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Berkshire Chamber 'Eggs & Issues' Features Alcombright

Staff Reports

New North Adams Mayor Dick Alcombright's a popular guy at chamber breakfasts. If you missed him at the Williamstown breakfast last month, he'll be speaking next Wednesday, March 24, at a Berkshire Chamber of Commerce "Eggs & Issues" event at the Bounti-Fare in Adams.

The Berkshire Chamber hosts the informal breakfasts to allow members to hear about topical issues with local and regional experts and officials. The last breakfast was held at Hillcrest Educational Centers with Sen. Ben Downing (also a frequent favorite lately at area chamber events).

Wednesday's event, sponsored by MountainOne Financial Partners, will run from 8 to 9:30 and feature a light but we'll bet tasty breakfast, based on past experience.

The cost to attend the event is $10 for Berkshire Chamber members and $15 for nonmembers. Sign up by contacting Christine Hoyt at 413-499-4000, Ext. 26, or choyt@berkshirechamber.com or at www.berkshirechamber.com.

We'll see you there.

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Berkshire Chamber Sets Open House in N. County

Staff Reports

The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce is holding an open house on Monday morning from 8 to 10 at its North Adams office at 6 West Main St. Volunteers, members and potential members are invited to attend and find out what the chamber can offer.

Attendees will meet the staff and be able to learn more about the many volunteer opportunities offered through the chamber as well as the benefits of membership. Businesses that are not part of the largest business-support organization in the Berkshires are also invited to attend the open house to learn more about the many benefits of chamber membership.

For businesses considering joining, March is a good month to do it. Along with regular benefits, the chamber is offering more than $1,500 in incentives for businesses that join during the month.

March has been developed as a "Membership Month" with the small-business or sole-proprietor owner in mind.

"By increasing the size of the chamber's membership base, businesses and their employees will realize a greater return on their investment," according to Jen Glockner, the chamber's membership manager. "With more businesses participating at our networking events, our attendees will have a much greater opportunity to develop new relationships. And, as we increase in size, the chamber's advocacy efforts represent a larger constituency creating an even stronger voice on business and legislative issues."

The following members will be offering discounts and/or freebies to new members: New England Newspapers (including The Berkshire Eagle, Nort Adams Transcript, and The Advocate), Custom Business Solutions, Winstanley Partners, MacFarlane Office Products, BBE Office Interiors, CompuWorks, Berkshire Coupon.com, Berkshire Jobs.com., iBerkshires.com (Editor: that's us!), Vox Communications (including WBEC, WUPE, WNAW, and WSBS), WJ Blueprint, Berkshire Print Shop, and Quality Printing Co.

Annual membership dues start at $255 for businesses with five employees or less. Applications are available at www.berkshirechamber.com. Business owners can also find out more by attending the open house on Monday or contacting Glockner at 413-499-4000, Ext. 17.

Tags: North Berkshire, Berkshire Chamber      

Stockbridge Chamber Elects Officers

Staff Reports

The Stockbridge Chamber of Commerce elected a new slate of officers at its annual dinner at the Red Lion Inn on Tuesday, March 2, and honored a longtime member.

Barbara Zanetti, executive director of the chamber, said officers elected for the 2010-2011 term are President Michele Kotek of the Red Lion Inn; Vice President Allison Rachele Bayles of Berkshire Theatre Festival; Assistant Vice President Mike Duffy of the Norman Rockwell Museum; Treasurer August Murko of 1850 Taggart House B&B; Secretary Anne Roy of the Floor Store and Member-at-Large John Hart of Berkshire Brochure Display.

Douglas M. Goudey of Wheeler & Taylor Insurance resigned after serving 10 years on the board of directors, two years as vice president and eight as treasurer. Goudey was honored for his guidance and leadership over the years and was presented with a plaque in appreciation for all he had done to promote the chamber's commitment to the support of businesses and the overall well-being of Stockbridge.

Douglas M. Goudey

The chamber added 15 new members in 2009: Charles H. Baldwin & Sons, Heirlooms Jewelry, Peace, Love & Chocolate, Monument Mountain Motel, Bidwell House, Boulderwood Group/Heirlooms Meals/Catering and Menu Planning, Communication Strategies, Tobi's Ground Transportation Service, The Lady's Touch, Rouge, Truc Orient Express, Schantz Galleries, Hotchkiss Mobiles, Hoffman Pottery and Shaker Mill Tavern.

Each year, the chamber sponsors such programs as the Stockbridge Scholarship Fund, the

Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas event, the arts and crafts show held each summer at the Berkshire Botanical Garden, and the Stockbridge Children's Halloween Parade and Party held at Town Hall. In addition, the chamber produces a widely distributed guide, offers a lodging availability hotline service, and responds to all inquires made to the office located in its new location at 50 Main St.

The chamber will host its next business meeting on Wednesday, March 24, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the 1850 Taggart House. Attendees will have the opportunity to network and hear from the Stockbridge Green Team.  The meeting is open to members and their employees. To register: 413-298-5200 or info@stockbridgechamber.org.

Tags: Stockbridge, officers      

Deadline Extended for Berkshire Leadership Program

Staff Reports

The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce just announced that it's extended the application deadline for the 2010 Berkshire Leadership Program.

The 13-year-old program accepts up to 30 candidates based on an application form and written references. Those selected will attend a two-day retreat, facilitated by professionals, which includes training aspects of leadership, problem-solving techniques and networking. The retreat is followed by nine weekly, four-hour evening sessions on specific topic areas, such as government, energy, economic development, tourism and the creative economy, education, health care, and leadership.

It's part of the chamber's goal to develop and sustain county leaders from a range backgrounds who are committed to addressing community challenges and improve the quality of life in the Berkshires. More than 350 people have graduated from the program since its inception in 1997.

The cost to participate is $595 and includes all meals and overnight accommodations at Jiminy Peak Ski Resort during the retreat. Limited financial assistance is available.

Applications are available at www.berkshirechamber.com/blp and must be received by Tuesday, June 30. For more information, contact Ashley Sulock, program coordinator, at 413-499-4000, Ext. 15, or at asulock@berkshirechamber.com.

Tags: Berkshire Leadership Program      

Berkshire Chamber Gets Four-Star Rating

Berkshire Chamber of Commerce

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has awarded the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce with four-star accreditation for its sound policies, effective organizational procedures, and positive impact on the community. This is the third time the chamber's received the second-best rating offered by its national counterpart.

"We are thrilled that the Berkshire Chamber has earned a four-star rating for the third consecutive accreditation process," said Michael Supranowicz, president and chief executive officer. "We are one of only two chambers of commerce in Massachusetts and one of seven in the Northeast to have been awarded this rating. This prestigious honor puts the Berkshire Chamber among the top 4 percent of chambers nationwide."

Local chambers are rated accredited, three stars, four stars or five stars. State chambers are recognized as either an "Accredited State Chamber" or "Accredited State Chamber with Distinction." The final determination is made by the Accrediting Board, a committee of U.S. Chamber board members.

"Accreditation validates a chamber as having programs that benefit their local economy and for positively influencing action in their community," said Raymond P. Towle, the U.S. Chamber's executive director of political affairs and federation rlations. "We applaud these organizations for advancing the principles of free enterprise."

This is the only national program that recognizes chambers for their organizational procedures and community involvement. In order to receive accreditation, a chamber must meet minimum standards in operations and programs, including areas of governance, government affairs and technology. This self-review can take three to six months to complete.

The Berkshire Chamber is the largest organization of its kind in Berkshire County and one of the largest chambers in the state. For more information, visit www.berkshirechamber.com.

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