Neal, Business Organizations Sponsor Export Forum
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Small-business development organizations and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal are sponsoring a forum on how local companies could benefit from exporting their products.
The Pittsfield Export Forum on Tuesday, Jan. 29, will run from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza will feature two panel talks, followed by a luncheon with the congressman.
The forum sessions are free and open to all area businesses.
Neal will join the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce for a luncheon following the forum at the Crowne Plaza at noon in the ballroom; the cost is $35. Register for the luncheon here.
Neal will address the current fiscal situation, tax reform, exports, the recent AMT fix and energy independence.
The Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network is encouraging those who currently export and those who are considering exporting to attend the event.
The panels will include business exporters from Western Massachusetts who will share their success stories. The forum also will feature an overview of a broad range of programs available to help companies with their international business efforts, including the opportunity of grant money available to small businesses to export. Following the presentations, participants will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with government officials and local businesses to answer specific export questions.
Welcome Remarks - Congressman Richard E. Neal
Tom Gradel, Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment
Paula Murphy and Ann Pieroway, Massachusetts Export Center
John Joyce, Small Business Administration
Melissa Branzburg, U.S. Department of Commerce
Keith Girouard, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network
Mike Supranowicz, President & CEO, Berkshire Chamber of Commerce – Moderator
Mike Tweed-Kent, Vice President & General Manager, General Dynamics
Virginia DuBois, Inside Sales Manager, Interprint
Josh Levine, President, LympheDIVAs
Lyn Biasin, Supply Chain Manager, Onyx
Michael Hopsicker, President & CEO, Ray Murray, Inc.
Sponsors are Neal, Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network's Mass Export Center, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, CONECT, Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment and the Small Business Administration.
Berkshire Bank to Celebrate Branch Opening in Pittsfield
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Bank will celebrate the grand opening of its newest full-service branch located at 99 North St. with a ribbon cutting ceremony and family day event.
First, the ribbon cutting ceremony will be on Jan. 16 at 11 a.m. During the event the Berkshire Bank Foundation will present two $1,500 grants – one to Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires to support the organization’s Suit YourSelf program and one to the Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter.
Then on Saturday, Jan. 19 from 9 a.m. until noon, the festivities continue with a family day celebration, open to the public. This event will feature special contests, giveaways and refreshments including a Treasure Chest Key Promotion offering community members a chance to win an iPad mini, cash or a gas card. Also, Mr. Twisty will be available to make balloon characters and children's author Ty Allen Jackson will read and sign copies of his books. The celebration culminates with a free showing of "The Wizard of Oz" at the Beacon Theater Sunday, Jan. 20 at 11 a.m. Seats are limited. Those interested may stop by the 99 North Street branch beginning Jan. 16 to reserve tickets and pick them up on Saturday, Jan. 19, at the family day celebration.
The downtown Pittsfield branch is the third in Berkshire County to feature Berkshire Bank's new customer centric design and enhanced teller technology. Rather than traditional teller lines, the new design allows for more personalized service, faster transactions and improved accuracy. The branch, complete with an open floor plan and AMEB Café, also includes a multi-functional community room, offering a free space for local small business and community members to hold meetings or activities. The community room includes teleconferencing capabilities, free Wi-Fi, high definition television, blue-ray DVD player, Playstation and seating for up to 30.
Grants Available for Berkshire County Businesses
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire County Regional Employment Board and BerkshireWorks Career Center have open seats for two grant-related sessions.
This first session will focus on safety grants with a presentation by Kathleen Manson, director at the office of safety of the Department of Industrial Accidents. The industrial accidents department awards up to $25,000 to organizations to fund workplace safety training.
The safety grant
session will take place on Friday, Jan. 11, at 10 a.m. at the second-floor conference room of 1 Berkshire Building (66 Allen St.)
Then on Friday, Feb. 1, from 9 a.m. until noon, Michael Corcoran, field supervisor, will present an overview of the three programs of the Workforce Training Grant Program, which consists of the Hiring Incentive Training Grant, the Express Program, and the General Program.
This session will also be held at the second-floor conference room of 1 Berkshire Building.
To register for either of these, email Barbara Emanuel at firstname.lastname@example.org
. For more info, call Emanuel at 413-499-2220, ext. 111, or Tom McDonough at 413-499-2220, ext. 138.
Tech Grants Offered for Small-Business Internet
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Grant funds are available from Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corp. for small businesses in Berkshire County to encourage increased use of the Internet.
A wide range of technology uses for the funds, directed to help business owners improve the management, marketing and growth of their businesses, include:
Website creation or enhancements
Network development of upgrades
Acquisition of computer hardware and software
Training on the use of software programs or website maintenance
Businesses will work with the private technology consultant best suited to their needs.
The program is supported by a $150,000 grant that PERC received from the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, part of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. Up to 10 businesses will be selected and will be responsible for 25 percent of the cost of their project. To qualify, businesses must have an annual budget of less than $500,000.
Businesses are encouraged to apply prior to the Jan. 31 deadline. Applications forms, eligibility requirements and further information may be obtained by calling Ann Dobrowolski at 413-499-9371 or at the Loans/Grants tab on PERC's website, PERCloans.com
The Parlor Cafe Opens in North Adams
Jason Morin and Elizabeth Osimo pose at the bar of their recently opened shop, The Parlor Cafe, located on 303 Ashland St.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Last year a popular coffee and tea shop, The Elf Parlor, closed its doors for good.
But on Wednesday, a new coffee and tea shop, The Parlor Cafe, opened in its place.
"It's a love story," owner Jason Morin said. "I can't name anybody that wasn't heartbroken when it was closed."
Morin opened the shop with Elizabeth Osimo after spending about two months renovating the Ashland Street building. Morin has business experience running his own website-building service, BerkSites, while Osimo previously worked as a barista and bakes the goods.
The Parlor Cafe uses Dean's Beans
, which is roasted in Orange and uses certified fair trade, organic and kosher beans, for its coffee. A 10-ounce to-go cup or a house mug costs $1.67 and a 16-ounce to-go cup costs $2.04.
An array of Ann Arbor tea flavors are also available — $1.75 for a 10-ounce to-go cup or house mug, $2 for a 16-ounce cup or
$2.50 $3.20 for "Tea for Two," served in a 24-ounce teapot.
For food, a variety of baked goods, fudge, Sunshine Bagels
, salads and sandwiches are available. Specialty sandwiches range in price from about $3.50 to $7.75.
Morin said he hopes to have a liquor license in the spring, once all the needed paperwork and application process is completed.
The Parlor Cafe will offer late-night entertainment. Friday will be open mic night and Morin plans to host more structured shows on Saturday. Morin is also open to having smaller, local private functions at the shop on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Morin and Osimo are welcoming more ideas; at the bar, a chalkboard is displayed with the message "Tell us what you'd like so we can be your cafe!"
The Parlor Cafe, located on 303 Ashland St., is open Tuesday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. For more info, check out The Parlor Café Facebook page
. The drink and food menus can be found here
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