40 Under 40 Class of 2009

Tara Tetreault

Age 29: Co-owner and Co-founder of Jackson & Connor

Tara Tetreault says she’s flattered by comments from those who applaud her entrepreneurial spirit and her first-year success with the men’s clothing store Jackson & Connor in Northampton — especially with the economic downturn and the negative impact it’s had on all types of retail.

But she’s more proud of the feedback she’s getting for her work within the community, and how it seems to be generating momentum and more energy for causes and organizations ranging from Best Buddies to the Northampton Chamber of Commerce; from Clarke School for the Deaf to Northampton Area Young Professionals.

“I think that my actions have, in some ways, spawned other people to act,” she said. “I’ve seen it amongst my peers, with people saying, ‘I never thought to do that,’ or ‘I never thought to get involved with that.’”

Elaborating, Tetrealt said she and her partner, Candace Connors, have taken the attitude that, if they are going to do business in the Greater Northampton area, they need to be actively involved with that community.

This mindset has translated into actions ranging from hosting a Northampton Chamber ‘Arrive at 5’ event coinciding with their first anniversary in business, to active involvement with Best Buddies, a group that is committed to enhancing the lives of those with intellectual disabilities.

“It’s all about making connections,” said Tetreault, who told BusinessWest she is humbled by those who remark on her success in business to date, but is more energized by the words and actions of those who want to work beside her within the community.

“It’s nice to see other people get motivated by what we do — it gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling,” she explained. “It comes when other people decide to act in kind — to look in the mirror and see not just themselves, but also the larger picture, and how it’s not just about you, it’s about all of us being in this together and supporting each other, making it work, and making the area a better place.”

—George O’Brien