Networking events, workshops and seminars for the month of June are listed below. Got an upcoming business event? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will hold a breakfast on Friday, June 3, from 7:45 to 9:15 a.m. at the Comfort Inn, Stockbridge Road. The meeting will celebrate Great Barrington's 250th anniversary; special guests include Great Barrington Board of Selectmen and 250th Committee Co-chairs Ed McCormick and Betsy Andrus, state Sen. Ben Downing. Register at 413-528-4284 or email@example.com. Admission is $25 per person.
Berkshire Young Professionals will throw a networking social on Thursday, June 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Hancock Shaker Village, Route 20, Pittsfield. Admission is $5 for nonmembers, free for members. Register here.
The Lenox Chamber of Commerce will hold an after hours mixer on Thursday, June 9, at Dr. Lahey's Garden Center, 1032 South St., Pittsfield. The event begins at 6 p.m. and includes light seasonal fare and a cash bar. RSVP to 413-637-3646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will hold an after hours event on Thursday, June 9, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Gould Farm's Roadside Cafe, 100 Gould Road, Montery. RSVP to 413-528-1510 or email@example.com.
The Zonta Club of Berkshire County will meet on Monday, June 13 at 5 p.m. at Patrick's Pub, Park Square, Pittsfield. The meeting will include the installation of new officers; the guest speaker will be this year's winner of the Berkshire Community College Scholarship. The meeting includes a brief networking time, business meeting, speaker and dinner. Reservations required for dinner. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will hold a Chamber Nite event on Wednesday, June 15, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Devanny-Condron Funeral Home, 40 Maplewood Ave., Pittsfield. Complimentary hors d'ouevres will be served; bring business cards for a door-prize drawing. Open to chamber members only; register here.
The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce puts on a Good News Business Salute on Wednesday, June 22, from 7:45 to 9 a.m. at the Berkshire Hills Country Club, 500 Benedict Road, Pittsfield. Admission is $25 for chamber members, $35 for nonmembers. Registration is open until June 21; register here.
Northern Berkshire Professional Women will meet at the Williams Inn, Williamstown, on Wednesday, June 22, at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will have a baby shower theme; items brought to the meeting will be donated to a local charity. The cost of dinner is $25; for meal choice and to make a reservation, contact Sherrie Thompson at 413-458-1914.
Berkshire Creative will hold a Spark! networking event on Thursday, June 30, at the town of Adams Armory Court and Topia Arts Center, Adams. The free event runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m.; RSVP here.
Aladco Installs New 'Green' Washing Machine
By: Andy McKeever On: 04:39PM / Friday February 18, 2011
Aladco contracted local companies to retrofit the 19th-century building to more energy-efficient technology.
ADAMS, Mass. — Aladco is the latest business to go green.
The linen company installed a new $700,000 washer expected to reduce water usage by 84 percent. The company tore out the equpment it had been using for 50 years and retrofitted its 19th-century Commercial Street building for the modern technology.
"It's really cool to see an old building get a third or fourth life," Kevin Ellingwood, the company's public relations spokesman, said. "This has been in the works for a year or so."
The Pulse-Flow washing system replaces four washing machines that held 400 pounds of laundry each with a conveyor belt system. Every three minutes, workers load 50-pound batches onto the corkscrewlike belt. The batches then go through the various steps of a wash.
"It took them a little while to get efficient using the machine. Workers used to just load it in and go get a coffee or something," Ellingwood said. "It will result in significant savings."
Previously Aladco used 10 washing machines that used 2.5 gallons of water per pound of laundry, using 1.5 million gallons of water per month. The new system uses .4 gallons of water per pound – reducing the monthly usage to 250,000 gallons. Additionally, the less water used, the less gas and electricity are required to heat it.
Berkshire Gas contributed a $50,000 rebate to Aladco for the project.
"The projected savings for this project of over 67,000 therms and nearly 1.7 million therms over the life of the equipment, are impressive, to say the least. To put this into perspective, the annual savings from this one project equates to the amount of natural gas needed to heat approximately 70 homes per year," Michael Sommer, manager of energy services at Berkshire Gas, said in a press release.
According to Ellingwood, Aladco is the first hospitality linen rental facility in the nation to make the change.
Additionally, Aladco recently introduced three new eco-friendly products: a lint–free microfiber wiping towel, microfiber mop system and the Environap, an alternative to disposable napkins for the same cost.
The company provides table and kitchen linens, bed linens, uniforms, entrance mats and dust control to restaurants, hotels, motels, hospital, medical service providers and schools and colleges.
Oatmeal Studios' owners Joe and Helene Massimino sold the Vermont company to Excelsior. To the right is new owner David Crane with new General Manager Joseph Gallagher.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Excelsior Printing Co. will bring its newly acquired business to the city.
The Roberts Drive printing company announced Tuesday that it purchased Oatmeal Studios of Rochester, Vt., and will bring the inventory and warehousing to the city, which could translate into local jobs.
"The founders wanted to retire. We were in negotiations for about a month and finalized the deal last week," Julianne Fruscio, Excelsior's business development and marketing coordinator, said on Tuesday.
Excelsior has been printing Oatmeal Studios' greeting cards for more than 20 years. Oatmeal's sales team will be offered positions first and unfilled jobs could be filled locally. Additionally, Excelsior hired Joseph Gallagher to be the general manager to develop even more products and expand into other markets.
"We're really hoping to develop the brand Oatmeal more," Fruscio said. "It's a new direction for us because we are now specializing in greeting cards."
Though Excelsior has the ability to do its own design work, it will continue using Oatmeal's database of freelancers to design the cards. Oatmeal also accepts submissions on a daily basis, Fruscio said.
Oatmeal Studios was founded by Helene and Joe Massimino and has been creating and distributing greeting cards and notepads for more than 30 years. The greeting cards are printed with vegetable-based inks on recycled paper.
"We think it's a great fit," said Joe Massimino in a press release. "Excelsior has been a part of Oatmeal Studios almost from the beginning and they have a stationery pedigree of their own that will serve Oatmeal Studios’ customers well into the future."
In 2005, Excelsior separated from Crane & Co. and, in 2008, made a similar acquisition of SeedPrint. Excelsior now prints and ships seed packages while doing minimal design work.
Crane purchased the Excelsior companies — Excelsior Printing and Excelsior Process & Engraving — in 1970. Crane moved Excelsior Process & Engraving to the Robert Hardman Industrial Park in 1985 and then announced that it will close the Curran Highway location last year.
Excelsior Printing Co. on Roberts Drive was purchased by David W. Crane in 2005.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — All the cars at Carbone Ford-Mercury on Route 2 should be gone by the end of the weekend.
On Friday, staff began driving the vehicles to a brand-new $4 million location in Bennington, Vt., which will open on Monday. Carbone Auto Group purchased the former Haddad dealership about two years ago and constructed the new location adjacent to its current Toyota lot on North Bennington Road.
"We are moving cars as we speak," said Michael Larochelle, a sales associate for Carbone, on Friday. "We should be completely out this weekend."
Carbone Ford-Mercury is the latest Berkshire County dealership to close. The dealership will reopen in Vermont.
Closing the State Road location has been in the works for about three years. In 2008, Carbone purchased the dealership from Haddad Motors with the plan of moving it to Bennington. The company was expecting construction to last shortly more than a year.
Construction on the new 27,000-square-foot showroom began in April and was not expected to be complete until the spring 2011. Ahead of schedule, the dealership will have a soft opening on Monday.
"It's a brand-new location. I think I heard it cost $4 million," Larochelle said. "I assume they'll do some type of grand opening."
New car dealerships have continued to leave the county, or consolidate. North County is now down to three new-car dealerships — K&M Toyota in North Adams, McAndrews-King GMC in Adams and the massive Bedard Brothers Auto Sales in Cheshire.
In 2007, Bedard Brothers Auto Sales purchased and consolidated Gateway, formerly known as Shapiro Chevrolet, on Union Street. That dealership was added to the company's Cheshire location. In 2009, Berkshire GMC in Sheffield closed when GMC closed 1,100 of its dealerships.
The dealership at 179 State Road was known for years as Dick Scarafoni Ford and later as Calgary Motors. Carbone's consolidation leaves another large, empty commercial property in the city. The former Gateway site still has not found new tenants although it is being used for leasing vehicle storage space. Both locations are owned by Scarafoni Associates.
Here's a short roundup of some interesting business news from last month.
Bus Company Putting Brakes on Tours Dufour Tours is getting out of the tour business. The Berkshire Eagle reported last week that owners William and Barbara Dufour are seeking to sell the 40-year-old motor coach business before they retire. The Dufours, who also operate a regional school bus fleet of nearly 200, have four 2007 Prevost Co. motor coaches. The vehicles run around $450,000.
That's down from a dozen or so back in the 1990s. The company was started by William Dufour's father and uncle in Connecticut and made inroads into the Berkshires after buying Yellow Bus Lines in the 1960s. It now manages most of the school bus routes in Western Mass. and Southern Vermont.
Dufour Tours over the years have included multiday trips to Pennsylvania Dutch Country, DisneyWorld and Canada. Their one-day trips bring people to Boston for historic tours, to Fall River for shopping and New York City for Broadway productions.
William Dufour told The Eagle that several bus lines were interested in buying the tour business; if not sold, the division would likely be shut down.
Walmart on Track
The $17 million Walmart SuperCenter planned for the city's former gravel yard is expected to break ground this spring and be built within the next year or so. That's pretty much on schedule according to a rough time line offered the Planning Board last spring.
The North Adams Transcript reported last month that remediation work at the site, specifically for asbestos, has been completed and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has agreed to a reconfigured intersection at Hodges Cross Road that will eliminate the current jug handle. More cleanup at the site has to be completed before the land, owned by developer Ceruzzi Properties, is sold to Walmart and construction can begin.
Walmart is estimated to generate some $594,000 in revenue for the city, and bring nearly a $1 million in wages annually. The supercenter will be 157,000 square feet and include a 38,000-square-foot grocery.
BJ's Wholesale Club may have a buyer. The East Coast chain put itself up for auction in November; analysts say if a private investment firm purchased it, the company would be better positioned to move into markets dominated by its competitors Costco and Sam's Club.
The chain is currently building a new store in Pittsfield off Hubbard Avenue that's expected to create more than 100 jobs.
The wholesale club first operated by the Zayre Corp. is being eyed by Leonard Green & Partners. The equity firm just bought out Jo-Ann's Stores (which also has a location in Pittsfield) and may launch a hostile takeover if the previously announced auction isn't set.
Update, Jan. 5, 2011, 8:44 a.m.: The Boston Globe reports that the company will close five stores and layoff 500, including 114 from its Natick headquarters.
Defense Spending Benefits State
Two Berkshire County companies — Draper Laboratories Inc. and General Dynamics — are about to reap the rewards of military spending but they're not alone. A column in MassLive.com cites a new study by the University of Massachusetts that shows federal military spending has increased 146 percent in the Bay State in less than 10 years.
The Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security has pumped $146.2 million in conctracts to 237 Western Massachusetts companies just in 2009. The study states "The value of federal defense contracts awarded to Massachusetts firms has increased by nearly 200 percent from $5.5 billion in 2001 to $15.6 billion in 2009" and supported more than 115,000 jobs.
"Even as the overall economy has struggled in the face of two recessions and fundamental industry shifts, defense has surged ahead," writes Allan Blair, president of the Economic Development Council of Western Mass., and Richard Lord, president of Associated Industries of Massachusetts.
The study can also be found at our scribd.com account here.
Editor: In general, we do not provide links to articles from the local papers because they are archived behind a paywall within two weeks of publication. We apologize for any inconvenience.