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Staff Reports

Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club has launched a nifty app for iPhone and Android. The Cranwell app offers a guide to the hotel's amenities, recommendations and special offers. Plus it features a map of activities in the Berkshires.

"The way that our customers search for and book their vacation experience is shifting," said Norma Probst, director of marketing for the resort. "This new feature will enable us to connect with our guests and prospective visitors before, during and after their stays."

The app, one of 20 hotel and resort apps developed by DeCare Systems Ireland Ltd., offers quick access to real-time reservations and Cranwell phone and email contacts and images of the historic resort. App users can explore all the facilities of the resort in a few easy taps — from information on wining and dining at the hotel's restaurants and bar, to room and suite accommodations.

Users can access sections on the Spa at Cranwell, golfing or skiing, as well as a profile of their conference and wedding facilities. Then they can shoot off an e-mail to tell their friends all about it.
The app also offers an area guide (notably clustered mostly in South County along Route 7) for taverns, dining, shopping, outdoor and cultural activities, hospitals and transportation, along with a Google map to show you how to get there. We're not sure where they're drawing the information, but the North County section is pretty skimpy. The locations do, however, get you not only a location but access to contacts and Web pages.

The "news" section is also sparse, consisting of mainly tweets and retweets from Cranwell. But then it is designed to promote Cranwell and areas of interest to its patrons, not the local or national media.

Cranwell Resort says it partnered with O'Rourke Hospitality's Smart Stay App to provide "a highly specialized service solution for mobile travelers to the Berkshires."

We downloaded the app to try it out and found it very easy to use. If you're coming to the Berkshires and don't know your way around, this is a nice littlemobile concierge. The free app can be downloaded for iPhone, iPad and Android systems.

Looks like Cranwell is out front with offering the area's first mobile application — at least we can't find anyone else who's doing it.

Tags: apps, Cranwell      

January Business Events

Staff Reports

Networking events, workshops and seminars for the month of January are listed below. Got an upcoming business event? Send it to info@iberkshires.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 berkshire@zontadistrict1.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.

Advanced registration is encouraged.  To register, call 413-499-4000, ext. 26, e-mail choyt@berkshirechamber.com, or go to www.berkshirechamber.com.

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 info@williamstownchamber.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 info@consultingalliance.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 dmossman@berkshires.org.

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.

The event is open exclusively to Berkshire Chamber members and their employees; registration is required by Friday, Jan. 14. Register at 413-499-4000, choyt@berkshirechamber.com or www.berkshirechamber.com.

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 info@williamstownchamber.com, 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

The event is open to chamber members and the general public. To register, call 413-458-9077 or email info@williamstownchamber.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

Nonmembers are welcome to participate. Register for the above programs at www.nfib.com/webinars.


December Networking Events/Seminars

Staff Reports

Networking events, workshops and seminars for the month of December are listed below. Got an upcoming business event? Send it to info@iberkshires.com.

There will be a Holiday Open House on Wednesday, Dec. 1, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Viale Florist, 99 Wahconah St., Pittsfield. The event is open to the public, and will include refreshments and an hourly drawing for wreath, poinsettia and holiday centerpiece prizes. For more information, call 413-442-6956.

Berkshire Creative will hold a "Sparkle!" celebration on Thursday, Dec. 2, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Crane Model Farm, 191 Main St., Dalton. The evening includes complimentary food, giveaways and auctions. Admission is $25 prior to the event, $35 at the door. Register at sparkle2010.eventbrite.com.

The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual meeting and holiday party on Wednesday, Dec. 8, from 5 to 8 p.m., at Ward's Nursery and Garden Center, 600 S. Main St., Great Barrington. The meeting starts at 5; the party starts at 5:30. Space is limited; registration is required here. For more information, contact Christine Ludwiszewski at sbcc@rnetworx.com or 413 5284284.

Berkshire Young Professionals will hold a networking social at Mezze Bistro and Bar, 777 Cold Spring Road (Route 7), Williamstown, on Thursday, Dec. 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. The event includes complimentary hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar; make sure to bring along plenty of business cards for networking and the door prize drawing. Gifts for the Hillcrest Educational Centers' Holiday Wish Program will be collected at the event. Visit www.hillcrestec.org or call 413-499-7924, ext. 133 for more information.

Early registration is encouraged; register at www.berkshirechamber.com. If you have problems registering, call 413-499-4000, ext. 26 or email choyt@berkshirechamber.com.

Berkshire Visitors Bureau will hold an open forum discussion on destination weddings on Tuesday, Dec. 14. Attendees are encouraged to share their  ideas on ways to increase the visibility of the Berkshires as a destination wedding location and brainstorm creative ways to provide collaborative resources to serve this market. The forum takes place from 3:30 to 4:30 at Cranwell Resort Spa and Golf Club, 55 Lee Road, Lenox. RSVP to dmossman@berkshires.org.

Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will host a members-only "Chamber Nite" on Wednesday, Dec. 15, from 5 to 7 p.m., at Central Block Building, 75 North St., Pittsfield. Attendees will be able to explore The New Berry Place, On A Roll Cafe and Deidre's. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar will be provided. Register at www.berkshirechamber.com.

The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual meeting on Friday, Dec. 17, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza Pittsfield-Berkshires. This year’s theme is "Leadership." The agenda will include the election of directors and officers, a salute to the outgoing chair and a welcome from the incoming chair Gerard Burke, president of Hillcrest Educational Centers, Inc. Various awards will be presented during the meeting. Tickets are $30 per person and include a breakfast buffet. The event is open exclusively to members of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce. To register, call 413-499-4000, e-mail choyt@berkshirechamber.com or go to www.berkshirechamber.com.


Williamstown Chamber Seeks Input on Future Role

Tammy Daniels

There was a good turnout at the Williamstown Chamber's annual meeting, held at Gramercy Bistro in North Adams. Chamber members got some preliminary results from a survey about the chamber's future initiatives and spent the evening networking and trying Gramercy's spicy hors d'oeuvres.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Williamstown Chamber should take a leadership role in creating a sustainable Williamstown that includes promoting the creation of private-sector jobs and economic development, and offering cooperative marketing opportunities.

It also should have a greater voice in defining the future of Williamstown — and wait until it has more information on the pros and cons of a proposed biomass plant before taking a stand.

That's the result so far of a survey sent to 300 members on Nov. 10; only a sixth have yet responded to the online survey.

The six statements on the survey are designed to gauge members' interest in the chamber taking a more active role beyond marketing, networking, local promotions and organizing popular events like the upcoming Holiday Walk. The results will be used to help inform the chamber's strategy over the next five years.

Between 80 and 90 percent of those who responded so far strongly and somewhat agreed that the chamber should "lead in economic development" to attract new business, especially outside the tourist/hospitality area, and (three-quarters strongly agreed) offer more cooperative ventures to market to residents as well as tourists. Just over half strongly agreed members with pro-business mindsets should serve on local boards. The

Members bid farewell to board member Aimee Hirz, left, who's leaving the area, and bemoaned the ending terms of co-Presidents Bonnie Clark and Mary Morrow.

However, while the percentages were high, the total respondents was still low. "We need the input," said Allen Jezouit, a member of the chamber's board, at Tuesday night's annual meeting and mixer hosted by Gramercy Bistro on the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts campus.

Co-Presidents Bonnie Clark of Northern Berkshire Healthcare and Mary Morrow of Williamstown Savings Bank will be completing their terms (a announcement that evoked a long awwwww from the more than 40 attendees) and new officers will be introduced at the January meeting.

"Mary and I are on our way out the door. It's been great and if we can say anything to any of you, stay involved," said Clark. "You don't have to do a lot if everybody does a little bit ... it's easier.

Clark, who becomes chairman of the Membership Committee, said there's plenty of room for participation on the chamber's committees. "It's the involvement in the community that counts. You can sit back and complain all you want but ... if you're not part of the solution ... ."

Members also said goodbye to board member and current Secretary Aimee Hirz of the Williams College Museum of Art, who is moving to the Albany, N.Y., area.

Coming up, the chamber will be expanding activities for the annual Holiday Walk to include an "elf" hunt amongst Water Street businesses and an "Ugly Art Swap" at the Harrison Gallery, and is thinking up more activities.

Members also applauded news that they'd raised $3,200 for local nonprofits from this year's networking events.

Tags: Williamstown, survey      

November Networking Events/Seminars

Staff Reports

Networking events, workshops and seminars for the month of November are listed below. Got an upcoming business event? Send it to info@iberkshires.com.

Registration was due Oct. 25, but it may be worth checking out if room is still available at the "Women Investing in Themselves" presentation slated for Tuesday, Nov. 2, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Orchards Hotel, 206 Adams Road, Williamstown. Guest speaker Linda A. Duessel, equity strategist at Federated Investors, will discuss money management strategies for women. Call 800-432-744, ext. 123 or email womensconference@dionmm.com for more information.

The Zonta Club of Berkshire County will meet on Monday, Nov. 8, at 5 p.m. at Patrick's Pub, Park Square, Pittsfield. The guest speaker will be Amanda Rae Busch, senior editor at Berkshire Living. The meeting includes networking, a business meeting, speech and dinner. For more information, email berkshire@zontadistrict1.org or call 413-637-2722.

On Tuesday, Nov. 9, Berkshire Creative will hold a Sparkettes networking event for interior designers, landscape architects, architects, builders, home designers/makers and real estate agents from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Jae's Spice, North Street, Pittsfield. The evening inclues a cash bar and hors d'oeuvres. RSVP here.

Northern Berkshire Business and Professional Women holds its semiannual Meet and Greet event, featuring Julia Bowen, executive director of BArT Charter School, on Wednesday, Nov. 10, at the Williams Inn, Williamstown. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Light hors d’oeuvres will be served. RSVP by Monday, Nov. 8 to Maureen Riley Moriarty, membership chair, 413-743-0432.

Berkshire Community College is offering the workshop "The Power of Email Marketing" (WKS-2460-E4) on Wednesday, Nov. 10, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. The class is structured for a lecture during the first half and hands-on practice durng the second half. The fee is $40. To register, call 413-236-2127 or email lpierce@berkshirecc.edu.

The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will hold a Business After Hours event on Thursday, Nov. 11, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Berkshire Children's Chorus, Dewey Memorial Hall, 91 Main St., Sheffield. To RSVP, contact Joy at visitor@southernberkshirechamber.com.

The Williamstown Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Gramercy Bistro, MASS MoCA Way, North Adams. New officers will be introduced, and board members will share chamber initiatives and plans for the new year. Admission is $10; call 413-458-9077 or email info@williamstownchamber.com to register.

The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will host a "Chamber Nite" at Wohrle’s Food Warehouse, 1619 East St., Pittsfield, on Wednesday, Nov. 17, from 5 to 7 p.m. The first 100 people to arrive will receive a free Wohrle’s tote bag. Attendees will also enjoy complimentary hors d'oeuvres. Be sure to bring your business cards for networking and to be entered into the door prize drawing for a full piece of choice beef tenderloin (6 lb. avg.).

Registration by Nov. 12 is strongly encouraged. To register, call 413-499-4000, e-mail choyt@berkshirechamber.com or register at www.berkshirechamber.com.

Northern Berkshire Business and Professional Women will meet for dinner at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 17, at the Williams Inn, Williamstown. The speaker, Sharon Boyd, director of Arcadia Employment, will discuss the employment market in Northern Berkshire County. The cost is $25; for meal choices and to make a reservation, contact Lucy Milette at 413-663-6080.

Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce members are invited to attend "Beginning Quick Books" for a combined 7 hours of instruction on Thursday, Nov. 18 and Dec. 2, from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The cost is $60 per student. To register, send name of attendee, business name and phone number by Nov. 10 to sbcc@rnetworx.com.

All young professionals living and/or working in Berkshire County are invited to attend the Berkshire Young Professionals Networking Social at Taylor’s, 34 Holden St., North Adams, on Thursday, Nov. 18. The event is free for BYP membership cardholders and $5 for nonmembers.  Taylor’s will be treating attendees to a sampling of sushi and other hors d'oeuvres. There will be live entertainment and an introduction to the Taylor’s dart league. Bring business cards for networking and to be eligible for the door-prize drawing. To register, call 413-499-4000, ext. 26, e-mail choyt@berkshirechamber.com or at www.berkshirechamber.com/byp.

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