Biz Briefs: Jacob's Pillow Founderís Property on the Market
Property for sale
William Pitt Sotheby's International Realty has listed a 19th-century compound in the town of Chester formerly owned by the founder of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. The estate is listed for $685,000 and is represented by Great Barrington/Lenox agent Stephanie McNair.
Ted Shawn lived on the property in the 1930s during which he founded what would become the country's oldest internationally celebrated summer dance festival in Becket, but the seeds of Jacob's Pillow are found here in Chester. The property, nestled on a hilltop overlooking 73 acres, provides opportunity for swimming, tennis and hiking.
According to McNair, this was the original dance property, and dancers from all over the world stayed here. It then became a retreat for families from New York City staying in the area for the summer. Before Shawn owned the property, it served as a camp for the YMCA in the late 1800s.
The entirety of the property has since been restored, including the four-bedroom main residence, two-bedroom house, seven-bedroom Grand Lodge, swimming pool and barn, once used as the camp’s mess hall. For more information on the property, located at 14 Johnson Hill Road, please visit the firm’s website here.
Big Elm Brewery and Oldtone Productions, the producers of the Oldtone Roots Music Festival, have announced a cooperative effort to produce a beer for the 2019 late summer festival season. The beer name and label - "Cattle Rag IPA" - were inspired by the long hair Scottish Highland Cattle that Cool Whisper Farm is known for. The cattle are an indispensible (but distant) part of the Oldtone Roots Music Festival experience, which is held on Matt and Lisa Schober's working farm.
The tasting notes for the beer are as follows: "The Oldtone Cattle Rag IPA is a sunny hued, deliciously hopped, sessionable IPA clocking in at 4.8 percent ABV. This aromatic and easy drinking IPA provides all day refreshment during any summer activity, especially listening to live music. Golden straw in color with a tight white rocky head, this beer tastes as good as it looks."
The label was designed by Kip Beacco, who is the art director and one of the producers of the Oldtone Roots Music Festival. Beacco collaborated with a local artist for some custom artwork. Cattle Rag IPA is available at Big Elm Brewery and is for sale in Massachusetts now, and will be on restaurants and store shelves soon. It will available through Dutchess Distributing in New York State, and is available in Connecticut on tap now. Email for information on where you can taste or purchase the beer.
Crane Paper Sale
The Dalton CRA will be holding the annual Crane Paper fundraiser to support youth programming. This year's sale features a large assortment of fine stationery and specialty papers. There will be note cards, holiday cards, invitations, envelopes, and large sheets as well as wrapping paper. New additions to this year's sale are items from the Primitive Artisans.
The sale will be held Friday, Aug. 16, through Monday, Aug. 19. Paper is discounted at least 50 percent off retail prices. The sale is open to the public at the CRA at 400 Main Street on Aug. 16 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Aug. 17 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Aug. 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Aug. 19 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Community Recreation Association has continually served central Berkshires for over 90 years. The CRA is a nonprofit organization with a mission to provide social, educational, cultural and recreational activities in a safe, healthy and welcoming environment.
Salisbury Bank has made a $5,000 grant to the Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire, funding its work building low-moderate income housing and creating jobs in the Berkshires. This grant will support the organization by growing its general fund to expand staff and further the nonprofit’s important work helping families and individuals in the southern Berkshire region.
Salisbury Bank is a full-service community bank headquartered in Lakeville, Conn., and presently operates full service branches in Canaan, Lakeville, Salisbury, and Sharon, Connecticut; Great Barrington, Sheffield and South Egremont, Mass.; as well as Dover Plains, Fishkill, Millerton, New Paltz, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, and Red Oaks Mill, N.Y. The bank has been serving families and businesses for over 170 years and offers a full range of consumer and business banking products and services as well as trust and investment services.
"Access to affordable housing strengthens our economy and has an indelible positive impact on the lives of families that make our communities work, improving their financial stability, quality of life and providing a safe and stable environment for parents and school children," said Tim Geller, executive director of CDCSB. "We are very grateful to Salisbury Bank for its continued support of our work in creating healthy and sustainable communities."
The CDCSB is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating job opportunities, promoting economic development, and building low-moderate income housing in south Berkshire County. In collaboration with other like-minded organizations, CDCSB has helped build over 60 affordable housing units and has an additional 114 affordable units in its pipeline. CDCSB has leveraged over $30 million in private and public funding.
Friends & Family Fund
Berkshire Bank has launched its new Friends & Family Fund powered by The Runway Project aimed at helping entrepreneurs of color access the seed capital necessary to fund their dreams and spur economic growth in underserved communities. The fund is one of the first offerings under Berkshire’s new Be First initiative, the bank’s social impact strategy.
There is no shortage of great business ideas among communities of color but what they have historically lacked is the access to seed capital to launch their businesses. The most common funding path for burgeoning business owners begins with asks of support from family and friends, but a stark wealth gap exists that limits minority entrepreneurs’ ability to access significant capital — for example, white households in the United States have a median household wealth of $142,000 while black households have a mere $11,000 in wealth. This racial wealth gap can be traced to the long history of discrimination in America, including discriminatory "redlining" practices through which the federal government and banks conspired to block black homeownership (and access to other lines of credit and banking services), thereby stunting the community's ability to build and transfer generational wealth. And it persists today because many banks are still unwilling to lend to, or invest in, communities of color. Yet despite this lack of access to capital black entrepreneurs, particularly black women, are starting businesses at a rate that far outpaces the majority.
Berkshire Bank's new Friends & Family Fund powered by The Runway Project is designed to bridge the gap in access to capital by providing early stage loans to seed big bold ideas and invest in promising new minority-owned businesses. The fund is fueled by a specialty Certificate of Deposit that provides a safe, NCUA and FDIC insured and certified, market-rate return on investment while providing liquidity for the loans. Loan applications will be reviewed through a community-based underwriting process designed to eliminate historical barriers like an over reliance on credit scores, personal collateral, or historical tax and financial reporting as an indicator of futures success. Trusted advisors provide holistic business support and ongoing financial coaching to entrepreneurs as they build their companies.
ExtraSpecialTeas Executive Director Cherri Sanes and the staff of ExtraSpecialTeas have received outstanding results of their recent Quality Enhancement Review performed by the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) early in July. Members of the review team met with ExtraSpecialTeas professionals and participants at ExtraSpecialTeas at 2 Elm St. on Aug. 2 to personally deliver the impressive news that the therapeutic vocational day program’s scores were some of the highest ever achieved by a nonprofit organization in the state.
The report is the result of detailed responses to approximately150 indicators of quality programs offered to young adults with disabilities in our community. These extremely positive scores indicate the excellent resource that ExtraSpecialTeas provides as a welcoming and inclusive environment for building employment skills and self-respect for many young adults in transition to the working world. ExtraSpecialTeas offers a day program to meet the transitional needs of area young adults and recently has added transportation services from Pittsfield and Lee in Berkshire County with their new 12-passenger van.
The ExtraSpecialTeas tea house at 2 Elm St. has become a popular spot for tea and conversation, with lounge areas, an outdoor garden and internet for small events and big ideas. Many Berkshire residents are regulars and enjoy the special bubble teas, more than 50 varieties of tea, gluten-free baked goods, and special tea products, like soaps, bath brews and candles, made by the participants. Individuals interested in learning more about ExtraSpecialTeas can contact Cherri Sanes at 413-645-3247.
Extra Special Teas is a teahouse that employs and empowers people with special needs, bringing them together with the community, inspiring new possibilities, purpose and belonging.
Pet food collection
Big Y Foods' fifth annual "May is Pet Month" initiative resulted in donations of close to 22,000 pounds of pet food and supplies to 45 different local animal shelters. The program, which ran in all 70 Big Y markets from April 25 through May 29, encouraged shoppers to purchase food and other supplies for a local shelter as part of the company’s ongoing effort to give back to the community. Each Big Y enjoyed decorating their store’s donation bins with pictures of their family pets. Many customers also donated other needed pet items such as collars, leashes, cat litter, and pet toys.
In addition to food and supply donations, Big Y partnered with iHeart Media and Pure Harmony pet food to collect donations at the checkout. More than $84,000 was raised from these donations to be distributed to the MSCPA-Angell of Massachusetts (with their four locations throughout Massachusetts), Kenway's Cause, Connecticut Humane Society, and The Hometown Foundation (which supports over 15 animal rescues/shelters). New to the program this year was the ability for customers to purchase a Big Y Cares reusable shopping bag where one dollar for each bag purchased was donated to local charities.
Big Y’s fifth annual pet month has resulted in a five-year total of more than 197,000 pounds of pet food and supplies donated to local shelters and a total of over $266,000 raised.