North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce to celebrate accomplishments at 39th Annual Business Meeting and Luncheon

The 39th Annual Meeting and Business Luncheon for the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce is scheduled for Thursday, June 15, 2023, from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Great Wolf Lodge, 150 Great Wolf Drive, Fitchburg.

This annual event celebrates business people working together to ensure a bright future for North Central Massachusetts and presents an opportunity for the region’s business and community leaders to build camaraderie among peers. In addition to the Chamber’s annual recognition awards and commencement for the Community Leadership Institute Class of 2023, a tabletop Business Expo will also be offered to showcase local businesses. The expo provides an opportunity for exhibitors to reach hundreds of business and community leaders from throughout North Central Massachusetts. The Business Expo will begin at 10:30 a.m.; the Annual Meeting and Luncheon will run from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; and the Business Expo will close out the day from 1:30 to 2:00 p.m.

The event is funded by the generous support of various businesses and organizations, including Premier Sponsor: Fidelity Bank; Business Expo Sponsors: MassHire North Central Workforce Board and the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation; and Supporting Sponsors: AIS, Inc.; Enterprise Bank; Fitchburg Redevelopment Authority; Fitchburg State University; Great Wolf Lodge; IC Credit Union; and Rollstone Bank & Trust.

This year’s keynote speaker is Steve Gross, Founder and Chief Playmaker of the Life is Good Kids Foundation, a non-profit that spreads the power of optimism to kids who need it most. Steve’s signature approach has been widely adapted across the country and throughout the world in response to the social and emotional needs of children who are deeply impacted by poverty, violence and illness. In addition to his work in the social sector, Steve has worked with many corporations, such as Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Million Dollar Roundtable Club, and IBM, to demonstrate how optimistic leaders can inspire people and organizations through times of change.

Registrations for the Annual Business Meeting and Luncheon are being accepted through June 12 by contacting the Chamber at 978.353.7600, ext. 222 or ext. 235, or via email at Registration is also available online at The cost is just $55 per person for members and $70 per person for non-members and includes lunch. Reservations are required. Supporting sponsorships, expo tables and tables of ten are also available.

North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation approves financing to Scarlet Spa and Wellness Center

Funding supports business growth of Grafton spa

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC), the economic development arm of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, recently approved a $32,000 loan to Scarlet Spa and Wellness Center, located at 12 Grafton Commons in Grafton.

The loan funds helped with the purchase of new spa equipment and supplies for the expansion of the personal wellness business at its new location.

Owner Jennifer Lachapelle is a licensed esthetician who opened Scarlet Spa and Wellness Center in 2014. The center offers many opportunities for relaxation, such as massage therapy, Reiki, aromatherapy, waxing, salt therapy, and eyelash and skincare treatments.

“As a proud spa owner, I am happy to offer my customers quality services,” Lachapelle said. “With the support of the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation, my business has a new place to call home and will offer me opportunities for continued growth.”. Jennifer was referred to the NCMDC from bankHometown. She also received assistance with her business plan from the Small Business Development Center at Clark University. For more information visit

As a microloan lender, NCMDC can provide loans to small businesses up to $250,000 for working capital, real estate, equipment, inventory, expansion and working with our banking partners to provide gap financing for the final piece of a project.

For more information about the NCMDC loan programs, please call 978.353.7607 or visit or

North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation approves financing to Renew You MedSpa

Funding to support expansion of specialty medical spa in Hudson

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC), the economic development arm of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, recently approved a $75,000 loan to Renew You MedSpa, located at The Landing at Hudson Mills, 43 Broad Street in Hudson.

Funding will enable Renew You MedSpa to design its new location and build initial inventory as well as hire one part-time employee. Founded in March 2021, the aesthetic injectables practice previously delivered services to clients’ homes before moving to its new location at The Landing. Renew You MedSpa specializes in aesthetic injectables such as Botox, derma fillers, PRP/PRF, Vitamin Therapy micro needling, and IV infusions.

Anh To Keuttner and Elizabeth LaPointe are certified aestheticians who founded Renew You MedSpa. Together, the medical spa duo has more than 30 years of medical experience. “As trained aestheticians, we are both excited at the prospect of growing our business and serving even more clients with our unique and high-quality treatments,” said Keuttner. Added LaPointe, “With the support of the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation, we are able to finish our new location, expand our business hours, and grow our team.” Anh and Elizabeth worked with NewVue Communities to develop their business plan. Visit for more information.

As a microloan lender, NCMDC can provide loans to small businesses up to $250,000 for working capital, real estate, equipment, inventory, expansion and working with our banking partners to provide gap financing for the final piece of a project.

For more information about the NCMDC loan programs, please call 978.353.7607 or visit or

Sen. Gobi Tapped For New Healey Admin Post

Source: State House News Service
Author: Chris Lisinski

Special Election Coming In Central Mass. District


The Worcester and Hampshire Senate district (center, in light green) stretches across much of the state’s middle. [Mass. Legislature]

Veteran Sen. Anne Gobi will leave the Legislature to fill a newly created post in the Healey administration, triggering a special election in the central Massachusetts district she represents.

Gov. Maura Healey announced Monday that she tapped Gobi to become the state’s first director of rural affairs. The Spencer Democrat will serve “as a dedicated advocate and ombudsman cultivating economic development within rural communities,” Healey’s office said.

Gobi will start her new job June 5, according to Healey’s office. Her Senate departure date is unclear.

The Senate this week plans to meet over several days to advance its $55.8 billion fiscal year 2024 state budget.

“We are building an economy that benefits all communities, businesses, and people in Massachusetts, particular [sic] those that are too often overlooked and underrepresented like rural and small towns,” Healey said. “Senator Gobi’s fierce advocacy of rural equity, agricultural and small businesses, and conservation initiatives makes her the ideal candidate to help our rural towns across the state succeed.”

When the Senate agrees to an order setting a special election date, Secretary of State William Galvin will announce a primary date.

The Worcester and Hampshire district she represents, which was redrawn in the latest round of redistricting, stretches across much of the state’s middle, from Gardner in the north to Brookfield in the south and from the westernmost part of Worcester out to Ware.

At least four state representatives live in Gobi’s district: Republican Reps. Kimberly Ferguson of Holden, Donald Berthiaume of Spencer, and Peter Durant of Spencer, and Democrat Rep. Jonathan Zlotnik of Gardner. In Worcester, Gobi’s constituency overlaps with the House districts represented by Democrats Reps. John Mahoney and David LeBoeuf.

Former Rep. Kate Campanale, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican lieutenant governor nomination in 2022, lives in Spencer, and the Democratic Party’s nominee for Worcester County sheriff last year, David Fontaine, lives in Paxton. Campanale and Durant are married.

Gobi has handily defeated a string of challengers over the years, but joined the House and Senate after a pair of close contests.

First elected as a state representative in a 2001 special election that she won by 17 votes, Gobi won election to the Senate after defeating Republican Michael Valanzola by 398 votes, 50.3 percent to 49.6 percent, in the 2014 election.

Gobi serves as Senate chair of the newly created Joint Committee on Agriculture Committee, and her departure will require Senate President Karen Spilka to tap another Democrat to fill that role. Sen. Jo Comerford is the Senate vice chair of that panel.

Amid a power struggle between some House and Senate joint committee chairs, Gobi told the News Service last week that the “grass is truly greener in the agriculture committee,” where she said she enjoys working with Co-chair Rep. Paul Schmid and they have already finished holding hearings on every bill in their custody.

Gobi co-founded the Sportsmen’s Caucus, which convenes supporters of fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities, according to the Healey administration, which said that pior to being elected as a representative, she taught at Leicester High School, had her own law office, and worked with victims of domestic violence at Central Massachusetts Legal Assistance. She graduated from Worcester State University and the Massachusetts School of Law.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts: News from the Executive Office of Economic Development

On May 5th, Governor Healey, Lt. Governor Driscoll, and Economic Development Secretary Hao kicked off the state’s economic development planning process with the first meeting of the Economic Development Planning Council at the State House.

As part of the Planning process, the Council will hold Regional Listening Sessions across the Commonwealth, where stakeholders and members of the public are invited to participate in discussions that will inform the substance of the eventual Economic Development Plan. Below are the confirmed locations and dates for the first three regional sessions:

They are asking for your help in getting the word out so that they can maximize this event and collect the insight needed to make the best plan possible. There will be breakout sessions at each location.

Please RSVP for the session you plan to attend by registering. You may register by clicking on the name of the session you plan to attend and completing the free Eventbrite form.

    Article 87 – Housing/Economic Development Reorganization
    On March 1st Governor Healey filed an Article 87 reorganization plan, establishing a cabinet-level executive office solely focused on tackling the housing crisis in Massachusetts. This will create the new Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities, which will serve as the principal office to develop and execute housing policy, taking over all the powers and responsibilities of the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Additionally, EOHED will transition into the Executive Office of Economic Development will continue to perform its current functions that promote economic development, job growth, and a competitive business environment. The Article 87 was enacted on April 30th and will formally go into effect on May 30th. Earlier this week, the Healey-Driscoll Administration announced that Ed Augustus will lead the new executive office.
  • FY24 Budget Process
    In late April, the House wrapped up its budget debate and passed the chamber’s budget proposal. Last week, Senate Ways and Means released its FY24 budget proposal and they will undergo a similar process in the Senate next week.

The CHIPS Act is a once in a lifetime funding vehicle to make transformational investments in U.S. manufacturing and industries of the future. Forty years ago, the U.S. was a global leader in manufacturing semiconductors and microelectronics. Now, the U.S. makes just 10 percent of the global supply.

In February, we joined 85+ organizations across eight Northeastern states, led by MassTech, in submitting a proposal to the Department of Defense CHIPS and Science Act-funded Microelectronics (ME) Commons program. The program will provide more than $1.6 billion over the next five years to hubs across the country – we are working diligently to ensure our region is one of those hubs. EOHED expects to hear back this summer whether Massachusetts has been chosen as a “hub.”

The Healey-Driscoll Administration, along with the Legislature, has committed to bolstering this effort with $125 million in bond authorization – including up to $40 million for Microelectronics Commons – to provide matching funds. In addition to ME Commons, EOHED has worked closely with MassTech and the Center for Advanced Manufacturing to launch a new web portal for Massachusetts companies to engage and request support for their submissions to the federal government for the next tranche of CHIPS funding. Many of these federal applications require companies to include a ‘covered incentive’ from the state be included with their submission, so this new portal helps identify what the needs are from the companies and get them connected with the right agency. Given the aggressive timelines on these requests, this is one way EOHED is trying to expedite the process and get the biggest win possible for the state.

A Meet & Greet was held to foster the connections of our chamber’s businesses within our Sterling area

A Meet & Greet was held to foster the connections of our chamber’s businesses within our Sterling area. The attendees included Bill Caldwell the town administration of Sterling; our hosts, Matthew Kooyomjian and Mary Elizabeth Tinervin from MEM Dance Theatre; Robert Jumper and JoLisa Chouinard from LCU; Melissa Gallo, Carol Ann Gjeltema, and Josh Halterman Owner/Interior Designer from Joshua Allen Design (the spotlight company for today); Heidi Bogner from The Organized Duck; and our own Manager of Membership Recruitment and Engagement, Tracy Gagnon. It was nice to have some fun in a relaxing atmosphere with coffee and donuts on hand.

Josh from Joshua Allen Design gave an engaging presentation about 5 of the current design trends for interior design, as many of us fantasized what our new spaces could look like. We learned that:

  • wallpaper is popular once again, but the vinyl type is so much easier to deal with than the old paper and paste wallpaper of yesterday. Use it in small spaces, accent walls, refrigerators, or even ceilings!
  • GREEN is huge right now – although New Englanders will always love their blues, too. Green does well to contrast wood tones and golds.
  • Velvet, and antiques are popular again – it can really make a place look cozier.
  • Wood cabinetry and board & batten walls can be used to update our spaces.
  • Mixing styles, especially traditional and modern, is what’s hot right now.

It was great to learn that:

  • They have friendly pricing, and can do a little or a lot, depending on each person’s particular budget and needs.
  • Dining rooms are not going away, as was rumored only a few years ago to be the case. The kitchen is the hub of the home, but an island generally can’t handle the larger crowds that come during the holidays.
  • Mixing different wood tones is acceptable – so we can put a lighter wood cabinet in a room with a darker wood floor, etc.
  • Currently popular styles include the Antique Modern, the Mid-Century Modern, and the Modern Farmhouse looks.
  • The trending antiques include mirrors, frames to make collage walls, trunks, lamps, globes, and chairs.
  • Modern items to mix into your space can include things like vases, stacks of books, knots, trays, and houseplants.

After the presentation we learned what was upcoming at the Chamber. I’ve already signed up for several things, but there is still plenty of time to get your name in to attend several more events this month and next month. Don’t forget to attend the Kickball Tournament fundraiser on the 17th; the new member orientation on June 6th; and Steve Gross from Life is Good speaking at the NCMCC 39th Annual Business Meeting and Expo on June 15th!

Submitted by: Heidi Duck, Founder of The Organized Duck

Chamber Hosting Office Hours with State Economic Development Officials

In a partnership with the Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD), MassDevelopment, and Mass Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC), the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce will be hosting state economic development officials for one-on-one appointments with local developers, manufacturers and business owners. The meetings are an opportunity to discuss any specific matters related to their business or the expansion of their business, as well as to review state resources available to support business growth and expansion.

Kevin Kuros, Central Massachusetts Director for MOBD; Rob Anderson, Vice President of MassDevelopment; and Chuck Merrill, Senior Loan Officer for MGCC will be available at the Chamber office by appointment on Wednesday, June 7 between 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The appointments are in thirty minute increments and are first come, first serve. The meetings are free and confidential, available on a non-discriminatory basis, and are handicapped accessible.

MOBD helps businesses relocating to Massachusetts and businesses wishing to expand their current operations here. MOBD is responsible for managing the state’s Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP) which provides tax credits for qualifying business expansion projects. In addition, they provide information on other state economic development programs, including the state’s R&D tax credit, the Mass Life Science Center tax incentives, the Workforce Training Fund grant program, the STEP grant offered through the Mass Office of International Trade and Investment and other state resources.

MassDevelopment, the state’s development finance agency and land bank, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2022, MassDevelopment financed or managed 356 projects generating investment of more than $1.69 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 11,080 jobs and build or preserve 1,778 housing units.

MGCC was established to help small businesses create and preserve jobs by providing access to working capital, loan guarantees, and targeted technical assistance that solves specific financial and operational problems. MGCC works with traditional financial institutions to turn “un-bankable” businesses bankable, Community Development Centers and non-profits to provide financing for job-producing projects, and directly with businesses to find the growth capital they require. MGCC seeks to assist small businesses in Gateway Cities as well as woman-owned, Veteran-owned, or minority-owned businesses.”

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Sandie Cataldo, Senior Economic Development Manager at the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce at (978) 353-7600 ext. 232 or via email at

North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation approves financing to Soto Hydraulic Repair

Funding purchases equipment for new repair start-up

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC), the economic development arm of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, recently approved a $35,000 loan to Soto Hydraulic Repair LLC, located in Winchendon.

Funding will provide equipment for the growing hydraulic repair start-up which specializes in repairing systems for industries such as agricultural, industrial, transportation and manufacturing.

Owner Pedro Soto-Cruz has more than 20 years of experience repairing hydraulic systems. He is certified in visual weld inspections and Arc welding, and has experience in fabricating parts used in hydraulic systems.  Pedro worked with NewVue Communities Small Business Assistance Program to create his business plan.

“After two decades in hydraulic repair, I am excited to create a business of my own,” said Soto-Cruz. “With support from the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation, I now have the equipment I need to get my company off the ground.”   Contact Soto Hydraulic at 978.870.9994.

As a microloan lender, NCMDC can provide loans to small businesses up to $250,000 for working capital, real estate, equipment, inventory, expansion and working with our banking partners to provide gap financing for the final piece of a project.

For more information about the NCMDC loan programs, please call 978.353.7607 or visit or

Joshua Allen Design Brings a New Twist to Interior Design

With new growth comes new opportunities, and Joshua Allen Design (JAD) does exactly that with the recent launch of their kitchen cabinetry in 2022 and their mobile app, set to release to the public in Summer 2023.

Established 5 years ago by owner Joshua Allen Halterman, Joshua Allen Design is consistently reaching new heights. Originally a home-staging company, the business grew to the point where interior design started to take over, launching the business into a full-scale interior design firm. The current staff includes 3 full-time designers, a project manager, business manager, and marketing manager.

“I’m proud to say that over the course of five years, we’ve flipped the business on its head and turned it into an interior design-based business for all of central Massachusetts, but New England as well,” said Halterman. The business has designed in, but not limited to: Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

“We help bring people’s spaces to life,” he said. “That is our number one goal.”

Designing with the Client in Mind

According to their website, JAD handles everything from kitchen, bathroom, living spaces, remodels, and renovations, and more. Based in Sterling Massachusetts, the business combines transitional style with a modern twist and a unique New England flair. They believe that listening, understanding, and building strong relationships with their clients take priority.

“Our goal is to make the interior design process as easy and as comfortable as possible for our clients, as well as attainable. This is something that I believe in firmly,” Halterman said. “Interior design should be as important as selecting a contractor, or plumber, whenever you are doing something to your home. Everyone should know an interior designer just like everyone knows a plumber or electrician.”

If a client is new to the interior design process, the design team will help to build you a roadmap and be a part of every step of the design process. The process begins with a design consultation, so that they can better understand what the client is looking for, and what their needs and goals are.

“Our goal is to ensure that our clients’ spaces are as unique and as personal as they are. We help them decorate, space plan, build out new rooms and go over architectural layouts and drawings, finishes and tiles, and much, much more,” he said.

The design process is unique to every potential client that JAD encounters, ensuring the full experience and customization that is unique as each individual looking to design their space.

COVID just could not stop JAD

When COVID-19 first arrived in the states, many small business owners were unsure of what to do. There were a lot of questions unanswered for many, and for some businesses, it was detrimental to their success.

“We were still relatively new at the time that COVID came around and were really impacted because our business is client-facing and in the clients’ homes,” Halterman said. And while Joshua Allen Design certainly felt that at the business’ core during a two-month furlough, the interior design firm came back stronger than ever. In fact, they were able to add to the team to provide the highest quality interior design services for their clients.

“We noticed this insane uptick of business out of nowhere. Clients would come to us in need of design because they need to redo their kitchen and have been putting it off for 10 years, and now that they’re staring at it every day, they need to have it done. There was a need for a client to have a comfortable living and working space because they were now stuck in the house all the time,” he said.

Additionally Halterman noted that the JAD team learned a valuable lesson with the importance of mental health as it relates to the design of a space. Having a messy, cluttered space or home that is outdated or worse can impact a person’s clarity of mind.

Most of the interior design firm’s clients are those that are looking to “rehab, refresh, or renovate” – those that just bought a home and are looking to add or update it, or those who have lived in their homes for a handful of years and looking to renovate. And for those clients who are looking to build their own home, JAD eliminates the extra step of coordinating with the contractor and eases the design process to ensure that progress is made the way you want it to be.

While the pandemic was scary for every small business owner, not only in Massachusetts but across the world, Joshua Allen Design benefited from it in the end as clients really wanted to connect with their spaces and make it their own.

New Opportunities Arise for Joshua Allen Design

In 2022, JAD started offering kitchen cabinetry from brand names Starmark Cabinetry and Mantra Cabinets, in addition to their interior design process. You can view the product information on their website here.

“We are proud to be able to offer kitchen design on top of interior design because we are truly a full-service interior design business. A lot of times, kitchen designers will only focus on cabinetry. So, what we do is we marry the two together, and we are thinking about how the bathroom relates to the living room as it relates to the kitchen, and how the flooring goes throughout. That’s a really rare business model to have,” said Halterman.

Additionally, Joshua Allen Design will be releasing their own branded mobile app in Summer 2023. This application will be free to everyone, and is an opportunity to not only grow the business, but also be in touch with clients and potential clients directly.

“What we are trying to do is bring exclusive content to the general masses about interior design – what are the best colors of the month, best pieces of the month, or best deals of the month?” stated Halterman. “Our clients are going to have a better user experience because our designs are presented to them in a client portal designed by us. The client portal will be at their fingertips instead of having to always be on their laptop.”

Rooted in the Local Community

A vital aspect of the Joshua Allen Design values is being rooted in the local community. A portion of all proceeds are donated to the Rise Above Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that responds to the growing need to give youth in foster care opportunities that will give them a sense of normalcy, provide comfort and build self-esteem. By funding individual wishes for requests like prom expenses, soccer registration, and clarinet lessons, Rise Above provides positive experiences for children in foster care.

Halterman himself sits on the Board of Directors for the Rise Above Foundation, and according to their website, JAD donates 100% of their time and expertise multiple times as year to install design projects for youth transitioning from foster homes to their own as they start college and enter adulthood. Last but certainly not least, JAD releases a candle every year in honor of the Rise Above Foundation.

You can learn more about the Rise Above Foundation on their website by clicking here.

Halterman added that they have the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce to thank for being a part of the business’ growth.

“The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce has been a great resource because whenever you’re starting a business, it can be really hard to know who to talk to and who to connect with. The marketing opportunities have also been really great because we’ve been featured on their podcast, networking events, and it’s nice to get to know the community. The chamber is really business-oriented and we love that about them.”

If you are looking to refresh or design your space and home, look no further than the Joshua Allen Design team. You can contact JAD on their website,, or by giving them a call 508-901-9919 or emailing them at