Decor Store With Local Motives Opens In North Adams
Ashley Priester poses in front of her storefront with her 'child' and store mascot Scarlett.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Ashley Priester took her passion for locally produced crafts and has channeled that into a small business.
Her store, AP Home Decor and More, located at 10 Ashland St., opened on Monday and on Saturday will have its grand opening
Priester said the idea for a store came about as her house began to run out of room for crafting and friends encouraged her to open a business. Renee Tassone, owner of Eat to Total Health
, encouraged Priester to take a chance at the spot next door to her business.
"I just went for it," Priester said.
Aside from her candles, the shop currently includes products — jewelry, quilts, massage oils, jams, artwork and knitted hats — from different vendors from around the county — including Katie's Custom Jewelry, Cheshire Cat Creations, Sentient Skin Care, Tanya's Country Kitchen and Angela's Sock Cupcakes and More. Priester said when the store fills up it will feature 40 different artisans.
Even the store's displays are locally made, handcrafted by Corey's Country Creations based in Cheshire.
"It's definitely about keeping stuff local," Priester said.
Prices on items vary. Generally, most cost under $20 — the candles are $6.25 for a 4 ounces and $12 and for an 8 ounce, most jewelry ranges from $5 to $15. Some of the higher-end items, such as quilts, paintings and crystal jewelry, cost more than $50.
The store also features pieces from younger artisans, and will sell work Duct-tape flower pens by Hope and Hannah Blake who attend Clarksburg Elementary School.
Candles can also be made in customized containers.
"I'm looking to get as much unique [items] in the store as possible," Priester said.
Priester dived into her candle-making hobby about four years ago and began selling to friends and at craft fairs. She decided on soy candles after researching the process because soy wax burns slower and is easier to clean than paraffin
wax; She said to clean soy wax you just need a wet towel. Priester also said soy wax burns cooler, and is safe to touch. The wicks, too, are cleaner, she said, as she opted to make them with cotton wicks instead of lead.
On Saturday, the grand opening will feature specials and sales with vendors on hand, raffles and massages from Circle of Life.
Every month, there will also be raffles for customers, whether its just stopping in, purchasing a product or reviewing their visit on the store's Facebook page
. Priester also hopes host vendor parties and ladies' nights.
She's still figuring out more marketing plans, but plans to team up with other small businesses in the immediate area for a coupon book.
The store accepts cash, card and check, and is open Monday and Wednesday from 10 to 5:30, and Thursday though Saturday from 10 to 7.
Berkshire Bank Acquiring 20 Bank of America Branches
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The county's largest bank is getting bigger with the addition of 20 retail bank branches in New York.
Berkshire Bank, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hills Bancorp. Inc., has entered into a purchase-and-assumption agreement for bank branches from Bank of America. The branches are located in New York markets within or contiguous to markets currently served by Berkshire.
The acquired branches have approximately $640 million in total deposits and $5 million in loans. Both banks will be working to ensure a seamless transition for customer accounts; employees will transfer over to Berkshire Bank.
This acquisition is subject to regulatory approval from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the commonwealth of Massachusetts and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2014.
According to Berkshire, the acquisition will increase its total branch count to 94, and its New York branches to 37. Berkshire has $5.2 billion in assets.
Berkshire CEO Michael Daly said in a statement that the "transaction meets our financial criteria and is expected to contribute to our long-term strategic and financial goals."
Jefferies LLC was financial adviser to Berkshire and Luse Gorman Pomerenk & Schick P.C. was outside legal counsel. A presentation with additional information about the deposit acquisition will be posted on Berkshire's Investor Relations website.
New Name, New Signs for Hoosac Bank
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.
Disaster Relief Grant Will Be Used to Aid Businesses
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.