News from our members

Leominster Credit Union Holds Election of Officers to the Board of Directors

LEOMINSTER, MA – Leominster Credit Union held their annual Election of Board Officers for 2020-2021 at their April meeting.

Giulio G. Greco, Chairman of the Board. Greco has previously served as Chairman from 1994-1998 and again from 2008-2011. Greco was presented the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Cooperative Credit Union Association (CCUA) during the Awards of Excellence held at the 2019 Annual Convention. Greco has served on the Board since 1978.

Michael J. Sauvageau, Vice Chair. Sauvageau has been on the Board since 2007 and most recently held the position of Chairman from 2016-2020. Sauvageau serves on LCU’s Executive, Audit and Compensation Committees.

Nancy L. Graves, Treasurer. Graves serves on the Executive, Credit, Investment, and Advisory Committees. She has served on the LCU Board of Directors since 2004.

Joyce A. LaFleur, Assistant Treasurer. LaFleur serves on the Executive, Audit, Investment, and Advisory Committees. LaFleur has served on the Board since 2007.

Joseph V. Quintal, Clerk. Quintal serves on Executive, Audit, Compensation, Investment and Advisory Committees. Quintal has served on the Board since 2006.

Joining the officers on the 2020-2021 Board of Directors are, Amedeo E. Bilotta, Bruce J. Bollivar, Robert J. DelleChiaie, Joyce G. Leger, Henry C. Kulik, Jr., and Richard A. Sheppard.

Founded in 1954, Leominster Credit Union (LCU) is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative with a full range of deposit, lending and other financial services. Headquartered in Leominster, Massachusetts, LCU is proud to claim nearly 50,000 members and more than $700 million in assets. LCU has seven branch locations in Leominster, Clinton, Holden, North Leominster, Sterling and Worcester with ATM services at all branch locations. LCU also provides 24 hour banking via Mobile and Online services. Visit leominstercu.com or call 800-649-4646.

Front Row (L-R): Guilio G. Greco, Chairman of the Board; Michael J. Sauvageau, Vice Chairman.
Back Row (L-R) Joyce A. LaFleur, Assistant Treasurer; Nancy L. Graves, Treasurer; Joseph V. Quintal, Clerk

bankHometown Provides Economic Lifelines to Northern Worcester County Businesses Through Paycheck Protection Program Loans

Oxford, Massachusetts, June 26, 2020bankHometown has approved over 700 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans totaling approximately $68 million, allowing hundreds of local businesses across central Massachusetts and northeastern Connecticut to keep more than 7,500 employees on the payroll.

The program has helped small businesses like bankHometown customer Cleartech Group, a Leominster-based IT management and consulting company serving small and medium-sized businesses across central Massachusetts.

(Pictured L-R) Cleartech Group President and Owner Tony Fields with bankHometown President and CEO Robert J. Morton, Vice President and Commercial Loan Officer Christina DiRusso, and Leominster office Assistant Vice President and Branch Officer Donna Daigle.

President and Owner Tony Fields said that when the shutdown began in March, he quickly put aside his company’s growth plan and made some tough choices, including laying off two employees, to ensure his company could continue supporting its clients. He said Cleartech’s focus turned to helping business owners “embrace the new normal” by putting in place the proper infrastructure and security needed for employees to work from home.

“Initially, it was a shock for us. Then it quickly became a humanitarian effort to get our customers connected so they could operate remotely as much as possible and as quickly as possible,” Fields said. “A lot of our value is in working with clients onsite, but we had to switch to a fully virtual environment ourselves and then get clients up and running remotely with reduced staff. In the span of two weeks, we went from growth mode to survival mode.”

Fields said that PPP funding helped relieve an “incredible sense of uncertainty” for himself and his nine employees and allowed him to feel positive not only about his own company’s ability to weather the storm but about the survival of the small businesses his company supports.

“When the PPP came out, it gave us all the hope that there was a light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “It was like a bridge was built for us to get through this with confidence.”

The Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a small business stimulus program included in the federal government’s $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  The PPP initially provided $349 billion for SBA lenders like bankHometown to fund loans to businesses on a first-come, first served basis in order to guarantee eight weeks of payroll and other costs to help businesses remain viable. Funds were exhausted in less than two weeks, but Congress provided for additional funding capacity of $320 billion. To qualify, businesses must have 500 or fewer employees and demonstrate that they have been negatively affected by the Coronavirus. If used for payroll and other qualifying expenses, the loans are forgivable.

(Pictured L-R) bankHometown President and CEO Robert J. Morton; Athol-Orange Community Television Executive Director Carol Courville; bankHometown Vice President and Commercial Loan Officer Christina DiRusso and Athol office Assistant Vice President and Branch Officer Marc Ostberg.

The program also helped bankHometown customer Athol-Orange Community Television, a non-profit public access station centered in Athol. Executive Director Carol Courville said AOTV was luckier than most non-profits in being able to rely on funding from cable subscriptions but that she and her board quickly saw the potential for the pandemic’s long-term negative effect in the form of cancelled fundraising events and other sponsorships.

“We knew we weren’t going to be able to do the type of fundraising necessary to continue our mission, and that hurt us a lot,” Courville said. “We knew right away that this would be a long haul and that we could have budgetary issues that lasted well into the fall and through the rest of the year.”

Courville said that securing funds from the PPP was an enormous relief both mentally and emotionally on herself and her one full-time and three part-time employees, who could then work from home to create the station’s programming without worrying about potential layoffs.

“Taking that burden off the staff’s shoulders gave them security and that was golden,” she said. “They didn’t have to worry about raising funds or losing their jobs while completely changing the whole way we provided services and quickly adapted to new technology to produce government meetings and other programs.  It would have been overwhelming.”

bankHometown’s commercial lending teams worked tirelessly to submit applications on behalf of hundreds of its small business customers like Cleartech and AOTV, knowing that for many business owners, timing was critical.

“These are trying times, and we understand the financial situation our customers are facing and the negative impact it can have on their business, the staff, and the community,” said bankHometown President and CEO Robert J. Morton. “We moved quickly to get these funds in our customers’ hands so they could meet all of their obligations. As a community bank, this is what we do and I’m proud of our ability to help local organizations,” he said.

Despite national reports that some PPP funds went to larger businesses, approximately 60 percent of the PPP loans bankHometown processed were less than $50,000 and more than 90 percent were less than $250,000, indicating that on the local level, the program has benefitted the small businesses for which it was intended.

Courville credits bankHometown Vice President and Commercial Loan Officer Christina DiRusso as well as the bank’s Athol office Assistant Vice President and Branch Officer Marc Ostberg for helping AOTV secure their economic lifeline quickly in the first round of the PPP, when colleagues at other small businesses were having trouble getting a call back from bigger banks.

“Christina called me back the first day and made it easy for me. She took me through the whole application process, which was really designed for businesses and not for not-for-profits,” Courville recalls. “That’s why working with a local bank like bankHometown was so important. It made a big difference to know that you could talk to someone. They made it happen.”

“We couldn’t have kept afloat if the money ran out,” she added. “So I just want to thank bankHometown.”

Fields said he didn’t realize how unusual his strong business relationship with bankHometown’s DiRusso and Leominster office Assistant Vice President and Branch Officer Donna Daigle was, until he heard from colleagues in a global entrepreneur forum who voiced frustration in getting their banks to assist them with their PPP application or even return their calls.

“With the PPP, I was always informed and knew where I stood, so I just assumed that this was how it got done, this was the norm,” he said. “But my fellow entrepreneurs were struggling through the process and experienced at least two weeks of unnecessary anxiety that I never felt. That’s when I realized how special my partnership with bankHometown was.”

Fields said he was approved and had the funds in-hand quickly while more than half of the entrepreneurs he connects with were still struggling to apply, proving that a local banking relationship is key to sustaining small business.

“They have your back and are part of your business. They’re an advocate working for you,” he said. “Now more than ever, I’m a cheerleader for bankHometown.”

About bankHometown

Founded in 1889, bankHometown is headquartered in Oxford, Massachusetts, and has $1.0 billion in assets and 15 branches located throughout central Massachusetts and northeastern Connecticut. Through its sponsorship and charitable giving program, bankHometown and the Hometown Bank Community Foundation support non-profit organizations and causes throughout Worcester and Windham Counties. In 2019, the bank and foundation donated more than $328,000 to nearly 270 organizations. Over the last four years, the program has donated more than $1.1 million. For more information, visit bankhometown.com.

AIS Continues its Sew the Masks Campaign in Partnership with the United Way of North Central Massachusetts

Effort will mobilize sewing-enthusiast “Rosies” and corporate partners to join AIS in creating and sponsoring donations of high quality, reusable face masks

(Leominster, MA) – May 28, 2020 – AIS has partnered with the United Way of North Central Massachusetts as it continues its philanthropic initiative, Sew the Masks. The program’s goal to create and donate up to 1,000,000 high quality, washable and reusable face masks for first responders and others at high risk of infection during the COVID-19 pandemic remains.

The Sew the Masks campaign is mobilizing AIS sewing professionals as well as private, individual sewing enthusiasts – known as “Rosies” – to create high-quality masks from AIS-sourced materials and donate them to healthcare providers, first responders, essential workers and others at risk in the fight against COVID-19.

“No healthcare worker, first responder or other front-line employee should be worried about access to personal protective equipment such as masks. Yet we continue to see mask shortages among the people most at risk of infection,” said Bruce Platzman, CEO of AIS. “We strongly believe that high quality, comfortable, washable and reusable masks can make a big impact. And we are actively recruiting sewing enthusiasts across the country – along with corporate partners—to join this effort. Collaborate with AIS and the United Way and let’s collectively donate one million facemasks to those most in need.”

The Sew the Mask program has four simple steps:

  1. Volunteer sewing enthusiasts – “The Rosies” – request a kit to sew 50 masks at www.sewthemasks.com. These kits ship directly from AIS with easy-to-follow instructions, precut materials and return packaging.
  2. Completed masks are returned in the provided packaging to AIS within 25-30 days.
  3. AIS performs a quality check on every completed mask, and then ships boxes of masks to corporate sponsors and partners for distribution and donation within their own communities.
  4. For every 10 facemasks a corporate sponsor donates, AIS will ensure a mask is donated to the United Way—providing this essential PPE for workers within their nationwide charitable network.

“We are proud to partner with AIS to provide these high-quality masks to those most in need. We think this initiative is an effective and creative way to rally the public, to create opportunities for volunteers to support their local community from the safety of their own homes, and for local businesses to engage in a meaningful effort to promote public safety during this unprecedented crises,” Kory Eng, President and CEO of the United Way of North Central Massachusetts shared.

AIS also allocated a production line of its employees in early April on the manufacturing floor to make these masks, featuring antimicrobial covers that repel moisture and a non-treated, comfortable inner layer filter of polypropylene. AIS masks are already helping protect healthcare workers at UMass Medical Center and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as well as first responders around Massachusetts and others.

“Our company has donated thousands of these masks already to hospitals and first responders across Massachusetts. But the need is so great, we could never do alone what we can do with others. We are pleased to partner with the United Way of North Central Massachusetts, joining together as part of coordinated effort,” said Platzman. “We think there are many potential ‘Rosies’ out there ready to donate their skills and time to ensure high-quality PPE is there when these essential players need it. And we’re seeing many caring corporate citizens in New England and around the country wanting to partner with us to sponsor the effort to coordinate mask donations in their communities and across the United Way’s vast network.”

One of the illustrations featured in the original Rosie campaign artwork is a representation of a real life “Rosie”, MJ, who works at AIS as in shipping. She has a deep compassion to help those around her. AIS was inspired by her effervescent energy, self-less dedication to others, and roll up your sleeves attitude as a role model for the program. Illustrations created by Lindsey Platzman.

For more information, to become a “Rosie” or to learn about corporate partnerships and sponsorship of mask creation and donations, visit www.sewthemasks.com.

 

ABOUT AIS

AIS, headquartered in Leominster, Massachusetts, is a leading manufacturer of commercial office furniture and boasts one of the most impressive stories of growth and success in the furniture industry. Founded in 1989, the company is known for offering market-relevant, feature-rich product lines that entice designers and support the diverse needs of end-users while offering exceptional value. AIS is an innovator that leads the industry in

sustainable, lean manufacturing, lead-time performance and manufacturing flexibility. AIS has permanent showrooms at its Leominster headquarters and also in Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C. With locations across the U.S., AIS has more than 800 employees and over 1 million square feet of office, showroom and factory space. Sales for 2019 were $225 million. For more information, visit www.ais-inc.com.

WEBINAR – 10 Principles of Long-Term Investing Resilience

When volatility strikes, do you take your money and run? Unfortunately, this might do more harm than good. Join me for a workshop that explores time tested ways to tackle volatility.

Hosted by: Paul Chlebecek, Edward Jones
Presenter: James Ignazio, MFS Investment Management

Important Zoom Details:
Date and time: Tuesday June 9th at 5:00 PM ET

To attend, click the following link:

https://edwardjones.zoom.us/j/7230834201?pwd=M3k1SGhxTXh2VERQTG4zVDBMZ09WQT09

To join by one-tap mobile or phone if you have no computer, call +19292056099,,723083. You will need the following meeting ID and password:
Meeting ID: 723 083 4201
Password: 299836

When you join the conference, you will be prompted to enter your name and email address. To protect your privacy, we recommend entering only your initials, as this information (but not your email address) will display during the conference.

I hope you can join us for this virtual event. You are welcome to share the registration link with others.

ECi Stores CHOSEN TO SHARE ITS BRAND STORY WITH MILLIONS ON QVC, HSN, AND ZULILY

ECi Stores Joins Qurate Retail Group’s Small Business Spotlight, a Partnership with the NRF Foundation to Help Small Businesses Weather COVID-19

 Leominster, MA- ECi Stores, including Cutie Patuties and Cutiques, has been selected for Qurate Retail Group’s Small Business Spotlight, a partnership with the NRF Foundation to help 20 small businesses navigate the unprecedented turmoil created by the pandemic.

Qurate Retail Group, a multiplatform retailer that includes QVC, HSN, Zulily, and several other brands, is using its production resources, television broadcasts, and digital platforms to help ECi Stores share its story with millions of consumers nationwide. ECi Stores’ story began appearing on QVC’s and HSN’s websites and social pages on May 11 and the company will be highlighted on air on QVC and HSN on June 4, 2020.

Zulily is promoting the campaign on its website, email, and social, and ECi Stores can also tap Qurate Retail Group team members for advice on solving a business issue related to COVID-19 through a virtual mentoring initiative.

“ECi Stores is excited for this opportunity to learn from Qurate Retail Group in how to reach customers in their homes, and provide services and products they can benefit from” said Neil Abramson, Owner of ECi Stores.

ECi Stores, including Cutie Patuties Consignment, and Cutiques, have been strong community leaders since 1998. ECi Stores is North Central Massachusetts’ favorite stores for gently worn clothing, shoes, accessories, home décor and furniture. ECi Stores has grown with their customers, from a small storefront with only the Abramsons as staff, to now employing a team of over 20. Many customers have become friends, consistently shopping while their families have grown up, and now have second generation shoppers.

Qurate Retail Group has a long tradition of helping small business owners and entrepreneurs launch and grow their brands through the incredible power of storytelling and shopping discovery. QVC, HSN, and Zulily provide compelling platforms, with unmatched reach, that enable small businesses to speak directly to millions of consumers in their homes.

“We have a special relationship with the small business community, which generates so much of the innovation that drives our economy and has played a special role in the growth of our business,” said Mike George, President and CEO, Qurate Retail, Inc. “Ordinarily, the companies in our Small Business Spotlight would not be on QVC, HSN, or Zulily, because they are not part of our vendor family. Our aim with this initiative is to help rally the public around these vital businesses, so they can come through this crisis and continue to anchor their local communities for many years to come.”

The Small Business Spotlight runs from May 11 through June 6 and is part of Qurate Retail Group’s $29 million COVID-19 global relief efforts.

“From national relief efforts to local giving, the retail industry has stepped up in extraordinary ways to serve communities large and small throughout the health crisis,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “The Small Business Spotlight lends support to local, small businesses that are the lifeblood of our national economy. We’re honored to work with Qurate Retail Group to share their world-class expertise and multiple platforms with these small business owners during such a critical time.”

For additional information on ECi Stores, Neil Abramson, Neil@ECistores.com or visit ECistores.com. To learn more about Qurate Retail Group’s Small Business Spotlight, visit QVC.com and HSN.com.

 

ABOUT ECI STORES

ECI Stores have four unique consignments stores known for offering the largest selection of high quality gently-used products. Cutie Patuties specializes in children’s clothing; Q specializes in teen and young adult styles; CP & Company specializes in misses, petites and plus sizes for ladies clothing and accessories and Cutiques ETC offers home decor and furniture to make your house a home.

To learn more visit, http://www.ecistores.com

Contact: Neil Abramson

About Qurate Retail Group

Qurate Retail GroupSM comprises eight leading retail brands – QVC®, HSN®, Zulily®, Ballard Designs®, Frontgate®, Garnet Hill®, Grandin Road®, and RyllaceTM – all dedicated to providing a Third Way to Shop®, beyond transactional ecommerce or traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Globally, Qurate Retail Group is #1 in video commerce, reaching approximately 380 million homes worldwide via 15 television networks and multiple ecommerce sites, social pages, mobile apps, print catalogs, and in-store destinations. Qurate Retail Group is among the top 10 ecommerce retailers in North America (according to Internet Retailer) and is a leader in mobile commerce and social commerce. Qurate Retail Group combines the best of retail, media, and social to curate products, experiences, conversations, and communities for millions of highly discerning shoppers – bringing joy, inspiration, and humanity to shopping. Qurate Retail Group also curates large audiences, across multiple platforms, for thousands of brand vendors. Headquartered in West Chester, PA, Qurate Retail Group has 25,000 team members in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Japan, Italy, Poland, and China. For more information, visit www.qurateretailgroup.com, follow @QurateRetailGrp on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, or follow Qurate Retail Group on YouTube or LinkedIn.

Qurate Retail, Inc. (NASDAQ: QRTEA, QRTEB) includes the Qurate Retail Group portfolio of brands as well as other minority interests and green energy investments.

About NRF Foundation

The NRF Foundation builds the bridge between a growing industry with hundreds of thousands of open positions and job seekers around the country. Through education, training, scholarships and experiences for job seekers of all ages and backgrounds, we help more people take their first steps toward promising careers. The NRF Foundation is the educational arm of the National Retail Federation and is funded in part by generous donations from retail industry supporters. www.NRFFoundation.org

REPURPOSED EQUIPMENT FOR IMMEDIATE NEEDS

From Label Manufacturer to Unique Disposable Mask Creator

Leominster, MASSACHUSETTS, (May 28, 2020) – As a distributor of all things print related, we have the opportunity of working with many manufacturers around the country. One of our main label manufacturers had an epiphany in the early stages of the 2020 Pandemic – as his business, like many others came to a lull.

The result of research, development, and ingenuity during a time of need has brought forth a unique, skin friendly, adhesive mask solution for the general consumer – comparable to overseas competitor masks. The price point, availability, and convenience are the major factors separating this unique patent-pending product.

The mask is 3 thin, light, protective layers compressed together in a water-repellant, non-woven synthetic, breathable material dispensed on a roll. Skin-friendly, water-based gel adhesive strips strategically placed allow the mask to stay in place without the need for ear loops or strings. A small die cut out for alignment on the nose allows for easy placement.

Creative Print Products has been a distributor since 2001. Located in Leominster, MA – CPP strives to provide the best service, products, and value to the local community and beyond. Please visit www.creativeprintproducts.com for more information about our company.

If you would like more information about this topic, please call Dave Aronson at 508.367.5477 or email dave@creativeprintproducts.com.

Workers Credit Union’s Eric Hague named in top five loan originators in Central Massachusetts

FITCHBURG, Ma., May 20, 2020 – Workers Credit Union is pleased to announce long time employee, Eric Hague, has been named one of Central Massachusetts’ top loan originators employed by a credit union.

According to a recent listing in Banker & Tradesman, Eric was named #3 loan originator in Central Massachusetts for number of loans closed and #2 for volume of loans closed.

“Eric is an important part of the Workers team and this designation is well deserved. We’re proud to help recognize Eric as an industry leader” said Tom Gray, Senior Vice President of Lending at Workers Credit Union.

“My goal is always to ensure my clients are getting exactly the product they need with superb service. But truly, a huge part of my success lies with our mortgage team and the processors who move quickly and efficiently. We’re all dedicated to improving the lives of our members and doing the right thing for them“ said Eric.

Eric is continuing to accept new loan clients for mortgages, home equities, and refinancing, as are Workers’ other attentive and dedicated loan professionals. Learn more about each of Workers loan originators at www.wcu.com/mortgage/representatives.

Workers Credit Union, headquartered in Fitchburg, MA, is a member-owned financial institution with full banking services to meet a lifetime of financial needs including the $3 million GiveBack program. With 16 branches in Athol, Chelmsford, Fitchburg, Gardner, Groton, Lancaster, Leominster, Lunenburg, Orange, Townsend, Westford and Worcester, Workers is proud to offer traditional banking channels as well as the latest technologies to more than 104,000 members.

Fidelity Bank Donates 6,000 KN95 Masks to Local Hospitals Fighting COVID-19 Pandemic

LEOMINSTER, Mass – Fidelity Bank is doing its part to help protect local front line healthcare workers  during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bank has donated a total of 6,000 KN95 face masks worth nearly $14,000 to and UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital with locations in Leominster, Fitchburg, and Clinton;  UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester,  Heywood Hospital in Gardner, and Central Care Nurses Association. On May 8, Fidelity Bank provided free lunches to 400 employees at six of UMass Memorial HealthAlliance’s facilities as well.

“Our community has continued to show immense support for the hospital in myriad ways,” commented Steve Roach, interim President of UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital. “This commitment raises the spirit of our caregivers and has immediate impact in our community. We can’t thank Fidelity Bank enough for this generosity.”

The money comes from Fidelity Bank’s LifeDesign Community Dividend, which donated more than $330,000 to more than 250 worthy organizations in Central Massachusetts last year. “Healthcare workers are heroes who are putting their lives at risk daily to get us through this crisis,” says Fidelity Bank Chairman and CEO Edward F. Manzi, Jr. “Donating masks to keep them safe and providing free lunches are just two ways we can live up to our Caring LifeDesign promise to provide support to our community, clients, and colleagues.” Fidelity Bank has given out more than $2 million since the dividend program was formally named in 2013.

About Fidelity Bank:

Founded in 1888, Fidelity Bank is one of the oldest independent community banks in Central Massachusetts. Fidelity Bank’s exclusive LifeDesign approach offers a range of banking, investment, and insurance solutions to clients in 14 full-service offices 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 2018, Fidelity Bank was voted Worcester Telegram & Gazette Best Bank in Central Massachusetts and Best Financial Services. It was also named Best Bank by both Leominster Champion and Baystate Parent for 2018. It has been recognized by the Worcester Business Journal as a Top Workplace and in 2019 named to the Boston Globe’s Top Places to Work list for the fifth time. As of March 31, 2020, the bank had total assets of approximately $1.2 billion. For more information, visit www.fidelitybankonline.com or www.facebook.com/fidelitybankma

Comeketo Brazilian Steakhouse to Host Livestream Fundraiser; Launches Drink Menu Deliveries

Comeketo Brazilian Steakhouse of Leominster is on a mission to feed families in need throughout the community. That is why they are putting on a Facebook Live Event this Saturday, May 16th starting at 8:00 PM.

Their goal is to raise funds to feed at least 30 families in our community.

Help them by sharing this message. Comeketo will donate .50¢ for every share they get + 10% of sales on Saturday.

Comeketo has also released a new delivery menu for some of their famous drinks to coincide with the livestream event.

Check out the drink menu below!