North Central Mass Development Corp Makes Four Loans to Local Small Businesses

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) has recently granted four small business loans totaling $85,000 to Rituals Salon in Leominster, Angel Salon & Spa in Leominster, Hailey’s Takeout in Leominster, and Steel Strength and Nutrition in Worcester.  The loans enabled these businesses to expand their businesses, create eight jobs, and retain ten jobs.

NCMDC granted a loan to Sarah Hawkins, owner of Rituals Salon and Day Spa, for $25,000 to assist with the purchase of the preexisting business located at 646 Central Street, Leominster. Rituals Salon and Day Spa has been an Aveda Concept Salon for over 10 years. Offering hair, nails, skin and massage services. This loan was in partnership with Workers Credit Union and NewVue Communities.

Angelica Jimenez received a loan from NCMDC for $25,000 to assist with the startup costs associated with Angel Salon and Spa. This new business will be located at 875 Merriam Ave in Leominster. NCMDC partnered with Fidelity Bank and NewVue Communities for this loan.

NCMDC granted a loan to Henry Genao for $15,000 to assist with startup costs associated with opening Hailey’s Takeout. Hailey’s Takeout is located at 301 Lancaster Street in Leominster and is a Spanish-American Takeout Restaurant.

Lauren and Zack Rohacik, owners of Steel Strength and Nutrition, were approved by NCMDC for a loan of $20,000. This loan is to assist with the purchase of inventory and for marketing costs. Small Business Development also assisted Lauren and Zack with a business plan and financial package. Steel Strength and Nutrition is your friendly neighborhood retail supplement store for all of your vitamins, minerals, and clean sports nutrition needs, located at 458 Park Ave in Worcester.

 “Small businesses have proven to be the backbone of our economy, creating new jobs and investment and setting the stage for future economic growth for North Central Massachusetts,” said Roy M. Nascimento, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation. “The NCMDC plays an important role in helping provide these small businesses and entrepreneurs with the financing and technical assistance that they need to grow and create new jobs.”

As an EDA Microloan lender, NCMDC can provide loans to small businesses up to $75,000 for working capital, equipment, inventory, expansion and working with our banking partners provide gap financing for the final piece of a project.

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) is a non-profit corporation with the mission of creating jobs and improving the economy of North Central Massachusetts. NCMDC is certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the U.S. Department of the Treasury under the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Program. The NCMDC works in partnership with local banks, credit unions, chambers of commerce and area nonprofits to support emerging microenterprises, small businesses, and community projects with loans and business assistance.  Since 1996, the NCMDC has granted over $4,200,000 in loans to small businesses to help grow jobs and the economy in 26 communities in the North Central Massachusetts region.

 

For more information about the NCMDC loan programs, please call 978-353-7607.

North Central Massachusetts Lights Up Times Square

The Chamber’s tourism arm, the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association (JATA) has launched an exciting new advertising campaign aimed towards the affluent jet set of New York City.

From November 21 – November 27 North Central Massachusetts will be featured in the Horizon Travel Show on the dazzling 3,685- square foot ABC Good Morning America Screen in Times Square New York. This world-famous electronic icon with its signature wavy LED ribbons, catches the eyes of over 1.5 million tourists and residents daily, making it the perfect vehicle to spread the word about the North Central Massachusetts.

In addition to being featured digitally in the Horizon Travel Show, the JATA campaign will also promote the region as a great place to visit throughout New York City in print. A half-page write-up highlighting attractions and events in North Central Massachusetts will be featured in the November issue of Horizon Travel Magazine, a magazine that caters specifically towards New York’s discerning travelers. On November 9th, 100,000 copies of Horizon Travel Magazine were also distributed with The Wall Street Journal, reaching a total readership of 230,000 affluent consumers.

This promotion will also be featured in the Greater Toronto Area through the Toronto Star. A half-page write-up highlighting JATA’s attractions and events will be featured along with a half-page ad under the letter from the editor in the November/December Canadian issue of Horizon Travel Magazine. This issue will go out to their 100,000 subscribers and reach a total readership of 226,000 in Greater Toronto.

This advertising campaign is an example of the many ongoing efforts of the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association to promote the region to visitors and groups in key markets. Ultimately these efforts help generate additional visitors and additional dollars to the communities in our region. In 2016, our collective regional tourism marketing strategy  resulted in $131 million economic impact for North Central Massachusetts.

Emerging leaders participate in Community Leadership Institute

Twenty-two men and women, sponsored by area companies as up and coming employees and future leaders in our community, have begun the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce’s Community Leadership Institute.  CLI is dedicated to providing participants with individual leadership skills and a deep understanding of the region.  The nine month program focuses on education, government, health care, social services, justice system, media, arts and culture, environment and history.  The Chamber created the Institute to inspire a new generation of men and women to enthusiastically assume important roles in their community.   The program challenges individuals from diverse backgrounds to be influential in our region’s future.

Professor Mike Greenwood, business professor at Fitchburg State University and chairman of the Institute steering committee, is enthusiastic about this year’s participants and the meaningful professional, personal and community development they will take part in.  “I have been with the class since it’s reintroduction in 2011.  Each year, I am amazed and impressed with the dedication of the participants.  Programs like this are an important asset within the community to ensure one that continues to thrive, even after our current leaders retire.”

Marty Connors, president of Rollstone Bank & Trust and past chairman of the Institute steering committee, led the Institute’s revival in 2010.  “I was in the 1991 class of the Institute and it was an integral part of my success in the community.  As Chairman of the Chamber’s Board of Directors in 2010, I felt we needed the program back to once again support our needs for leadership and succession planning. Rollstone Bank & Trust’s participants have enjoyed the program and become leaders here in their workplace and in the community.  We could not be prouder of the work they have done.”

 

Participants in the 2018 Class include:
Surinder Ahluwalia, Ahluwalia Law Group

Cara Baillargeon, LUK, Inc.

Laura Bayless, Fitchburg State University

Mike Bordenca, Workers Credit Union

Alicia Cianciola, Fitchburg State University

Jill Connell, Sizer School

Wendy Connor, YWCA of Central Massachusetts
Rodney Dobbs, Leominster United Methodist Church

Najid Figueroa, LUK, Inc.

Nicole Gale, DoubleTree by Hilton

Meredith Geraghty, NewVue Communities

Kristen Gustafson, Leominster Credit Union

Kyla McDonald, Avidia Bank

Veronica Meneses, Fidelity Bank

Jessie Olson, Fitchburg Art Museum

Jasmine Ortiz, Quinsigamond Community College

Matthew Prior, Rollstone Bank & Trust

Dawn Reis, Avidia Bank

Alexander Rocheleau, Rocheleau Tool & Die Co., Inc.

Darlene Rossi, Morin Real Estate

Colleen Smith, DoubleTree by Hilton

Brittney Zanghi, Avidia Bank

Little Leaf Farms Hosts Local Youth as Part of Manufacturing Month Activities

Students from the Boys and Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster participated in a special tour of Little Leaf Farms located in Devens on Thursday, October 26, 2017.

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and its economic development affiliate the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation organized the tour in partnership with Mr. Jon Blodgett, Teen Director of the Boys & Girls Club.  The tour was part of efforts to celebrate Manufacturing Month and inspire young people to consider careers in advanced manufacturing.

Located in Devens, MA, Little Leaf Farms has built the most modern, technologically-advanced greenhouse in the world that can produce year-round, locally grown baby greens that give New England consumers an alternative to West Coast grown lettuce.  All Little Leaf Farms products are non-GMO and pesticide/herbicide-free.

The Little Leaf Farms team kicked off the day’s events at their facility in Devens, with an informative presentation followed by a tour of their agricultural production.  Co-founders of Little Leaf Farms, Paul Sellew and Tim Cunniff, lead the tour and stopped to engage a few of the younger employees along the way.  The young men and women from the Boys and Girls Club learned about automation, modern agricultural processes and other facets of the business.

“Manufacturing is alive and well in North Central Massachusetts,” said Roy Nascimento, President and CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, “Advanced manufacturing accounts for one in four jobs in the region and these are some of the most well-paid, highly trained and in demand jobs in the workforce, working on some of the most advanced equipment and technology.”

However, many manufacturers have been challenged recruiting the workers they need.  Despite the high wage potential and increasing employer demand, there is both a need for more young workers and a skills gap among an existing and a transitioning workforce.

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation remain committed to supporting and growing this critical sector of the region’s economy.  From our collaborations with local schools and colleges, internship and career exploration programs and our HYPE program, the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation, are engaging and connecting businesses to the next generation of talent—to ensure a consistent and continual pipeline of talent.

For more information, please contact the Chamber at 978.353.7600 ext. 244 or visit www.northcentralmass.com.

Tour of Advanced Cable Ties, Inc. (ACT) Highlights Inventory Tax’s Impact on Regional Manufacturing

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce, and the Office of State Representative Jon Zlotnik (D-Gardner) partnered to organize a special manufacturing tour for legislative leaders of Advanced Cable Ties (ACT) on Friday, October 20, 2017.

Organized around Manufacturing Month, which falls in October, the tour highlighted the importance of manufacturing to North Central Massachusetts as well as legislative efforts to eliminate the inventory tax for manufacturers in order to boost the industry.  Attendees on the tour, which included legislators, economic development officials, business leaders and members of the media, were able to get a behind the scenes look at ACT’s manufacturing process and how the company produces its cable tie products used by a variety of industries.

Advanced Cable Ties, Inc. is a leading, full-line manufacturer of cable ties and wiring accessories proudly made in the USA.  ACT was founded by Ken Tomasetti and his wife, Donna in 1994. Operations were first set up in Fitchburg, MA and later moved to 245 Suffolk Lane in Gardner, MA. Advanced Cable Ties has stayed true to the original vision of a business that sells quality products through exceptional customer service and respected employees.  The company currently employs over 150 people.

“The importance of manufacturing in the communities we serve cannot be overstated”, explained Jim Bellina of the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce. “We are fortunate to have business leaders such as Ken Tomasetti of Advanced Cable Ties.”

“This region is home to the Commonwealth’s highest concentration of manufacturers” stated Roy Nasicmento, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “Manufacturing month grants us an opportunity to highlight the importance of this industry to our regional economy, acknowledging the benefits it provides in the form of stable, well-paying jobs as well as the impediments which hinder its continued success.”

The region’s 445 manufacturing firms account for one fourth of the jobs in the region.  Companies range from the world class plastics industry cluster of more than 140 companies to pharmaceuticals to photonics and paper, as well as biomedical devices. Manufacturers today are some of the most well-paid, highly trained and in demand employees in the workforce, working on advanced equipment and technology.  Supporting careers in advanced manufacturing and serving as fierce advocates for local manufacturers are a priority for the North Central Massachusetts Chamber.

The tour focused upon the impact of the State’s inventory tax, which places a levy on the value of all raw materials, unfinished, and finished products which pass through a facility.  According to a 2012 report by New Jobs for Massachusetts, the Commonwealth represents one of only nine states which still enforce a tax of this kind.  Since inventory and packaging facilities can be easily relocated, manufacturers can avoid the expense entirely by investing elsewhere.  For those manufacturers who choose Massachusetts despite this imposition, the tax limits their ability to store raw materials, forcing them to purchase as needed to meet production as opposed to when demand and cost are low.  This drives up their prices and hampers their ability to turn around orders quickly.

“Repealing the inventory tax for manufacturers would go a long way in supporting the industry in Massachusetts,” said Ken Tomasetti, President of Advanced Cable Ties.  “It would not only help manufacturers in Massachusetts better compete with their competitors located in other states, but it would also help create new jobs in the industry.”

To address these issues, Rep. Zlotnik spoke about legislation he had filed to repeal the tax. “We need reform to make manufacturing more competitive in Massachusetts” he explained. “This bill would put us more in line with our sister states and reflect modern business conditions. Having a tax that can fluctuate widely and is not related to profit is not good policy.”

Illustrating the regional and bi-partisan nature of these issues, attendees also included Rep. Jeffrey Roy (D-Franklin), Chairman of the House’s Manufacturing Caucus; Rep. Donald Berthiaume (R-Spencer); and Rep. Susannah Whipps (I-Athol). Christopher Carlozzi, State Director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses and Brad MacDougall, Vice President of Government Affairs for Associated Industries of Massachusetts also participated.

North Central Massachusetts Celebrates National Manufacturing Day with Tour of BJA Magnetics in Leominster

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and its economic development affiliate the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) co-hosted a special tour of local manufacturer, BJA Magnetics, for National Manufacturing Day on Friday, October 6, 2017 with Congressman McGovern’s office and the City of Leominster.

The tour highlighted the importance of manufacturing to North Central Massachusetts and the growing career opportunities in advanced manufacturing. The tour included economic development officials, students from the Leominster Public School System, education officials, representatives from Congressman McGovern’s office, Mayor Dean Mazzarella of the City of Leominster and State Representative Natalie Higgins.

“Manufacturing is alive and well in North Central Massachusetts,” said Roy Nascimento, president and CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “Promoting and supporting this critical industry is important to ensuring employers and jobs remain in Massachusetts.”

BJA Magnetics was founded in 1961 and continues to provide each and every customer with a quality product, competitively priced, and backed by the best technical service and support available.  BJA Magnetics is a 100% woman owned small business as certified by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  BJA Magnetics has a veteran workforce of highly skilled professionals having extensive backgrounds within the magnetic materials industry. BJA Magnetics offers custom designed magnets, and magnetic assemblies with some of the shortest lead times in the industry.

The region’s 445 manufacturing firms account for one fourth of the jobs in the region.  Companies range from the world class plastics industry cluster of more than 140 companies to pharmaceuticals to photonics and paper, as well as biomedical devices. Manufacturers today are some of the most well-paid, highly trained and in demand employees in the workforce, working on advanced equipment and technology.  Supporting careers in advanced manufacturing and serving as fierce advocates for local manufacturers are a priority for the Chamber

For more information, please contact the Chamber at 978.353.7600 ext. 244 or visit www.northcentralmass.com.

Getting to Know Your Chamber Scheduled for Thursday, November 2, 2017

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce will host “Getting to Know Your Chamber” on Thursday, November 2, 2017 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Great Wolf Lodge located at 150 Great Wolf Drive, Fitchburg (exit 28 off Rt. 2).  This presentation is designed to help new members navigate the perks and programs of Chamber membership, but is equally valuable for current members who want to get the most value from their membership, or those interested in learning if chamber membership is right for them.

Chamber staff will explain the many benefits and programs of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce including networking events, government affairs, educational workshops and seminars, advertising opportunities and health insurance, to name just a few.  There is no cost to attend the “Getting to Know Your Chamber” meeting, but pre-registration is required.  Register online at www.NorthCentralMass.com/news/calendar-of-events/.

The Chamber will also be hosting a Business After Hours event with six other chambers at Great Wolf Lodge immediately following the orientation from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  The Chamber’s Business After Hours series provides an opportunity for members and non-members to mingle and build business relationships in an informal relaxed business setting.  These networking mixers are held throughout the year in partnership with member businesses and attract business professionals from many industries. The cost to participate in the Business After Hours is $20 for members and $50 for non-members and includes a cash bar, hors d’oeuvres, a tour of the water park and networking with the over 500 business people expected to attend.  For more information or to register visit www.NorthCentralMass.com/news/calendar-of-events/ or contact the Chamber at 978.353.7600 ext. 235.

Business owners unable to attend but interested in learning more about Chamber membership may contact Jeff Ardis or David Ginisi at 978.353.7600 or by sending an email to jardis@northcentralmass.com or dginisi@northcentralmass.com to schedule a one-to-one meeting.

International Dignitaries visit North Central Massachusetts

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and its economic development affiliates the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) and the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association (JATA) co-hosted a special bus tour of North Central Massachusetts on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 for the New England Consular Corps.  The tour was co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment (MOITI) and provided an opportunity to introduce foreign diplomats to North Central Massachusetts and promote the region as a great place to live, work, visit or grow a business.

The economic development tour highlighted local manufacturing and showcased the region’s skilled workforce, quality of life and the advantages of locating a business in North Central Massachusetts. Approximately 25 diplomatic and commercial representatives of 16 countries participated in the tour.  State economic development officials also participated, including Nam Pham, Assistant Secretary of the Massachusetts Office of Business Development & International Trade; Mark Sullivan, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Office of International Trade & Investment (MOITI); Francois Nivaud, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT); and Peter Milano, Senior Director of Business Development at the Massachusetts Office of Business Development.

The bus tour featured stops at Quiet Logistics in Devens, to learn about their Quiet Brand Incubator, a new program launched in September 2016 designed to support innovative e-commerce startups; Laddawn, Inc. in Devens, a plastics manufacturer that manufactures recyclable plastic films and bags for industrial, food, medical, and institutional markets; Boutwell Owens of Fitchburg, a manufacturer of printed paperboard packaging; and Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg for a lunch and presentation about the region conducted by the Chamber and sponsored by Great Wolf.  The tour also included a trip to the summit of Mount Wachusett to witness the beautiful fall foliage and scenic views of the region, and concluded with a special reception with business leaders hosted by Wachusett Ski Area at their base lodge.

“This was an exciting opportunity to showcase North Central Massachusetts to an international audience of diplomats and business representatives,” said Roy Nascimento, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “We have a number of international businesses already thriving in our region and believe that this is a dynamic region to invest and grow a business.”

“The Massachusetts Office of Business Development is proud to showcase business opportunities throughout the Commonwealth and the recent tour of North Central Massachusetts with the New England Consular Corps is one of the many ways we spotlight our manufacturing companies, visitor destinations and recreation areas that underscore everything Massachusetts has to offer,” said Nam Pham, Assistant Secretary of the Massachusetts Office of Business Development and International Trade

 

Countries represented on the tour included Brazil; Cabo Verde; Canada; Columbia; Ireland; Japan; Mexico; Nepal; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; South Korea; Taiwan; Turkey; United Arab Emirates; and the United Kingdom.

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce would like to express its thanks and appreciation to the following companies and organizations for their participation in the International Economic Development Tour:
Boutwell-Owens; Great Wolf Lodge of New England; Laddawn, Inc.; Quiet Logistics; Wachusett Ski Area; Massachusetts Office of Business Development; Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment; and the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism. Special thanks to Great Wolf Lodge of New England; Wachusett Ski Area; and Wachusett Brewing Company for their support of the lunch program and business reception.

For more information on the economic development tour, please contact the North Central Massachusetts Chamber at 978.353.7600 ext. 244 or visit www.northcentralmass.com.

North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation and Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce Partner to boost Small Business Development

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) and the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce have announced a new partnership to bring additional micro lending resources closer to young companies in the Gardner area of Massachusetts.

The collaboration involves the NCMDC providing start-up and existing small businesses in the Greater Gardner area with access to its microloan financing programs, which provide loans of up to $150,000 to help businesses that may not meet the traditional lending standards.  The Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce will provide the NCMDC with marketing support and a presence in their office for their loan officers to counsel potential clients.

“We’re really pleased to be able to partner with the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation on this loan program,” said Jim Bellina, President & CEO of the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce. “This is a great resource to support businesses and economic development in the greater Gardner area. The NCMDC’s track record and commitment to growing new and existing businesses in North Central Massachusetts have played an important role in our expanding regional renaissance.”

“Our microloan program has had a profound impact on our business community in North Central Massachusetts. We have a long and successful history of supporting small businesses with financial resources and technical assistance,” said Roy M. Nascimento, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation. “We are excited to partner with the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce to continue to help support the small and emerging businesses that are so important to the economic advancement of North Central Massachusetts.”

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) is a non-profit corporation certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the U.S. Department of the Treasury under the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Program. The NCMDC works in partnership with local banks, credit unions, chambers of commerce and area nonprofits to support emerging microenterprises, small businesses, and community projects with loans and business assistance.  Since 1996, the NCMDC has granted over $6 million in loans to small businesses to help grow jobs and the economy in 26 communities in the North Central Massachusetts region.  In addition, these funds were leveraged with local financial institutions providing $21 Million of their funds and local investors and business owners providing another $3.2 Million. Thousands of new jobs have been created in the region as a result of the loans made.

Microloan programs have become increasingly important to the business community since the economic collapse in 2008 that put more restrictions on how banks can serve small business loans. Micro loans made by the NCMDC can be used for working capital, leasehold improvements, machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures and refinancing of business credit card debt. Eligible businesses include manufacturing, retail, wholesale and service businesses usually having five employees or less at the time of application and meeting the definition of small business. The interest rates are flexible, but generally close to the current fixed market rate.

NCMDC loan officers will be available via appointment to serve the needs of new clients in the Gardner area. To schedule an appointment, please contact the NCMDC at 978.353.7607 or contact the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce at 978.632.1780.

Experience North Central at Moon Hill Brewing

Johnny Appleseed Trail Association offers a new experiential networking program

 The Johnny Appleseed Trail Association, JATA, and the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce are pleased to announce our newest networking program, Experience North Central! This is a quarterly series that offers guests a unique opportunity to experience our local gems while networking with other like-minded professionals. The second session will be held from 5:30 pm to 7:30pm on Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 at the Gardner Ale House located at 74 Parker Street, Gardner, MA.

Our October event celebrates National Manufacturing Month with Moon Hill Brewing, the distributor of the Gardner Ale House beers. This event will feature refreshments, a tour of the brewing set up, discussion on the microbrew industry with owner, Rick Walton, and the head brewer, as well as beer tasting.

“It is important to inform the local community on all of the great things happening in North Central Massachusetts,” said Roy Nascimento, President of the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association. “Too often people don’t know or overlook what is happening in their own backyard and we want to be around to help remind them.”

Moon Hill Brewing, Co. is the parent company of  the brewpub, the Gardner Ale House. Moon Hill was begun to make beer, food and good

times available to the world, with an emphasis on the beer. Moon Hill began with the brewpub (the Ale House), which now, 10 years later, sports 14 Moon Hill beers on tap and a worthy-of-Boston-or-New York bistro-pub style menu. Now, Moon Hill is finally ready to distribute beer beyond the bar! The very same beers you find on tap at the Ale House are now available as Moon Hill Brewing, Co.’s beers on tap at other locations beyond the Gardner Ale House.

The cost of the event is $15 for Chamber and JATA members and $25 for non-members. For registration, please visit www.northcentralmass.com or contact Maria McCaffrey at 978.353.7604 x. 235 or mmccaffrey@northcentralmass.com