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New Name, New Signs for Hoosac Bank

Staff Reports
Our banking neighbor across the street has a new name and new look. The Hoosac Bank is now MountainOne, along with Williamstown Savings and South Coastal. MountainOne Financial Partners brought its three banks under one charter late last year. Customers shouldn't see much change in its operations, but the 140-year-old bank on Main Street in North Adams had its trim painted and new signs and awnings put up. It also changed out our go-to temperature gauge to reflect the new name. You can still see the historic Hoosac Savings name etched into the building's stone.

 

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Disaster Relief Grant Will Be Used to Aid Businesses

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Berkshires and Franklin County are teaming up on a grant to help small businesses in the two regions.

The project will be launched on Friday, July 19, with an event at 11 a.m. at MediTerra on Main Street.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded a Disaster Relief Opportunity grant to the Franklin County Community Development Corp. with project partners Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and the Franklin Regional Council of Governments. The goals are to support small businesses and entrepreneurs that are investing in their businesses and creating jobs.

Officials also see the project as a way to build economic collaboration between Northern Berkshire and Franklin County.

"Small businesses are the heart and soul of our community and this collaboration will bring together a wide variety of services and providers that will be available to our business owners," said Mayor Richard Alcombright in a statement. "Additionally, the ability to provide business planning and modeling along with access to capital and funding sources is a significant win for our businesses."

The mayor said he sees it as a team effort to ensure growth for North County.

The grant provides resources to support direct business technical assistance including individual counseling, trainings, financing, connections to available resources and industry experts for existing businesses and entrepreneurs with business startup ideas. The 18-month grant also provides resources to facilitate capacity building with collaborators in Northern Berkshire for enhancing sustainable business development.

Friday's event will include local and state officials, and Dan Johnson from U.S. Rep. Richard Neal's office.

"This project will serve and support local businesses that have been struggling to recover from natural disasters and the recession but are looking for an opportunity to create new jobs," said state Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, who represents towns in both counties.

Collaborating organizations:

Northern Berkshire: Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, Berkshire Enterprises/Berkshire Community College, city of North Adams, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network, North Adams Chamber of Commerce, town of Adams, and Williamstown Chamber of Commerce.

Franklin County: Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association, Greenfield Community College and Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network

For more information: Amy Shapiro at 413-774-7204, Ext. 107, or amys@fccdc.org.

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Nejaime's Wine Cellar Doubles Size of Lenox Store

Staff Reports

The Lenox store is now double the size.

LENOX, Mass. — Nejaime's Wine Cellars has doubled their size.

The business held a ribbon cutting on Saturday on both their Stockbridge and Lenox stores after months of renovation.

The store were installed with new deli cases, freezers and flooring. The Lenox store's parking lot was also recently repaved.

The Lenox store's expansion grew by about 1,900 square feet - nearly double the size.

To celebrate the opening, the company held a wine and food tasting as well as offered discounts.

Nejaime's sells beer, high-end wines, whiskey, prepared foods and specialty groceries like cheese, crackers, gourmet chocolates, cookies and gluten-free items.

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Ocean State Job Lot, Tractor Supply to Open in North Adams

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff
An Ocean State Job Lot is expected to move into the former Walmart store along with two other tenants.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Closeout retailer Ocean State Job Lot has signed a purchase and sales agreement for the old Walmart building on Curran Highway.

The chain expects to hire for 30 to 40 jobs and will sublet a section of the building to Tractor Supply Inc., with both operations opening in the fall, pending permitting.

The location will be the 46th in Massachusetts for the North Kingstown, R.I.-based chain, which has several stores in the Springfield area. It has 109 stores total with 4,000 employees in New England and New York, and annual sales of more than $540 million.

Tractor Supply, a farm and ranch retailer, operates more than 1,000 stores nationwide with the closest in Pittsfield's Allendale section and in Bennington, Vt.

Walmart constructed the 94,000-square-foot building at 830 Curran Highway 20 years ago at the site of the former Coury's Drive-In. It relocated two weeks ago to a new 160,000 square foot "super center" a mile or so south.

Ocean State will take up 40,000 square feet of the building for operations and storage; Tractor Supply will occupy 27,000. The plans will go before the Planning Board for permitting on June 10.

Ocean State's head of marketing, David Sarlitto, said the area was a good fit for the chain, which looks for right-priced, retail-based real estate that can be readily repurposed in good shopping locations. Walmart, too, has been aggressive in selling off vacant locations to other businesses.

"Massachusetts has done pretty well for us," he said, adding that Ocean State had been aware of the Walmart building's upcoming vacancy. "We've been talking to them for quite a while for their plans, and the price was right."

Ocean State's store size varies from about 19,000 square feet to mid-50,000s, said Sarlitto. The new North Adams location is about right in the middle. "I think this one is right in the sweet spot."

There are still some elements to be worked out with the city and the agreement but the number of inquiries the store was getting about a possible opening led to Tuesday's announcement.

There also is the likelihood of a third operation going into that location, since some 27,000 square feet would still be available, but Sarlitto said there was nothing he could specifically say at this point.

According to the retailer, Ocean State sells brand-name, first-quality merchandise at closeout prices, including household goods, apparel, pet supplies, seasonal products (gardening, pool supply, outdoor), and kitchen pantry staples. The chain buys overstocks and discontinued items.

Sarlitto said the store carries everything from $2,000 pellet stoves to 39 cent Pez dispensers, and if they could sell a 747, they'd carry that, too.

As one example, the chain recently bought all the excess cleaning equipment from the BP oil spill in the Gulf.  "We now own more hazmat suits than any store in North America," said Sarlitto.

The company plans two donations to area organizations to coincide with its North Adams store opening through its Charitable Foundation: a tractor-trailer load of food to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts with distributions to local food pantries, and the sponsorship of Honor Flight New England, which flies Massachusetts-based World War II veterans to visit the WWII Memorial dedicated to their service in Washington, D.C.

Mayor Richard Alcombright called the opening good news for the city.

"I think these are two national, regional retailers that are both strong within their markets," said Alcombright, who figured that once the building was fully occupied, it would mean 70 to 80 full and part-time jobs. "I think it's a good fit for the area, the price points are there for the people to shop.

 "They create another bit of an anchor and destination post with Walmart."

The addition of Ocean State and Tractor Supply, just down the road from the Walmart Super Center, adds to the idea of creating a "shopping destination" along the Curran Highway corridor that officials hope will continue to draw more anchor stores and spill over to the smaller unique stores and restaurants in the downtown. 

In a statement, the mayor had said, "We are a city that's committed to being business friendly and are focused on the positive economic development and goodwill initiatives that Ocean State Job Lot can bring to our community."

Sarlitto said the goal was to open by October, sooner if possible.

"We're hoping step it up as fast as we can," he said. "I think it will work out well."

Updated at 3:25 p.m. to add mayor's comments.

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Greylock Federal Promotes Two Employees


Bob Maxwell

Anthony Hyte

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Greylock Federal Credit Union announced the promotion of two employees, Bob Maxwell to vice president of marketing services for Greylock Marketing Group and Anthony "Tony" Hyte to assistant

 vice president of branch development. 

"I'm thrilled to be announcing the promotion of these two individuals," said Greylock President and CEO Marilyn L. Sperling. "Bob has an exceptional talent for developing comprehensive, effective marketing strategies to meet the individual needs of each client, and we are confident his customer-focused approach will lead to ongoing success for the agency and its customers.
 
"Tony has been a tremendous asset to Greylock since joining the team, and his promotion is a reflection of his dedication. Tony's wealth of knowledge and commitment to outstanding service has been invaluable."
 
Maxwell worked in marketing for Greylock Federal since 2004 and directed the activities of subsidiary Greylock Marketing Group since its formation in 2008. In his new role, Maxwell will continue to lead the expansion of the full-service advertising agency, overseeing the development and implementation of direct marketing programs for a diverse and ever-growing client base. A nine-time CUNA Diamond Marketing Award winner, Maxwell has earned a national reputation as an outstanding marketing professional and has more than 25 years of advertising and marketing experience. Maxwell holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and Public Relations from the Millersville University of Pennsylvania. He resides in Lanesborough with his wife, Julianne, and serves as on the Board of Directors of Downtown Pittsfield, Inc.
 
Hyte has more than 18 years of financial banking experience and has managed Greylock's Elm Street branch since joining the credit union in 2011. The branch has seen significant growth in many areas including member loyalty under Hyte's leadership. In his new role, Hyte will provide support to the organization through service-focused initiatives which will enhance the overall member experience. Hyte was previously a branch manager at Pittsfield Cooperative Bank and worked at Landmark Credit Union in the Business Development and Compliance areas. Hyte is an alum of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and graduated from the New England School of Financial Studies at Babson. Hyte is president of the Board of Directors of United Cerebral Palsy Association of Berkshire County. He resides in Hinsdale with his wife, Leslie, and their two children, Brandon and Alea. 
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