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NORTH ADAMS — The North Adams Chamber of Commerce announced the first citywide LumiNAMA holiday lights initiative to run from Nov. 23 to Jan. 1. LumiNAMA is intended to brighten up the city, give residents and visitors a memorable experience, and encourage foot traffic during the holiday season.

All businesses, not just downtown businesses, in North Adams are encouraged to create a window display and illuminate their windows with holiday lights from 4 to 8 p.m. daily, coinciding with the city’s tree-lighting ceremony on the evening of Nov. 23.

“We believe businesses doing something as simple as hanging up some holiday lights will make shopping downtown for North Adams residents a little extra special this holiday season,” chamber President Glenn Maloney said.

The LumiNAMA downtown holiday lights route will run along Marshall, Holden, Main, and Eagle streets, and Route 2 between Big Y and behind 85 Main St. Many downtown businesses have already committed to participating in the initiative, including MASS MoCA, MCLA, and Gallery 51. The city of North Adams will also assist in installing lights along Route 2.

Additionally, the chamber is connecting commercial real-estate owners with local artists and community groups to activate unoccupied storefronts.

Businesses interested in participating in LumiNAMA are encouraged to register their display by Nov. 18 at nachamber.org/luminama. Those who register will be considered for the following awards: Brightest Lights, Best Window Display, and Best Art Installation. Voting begins on Nov. 23 and ends on Dec. 14. Winners will be announced on Dec. 16.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — The North Adams Chamber of Commerce (NAC) will host a series of fall workshops to assist small businesses in the Northern Berkshires.

The Northern Berkshire business community is invited to a Holiday Promotion networking event on Monday, Oct. 24 at 5 p.m. at Greylock Works. The holiday season plays a large role in the Northern Berkshire economy, and business owners, artists, and entrepreneurs are encouraged to come together to brainstorm the best ways to promote products and services ahead of the holiday season. Refreshments and snacks will be provided by Door Prize.

In November, the NAC will start a technology-makeover series that will dive into online commerce, effective software options, and digital marketing. Each class costs $15 to attend, or $30 for all three. The Monday sessions run from 6 to 8 p.m. and will be held in the NAC office at 85 Main St., Suite 200A, North Adams.

The sessions include “Get Organized: Digital Management Tools for Workflow Efficiency,” Nov. 7; “Get Found: Digital Marketing Basics to Get Your Business Found,” Nov. 14; and “Get Social: Social Media Marketing Strategies and Content Planning,” Nov. 21.

This workshop series is the result of two years of recognizing the technology needs of local businesses through the chamber’s Business Assistance program. In 2019, the organization received grant funding through the Franklin County CDC to launch this one-on-one consulting program and has since helped the business community grow and maintain jobs, get access to legal and financial help, and grow their social-media presence.

After an event the NAC hosted in June called “Reimagine the Chamber,” two dozen business owners expressed their everyday challenges. Many of those challenges were related to implementing technology to run their businesses more efficiently and learn how to use digital marketing tools more effectively.

All businesses throughout Northern Berkshire County interested in improving their digital marketing or learning how to make their business more efficient using the latest tech tools are encouraged to attend one or all of the upcoming workshops. Learn more about the workshops and register at nachamber.org.


From Parking Lot to Plaza

MassDevelopment has awarded a $10,000 grant to the North Adams Chamber of Commerce to transform the Center Street parking lot at 55 Veterans Memorial Dr. in North Adams into a seasonal public dining corridor dubbed Mohawk Plaza.

The organization will use funds to add outdoor seating, a sidewalk surface mural, wayfinding signage, ambience lighting, and landscape work. The chamber will also crowdfund this summer and fall; if the organization reaches its $7,850 goal, it will receive an additional $7,850 matching grant from MassDevelopment.

The funds are awarded through MassDevelopment’s special Commonwealth Places COVID-19 Response Round: Resurgent Places, which was made available specifically to assist local economic-recovery efforts as community partners prepare public spaces and commercial districts to serve residents and visitors.

“Before this pandemic, the vibrant centers of our cities and towns were not only a driving force behind the strength of local economies, they were the places where we gathered to dine, to shop, and to be entertained, and the Commonwealth Places program is one way that we can help these areas bounce back stronger than ever,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s board of directors.

“The Baker-Polito administration continues to support downtowns and town centers through various economic-recovery programs,” he added, “and these Resurgent Places grants are providing nonprofit community organizations with the resources to activate public spaces, boost economic activity, and support an equitable recovery.”

Created in 2016, Commonwealth Places aims to engage and mobilize community members to make individual contributions to placemaking projects, with the incentive of a funding match from MassDevelopment if the crowdfunding goal is reached. In response to the pandemic, MassDevelopment announced the opening of the first Commonwealth Places COVID-19 Response Round: Resurgent Places in June 2020, and from August through October 2020, $224,965 in funding was awarded for 21 placemaking projects across Massachusetts.

In December 2020, MassDevelopment announced the availability of $390,000 in funding for a second Commonwealth Places COVID-19 Response Round: Resurgent Places. Nonprofits and other community groups can apply to MassDevelopment for seed grants of between $250 to $7,500 to fund inclusive community engagement, visioning, and local capacity building that will support future placemaking efforts, or implementation grants of up to $50,000 to execute a placemaking project. For implementation grants, up to $10,000 per project may be awarded as an unmatched grant; awards greater than $10,000 must be matched with crowdfunding donations.

“Amazing things can happen when communities reimagine underutilized public spaces, such as North Adams Chamber of Commerce’s vision for a parking lot steps away from the city’s Main Street,” MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera said. “MassDevelopment is pleased to help the organization create Mohawk Plaza, a space that will increase foot traffic downtown, provide additional outdoor dining, and reinvigorate a prime public way.”