North Adams Starting Merchants Association
Working in conjunction with Develop North Adams and the city's Office of Tourism, the group will hold a networking event on Monday, Oct. 3, from 6 to 7:30 at Desperados on Eagle Street.
The topic will be how local businesses and shop owners can work collectively to promote business and shopping here in North Adams, particularly during the holiday season. The group encourages participants bring along ideas of how to market the city or about organizing events.
While many of establishments here are part of the larger Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, the city's been without a formal merchants group for years. DNA was started more than a year ago to more broadly bring businesses and community together to benefit the city. It positioned itself not so much as a business group, but an umbrella under which a merchants association could develop.
Those planning to attend the meeting should RSVP by noon on Friday, Sept. 30, to Veronica Bosley in the Office of Tourism at 413-664-6180 or email@example.com. Anyone wishing to bring up specific topics at the meeting is asked to send them to Bosley as soon as possible.
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June Business Events
Networking events, workshops and seminars for the month of June are listed below. Got an upcoming business event? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will hold a breakfast on Friday, June 3, from 7:45 to 9:15 a.m. at the Comfort Inn, Stockbridge Road. The meeting will celebrate Great Barrington's 250th anniversary; special guests include Great Barrington Board of Selectmen and 250th Committee Co-chairs Ed McCormick and Betsy Andrus, state Sen. Ben Downing. Register at 413-528-4284 or email@example.com. Admission is $25 per person.
Berkshire Young Professionals will throw a networking social on Thursday, June 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Hancock Shaker Village, Route 20, Pittsfield. Admission is $5 for nonmembers, free for members. Register here.
The Lenox Chamber of Commerce will hold an after hours mixer on Thursday, June 9, at Dr. Lahey's Garden Center, 1032 South St., Pittsfield. The event begins at 6 p.m. and includes light seasonal fare and a cash bar. RSVP to 413-637-3646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will hold an after hours event on Thursday, June 9, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Gould Farm's Roadside Cafe, 100 Gould Road, Montery. RSVP to 413-528-1510 or email@example.com.
The Zonta Club of Berkshire County will meet on Monday, June 13 at 5 p.m. at Patrick's Pub, Park Square, Pittsfield. The meeting will include the installation of new officers; the guest speaker will be this year's winner of the Berkshire Community College Scholarship. The meeting includes a brief networking time, business meeting, speaker and dinner. Reservations required for dinner. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will hold a Chamber Nite event on Wednesday, June 15, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Devanny-Condron Funeral Home, 40 Maplewood Ave., Pittsfield. Complimentary hors d'ouevres will be served; bring business cards for a door-prize drawing. Open to chamber members only; register here.
The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce puts on a Good News Business Salute on Wednesday, June 22, from 7:45 to 9 a.m. at the Berkshire Hills Country Club, 500 Benedict Road, Pittsfield. Admission is $25 for chamber members, $35 for nonmembers. Registration is open until June 21; register here.
Northern Berkshire Professional Women will meet at the Williams Inn, Williamstown, on Wednesday, June 22, at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will have a baby shower theme; items brought to the meeting will be donated to a local charity. The cost of dinner is $25; for meal choice and to make a reservation, contact Sherrie Thompson at 413-458-1914.
Berkshire Creative will hold a Spark! networking event on Thursday, June 30, at the town of Adams Armory Court and Topia Arts Center, Adams. The free event runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m.; RSVP here.
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Aladco Installs New 'Green' Washing Machine
Aladco contracted local companies to retrofit the 19th-century building to more energy-efficient technology.
ADAMS, Mass. — Aladco is the latest business to go green.
The linen company installed a new $700,000 washer expected to reduce water usage by 84 percent. The company tore out the equpment it had been using for 50 years and retrofitted its 19th-century Commercial Street building for the modern technology.
"It's really cool to see an old building get a third or fourth life," Kevin Ellingwood, the company's public relations spokesman, said. "This has been in the works for a year or so."
The Pulse-Flow washing system replaces four washing machines that held 400 pounds of laundry each with a conveyor belt system. Every three minutes, workers load 50-pound batches onto the corkscrewlike belt. The batches then go through the various steps of a wash.
"It took them a little while to get efficient using the machine. Workers used to just load it in and go get a coffee or something," Ellingwood said. "It will result in significant savings."
Previously Aladco used 10 washing machines that used 2.5 gallons of water per pound of laundry, using 1.5 million gallons of water per month. The new system uses .4 gallons of water per pound – reducing the monthly usage to 250,000 gallons. Additionally, the less water used, the less gas and electricity are required to heat it.
Berkshire Gas contributed a $50,000 rebate to Aladco for the project.
"The projected savings for this project of over 67,000 therms and nearly 1.7 million therms over the life of the equipment, are impressive, to say the least. To put this into perspective, the annual savings from this one project equates to the amount of natural gas needed to heat approximately 70 homes per year," Michael Sommer, manager of energy services at Berkshire Gas, said in a press release.
According to Ellingwood, Aladco is the first hospitality linen rental facility in the nation to make the change.
Additionally, Aladco recently introduced three new eco-friendly products: a lint–free microfiber wiping towel, microfiber mop system and the Environap, an alternative to disposable napkins for the same cost.
The company provides table and kitchen linens, bed linens, uniforms, entrance mats and dust control to restaurants, hotels, motels, hospital, medical service providers and schools and colleges.
More information on Aladco here.
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Excelsior Brings Greeting Card Co. To North Adams
Photo courtesy of ExcelsiorOatmeal Studios' owners Joe and Helene Massimino sold the Vermont company to Excelsior. To the right is new owner David Crane with new General Manager Joseph Gallagher.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Excelsior Printing Co. will bring its newly acquired business to the city.
The Roberts Drive printing company announced Tuesday that it purchased Oatmeal Studios of Rochester, Vt., and will bring the inventory and warehousing to the city, which could translate into local jobs.
"The founders wanted to retire. We were in negotiations for about a month and finalized the deal last week," Julianne Fruscio, Excelsior's business development and marketing coordinator, said on Tuesday.
Excelsior has been printing Oatmeal Studios' greeting cards for more than 20 years. Oatmeal's sales team will be offered positions first and unfilled jobs could be filled locally. Additionally, Excelsior hired Joseph Gallagher to be the general manager to develop even more products and expand into other markets.
"We're really hoping to develop the brand Oatmeal more," Fruscio said. "It's a new direction for us because we are now specializing in greeting cards."
Though Excelsior has the ability to do its own design work, it will continue using Oatmeal's database of freelancers to design the cards. Oatmeal also accepts submissions on a daily basis, Fruscio said.
Oatmeal Studios was founded by Helene and Joe Massimino and has been creating and distributing greeting cards and notepads for more than 30 years. The greeting cards are printed with vegetable-based inks on recycled paper.
"We think it's a great fit," said Joe Massimino in a press release. "Excelsior has been a part of Oatmeal Studios almost from the beginning and they have a stationery pedigree of their own that will serve Oatmeal Studios’ customers well into the future."
In 2005, Excelsior separated from Crane & Co. and, in 2008, made a similar acquisition of SeedPrint. Excelsior now prints and ships seed packages while doing minimal design work.
Crane purchased the Excelsior companies — Excelsior Printing and Excelsior Process & Engraving — in 1970. Crane moved Excelsior Process & Engraving to the Robert Hardman Industrial Park in 1985 and then announced that it will close the Curran Highway location last year.
Excelsior Printing Co. on Roberts Drive was purchased by David W. Crane in 2005.
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Carbone Dealership Empties Lot
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — All the cars at Carbone Ford-Mercury on Route 2 should be gone by the end of the weekend.
On Friday, staff began driving the vehicles to a brand-new $4 million location in Bennington, Vt., which will open on Monday. Carbone Auto Group purchased the former Haddad dealership about two years ago and constructed the new location adjacent to its current Toyota lot on North Bennington Road.
"We are moving cars as we speak," said Michael Larochelle, a sales associate for Carbone, on Friday. "We should be completely out this weekend."
Carbone Ford-Mercury is the latest Berkshire County dealership to close. The dealership will reopen in Vermont.
Closing the State Road location has been in the works for about three years. In 2008, Carbone purchased the dealership from Haddad Motors with the plan of moving it to Bennington. The company was expecting construction to last shortly more than a year.
Construction on the new 27,000-square-foot showroom began in April and was not expected to be complete until the spring 2011. Ahead of schedule, the dealership will have a soft opening on Monday.
"It's a brand-new location. I think I heard it cost $4 million," Larochelle said. "I assume they'll do some type of grand opening."
New car dealerships have continued to leave the county, or consolidate. North County is now down to three new-car dealerships — K&M Toyota in North Adams, McAndrews-King GMC in Adams and the massive Bedard Brothers Auto Sales in Cheshire.
In 2007, Bedard Brothers Auto Sales purchased and consolidated Gateway, formerly known as Shapiro Chevrolet, on Union Street. That dealership was added to the company's Cheshire location. In 2009, Berkshire GMC in Sheffield closed when GMC closed 1,100 of its dealerships.
The dealership at 179 State Road was known for years as Dick Scarafoni Ford and later as Calgary Motors. Carbone's consolidation leaves another large, empty commercial property in the city. The former Gateway site still has not found new tenants although it is being used for leasing vehicle storage space. Both locations are owned by Scarafoni Associates.
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