September Edition of Good Morning North Central features Fitchburg and Leominster Mayors

 The next edition of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber’s popular Good Morning North Central breakfast series is scheduled for Friday, September 22, 2017 from 6:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at the Doubletree by Hilton, 99 Erdman Way, Leominster, MA.  The September edition is sponsored by Apex Properties.

 The Good Morning North Central series is a high-profile, fast-paced and educational breakfast program geared towards executives, senior managers, professionals and business owners.  Each of the programs has a business-oriented focus and features popular speakers to present on topics of interest to local businesses.

The featured speakers for the September edition are Mayor Dean Mazzarella of Leominster and Mayor Stephen DiNatale of Fitchburg being interviewed by guest Kelli Rooney of HealthAlliance Hospital. Both Mayors will be discussing partnerships and initiatives in the Twin Cities, including the 3.8 mile Rail Trail and economic development. The

program also includes an economic development presentation by Tricia Pistone of Re-Imagine North of Main.

Mayor Dean Mazzarella was elected Mayor of Leominster in 1993 and was sworn in January 3, 1994. Prior to his run for Mayor, Dean was a ten-year veteran of the Leominster Police Department and has been a small business owner in the City for a number of years. Mayor Mazzarella’s philosophy on building a strong community is based on a total quality of life for the people who live and work in Leominster. In the past few years, the Mayor has highlighted the importance of small businesses, concentrating more on those located in the downtown area. He also has demonstrated the importance of a strong school system while being the Chair of the Leominster School Committee by building new schools and upgrading existing schools. Mazzarella now looks forward to bringing in new businesses and building the Leominster economy.

Mayor Stephen DiNatale was sworn in as Mayor of Fitchburg January 4, 2016. Stephan has been a resident of Fitchburg for over 35 years. Mayor DiNatale served in the United States Navy for four years as an Operations Specialist 3rd Class Petty officer. He then graduated from Fitchburg State College in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology. DiNatale was employed with the Massachusetts Department of Corrections and then spent ten years with Wang Laboratories Corporation. He then returned to state employment serving 15 years with the Massachusetts Department of Correction, the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board, and the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, Forensic Division. Prior to his run as Mayor, he served five years on the Fitchburg School Committee, three years as the Councilor at Large for the Fitchburg City Council, and served nine years as a Massachusetts State Representative for the Third Worcester District.


Following the presentation by the Mayors, Tricia Pistone, Vice President of Re-Imagine North of Main, will present on revitalizing Fitchburg and partnerships within the community. ReImagine North of Main is a partnership – of local businesses, government, nonprofits, and residents of Fitchburg – committed to making an impact and improving the quality of life in the neighborhood where future residents and businesses want to live, work, and invest.


The cost is just $25 for Chamber members/$40 non-members and includes a breakfast buffet. Season Tickets are also available for purchase.  Pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, please contact the Chamber at 978.353.7600 ext. 235 or visit


The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation and Hometown Bank are holding two business workshops on September 28, 2017 aimed at assisting potential and existing entrepreneurs.

These free workshops are approximately two and a half hours each and are being held in partnership with the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center, SCORE, NewVue Communities, City of Leominster and the City of Fitchburg.  Both workshops will be held at the North Central Massachusetts Chamber office, 860 South Street, Fitchburg, MA.

Session I: Fundamentals in Planning, Preparing, and Financing Your Business will run from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and will focus on evaluating and understanding the fundamentals of owning one’s own business.  Information on how to get started, where and how to get financing and the loan application process will be presented.  Registration begins at 8:00. Continental breakfast will be provided for all participants.  Presented by Bob Aspell, SCORE

Session II: Understanding the Purpose of Financial Statements and How They Can Help Determine the Health of Your Business will run from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and will focus on understanding a balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement.  The workshop will also explain how a small business owner can anticipate financial needs in order to operate his/her business more efficiently.  Registration begins at 11:30. Lunch will be provided for all participants. Presented by Robert C. Alario, CPA


To register, please contact Sandie Cataldo at 978.353.7607 ext. 232 or  You may also register online at North Central Massachusetts.

North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce to Host Legislative and Candidates Reception

Premier networking event connects elected officials with community leaders

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce will host its Legislative and Candidates Reception on September 14, 2017 from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. at the Chocksett Inn on 59 Laurelwood Road in Sterling, MA. The event is intended to offer the region with an upscale networking event that connects business and community leaders with the region’s elected officials, as well as those seeking public office.

“This is a great opportunity for our business and community leaders, as well as our public officials to gather for an evening of networking and collegial discussion,” said Roy Nascimento, President and CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “We look forward to joining our legislators at a unique venue like the Chocksett Inn.”

The Legislative and Candidates Reception is one of the Chamber’s premier events of the season, with over 125 federal, state, and local elected officials invited. Mount Wachusett Community College is the premier sponsor for the event. “At Mount Wachusett Community College, we understand the importance of engaging with the region’s business and legislative communities. These connections and insights help guide the college in various areas such as programming and outreach,” said MWCC President James Vander Hooven. “It is vital for our region’s business leaders, legislators, and policy-makers to meet and network so that they can engage and learn from each other. I am happy to support this important event.”

“Gaining access to legislators and those who seek public office is just as important for small business owners as it is for CEOs in the region,” said Ken Gurge, Esq., Chamber Board Member and Chair of the Government Affairs Committee. “This will be a tremendous opportunity for anyone with passion for North Central Massachusetts.”

Government affairs and public policy advocacy is a key component to the Chamber’s efforts to promote a healthy and active business climate throughout the region. Recognizing that the business community and legislators are partners in economic vitality and growth, events like these align well with the Chamber’s mission.

Sponsored by Mount Wachusett Community College, the event will feature an open bar and gourmet appetizers and hors d’oeuvres. Cost for members is $20 and non-members is $30. Registration is available online at Please contact Maria McCaffrey at 978.353.7600 ext. 235 or  for more details.

As of September 5th, the following legislators and candidates have confirmed their attendance:


 Confirmed legislators:


Senator Jamie Eldridge, Senator of Middlesex and Worcester Districts
Representative Kim Ferguson, Representative of 1st Worcester District
Representative Stephan Hay, Representative of 3rd Worcester District
Representative Harold Naughton, Representative of 12th Worcester District
Representative Jon Zlotnik, Representative of 2nd Worcester District
Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis, Sheriff of Worcester County
Kathleen Reynolds-Daigneault, Worcester Northern Register of Deeds
Mayor Stephen DiNatale, City of Fitchburg
Councilor Susan Chalifoux-Zephir, City of Leominster – Candidate for Senate, Worcester/Middlesex District
Councilor David Cormier, City of Leominster
Councilor Pauline Cormier, City of Leominster
Selectman James DeLisle, Town of Westminster
Councilor Marcus DiNatale, City of Fitchburg
Councilor Claire Freda, City of Leominster – Candidate for Senate, Worcester/Middlesex District
Selectman Mark Grasso, Town of Lancaster
Councilor Amy Green, City of Fitchburg
Selectwoman Cindy King, Town of Townsend
Councilor Michael Kushmerek, City of Fitchburg – Candidate for Senate, Worcester/Middlesex District
Councilor James Lanciani, City of Leominster
Selectman Walter Sendrowski, Town of Lancaster
Selectman Stanley Starr, Town of Lancaster
Selectman Jamie Toale, Town of Lunenburg

Councilor Dean Tran, City of Fitchburg
Selectman Wayne Walker, Town of Westminster
Town Administrator Ross Perry, Town of Sterling

Confirmed Candidates:


Robert K. Massie, Gubernatorial Candidate
Jeffrey Sossa-Paquette, Candidate for US House of Representatives – Second Congressional District
Thomas F. Ardinger, Candidate for Senate, Worcester/Middlesex District
Michael Mahan, Candidate for Senate, Worcester/Middlesex District

Louis Marino, Candidate for Senate, Worcester/Middlesex District

Andrew Couture, Candidate for City Councilor/Councilor-at-large – City of Fitchburg

Heather De Jesus, Candidate for City Councilor/Ward 6 – City of Fitchburg
Marisa Fleming, Candidate for City Council/Ward 5 – City of Fitchburg
Michael Hurley, Candidate for City Councilor/Councilor-at-large – City of Fitchburg
Cheryl Maguy-Stewart, Candidate for City Council/ Ward 2 – City of Fitchburg
Brandon Robbins, Candidate for City Council/Councilor-at-large – City of Leominster
Sam Squailia, Candidate for City Councilor/Councilor-at-large, City of Fitchburg
Elizabeth Walsh, Candidate for City Councilor/Ward 6 – City of Fitchburg
Isabelle Alera, Candidate for School Committee/Ward 3 – City of Leominster

Joshua Klaus, Candidate for School Committee/Ward 3 – City of Leominster

North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation & ReImagine North of Main Collaborate to Attract and Diversify Neighborhood Businesses

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation and ReImagine North of Main have announced that they are collaborating on an effort to expand financing to entrepreneurs and existing small businesses in the North of Main neighborhood in the City of Fitchburg. ReImagine is providing a grant of $25,000 for a loan loss reserve that will be leveraged with capital from the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation to provide micro-loans of up to $50,000.  The fund will be focused upon assisting ventures which seek to locate or are already located in the North of Main neighborhood, with priority given to the Main Street commercial district.  This project supports existing efforts around revitalization of the downtown business district and helps stimulate new entrepreneurism and investment in the North of Main.

Eligible loan participants may include any existing venture or new venture that proposes to add value and diversification to the business climate of the North of Main neighborhood and/or create jobs in the community.  Special consideration will be made to restaurants, specialty foods, shoe and apparel stores, art galleries, entertainment coffeehouses, and creative-based businesses including graphic design, music and video production.  Loans made can be used for working capital, leasehold improvements, machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures, and refinancing of business credit card debt. The interest rates are flexible, but generally close to the current fixed market rate.

The organizations anticipate that the collaboration will support 3-6 loans to North of Main businesses that will mitigate lender risk and reduce borrowing costs for businesses and create 1-2 new businesses on Main Street through start-up costs supported by the fund.

“We are excited to partner with ReImagine North of Main to expand economic opportunity in the community,” said Roy M. Nascimento, IOM, President and CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “This collaboration will allow the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation the ability to provide more microloans to small and emerging businesses and support collective efforts in the community focused on economic development.”

The collaboration also seeks to engage with the private sector and municipal plans to connect financing resources with opportunities in and around the North of Main to improve entrepreneurship.

“Fitchburg’s downtown, through the many efforts of our City, community partners, and the business community, is on the rise thanks to coordinated efforts like this,” said Patricia Pistone, ReImagine North of Main Coordinator and Vice President of Planning at Montachusett Opportunity Council.  “We hope these funds can be used to further investment in Main Street by attracting unique new businesses. ReImagine North of Main is very excited to be a part of an opportunity that will contribute to the long-term success of the City and, more importantly, its residents.”

The funding originated from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Working Cities Challenge Initiative, a grant program designed to advance collaborative leadership in smaller, postindustrial cities to transform the lives of their low-income residents. ReImagine North of Main received $150,000 in tactical funds to support strategies to support the revitalization of the downtown area and surrounding neighborhood.

This financing initiative was developed to support the City of Fitchburg’s efforts to support downtown revitalization. Tom Skwierawski, the City of Fitchburg’s Executive Director of Planning and Community Development, stated that “Fitchburg is a place that cultivates entrepreneurship, a place where prospective businesses feel they can make their dreams a reality. We will continue our efforts to become more business-friendly and are happy to join with committed partners—like ReImagine and the North Central Massachusetts Chamber—who, through programs like this, will help us make it happen.”

For additional information or to inquire about a loan, please call 978.353.7607 or visit

Music Schedule Released for the Appleseed Country Fair

The Johnny Appleseed Trail Association just released the music schedule for the 6th Annual Appleseed Country Fair. Running the full length of the fair we will have music on stage that ranges from blue grass and fiddlers to hard and 90s rock. Saturday and Monday will feature bands from all over New England, while Sunday is reserved for our fiddlers. Our FiddleFest is quickly turning into one of the biggest fiddle competitions in New England. Last year we had 27 fiddlers with ages ranging from 5 to 68, and we are expecting bigger numbers for this year!

“We are excited to bring back the music tent again this year” said Roy Nascimento, President of the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association. “Our bands set the mood as people flock to the farm from all over New England for some old fashioned country fun.”


Saturday September 2, 2017


10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Fern and Friends

Fern has been a familiar face in the local music scene for over 20 years. She coordinates the music for all the festivals at the Red Apple Farm. Her passion is to help the local music scene to grow by introducing new talent as well as keeping the local “legends” we all know and love up on stage!


11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Jared Moore

Jared holds a place in the Hard Rock scene in New England. He will be setting down his bass to perform some familiar classic tunes as well as some originals on his guitar!


11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Grin Whistle

Grin Whistle is a Massachusetts-based folk band infusing bluegrass, Americana and roots rock with artful storytelling. They keep emphasis on eclectic and high-energy live performances by melodically combining delicate storytelling with foot-stomping grooves.


1:00 p.m. -1:45 p.m. Ray Hendricks

Local singer songwriter Ray is definitely a Red Apple Farm favorite


2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. The Green Sisters

Their music ranges from Celtic, bluegrass, barbershop and blues to originals.  It is no wonder why the Green Sisters have become a local favorite!


4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Mrs. Henry and the Sweet Bourbon Daddies

Back by popular demand, these folks share their love with some good old time back porch music. This year’s featured guests are sure to bring the house down with a foot stompin’ hootenanny, like no other!


Sunday, September 3, 2017


10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Wootan Firebox

First Time at the Farm…these guys will get your feet stomping and will have you geared up and ready for the Fiddlers!


1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Fiddle Contest

Contestant check in starts at noon

Cash Prizes Awarded. No Registration Fee to Participate.

The 3rd Annual FiddleFest, one of the most popular musical segments of the Appleseed Country Fair returns on Sunday, September 3rd.  FiddleFest is one of the largest fiddle competitions in New England and promises to be a lot of fun!


This is a North American Fiddlers Judges Association (NAFJA) sanctioned Fiddle Contest. NAFJA has been providing skilled judging for fiddle contests throughout New England and other parts of the Northeast since 1977. It is most important to have judges whom the fiddlers can trust to provide knowledgeable, fair and unbiased adjudication. Because of their training and experiences, NAJFA judges can do just that.


Monday, September 4, 2017


10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Mike Martin

Mike Martin has been singing and playing guitar for about a year, and plays mostly 90s rock.


12:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. The Stone Line

Members are Jen Spingla and Jason Duda of Violet Maze, Doug MacLeod of The Barrett Anderson Band, Joshua Hill of Grin Whistle


2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Andy Fichtel / Scotty Monette Duo

These two guys will no doubt keep you smiling and grooving! You will find them sitting in with in several different bands and working with the best musicians around! Don’t miss them!


For more information check us out on Facebook at or by visiting at

6th Annual Appleseed Country Fair Scheduled for September 2, 3 and 4, 2017

On Saturday, September 2nd, 2017 the 6th Annual Appleseed Country Fair will kick off! The fair will be held at Red Apple Farm located at 455 Highland Avenue in Phillipston, MA and the hours will run from 10am-6pm on the 2nd, 10am-5pm on the 3rd and 10am-4pm on the 4th.

The Appleseed Country Fair will feature over 50 vendors that range from artisans and crafters to food, beer and wine. There are even vendors just for the kids like face painting and marshmallow shooters! Speaking of the kids we will have a brand new kid’s area that will feature crafts, activities, animals and a rock climbing wall.

Live music will be entertaining the crowds all weekend and on Sunday we will be holding our 3rd annual FiddleFest, one of the largest fiddle competitions in New England. Last year we had 27 fiddlers with ages ranging from 5 to 68, and we are expecting bigger numbers for this year!

Also, the fair is bringing back the Human John Deere Tractor Pull Competition! Competitors will be pulling full sized farm tractors with nothing but their own strength. Tractors will range from garden tractors for the kids to massive full size tractors for the adults who really want to test their strength. On Monday, the fair will also feature a display of World War II era vehicles and memorabilia, including a tank!  On Saturday and Sunday, RC Excitement will host remote control car races throughout the day for fairgoers.

We would like to thank our sponsors, Red Apple Farm, The Gardner Ale House, CrossFit 696, The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, and Padula Brothers – John Deere for making this event possible.

There will be a $10 per car parking donation with all proceeds going to the Athol Firefighters Association, Phillipston Firefighters Association and the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association.

For more information check us out on Facebook at or by visiting at


Mark Freeman, President of Steel-Fab, Inc. has been elected Chairman of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for 2017-18. The announcement was made at the chamber’s Annual Business Meeting on June 15, 2017.


Headquartered in Fitchburg, Steel Fab, Inc. is a national leader in the design and manufacture of water control gates, gate operating systems, and fixed cone values for the hydro power industry.  The company was originally founded in 1966 as a supplier to GE for their power generation products, but has evolved over the years to support a variety of industries ranging from energy to defense.


Mr. Freeman joined the family owned and operated business thirty years ago, after working for State Street Bank.  He became President in 2005 and under his leadership the company has continued to grow over the years.  In addition to his involvement with the Chamber, Mr. Freeman is a member of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the American Welding Society, and the National Hydropower Association.  He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from Bentley College.


Mr. Freeman has served on the Chamber’s Board of Directors for several years and has held several leadership positions including Vice Chair and Treasurer.  He has also served on the Chamber’s Manufacturing CEO Roundtable and has been a champion of the Chamber’s efforts to promote manufacturing careers and to better connect employers with schools in the region.  As the Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, Mr. Freeman will work with the Board, Chamber staff, and membership to champion the Chamber in its mission to serve the region’s business community.


“Mark has proven himself to be a tireless leader on many issues of interest to the business community in the region,” noted Roy Nascimento, Chamber president & CEO.  “We look forward to continuing to work with him to advance the interests of our members and promote a strong business climate in North Central Massachusetts.”


He succeeds Tony Mercadante, managing partner of Mercadante & Mercadante, CPAs, who now moves to the position of Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors.


“It is an honor and privilege to have been elected Chair of the Chamber, an organization that plays an important role in supporting businesses of all sizes in North Central Massachusetts,” expressed Mr. Freeman, “I am excited to continue Tony Mercadante’s efforts and work to make sure the Chamber remains a strong resource for the local business community.”


In the same election, Stephen Mullaney Jr., PE, president of S.J. Mullaney Engineering, Inc. was voted Vice-Chairman and director Deborah Weymouth, president of HealthAlliance Hospital, Inc. was elected to the position of Treasurer.


New board members elected for a three-year term were Henry Tessman, general manager of Great Wolf Resorts and Dr. James Vander Hooven, president of Mount Wachusett Community College.  In addition, Matthew Fournier, president of Elite Construction & Design was elected to serve a one year term on the board.


Continuing current terms on the Board of Directors are Neil Abramson, ECI Stores; Will Aubuchon, IV, W.E. Aubuchon Company; Wayne Canty, Heat Trace Products; Steve Duvarney, Duvarney Jewelers; David Duval, Protective Services; Ken Gurge, Law Offices of Kenneth W. Gurge; Dr. Richard Lapidus, Fitchburg State University; Anne Leader, Vision Payroll; Christopher McCarthy, Fidelity Bank; and Steve Rocheleau, Rocheleau Tool & Die, Inc

Christopher McDermott Selected for Public Affairs Position


The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the addition of Christopher McDermott to its professional staff as Public Affairs Manager.

In this position, Mr. McDermott will be tasked with growing the advocacy and public policy efforts of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber and increasing the visibility of the region’s businesses and economy on Beacon Hill.

“We are excited to have Chris join our team and help contribute to the Chamber’s work of improving the business climate and advancing the economy of North Central Massachusetts,” said Roy M. Nascimento, President & CEO. “Chris will be a great resource to our members in navigating government and staying informed of issues that impact the business community and region.”

McDermott joins the Chamber after serving in administrative roles with the Town of Framingham’s Community and Economic Development Division for two years. In his role with the town he staffed the Town’s Economic Development Industrial Corporation (EDIC), and was responsible for the town’s online branding efforts as well as the upkeep of six budgets. His experience in local government has positioned him on the frontlines of major policy initiatives, local issues as well as grant funding and distribution.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Assumption College and a Master’s degree in Economic & Social Development of Regions from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Existing members or businesses interested in learning more about the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce’s public positions can reach Christopher at 978.353.7600 ext. 224 or via email at

Small Business Micro-Loan Helps Local Educational Coaching and Consulting Business

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) recently granted an Express Loan of $5,000 to Jennifer Morazes of Genesis Coaching and Consulting in Acton, MA.  This loan will assist with expenses associated with starting her business.

Jennifer has been coaching students for 20 years in college and high schools.  She has recently opened her own coaching and consulting business for those interested in achieving educational, career, and wellness goals with a focus on first generational students.  Jennifer was referred to NCMDC by Commerce Bank.  For more information on Genesis, visit their website at


 The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce announced today that it has been named a finalist for the prestigious 2017 Chamber of the Year award, presented by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE).  The announcement was made to a sold out audience of over 400 business leaders and Governor Charlie Baker at the Annual Business Meeting of the Chamber.

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber is one of only three finalists – along with chambers in Paducah, KY and Kalispell, MT – in its category.  It is also the first chamber of commerce from Massachusetts to have ever been selected as a finalist.

Chamber of the Year is the nation’s only award recognizing the leadership role chambers have in their communities.  Those honored with the Chamber of the Year designation have demonstrated organizational strength and made an impact on key community priorities, such as education, transportation, economic development and quality of life.

Only 104 out of 7,000+ chambers nationally meet qualification standards to enter the Chamber of the Year competition based on membership performance and financial management.  The rigorous award application requires written responses addressing all aspects of organizational operation and programmatic work.  Applications are then scored by peer chamber executives to determine finalists.  Winners are selected from among finalists based on an in-person interview before a panel of experienced chamber professionals.  This year’s competition drew numerous entries from chambers throughout the United States and Canada.

“To be named a finalist for this award is an incredible honor for our Chamber. It is a tribute to the innovation and passion of our member companies and the many business leaders that support our mission and that work so hard to build a stronger economy and quality of life in the communities that we call home here in North Central Massachusetts,” said Roy M. Nascimento, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “I want to thank our staff, board leaders and all of our engaged members for their support and dedication in helping us achieve this level of accomplishment.”

Finalists for the award will be celebrated at a special event Tuesday, July 18 in Nashville, TN. The Chamber’s Annual Meeting held on June 15th also included recognition awards and the commencement for the 2017 class of the Chamber’s Community Leadership Institute.