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Josh Little and Bryan Albano in ProCom's new garage on Overlook Terrace in Adams.
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ProCom's new garage is large enough to service fire engines.

ProCom Welcomes Retail Customers in New Shop

By Daniel MatziBerkshires correspondent
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ProCom's new retail space welcomes municipal, industry and hobbyist customers
ADAMS, Mass. — Josh Little of ProCom Services does not see himself as a businessman. Though he has successfully provided service to emergency services, police, and fire departments since 2009, he insists, "I'm a radio technician through and through. I'm a vehicle integrator through and through."
 
Listening to Little list off all the specialized components he sells and installs, from public safety lighting to municipal warning lights and radio communication, his technical knowledge and experience shines through.
 
And yet, when ProCom was threatened by the loss of its home base of 14 years, Little's business instincts kicked into gear and the pivot he made has enabled him to expand his business beyond public safety, and into the realm of hobbyists, off-roaders, campers and overlanders.
 
One year ago, Little assumed ProCom Services would continue to operate out of the Adams Ambulance building just as it had since he acquired the business a decade and a half earlier.
 
He had grown the business to service an area "basically from the Connecticut line to mid-state Vermont, and basically from 91 to the New York line," he said recently at his new shop at 26 Overlook Terrace in Adams.
 
But when the future of the Adams Ambulance became uncertain late last year, Little, a former EMT himself, saw warning signs that would lead to an overhaul of his entire business.
 
"Being in proximity and knowing the people that work there, you saw the telltale signs of something lingering … You saw the little indicator light flashing which was 'something' was coming."
 
And so, over the course of two months, Little worked overtime to find a new location, relocate his business, and in the process add a whole new element to his offerings.
 
He feels lucky to have his business in a small Berkshire County town. When he found himself kept awake at night wondering how he would approach the challenge of starting over, he thought of the right person to get the ball rolling.
 
"Three a.m. that thought comes into my head, immediately pick up my phone, make the note so I won't forget it." The next day Little made a call to Town Administrator Jay Green who helped him with building inspection, a tax plan, and, crucially, an appropriate location to house the business.
 
While it might have been simple to find office, retail, and garage space, Little was looking for something special. 
 
"I need big garage space that I can pull fire trucks, and big sander trucks, and ambulances in," he said. "I need that 10-foot-plus door to fit that in there, and obviously we need the proper setup."
 
When Little found the Overlook Terrace location at the bottom of a hill in an unassuming residential neighborhood, the small town approach was in effect again. When Little met with the owner, "there was no talk about money upfront. He knew kind of the predicament we were in, and we just started building in there."
 
"It is the epitome of the Berkshires, and finding good people is not hard to do around here," he asserted.
 
The building was formerly used as the maintenance wing of a local bus operation and the enormous, open garage area is evidence of its former purpose.
 
Now Little has enough room inside to service fire trucks on location, a feat that would have been impossible in his original location. The room feels closer in size to an airplane hangar than an automotive garage.
 
ProCom has traditionally worked for fire and police stations, ambulance companies, departments of public works, as well as with industry, such as Specialty Minerals.
 
The new location has allowed for a retail operation as well, opening up the business to outfit individuals with all the accessories that go into outdoor activities and powersports. 
 
"Vent visors, car seat covers, truck seat covers, truck and auto accessories … we don't narrow ourselves down," Little said. "We're really venturing out into, now, off-roading, 4X4, contractor work boxes, ladder racks … bumpers, winches, lights, the racks that go on top of their vehicles to carry their off-road gear." 
 
The scope of ProCom's services is expanding.
 
"It is literally everything from LED lighting upgrades in personal cars and trucks to the emergency, the highway department's construction vehicles," he said.
 
In his previous location retail was not an option. "We just didn't have that opportunity, kind of being tucked away, sitting behind the ambulance. Nor did we have the space," Little said.
 
The new location's retail space sits right next to the garage area. Customers are immediately greeted by all manner of flashing lights and specialty equipment in the showroom.
 
While most items need to be ordered for service within the week, Little stocks the most important and necessary items that customers might need in a pinch. 
 
"The light burnt out and they're going to the races this weekend and they don't want to drive with a broken tail light, so we've got all that in stock," he said. This extends to communications gear as well.
 
Technician Bryan Albano, Little's sole employee, is quick to point out ProCom's "personal touch" when it comes to working with customers in a small town. "Seeing their responses with a reveal, that's my favorite part."
 
Albano, who spent six years as a mechanic for Adams Ambulance, followed by three years working at a local car dealership, credits a love of cars as inspiration for the job.
 
"I grew up with the 'Fast and the Furious' era and the whole off-road scene and all that," he confessed. He now focuses that love of cars into troubleshooting the requests that come into the shop on a regular basis.
 
Little agrees. He sees the business as a "solutions provider," working with customers to design a unique system to match their specifications. "What do you need? Let's figure out how we can get that for you."
 
Little and Albano's personal service extends beyond the sale, as when a customer might call months later with "those quirky little questions" that the pair can address on the spot.
 
"That's where the small business aspect comes in," Little said.
 
"We work with every customer individually," Albano added. "It's not just  like, 'oh, this is our cookie cutter, this is what you're getting," it's, 'what do you need?'"
 
"Every scenario offers an element of that personal touch," Little concurred.
 
Little sees ProCom as part of a greater local business ecosystem. 
 
"I'm very passionate about small business," he said, "very passionate about local business." 
 
Consequently, though he is expanding his business, he is mindful not to infringe on the business of others in the community.
 
"I know Automan Sam [in North Adams]. He does car stereos and remote starters. I won't do remote starters and car stereos because I know that's how he makes his living," he said.
 
"Maple Grove, right down the street – they do plows and they'll wire up all that. We'll occasionally get people who want us to wire up a plow to a new truck. No, go see the guys at Maple Grove. That's what they do. Let the professionals do what they do."
 
"That way we all work as a team," Albano adds.
 
The small team at ProCom services is making opportunities out of adversity, and adding a new service to their local business ecosystem in the process.
 
Procom's hours are 8 to 5 weekdays and Little can be reached at 413-743-8100 or info@pcsradios.com.

Tags: business changes,   

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Adams Raises Transfer Station Permits

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The Selectmen on Wednesday raised transfer station permit fee for the coming fiscal year to cover a gap in operations. 
 
The board set a fee of $125 for a permit that include three sheets, or 24, bag tags. Replacement and additional permits will remain at $10 and bag tags at $1.60, or $8 for a sheet of five. 
 
The permit went from $75 to $100 last year.
 
"The driving factor, of course, for the transfer station is the cost of the removal of the materials. That would be the municipal solid waste, or MSW, commingled with your glasses, your plastics and your papers," said Town Administrator Jay Green. 
 
With estimates for May and June, the projected total cost is $81,000, of which $71,000 is removal and the balance labor. 
 
This past year saw 564 permits sold  raising $56,400, replacement and additional permits brought in $890, and 7,690 bag tags $12,304. 
 
That raised in total $69,500, some $11,000 short. 
 
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