PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Enterprises will offer a free business breakfast forum on "Are You Getting the Information You Need to Successfully Manage Your Business?" on Friday, Oct. 29, from 7:30 to 9.
It will be held in the third-floor boardroom at One Fenn St. It will be led by Steve Fogel, program director of Berkshire Enterprises, and Joe Gelinas, a consultant to small businesses specializing in process improvement.
The forum will focus on assessing measurement systems such as cash and inventory controls. As small businesses seek to survive and grow, owners and managers need to periodically review the information they are gathering to make sure that have sufficient information to identify the risks and minimize their impact on your business.
The forums are made possible through support from Greylock Federal Credit Union, Legacy Banks, Berkshire Bank, TD Bank, and the Pittsfield Cooperative Bank in space provided by CompuWorks. Berkshire Enterprises is a program of the Office for Workforce Development at Berkshire Community College.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pine Cone Hill is moving and expanding its popular outlet store.
The current outlet located in Lenox will reopen in Anne Selke Companies' 200,000 square-foot headquarters at 125 Peck's Road. Additionally, the company is launching Pineconehilloutlet.com with the intention of bringing its outlet merchandise to a national audience.
According to a statement released Wednesday, the move "will help to streamline the company's activities during a period of growth and expansion in other areas of the businesses."
The outlet will be a bit larger than the current Pine Cone Hill: The Home Store's 6,000 square feet. The store opened in the former Lenox Shops, now known as Aspinwall, in 2002. The company bought the old textile mill on Peck's Road, previously the home of Interprint, in 2005 for $2.7 million and refurbished it.
The Berkshires-grown Annie Selke Companies includes Dash & Albert Rug Co., Pine Cone Hill, Potluck Studios and licensed furniture and fabric lines under the name Annie Selke Home. Pineconehill.com launched its consumer site in July of this year, and Dashandalbert.com launched in March 2009. The launch of the Pinecone Hill site is the third direct-to-consumer website launch in less than 18 months.
The move from the highly visible location on the Lenox Road to Peck's Road may leave patrons stumped but the company plans to help its customers find their way to Pittsfield.
"We will be doing advertising and sending mailers to our return customers," said Jessica Fitzgerald, assistant to president and founder Anne Selke, on Wednesday. The new online outlet is also expected to bring the mainly wholesale company greater visibility. "Just being able to sell outlet merchandise nationally will be a huge step."
The Lenox outlet will remain open through December. The store and its employees will then move to the new location, slated to open Jan. 5. The company said the focus of the store will be outlet-oriented but that the entire line of Pine Cone Hill bedding and sleepwear, as well as Dash and Albert Rugs will be available for special order. The store's hours will be Wednesday through Saturday, 9 to 5. Anything purchased at the Home Store during the holiday season can be returned at the new factory outlet after it opens in January.
The outlet store isn't the company's only new appearance in Pittsfield. Annie Selke Home furniture collection from Vanguard Furniture will now be available at furniture store Paul Rich & Sons at 242 North St.
"I'm thrilled that my collection will now be available at Paul Rich. They are the best in the business. Their service is unparalleled and I know our furniture fans will be in excellent hands. Plus, they are right around the corner, so I can visit my pieces often," said Selke, in the press release.
A moving sale will kick off with the annual Columbus Day Tent Sale starting Thursday, Oct. 7, and extending through Sunday, Oct. 17. Tent sales will continue with future locations to be announced.
Simmons Furniture is adding another Pittsfield location to the one it has in Adams, above, and in the Pittsfield Plaza.
ADAMS, Mass. — The 130-year-old Simmons Furniture is thinking 21st century with addition of a third venue that will offer customized options for the more discriminating consumer.
The company will open a 25,000 square-foot store in the Allendale Shopping Center in Pittsfield this fall that will offer some of its classic brand lines along with new additions focused on health and sustainable living.
"We have some great lines of custom furniture that we don't currently carry," general manager Donna Riley told us on Tuesday. "I think it really is something unique for the county."
Riley said the decision to open the new location was based on trends the company is seeing in consumers. They're more concerned with healthy living, selecting furniture and materials suited for their lifestyles and looking to spend money that may once have been used on getaways into "remaking their homes in a way that's about really living in them."
"We're noticing more and more people are coming in and want to do something more custom. They're thinking about how it affects their health," she said. That puts the focus on so-called green and organic materials and American-made and imported lines that offer greater customization and more versatile applications. It will also include accessories by local artists. And sometimes old is new, she said, such as the use of glider rockers to aid people suffering from diabetes and otehr leg circulatory problems.
"We're kind of going back to the way we did business in the old days, in the '70s," she said, recalling how her mother Phyllis Riley bought the Adams store in 1973 and began putting her own flourishes on the merchandise.
The new shop joins the 15,000 square-foot showroom in Adams and the 20,000 square-foot store in the Pittsfield Plaza, which will become more of an outlet. The three stores will provide a wide range of price points to ensure furniture offerings for every size pocketbook, said Riley. "I think there's room in the marketplace for all the furniture stores. "
In a statement, Phyllis Riley said, "This new location, named 'Simmons Lifestyle Furniture,' will hearken back to the roots of the original intent of the company: stylish, customizable, unique furniture at affordable prices."
The new store is expected to open in October; Riley wouldn't say which storefront in the center it's moving into because the current occupant has not yet announced it's relocating.
An assertion had been made at the North Adams City Council meeting Tuesday night that the shop had closed and tossed 25 people out of work.
White, who answered the phone on Wednesday with the buzz of equipment in the background, said that wasn't exactly true. "We didn't close," he said. "We kept one part of the shop open."
The 25-year-old company uses an electrostatic process to lay a powder, rather than liquid, coating over metal products. It also does pretreating, custom work, sandblasting and related work. It was one of the largest operation of its kind in New England.
When business was good, some 35 people were employed at the Howland Avenue facility. But, like so many other small businesses in the region, it's been undercut by cheaper work out of China and has seen orders drop off. White estimates about 75 percent of the company's regular customers have defected to China.
It most recently employed about a dozen people and there was talk of shutting down the operation. White's trying to persevere with some part-time help until things look up.
"I'm trying to build the business along with [owner] R.J. Scullin," said White. "We still have the production line, we still have the ovens. We're trying to find the right direction."
That includes an energy audit to help cut down on costs and more aggressive marketing to build a base of loyal, local customers. But he's been running into a problem.
"I've been really marketing for two weeks and people say to me, 'I thought you were closed,'" said the Adams native. "We're still here, we still exist."
Learn more about Powder Shield's capabilities by contacting White at 413-743-0022 or email@example.com.
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."