All-Day Workshops Scheduled for Entrepreneurs in Fitchburg

 

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation, the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, and Hometown Bank are holding two business workshops on January 12, 2016 aimed at assisting potential and existing entrepreneurs.

The free workshops are being held in cooperation with the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center (MSBDC), SCORE, City of Fitchburg, City of Leominster, and NewVue Communities (formerly Twin Cities CDC).

Both workshops will each run approximately two and a half hours and will be held at the North Central MA Chamber of Commerce, 860 South St., Fitchburg on Tuesday, January 12, 2016.

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

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

To register, please contact Sandie Cataldo at 978-353-7600 ext. 232 or Cataldo@massweb.org or register online at northcentralmass.com.

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, began the North Central Mass Chamber of Commerce’s Community Leadership Institute. The nine-month program is dedicated to providing participants with individual leadership skills and an understanding of the region’s 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 first 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.”

Kathryn Weldon, home loan specialist at Fidelity Bank and current participants, looks forward to learning more about her community. “I have been in North Central almost my entire life but I know there are areas that I could learn more about, such as our healthcare facilities or economic development. I look forward to the seminars each month to make better connections with my classmates, learn more about the resources in North Central and helping to advance the community.”

Kurt Zelch, Director of Physician Relations at HealthAlliance Hospital, just recently began working in the area. “I am thrilled and honored to be part of this year’s class.  I am most excited about the possibility of incorporating the good ideas of my fellow nominees into my own perspective.  These meetings will surely help all of us in that regard.”

 

Participants in the 2016 Class include:

Evelyn Cabrera – Director of Residential Services, YWCA
Brian Calnan – Area Administrator, Catholic Charities
Ellen Coughlin – Human Resources Manager, Leominster Credit Union
Katy Cuddahy Kirouac – Head Teller, Avidia Bank
Daniela Cunha Raphael – Customer Service Representative, Avidia Bank
Jennifer DeLisle – Assistant Branch Manager, Workers’ Credit Union
Penny Doolittle – Manufacturing Career Coach, Workforce Investment Board of North Central Mass
Lisa Dutton-Swain – Resource & Development Director, NewVue Communities (formerly Twin Cities CDC)
Scott Farris – Director of Strategic Enrollment Management, Mount Wachusett Community College
Heather Finnerty – Branch Manager, Rollstone Bank & Trust
Kallee George – Admissions Coordinator, The Arc of Opportunity of North Central MA
Holly Kreidler Phaneuf – Assistant Director NCEOC, Mount Wachusett Community College
Lisa Moison – Director of Professional Studies, Fitchburg State University
Susan Piper – Director of Sales & Marketing, DoubleTree by Hilton
Sarah Proctor – Sales & Marketing Coordinator, The Arc of Opportunity of North Central MA
Nicholas Rocheleau – Engineer, Rocheleau Tool & Die
Eric Rodriguez – Lead Organizer, The United Neighbors of Fitchburg
Sandra Sagehorn Elliot – Executive Vice President & Chief Operations Office, Workers’ Credit Union
Natalie Silverthorn Kruger – Retail Manager, Cutiques & Cutie Patuties
Kathryn Weldon – Home Loan Specialist, Fidelit Bank
Katy Whitaker – Development Coordinator, Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School
Kurt Zelch – Director of Physician Relations, HealthAlliance Hospital

Getting to Know Your Chamber

 

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce will host Getting to Know Your Chamber on Tuesday, December 1st from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at the Chamber’s headquarters located at 860 South Street, Fitchburg, MA. This meeting is open to new members, existing members, and 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, but pre-registration is required.  Register online at www.NorthCentralMass.com/news/calendar-of-events/.

Business owners unable to attend but interested in learning more about Chamber membership may contact Yasmin Loft, Sales and Member Services Manager at 978-353-7600 ext. 234 or by sending an email to loft@massweb.org to schedule a one-to-one meeting.

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce Recognizes North Central Ma Small Businesses by Celebrating Small Business Saturday

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce announced its participation in the sixth annual Small Business Saturday on November 28th to support small businesses across North Central Massachusetts. Founded by American Express® in 2010, Small Business Saturday® is a day to celebrate the small businesses that help support their neighborhoods and is held every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Now in its sixth year, Small Business Saturday has been embraced as part of the holiday shopping tradition as each year shoppers, businesses and public officials come together to Shop Small® and show their neighborhood pride.

 

Understanding the important contributions small businesses make to their communities, the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce is pleased to once again participate in Small Business Saturday and the Neighborhood Champion program.  On November 28th, the North Central Massachusetts community is encouraged to take part in the Small Business Saturday and take advantage of the specials that our local business are running.  Shoppers can stop by to support local businesses and receive Shop Small® giveaways like tote bags, buttons and balloons.

 

American Express created the Neighborhood Champion program to help rally communities around Small Business Saturday and is working alongside numerous business organizations to support local Small Business Saturday celebrations throughout the country. Participating organizations include the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), the International Downtown Association, The Latino Coalition, the National Main Street Center, the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

 

Small business owners can learn more about taking part in Small Business Saturday and download free marketing materials on www.shopsmall.com. Consumers can also visit the site to find small businesses to shop at on Small Business Saturday.

 

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

 

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) has recently granted three small business loans totaling $109,500 to Piland Landscaping in Leominster; Yolanda’s Food Truck in Leominster; and Ayer Shop and Save.  The loans enabled these businesses to start-up or expand and create 25 new jobs.

NCMDC granted Piland Landscaping a loan for $20,000 to assist with the purchase of equipment and to provide working capital to help expand this landscaping and snowplowing business.  Jason Piland opened the business almost a year ago after ten years of experience working for a local landscaper.  He quickly secured contracts with many large local businesses and residential customers.  This loan will enable the business to expand with the purchase a skid steer.  Piland Landscaping services range from lawn management to landscape design, building patios, walkways, installing irrigation and drainage, as well as snowplowing.  This loan was referred to the NCMDC by Hometown Bank.  Visit their website at www.PilandLandscaping.com for more information.

Yolanda’s Food Truck received a loan from the NCMDC for $14,500 to assist this start-up with a food truck business selling Uruguayan food as well as hamburgers and hotdogs in the Leominster area.  Yolanda Rodriquez, owner, is self-taught and known in the local Uruguayan community for her culinary skills.  This loan will provide the funds to outfit the truck with a fire suppression system required by the Leominster Fire Department.  With the installation of the system, Yolanda will be able to cook food in the truck which will increase her inventory and menu selection.  This loan was a referral from the Twin City CDC in Fitchburg, one of our community partners.

Ayer Shop and Save is reopening the former Hannaford Supermarket which had closed in 2014.  Mike Szelest, working closely with Geronimo Commercial Properties, owner of the site, and the Town of Ayer was granted a $75,000 loan from the NCMDC to help with start-up costs to re-open the only supermarket located in Ayer.  Mike was owner of the Winchendon IGA.  He, along with his wife and son, will operate it as a full service supermarket offering national and “house” brands, a full service deli as well as beer and wine.  The store will specialize in offering local products and produce.  A grand opening is scheduled for late October.  This gap loan was in partnership with North Middlesex Savings Bank.

“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.

For more information about the NCMDC loan programs, please contact Sandie Cataldo 978-353-7607 x232.

OVER ONE HUNDRED BUSINESSES JOIN NORTH CENTRAL CHAMBER DURING NEW MEMBER CAMPAIGN

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that the organization has recruited 114 new members as a result of its 2015 New Member Campaign.

The two-week campaign ended on Wednesday, October 15th and included a mailed invitation to over 3,000 businesses in North Central Massachusetts and personal phone-calls from sixty-five business leaders encouraging them to join.  The campaign was one of the most successful campaigns that the Chamber has held in years. Volunteers competed for bragging rights as the top recruiter and some great prizes including overnight trips, gift certificates to restaurants and stores, and much more.
“The success of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce’s membership campaign is evidence of the strength of our local business community,” said Doug Petersen, President & CEO of Workers Credit Union and Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. “Chamber membership has never been more valuable to local businesses and it is particularly heartening to see so many new businesses take advantage of the many benefits offered by the Chamber.”

The top producing team for the campaign was Enterprise Bank. Ken Ansin, Vice President of Community Relations and Jim Adams, Vice President and Business Advisor at Enterprise Bank served as the Co-Captains of the Team. The Enterprise Bank team recruited 25 new members and will be recognized with a special award at the Chamber’s next Good Morning North Central Breakfast on Friday, November 13th at the Doubletree in Leominster. In addition, the four members of the Enterprise Team will also be honored in a special luncheon hosted by Paul DiGeronimo, Chair of this year’s Campaign.

The campaign’s top individual recruiter was Jim Adams of Enterprise Bank who personally brought in 11 new businesses to the Chamber. Ray LaFond of Enterprise Bank placed second with 9 new members and Will Aubuchon of W.E. Aubuchon came in third with 8 new members. Other top recruiters included Julie Paradise of Bin There Dump That who recruited 7 new members; Scott Aubuchon of W.E. Aubuchon who recruited 5 new members; Andrea Tourigny of Franklin Professional Associates who recruited 4 new members; and Tony Mercadante of Mercadante and Mercadante P.C., CPAs who recruited 3 new members.

The second place team was the “Independents”, captained by Steve Rocheleau of Rocheleau Tool & Die, Inc.; the third place team was W.E. Aubuchon, captained by Will Aubuchon; and the fourth place team was the North Middlesex Saving Bank team, captained by Ruth Cavanagh.

“I want to congratulate our top recruiter Jim Adams and thank the many volunteers and businesses who participated in this campaign,” said Paul DiGeronimo, President of Geronimo Properties and Chair of the 2015 New Member Campaign. “Gaining 114 new members is a tremendous achievement and would not have been possible without the time and effort from our many campaign volunteers.”

The Chamber appreciates the efforts of Paul DiGeronimo for serving as Chair of the 2015 New Member Campaign. The Chamber would also like to thank all of the team captains, volunteer recruiters, and the many members who helped support our successful campaign.

In addition, the Chamber would like to recognize the corporate and prize sponsors who contributed to the success of the campaign. The Chamber’s New Member Campaign was sponsored by Comcast Business and Heat Trace Products.  Supporting sponsors included S.J. Mullaney Engineering, Inc. and Burkart-Phelan Inc.  In addition, media sponsors for the Campaign included the Sentinel & Enterprise, Leominster Champion, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Worcester Business Journal, WPKZ 105.3 FM, LATV, FATV, and AdviCoach.
Prize contributors included Aunty Ellen’s Creative Confections, Inc., Avidia Bank, Baker Cadillac, Inc., Brian’s Auto Repair, Buffalo Wild Wings, Clinton Savings Bank, Commit Fitness, Curves for Women, Davis’ Farmland, Devens Grill/Independent Restaurant Group, Digital Federal Credit Union, DoubleTree by Hilton, Dunkin Donuts, ECi Stores, ECO Bubbles Laundry, Enterprise Bank and Trust Company, Fitchburg Art Museum, Five Guys, Gariepy Furniture, Gatsby Grounds Company, Inc., Great Wolf Lodge, Hannaford’s, Happy Jack’s Restaurant, Hometown Bank, Il Camino Restaurant, Johnny Appleseed Visitor Center, Leominster Credit Union, Lilacs of Sterling, Maki Building Centers, McDonald’s, New Bedford Chamber of Commerce, Niche Hospitality, Northeast Promotion Apparel, Old Timer Restaurant, The Planet Fitness – Leominster, Putnam Street Bowling Lanes, Ron Bouchard Auto Stores, Roots Natural Foods, Sean Patrick’s, Shattuck Photography, South Side Grille, Subway, Super Cuts, Super Fans Deli & Pizzeria, The Bootlegger Restaurant, The Lexvest Group/Phoenix Park, UNO Pizzeria & Grill, Wachusett Brewing Company, Inc., Wachusett Mountain Ski Area, Webster First Federal Credit Union, Wyman’s Liquor Mart.  For a complete list of corporate sponsors and prize contributors please visit www.nothcentralmass.com.

Patrick Lawlor Selected for New Public Policy Position

 

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

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

“Our region is often overshadowed by the Greater Boston area, and this is an important step in reminding Massachusetts how critical our region is to the overall economy,” said Roy M. Nascimento, President & CEO. “Patrick’s experience working on high profile public policy issues will be a boon to our members.”

Lawlor most recently served the Commonwealth’s Division of Insurance as a communications and external affairs specialist. In that capacity, Lawlor led communications and outreach efforts for the insurance regulatory agency, working on a variety of issues including federal health insurance reform, consumer education on auto and home insurance, and disaster response efforts. His experience in state government has positioned him on the frontlines of rolling out major policy initiatives in the last two administrations.

Lawlor’s experience also includes working at the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, as well as serving as a legislative intern for the House Ways and Means Committee and the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. His knowledge will be a great resource to members of the Chamber who want to easily navigate government, whether it is obtaining a license or permit, accessing tax incentives or passing a bill.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Merrimack College and is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Massachusetts Boston.

NORTH CENTRAL MASSACHUSETTS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ANNOUNCES SUPPORT OF KINDER MORGAN PIPELINE

NORTH CENTRAL MASSACHUSETTS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
ANNOUNCES SUPPORT OF KINDER MORGAN PIPELINE

 The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce today announced its support of the Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline. The construction of the natural gas pipeline will provide a reliable, more affordable source of energy in a region that has been plagued by high energy costs.

“Businesses in Massachusetts face energy costs that present significant obstacles to competing in a growing economy,” said Roy Nascimento, president and CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “The pipeline will allow businesses and families to access a clean and affordable energy supply.”

According to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), Massachusetts ranks as the third most expensive state in the country for electricity prices. The EIA has also stated that Massachusetts has exceptionally high natural gas prices, resulting from a serious lack of pipeline capacity supplying power plants. Natural gas is used by power plants in New England to produce over 40 percent of the region’s electric power, meaning the supply of natural gas to our state significantly impacts electric rates. Gas prices are a function of supply and demand in the market, and the current regional supply infrastructure cannot meet the increasing demands of the state.

Higher energy costs also impact residents and working families in the region and the state. Residential electric rates have doubled in New England since 1990, with much of the increase occurring since 2004. In addition, about half of households in the state rely on natural gas as their primary energy source for home heating.

Kinder Morgan’s Northeast Energy Direct natural gas pipeline would deliver natural gas to the region from Pennsylvania. The project is expected to bring 1,700 jobs to Massachusetts and nearly $24 million in state and local tax revenues each year after project completion.

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce supports measures and initiatives that support and encourage a reliable, diverse and more affordable energy supply that keeps pace with the region’s growing population and economy, while protecting our environment. Given the strained natural gas capacity in New England and the region’s increasing reliance on Natural Gas for our electricity, the North Central Massachusetts Chamber supports the development of the Kinder Morgan NED pipeline to transport natural gas into the region and state. The Chamber believes that the project will increase the availability of natural gas in New England, reduce price volatility and increase capacity to help support the future needs of the region and the Commonwealth.

The Chamber’s Board of Directors and Government Affairs Committee reviewed the project and adopted a formal position statement supporting the project on September 24, 2015.

10/27/15 – NCM Development Corporation Press Release Entrepreneur Workshop

All-Day Workshops Scheduled for Entrepreneurs in Gardner

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation, the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, and TD Bank are holding two business workshops on October 27 in Gardner aimed at assisting potential and existing entrepreneurs.

The free workshops are being held in cooperation with the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center (MSBDC), the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce, SCORE, and Twin Cities CDC.

Both workshops will last approximately 2.5 hours and will be held at the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce, 29 Parker Street, Gardner on Tuesday, October 27.

Session I: Fundamentals in Planning, Preparing, and Financing Your Business will run from 8:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and will focus on evaluating and understanding the fundamentals of owning one’s own business.  Information on how to get started, where and how to get financing and the loan application process will be presented.  Registration begins at 8:30. Breakfast will be provided for all participants.  Presented by Roland Nutter, AdviCoach

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

To register, please contact Sandie Cataldo at 978-353-7600 ext. 232 or Cataldo@massweb.org or register online at northcentralmass.com.

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.

NR New Look of Appleseed.org

The New Face of Appleseed.org Fitchburg

(July 7th ) – The Johnny Appleseed Trail Association (JATA), through a grant awarded by the Massachusetts Office of Administration and Finance, has launched a new website redesign to visitnorthcentral.com to better promote North Central Massachusetts as a tourist destination to the traveling public and the local community. The new website serves as the official, premier resource for travelers, the media, group tour operators and locals interested in learning more about the region’s unique attractions, businesses and events.

The new design will give users a unique experience every time they visit the site that focuses more on members and local events. The website was performing on a ten years old platform, and was receiving over 160,000 hits a year. The upgrade and redesign will allow JATA to publish additional content and create a more user friendly website all while increasing interconnectivity between the traveling public and local businesses and events. By increasing the site’s capabilities it will be able to bring a greater visibility to the local tourism industry, and to better market North Central Massachusetts as a unique tourist destination, and continue the growth of tourism as an economic driver in the region.

“We are very excited about this new and improved website. In today’s highly competitive travel marketplace, it’s essential that our region stay competitive by maintaining a cutting-edge website that’s attractive and engaging and helps grow our share of the tourism business.” said Suzanne Farias, General Manager of the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Leominster and Chair of the Board of Directors for the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association. “We expect the new visitnorthcentral.com to be a wonderful new tool in showcasing the many great things that North Central Massachusetts has to offer and growing the economic impact of the tourism industry to our local communities.”

Visitors to visitnorthcentral.com will be able to look up what to do, where to stay, and where to go shop and eat all within North Central Massachusetts. New to the site is an ability for users to see local deals and promotions in the region. Business and organizations also have a place where they are able to submit both deals and events that they would like to have posted on visitnorthcentral.com.

The Johnny Appleseed Trail Association is the official designated Regional Tourism Council serving the 26 cities and towns of North Central Massachusetts. The organization’s primary mission is to educate the traveling public, tourists, and residents of North Central Massachusetts about the many historical, cultural, and hospitality related sites within this scenic New England Region. Through this mission the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association works collectively with local attractions, hospitality businesses and local communities to market the North Central region as a destination and provide information and services to the traveling public. The North Central Massachusetts region is comprised of the communities of Ashburnham, Ashby, Athol, Ayer, Barre, Bolton, Clinton, Fitchburg, Gardner, Groton, Harvard, Hubbardston, Lancaster, Leominster, Lunenburg, Pepperell, Petersham, Phillipston, Princeton, Royalston, Shirley, Sterling, Templeton, Townsend, Westminster, and Winchendon.

For more information about the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association please visit visitnorthcentral.com or call 978-353-7604.