jan. 22: The Valley District Dental Society will hold its winter membership meeting at Hotel Northampton, 36 King St., Northampton. The event will begin with cocktails at 5 p.m., followed by dinner and a business meeting from 6 to 7 p.m., and a seminar, “Transitioning: Planning Your Future,” from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Practice owners and doctor associates will learn about how owners prepare for transition and how associates evaluate a practice for associateship or purchase. Doctors will hear from the professionals who position private practices for transition and advise associates on how to choose a practice that will help them grow and thrive. Presenters include Carolyn Carpenter, CPA, Rosen & Associates; Stefan Green, Bank of America Practice Solutions; Matt Kolcum, CARR Health Care Realty; Maria Melone, MORR Dental Transitions; and Patricia Sweitzer, Sweitzer Construction (facilitator). The cost to attend is $55. To register and select a meal option, visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4475373.

Chefs for Jimmy

Jan. 24: From 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., the Student Prince & the Fort Restaurant will join nearly 30 other restaurants to participate in the 30th annual Chefs for Jimmy at Chez Josef in Agawam. Chefs for Jimmy is an annual fundraising event that, since 1990, has raised more than $1.8 million for adult and pediatric cancer care and cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute of Boston. Chefs for Jimmy offers a delicious way to raise funds because it features dishes created by more than 30 chefs from 30 different local restaurants. It’s a fun culinary tasting tour, and the event also includes an ‘opportunity drawing’ and a silent auction. The theme for 2020 to be reflected in the décor and the food presentation is “one night of peace, love, and food.” Participating restaurants will include 350 Grill, Burgundy Brook Café, Cerrato’s Pastry Shop, the Chandler Steakhouse, Chez Josef, Dana’s Main Street Tavern, Delaney’s Grill & the Mick, Elegant Affairs, Fazio’s Ristorante, Johnny’s Tavern, Leone’s Restaurant, Longmeadow Country Club, Max’s Tavern, Murphy’s Pub, Nadim’s Downtown, Nina’s Cookies, Nosh Restaurant & Café, On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, Pierce Brothers Coffee Roasters, Pintu’s Indian Restaurant, Rondeau’s Dairy Bar, Shortstop Bar & Grill, the Starting Gate at GreatHorse, Steaming Tender, Storrowton Tavern Restaurant & Carriage House, the Student Prince & the Fort, Tekoa Country Club, Tokyo Asian Cuisine, and Tucker’s Restaurant.

Workshop on Wage and Hour Laws

Jan. 28: MassHire Holyoke Career Center will present a free workshop on the laws enforced by the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division, including the payment of wages, minimum wage, overtime, and earned sick time. At the event — slated for 8 to 10 a.m. at 850 High St., Holyoke — guest speaker Barbara Dillon DeSouza will also discuss the broad powers of the Fair Labor Division to investigate and enforce violations of these laws and explain the various ways a company can become the subject of an investigation. Finally, she will note some resources available to companies to keep informed of the laws. DeSouza is an assistant attorney general in the Fair Labor Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. She focuses on enforcing Massachusetts wage and hour laws, including prevailing-wage laws. She has been with the office since March 2010. Coffee and light refreshments will be provided. Seating is limited, so attendees are encouraged to reserve a seat early. Register by contacting Yolanda Rodriguez at (413) 322-7186 or [email protected].

All Ideas Pitch Contest

Feb. 5: Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) Berkshire County is holding an All Ideas Pitch Contest from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Green at 85 Main St., Suite 105, North Adams. EforAll’s first Pitch Contest at the Berkshire Museum in October created a lot of community buzz, with more than 100 attendees and 11 companies competing. The big winner that night was Kaitlyn Pierce of Binka Bear. Described as “Shark Tank without the teeth,” EforAll’s friendly, free event features a business showcase and then pitches from six pre-selected contestants and two more that are added the night of the event. Each participant is given two and a half minutes to pitch a business or nonprofit idea to a panel of judges and the audience. At the end of it, EforAll gives away seed money to help launch these ideas. The first-place finisher wins $1,000, second place gets $750, third place wins $500, and the audience favorite also wins $500. Applications and audience registration are both available online at www.eforall.org/berkshire-county.

Black History Month Event at Bay Path

Feb. 5: Vocalist, strategist, and speaker Traciana Graves believes people have the ability to change the world with the power of their voice, and she’ll bring that inspirational message to Bay Path University as the keynote speaker for its Black History Month celebration. Having presented to more than 300 Fortune 500 companies and colleges, including Forbes, JPMorgan, American Express, and the WNBA, Graves strives to make the potentially uncomfortable conversation about diversity and inclusion safe, engaging, and effective. Voted one of America’s Most Fearless Women by the Huffington Post, Graves’ will bring her unique perspective to Bay Path with a discussion focusing on hopes, dreams, and social justice. The talk will begin at 7 p.m., with a reception to follow. This free event is open to the community and will be held on the Bay Path Longmeadow campus at Mills Theatre in Carr Hall, 588 Longmeadow St. For more information and to register, visit tracianagraves.eventbrite.com.

Difference Makers Gala

March 19: The 11th annual Difference Makers gala will take place at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. BusinessWest launched its Difference Makers program in 2009 to celebrate individuals, groups, organizations, and families that are positively impacting the Pioneer Valley and are, as the name suggests, making a difference in this region. The class of 2020 will be revealed in the Feb. 3 issue of BusinessWest. Tickets cost $75. To reserve spot, e-mail [email protected] or visit HERE. Event sponsorship opportunities are available. Sponsored by Royal, P.C.

Women’s Leadership Conference

March 27: Bay Path University’s division of Strategic Alliances announced that producer, author, entrepreneur, educator, and, of course, top model Tyra Banks will bring her bold attitude, unique style, and well-honed business acumen to Springfield as the keynote speaker at the 25th annual Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC). This year’s theme, “Own Your Now,” will encourage conference guests to examine the forces that have shaped their careers, relationships, and aspirations; recognize what drives them and what holds them back; and empower them to confidently move forward. Suzy Batiz, who will deliver the morning address to open the conference, earned a place on Forbes’ list of most successful self-made women — and an estimated net worth of $260 million — by creating of a suite of eco-minded household products, including Poo-Pourri, a toilet spray she developed to combat bathroom odors. Patrice Banks (no relation to Tyra) will address the audience at lunchtime. She is the owner of the Girls Auto Clinic and Clutch Beauty Bar, an auto mechanic shop and beauty bar staffed by women, and the founder of the SheCANics movement, which looks to demystify car repair and engage more women in the automotive industry. Breakout sessions — focused on navigating the complicated relationships, personalities, and dynamics of the workplace and the impact those have on our careers and opportunities — will be led by bestselling authors and researchers including Laura Huang, Harvard Business School professor and author of Edge: Turning Adversity into Advantage; Emily Esfahani Smith, author of The Power of Meaning; Dr. Ramani Durvasula, licensed clinical psychologist and author of Don’t You Know Who I Am: How to Stay Sane in the Era of Narcissism, Entitlement and Incivility; and Jennifer Romolini, author of Weird in a World That’s Not: A Career Guide for Misfits. For further information on the conference and to register, visit www.baypathconference.com.

Incorporations

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

AMHERST

Amherst Youth Football Inc., 170 Chestnut St. Suite 1, Amherst, MA 01002. Michael Isabelle, 7 Cadwell St., Pelham, MA 01002. To promote youth football and to provide instruction related to the game of football in an environment that is positive and safe for children.

BARRE

Barre Food Pantry, A Non-For Profit Corporation, 167 Grogan Road, Barre, MA 01005. David Petrovick, same. To collect and provide food and to serve members of our community who face insufficiency, food insecurity, or hunger.

BELCHERTOWN

All Connections Electric Inc., 91 Eskett Road, Belchertown, MA 01007. Cory Mckenna, same. To provide electrical contract and service work to businesses and residences.

CHICOPEE

Western Mass Distance Project Inc., 27 Reed St., Chicopee, MA 01020. Joseph Czupryna, 1325 Commonwealth Ave., Apt 25, Boston, MA 02134. To foster national and international amateur sports competition; to support and develop amateur athletes for participation in national and international competition in track and field and long-distance running events.

Black Cat Theater Inc., 60 Pembroke Place, Chicopee, MA 01020. Richard S. Matteson, 9 Pine Grove Dr., South Hadley, MA 01075. Real estate.

Chicopee Dentistry and Braces, P.C., 591 Memorial Marketplace , Chicopee, MA 01020. Patrick Assioun,10 Museum Way, Unit 2424, Cambridge, MA 02141. General and orthodontic dentistry.

HOLYOKE

Webmaster — Tri-County Baseball Inc., 287 Essex St., # 601, Holyoke, MA 01040. Kevin McGurk, 74 Overlook Dr., West Springfield, MA 01040. To provide publicity and promotional activities for the tri-county baseball league.

INDIAN ORCHARD

Deep Cleaning Auto Detailing Inc., 337 Main St., Indian Orchard, MA 01151. Nehemias Enrique Rodriguez, same. Auto detailing.

LONGMEADOW

C.F. Murphy & Associates Inc., 39 Oakwood Dr., Longmeadow, MA 01106. Caroline F. Murphy, same. Real estate appraisal.

ORANGE

CJ Asian Inc., 326 East Main St., Orange, MA 01364. Kan So, same. To engage in restaurant business.

SUNDERLAND

Country Strong Fitness Inc., 231 Plumtree Road, Sunderland, MA 01375. Brennan Mckenna, same. Training and fitness.

CVA Soccer, Inc., 52 Kulessa Cross Road, Sunderland, MA 01375. Ailton R. Monteiro, 30 Colonial Village, Amherst, MA 01002. To promote and execute programs that increase awareness and participation in soccer, culture, and education initiatives within the community and internationally.

WEST SPRINGFIELD

American Sport A+ Inc., 99 Pine St., West Springfield, MA 01089. Asif Bayramov, same. To improve judo and other sports, write and print books, as well as to produce a documentary in the area.

Cannabis Matters Inc., 4 Wilder Terrace, West Springfield, MA 01089. Michael Anthony Skowron, same. Marketing, online t-shirts, advertising, education.

Car Shipped Inc., 96 Kings Highway, West Springfield, MA 01089. Vitaliy Dipon, same. Transportation.

WESTIFELD

300 Union Street Inc., 300 Union St., Westfield, MA 01085. Armand R. Cote, 149 Birnie Ave., West Springfield, MA 01089. To own and operation commercial and residential real estate.

Cannabis Connection Inc., 48 Elm St., Suite 3, Westfield, MA 01085. Thomas P. Keenan, same. Retail sale of consumer products.

Community Spotlight

Community Spotlight

MJ Adams, Greenfield’s director of Communty and Economic Development

Let’s get the bad news out of the way. And it certainly is bad news.

Wilson’s department store, an anchor and destination in downtown Greenfield for a century or so, will be closing its doors as its owner moves into retirement, leaving a very large hole to fill in the middle of Main Street.

The store was practically synonymous with the city and its downtown, drawing visitors of all ages who wanted to shop in one of the last old-time department stores in this region and maybe in the state.

“It’s devastating and it’s heartbreaking because it’s part of the fabric of the community,” said Diana Szynal, executive director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, headquartered on Main Street in Greenfield. “This will be a serious loss for Greenfield, but…”

That ‘but’ constitutes what amounts to the good news.

Indeed, while unquestionably a loss, the closing of Wilson’s — which was certainly not unexpected by most — isn’t producing anything approaching the hand-wringing such news would have generated a decade or even five years ago.

Redevelopment of this large and highly visible site will certainly pose challenges. But instead of focusing on that aspect of the equation, most are consumed by the other side — the opportunity side, which Szynal referenced as she finished her sentence.

“We are looking at this as an opportunity,” she said. “We know something good will go there, something that reflects a changing landscape in retail.”

Meanwhile, there are enough good things happening and enough positive energy in this city that most are thinking this is something Greenfield can deal with and perhaps even benefit from in the long run as the retail world changes.

Jeremy Goldsher, left, and Jeff Sauser, co-founders of Greenspace co-working space.

As for those good things and positive energy … it’s a fairly long and impressive list that includes:

• New businesses such as the Rise Above coffee shop, and established businesses under new ownership, such as the Greenfield Garden Cinema, another downtown anchor;

• A refocused Greenfield Business Assoc. (GBA), now under the leadership of coordinator Rachel Roberts;

• A burgeoning cultural economy headlined by the Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in the heart of downtown, but also a growing number of arts-related ventures;

• Co-working spaces — such as Greenspace, located above Hawks and Reed, as well as Another Castle, a facility that has attracted a number of video-game-related businesses — that are attracting young professionals and bringing more vibrancy to the downtown;

GCET, the municipal provider of reliable high-speed internet, a service that that has made those co-work spaces possible;

The Hive, a makers space now under development on Main Street, just a block or so down from Wilson’s;

• Rail service, specifically in the form of the Yankee Flyer, which brings two trains a day to the city, and enables one to travel to New York and back the same day;

• A new town library, which is expected to bring more vibrancy — and another co-working space — to downtown; and

• A noticeable tightening of the housing market, a tell-tale sign of progress.

“I have some employees who are trying to buy homes in Greenfield, and the inventory is moving so fast, they’re having a hard time getting something,” said Paul Hake, president of HitPoint, a video-game maker and anchor tenant in the Another Castle co-working space. “We have someone who’s trying to buy here from Los Angeles; he’s very excited, but he says, ‘every house I look at is gone by the time I can make an offer.’ The market’s hot, and that’s always good.”

The landscape in downtown Greenfield is changing. Long-time anchor Wilson’s is closing, while new businesses, such as the coffee shop Rise Above, have opened their doors.

These pieces to a large puzzle are coming together and complementing one another, thus creating an attractive picture and intriguing landing spot for entrepreneurs looking for quality of life and an affordable alternative to Boston or Northampton. And they’re also creating momentum that, as noted, will hopefully make the closing of Wilson’s a manageable loss.

“We’re sad to see Wilson’s go,” said William Baker, president of Baker Office Supply, another Main Street staple (pun intended) since the 1930s, and also president of the Greenfield Business Assoc. “But we’re all excited to see what comes next.”

Roberts agreed.

“Downtown is at a crossroads, and we’re working together to see what fits and put the pieces together,” she noted, adding that there is a great deal of collaboration going on as the community hits this fork in the road, an important ingredient in its resurgence. “We support each other, and that’s huge. I’ve lived in plenty of other places where you see isolation and people hitting walls. We don’t hit walls here — we just make a new window and figure out how you’re going to reach across that window to your neighbor and say, ‘how are we going to make this work?’”

For this, the latest installment of its Community Spotlight series, BusinessWest opens a window onto Greenfield, or what could be called a new Greenfield.

Banding Together

Jeremy Goldsher was born in Greenfield and grew up in nearby Conway. Like many other young people, he moved on from Franklin County to find opportunity, but unlike most, he returned to his roots — and found it there, in a number of different ways.

Indeed, he’s now at the forefront of a number of the initiatives creating momentum in Greenfield. He and Jeff Sauser co-founded Greenspace, which bills itself as “flexible, on-demand co-working space in the heart of downtown,” and is part of the ownership team at Hawks and Reed, which is drawing people from across the region, and well beyond, with a diverse lineup of shows, ranging from open-mic night on Jan. 7 to Bombtrack, a Rage Against the Machine tribute, on Jan. 10.

He’s also on a host of committees, including the Downtown Greenfield Neighborhood Assoc. and the GBA, and was active in the push for a new library.

He told BusinessWest there is considerable positive energy in the city, generated by a host of factors, but especially a burgeoning cultural economy, a growing number of young entrepreneurs finding their way to the city (thanks to fast, reliable internet service), and a downtown that is becoming ever more attractive to the younger generations.

What’s made it all possible, he noted, is a spirit of collaboration and a number of groups working together.

“It really does a take a village,” he said. “It’s such a blessed time to be a part of this community; there’s a wave of construction and development happening, and it’s just exciting to be part of it.”

MJ Adams, director of Community and Economic Development for Greenfield, agreed. She told BusinessWest that, as a new year and a new mayoral administration — Roxann Wedegartner was elected last November — begins, a number of initiatives launched over the past several years are starting to generate progress and vibrancy.

These include everything from the new courthouse, transportation center, and parking garage in the downtown to GCET’s expanding footprint; from Greenfield Community College’s growing presence downtown — and across the city, for that matter — to redevelopment of the former Lunt Silversmith property into a healthcare campus.

“The city conducted a master-planning process about five years ago that really engaged the community in a robust conversation of what we saw as our future,” Adams explained. “As we come up on the five-year anniversary of that initiative, the community is talking about focusing more specifically on the downtown and downtown revitalization.

“We’ve seen a major shift in how our downtown plays itself out,” she went on. “And I think we’re trying to figure out what role the city should be playing and what’s the role of the various partners in the community as we try to continue moving forward and seeing Greenfield become the robust, vibrant arts and cultural hub of Franklin County.”

There are a number of these partners, starting with GCC, the only college in Franklin County. The school has long had a presence in the downtown, and is working to become more impactful in areas ranging from workforce development to entrepreneurship, said Mary Ellen Fydenkevez, chief Academic and Student Affairs officer.

As examples, she said the college, which is in the midst of its own strategic-planning process, has launched a creative-economy initiative in collaboration with retired Congressman John Olver; put together a ‘Take the Floor’ event, a pitch contest with a $10,000 first prize; and blueprinted a new ideation center to be created in the East Building within the school’s main campus.

“There, we hope to bring together all different kinds of entrepreneurs to work together in a working space,” she explained, adding that the college plans to stage workshops on various aspects of entrepreneurship to help fledgling businesses develop.

Meanwhile, it plans to start a new business of its own, a coffee shop to be managed by student interns.

“One of our focal points is experiential learning,” she told BusinessWest. “And this business will provide that — it will give students opportunities to learn while doing; they’ll be running their own business.”

Meanwhile, on the academic side, the college is looking at new programs to support workforce-building initiatives in healthcare precision manufacturing and other sectors, and it is also blazing a trail, if you will, with a new program in adventure education.

Indeed, the school recently received approval from the state Department of Higher Education for an associate-degree program to focus on preparing individuals to lead businesses in the outdoor-adventure sector, which includes ziplining, rafting, and more.

“We feel that Western Mass. is a great place for such a program,” Fydenkevez said. “And we’re optimistic that we’ll get some good response; this is an important part of the economy here.”

Art of the Matter

The same can be said of the broad arts and entertainment sector that has emerged over the past several years, said Rachel Katz, owner of the Greenfield Gallery, billed as the city’s premier (and also its only) art gallery, and president of the Crossroads Cultural District.

“I’m a big believer in the creative economy driving growth, especially after an industrial exodus, as we’ve seen in so many small New England towns — it’s a model we’ve seen repeated all through the country,” said Katz, who converted the former Rooney’s department store in 2015 with the intention of creating a gallery and leading the way in a creative-economy revival.

“I saw when I came here that there were already a lot of creative people here doing some amazing things,” Katz went on. “There just wasn’t a home for them; I created a home.”

Since then, the arts and music sector, if you will, has continued to grow, said Katz, who believes it is leading the revival now taking place. And another major piece to the puzzle with be added with the Hive makers space.

Like other facilities of this type taking shape in other communities, The Hive will be a membership-based community workshop with tools and equipment — from computer-controlled precision machining equipment to 3D printers to traditional sewing machines — made available to these members.

“This space is critical,” Katz said, “because it provides a bridge between the creative economy and the more traditional technological economy. And the one resource we still have — it’s never gone away despite the closing of all the tap-and-die shops — is the people that are here.

Jeremy Goldsher at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center, the anchor of a growing cultural economy in Greenfield.

“Those people still have skills and ideas; they just don’t have a place to actualize them,” she went on. “The Hive will give these people an outlet, and when you put tools in the hands of people with ideas, only good things can happen.”

Good things also happen when you can give people with ideas reliable, high-speed internet and attractive spaces in which to work, said Sauser, Goldsher’s partner at Greenspace and an urban-planning consultant by trade.

He told BusinessWest that the Greenspace model is to take obsolete or underutilized space and “make it cool again.” He and Goldsher have done this above Hawks and Reed and across the street at 278 Main Street, and they’re currently scouting other locations in which to expand.

Rachel Roberts, coordinator of a revitalized Greenfield Business Assoc.

Their spaces have become home to a diverse membership base, he said, one that includes an anchor tenant, smaller businesses, and individuals. Above Hawks and Reed, the anchor tenant is Australis Aquaculture, a producer and marketer of farm-raised barramundi — with the farm in Vietnam.

“They wanted to move their executive and sales teams from Montague to downtown Greenfield, in part to retain staff, keep people happy, and have people enjoy coming to work — many of their employees now walk to work,” Sauser explained, adding that the other anchor, Common Media, a digital-marketing company, was based on Route 9 in a building people didn’t enjoy coming to.

Both moves speak volumes about Greenfield’s revitalization, he went on, adding that both companies have lower overhead then they had before, and their employees are happier, both strong selling points.

“My observation, and my personal experience, is that Greenfield is great at attracting people who are looking for a certain quality of life and sense of community — and can work wherever they want,” he noted. “And there’s more and more people like that in this world.”

Creating a Buzz

All those we spoke with said that easily the best thing Greenfield has going for it at present is a spirit of collaboration, a number of parties, public and private, working together to forge a new, stronger, and more diverse economy.

This collaborative spirit is being celebrated — sort of — in another intriguing initiative certain to bring more color to the downtown. It’s the latest in a region-wide series of public art-installation projects, initiatives that brought dozens of painted sneakers to Springfield, bears to Easthampton, terriers to West Springfield, and C5As to Chicopee.

Greenfield will soon be populated with giant bees, said Sarah Kanaby, board president of Progress Partnership Inc.

“These bees are a symbol of the collective energy and the buzz — there have been 5 million bee puns to come out of this project — that we’re seeing in Greenfield,” she explained, noting that artists are painting and decorating the bees now, and they are scheduled to be installed in May or June. “We strongly believe, because of Greenfield’s connection to the modern beehive and all that the beehive represents in terms of collectivism and cooperation, that this is the right image.”

Roberts agreed, noting that a revitalized GBA is one of those groups working with other public and private entities to bring more vibrancy to the downtown and the city as a whole.

“We’re trying to work more collaboratively with the town government to create more things to benefit businesses here in Greenfield as well as the greater community,” she said, adding that one example of this is the addition of new holiday lights on the town common and other holiday-season touches throughout the downtown.

“We’re focusing on taking what we’ve already done and making those programs better, and also finding new ways to support the businesses as well as the community,” she said, adding that, while much attention is directed toward new businesses and attracting still more ventures, her agency doesn’t want to look past long-standing anchors, both small and large, that are still a big part of the picture.

Efforts toward securing not only a new library but also a new fire station are part of this work, she said, adding both facilities are desperately needed, and both with contribute toward quality of life and a greater sense of pride in the community.

Baker, the third-generation owner of the family business, one that has been on Main Street since 1936, agreed, and noted that the GBA has given a voice to a business community that historically hasn’t had one, and at a time when its voice is needed.

“The downtown is re-inventing itself right now; we’re in the midst of trying to figure out what a downtown should be in this new day and age,” he told BusinessWest. “And in talking to people, I think we’re on the right track; there are a lot of great new ideas. We just have to continue with the creative economy, the co-work space, the fantastic internet service that we have, and draw people downtown as we try to figure out the next chapter and what a downtown should look like.”

What’s in Store?

This brings us back to the elephant in the room — the closing of Wilson’s and the huge void it will leave downtown — and where we started this discussion.

Yes, this development is a blow to the city and the end of the area in a number of ways. But this is a new era Greenfield and a different time.

Specifically, it’s a time of collaboration and working together to create new and different kinds of opportunities and new uses for existing spaces.

“Wilson’s was an anchor for this downtown for the longest time, for 137 years,” Adams said. “But it’s exciting to think about what’s next; we’re about to turn the page and see what’s next.”

As Roberts said, those working within this collaborative don’t hit walls, they create new windows. And the view from those windows is very promising.

George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

Health Care

More Than a Gym

Dexter Johnson says people who work downtown are excited about having the YMCA nearby.

Dexter Johnson can rattle off the amenities found in any chain gym. Weights and cardio equipment. A sauna or pool. Perhaps a playroom for kids to hang out while their parents work out.

But the YMCA offers more than just fitness equipment and childcare for its members — it gives them a community, said Johnson, CEO of YMCA of Greater Springfield, which recently relocated from Chestnut Street in Springfield to Tower Square in the heart of downtown.

The nonprofit recently held its grand opening, and is well underway with programs, fitness classes, and more activities open to members.

The fact that Tower Square, Monarch Place, 1550 Main Street, and other surrounding offices are home to more than 2,000 employees in downtown Springfield is one of several benefits of the YMCA’s move, Johnson told BusinessWest. “The reception has been great. The people that work in this building or in the adjoining buildings have been excited about having us here.”

And it’s no secret why.

The new Child Care Center for the Springfield Y boasts a 15,000-square-foot education center, including classrooms, serving infants through elementary-school students. The Wellness Center continues its popular fitness and health programming with a new, 12,000-square-foot facility on the mezzanine level of Tower Square, complete with a group exercise room, state-of-the-art spin room, sauna, steam room, and walking track.

But Johnson knows the Y is more than just a gym — it’s a cause-driven organization that focuses on giving back to the community through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.

“We don’t call ourselves a gym, despite the fact that we have gym equipment,” he said. “We are a community organization, and this is just one of the ways that we serve the community.”

The Bigger Picture

One of the many programs the Y offers is LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, a 12-week personal-training program for adult cancer survivors offered without cost to participants. It also provides families with nearly $700,000 in financial scholarships every year — just two examples of how the Y is much more than just a gym, Johnson said.

“Our goal as an organization is to really make the Y stronger,” he noted, adding that the move to a new facility will greatly reduce costs to allow the organization to expand its services and impact. “The Y is looking to serve the community and to help from the spirit, mind, and body aspects of what people need.”

Before the move, Johnson anticipated the Y would lose about 20% of its members due to lack of a pool and change of location, but added that it has since gained new members and partners that are taking advantage of the services. About 50 new memberships were sold before the move into the new space, just because people knew it was coming.

“Nearly 2,000 people work in these three buildings, so we’re really hoping that those folks will understand the convenience of having something like this right here and not having to go to your car and drive elsewhere to meet your wellness needs,” he said.

Right now, the number of membership units, both families and individuals, is up to about 1,000. In order to increase these numbers, Johnson says the Y is giving tours, reaching out to local businesses and neighbors, and will be offering specials starting in 2020 to get people in the door.

“We’re hoping that we will get a good turnout of people that will give us a try,” he said, adding that a new sauna, steam room, and more than 40 group exercise classes a week are just some of the benefits.

While welcoming those newcomers, Johnson emphasized that the Y is also hoping its long-time members will enjoy the new facility as well.

“Despite the fact that we are heavily focused on the business population, we continue to serve the population as a whole, and we want our members to remember that part because that’s crucial for us,” he said. “We’re really looking to build upon the existing membership by moving here.”

A New Venture

While the new location has more limited space than the original, Johnson says he’s focused on making the most of the new location. That includes utilizing the parking garage by offering members free parking for up to three hours — as well as letting people know what other amenities exist in Tower Square, from retail and banking to UMass Amherst and numerous restaurants, most of them in the food court.

“We understand that the more activity and the more action taking place in this building, the better for everyone,” he said.

Overall, Johnson strongly believes this new facility will help serve the goals of the Y as a whole.

“We think this facility will stabilize the organization,” he said, “while we continue in our other efforts as they relate to our full service at our Wilbraham location, our childcare facilities throughout the city, and all the things the Y is involved with.”

Kayla Ebner can be reached at [email protected]

Agenda

Loomis Village Art Exhibit

Jan. 1-31: The public is invited to view a new exhibit coming to Loomis Village in January, “Five Felters, Five Perspectives,” which will showcase bespoke garments, landscapes, and abstract and sculptural wall pieces inspired by nature, historical artifacts, and imagination. The artists are Nina Compagnon, Sally Dillon, Martha Robinson, Flo Rosenstock, and Margaret Stancer. The exhibit will be displayed in the second- and third-floor galleries at Loomis Village, 20 Bayon Dr., South Hadley every day in January from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A reception with the five artists will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 15 from 4 to 6 p.m. A demonstration of felting techniques, also open to the public, will be presented on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 2 p.m.

Project Management Exam Prep Workshop

Jan. 6-8: Are you ready to become a certified project-management professional (PMP)? Forbes.com lists a PMP certificate as the second-highest-paying IT certification for 2019, and the Project Management Institute (PMI) states that, through 2020, 1.57 million new project-management jobs will be created each year. To help prepare community members to begin the certification process, Bay Path University’s Strategic Alliances division is hosting a three-day workshop that will prepare participants to take the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) Exam. The CAPM workshop, led by IT consultant and project manager Rick DeJohn from Camus Consulting Inc., combines lectures, discussions, case studies, and in-class practice testing with a review of test results. Project-management experience is not required, and anyone interested in demonstrating to employers that they have the skill set to become a project manager is encouraged to attend. Participants who complete the program will be awarded a certificate of completion and will earn the required 23 education hours to sit for the CAPM examination. Per the Project Management Institute, a high-school diploma, associate degree, or global equivalent is required as an exam prerequisite. This workshop will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day on the Bay Path campus, 588 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow. To register, visit capm2020.eventbrite.com. For additional information, contact Briana Sitler at [email protected] or (413) 565-1066.

Cannabis Certificate Program

Jan. 13 to May 5: American International College (AIC) is announcing a new undergraduate initiative in the School of Business, Arts and Sciences titled Micro-Emerging Markets: Cannabis Certificate Program. Three business courses are offered in rotation beginning with the spring 2020 semester. The first course of the series will run on Wednesdays, 3:50 p.m. to 6:20 p.m., starting Jan. 13, 2020 and continuing through May 5, 2020. There are no prerequisites to enroll other than a high-school diploma or GED equivalency. Non-matriculated students can enter the program at any time in the sequence. The first course, “Cannabis Entrepreneurship,” will examine customer groups, products, and services in the recreational market. The effect of price, quality, and competitors will be explored relative to competing effectively. This will involve key components of the industry, including legal aspects, business models, financing, and marketing. In “Cannabis Business Operations,” students will analyze the evolving cannabis marketplace and investigate the complexities and challenges of this sector. This course will conduct an in-depth look at the key components of different business types, how the sector is evolving, starting and operating a cannabis business, in addition to financial constraints, investments, and strategic marketing in the industry. The final course, “The Law and Ethics of Cannabis,” will examine the legalization of cannabis. Discussion around the legal and ethical implications of cannabis use, its legalization, criminal activity, and marketing will be explored in addition to perspectives of law enforcement, business owners, and recreational uses. For more information, visit aic.edu/mem.

Cannabis Education Center

Jan. 16, 23: The Cannabis Education Center, a joint venture between Holyoke Community College (HCC) and C3RN – the Cannabis Community Care and Research Network – has scheduled three standalone courses for people working in the cannabis industry or those who want to get started. The first, “How to Start a Cannabis Business,” — a comprehensive, introductory session about starting a cannabis business — was held on Dec. 17. The next, “Professional Cannabis Business Plan Development,” will run on Thursday, Jan. 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute, 164 Race St., Holyoke. This $199 course is for experienced cannabis entrepreneurs who need assistance developing a business plan. The third, “Medical Cannabis 101,” is geared toward dispensary agents and healthcare providers. That will run on Thursday, Jan. 23 from 6 to 10 p.m. in the HCC Kittredge Center. The cost is $99. Space is limited, so advance registration and pre-payment are required for all courses. No walk-ins will be allowed. To register, visit hcc.edu/bcs and click on ‘Cannabis Education.’

‘Stress Less in 2020’

Jan. 17: The free monthly Lunch and Learn program at Ruth’s House Assisted Living Residence at JGS Lifecare has announced its next topic. Dr. Bill Bazin, a chiropractor for more than 30 years, will present “Stress Less in 2020 with Time and Energy Efficiency,” offering strategies to better manage stress and increase quality of life. Almost 60% of Americans consider themselves stressed and depressed, and stress can play a major factor in heart attacks. Bazin will talk about stress and offer strategies on what to do to deal with it. Topics will include why we have stress; different types of stress; signs and symptoms of an overstressed life; how to get exponential growth from one’s time and energy; strategic planning for one’s life and family; eliminating fear, panic, and anxiety; the five factors of health; solutions for stress that can be done at home, and when to take the next step to deal with stress. The lunch at noon will be followed by the presentation from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. The Ruth’s House Lunch and Learn program is free and open to the public. RSVP to Lori Payson at (413) 567-3949, ext. 3105, or [email protected] For more information, visit jgslifecare.org/events.

All Ideas Pitch Contest

Feb. 5: Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) Berkshire County is holding an All Ideas Pitch Contest from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Green at 85 Main St., Suite 105, North Adams. EforAll’s first Pitch Contest at the Berkshire Museum in October created a lot of community buzz, with more than 100 attendees and 11 companies competing. The big winner that night was Kaitlyn Pierce of Binka Bear. Described as “Shark Tank without the teeth,” EforAll’s friendly, free event features a business showcase and then pitches from six pre-selected contestants and two more that are added the night of the event. Each participant is given two and a half minutes to pitch a business or nonprofit idea to a panel of judges and the audience. At the end of it, EforAll gives away seed money to help launch these ideas. The first-place finisher wins $1,000, second place gets $750, third place wins $500, and the audience favorite also wins $500. Applications and audience registration are both available online at www.eforall.org/berkshire-county.

Women’s Leadership Conference

March 27: Bay Path University’s division of Strategic Alliances announced that producer, author, entrepreneur, educator, and, of course, top model Tyra Banks will bring her bold attitude, unique style, and well-honed business acumen to Springfield as the keynote speaker at the 25th annual Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC). This year’s theme, “Own Your Now,” will encourage conference guests to examine the forces that have shaped their careers, relationships, and aspirations; recognize what drives them and what holds them back; and empower them to confidently move forward. Banks is the creator of America’s Next Top Model, the reality show and modeling competition that has been replicated in 47 international markets and viewed in 150 countries. This year’s conference also will feature breakout sessions focused on navigating the complicated relationships, personalities, and dynamics of the workplace and the impact those have on our careers and opportunities. Sessions will be led by bestselling authors and researchers including Laura Huang, Harvard Business School professor and author of Edge: Turning Adversity into Advantage; Emily Esfahani Smith, author of The Power of Meaning; Dr. Ramani Durvasula, licensed clinical psychologist and author of Don’t You Know Who I Am: How to Stay Sane in the Era of Narcissism, Entitlement and Incivility; and Jennifer Romolini, author of Weird in a World That’s Not: A Career Guide for Misfits. For further information on the conference and to register, visit www.baypathconference.com.

Hooplandia

June 26-28: Hooplandia, the largest 3-on-3 basketball competition and celebration on the East Coast, will take place on June 26-28, 2020, hosted by Eastern States Exposition and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The event will feature hundreds of games for thousands of players of all ages and playing abilities, with divisions for young girls, boys, women, men, high-school elite, college elite, pro-am, ‘over the hill,’ wheelchair, wounded warrior, Special Olympians, veterans, first responders, and more. More than 100 outdoor blacktop courts will be placed throughout the roadway and parking-lot network of the Eastern States Exposition fairgrounds in West Springfield. Slam-dunk, 3-point, free-throw, dribble-course, vertical-jump, and full-court-shot skills competitions will be spotlighted. Themed state courts will be mobilized along the Exposition’s famed Avenue of States. Featured ‘showcase games’ will be held on new court surfaces in the historic Eastern States Coliseum and on the Court of Dreams, the center court of the Basketball Hall of Fame. A year-long community outreach effort will begin immediately. Registration will open on March 1, 2020. Information and engagement is available now through www.hooplandia.com or on Instagram: @hooplandia.

Agenda

Starting Gate at GreatHorse Holiday Party

Dec. 14: The Starting Gate at GreatHorse will host a holiday party — including decorations, music, and menu — for any company or group that wants to take part. Attendees can enjoy dinner and dance the night away with staff, co-workers, family, and friends — an ideal option for small businesses. The Clark Eno Orchestra will be playing today’s hits and rock and pop songs from the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and beyond, plus big band, swing, and Motown. The event is open to the public for $95 per person. A cash bar will be available. For reservations, call (413) 566-5158.

Micro-emerging Markets: Cannabis Certificate Program

Jan. 13 to May 5: American International College (AIC) is announcing a new undergraduate initiative in the School of Business, Arts and Sciences titled Micro-Emerging Markets: Cannabis Certificate Program. Three business courses are offered in rotation beginning with the spring 2020 semester. The first course of the series will run on Wednesdays, 3:50 p.m. to 6:20 p.m., starting Jan. 13, 2020 and continuing through May 5, 2020. There are no prerequisites to enroll other than a high-school diploma or GED equivalency. Non-matriculated students can enter the program at any time in the sequence. The first course, “Cannabis Entrepreneurship,” will examine customer groups, products, and services in the recreational market. The effect of price, quality, and competitors will be explored relative to competing effectively. This will involve key components of the industry, including legal aspects, business models, financing, and marketing. In “Cannabis Business Operations,” students will analyze the evolving cannabis marketplace and investigate the complexities and challenges of this sector. This course will conduct an in-depth look at the key components of different business types, how the sector is evolving, starting and operating a cannabis business, in addition to financial constraints, investments, and strategic marketing in the industry. The final course, “The Law and Ethics of Cannabis,” will examine the legalization of cannabis. Discussion around the legal and ethical implications of cannabis use, its legalization, criminal activity, and marketing will be explored in addition to perspectives of law enforcement, business owners, and recreational uses. For more information about the Micro-Emerging Market: Cannabis Certificate Program, visit aic.edu/mem.

Women’s Leadership Conference

March 27: Bay Path University’s division of Strategic Alliances announced that producer, author, entrepreneur, educator, and, of course, top model Tyra Banks will bring her bold attitude, unique style, and well-honed business acumen to Springfield as the keynote speaker at the 25th annual Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC). This year’s theme, “Own Your Now,” will encourage conference guests to examine the forces that have shaped their careers, relationships, and aspirations; recognize what drives them and what holds them back; and empower them to confidently move forward. Banks is the creator of America’s Next Top Model, the reality show and modeling competition that has been replicated in 47 international markets and viewed in 150 countries. A graduate of Harvard’s Executive Education program, she has taught graduate courses at Stanford University and is opening Modelland, an interactive attraction based in Los Angeles that will allow visitors to experience a fantasy version of the modeling world. This year’s conference also will feature breakout sessions focused on navigating the complicated relationships, personalities, and dynamics of the workplace and the impact those have on our careers and opportunities. Sessions will be led by bestselling authors and researchers including Laura Huang, Harvard Business School professor and author of Edge: Turning Adversity into Advantage; Emily Esfahani Smith, author of The Power of Meaning; Dr. Ramani Durvasula, licensed clinical psychologist and author of Don’t You Know Who I Am: How to Stay Sane in the Era of Narcissism, Entitlement and Incivility; and Jennifer Romolini, author of Weird in a World That’s Not: A Career Guide for Misfits. For further information on the conference and to register, visit www.baypathconference.com.

Hooplandia

June 26-28: Hooplandia, the largest 3-on-3 basketball competition and celebration on the East Coast, will take place on June 26-28, 2020, hosted by Eastern States Exposition and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The event will feature hundreds of games for thousands of players of all ages and playing abilities, with divisions for young girls, boys, women, men, high-school elite, college elite, pro-am, ‘over the hill,’ wheelchair, wounded warrior, Special Olympians, veterans, first responders, and more. More than 100 outdoor blacktop courts will be placed throughout the roadway and parking-lot network of the Eastern States Exposition fairgrounds in West Springfield. Slam-dunk, 3-point, free-throw, dribble-course, vertical-jump, and full-court-shot skills competitions will be spotlighted. Themed state courts will be mobilized along the Exposition’s famed Avenue of States. Featured ‘showcase games’ will be held on new court surfaces in the historic Eastern States Coliseum and on the Court of Dreams, the center court of the Basketball Hall of Fame. A year-long community outreach effort will begin immediately. Registration will open on March 1, 2020. Information and engagement is available now through www.hooplandia.com or on Instagram: @hooplandia.

Picture This

Email ‘Picture This’ photos with a caption and contact information to [email protected]

 


Toys for the Kids

Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood and Massachusetts State Police Colonel Kerry Gilpin, along with Springfield police officers and state troopers, recently went shopping at Walmart on Boston Road on Tuesday morning with a special delivery in mind. Afterward, they made a large donation of toys to Baystate Children’s Hospital.

 


Honoring a Supporter

At the launch of the college’s first major gifts campaign in more than a decade, Springfield Technical Community College President John Cook announced the naming of the Tuohey Family Welcome Center at the Student Learning Commons. Brian Tuohey (pictured), a generous supporter of STCC, beamed with delight after hearing the news. His family, including his five children and 12 grandchildren, made a surprise appearance at the kickoff event on Oct. 22.

 


Celebrating 100 Years

Balise Auto Group recently held its 100th-anniversary employee-recognition event at the Basketball Hall of Fame.

President Jeb Balise

A shot of all Balise associates who have been with the company for 10 years or more

 


Food Fest West

The West of the River Chamber of Commerce (WRC) held its annual Food Fest West on Nov. 7  at Springfield Country Club in West Springfield. The event featured the foods of area restaurants, including Carrabba’s Italian Grill, bNapoli, 110 Grill, Hamel’s Creative Catering, Courtyard by Marriott, Pintu’s Indian Cuisine, Partners Restaurant, Springfield Country Club, Storrowton Tavern, Tekoa Country Club, and more. Storrowton Tavern in West Springfield won the People’s Choice Award.

Guests Kelli Lemelin and Ron Lemelin enjoy food from Springfield Country Club

 

A chef from bNapoli serves WRC Chairman Ryan McL

 


Where Health Matters

Health New England recently awarded five $50,000 Where Health Matters grants to organizations that have a positive impact among vulnerable population groups in Western and Central Mass. The honorees included Men of Color Health Awareness, or MOCHA (represented by Lamont Scott, pictured below); Square One (represented by Joan Kagan and Kristine Allard, pictured at bottom); 18 Degrees, a division of Berkshire Children and Families Inc.; Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services; and the Center for Youth Engagement at UMass Amherst.

Lamont Scott

Joan Kagan and Kristine Allard

 


Instilling a Love of Books

The start of the 2019-20 school year marked several significant milestones for Link to Libraries. First, thanks to the generosity of local businesses and families, including Monson Savings Bank (MSB), which now sponsors a record five schools, every public elementary school in the city of Springfield is now a part of Link to Libraries’ Community Book Link sponsorship program. During the 2018-19 academic year, Link to Libraries donated 23,000 new books to sponsored libraries throughout the region. In addition, a record 200-plus Link to Libraries volunteer readers began reading in classrooms in underserved elementary schools in Hampden, Hampshire, Berkshire, and Hartford counties.

Principal Terry Powe and students from Elias Brookings Elementary School welcome their new sponsor, MSB President Steve Lowell, and Link to Libraries President and CEO Laurie Flynn

 

William Johnson, vice president of St. Germain Investments, reads to students at Lincoln Elementary School

Longtime volunteer Francie Cornwell reads to students at Homer Elementary School

 


A Challenge from the Commissioner

Carlos Santiago, commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, spoke to a crowd at Holyoke Community College on Nov. 5. He emphasized the importance of reconceptualizing the work that educators have been doing for the past 20 to 30 years, examining the students that are coming into the system, and changing the perception of the students themselves.

Company Notebook

AIC Gets High Marks in College Salary Report

SPRINGFIELD — PayScale, a Seattle-based software company that performs compensation research, including pay-scale indices and employee engagement, recently released its 2019-20 College Salary Report, ranking American International College (AIC) 39th in the country for health science and nursing programs when considering salary growth. The annual report, based on the salaries of 3.5 million college graduates, provides estimates of early and mid-career pay for 2,500 associate and bachelor’s degree-granting institutions. For health science and nursing programs, PayScale examined 679 institutions offering four-year degrees. At number 39, AIC ranks in the top 6% of the colleges and universities reviewed. “We are very proud of the dedication, motivation, commitment, and diversity of the students in our health sciences programs, including nursing, exercise science, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and public health, who strive to be the very best,” said Karen Rousseau, dean of the School of Health Sciences. “Central to American International College’s mission is to provide access, opportunity, and inter-professional collaboration to scholars in the School of Health Sciences, which will serve them well in their career goals as they advance in their chosen fields.” PayScale pioneers the use of big data and unique matching algorithms to power the world’s most advanced compensation platform and continues to be the compensation market leader based on user reviews.

Square One Receives $25,000 Grant from Tufts Health Plan Foundation

SPRINGFIELD — Square One has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation. The grant is part $1 million the Tufts Health Plan Foundation is donating to area nonprofits that are focused on health equity and the social determinants of health in honor of Tufts Health Plan’s 40th anniversary and its longstanding tradition of giving back to the community. “It is a true honor to be recognized by Tufts Health Plan Foundation in such a meaningful and generous way,” said Joan Kagan, Square One President and CEO. “Each and every day, our families are impacted by health disparities and social determinants of health. With these funds, we will continue to seek out creative and effective ways to support the physical, social, and mental health and well-being of our children and families.” The $25,000 grants — 10 in each of the states where Tufts Health Plan serves members — support a range of nonprofit organizations doing exemplary work to promote community health and wellness. “We recognize that nonprofit organizations are on the front lines of service and play a crucial role in building stronger and healthier communities for all of us,” said Tom Croswell, president and CEO of Tufts Health Plan. “These angel grants are a way of saying ‘thank you’ to Square One and other organizations addressing the economic and social conditions that influence the health of our diverse communities and helping them to keep up the great work they do.” The Tufts Health Plan Foundation has given more than $35 million to community organizations since 2008 and will give nearly $5 million in community grants this year.

KeyBank Recognized as a Leading Disability Employer

CLEVELAND — For the third year, KeyBank was recognized by the National Organization on Disability (NOD) as a Leading Disability Employer. “We are honored to accept this award from the NOD, a leader in inclusion for people with disabilities,” said Kim Manigault, chief Diversity and Inclusion officer. “Inclusion is intentional. This award reflects the work across many lines of business and partnerships that provide supportive experiences for people with disabilities who engage with and work for KeyBank.”

Jewish Family Service Receives $250,000 Grant

SPRINGFIELD — Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts (JFS) has been awarded a competitive two-year $250,000 Citizenship and Assimilation Grant from the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This grant will allow JFS to expand its current citizenship program to better serve prospective citizens’ assimilation into American civic life in Hampden County. The fiscal-year 2019 grants, which run through September 2021, promote prospective citizens’ assimilation into American civic life by funding educational programs designed to increase their knowledge of English, U.S. history, and civics. “Our country welcomes legal immigrants from all over the world who come to the United States, positively contribute to our society, and engage in American civic life,” said USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli. “Immigrants who assimilate, embrace our Constitution, understand our history, and abide by our laws add to the vitality and strength of this great nation. Through this grant program, USCIS continues to support efforts to prepare immigrants to become fully vested U.S. citizens.” JFS is one of 41 organizations in 24 states to receive nearly $10 million in funding to support citizenship-preparation services. Now in its 11th year, the USCIS Citizenship and Assimilation Grant program has helped more than 245,000 lawful, permanent residents prepare for citizenship. A ‘permanent resident’ is a person authorized by the US government to live and work in the country on a permanent basis.

Junior Achievement Wins Community Partner Award

SPRINGFIELD — Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM) was recognized recently by Massachusetts’ Department of Youth Services (DYS) for its work with local youth. DYS, the juvenile-justice agency for the Commonwealth, gave JAWM the 2019 Commissioner’s Award for Outstanding Community Partner in the Western Region at a ceremony on Oct. 4 in Dorchester. JAWM, which provides workforce-readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial-literacy programs to K-12 youth, was nominated by Sharon Bess, youth employment development specialist at the Center for Human Development (CHD) in Springfield. Bess wrote in her nomination that “Junior Achievement has allowed us to introduce career readiness and financial literacy in a unique way that leaves a lasting impact on our young people and creates a foundation toward positive change to their futures.” CHD is a nonprofit that delivers social and mental-health services to people in Western Mass. and Connecticut. “We’re honored to be recognized with this Community Partner award,” said Jennifer Connolly, president of JAWM. “Starting in 2005, our partnership with CHD helped establish their Exclusive Tees program by introducing local high-school students to the JA Be Entrepreneurial program and the JA Company program. Our partnership also established the Teen Reality Fair, which provides high-school students with information on career opportunities and introduces financial literacy in a hands-on, eye-opening fashion. It’s always a pleasure to work with the youth and the staff at CHD.”

Country Bank Receives Award for Marketing Video

WARE — Country Bank was recognized for its “Pioneers” video at the American Bankers Assoc. Bank Marketing Conference in Austin, Texas. “Pioneers” competed against hundreds of national video submissions, winning first place in its category. The winners were selected by bank marketing professionals who judged the entries based on creativity, production value, and overall messaging. “We were so honored to receive this award; ‘Pioneers’ truly portrays the hardworking communities that we serve in such an impactful way. The imagery captured local landscapes, people, and businesses, which resulted in a genuinely moving video for us,” said Shelley Regin, senior vice president of Marketing at Country Bank. “The closing line, ‘even hard work needs a partner,’ supports the bank’s belief that relationships are life’s most valuable investments.” When the bank decided to create new videos last summer, it turned to its agency partner, Small Army, to develop a storyline that would truly represent both Central and Western Mass., she added. “We could not be more grateful to our agency for creating a true representation of Country Bank’s local communities.”

Employer Confidence Holds Steady in September

BOSTON — Business confidence remained essentially flat in Massachusetts during September despite a darkening outlook among manufacturers. The Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) Business Confidence Index rose 0.2 points to 58.9 last month after retreating in August. The Index has lost 3.7 points since September 2018 but remains within optimistic territory. The September reading was weighed down by weakening sentiment among Bay State manufacturers. The Index’s manufacturing component dropped 2.4 points in September and 7.9 points for the year. The results mirrored the national Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index, which fell to its lowest level since 2009 last month. A separate report by IHS Markit showed that the manufacturing sector suffered its worst quarter since 2009, though activity increased during September. The constituent indicators that make up the Index were mixed during September. The Massachusetts Index assessing business conditions within the Commonwealth fell 0.6 points to 63.3, while the U.S. Index rose to 56.5. The Massachusetts reading has decreased 1.2 points and the U.S. reading has fallen 7.1 points during the past 12 months. The Future Index, measuring expectations for six months out, lost 0.5 points to 56.4, leaving it 4.4 points lower than a year ago. The Current Index, which assesses overall business conditions at the time of the survey, increased 0.8 points to 61.3 — 3.0 points lower than its reading of September 2018. The Employment Index rose a point for the month but remained down 3.1 points for the year. Employers continue to struggle to find qualified workers in a full-employment state economy. Non-manufacturers (61.9) were more confident than manufacturers (55.4). Large companies (60.2) were more optimistic than medium-sized companies (59.9) or small companies (55.4), reversing a trend established during the summer. Companies in Eastern Mass. (62.6) continued to be more optimistic than those in the west (53.8).

Agenda

White Lion Harvest Nights

Through Oct. 30: White Lion Brewing’s summer beer garden officially ended on Aug. 31. During the summer months, the downtown beer garden, which occupies a private park in downtown Springfield, offered an eclectic lineup of events and community collaborations, hosting local musicians, food trucks, restaurants, special events, and nonprofit and private companies. Because of continuing demand for such events, White Lion will present Harvest Nights at 1477 Main St. each Wednesday and Friday from 5 to 10 p.m. through Oct. 30. Events will include White Lion Wednesdays, street food Fridays, local musicians and DJs, special evening hookah nights, and a Hop Headz home-brewer collaboration. Follow White Lion Brewing on all social-media platforms for ongoing updates.

Author Talk with Lesléa Newman

Sept. 19: Jewish Family Services will host a presentation by author Lesléa Newman on Thursday, Sept. 19 from 2 to 4 p.m. Newman will talk about her journey to become a children’s book writer and present and discuss some of her Jewish children’s books, including Gittel’s Journey: An Ellis Island Story. She will also show a short film titled We Are a Country of Immigrants in which she interviews Phyllis Rubin, her godmother and daughter of the real Gittel. The program is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served, and books by the author will be available for purchase. Jewish Family Services’ Community Room is located at 1160 Dickinson St., Springfield (the parking lot is on the Converse Street side).

AAFPAA Awards

Sept. 26: The African American Female Professors Award Assoc. (AAFPAA) will host its third annual awards ceremony at 5:30 p.m. at Bay Path University, 588 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow. The association will salute three professors, as well as present an Alumnae Award and Legacy Award. The keynote speaker is Yves Salomon-Fernandez, president of Greenfield Community College and a staunch advocate for reinventing higher education in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. She has been recognized as a thought leader, writing and speaking on issues related to rural innovation, workforce development, and women’s leadership. With her passion for access and equity, she was named one of the “Top 25 Women in Higher Education” by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education in March 2018. Tickets are $20 per person, with half the proceeds going toward the AAFPAA Scholarship Fund.

Source to Sea Cleanup

Sept. 27-28: Registration is now open for the Connecticut River Conservancy’s (CRC) Source to Sea Cleanup. This annual event, now in its 23rd year, has grown into one of the largest river cleanups in the country. There are three ways for volunteers to get involved in the Source to Sea Cleanup this year: report a trash site in need of cleaning, find a nearby cleanup group to join, or organize and register a local cleanup group. For more information or to register, visit www.ctriver.org/cleanup. If your group wants to get involved but needs a cleanup site, if you have questions, or if you know of a trash site in need of cleaning, e-mail Lennard at [email protected] Learn more about the event at www.ctriver.org/cleanup.

Run for the Bar

Sept. 29: The Hampden County Bar Assoc. will hold its sixth annual 5K Run/Walk Race Judicata – A Run for the Bar at Ashley Reservoir in Holyoke. Registration begins at 9 a.m., followed by the start of the event at 11 a.m. Proceeds raised from this year’s event will benefit the Children’s Law Project and the Colonel Archer B. Battista Veterans Scholarship fund. For more information, call the Hampden County Bar Assoc. at (413) 732-4660.

Aeron Chair Hockey Tournament

Oct. 2: In celebration of its 30th anniversary, Lexington Group will host an Aeron chair hockey tournament from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at its showroom located at 380 Union St., West Springfield. For this first-of-its-kind event in New England, Lexington Group has invited players, and their administrative staff, from elite area hockey teams — American International College and UMass Amherst — to battle it out in a friendly competition on the ‘ice.’ The winning team from the first round will play against members of the Springfield Thunderbirds. The tournament will be incorporated into an After 5 networking event, with about 300 business and community professionals expected to attend. The event will help raise funds and awareness for the Foundation for TJO Animals. Admission to the event is complimentary, but registration is required and can be made at lexington-aeronhockey.eventbrite.com. Donations to the Foundation for TJO Animals are appreciated and can be made in advance directly through the foundation’s website, www.tjofoundation.org, or may be made at the event. Sponsors include MP CPAs, St. Germain Investments, Sitterly Movers, and Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel (cup sponsors); bankESB, Behavioral Health Network, Complete Payroll Solutions, Dietz & Co. Architects, Fire Service Group, HUB International New England, Massachusetts Fire Technologies, Mercier Carpet, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, and New England Promotional Marketing (chair sponsors); AIS, Baystate Ob/Gyn, Contract Sources, Excel Dryer, KI, Lexington Group, Paragus IT, People’s United Bank, the Republican, and Westfield Bank (rink sponsors); Go Graphix and Herman Miller (goods sponsors); BusinessWest, ERC5, and West of the River Chamber of Commerce (event partners).

Jazz Brunch

Oct. 6: Tickets are now on sale for the 2019 Northampton Jazz Festival Brunch, a fundraiser to benefit the Jazz Artists in the Schools Program at John F. Kennedy Middle School, which exposes Northampton’s student musicians to the valuable mentorship of professional jazz artists. The DeChamplain Quartet, based out of Hartford, Conn., will perform their gypsy-style music from noon to 2 p.m. with Atla DeChamplain on vocals, Matt DeChamplain on piano, Chris Morrison on guitar, and Matt Dwonszyk on bass. Thanks to donations from the Davis Financial Group of Hadley, the program has been able to offer unique workshops with professional jazz artists to the jazz-band students at JFK and Northampton High School. The jazz brunch will be held at the Delaney House, 3 Country Club Road in Holyoke, starting at 11 a.m. Tickets to the brunch cost $40, and $10 from each purchase will benefit the Davis Financial Group Jazz Artists in the Schools Program at JFK Middle School for the 2019-20 school year. The brunch will wrap up the 2019 Northampton Jazz Festival, set for Friday, Oct. 4 through Sunday, Oct. 6. The event features three days of live music at various venues in downtown Northampton, including the main-stage act, the Kurt Elling Quintet, which will perform on Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy of Music. For more information, to purchase tickets, or to donate to the Jazz Artists in the Schools Program, visit northamptonjazzfest.org.

Healthcare Heroes Gala

Oct. 17: The third annual class of Healthcare Heroes will be honored at the Sheraton Springfield from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Healthcare Heroes, a recognition program involving the Western Mass. healthcare sector, was launched in 2017 by HCN and BusinessWest. The program was created to shed a bright light on the outstanding work being done across the broad spectrum of health and wellness services, and the institutions and people providing that care. The class of 2019 was profiled in the Sept. 2 issue of BusinessWest and on businesswest.com. Tickets cost $90 or $900 for a table of 10. To reserve a spot, visit www.businesswest.com/healthcare-heroes-2 or e-mail [email protected] Healthcare Heroes is sponsored by American International College and Baystate Health/Health New England (presenting sponsors), Behavioral Health Network, Comcast Business, and Development Associates (partner sponsors), and Bulkley Richardson, Design to Finish, Elms College, and Keiter Builders (supporting sponsors).

Women of Impact Luncheon

Dec. 4: The keynote speaker for the 2019 Women of Impact luncheon will be Lisa Tanzer, president of Life Is Good. Tanzer has more than 25 years of consumer brand experience. Prior to becoming president, she served as the company’s head of Marketing after spending more than 20 years on the board of directors of the Life is Good Kids Foundation. She’s held executive positions in the entertainment, e-commerce, and education sectors. Earlier in her career, she held marketing and strategy roles at Hasbro, Staples, Gillette, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The 2019 Women of Impact honorees will be announced in the Oct. 14 issue of BusinessWest and feted at a celebration on Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at Sheraton Springfield. Tickets cost $65 per person, or $650 for a table of 10. To purchase tickets, visit www.businesswest.com/women-of-impact or e-mail [email protected] The Women of Impact program is sponsored by Country Bank and TommyCar Auto Group (presenting sponsors), Comcast Business (supporting sponsor), New Valley Bank & Trust (speaker sponsor), and WWLP 22 News/CW Springfield (media sponsor).

Agenda

‘Life After Clutter’ Workshop

Sept. 7: For people who are struggling with clutter in their homes and lives, hope is within reach. A free workshop, “Making Space for Hope: Life After Clutter,” will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. at the UMass Amherst Campus Center. This program offers empowerment, support, and education for people who are struggling with clutter, and for their family members and friends. Keynote speaker Beryl Singer will share her own experience of clutter and recovery in a presentation titled “It Started with an Eggcup.” Other presenters will include Dr. Randy Frost, a professor of Psychology at Smith College and internationally recognized expert on hoarding disorder; Lee Schuer and Becca Belofsky of Mutual Support Consulting; and Tara Ferrante, director of ServiceNet’s OCD and Hoarding Disorder Program. This program is made possible thanks to support from the Western Massachusetts Hoarding Disorder Resource Network, ServiceNet, Mutual Support Consulting, and MassHousing. For more information, visit www.mutual-support.com.

Car-wash Fundraiser for Chris Thibault

Sept. 7-8: Mercedes-Benz of Springfield is hosting a car-wash fundraiser benefiting Chris Thibault and his family. Thibault helped Mercedes-Benz get its start in Western Mass. more than two years ago, producing all its local commercials. “He is a very talented filmmaker and storyteller,” dealership owners Michelle and Peter Wirth said. “He touched our lives, and we want to help him as much as we can as he battles cancer.” Chris Thibault and his wife, Missy, own and operate Chris Teebo Films, a local production company. Chris has been diagnosed with stage-4 cancer and is fighting hard for his life. He recently lost his younger brother, Brandon, to cancer as well. So far, his cancer has been unresponsive to the past three treatments. He is currently undergoing a fourth treatment as well as alternative treatment options. The car wash will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days at Mercedes-Benz of Springfield, 295 Burnett Road, Chicopee. If you would like to donate time or services to the event, contact Michelle Wirth at [email protected]

RVCC Golf Tournament

Sept. 13: River Valley Counseling Center (RVCC), a multi-faceted mental-health agency, will hold its fourth annual golf tournament fundraiser at 10:30 a.m. at East Mountain Country Club in Westfield. The event is presented by Action Ambulance Services. The funds raised will help RVCC to continue providing mental health and other essential supportive services to more than 7,000 individuals yearly throughout the Pioneer Valley. The cost per golfer is $100 and includes greens fees, a golf cart, gift bag, lunch, and dinner. Golfers will also be able to participate in a raffle and silent auction. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a 10:30 a.m. shotgun start. There will also be contests on the course, with prizes donated by Marcotte Ford and Teddy Bear Pools. Other tournament sponsors include HCN, Unidine, PeoplesBank, CINTAS, Goss & McLain Insurance, Marsh & McLennan Agency, BMC HealthNet Plan, and Jefferson Radiology. To register, contact Angela Callahan at (413) 841-3546 or [email protected]

United Arc Annual Gala and Auction

Sept. 14: The United Arc will host its annual gala and auction from 6 to 9 p.m. at Hadley Farms Meeting House, 41 Russell St., Hadley. The evening will feature a cocktail hour with open bar and hors d’ouevres, silent and live auctions, live music by Chris Eriquezzo, and dinner and program. Included once again in the raffles will be the ‘mystery box,’ valued at $400. Tickets cost $70 each. Proceeds support for the work of the United Arc, helping people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve the universal goals of inclusion, choice, and independence. Tickets may be purchased online at theunitedarc.org/auction.

Children’s Study Home Art Show and Sale

Sept. 19: The Children’s Study Home welcomes all to an art show and sale on Thursday, Sept. 19 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Carriage House at the Barney Estate in Forest Park, Springfield. Artwork from all mediums, including acrylic, watercolor, colored pencil, chalk, and sculptures, from the students of Mill Pond School in Springfield and Curtis Blake Day School will be shown, as well as artwork from the children of the Children’s Study Home’s residential programs and local area artisans. The art will be displayed for the evening and sold to raise money for the Children’s Study Home’s art and cultural programs. The event will include light hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. RSVP by Friday, Sept. 6 to Colleen at [email protected] or (413) 739-5626, ext. 232.

Discussion of Trauma in Athletic Communities

Sept. 24: Springfield College will welcome William Parham, the inaugural director of the National Basketball Players Assoc. Mental Health and Wellness Program and professor in the Counseling program at Loyola Marymount University, to the campus at 7:30 p.m. in the Fuller Arts Center. Parham’s presentation, titled “The Ink Used to Indelibly Etch Lasting Impressions: Invisible Tattoos of Trauma within Athletic Communities,” is part of the 2019-20 Humanics Triathlon project led by Distinguished Springfield Professor of Humanics Judy Van Raalte. Parham has consulted with the National Football League, Major League Baseball, United States Olympic Committee, United States Tennis Assoc., and Major League Soccer.

Source to Sea Cleanup

Sept. 27-28: Registration is now open for the Connecticut River Conservancy’s (CRC) Source to Sea Cleanup. This annual event, now in its 23rd year, has grown into one of the largest river cleanups in the country. There are three ways for volunteers to get involved in the Source to Sea Cleanup this year: report a trash site in need of cleaning, find a nearby cleanup group to join, or organize and register a local cleanup group. For more information or to register, visit www.ctriver.org/cleanup. If your group wants to get involved but needs a cleanup site, if you have questions, or if you know of a trash site in need of cleaning, e-mail Lennard at [email protected] Learn more about the event at www.ctriver.org/cleanup.

Jazz Brunch

Oct. 6: Tickets are now on sale for the 2019 Northampton Jazz Festival Brunch, a fundraiser to benefit the Jazz Artists in the Schools Program at John F. Kennedy Middle School, which exposes Northampton’s student musicians to the valuable mentorship of professional jazz artists. The DeChamplain Quartet, based out of Hartford, Conn., will perform their gypsy-style music from noon to 2 p.m. with Atla DeChamplain on vocals, Matt DeChamplain on piano, Chris Morrison on guitar, and Matt Dwonszyk on bass. Thanks to donations from the Davis Financial Group of Hadley, the program has been able to offer unique workshops with professional jazz artists to the jazz-band students at JFK and Northampton High School. The jazz brunch will be held at the Delaney House, 3 Country Club Road in Holyoke, starting at 11 a.m. Tickets to the brunch cost $40, and $10 from each purchase will benefit the Davis Financial Group Jazz Artists in the Schools Program at JFK Middle School for the 2019-20 school year. The brunch will wrap up the 2019 Northampton Jazz Festival, set for Friday, Oct. 4 through Sunday, Oct. 6. The event features three days of live music at various venues in downtown Northampton, including the main-stage act, the Kurt Elling Quintet, which will perform on Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy of Music. For more information, to purchase tickets, or to donate to the Jazz Artists in the Schools Program, visit northamptonjazzfest.org.

Healthcare Heroes Gala

Oct. 17: The third annual class of Healthcare Heroes will be honored at the Sheraton Springfield from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Healthcare Heroes, a recognition program involving the Western Mass. healthcare sector, was launched in 2017 by BusinessWest and HCN. The program was created to shed a bright light on the outstanding work being done across the broad spectrum of health and wellness services, and the institutions and people providing that care. The class of 2019 in this issue of BusinessWest, and will be feted at the Oct. 25 gala. Tickets cost $90, or $900 for a table of 10. To purchase tickets, visit businesswest.com/healthcare-heroes-2 or e-mail [email protected] Healthcare Heroes is sponsored by American International College and Baystate Health/Health New England (presenting sponsors), Behavioral Health Network, Comcast Business, and Development Associates (partner sponsors), and Bulkley Richardson, Design to Finish, Elms College, Keiter Builders, the Loomis Communities, and Mercy Medical Center/Trinity Health (supporting sponsors).

Women of Impact Luncheon

Dec. 4: The keynote speaker for the 2019 Women of Impact luncheon will be Lisa Tanzer, president of Life Is Good. Tanzer has more than 25 years of consumer brand experience. Prior to becoming president, she served as the company’s head of Marketing after spending more than 20 years on the board of directors of the Life is Good Kids Foundation. She’s held executive positions in the entertainment, e-commerce, and education sectors. Earlier in her career, she held marketing and strategy roles at Hasbro, Staples, Gillette, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The 2019 Women of Impact honorees will be announced in the Oct. 14 issue of BusinessWest and feted at a celebration on Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at Sheraton Springfield. Tickets cost $65 per person, or $650 for a table of 10. To purchase tickets, visit www.businesswest.com/women-of-impact or e-mail [email protected] The Women of Impact program is sponsored by Country Bank and TommyCar Auto Group (presenting sponsors), Comcast Business (supporting sponsor), New Valley Bank & Trust (speaker sponsor), and WWLP 22 News/CW Springfield (media sponsor).

Incorporations

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

AGAWAM

Hydropolis Inc., 65 Springfield St., Agawam, MA 01001. John Eaton, 4 Rising Corner Road, Southwick, MA 01077. Sale of product known as the Butter Brewery.

AMHERST

Honeycrisp Chicken Co., 1 Boltwood Mall, Amherst, MA 01002. Joe Deng, 37 Ridgemont St. Allston, MA 02134. Restaurant.

HARDWICK

Hinternet Inc., 235 Czesky Road, Hardwick, MA 01037. Robert Martin, 475 Old Petersham Road, Box 152, Hardwick, MA 01037. Internet service provider.

HATFIELD

Ikart Us Inc., 10 West St., Suite 6, West Hatfield, MA 01038. Ryan B. Bouvier, same. Family entertainment and events.

LANESBORO

Jogi Inc., 705 South Main St., Lanesboro, MA 01237. Vipul Patel, 82 Blake St., Taunton, MA 02780. Gas station.

NORTHAMPTON

Jake’s Eggs Inc., 17 King St., Northampton, MA 01060. Christopher Ware, 14 Drewsen Dr., Florence, MA 01062. Operation of a restaurant.

PITTSFIELD

International Association for Senior Care and Education Inc., 82 Wendell Ave., Ste 100, Pittsfield, MA 01201. Fang Feng, 1907 Main Line Blvd, Unit 102, Alexandria, VA 22301. Organized exclusively for improving senior care and education.

SPRINGFIELD

Iglesia Centro De La Familia Cristiana, 42 Crystal St., Springfield, MA 01108. Elmis Sanchez, 50 Bristol St., Springfield, MA 01109. Church.

J&J Care Transportation Corp., 71 West Alvord St., Springfield, MA 01108. Giovany Perez, same. Transportation-passengers.

Jamaica Spice Paradise Inc., 156 West Alvord St., Springfield, MA 01108. VerniceJ. Christian, same. Restaurant.

JCL Home Improvement Inc., 183 Maynard St., Springfield, MA 01109. Maria C. Cunin Guaman, same. General residential construction

Picture This

Email ‘Picture This’ photos with a caption and contact information to [email protected]


 

Senior Games

During the weekend of July 13-14, Springfield College hosted the Massachusetts Senior Games, as it has since 1991. Hundreds of participants took part in a range of events, including track and field, swimming, racquetball, and more. Pictured at left: from left, Springfield College Professor Emeritus Beth Evans, occupational therapy master’s student Renée deLisser, and Joan Simmons, associate professor of Occupational Therapy, get ready for the Senior Games. At right: Davis Cox, Massachusetts Senior Games board of directors president, prepares for the event at Blake Track at Springfield College.

From left, Springfield College Professor Emeritus Beth Evans, occupational therapy master’s student Renée deLisser, and Joan Simmons, associate professor of Occupational Therapy, get ready for the Senior Games.

Davis Cox, Massachusetts Senior Games board of directors president, prepares for the event at Blake Track at Springfield College.

 


 

Patio Party

The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce partnered with Young Professionals of Amherst and Northampton Area Young Professionals for a patio party on July16 at the Courtyard by Marriott.

Pictured, from left: Youssef Fadel of New England Promotional Marketing, Regina Curtis of the Greenfield Community College Foundation, Dawn Creighton of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, and Vince Jackson of the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce.


 

Planners Tell All

On July 17, Michael’s Party Rental teamed up with Meeting Professionals International of the Connecticut River Valley and CJC Creative to host a “Planners Tell All” event. A panel of corporate and special-event planners joined local wedding/meeting planners and suppliers at the Michael’s warehouse for a night of networking and education.

Pictured, from left: Jackie Martucci, owner of Events by Jackie M; Lisa Antonecchia, owner of Creative Concepts by Lisa; Erin Tierney, lecturer at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst; and Amanda Cristina, senior meeting planner at LIMRA.

 


 

CUMMINGTON – This summer, enter the realm between worlds for a weekend full of fairies, fantasy, and fun.
The Massachusetts Renaissance Faire is coming to the Cummington Fairgrounds for its third season July 26-27 and Aug. 3-4.
The festival promises to transport patrons from the midsummer Berkshires into a magical realm of the past.
With all-day entertainment across five stages, there is never a dull moment. Guests will cheer for their favorite knight at the joust, gasp as ladies dance with fire, laugh with the fairies, be amazed by the magic and enjoy the sweet sounds of Renaissance music.
There are plenty of activities for children and adults to create memories together. They may test their strength against a real knight, listen to stories from a vegetarian zombie, or learn how to write with a quill. Patrons may want to try their hand shooting an ancient missile weapon with sponge ammo, practice their fencing skills with foam swords, or shoot a real bow and arrow.
Guests may visit an encampment from the end of the Hundred Years War, watch a blacksmith turn iron into nails, and cheer for armored knights as they wail on each other with swords.
They may also shop over 50 mystical vendors, discover handmade goods, and meet local artisans.
Whether they be a fearsome knight, a flighty fairy or a scurvy pirate, patrons are invited to show off their best costumes, or buy new pieces from the many talented vendors. Although the many costumed characters make the faire come alive, many guests visit in their 21st-century garb.

CUMMINGTON – This summer, enter the realm between worlds for a weekend full of fairies, fantasy, and fun.
The Massachusetts Renaissance Faire is coming to the Cummington Fairgrounds for its third season July 26-27 and Aug. 3-4.
The festival promises to transport patrons from the midsummer Berkshires into a magical realm of the past.
With all-day entertainment across five stages, there is never a dull moment. Guests will cheer for their favorite knight at the joust, gasp as ladies dance with fire, laugh with the fairies, be amazed by the magic and enjoy the sweet sounds of Renaissance music.
There are plenty of activities for children and adults to create memories together. They may test their strength against a real knight, listen to stories from a vegetarian zombie, or learn how to write with a quill. Patrons may want to try their hand shooting an ancient missile weapon with sponge ammo, practice their fencing skills with foam swords, or shoot a real bow and arrow.
Guests may visit an encampment from the end of the Hundred Years War, watch a blacksmith turn iron into nails, and cheer for armored knights as they wail on each other with swords.
They may also shop over 50 mystical vendors, discover handmade goods, and meet local artisans.
Whether they be a fearsome knight, a flighty fairy or a scurvy pirate, patrons are invited to show off their best costumes, or buy new pieces from the many talented vendors. Although the many costumed characters make the faire come alive, many guests visit in their 21st-century garb.

CUMMINGTON – This summer, enter the realm between worlds for a weekend full of fairies, fantasy, and fun.
The Massachusetts Renaissance Faire is coming to the Cummington Fairgrounds for its third season July 26-27 and Aug. 3-4.
The festival promises to transport patrons from the midsummer Berkshires into a magical realm of the past.
With all-day entertainment across five stages, there is never a dull moment. Guests will cheer for their favorite knight at the joust, gasp as ladies dance with fire, laugh with the fairies, be amazed by the magic and enjoy the sweet sounds of Renaissance music.
There are plenty of activities for children and adults to create memories together. They may test their strength against a real knight, listen to stories from a vegetarian zombie, or learn how to write with a quill. Patrons may want to try their hand shooting an ancient missile weapon with sponge ammo, practice their fencing skills with foam swords, or shoot a real bow and arrow.
Guests may visit an encampment from the end of the Hundred Years War, watch a blacksmith turn iron into nails, and cheer for armored knights as they wail on each other with swords.
They may also shop over 50 mystical vendors, discover handmade goods, and meet local artisans.
Whether they be a fearsome knight, a flighty fairy or a scurvy pirate, patrons are invited to show off their best costumes, or buy new pieces from the many talented vendors. Although the many costumed characters make the faire come alive, many guests visit in their 21st-century garb.

CUMMINGTON – This summer, enter the realm between worlds for a weekend full of fairies, fantasy, and fun.
The Massachusetts Renaissance Faire is coming to the Cummington Fairgrounds for its third season July 26-27 and Aug. 3-4.
The festival promises to transport patrons from the midsummer Berkshires into a magical realm of the past.
With all-day entertainment across five stages, there is never a dull moment. Guests will cheer for their favorite knight at the joust, gasp as ladies dance with fire, laugh with the fairies, be amazed by the magic and enjoy the sweet sounds of Renaissance music.
There are plenty of activities for children and adults to create memories together. They may test their strength against a real knight, listen to stories from a vegetarian zombie, or learn how to write with a quill. Patrons may want to try their hand shooting an ancient missile weapon with sponge ammo, practice their fencing skills with foam swords, or shoot a real bow and arrow.
Guests may visit an encampment from the end of the Hundred Years War, watch a blacksmith turn iron into nails, and cheer for armored knights as they wail on each other with swords.
They may also shop over 50 mystical vendors, discover handmade goods, and meet local artisans.
Whether they be a fearsome knight, a flighty fairy or a scurvy pirate, patrons are invited to show off their best costumes, or buy new pieces from the many talented vendors. Although the many costumed characters make the faire come alive, many guests visit in their 21st-century garb.

Agenda

Conversation on College Closures

July 26: State Sen. Jo Comerford and state Rep. Mindy Domb will host Department of Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago for a regional conversation on the topic of preventing and addressing the impact of college closures. The event will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. in the town meeting room at Amherst Town Hall, 4 Boltwood Ave., Amherst. This event is an opportunity for community members to learn about the governor’s proposal for preventing closures and share questions, concerns, insights, and recommendations with the commissioner. The conversation will be interactive, and concerned individuals who are not able to attend in person can submit questions and comments for the commissioner by using the hashtag #askDHE on Twitter. Additionally, in an effort to make the event as accessible as possible, Comerford and Domb will also live-stream the event from their Facebook pages and take questions via those Facebook feeds as well.

Sunset & Vines

July 27: Glendale Ridge Vineyard at 155 Glendale Road, Southampton, is again hosting Sunset & Vines, an annual fundraising event for the Northampton Survival Center, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. This family-friendly benefit features music by Kate Lorenz and the Constellations, and local comedian Kelsey Flynn will serve as master of ceremonies. Food trucks will include the Bistro Bus, Local Burgy, Little Truc, and Chill Out. Proceeds from ticket sales — $15 in advance at 2019sunsetandvines.brownpapertickets.com or $20 at the door — go directly toward purchasing food for clients who visit the Survival Center. Children 12 and under are free. Attendees are invited to enjoy a mini-Tanglewood experience by bringing a blanket or chairs and a picnic if they choose. The rain date is Sunday, July 28 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

DeVries Fine Art Reception for 40th Career Anniversary

Aug. 10: DeVries Fine Art International announced it will celebrate sculptor Andrew DeVries’ 40th career anniversary with a reception from 2 to 5 p.m. at the DeVries Fine Art International Gallery, 62 Church St., Lenox, with picnic fare and art both inside the gallery and outside on the grounds. Rosie Porter and Tommy LeBeau will provide music. The gallery features original bronze sculptures, pastel paintings, and watercolors by the artist. New for this year is an educational room that gives a detailed description of the lost-wax process Devries uses, with a video and examples of different works in progress. DeVries began his career in Colorado by drawing dancers at the Ballet Denver Academy in 1978. Encouraged to try his hand at sculpture by the artistic director of the ballet company, he began to model figures in clay and wax. He went on to learn the lost-wax process under Lee Schenkeir and mold making under Raelee Frazier. In 1979, he cast and finished his first works in bronze. In 1984, he left for Europe, traveling to different museums in a period of self-study. Andrew entered the Paris – American Academy of Fine Arts for an academic year, then to the U.S. in the summer of 1985, settling in the small Berkshire hilltown of Middlefield, where he maintains his atelier and casting studio. His sculptures are in public and private collections worldwide. He and his wife, gallery Director Patricia Purdy, established DeVries Fine Art International in 2002.

Celebrate Holyoke

Aug. 23-25: Celebrate Holyoke, a three-day festival drawing an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 people to downtown Holyoke each year, will take place at Heritage State Park. This year’s festival will include live musical performances, food and beverages from local restaurants, and goods from local artists and makers. The event’s new fiscal sponsor is Holyoke Community Media Inc., a nonprofit that seeks to promote all voices in the community through media. This year, songwriter, social commentator, storyteller, actor, and activist Arlo Guthrie returns to Holyoke on Aug. 24. The Celebrate Holyoke planning committee welcomes alcohol distributors, food trucks, restaurateurs, artisans, nonprofits, and community organizations to apply to be a part of Celebrate Holyoke at celebrateholyokemass.com/vendors. Although planning for Celebrate Holyoke has been underway for the last few months, the committee has opened up applications for volunteers during the three-day event. Volunteers are greatly needed for shifts throughout the weekend of the event.

‘Roots & Boots ’90s Electric Throwdown Tour’

Sept. 7: The Melha Shriners, in conjunction with the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton, will present a day-long country music festival at the fairgrounds from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The “Roots & Boots ’90s Electric Throwdown Tour” will bring a full day of music with six country acts, featuring nationally renowned artists Sammy Kershaw, Collin Raye, and Aaron Tippin. Popular local bands King Kountry, Southern Rain, and Cottonwood will also perform. Ticket prices are $30 (general admission, advance sale), $35 (general admission, day of the show) and $40 (reserved seating). General admission is free for children under 5. Tickets are available online at 3countyfair.com/events. The gates will open at 10 a.m., with on-site parking available for $5 per vehicle. Food, beer, and wine will be available for purchase. No outside food or beverages will be permitted. General admission patrons are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets; however, beach umbrellas and pop-up tents are not allowed. Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, contact event chair Shonn Monday at (413) 800-2312.

RVCC Golf Tournament

Sept. 13: River Valley Counseling Center (RVCC), a multi-faceted mental-health agency, will hold its fourth annual golf tournament fundraiser at 10:30 a.m. at East Mountain Country Club in Westfield. The event is presented by Action Ambulance Services. The funds raised will help RVCC to continue providing mental health and other essential supportive services to more than 7,000 individuals yearly throughout the Pioneer Valley. The cost per golfer is $100 and includes greens fees, a golf cart, gift bag, lunch, and dinner. Golfers will also be able to participate in a raffle and silent auction. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a 10:30 a.m. shotgun start. There will also be contests on the course, with prizes donated by Marcotte Ford and Teddy Bear Pools. Other tournament sponsors include HCN, Unidine, PeoplesBank, CINTAS, Goss & McLain Insurance, Marsh & McLennan Agency, BMC HealthNet Plan, and Jefferson Radiology. For more information on sponsorships, in-kind donations, and registration, contact Angela Callahan, RVCC’s Marketing and Development specialist, at (413) 841-3546 or [email protected] Information is also available at www.rvcc-inc.org or by visiting River Valley Counseling Center’s Facebook page.

Golf Tournament to Fight Childhood Hunger

Sept. 30: It’s a sad reality that one in six children in the U.S. goes hungry every day, but it’s a reality Feed the Kids is trying to change. The group will hold its second annual charity golf tournament to benefit No Kid Hungry and the HPS Weekend Backpack Program at Springfield Country Club, 1375 Elm St., West Springfield. No Kid Hungry is a national organization that raises funds to support school breakfast programs, summer meals, afterschool meals, and more for children throughout the country. The HPS Weekend Backpack Program distributes bags of nutritious and easy-to-prepare meals to children at the end of each week that they can enjoy over the weekend. Feed the Kids is currently seeking donations for the tournament’s silent auction, individual and corporate sponsors, and, of course, golfers. Check-in for the scramble-format tournament will begin at 10 a.m., with a shotgun start at noon. The fee is $160 per golfer, which includes greens fees, driving range, cart use, lunch, cocktail hour, dinner, and a gift bag. There will also be prizes, a raffle, and an auction. To make a cash donation, donate an item for the raffle or auction, learn more about sponsorship opportunities, or register to golf or for the dinner, visit feedthekidsgolf.com.

Healthcare Heroes

Oct. 17: The third annual class of Healthcare Heroes will be honored at the Sheraton Springfield from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Healthcare Heroes, a recognition program involving the Western Mass. healthcare sector, was launched in 2017 by HCN and BusinessWest. The program was created to shed a bright light on the outstanding work being done across the broad spectrum of health and wellness services, and the institutions and people providing that care. The class of 2019 will be profiled in the Sept. 2 issue of BusinessWest, and will be feted at the Oct. 25 gala. Tickets will go on sale in August. Healthcare Heroes sponsors include American International College (presenting sponsor), Development Associates (partner sponsor), Comcast (partner sponsor), and Elms College (supporting sponsor). Additional sponsorship opportunities are available.

‘One Ocean, One People’

Oct. 24: Springfield College will host deep ocean explorer and environmentalist Fabien Cousteau and explorer and filmmaker Céline Cousteau for an evening titled “One Ocean, One People: The Cousteau Legacy and a Call for Environmental Action,” starting at 7:30 p.m. Fabien and Céline are the grandchildren of legendary explorer Jacque-Yves Cousteau. This event is free and open to the public. Both Fabien and Céline will highlight their commitment to fulfilling their family’s legacy of protecting and preserving the planet’s extensive and endangered marine inhabitants and habitats. Fabien stresses the need for bold and innovative thinking to progress conservation efforts worldwide. He encourages individuals to follow their own curiosity in developing cutting-edge solutions that can address regional and global environmental challenges. Through powerful storytelling, Céline uses her voyages around the world to offer a thoughtful perspective on the connection of the environment to populations around the world and how this knowledge is vital to the future of each of us on the planet.

Agenda

Blue Sox Youth Baseball Clinics

July 8-11, 15-18: The Valley Blue Sox announced that Shriners Hospitals for Children will serve as the presenting sponsor of the 2019 Blue Sox Youth Baseball Clinics. This year marks Shriners’ second season partnering with the Blue Sox to present the team’s youth clinics. Blue Sox coaches and players will provide hitting, pitching, and fielding instruction to participants ages 6-13 from 9 a.m. to noon daily. The registration fee for each four-day session is $100. Athletic trainers will be on hand, provided by Shriners. All children participating in the clinics will receive a pair of free tickets to Blue Sox Clinic Night on Saturday, July 20 courtesy of Shriners Hospitals for Children, where they will have the opportunity to take the field with the Valley Blue Sox during pregame ceremonies. The first session will be held July 8-11 at Mackenzie Stadium, 500 Beech St., Holyoke. Interested participants can visit www.valleybluesox.com for information on how to register. The second session will be held July 15-18 at Burnham Field in the Spec Pond Recreation Area, 2540 Boston Post Road, Wilbraham. Interested participants can register by visiting www.wilbrahamrec.com. Participating children should bring their glove, a water bottle, and bat and helmet (if able). Ideal attire includes a cap, baseball pants, and cleats or athletic sneakers. Questions about this year’s clinics can be directed to the Valley Blue Sox by e-mail at [email protected]

‘Roots & Boots ’90s Electric Throwdown Tour’

Sept. 7: The Melha Shriners, in conjunction with the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton, will present a day-long country music festival at the fairgrounds from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The “Roots & Boots ’90s Electric Throwdown Tour” will bring a full day of music with six country acts, featuring nationally renowned artists Sammy Kershaw, Collin Raye, and Aaron Tippin. Popular local bands King Kountry, Southern Rain, and Cottonwood will also perform. Ticket prices are $30 (general admission, advance sale), $35 (general admission, day of the show) and $40 (reserved seating). General admission is free for children under 5. Tickets are available online at 3countyfair.com/events. The gates will open at 10 a.m., with on-site parking available for $5 per vehicle. Food, beer, and wine will be available for purchase. No outside food or beverages will be permitted. General admission patrons are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets; however, beach umbrellas and pop-up tents are not allowed. Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, contact event chair Shonn Monday at (413) 800-2312.

Golf Tournament to Fight Childhood Hunger

Sept. 30: It’s a sad reality that one in six children in the U.S. goes hungry every day, but it’s a reality Feed the Kids is trying to change. The group will hold its second annual charity golf tournament to benefit No Kid Hungry and the HPS Weekend Backpack Program at Springfield Country Club, 1375 Elm St., West Springfield. No Kid Hungry is a national organization that raises funds to support school breakfast programs, summer meals, afterschool meals, and more for children throughout the country. The HPS Weekend Backpack Program distributes bags of nutritious and easy-to-prepare meals to children at the end of each week that they can enjoy over the weekend. Feed the Kids is currently seeking donations for the tournament’s silent auction, individual and corporate sponsors, and, of course, golfers. Check-in for the scramble-format tournament will begin at 10 a.m., with a shotgun start at noon. The fee is $160 per golfer, which includes greens fees, driving range, cart use, lunch, cocktail hour, dinner, and a gift bag. There will also be prizes, a raffle, and an auction. To make a cash donation, donate an item for the raffle or auction, learn more about sponsorship opportunities, or register to golf or for the dinner, visit feedthekidsgolf.com.

‘One Ocean, One People’

Oct. 24: Springfield College will host deep ocean explorer and environmentalist Fabien Cousteau and explorer and filmmaker Céline Cousteau for an evening titled “One Ocean, One People: The Cousteau Legacy and a Call for Environmental Action,” starting at 7:30 p.m. Fabien and Céline are the grandchildren of legendary explorer Jacque-Yves Cousteau. This event is free and open to the public. Both Fabien and Céline will highlight their commitment to fulfilling their family’s legacy of protecting and preserving the planet’s extensive and endangered marine inhabitants and habitats. Fabien stresses the need for bold and innovative thinking to progress conservation efforts worldwide. He encourages individuals to follow their own curiosity in developing cutting-edge solutions that can address regional and global environmental challenges. Through powerful storytelling, Céline uses her voyages around the world to offer a thoughtful perspective on the connection of the environment to populations around the world and how this knowledge is vital to the future of each person on the planet.

Community Spotlight

Community Spotlight

Woodlawn Shopping Plaza

An architect’s rendering of the housing project planned for the Woodlawn Shopping Plaza.

Rocco Falcone acknowledged that, when he and fellow partners Andy Yee and Peter Picknelly acquired the Woodlawn Shopping Plaza on Newton Street in South Hadley in 2016, they were making that sizable investment at a time when the world of retail was changing — and shrinking.

And they knew then that the plaza, dominated by a closed Big Y supermarket, might not look like it did years down the road — not that they didn’t try to find a strong retail anchor to fill the role that Big Y played.

“We knew there was going to be an unlikelihood that we’d be able to get another supermarket, although we tried like heck to — we talked to a number of chains, local, national, and international,” said Falcone, manager of South Hadley Plaza LLC, the entity created to acquire the property, and perhaps better known as president and CEO of the Rocky’s Ace Hardware chain. “When we bought it, we kept it in our minds that it might not be a supermarket — or even retail.”

And the Woodlawn Shopping Plaza will, indeed, take on a new look — and role that goes beyond shopping — with the announcement of plans to build 72 mixed-income apartments on a three-acre portion of the plaza where the Big Y once stood; a public hearing is slated on the proposal for June 26 at the South Hadley library.

Town Administrator Mike Sullivan, former mayor of Holyoke, sees the proposed housing project as an opportunity for the community, one that could change the face of an underperforming property (the plaza), perhaps spur new business development at the site and elsewhere, and even boost enrollment at the town’s schools, which have seen their numbers declining in recent years.

“We knew there was going to be an unlikelihood that we’d be able to get another supermarket, although we tried like heck to — we talked to a number of chains, local, national, and international. When we bought it, we kept it in our minds that it might not be a supermarket — or even retail.”

The announced plans for the plaza comprise one of a number of intriguing developments in South Hadley, a community of nearly 18,000 people that has always been an attractive place to live and has been working for decades to balance its strong neighborhoods with new business opportunities.

Others include progress toward an update of the community’s master plan; introduction of a new option for ultra-high-speed internet service, called FiberSonic, to town residents; efforts to work with neighboring Granby to bring more order to a hodgepodge of zoning on the Route 202 corridor; apparent progress in bringing the town’s long-underperforming municipal golf course, the Ledges, to self-sustainability; and even a new dog park on the Ledges property.

“Dog parks have become somewhat of a recreational amenity in many communities, including Northampton, Granby, and many other cities and towns,” said Sullivan. “It’s surprising how many people are really into their dogs; this is a quality-of-life issue, and at least this will put another 100 to 200 South Hadley residents onto property that they’re paying for. They don’t golf, but they have a dog.”

For the latest installment of its Community Spotlight series, BusinessWest looks at these various developments in South Hadley and how they are part of ongoing efforts to make the community a better place to work, live, and start a business.

Getting out of the Rough

Golf courses, especially municipal golf courses, usually don’t generate many headlines.

The Ledges has been a notable exception to that rule. Since it opened at the start of this century, it has been in the news often — and for all the wrong reasons. Indeed, conceived and built as Tiger Woods was rocketing to stardom and golf was booming as a sport and a business, the picturesque Ledges, with breathtaking views of the Holyoke Range, was projected to a be a strong revenue generator for the community.

Suffice it to say things haven’t worked out that way. In fact, the course has been a financial drain, racking up deficits of more than $1 million some years, and into six figures most years.

Town Administrator Mike Sullivan

Town Administrator Mike Sullivan says new high-speed Internet service, called FiberSonic might spur more young professionals to move to South Hadley.

Sullivan, who inherited this problem, took the aggressive step of outsourcing not only maintenance of the course, but overall management of the facility, with the goal of turning things around and making the Ledges self-sustaining.

Mike Fontaine, the course’s general manager and an employee of Lakeland, Fla.-based International Golf Maintenance (IGM), which manages more than 30 courses across the country, is optimistic that some kind of corner has been turned at the Ledges. He noted that the shortfall was smaller last year (Sullivan pegged it at roughly $35,000) — despite unrelenting rains that made 2018 a difficult year for every golf course — and that, even with more rain early this year, the course is on track to improve on last year’s numbers and continue on an upward trajectory.

He said IGM’s efforts comprise work in progress, but added that a number of steps have been taken to improve the visitor experience and, thus, generate more revenue for the town. Work has been done to build a management team, place more emphasis on customer service, and give the 19th hole, an important revenue stream for all golf operations, a new look and feel. And even a new name.

“We gave the whole place a facelift, especially the restaurant,” he explained. “It was time for a fresh coat of paint, work behind the bar, new pictures of the golf course on the walls, moving the TVs, changing the name from Valley View restaurant to the Sunset Grille, and going with a whole new brand and marketing campaign.”

The new name highlights one of the course’s hallmarks — dramatic sunsets — and attempts to capitalize on that asset, said Fontaine, who said was inspired by what he saw in Key West, which is famous for its sunsets and people turning out to watch them.

He said the course has generally done well with visitation — 25,000 rounds last year — but needs a break from Mother Nature as well as a break from the negative publicity that hasn’t been good for business.

South Hadley at a Glance

Year Incorporated: 1775
Population: 17,791
Area: 18.4 square miles
County: Hampshire
Residential and commercial tax rate: $20.15 (Fire District 1); $20.55 (Fire District 2)
Median Household Income: $46,678
Median Family Income: $58,693
Type of government: Town meeting
Largest Employers: Mount Holyoke College; the Loomis Communities; Coveris Advanced Coatings; Big Y
* Latest information available

“We’re beating the numbers from last year, and we’re hitting our revenue goals despite losing three weekends in a row, including Mother’s Day weekend, due to rain — money we’ll never get back,” he said. “We’ll have a much better understanding of where we’re at when this year is over.”

While the picture seems to be improving at the Ledges, the picture is changing on Newton Street, especially at the Woodlawn Shopping Plaza.

While there is still significant retail there — the plaza is home to a Rocky’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Dollar General, the Egg & I restaurant (a recent addition), the Parthenon restaurant, Mandarin Gourmet, and more — the former Big Y site was proving difficult to redevelop, said Falcone, noting that, after efforts to find a replacement supermarket were exhausted, the building was razed in 2018 with the goal of bringing more options to the fore, including residential.

The proposed 72-unit apartment complex will fill a need within the community for both affordable and market-rate housing, said Falcone, adding that this reuse is consistent with how many malls and shopping plazas are being repurposed at a time when stores are closing at an alarming rate and malls — and communities — are forced to be imaginative in a changing retail landscape.

“We looked at options to possibly subdivide the Big Y property, but we couldn’t get any junior anchors,” said Falcone, adding that the owners spent roughly the past year and half looking for smaller tenants, but to no avail.

“Retail is changing — people are getting away from retail and putting more focus on service and entertainment,” he said, adding that the town created an overlay district within the Newton Street area that allows for mixed-use development and residential space, which brings us to the plans currently on the table.

“We thought this would be a good option and a good opportunity,” said Falcone, adding that research revealed demand for such housing. “If you look at Village Commons, those apartments are always full, and my understanding is there’s a waiting list to get in there. So we think South Hadley is a great community for some additional housing.”

Sullivan agreed. “We’re a vibrant community for condominium development, and there’s considerable demand for them — we have condominiums on the riverfront selling for more than $400,000,” he noted. “But we think this proposed development balances things out; it provides another option for housing.”

The Gig-speed Economy

They’re called ‘fiberhoods.’

That’s the name the South Hadley Electric Light Department (SHELD) has given to areas, or neighborhoods, in the community that will be provided with FiberSonic, which will make gigabit-speed internet available to residential homes; the service is already available to South Hadley businesses.

SHELD is starting in the Ridge Road area — the service will be available there in July — and will proceed to the Old Lyman Road fiberhood in August, and the Hollywood Street area in September. By year’s end, 700 homes should be covered by the project, and the 32 identified fiberhoods will be added in phases over the next five years, said Sean Fitzgerald, SHELD’s general manager.

“Establishing fiber-optic internet service throughout the town will bring added convenience and, more importantly, will accommodate the ever-growing bandwidth need for South Hadley customers,” said Fitzgerald, who described FiberSonic as “home-grown, gig-speed Internet.”

This service should help make South Hadley a more attractive option for a growing number of professionals who essentially call the office home, even as they work for companies in Boston, New York, and Seattle, said Sullivan.

“When you can access a high-paying job in New York City, Boston, Montreal, or even Los Angeles, and you might have to only go to the home office once a month or once a week and the rest of the day work at home, your housing costs are lower and quality of life is higher in Western Mass.,” he explained. “We’re seeing more of this in South Hadley, and the new internet service will make this community even more attractive.”

As the overall pace of change accelerates, the town looks to anticipate what the future might bring — and be prepared for it — with an update to a master plan drafted roughly a decade ago.

That document, the town’s first master plan in more than three decades, included no less than 200 recommended actions, said Town Planner Richard Harris, noting that this represents an obviously unachievable number, although many have been implemented, especially in the realms of housing, recreation, and creation of growth districts.

He expects that the updated plan, to be completed by year’s end, will be more strategic in nature.

“While it will still be broad, because the nature of a master plan is broad, we’re expecting it to be more strategic in focus and more related to the current organizational structure and long-term needs of the community,” he told BusinessWest. “I wouldn’t expect as much focus on zoning and land use as the last plan, and instead more on how to capitalize on what we have done.”

There have been a number of community forums staged to solicit commentary and input about the plan and what it should include, as well as smaller, more informal sessions within neighborhoods called “meetings in a box,” said Harris, adding that a draft of a new plan should be ready for additional review by the fall and a final document in place by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the town isn’t waiting for the new plan to address a long-term concern and probable hindrance to growth — the hodgepodge of zoning along the Route 202 corridor, roughly from Route 33 into Granby Town Commons.

“Both towns have the leftover remnants of a ’60s regional road,” he explained, noting that there are homes next to dinosaur-track stops next to other forms of business. “It’s not very well-organized; there’s a weird mix, and we think there is a real need for conformity.

“If we could get that conformity, there’s enough business traffic going into Belchertown, Ware, and, beyond that, Amherst — and we can harness that traffic,” he went on, adding there have been discussions with officials in Granby about zoning and also infrastructure and perhaps tying properties along that corridor into South Hadley’s sewer system, a development that would benefit both communities.

“We hope this will bring more investment to those commercial properties along 202 in South Hadley,” Harris explained. “That will result in more tax dollars — and it would be great to have more people to share the tax burden with.”

Bottom Line

Those last sentiments accurately reflect a goal, and an ongoing challenge, spanning decades: creating more opportunities to share the tax burden.

South Hadley has always been a great place to live — and now also play golf and walk your dog. Greater balance in the form of new businesses and better use of existing and potential commercial property has always been a goal and priority.

And between the proposed new housing project, faster internet service, and progress along the Route 202 corridor, the community is making more headway toward realizing that goal.

George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

Agenda

JA Inspire Career Exploration Fair

May 28: Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM), now celebrating its centennial anniversary, will host the JA Inspire Career Exploration Fair from 8 a.m. to noon at the MassMutual Center, 1277 Main St., Springfield. The JA Inspire program provides students with the opportunity to learn about careers from industry representatives in time to begin planning for high-school coursework and better prepare themselves for life after graduation. The program consists of four in-class lessons, plus the career exploration fair, all designed to engage students and help them explore education and career pathways, showcase careers in Western Mass. with a focus on high-wage and high-demand industries, and connect students with industry representatives who can share career advice and offer interactive exhibits during the career fair. Exhibitor space is still available at no charge. Exhibitors will present interactive and engaging career stations, while providing volunteer mentors to staff the career stations throughout the event. To reserve a career station, contact Connolly at (413) 747-7670 or [email protected] To learn more about the event, visit jawm.org/events or call (413) 747-7670.

Bay Path Graduate Spring Open House

May 29: Ready to take your career to the next level? A professional headshot and a graduate degree can help take you there. Attendees of Bay Path University’s spring graduate open house can meet with programs directors, faculty, admissions team members, and financial-aid representatives, and learn about the graduate-school admissions process, ways to finance an education, and more than 30 graduate degrees and certificates available at Bay Path University online or on campus, while enjoying light refreshments and entering to win raffle prizes. A professional photographer will also be at the event taking free headshots, perfect for use on a LinkedIn profile or résumé. The spring graduate open house is slated for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Bay Path’s Longmeadow campus at 588 Longmeadow St. For more information or to register, visit baypath.edu/visit or e-mail [email protected].

Girls on the Run 5K

June 2: Girls on the Run of Western MA will host its 5K celebration at 10:30 a.m at Springfield College. The mission of Girls on the Run is to inspire girls to be healthy, joyful, and confident using an experiential-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. Girls on the Run is a physical-activity-based, positive youth-development program that uses fun running games and dynamic discussions to teach life skills to girls in third through eighth grade. During the 10-week program, girls participate in lessons that foster confidence, build peer connections, and encourage community service while they prepare for an end-of-season, celebratory 5K event. Participation in the 5K event on June 2 is open to the public. About 950 girls from 68 school sites around Western Mass., as well as 280 volunteer coaches, have participated in the program this season. Around 2,500 participants are expected at the event. The pre-registration cost is $25 for adults and $10 for children and includes a Girls on the Run 5K event shirt. After a group warm-up, the event will begin on the outdoor track on Alden Street and will continue through the campus. Registration is open at www.girlsontherunwesternma.org, and will also be available the day of the event beginning at 9 a.m. For more information about the event, how to register, and volunteer opportunities, visit www.girlsontherunwesternma.org.

Family Business Center Leadership Summit

June 4: The Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley is gathering leaders of Western Mass. companies, agencies, and organizations to explore together the upcoming trends and forces all will need to respond to. About 100 local leaders will participate in a World Café-style session at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, led by strategic leadership coach Ingrid Bredenberg, that will result in an improved perspective on paths forward into the inevitable future. Tickets are $35 (there are also discount packages, sponsor opportunities, and roles as scribes and table hosts), and includes a networking-style dinner and a relevant, practical, stimulating exploration. The FBC is doing this to mark its 25th anniversary and first-ever leadership transition with an event that will creates wins and takeaways for all. For more information and to register, e-mail fambizpv.com/leadershipsummit.

Community Action Awards

June 13: Springfield Partners for Community Action will present a night of celebrating those in action within the community. The Community Action Awards will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Springfield Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. It will be a night of speakers, awards, handing out scholarships to Community Scholarship winners, and a silent auction for guests to participate in. Ticket purchase is available at communityactionevent.eventbrite.com. Springfield Partners for Community Action is the federally designated community action agency of Springfield whose mission is to provide resources that assist those in need to obtain economic stability and ultimately create a better way of life. For more information on the event, contact Natalia Arocho at (413) 263-6500, ext. 6516, or [email protected].

Paid Family and Medical Leave Seminar

June 20: Over the past few months, Massachusetts-based employers have been inundated with information about the upcoming Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave requirements. Unfortunately, this deluge of information has done little to answer employers’ pressing questions. The draft regulations are just that: a draft, and subject to change prior to the issuance of final regulations. But we do know some things for sure, and there is still some time before employer obligations go into effect. Royal, P.C. will host a discussion of the steps employers can begin to take to prepare for the implementation of Paid Family and Medical Leave. The event will be held from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at 270 Pleasant St., Northampton. The price is $30 per person, and registration is limited. For more information or to register, contact Heather Loges at (413) 586-2288 or [email protected].

40 Under Forty Gala

June 20: BusinessWest will present its 13th annual 40 Under Forty Gala, a celebration of 40 young business and civic leaders in Western Mass. The lavish cocktail party, to begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, will feature butlered hors d’oeuvres, food stations, and entertainment — and, of course, the presentation of the class of 2019, which is profiled in the April 29 issue of BusinessWest and at BusinessWest.com. Also, the fifth Continued Excellence Award honoree will be announced. Limited standing-room-only tickets are still available for $75 per person. For more information, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100, or e-mail [email protected]. PeoplesBank is the presenting sponsor, Health New England is the Continued Excellence Award sponsor, and WWLP-22 News is the media sponsor. Other sponsors include Baystate Health, the Isenberg School of Management, MP CPAs, Mercedes-Benz of Springfield, Live Nation, MGM Springfield, Comcast Business, and YPS of Greater Springfield (partner).

‘Thrive After 55’ Wellness Fair

June 21: State Sen. Eric Lesser announced that he will host the third annual “Thrive After 55” Wellness Fair in partnership with Health New England, Springfield College, and the Center for Human Development (CHD). This year’s fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Field House on the campus of Springfield College, 263 Alden St., Springfield. The fair is free and open to the public. With more than 70 local organizations ranging from health and fitness to nutrition and elder law, the annual fair will connect residents of the Greater Springfield area with information and resources to help them thrive. The event will feature several educational seminars which will highlight areas of interest for attendees, including estate planning and elder law, scam avoidance, and diet and nutrition. Heart Song Yoga Center of East Longmeadow will return for a third year with an interactive demonstration of chair yoga and movement. The free program includes a boxed lunch, hundreds of raffle prizes, and access to information and experts. To RSVP, call Lesser’s office at (413) 526-6501 or visit senatorlesser.com/thrive.

Filmmaking Workshops

June 24-28, July 8-12: The Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative (BFMC) will host two summer filmmaking workshops: one for 15- to 19-year-olds from Monday, June 24 to Friday, June 28, and one for 11- to 14-year-olds from Monday July 8 to Friday, July 12. These week-long workshops will meet daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Berkshire Community College’s South County Campus, 343 Main St., Great Barrington. Early dropoff (9 a.m.) and late pickup (5 p.m.) is available by request. The purpose of the workshops are twofold: for kids to experience what it’s like to work on a real movie crew from creation of an idea to the final edit of the project, and for the group to produce a high-quality short film championed in every aspect by everyone in the group. The kids will work collaboratively — performing as actors on camera; running the lights, camera, and sound; editing; and marketing the film’s premiere to the community. On the final night, parents, friends, and the public will be invited to attend, and the young filmmakers will participate in a question-and-answer session with the audience. Each participant will walk away with a copy of the film and the experience of creating a professional-quality film together. Specific topics covered will include story structure, screenwriting, character development, cinematography, sound recording and mixing, lighting, editing, sound design, and marketing. The course is being taught by writer, director, actor, and educator Patrick Toole. All equipment will be provided. The cost for the week-long workshop is $325. Students will need to bring lunch. Class size is limited. To register online, visit shop.berkshirecc.edu or call (413) 236-2127.

Agenda

Paid Family and Medical Leave Seminar

April 18: Over the past few months, Massachusetts-based employers have been inundated with information about the upcoming Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave requirements. Unfortunately, this deluge of information has done little to answer employers’ pressing questions. To date, most of this information has been speculative or otherwise subject to change before implementation. In fact, the most helpful information thus far, the new Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave’s draft regulations, has only given an idea of what the program will probably look like. These draft regulations are just that: a draft. They are subject to change prior to the issuance of final regulations. The good news is there are some things we do know for sure, and there is still some time before employer obligations go into effect. Royal, P.C. will host a discussion of the steps employers can begin to take to prepare for the implementation of Paid Family and Medical Leave. The event will be held from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at 270 Pleasant St., Northampton. The price is $30 per person, and registration is limited. For more information or to register, contact Heather Loges at (413) 586-2288 or [email protected].

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny

April 20: The Starting Gate at GreatHorse will host breakfast with the Easter Bunny the Saturday before Easter at 9 a.m. The facility is located at 128 Wilbraham Road, Hampden. An Easter breakfast buffet will feature buttermilk pancakes, scrambled eggs, pork sausage links, applewood bacon, golden breakfast potatoes, fresh fruit, mini danish, hot cross buns, bagels, coffee, tea, orange juice, and milk. The event will include Easter crafts and games, including an Easter egg hunt. This event is open to the public. The cost is $35, including tax and service charges. The event is free for children under age 1. Call (413) 566-5158 for reservations.

Springfield Art Stop

April 26: The Springfield Cultural Partnership (SCP) announced the return of Art Stop, a pop-up gallery/street festival hybrid, from 5 to 8 p.m. The SCP is partnering with venues downtown to open galleries in unexpected spaces simultaneously. Additionally, several existing Springfield art galleries along this year’s route will also participate as stops along the Art Stop. Between the galleries, which will have the typical artist talks and receptions, there will be street performances. Art Stop was designed to activate underutilized community spaces with colorful art, create economic opportunity for artists, and bring communities together. Galleries will all be located in downtown Springfield. Each individual gallery opening will have an reception with the artist on site to both sell and talk about their work. This year, the SCP has also partnered with several downtown restaurants that will offer a discount on food to Art Stop attendees who present their Art Stop ‘passport’ on April 26. The SCP, along with organizing the curation of art in the pop-up spaces, is hiring unique buskers to encourage attendees to walk from place to place. Guides will be strategically placed to guide attendees along the Art Stop route. The performers will showcase an array of dance, music, and entertainment. All locations are within a walkable area.

Daffodil 5K Run/Walk & 10K Run

April 28: Big Brothers Big Sisters will host the ninth annual Daffodil 5K Run/Walk & 10K Run. This festive, family-friendly event takes place at Kendrick Park in Amherst, with the race kicking off at 10 a.m.

Before the race, registrants can enjoy Esselon Coffee and a pre-race warmup with 50/50 Fitness/Nutrition. The post-race party for all registrants and volunteers will include a barbecue lunch provided by the Pub, music with DJ Matt Peterson, a bounce house, hula hooping with Hoop Joy, and balloon art. New this year, Crooked Stick Pops will bring their popsicles to the party, and there will be a tent sale of gently used children’s books curated by author and illustrator Diane deGroat. With a goal of raising $60,000 this year, the Daffodil Run is the largest annual fundraiser for CHD’s Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County and provides vital funds for its mentoring programs. This year, it is partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County, and participants can decide which agency their fundraising will benefit. “The Daffodil Run is a favorite springtime event in our community, with 1,000 people joining together each year to have fun and support youth-mentoring programs,” said Jessie Cooley, director of CHD’s Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County. “By partnering with our friends in Hampden County, we hope to create an even bigger impact and to match more young people in our region with mentors.” Runners and walkers can register online until Wednesday, April 24, and race-day registration is available beginning at 8 a.m. Prizes will be awarded to the top three overall finishers in each gender category, as well as top finishers for each age group and top fundraisers. Community members are invited to join the festivities at Kendrick Park and cheer on the runners and walkers along the route. For more information and to register for the race, visit daffodilrun2019.racewire.com.

DiGrigoli Educational Programs

April 29: For the first time in many years, Paul DiGrigoli, owner of DiGrigoli Salon and DiGrigoli School of Cosmetology in West Springfield and a national spokesperson and educator for the beauty industry, will offer his popular seminars to all local salon professionals and business owners. The all-day program at the Log Cabin in Holyoke will kick off at 10 a.m. with DiGrigoli’s most popular program, “Booked Solid,” based off his best-selling book in the beauty industry of the same name. Designed to help stylists, estheticians, nail techs, or anyone in the service industry to increase sales and retention, “Booked Solid” has inspired professionals across the country at major beauty shows, colleges, and businesses for more than 15 years. After lunch, the day will conclude with “How to Build a Healthy Salon or Business” from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. This leadership program, geared towards salon and beauty professionals, business owners, managers, or anyone in a leadership position, will use DiGrigoli’s more than 35 years of experience in the industry to educate on the best leadership practices, how to cultivate a healthy team or healthy business, and how to outperform the competition. This intensive workshop is being made possible through the sponsorship of Sullivan Beauty in New Hampshire. For more information and to purchase tickets, interested stylists and professionals should visit www.sullivanbeauty.com.

Elder-law and Estate-planning Series

May 6, 13, 20: Attorney Karen Jackson of Jackson Law, an elder-law and estate-planning firm, will teach a series of classes highlighting the latest developments in elder law and estate planning at Holyoke Community College (HCC). The six-hour course, called “Elder Law and Estate Planning: What You Need to Know,” will be presented on three consecutive Mondays from 6 to 8 p.m. Jackson will present comprehensive subject matter on what she calls “The Core Estate Plan,” in which she will explain core documents and provide stories and examples. She will also discuss “The Probate Court Process and Medicare Hot Topics” and “Community Care Programs and MassHealth Planning for Nursing-home Care.” In the first session, Jackson will explain each document in the core estate plan. She will discuss the problems that can occur when proper documents are not prepared before a loss of mental capacity or physical health or before sudden loss of life. The second session will address four areas: trusts, the probate court process, Medicare hot topics, and options for community care and home care. Jackson will provide pertinent information and details about each to assist attendees in planning now. In the third and final session, Jackson will introduce the various Medicaid programs that provide long-term skilled-nursing home care in Massachusetts and the financial assistance associated with each. While participants may attend only one session of their choosing, they must still pay the full course cost of $89. To register, call (413) 552-2500 or visit www.hcc.edu/bce.

40 Under Forty Gala

June 20: BusinessWest will present its 13th annual 40 Under Forty Gala, a celebration of 40 young business and civic leaders in Western Mass. The lavish cocktail party, to begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, will feature butlered hors d’oeuvres, food stations, and entertainment — and, of course, the presentation of the class of 2019, which will be profiled in the April 29 issue of BusinessWest and at businesswest.com. Also, the fifth Continued Excellence Award honoree will be announced. Tickets cost $75 per person, and tables of 10 are available. For more information, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100, or e-mail [email protected] PeoplesBank is the presenting sponsor, Health New England is the Continued Excellence Award sponsor, and WWLP-22 News is the media sponsor. Other sponsors include the Isenberg School of Management, MP CPAs, Mercedes-Benz of Springfield, Live Nation, MGM Springfield, and YPS of Greater Springfield (partner).

‘Thrive After 55’ Wellness Fair

June 21: State Sen. Eric Lesser announced that he will host the third annual “Thrive After 55” Wellness Fair in partnership with Health New England, Springfield College, and the Center for Human Development (CHD). This year’s fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Field House on the campus of Springfield College, 263 Alden St., Springfield. The fair is free and open to the public. With more than 70 local organizations ranging from health and fitness to nutrition and elder law, the annual fair will connect residents of the Greater Springfield area with information and resources to help them thrive. The event will feature several educational seminars which will highlight areas of interest for attendees, including estate planning and elder law, scam avoidance, and diet and nutrition. Heart Song Yoga Center of East Longmeadow will return for a third year with an interactive demonstration of chair yoga and movement. The free program includes a boxed lunch, hundreds of raffle prizes, and access to information and experts. To RSVP, call Lesser’s office at (413) 526-6501 or visit senatorlesser.com/thrive.

Incorporations

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

AMHERST

Gabriel Transportation Inc., 91 Cross Brook, Amherst, MA 01002. Kebede Gashie, same. Transportation services.

BELCHERTOWN

Greater Springfield Girls Fast Pitch Softball Program Inc., 168 Barton Ave., Belchertown, MA 01007. Darrell Phillip Weldon, same. Develop, manage, and organize a girls youth fast pitch softball program.

DALTON

Go Fast Inc., 290 Hubbard Ave., Dalton, MA 01226. Evan Drosehn, same. Sales.

EAST LONGMEADOW

Forge Property Management Inc., 444A North Main St., Suite 315, East Longmeadow, MA 01028. Lucas Giusto, same. Real estate management.

GRANBY

Flipflopwws Inc., 63 West State St., Suite 972, Granby, MA 01033. Sylvester Jones, same. Real estate development.

HADLEY

Green Blasting Solutions Inc., 42 River Dr., Hadley, MA 01035. Rick M. White, same. Environmentally friendly water-blasting solution.

HINSDALE

Hayan Inc., 70 South St., Hinsdale, MA 01235. Kirankumar N. Patel, 6 Glen Meadow Road, Franklin, MA 02038. Liquor store.

PITTSFIELD

Gotham City Music Group Inc., 137 Leona Drive, Pittsfield, MA 01201. Marissa J. Light, same. Music production, sales, performances.

SPRINGFIELD

Friends of STCC Inc., One Armory Square, Suite 1, P. O. Box 9000, Springfield, MA 01102. Franklin D. Quigley, 10 Old Farm Road, Wilbraham, MA 01095. Own and manage parking facilities in order to exclusively support the charitable and educational operations of Springfield Technical Community College.

THREE RIVERS

Grateful Development Inc., 38 Lariviere Ave., Three Rivers, MA 01080. Christopher A. Spagnoli, same. Real estate development and consultation.

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Firsov Express Inc., 52 Southworth St., West Springfield, MA 01089. Vitalii Firsov, same. Transportation.

Springfield Partners for Community Action is celebrating 55 years in action with a celebration to recognize the work being done by individuals and organizations within their community.

Springfield Partners for Community Action is hosting the Community Action Awards on June 13th, 2019 at 6:00 PM at the Springfield Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. This year’s event will hold a silent auction to raise funds to help keep programs and services free to the community. There will be keynote speakers that have witnessed the change and growth in Hampden County, and awards presented to individuals working hard for a future to better their lives and that of their community. We will also be awarding scholarships to our Community Scholarship recipients and rolling out a new project that we have been in the works.

Please join us for this night of celebration by registering at https://communityactionevent.eventbrite.com.