News from our members

Workers Credit Union Opening New PlanIt Location in Lowell

New banking location designed to help members benefit from financial coaching

The new Workers Credit Union PlanIt location in Lowell features an interactive hologram named “Olivia” who can answer frequently asked questions in several languages, a humanoid robot named “Pepper” and a video teller ATM. (Photo/Workers Credit Union)

An interactive hologram, humanoid robot and video teller ATM may not be the first things you think of when planning a visit to your local credit union. Yet, they serve an important purpose at Workers Credit Union’s new, modern, inclusive, and welcoming 3,400 square foot PlanIt location, which opened on March 29 at 1201 Bridge Street in the Centerville neighborhood of Lowell, Massachusetts. “The technology takes the friction out of banking, so our members and staff can focus on building financial wellness” says Workers Credit Union Chief Banking Officer Peter Rice. The interactive hologram named “Olivia” can answer frequently asked questions in several languages, including Spanish, Vietnamese, and American Sign Language (ASL). A friendly humanoid robot named “Pepper” keeps the mood light and fun.

The move comes at a time when many financial institutions are closing their physical locations. Each PlanIt location has private spaces for members to participate in the Workers WayTM, a personalized, financial coaching program offered at no additional cost. “For many people, there is a huge shame

On March 29, Workers Credit Union opened its new “Workers Credit Union PlanIt” location at 1201 Bridge Street, Lowell, MA. (Photo/Workers Credit union)

and stigma attached to the money challenges they face,” Rice says. “Workers Way is judgment free. We empower our members to make good decisions.” All Workers staff are trained and certified financial coaches who meet with members one-on-one, both in person and virtually. They take members through a step-by-step process of changing how they think about and manage money so they can achieve their dreams.

Plans are in place to open a PlanIt location in Shrewsbury later this year and to grow into other communities within the region.

Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety (Virtual)

May is Bike Safety Month!  This free virtual presentation on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at 6:30 PM, for children and families stresses the importance of wearing a helmet, staying visible, using hand signals, safe places to ride and walk, and teaches the laws and rules of the road.

Please register at https://tinyurl.com/fplbikesafety to be sent the Zoom link. Thanks to AAA for presenting this virtual event.

This is a free program. For information about this or other Library programs call 978-829-1780 or visit our website: www.FitchburgPublicLibrary.org.

 

Sound Healing & Mindfulness: A Free Virtual Session with Nyell Jeudy

Energize yourself on Monday, May 10, 2021 at 7:00 PM, for the rest of the week with this session on Sound Healing and Mindfulness, with Nyell Jeudy of Nyell’s Mindfulness Services.

Using crystal singing bowls, Nyell will guide us through the different frequencies and their benefits, and mindfulness techniques.

How sound healing works: As you strike the bowl or rub the rim with a mallet, the friction that results is what creates the vibrations. We can both hear, and feel, these vibrations. Singing bowls can produce different frequencies, with benefits such as:

  • Effectively reduce stress and anxiety
  • Relieve physical pain
  • Improve mental and emotional clarity
  • Cleanse and balance chakra
  • Stimulate the immune system
  • Help meditation
  • Improve sleep
  • Relieve anxiety and stress

Please register at https://tinyurl.com/fplmindfulness with your email address, and we will send you the Zoom link!

This is a free program. For information about this or other Library programs call 978-829-1780 or visit our website: www.FitchburgPublicLibrary.org.

Weekly Download: How to capture your share of our tourists

Tourism is a major industry and capturing your share of our local tourists will help your business thrive. The Chamber encourages you to stop in and learn more about our advertising tools that can help you succeed. Local sights, conventions, and activities draw visitors from across the country to the area each year, making it a market you should not overlook.

The benefits to hotels, motels, and restaurants from tourism are easy to spot, but what about local shops and stores? We have designed some tips to help you optimize your return from tourism.

How to Capture Your Share of Our Tourists

The Chamber website offers members the opportunity to link to their businesses. Many visitors will visit our site to find places to stay, eat, shop, and entertainment ideas. Presenting your business on the site will help you reach more potential customers.

Identify what makes your business or products special. Do you offer local flavor? Items that are made by local artisans or craftsmen? Locally produced food products, or books featuring information on the area? Many tourists are mesmerized by and lured to shop where they can items that have been produced locally.

Have you created a welcoming storefront? Signs welcoming tourists and advertising specials can help draw trade into any business.

Take time to meet other business owners and their employees in the area. Tourists often rely on service staff at a local hotel or restaurant to provide them with information on where to shop. Networking is an excellent opportunity for business growth.

Have you noticed something on your own travels that you wish was available in your area, or that drew you into a business? Adding a new line can help you capture your share of tourists as well as bringing in more local customers.

Consider your online presence. Is your website easy to navigate and does it link to a social media page? Advertise or at least create a page on social media and update it regularly. It may take a while to grow an audience, but as long as you are providing interesting information, you should see growth.

Walk into your business with the eyes of someone who has not seen it before. Is it laid out well and does it have a pleasant scent? If not, a few simple changes can make a major impact on sales.

Don’t be discouraged if they leave without purchasing anything the first time. They may be window shopping today, but come back later and bring even more friends with them if they like what they see.

Take advantage of offline marketing, including flyers and ads.

Most importantly, offer guests a friendly welcome. Make certain your staff does as well. Tourists, and local shoppers, gravitate to businesses that are welcoming, clean, and provide value for their dollar.

Increased tourism brings money to the community and provides an opportunity for your business to capitalize. We encourage you to contact us and learn more ideas on improving your share of this expanding market.

North Central Youth Leadership Academy

The North Central Community Action Team (NCCAT) and the Leominster Community Action Team (LCAT) is recruiting young leaders ages 16-20 to participate in the 2021 North Central Youth Leadership Academy. The group will be able to share their voice around substance use prevention, engage in programming, and create a social media marketing campaign to decrease youth substance use across the region.

 

This is a PAID opportunity at $15/ hour starting April 21st and ending June 30th. The group will meet weekly virtually on Wednesday evenings from 6-7PM. The leadership academy will include topics on the following:

  • Storytelling for Change
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Advocacy and Civic Engagement
  • Social Justice, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • Leadership
  • Community Organizing
  • Substance Use Disorder and Trends in Youth Substance Use
  • Project Planning
  • Finding Your Creative Voice
  • and More!!

 

Application

MassHire North Central Career Center Workforce Training Fund Webinar

On May 7th, 2021 the MassHire North Central Career Center and Commonwealth Corporation will present a Workforce Training Fund informational workshop geared to your business training needs.  The Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund is a program that provides matching dollars to eligible businesses who are investing in their staff through training and/or retraining.

The info session will provide an overview of the features and benefits of each Workforce Training Fund grant program, including the amount of available funding, program guidelines, and how to apply for each grant. You will have direct access to Commonwealth Corporation staff to ask any questions you might have about each program.  The workshop will be presented virtually via Zoom.

To reserve a seat please use this Event Bright link  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/workforce-training-fund-online-info-session-may-7th-10am-tickets-148231838419

Or, for more information contact Scott Percifull at spercifull@ccncm.com

Ladybugz Interactive Agency hires new Director of Customer Success

Billie Kenyon, Director of Customer Success

We are so excited to announce the addition of Billie Kenyon to our team as our Director of Customer Success! Billie will onboard our new clients and make sure their experience with our agency is nothing but Stellar! She will work with the team to build relationships and find clients that are that are the right fit for our little agency. She will work with the team to present the best solutions for our clients needs.

Billie has been working in sales for over 10 years focusing on customer relationships and making sure the customers needs are always put first. Billie knows how to help each customer determine what is best for their own business and uniquely tailor a plan to achieve their goals. Never afraid of a challenge, Billie thrives on helping companies take their big bold ideas and turn them into action and reality.

Billie is dedicated to our region of Central Massachusetts and plans to help find clients here who can benefit from our services. Soon you will see her at chamber events representing our little agency!

Beyond Dreamland event with Sam Quinones

Join a virtual presentation with Sam Quinones, award-winning author of “Dreamland,” at 1 p.m. on April 15. Sam will discuss the state of the opioid epidemic, including emerging trends in the illicit drug market, the lawsuits against the pharmaceutical companies and the stigma that still persists around the disease of addiction. Sam previously spoke in Worcester in 2017 and demonstrated his depth of knowledge and keen insights into the drug problem that claimed the lives of more than 80,000 Americans last year. This is a unique opportunity for all of us to gain more insight on how to address the opioid epidemic.

Please pre-register using the link or meeting information below in the flyer.

Fidelity Bank Donated Nearly $450,000 in 2020 through its LifeDesign Community Dividend

LEOMINSTER, Mass – In an extraordinary year of challenge due to the pandemic, Fidelity Bank donated nearly $450,000 to more than 200 worthy organizations, events, and causes in several Central and Eastern Massachusetts communities in 2020 through its LifeDesign Community Dividend, which is money the bank sets aside for this purpose each year.

The pandemic was a major focus of 2020 donations, with Fidelity Bank donating more than $100,000 to help various organizations support basic needs early in the pandemic through its Caring for Our Communities COVID-19 Response Grants and more than $50,000 in additional holiday support given to more than a dozen Massachusetts food pantries to help people affected by the pandemic.

“Local nonprofits, organizations and small businesses have done heroic work helping our communities get through this difficult time,” says Fidelity Bank Chairman & CEO Edward F. Manzi, Jr. “The LifeDesign Community Dividend allowed us to show our care and compassion for those in need during the pandemic.”

Other organizations receiving contributions in 2020 included The SHINE Initiative, which Fidelity Bank founded in 2004 with input from its employees to combat discrimination and destigmatize mental health conditions in children and young adults, as well as Greater Worcester Community Foundation, Needham Community Council, Quinsigamond Community College Foundation, City of Leominster Fund, March of Dimes, Heywood HealthcareYWCA of Central MassachusettsHanover Theatre, and several causes promoted through Fidelity Bank’s weekly Caring Casual Fridays.

Fidelity Bank has given out approximately 2.5 million dollars since the program was renamed in 2013.

About Fidelity Bank:

Founded in 1888, Fidelity Bank is one of the strongest independent community banks in Central and Eastern Massachusetts. Fidelity Bank’s unique LifeDesign approach to banking provides the care and clarity needed to make informed decisions with confidence. The Bank offers a range of personal and business banking solutions to clients in 14 full-service banking centers in Leominster, Worcester, Fitchburg, Needham, Gardner, Stow, Shirley, Barre, Millbury, Paxton, Princeton, and Winchendon. The Bank has consistently earned a “5 Star” rating from BauerFinancial, Inc., the nation’s leading independent bank rating and research firm. In 2020 Fidelity Bank was voted Worcester Telegram & Gazette Best Financial Services in Central Massachusetts and was named to the Boston Globe’s Top Places to Work list for the sixth time. As of December 31, 2020, the bank had total assets of approximately $1.1 billion. For more information, visit www.fidelitybankonline.com or www.facebook.com/fidelitybankma