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.
Networking events, workshops and seminars for the month of January are listed below. Got an upcoming business event? Send it to email@example.com.
The Zonta Club of Berkshire County will meet on Monday, Jan. 10, at Patrick's Pub on Park Square, Pittsfield. The guest speakers will be Jeanet Ingalls and Stephen Glantz. They are producing a documentary about the sex trade/trafficking in the Phillipines. The meeting includes a brief networking time, business meeting, speaker and dinner. Guests are welcome at all meetings, but reservations are required for dinner. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Massachusetts Small Business Development Center will present "You’re Looking Ahead – Is Your Management Style Looking Backward?," on Tuesday, Jan. 11, from 9 a.m. to noon at MSBDC, Berkshire Regional Office, 75 North St., Ste. 360, Pittsfield. Topics include whether leaders are better off with an orientation toward problem-solving or toward a desired vision/outcome; the benefits and drawbacks of each of the four leaderships styles, how to assess leadership style; tips for influencing desired outcomes; and implementing steps toward forward-looking leadership
The workshop will be conducted by Diana Brooks, M.A., principal of Diana Brooks Associates Consulting and Training, based in Williamstown. The event is co-sponsored by the Hoosac Bank, Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Lee Bank, Legacy Banks and Berkshire Bank.
Registration begins on site at 8:45. To ensure a space, register in advance to the Small Business Development Center, 413-499-0933, or go to www.msbdc.org/berkshire and select Training Seminars. The fee for the workshop is $29. Checks should be made payable to The University of Massachusetts and mailed to MSBDC, Berkshire Regional Office, 75 North St., Suite 360, Pittsfield, MA 01201 before the day of the workshop.
Berkshire Young Professionals, a program of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, will host a Networking Social and Ski Night at Bousquet Ski Area, located at 101 Dan Fox Drive, Pittsfield, on Wednesday, Jan. 12, from 3 to 9:30 p.m. Fees are $10 for lifts, $10 for lessons and $10 rentals. From 5 to 7, warm up in the Tamarack Lounge with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. The social is free for BYP members, $5 for nonmembers, and open to all young professionals who live and work in Berkshire County. Attendees are encouraged to bring business cards for networking and to be entered into the door-prize drawing.
Williamstown Chamber of Commerce and True North Financial will present the free seminar "Surfing Massive Social Waves in Pursuit of Investment Opportunity" on Wednesday, Jan 12., from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at The Orchards, 222 Adams Road, Williamstown. Speaker Nancy Williams, a financial advisor at True North, will talk about publicly traded stocks that have been at the forefront of innovation. A continental breakfast will be served. Reservations are required; contact the chamber at 413-458-9077 or email@example.com.
The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will hold a Business After Hours event on Thursday, Jan. 13, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Stagecoach Tavern, 864 S. Undermountain Road, Route 41, Sheffield. RSVP here.
The Consulting Alliance will hold a lunch meeting on Friday, Jan. 14, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Wolferts Roost Country Club, 120 Van Rensselaer Blvd., Menands, N.Y. The program,"Winning Clients: One Businessman's Success Strategies" features Tim Conley, president of Conley Associates, an Albany-based leader in commercial real estate. Admission is $15 for members and $20 for nonmembers. Guests and prospective members are invited to attend. Reservations are required; call 518-434-0489 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Berkshire Visitors Bureau will host an open discussion on agri-tourism and culinary tourism on Wednesday, Jan. 19, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., at Castle Street Cafe, 10 Castle St., Great Barrington. RSVP to email@example.com.
The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will host a "Chamber Nite" at Greylock Federal Credit Union, 150 West St., Pittsfield, on Wednesday, Jan. 19. Networking will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Hors d'ouevres will be served, Berkshire United Way will give an update on its annual campaign drive, and a name will be drawn from those who donated to the Berkshire United Way in 2010. The winner of the drawing will receive his or choice of a brand-new 2011 Ford Fiesta or $10,000 in cash, donated by Johnson Ford-Lincoln-Mercury-Nissan and Greylock Federal Credit Union.
On Thursday, Jan. 20, Williamstown Chamber of Commerce will hold an After Hours event at Williamstown Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 25 Adams Road, Williamstown, from 5 to 7 p.m. The event will include complimentary refreshments and hors d'oeuvres. Bring your business card for a free drawing; RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org, 413-458-9077 or 413-458-2111.
The following week, the Williamstown Chamber will host an After Hours event at Williamstown Family Chiropractic. The event, hosted by WFC owner Dr. Erin Gauthier, will be Thursday, Jan. 27, from 5 to 7, at 227 Adams Road, Williamstown. For more information, go to www.williamstownchiropractic.com
Free webinars offered by the Massachusetts office of the National Federation of Independent Business:
Wednesday, Jan. 5, noon: Tax Planning 2011: Get a Head Start on the New Year by Getting Your 2010 Taxes Right, presented by Cliff Ennico, small business attorney and author of 15 books, including “Small Business Survival Guide.”
Wednesday, Jan. 12, noon: Small Business Sales Strategies: How to Generate Sales by Executing Free Visibility Strategies, presented by Tory Johnson, New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of “Will Work From Home: Earn Cash Without the Commute.”
Wednesday, Jan. 19, noon: Printing and Shipping for Small Business: How to Increase Savings, Efficiency and New Customers, presented by Cindy Sparrow, director, FedEx Office Marketing.
Wednesday, Jan. 26, noon: Alternative Funding Sources to Start or Grow Your Business, presented by Cliff Ennico
Charles Stark Draper Laboratories, Inc., Cambridge, Mass., is being awarded a $494,257,945 cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Trident II, D5 guidance system tactical engineering support and guidance applications program, and life extension development. Work will be performed in Cambridge, Mass. (82 percent); Pittsfield, Mass. (11 percent); Clearwater, Fla. (2 percent); and El Segundo, Calif. (5 percent). Work is expected to be completed Sept. 20, 2016. This contract was not competitively procured. Contract funds in the amount of $83,981,547 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Strategic Systems Programs, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (N00030-11-C-0005).
L-3 Communications Corp., Sylmar, Calif., is being awarded a $78,500,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price provisions contract to provide repairs to the TB-23 towed array and purchase the spare subassemblies and parts required to improve maintenance schedules. The contractor, by monitoring work flow, upgrade plans, ships schedules, overhaul, and repair plans, shall anticipate and prepare for repairs as needed to meet the performance goals. The contractor will provide inventory management services to support the timely repairs of the towed arrays and implement overhauls and upgrades as directed by the government. This contract will also require the contractor to manage spare parts and optimize purchases to improve maintenance and repair schedules and the operational profile of the Navy’s submarine fleet. Work will be performed in Sylmar, Calif., and is expected to complete December 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Newport, R.I., is the contracting activity (N66604-11-D-0179).
The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $66,180,000 firm-fixed-price order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-11-G-0001) for the procurement of weapon replaceable assemblies and other complex parts for use in retrofitting F/A-18C/D aircraft; 62 for the government of Finland, and 33 for the government of Switzerland. Work will be performed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (44.8 percent); St. Louis, Mo. (26.8 percent); Fort Worth, Texas (14.9 percent); Oakland, N.J. (6.4 percent); Grand Rapids, Mich. (3.3 percent); Butler, N.J. (1.3 percent); Sylmar, Calif. (1 percent); Killdeer, N.D. (0.5 percent); Mesa, Ariz. (0.4 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (0.3 percent); Wallingford, Conn. (0.2 percent); and Horsham, Pa. (0.1 percent), and is expected to be completed in April 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchases for the governments of Finland ($44,598,959; 67 percent) and Switzerland ($21,581,041; 33 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales program. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.
Lockheed Martin, Mission Systems and Sensors, Moorestown, N.J., is being awarded a $65,636,395 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-5110) for production of the Aegis Weapon System, tooling, test equipment, and associated technical services for the Aegis ashore test site at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. Work will be performed in Moorestown, N.J. (87 percent), and Clearwater, Fla. (13 percent), and is expected to be completed by October 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.
Rolls-Royce Corp., Indianapolis, Ind., is being awarded a $48,981,414 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-07-C-0060) for the procurement of 24 AE1107C engines for the Air Force CV-22 aircraft (14 spares and 10 Lot 15 installs). Work will be performed in Oakland, Calif. (70 percent), and Indianapolis, Ind. (30 percent), and is expected to be completed in April 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.
EDO Communications & Countermeasures Systems, Thousand Oaks, Calif., is being awarded a $17,092,500 firm-fixed-price modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-6311) for the production and support of 265 JCREW 2.1 radio-controlled improvised explosive device (RCIED) electronic warfare (CREW) systems to Australia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Vehicle mounted CREW systems are one element of the DoD’s Joint Counter RCIED Electronic Warfare program. Spiral 2.1 CREW systems are vehicle mounted electronic jammers designed to prevent the initiation of radio-controlled improvised explosive devices. This contract is for the urgent procurement and support of CREW systems, to be used by Australian forces. The Navy manages the joint CREW program for Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Joint IED Defeat Organization. The contract is for option P00089. Work will be performed in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and is expected to be completed by June 2011. Contract Funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract involves Foreign Military Sales to Australia. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.
Robertson Aviation, LLC, Tempe, Ariz., is being awarded a $16,830,672 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-08-D-0009) to exercise an option for the procurement of V-22 mission auxiliary fuel tanks, refueling kits, and accessories. Work will be performed in Tempe, Ariz., and is expected to be completed in December 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.
Science Applications International Corp., McLean Va., is being awarded a $13,576,972 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contact with cost-plus-fixed-fee pricing for technical and engineering services in support of the Interoperable Communications Technical Assistance Program (ICTAP) to provide interoperable communications support to first responder agencies. Support will include voice communications interoperability technical assistance to public jurisdictions, including law enforcement, fire protection, medical emergency services, and others involved in preventing or responding to threats to public safety. This one-year contract contains two one-year options which, if exercised, will bring the cumulative value of this contract to $41,778,679. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., and is expected to be completed Dec. 26, 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured and represents a sole-source award, as authorized under 10 U.S.C. 2304 c (1); only one responsible source and no other suppliers or services will satisfy government requirements. The intention to award this sole-source contract was published in the Commerce Business Daily, and posted to the SPAWAR e-Commerce Central website. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific is the contracting activity (N66001-11-D-0051).
Science Applications International Corp., McLean, Va., is being awarded a $10,957,245 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for technical and engineering services in support of the Naval Air Systems Command’s Air Vehicle Engineering Department and the manned flight simulator/air combat environment test and evaluation facilities. Services to be provided support the development and utilization of advanced air vehicle technology for evaluating air vehicle flying qualities and controllability, developing simulation software, and building prototype simulations. The estimated level of effort is 94,970 man-hours. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Md., and is expected to be completed in December 2011. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals; one offer was received. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00421-11-D-0030).
Bell Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a $9,077,929 fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the procurement of 14 support equipment workarounds for organizational- and intermediate-level maintenance in support of the MV-22 and CV-22 aircraft. Work will be performed in Amarillo, Texas, and is expected to be completed in December 2014. Contract funds in the amount of $599,607 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J., is the contracting activity (N68335-11-D-0002).
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Bethpage, N.Y., is being awarded a $7,350,000 firm-fixed-price modification to a previously awarded fixed-price-incentive-fee contract (N00019-08-C-0027) for non-recurring efforts associated with productionization of drawing changes in support of E-2D advanced Hawkeye aircraft production. Work will be performed in Bethpage, N.Y. (71.5 percent), and St. Augustine, Fla. (28.5 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2012. Contract funds in the amount of $1,000,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.
Information Systems Worldwide Corp., Arlington, Va., was awarded a $23,625,517 contract to conduct gap filling research and enhance the existing software architecture to search information; rapidly acquire new contextual information; and deliver timely across domains. This research will support and enhance the currently analytic workflow and provide enhanced sharing of information. At this time, $4,049,359 has been obligated. Air Force Research Laboratory/RIKE, Rome, N.Y., is the contracting activity (FA8750-11-C-0045).
DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY
Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., Hurst, Texas, is being awarded a maximum $10,010,693 firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for prop rotor gearboxes used in support of MV-22 helicopter. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Marine Corps. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is Oct. 31, 2013. The Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPRPA1-09-G-004Y-5638).
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than a year after announcing the construction of a BJ's Wholesale Club on Hubbard Avenue, the Braintree developer secured a $9.2 million construction loan for the project this weekend.
Reported on Monday by Waltham-based Bostonsf.com, Cape Breton Corporation and Saxon Partners worked with real estate intermediary Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P. to get the loan through Sovereign Santander Bank.
The developers plan to build a 85,188-square-foot freestanding building and fueling station behind Berkshire Crossings.
The project was announced in October of 2009 when Robert MacPherson, president of Cape Breton, said the group will begin the formal permitting process aiming to break ground in 2010. It will be the county's first BJ's club and City Hall said it would create about 120 new jobs. The closest BJ's clubs to Berkshire County are in Greenfield, Springfield and Albany, N.Y.
BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. is a leading operator of membership warehouse clubs in the East. The company, now in its 25th year, currently employees more than 20,000 team members and operates 180 clubs in 15 states from Maine to Florida.
Formed in 1998, Saxon Partners is a retail and residential developer focused on the New England region and Cape Breton Corporation is a real estate development company specializing in the site acquisition and local permitting of retail buildings and shopping centers.
Karen Brown and Jodi Spencer opened "U" on Water Street in December.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass — After four years working at In Touch Day Spa, beautician Karen Brown has ventured off on her own.
Brown signed a lease at a 173 Water St. suite in mid-October and eight weeks later on Dec. 2, opened her own salon, "U". She said Wednesday most of her former clients have already found her and business has started strong. Though she does not expect all of her former clients, she does expect to gain some at the new location.
Co-owner Jodi Spencer and Brown perform designer cuts, coloring, dimensional hair color, keratin treatments, shampooing and blow drying, facial waxing and manicures.