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Jiminy Peak Group Buys NH Resort
By: Staff Reports On: 04:00PM / Wednesday June 16, 2010

HANCOCK, Mass. — Jiminy Peak's owners are extending their lofty Berkshire Hills holdings into the White Mountains with the purchase of Cranmore Mountain Resort.

In a statement on Wednesday, Jiminy principals Brian Fairbank, Joseph O'Donnell and Tyler Fairbank, said they purchased the assets of the 72-year-old North Conway, N.H., resort from California resort group Booth Creek Resorts.

The deal includes the assumption of debt, for a total price tag of $8.8 million and an expansion loan from CNL Lifestyle Properties for $7 million.

"Cranmore is a popular family ski area, with a great history and has tremendous potential for the near future," said Brian Fairbank, chief executive officer of Jiminy Peak Ski Resort, in the statement. "With our team's experience in the resort industry, the investment and support from CNL Lifestyle Properties, and the continued leadership of Cranmore General Manager Ben Wilcox and his outstanding management team, Cranmore will be able to fulfill its unrealized potential."

Jiminy Peak entered a partnership with CNL last year, in which the real estate investment group bought the mountain for $27 million and leased it back to the Jiminy group for 40 years.

Jiminy Peak, Booth Creek and CNL Lifestyle Properties have been in discussions for a year regarding the potential sale and amenity expansion. The three companies all have experience working with one another at resorts in New England and across the country.

The Fairbanks and O'Donnell purchased the assets and will make major upgrades and improvements at Cranmore with CNL, which also has a relationship with Booth Creek, providing capital for the acquisition and planned improvements.

Booth Creek will continue to operate the Northstar-at-Tahoe and Sierra-at-Tahoe Resorts located in Lake Tahoe, Calif., under long-term lease arrangements with CNL Lifestyle. Booth Creek retains its ownership and management of Waterville Valley Ski area in New Hampshire as well.

"Our team is pleased to make this investment," said Byron Carlock, president and CEO of CNL Lifestyle Properties. "Brian, Joseph and Tyler are talented resort managers, and we believe that with their experience and vision and our capital, Cranmore will be able to become a better resort, a more vibrant business and continue to provide great experiences for New England skiers."

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Pink Flamingos Available at Brilliant Graphics
By: Staff Reports On: 10:52AM / Monday June 14, 2010

PITTSFIELD, Mass — Brilliant Graphics Group has come up with a novel way to raise money for a good cause.

To raise money for Girls Incorporated of the Berkshires, the digital graphics company will be selling custom-created, oversized pink flamingos – printed, not live, of course.

According to the company's Marketing Manager, Rob Kestyn, the company came up with the idea after a visitor admired a flamingo display piece in Brilliant's offices. The birds go for $20 apiece; Brilliant Graphics will be selling them at a booth during the city's 3rd Thursday event this week, or may be purchased by contacting Kestyn at They will be available now through October.

Girls Incorporated of the Berkshires is a program of the Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center, and an affiliate of the national organization Girls Incorporated, which aims to inspire girls to be "strong, smart and bold." More information can be found here.




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New Dog Training Center Open in North Adams
By: Patrick Ronan On: 09:14PM / Monday June 07, 2010

Melissa Wilkinson poses outside of her new business, Dog Gone Good Dog Training, located at 195 Ashland St. in North Adams.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — There's a new place for dog training in the Berkshires.

Melissa Wilkinson, the animal control officer in North Adams, opened Dog Gone Good Dog Training at 195 Ashland St. last month, offering classes ranging from puppy kindergarten to advanced obedience training. The 29-year-old Williamstown native has had aspirations to run her own dog-training facility since she was a teenager, and she's finally doing it.

"The benefits you can get from a training class is the relationship you end up having with your dog," Wilkinson said on Monday. "They may not walk away being the smartest dog on the block, but what is the relationship you're going to end up having? What motivates them, excites them? What do they dislike doing? I try to help people figure that out, so they can have a good relationship with their dog."

Wilkinson said her training methods vary by each dog's age and obedience level. She has four different classes: puppy kindergarten, basic obedience, advanced obedience and socialization sessions. The puppy course focuses on things like crate training, potty training, nipping, and jumping. In the basic classes, Wilkinson will work on the dog's control, teaching commands such as 'sit' and 'stay.'

Advanced obedience will reaffirm the basic commands, but under heavier distractions and distance learning. The obedience training lasts six weeks and the cost is $85 per dog. Each class is limited to six dogs.

The socialization classes are tentatively scheduled for every other Saturday, and they consist of two hours of play time with other dogs. The limit is 10 dogs per class. Owners have the option of staying and participating in the session, or dropping their dogs off. The price is $10 per social class, but there are discounts for frequent visitors.

Wilkinson said social classes can be very beneficial to the dog and owner.

"I'll helps the [owners] understand what's play behavior and what's leaning toward aggression," she said. "It's healthy for people to know what's OK and what's not OK for dog play."

Wilkinson, who has experience as a veterinarian technician and who has taught puppy classes at Greylock Animal Hospital for the last six years, also offers private lessons and behavior consultations, which can be held either at the training center or at the dog owner's home.

She is planning on having seminars at the center, where outside training will provide strength and agility lessons.

"I read dogs really well, and I read people very well," she said. "I will go all the way from positive-reinforcement training, which is happy-go-lucky, 'cookie, cookie, cookie,' to rough-love training, which is nothing in life is free. Whatever the dog needs and whatever the person is willing to do, we'll find somewhere along the scale and make it work."

Since she held her first class on May 25, Wilkinson has had several clients from outside of North Adams, including Pittsfield,  and Pownal and Stamford, Vt. She has a rotating schedule of classes that caters both to her availability and the availability of her clients. Wilkinson takes appointments by phone, and she posts schedule announcements on the Dog Gone Good Dog Training Facebook page.

To reach Wilkinson, call 413-663-4559.

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WMECo Posts Rate Decrease
By: Staff Reports On: 02:19PM / Wednesday June 02, 2010

Western Mass. Electric Co. says its residential and commercial and industrial who purchase their energy supply through WMECo will see a decrease in supply rates beginning July 1.

The drop in price is a result of the latest round of competitive bidding, according to Peter Clarke, president and chief operating officer of WMECo. He added that "Summer, however, is traditionally the time of year when energy consumption increases, so we encourage all customers to review their energy use and consider ways to conserve."

From July 1 to Dec. 31, residential customers will see a supply rate of 7.647 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), a 7 percent decrease over the current fixed rate of 8.237 cents. Small C&I customers will see a nearly 6 percent decrease from 8.972 cents per kWh to 8.44 cents starting in July. Both residential and small C&I customers' supply rates change twice a year (in January and July) and remain in effect for six months. 

Medium and large C&I customers on basic service will see a fixed rate of 7.052 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) beginning in July, a decrease of 17 percent over the current fixed rate of 8.528 cents. Medium and large C&I customers' rates change quarterly.

For more information about energy saving measures and programs, visit or follow the company on Twitter and Facebook.

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June Networking Events/Seminars
By: Staff reports On: 08:37AM / Wednesday June 02, 2010

Networking events, workshops and seminars for the month of June are listed below. Have an upcoming business event you'd like to see here? Send it to

The Lenox Chamber of Commerce holds its Business After Hours event on Tuesday, June 2, at 5:30 p.m., at Lance Bermeulen's Real Estate, 38 Church St., Lenox. Wine, beer, soft drinks and hors d'oeuvers will be served. For more information, call 413-637-0006.

Berkshire Business and Professional Women will meet on Monday, June 7, at Jae's Spice, North Street, Pittsfield. The meeting will include the awarding of scholarships to nine Berkshire County working women to assist them in furthering their education. The meeting also will include the installation of the new officers for the group, including new president Chris Schaefer. There also will be a short presentation by the Lenox Fitness Center and Spa on its services.

Networking begins at 5:30 p.m., with dinner and the program to follow at 6. The cost is $28; reservations are required. For more information and reservations, email

The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will hold a Business After Hours event on Thursday, June 10 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at McCormick, Murtagh & Marcus, 390 Main St., Great Barrington. RSVP to

The Lenox Chamber of Commerce will hold an unconventional networking event on Monday, June 14 to welcome new member Berkshire Horseback. Attendees of the event, to be held at Aspinwall Stables from 6 to 8 p.m., will get the chance to ride horseback (wear long pants and appropriate footwear) into the sunset. There will be cocktails and treats; call 413-637-3646 for more information and to RSVP.

Also on June 14, Lenox Town Hall will host a "Greening Your Business" workshop from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in its auditorium. The seminar is sponsored by the Lenox Chamber of Commerce, the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, Lenox unplugged campaign, USDA, RDA and the Center for Ecological Technology (CET) and will be led by Jamie Cahillane, director of Recycling Services and Nancy Nylen, associate director of CET. The seminar will focus on topics including waste prevention, reduction, recycling, water and energy conservation and renewable. Case studies of local businesses who have "greened up" will be discussed.

In addition, there will be an Environmentally Preferred Products Vendor Fair. Light fare and beverages will be served. Those who wish to attend must register by Wednesday, June 9. For more information, contact or call Jamie or Natalie at CET at 413-445-4556 (ext. 14 or 30). The fee to attend the seminar is $25 and may be paid by cash or check made out to the Center for Ecological Technology. Members of the Chambers of Commerce are offered a reduced price of $20. Payment should be made out to CET before June 9 and may be mailed to: CET, Attn: Jamie Cahillane, 112 Elm St., Pittsfield, MA 01201.

On Tuesday, June 15, starting at 5:15 pm, Pittsfield Green Drinks will meet at Mission Bar and Tapas, 438 North St. The meeting, sponsored by Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) and the Center for Ecological Technology (CET), will be an informal gathering, open to everyone with any environmental interest. ("The drinks aren't green, but our conversations are.")

For more information about Pittsfield Green Drinks, contact Jamie Cahillane at CET (413-445-4556 ext. 14) or Jane Winn at BEAT ( or 413-230-7321).

The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce is holding the networking event "Let's Connect," geared toward young professionals, on Tuesday, June 15 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Route 7 Grill, Great Barrington. There will be free hors d’oeuvres, and one free beer. Preference will be given to employees of chamber members; RSVP before June 11 to

On Wednesday, June 16, Sugar Hill Retirement Community, 45 Main St., Dalton, will host a Chamber Night for all Berkshire Chamber of Commerce businesses and their employees. The event, catered by Mazzeo's and Ken Almgren, executive chef at Sugar Hill, is from 5 to 7 p.m. Tours of the historical retirement community will be available. Be sure to bring your business card to be entered into the drawing for tickets to an upcoming Colonial Theatre performance. Registration by June 11 is strongly encouraged; contact the Berkshire Chamber at 413-499-4000 or 413-663-3735.

The Berkshire Visitors Bureau will have a Tourism Talkback on Thursday, June 24 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Mt. Greylock Visitors Center, 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough. The topic will be health and recreation. The event is free and open to all businesses in Berkshire County. Call 413-743-4500 for more information.

Also on June 24, Berkshire Green will hold a networking event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Hancock Shaker Village, 1843 Housatonic St., Pittsfield. Appetizers and a cash bar will be provided; there also will be guest speakers and door prizes. Reservations are not required; call  413-274-1122 for more information.

Pittsfield's The Morningside Initiative is hosting a Tyler Street Business Group meeting on Tuesday, June 29 at 5:30 p.m. at the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority office, 81 Kellogg St. The purpose of the meeting is to support the business community on Tyler Street and Dalton Avenue and give them a voice in shaping the future of their community by helping promote its positive attributes, while increasing quality of life.  City Councilors will be in attendance to answer questions. The meeting is open to anyone on Tyler Street and Dalton Avenue. The Morningside Initiative’s mission is to preserve and restore the integrity of the neighborhood and empower residents.

The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will host a Good News Business Salute on Wednesday, June 30 from 7:45 to 9 a.m. at Berkshire Hills Country Club, 500 Benedict Road, Pittsfield. The cost to attend is $25 for Berkshire Chamber members and $35 for nonmembers and includes a breakfast buffet.

June’s “good news” salutees include Hancock Shaker Village, Berkshire Art Association, Mountain One Financial Partners, and Gentiva Home Care. Randy Christensen, Senior Environmental Scientist at Stantec will serve as the keynote speaker and will discuss the steps related to the Pittsfield Municipal Airport.  Ryan Melle, IT Project Manager at Berkshire Bank, will serve as the event’s emcee. To register, visit, call 413-499-4000, ext. 26, or email

Greylock Federal Credit Union will host A Business After Hours Night from 5 to 7 at 445 Main St. for members of the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce. Hors d'oeuvres and cocktails will be served. Greylock Federa; membership is open to anyone who lives, works, attends school, worships or regularly conducts business in Berkshire County. More information is available online at

Reservations are requested. Contact the Chamber office at 413-458-9077 or

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