Graymatterhost Honored for Green, Business-Friendly Websites

By Nichole DupontiBerkshires Staff
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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — In the age of Facebook, Blackberries, tweets and iPhones, technology can be intimidating, even for tech-savvy people.

Small businesses especially struggle to keep up with an ever-changing Web world in which Google is king and taking precious time to manage a website is nearly impossible.

It was with these small businesses and organizations in mind that Bob O'Haver founded Graymatterhost.com. O'Haver and his crew (which consists of local contractors including Web designers) create easy-to-use websites for small companies nationwide as well as in the Berkshires (Peter Fasano fabric and wallcoverings and the Berkshire Film Commission to name two).

In addition to its web services, Graymatterhost is also completely solar-powered. This combination of business and Earth-friendly service recently earned the company two awards, Best Small Biz Host by BestHosting101.com and Best Non-Profit Host by WebHostRanking.com.

"We literally have hundreds of Word Press sites for contractors, stores, churches, photographers, both locally and nationally," O'Haver said in a phone interview. "We set people up with Constant Contact and email and links and PayPal for nonprofits to be able to collect money. It's very vertical, though, what we're doing, and it's a broad range of what we offer. We make it easy for our clients by assessing their needs. That was the reason I chose to put my face on the website. It's really rare to be able to connect with people behind the screen."

Putting a face to a screen is just one way in which O'Haver hopes to continue to make Graymatterhost an approachable entity, particularly in the local community. Julie Brady, co-founder of Awaken Healing Arts in Sheffield, has been using Graymatterhost for nearly seven years, both to manage several businesses and to maintain a blog.

"He's always made things very easy to understand and he respects that I need to have creative license," Brady said in a phone interview. "It worked on a technical end and he was able to make the website intuitive. I also went to him because it was important for me to have the website be solar-powered. Right now, the website is functioning really well. I update it several times a month and we really look forward to taking the site a little further."

As many of his clients' businesses continue to grow, O'Haver said that he is shifting Graymatterhost's focus to accommodate this growth and some recent changes made by Google.

"Google recently changed so that now it lowers the rankings of site with reused content," he said. "Now everybody has to deal with their website every day or they are going to fall off the page. Who looks past the first page when they are searching? What we're finding is that everybody's got a job in a small business, and they don't have time to be updating their website on a regular basis. But we can do that. And hopefully this will bring more businesses to the Berkshires and give them more options. That would completely change the landscape of this place."
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Pittsfield's Allendale Pines Plans Further Expansion

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Allendale Pines plans to expand the mobile home park with more than 20 additional lots.

This addition will separate the parks into AP South and the new AP North.

The Mobile Home Rent Control Board on Monday OK'd the plan contingent on approval from the Conservation Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals.

"In summary, this project would provide 21 additional financially attainable lots and homes for Pittsfield," Attorney Jeffrey Scrimo said on behalf of owner Eagle Allendale.

"This would be an expansion of the existing Allendale Pines community, but it was served by a separate entrance and separate utilities."

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