Scholarships Available through the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation is pleased to announce that applications for its 2018 Scholarship program are now being accepted.  Each year, the Chamber Foundation distributes approximately 25 scholarships to local high-achieving high school students in North Central Massachusetts.  Since the establishment of its scholarship program, the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation has awarded over a million dollars in scholarships.

Students interested in applying for a 2018 scholarship through the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation should contact their high school guidance department to submit an application.  Deadline for applications is Friday, March 2, 2018.  A limited number of scholarship applicants are submitted by each school in the Chamber’s service area each year and then reviewed by a committee of Chamber members.

Many of these awards are made possible through contributions from members of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and proceeds from the Chamber’s Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament.  Scholarships endowed through the Chamber Foundation are often named in honor of prominent members of the North Central Massachusetts business community whose philanthropy and commitment to the community have helped shape North Central Massachusetts.

The Chamber’s Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization focused on assisting in the betterment of the region through charitable activities.  Funds raised by the Foundation are utilized primarily for education/workforce development initiatives and charitable activities in North Central Massachusetts, including scholarships to eligible applicants pursuing education and grants to support economic and community development projects.

For more information on the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation’s scholarship program or a list of the named scholarships, please visit or call 978.353.7600 ext. 222.



Albert ‘Al’ Spaulding Rose II, owner and operator of Red Apple Farm has been elected Chairman of the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association (JATA) Board of Directors. The election was made at the association’s board meeting on December 5, 2017.

Mr. Rose is the fourth generation owner of Red Apple Farm located in Phillipston, Massachusetts. The 70 acre farm, established in 1912, focused primarily on growing apples commercially for the wholesale market under the care of Mr. Rose’s grandfather, A. Spaulding Rose.  In 1981, Mr. Rose’s father, William (Bill) Rose transitioned the farm away from wholesale, diversifying the farm’s business to focus more on retail and the pick-your-own fruit experience.

Mr. Rose and his wife Nancy took over the family business in 2001. Under their leadership the farm has continued to grow and become a major agritourism destination and employer for North Central Massachusetts. Red Apple Farm now has three locations: the Phillipston farm, at Wachusett Mountain, and in the City of Boston when they opened one of the largest stalls at Boston Public Market two years ago.  In addition to his involvement with the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association, Mr. Rose is also a member of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, the North Quabbin Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce, the advisory board of Massachusetts Family Business Association, and is a past president of the Massachusetts Fruit Growers Association.  He earned a Masters of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University.

Mr. Rose has served on the JATA Board of Directors for several years and has held several leadership positions including Vice Chair and Marketing Committee Chair.  He has been a strong champion of the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association’s economic development efforts to market the region to visitors and groups.  As the Chair of the JATA Board of Directors, Mr. Rose will work with the Board, staff, membership and other stakeholders to champion JATA in its mission to market the region as a destination.

“I look forward to working with Al in his new position as Chairman of the Board,” said Roy Nascimento, president of JATA. “Al has proven himself to be a great leader and advocate for our cooperative marketing efforts to grow the tourism economy in North Central Massachusetts.”

He succeeds Suzanne Farias, former general manager of the Doubletree Hotel in Leominster.

“It is an honor and privilege to have been elected Chair of the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association, an organization that plays an important role in promoting North Central Massachusetts and has had an incredible impact in growing the economy locally,” expressed Mr. Rose, “I am excited to continue Suzanne Farias’s efforts and work to make sure that JATA remains a strong resource for local businesses and attractions.”

In the same election, Henry Tessman, general manager of Great Wolf Lodge New England was voted Vice-Chairman and Nikki Moorshead, owner of the Colonial Inn in Gardner and the Chocksett Inn in Sterling was elected to serve as a Director. Continuing current terms on the board are Rick Walton, president of the Gardner Ale House and Moon Hill Brewing and Tom Meyers, marketing director at Wachusett Ski Area.



Getting to Know Your Chamber

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce will host “Getting to Know Your Chamber” on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at the Chamber’s main office, 860 South Street, Fitchburg, Ma 01420.  This presentation is designed to help new members navigate the perks and programs of Chamber membership, but is equally valuable for current members who want to get the most value from their membership, or those interested in learning if chamber membership is right for them.

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

Business owners unable to attend but interested in learning more about Chamber membership may contact or David Ginisi at 978.353.7600 x240 or by sending an email to to schedule a one-to-one meeting.


Michael Hewitt, President of Hometown Bank Community Foundation announced a contribution of $15,000 to North Central MA Development Corporation (NCMDC).

NCMDC serves twenty six communities within Worcester, Middlesex and Franklin Counties focusing on micro-lending, creating jobs and operating small business workshops. Their recent efforts have helped create dozens of new businesses and helped dozens more grow thereby creating several hundred new jobs in local communities.

In celebration of NCMDC’s 30 years of service, they are launching an Economic Advancement Fund to help expand their economic development efforts. bankHometown has supported NCMDC for years and this recent $15,000 contribution from Hometown Bank Community Foundation will help support this new fund and NCMDC’s efforts to further job and business growth.

Christina DiRusso, bankHometown’s assistant vice president of commercial lending, is a member of NCMDC’s micro loan committee. She said “I see first-hand the number of businesses that are helped with counseling and micro loans.” She added that they are a valuable organization in their market as they “facilitate and connect businesses and help promote local businesses with events and press.”

bankHometown is headquartered in Oxford, Massachusetts and has $730 million in assets.  bankHometown has served its communities since 1889 and operates thirteen full service offices; eight in central Massachusetts and five located in northeastern Connecticut.

January Edition of Good Morning North Central Features Senator Dean Tran

The next edition of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber’s popular Good Morning North Central breakfast series is scheduled for Friday, January 12, 2018 from 6:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at the Doubletree by Hilton, 99 Erdman Way, Leominster, MA.  The January edition is sponsored by Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School.

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 speaker for the January edition is Senator Dean Tran. In his first Chamber event since winning the special election on December 5th, Senator Tran will be discussing his plans for supporting and advancing the North Central community.

Dean Tran was born in Saigon, Vietnam and emigrated with his family to the United States at the age of 4. In 1980, Dean and his family were sponsored by a Catholic priest in Clinton, Massachusetts where he called his first real home.  In 1986, his family relocated to Fitchburg, Massachusetts where he graduated from Fitchburg High School. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University. In 2005, Dean became the first person of color to be elected to the City Council in Fitchburg, Ma.  In 2017, Dean was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate as the first Vietnamese-American elected to the Massachusetts Legislature.

Scott Ellis from the Fitchburg Municipal Airport will also be presenting on the plans and extensions to one of North Central’s most important resources. Fitchburg Municipal Airport has a long history of supporting the North Central community, with the first flights taking off in 1929. In the last few years, the Airport has become an important part of the economic development of the community with the completion of the new terminal building and plans underway to extend the runway.

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 Main Street Bank Charitable Foundation awarded The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation a $30,000 grant

The Main Street Bank Charitable Foundation awarded The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) a $30,000 grant for the Economic Advancement Fund to implement and expand the regional economic development program.

The NCMDC is the principle resource for the region in terms of economic development; lending and financing; and implementing a multi-faceted regional economic development strategy to enhance economic development services while expanding lending capacity to accommodate the region’s unique industry mix.

“We are very grateful to Main Street Bank for their support of our Economic Advancement Fund”, said Roy M. Nascimento, President & CEO of the NCMDC. “They have been a longstanding partner and this contribution demonstrates their continued confidence and commitment to our collective efforts to advance the economy in North Central Massachusetts.”

“Main Street Bank is proud to support the Economic Advancement Fund”, said Wally Dwyer, President of Main Street Bank. “We have enjoyed a long and mutually rewarding relationship with the North Central Mass Development Corporation.  We believe they are a valuable asset for our customers and our communities.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

North Central Massachusetts Lights Up Times Square

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

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

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

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

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

Emerging leaders participate in Community Leadership Institute

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

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

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


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

Cara Baillargeon, LUK, Inc.

Laura Bayless, Fitchburg State University

Mike Bordenca, Workers Credit Union

Alicia Cianciola, Fitchburg State University

Jill Connell, Sizer School

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

Najid Figueroa, LUK, Inc.

Nicole Gale, DoubleTree by Hilton

Meredith Geraghty, NewVue Communities

Kristen Gustafson, Leominster Credit Union

Kyla McDonald, Avidia Bank

Veronica Meneses, Fidelity Bank

Jessie Olson, Fitchburg Art Museum

Jasmine Ortiz, Quinsigamond Community College

Matthew Prior, Rollstone Bank & Trust

Dawn Reis, Avidia Bank

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

Darlene Rossi, Morin Real Estate

Colleen Smith, DoubleTree by Hilton

Brittney Zanghi, Avidia Bank

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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