May 17, 2013 at 09:07am
It was a bring your work outside kind of day. The Program Committee enjoyed The Lord Jeffery Inn Rooftop Desk while discussing upcoming networking events.
We are always looking for new members to join the Program Committee. The committee gets together monthly to discuss possible venues for the Breakfast and After 5 networking events, programs, sponsorships, and recruiting guest speakers.
If you are reading this and your wheels are spinning, maybe thinking of a place in mind, a program, or a guest speaker that you find would be of interest, let us know. Like to join the crowd over at The Lord Jeffery Inn? Our next Program Committee is on Thursday, June 13th at The Lord Jeffery Inn.
May 15, 2013 at 08:54am
Students from ARHS FBLA program
The Chamber held its May breakfast at the Lord Jeffery Inn this morning, filling the Emily Dickinson room to capacity. Hickory Ridge Golf Club and JF Conlon and Associates were on hand as sponsors for the morning's program presented by Amherst Pelham Regional High School's Future Business Leader's of America club.
Bill Rosenblum from Hickory Ridge Golf Club
The Chamber's Golf Tournament, chaired by Jim Conlon since its inception in 2003, has had a long history with the high school's business program, raising $30,000 for the business program and scholarships each year for 2 seniors attending UMass in a business related field. Jim was on hand to praise the business program and tout the 10th Anniversary Tournament, set for July 15 at Hickory Ridge County Club.
Jim Conlon, chair, Chamber Golf Committee
The business program, led by Missy Shea has classes in accounting, entrepreneurship, and keyboarding (!), and the FBLA works closely with the Hospitality and Sports Management Programs at UMass. The FBLA also raises money each year for CancerCare at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, long a scholarship sponsor of the Chamber's Golf Tournament.
The Chamber is so proud of our connection with Missy Shea and her talented students and look forward to supporting them for many years to come.
April 8, 2013 at 12:09pm
photo courtesy Amherst College
Sometimes the casual sports fan in Amherst, Mass can be distracted by the Division I presence of the UMass Minutemen and forget that there is another team in town, and one with a fine sports tradition. The Amherst College Jeffs are among the premiere NCAA Division III programs in the country.
This weekend, for the second time, the Jeffs captured a national championship in men's basketball with an 87-70 win over UMHB (Mary Hardin-Baylor) at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta.
Big congrats from all of us at the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce. We're proud of our National Champs!
April 8, 2013 at 11:50am
Let's call this post what it is . . . lazy blogging. But hey, not everything has to be long winded and 600 words.
There's still time to get tickets for the TEDx UMass Amherst event if you're a Chamber member. Great deal. Great ideas.
You should be there!
April 2, 2013 at 02:54pm
So we're about a week out after a super duper fun as all get out Margarita Madness at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.
The Chamber was pleased to welcoome over 160 people to this, our newest, and most exciting late winter/early spring event. Over 75 people that came to the event had no official Chamber affiliation, and that made the evening quite special. Not only are our Chamber businesses and members connecting to each other, but we're bringing in new audiences to our events, which open up more opportunities. This is also an event that is truly an Amherst AREA endeavor. We had Franklin county participants (MRKT, Chandlers, Bridgeside Grille, Valley Generators) and Hampden county sponsors (MassLive and Mix 93.1).
I'd like to thank our incredible Margarita Madness committee, without whom we would not have had such a successful event. Our venerable social media master from JTypePlus, Jeannette Thibbitts, kept the buzz going with many tweets and Facebook posts. Julie Orvis from Historic Deerfield was a terrific and fun presence at the many tasting meetings, and brought a real Franklin County presence to our meetings. Chamber MVP, Youssef Fadel was always willing to host (and toast) meetings at his North Amherst abode. Tiffany Raines of PeoplesBank was a member of the committee. This was her first real Chamber committee experience, and she joined the right group! Kim Allie of Amherst Laser and Skin Care brought in a bunch of new faces to the event and is a great new, enthusiatic addition to the Chamber family. For the second year in a row, Suzanne Boniface kept us on track and coordinated. And from the staff side, the inimitable and indispensible Joan Temkin worked in the office and on vacation to make sure that this event was super fun.
The winners of the best Margarita this year - The Pub for Best Restaurant and Most Creative, and New England Promotion Marketing for Best Business Margarita.
A full list of winners and sponsors can be found here. Thanks to all who supported and participated in this event. We'll do it again next year!
March 20, 2013 at 12:09pm
Join Venly and the Amherst Area Chamber at the Jones Library in the Woodbury Room, Thursday, March 28 from 12-2, and learn how to Grow Your Business with Social Media.
As part of our Community Connection Campaign, join us at the Chamber’s Brown Bag Workshop on Social Media for Community Growth. This session is geared toward business owners and managers who have little to moderate levels of experience with social media--or wonder why it matters.
This 90 minute workshop focuses on how to get more out of the Big 10 Social Media Channels.
- How do businesses use free tools to gain visibility, develop relationships, and drive sales?
- What is the new Facebook Nearby feature?
- How will you incorporate social media into your business
- Should you be “promoting” on Facebook?
- How your business will get more Likes and Check-ins
If you register in advance, we will assess your business using a colorful, easy to understand view of your use of social media. This 100-element Social Score benchmarks where your business stands compared to the overall scores of Chamber members and how each business could improve.
The videos below give an overview of Venly and a case study of one success story:
Given the interactive nature of the workshop, seating is limited; so register early to ensure a spot. We will be meeting in the Woodbury Room of the Jones Library. Please bring your laptop, a smartphone if you have one, and your lunch. Register through Facebook, Chamber members free, non-members $10, or call the Chamber at (413) 253-0700.
Cookies and Coffee will provided by The Loose Goose Cafe.
Presented by the Amherst Area Chamber’s Community Social Media Consultants
March 20, 2013 at 11:24am
Last week, the Hampshire County Regional Tourism Council unveiled its research, marketing plan, and new brand to an excited crowd of 75 industry folks at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. The RTC, a partnership of the Amherst Area, Greater Easthampton, and Greater Northampton Chambers of Commerce, was formed in August 2010, when Sen. Stan Rosenberg inserted language into Governor Patrick’s economic development bill.
The RTC has been working hard ever since, forming an advisory board, creating new connections for the industry in Hampshire County with international tour operators and travel writers, working with the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce on a Pioneer Valley imaging campaign, and collaborating with Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture and Museums10. In a collaborative arrangement with our partners at Museums10, we’ve hired Melissa Breor as our RTC coordinator. She’s a real trooper, too; she doesn’t have one set office, but rather works in three different offices every week.
I’d like to share some links to our news last week. From the Gazette:
On ABC News40:
You can also check out the Visit Hampshire County page on Facebook for more on the branding campaign, images, and video from the event and more.
In the coming months, you’ll see more about the RTC in the area papers, through the Chamber, and the RTC’s email blast. Do feel free to email Melissa at email@example.com if you’d like to sign-up to get the RTC’s bi-weekly email. Make sure to put “add me to the RTC email list” in the subject line.
January 28, 2013 at 01:16pm
The Chamber's Annual Meeting took place on a snowy January 16 at the Lord Jeffery Inn. The 90 or so participants were on hand to see the keynote speaker, Mohegan Sun CEO Mitchell Etess speak about his company's plans for a resort casino development in Palmer.
And while the Chamber had quite a bit of coverage (here and here and here) for Mr. Etess' talk, there was important Chamber business taking place, as well. We were happy to welcome G. Christopher Blauvelt, COO and CFO of Innovara in Hadley; Julie Marcus, director of marketing at New England Environmental, Amherst; Youssef Fadel, independant contractor at New England Promotional Marketing in Wilbraham; and John Kokoski, owner of Mapleline Farm in Hadley to the Chamber's Board of Directors. We were also happy to welcome the formal installation of Larry Archey as the Chamber's Board President.
Larry Archey is the Director of Facilities and Grounds at Hampshire College where he has worked for 23 years. In addition to facilities management, Larry has represented the College in a number of renovation and new construction projects, land use initiatives, and Town and government relations. In recent years, he was a member of the Town of Amherst Master Plan and Fire Station Review Committees.
I'm looking forward to working with Larry over the next year. He brings smart leadership and a long relationship with many in town government. He has a reputation for working well with many different folks and getting things done.
Below, please find a text of Larry's speech to the Chamber's membership at the Annual Meeting.
I am happy to be here today as I begin my term as President of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce – for a second time – what was I thinking? I’ve received congratulatory and “good Luck” calls from many of you. You know, the ones that sound something like this: Good Luck! GOOOD luck, and good luck. In all seriousness, thank you for your good wishes and please know there’s not a better business organization in the valley than the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce and I am proud to be your President.
I wish to first thank Kathryn Grandonico for her leadership this past year. She was at the helm of a number of important initiatives and I hope to be able to build upon the good work she has started.
I am also excited and eager to work closely with Vice President, Lyne Kendal, Tony, executive director extraordinaire, Joan and Tammy at the Chamber office, and the many talented and committed professionals that make up our Board of Directors. They are leaders from a wide range of professions such as retail,law, entertainment, social services, farming, and not-for-profit industries. They represent small, mid-size and large organizations with offices located in the Amherst and Hadley area. Our Board is truly a reflection of the make-up of the Chamber and its commitment to represent all our member businesses.
Now, if I was a betting man, I would say the odds are probably somewhere around 10:1 that you are not here to listen to me. Rather, you’re here to listen to the message from our keynote speaker Mr Etess. Yet, I want to ask that you indulge me for just a brief moment while I share with you some key initiatives the Chamber will be focused on this year.
If I were to summarize our goals for the coming year into a theme, it might be best described as “strengthening existing partnerships and creating new ones”. And we look to accomplish this through the following objectives:
First, a primary objective will be to strengthen our partnerships with our current members. We will strive to evolve into a more high touch, personal organization by increasing our contacts and communications with individual members, ensuring them we are responding to their needs, reminding them of the many services and educational opportunities we provide, and to encourage their participation within the organization. After all, by definition, “a partnership is an arrangement where parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests.”
Second, we will develop strategies to increase our membership numbers. This is essential if we are to maintain the financial resources needed to increase our effectiveness as an organization and to provide the level of services our members have grown to expect from a first class chamber of commerce.
Third, we will look to strengthen an already solid relationship with town and state government. Through pro-active discussions and joint strategic initiatives, together, we will respond to the challenges that will surely arise and take advantage of the business opportunities upon which an education and hospitality dependent economy relies.
Fourth, we are excited about the opportunity to build upon what has already begun to be a valuable partnership with the Business Improvement District. We are confident, that by working together, we will enhance the attractiveness, vibrancy and economic success of the downtown business district.
Finally, the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce is eager to participate in the ongoing development of a regional chamber of commerce. We believe that by working together on regional based initiatives such as tourism and economic development, we will help to ensure economic success for our members as well as businesses throughout the region.
While our work plan for the coming year may appear ambitious, I am confident in the ability of our team to execute it successfully. Under the leadership of our Executive Director, Tony Maroulis, and the guidance of a committed Board of Directors, I look forward to strengthening the valued partnerships we have with many of you and creating new partnerships with others.
Thank you and I wish you the very best in the coming year.
October 4, 2012 at 11:38am
This year, the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce has the privilege to honor an organization and three individuals that have contributed in so many amazing ways to the lives of our communities. These deserving award winners – The Hitchcock Center for the Environment (Legacy Award for Environmental Leadership), Ray Shafie and Chris Riddle (Lifetime Achievement in Business), and Youssef Fadel (Chamber MVP) – help tell a wonderful story about the richness of the Amherst Area and the quality of our membership.
In years past, we’ve come up with a theme for this event. From “Stars of the Valley” to last year’s “Works of Art” the narrative thread was a means to unite the award winners in some cohesive way. This year, we have multiple similarities to highlight and stories to tell.
Perhaps for the first time, we have two foreign born winners – Ray Shafie and Youssef Fadel - both of Middle Eastern heritage. Coincidentally, Chris Riddle also spent a long time in Tunisia, where he met his wife and began his career. Chris’s architecture practice has always been environmentally mindful, striving to create the most energy conscious works. Ray, Youssef, and Chris all have strong connections to their community and give considerable time to charitable work or to directly helping others.
The Hitchcock Center has been committed to teaching us how to be stewards of our environment. It is a center of our community, in which the mission is to create a better world. While “Think globally, act locally” has become a cliché, all four of our honorees exemplify how to do it.
I’m really proud of our award winners. The diversity, experience, and richness that they bring to the Amherst Area make me proud to live and work here, and are indicative of the quality of our Chamber membership.
September 25, 2012 at 02:22pm
This morning at the Lord Jeffery Inn, UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy joined 60 members of the Chamber at our September breakfast. Sponsored by UMass University Relations, the Chancellor's comments and give-and-take with the audience was notable for its candor, as well as a deep understanding of town/gown relations.
Having had the opportunity to meet with the Chancellor recently, I was not surprised with his keen intellect and knowledge of the town's issues.
While the Chancellor might not use the term "Communiversity," one which I use often (and borrowed from the past president of Boulder, CO's Naropa University, Dr. Stuart Lord), but his stated view of the town's relationship with UMass is similar to that thinking. During today's presentation, Swamy stressed a mutually-beneficial relationship and a renewed commitment between the University and town.
It was an exciting morning. I'd love to hear feedback by those who were there. What questions would you have asked the Chancellor if there were more time?
September 25, 2012 at 02:08pm
"Satisfaction is dangerous."
"Go the extra inch."
If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you'd have seen a number of posts from The Big E in West Springfield. Representing the Hampshire County Regional Tourism, along with my good friend, Greater Northampton Chamber director Suzanne Beck, I attended the 25th Annual Governor's Conference on Travel and Tourism last Thursday. The Hampshire County RTC is still relatively new; this is our second full funding cycle in 2012-13. Formed in 2010 in Governor Patrick's economic development bill, and championed by State Sen. Stan Rosenberg, the HCRTC is still in its formative stages.
This year's Governor's Conference, organized by the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, was a terrific event. Our keynote speaker, Jeff Noel of the Disney Leadership Institute, kept the audience rapt with a fast paced, humorous, and informative speech about getting employees to buy into a company's mission by being invested, and living in the moment. With the goal of doing more than what is expected in each encounter, we get the most out of our employees - and ourselves. An admitted skeptic of corporate training, this particular presentation hit me. I took much more out of it than expected. It was pretty Zen.
The Governor was also on hand, and rallied those in the tourism and hospitality industries. In all, 2011-12 was a good rebound year for Massachusetts tourism. Jobs and receipts are up statewide, as is hotel revenue. Governor Patrick reported that the industry is the third highest employer with over 124,000 workers, bringing in over 16.9 million in direct spending, $3.6 billion in wages, and $1.1 billion in local and state taxes.
What does this mean for Hampshire County? With the formation of the RTC and robust participation from industry partners, we hope to increase visitation to our unique slice of the Valley. Over our first full year of state funding, we've forged important partnerships with our sister agencies in Greater Springfield and Franklin County, commissioned vital consumer research to inform our strategic marketing platform and better understand the Hampshire County visitor. In short order we hope to complete our marketing plan and create our new integrated website and social media platform that will enhance the new Hampshire County brand, while supporting and supplementing our neighbors in Western Massachusetts.
We have a unique opportunity as a start-up to do things well, with research, and the experience of other agencies as our guide. With continued regional cooperation with our partners at the Northampton and Easthampton Chambers, the Amherst and Northampton BIDs and sister tourism agencies, we might better leverage our resources to create a visitor experience that truly delivers on the Disney promise to make each vacation the best vacation the visitor has ever had.
September 17, 2012 at 10:38am
So finally, we're back in the swing of things - August and vacations are a distant blur - and the first two weeks of September (really since the last week of August) with the return of the Amherst area's student population and general academic business has been very busy.
What a fun stretch for the Amherst Area business community. There's been really good energy to start the fall semester. And the Chamber has been proud to be a community partner in all of these.
A quick recap:
August 29 - The 45th Annual UMass - Chamber Community Breakfast unofficially kicked off the school year. Over 350 people attended this yearly favorite, held as usual in the beautiful UMass Student Union Ballroom. The highlight of the morning were the remarks by the new UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. As always, there were a number of giveaways, introductions of many of our area's most important leaders (Sen. Stan Rosenberg, Rep. Ellen Story, Rep. John Scibek, Rep. Peter Kocut, DA Dave Sullivan, Amherst Town Manager John Musante, Hadley Town Administrator David Nixon, and many, many more), 2 incredible student speakers, and, of course, the Power and Class, UMass's amazing marching band. Among the most loved traditions of the early year, there were smiles everywhere after the event, as everyone was renewed and excited.
That same evening - the 3rd Annual First Day Celebration kicked off the Amherst Regional Public Schools fall calendar with a fun-filled family event. With non-profit partners, activities for kids, and Dave Ranin's Middle School Choir in good voice, the Common kept the festive atmosphere going in downtown.
Labor Day weekend was UMass Orientation weekend, and UMass Community Relations and Promoting Downtown Amherst conspired to put on Adventure Into Amherst. The event, for first year students, is an introduction to all that's happening in downtown and for our businesses to put on their best face to a new batch of customers. Some of the fun is captured in this YouTube video.
Of course, last, but not least, was the first ever Celebrate Amherst Block Party last Thursday September 13. Mosquitoes be damned!
The event was discussed for years, but planned in earnest by the Amherst Business Improvement District's Marketing Committee. This was its first major event and it put the BID on the map! Estimates place the crowds between 5-6000 people who made North Pleasant Street from Amity to Triangle a pedestrian mall for one great, great event. The success of the event was made possible by the Amherst community - students and residents alike who came together in one place and had a terrific evening. Noteable was the creativity of our businesses - Vici and its fashion show, Hair By Harlow and its break dancing troupe, Chez Albert clearing out the patio and making an adult pen so folks can casually have a drink and relax.
There's really been nothing like it in this community. This will be the first of many, many successful BID events to come. Special praise to BID Exec Director Alex Krogh-Grabbe for his efforts, David Mazor for chairing the BOD Marketing committee and making sure it met every week since May, and to the Lussiers - Mina and Sam - for their incredible energy and dedication to the downtown. Mina and Jerry Jolly beat the bushes and encouraged people to participate. And it was wonderful.
There's more to come in the weeks ahead, and we'll keep you posted here - in advance this time! - over the course of the semester.
July 24, 2012 at 10:36am
By Felicity Hardee
Attorney, Bulkley,Richardson & Gelinas
Amherst Area Chamber Board of Directors
This guest post is part of a series by the Chamber's Board of Directors
The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce has done a tremendous job of facilitating opportunities for members of the community to get to know our future congressman Jim McGovern. Recently, I was delighted to hear from Tony Maroulis that Congressman McGovern was going to be in town this week and had a chance to introduce myself when the congressman and his staff were visiting Atkins Farms this week (BTW: Pauline is doing a fabulous job of maintaining excellent selection and service under extraordinarily trying circumstances; please do check out Atkins http://www.atkinsfarms.com/ and support our South Amherst business anchor). Thanks to the chamber’s coordination of this event, I had a few precious minutes of the congressman’s time one-on-one. We talked about the economy, budget cuts and the now (in)famous “fiscal cliff” off of which the country will be driving if Congress does not act by the end of the year. While Congressman McGovern had no easy answers to any of these issues, I was incredibly impressed with his compassion, intelligence and likeability.
Thanks very much to the chamber and all it does to advance the interests of our members with our federal, state and local legislators!
July 2, 2012 at 11:49am
By Meredith Schmidt
Director, Campus Center/Student Union Complex
University of Massachusetts
Amherst Chamber Board Member
Editor's Note: This is one of a series of blog posts by the Chamber's Board of Directors
There’s “Something about Amherst”……..
When I was just a kid growing up in the Holyoke area, there was always “Something about Amherst” that attracted me. Back then it was probably the ride through town, the local shops, enjoying the green grass on the Commons, my first rock concert at UMass, and of course, the cider donuts from Atkins, just to name a few…
Then I chose to move here to attend the University. There was still “Something about Amherst” for me. It became the daily trips into town to Faces, the Pub, Zanna, $1 pizzas from Bell’s, the nightlife, and of course, the cider donuts from Atkins, just to name a few…
After I graduated, I moved away for a few years but that “Something about Amherst” compelled me to come back. I found my dream job at the University and have been here now over 30 years. Now that “Something about Amherst” is more about the wonderful culture, supporting the local businesses, and most importantly belonging to the Amherst Chamber. It is about meeting all of the local business owners at the many Chamber events , serving on the Board, contributing to the Town/Gown relations with the University, and of course, still the cider donuts from Atkins, just to name a few…
What is your “Something about Amherst”?
Join the Chamber – Get Involved – It’s great fun!
June 28, 2012 at 10:08am
By Jacqueline Zuzgo
Jones Group Realtors
Chamber Board Member since 2008
Editors note: This is the fourth in a series of posts from the Chamber's Board of Directors
Just a few days ago, my gaze was attracted to the cemetery out my office window here at the Jones Group. A large tour bus caught my eye as it was allowing its passengers to disembark. I couldn’t help but watch them make their way around the peaceful landscape that marks the quiet resting place of our local icon, Emily Dickinson. Emily's musings on life and nature hold a power strong enough to call her fans to Amherst, the place she herself was born, lived, and “Called Back” from. A quintessential New England town we have come to know and love century after century.
Time and again I am reminded of the wondrous history that surrounds us here in Amherst, Massachusetts. Emily Dickinson is but one example the long history of writers and artists who have lived and worked in the backyards of Amherst. Their words and art continue to enthrall people from around the world. I am often delighted by the fact that in spite of the influx of a huge student population from all over the world, our town continues to hold dear to a “small town” familiarity.
For myself, whether it’s a quick stop for gasoline from Ren’s Mobil, shopping at Zanna’s, or enjoying lunch at Judie’s, people know me by name. I am always welcomed at Judie’s by either Judie or Katie with a warm and gracious hello. These women are quick to recommend a tasty new dish and kindly ask after my family and what’s happening with my work.
Amherst is a small town with big offerings and a huge heart – a place most certainly for me!
June 21, 2012 at 08:12am
By Jim Brassord
Director of Facilities and Associate Treasurer, Amherst College
At-Large Member of Chamber's Executive Committee
Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of blog posts by the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
Sure, the After 5’s are great opportunities for keeping up with friends and colleagues but they can be and are much more than that.
At an After 5 last year I struck up a conversation with a young new member, Jacob Lefton, who looked a bit like a fish out of water as it was his first Chamber event. I was fascinated to learn about his company, Artist Blacksmith, and his ties to the local community as a recent Hampshire College grad. Jacob’s passion and enthusiasm for his work and for the local area was just palpable. He impressed me as the type of young entrepreneur who we were fortunate had stayed in the Valley. After Jacob learned of my role in managing the Lord Jeff Inn project he made a strong pitch for providing artisan services to craft wrought iron hardware elements. I took a leap of faith and engaged Artist Blacksmith to fabricate architectural elements for the LJI. No surprise, Jacob’s work was exquisite!!! We are now looking forward to using Jacob on many more Amherst College projects and hope that the local business community will use Artist Blacksmith for their projects.
Buy local…. your Chamber at work!!!!
June 20, 2012 at 08:45am
What a weekend!
The 2012 Taste of Amherst, presented by Atkins Farms Country Market, was one of the most successful Tastes on record. With sparkling weather - neither too hot (like today! Yeesh!) or at all rainy - this year's event was spectacular.
Twenty four restaurants, great music, an enhanced kids' area, great beer and wine, cooking demos, the Forest Park Zoo, and the Cat In The Hat, all made for an amazing four days on the Amherst Town Common.
Each year, the event committee tries to add a new wrinkle to the event. We're always looking to make it even better than the year before. From the entertainment side of things, we focused on the kids' area. with more activities, the return of a Rockwall and Bungie Jump, story times, and more, we did our job there. However, led by Jerry Jolly of the Pub and then guided by Susan Waite of the Amherst Department of Public Works, we worked to go green. We vowed to reduce our waste by at least one third, and asked our restaurants to help us achieve that goal by using compostable products.
The results aren't in yet, but a quick sight analysis indicated that we reduced our solid, non-compostable waste by more than half. I'll have a final total in the next day or two, and I look forward to sharing that with you then.
I never quite thought I'd ever be so excited about recycling and composting. One of the fun aspects of my job is the varied tasks that I get to do. On Saturday at the Taste, in one of the most disgusting, yet fun, things I had ever done, I was jumping like a wine maker on compostable garbage bags to make more room in the dumpster. I'm sure I looked silly, but it was all for a good cause.
Many, many thanks to all who had worked to make this Taste a big success. This would be an incredibly long post were I to name everyone, but in brief - the Taste committee, led by chair John Thibbitts, Jerry and Aaron Jolly, Chef Bill Collins, David Mazor, Lois Grandmaison from MercyHouse, Scott Howard of WRSI, Art Steele, our participating restaurants (see Facebook.com/TasteofAmherst for more details), Youssef Fadel, the town of Amherst DPW, APD, AFD, Inspection Services, the guys at Marney Electric, and all of our incredible volunteers who helped us make this run smoothly. All told, over 100 organizations participate in this event. They help put smiles on the faces of our friends and neighbors who support the event year after year.
June 19, 2012 at 01:10pm
By Cinda Jones
President, WD Cowls Land Company
Past President, AACC Board of Directors, 2007-08
Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of blog posts by the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
I’m so excited about the upcoming After 5 at Conlin and Sawicki offices on University Drive on Wednesday the 27 th . That is always an EXCELLENT attended party. Great people. Lots of people. Amazing networking. OUTSIDE under a tent so it’s an instant party. Lots of cool give aways.
Networking is such a buzz-kind-of-word it kind of falls flat. But here’s why you need to do Chamber networking events: People get work opportunities and social opportunities and friends and contacts that they can’t get anywhere else when they socialize with us. Plus there’s great food and drink. And cool locations to check out.
I hired a graphic designer and advertising dude I met at an After 5. He’s great. Never would have met him otherwise. I met a potential tenant at an After 5, who I turned down, my husband rented to, and I got the tenant a connection at Amherst College at an After 5 that got him so much work that he easily could pay my husband rent!! J I am buying my life insurance from someone I met at a Chamber breakfast. My attorney sponsors breakfasts. My printer is a Chamber member. And because the Chamber staff know my name and what I’m doing, because I attend CoC events and talk with them, they recommend me when an opportunity in my field comes up.
So c’mon – come to The University Drive After 5 next week, and all future networking events. It’s fun. It’s lucrative. And you’ll grow smarter just walking in the door.
Thanks for reading.
June 11, 2012 at 11:31am
A little something to whet your appetite . . .
30 Boltwood: 1. Watermelon Gazpacho 2. Chicken Panzanella
Amherst Brewing Company: 1. Cheeseburger 2. Hot Dog 3. Pulled Pork Chili
Amherst Chinese Food: 1. Vegetable Lo Mein 2. Vegetable Fried Rice 3. Egg Roll 4. Chicken Fingers
Atkins Farms Country Market: 1. Cider donuts 2. Whoopie Pies 3. Apple Pie 4. Caramel Dipped Apples
Baku's African Restaurant: 1. jollof rice, beans 2. Chicken 3. Plantains 4. Black-eyed Peas 5. Mango Juice 6. Cinnamon Iced Tea
Bart's Ice Cream: 1. Root Beer Float 2. Scooped Ice Cream 3. Hot Fudge Sundae
Champney's Restaurant and Tavern: 1. Belgian Fries and Dips
Chandler's Restaurant: 1. Smoked Chicken Wings 2. New England Clam Chowder 3. Strawberry Shortcake
Ginger Garden: 1. Vegetable Lo Mein 2. Pork Fried Rice 3. Gneral Tso's Chicken 4. California Roll 5. Fried Dumpling
House of Teriyaki: 1. Chicken Teriyaki 2. Salmon Donburi 3. Beet Gyola 4. Seaweed Salad
La Veracruzana: 1. Chicken or Beef Quesadillas 2. Tacos 3. Horchata 4. Tamarindo
Lhasa Cafe: 1. Beef Dumplings 2. Vegetable Potato Dumplings 3.Chicken Curry/Rice 4. Aam Thara (Mango Yogury Shake) 5. Hot Chai Tea
Lime Red Teahouse: 1. Mango Tea 2. Peach Tea 3. Strawberry Tea 4. Yogurt Tea 5. Lychee Tea
Lit: 1. Lamb Sliders 2. 3 Cheese Grilled Cheese 3. Fresh Fruit Salad 4. Banana Nutella Spring Rolls 5. Fish Tacos
Maple Valley Ice Cream: 1. Ice Cream
Moti: 1. Famous NY Chicken and Lamb 2. Steak Wrap 3. Chicken Wrap 4. Grape Leaves 5. Hummus
Nancy Jane's: 1. Italian Sausage and Chicken Kabobs 2. Louisiana Rice 3. Corn Fritters 4. Clam Fritterrs 5. Nancy Jane's Famous Lemonade 6. Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Panda East: 1. House Special Chicken 2. Veggie Fried Rice 3. Crab Rangoon 4. Cold Noodles with Sesame Sauce 5. seaweed Salad 5. California Roll
Paradise of India: 1. Chicken Tikka Masala 2. Chana Sag/Chana Masala 3. Paneer Masala 4. Samosa, veg. pakora 5. Riben Fry 6. Mango Lassi
SouperBowl: 1. Lobster Bisque 2. New England Clam Chowder 3. Heirloom Gazpacho 4. Peach-Mango Yogurt Soup 5. Strawberry Yogurt Soup 6. Avacado Smoothie
Thai Corner: 1. Chicken Satay 2. Green Curry-Chicken/Tofu 3. Chciekn with Ginger Garlic 4. Pad Thai Chicken/ Tofu 5. Basil Chicken 6. Thai Iced Tea
The Loose Goose Cafe: 1. Panini - Mozzarella/Pesto 2. Smoked Turkey Panini 3. Tomato and Chicken Panini 4. Homemade Mac n'Cheese 5. Chocolate drop Darts 6. Smoothies
The Pub: 1. Pulled Pork Sandwich 2. Lobster Sliders 3. Stuffed Baked Potatoes 4. Fried Dough w/Strawberries 5. Hadley Asparagus Fries
White Hut: 1. Fries with famous fried onions and cheese 2. Onion Rings
May 23, 2012 at 11:03am
The Chamber extends its congratulations to Alex Krogh-Grabbe on his recent sppointment as the new executive director of the Amherst Business Improvement District.
We look forward to working with Alex in the months and years ahead!
From a recent release from the BID:
AMHERST, Mass (May 21, 2012) – The Amherst Business Improvement District has appointed Alex Krogh-Grabbe its first executive director at the May meeting of its Board of Directors. The unanimous 11-0 vote came after a presentation by the Board’s Search Committee, which named Krogh-Grabbe its top choice among 16 candidates and 3 finalists.
A graduate of Connecticut College and Tufts University, Alex Krogh-Grabbe returns to the town in which he was born and raised to run the newly established organization, which is only the 8th BID in the Commonwealth. His start date is June 1.
“We are excited about the energy that Alex will bring to this position and are looking forward to hitting the ground running,” says Barry Roberts, president of the Amherst BID. “He’s from here, cares about this community, and has the smarts to help our downtown succeed.”
Krogh-Grabbe joins the newly formed Amherst BID, seven months after its November formation by an Amherst Select Board vote. By definition, a BID is a designated area in which property owners choose to initiate, manage and finance services to supplement, but not replace, the baseline of town services for the benefit of district employees, students, residents and visitors.
The 26-year old Krogh-Grabbe formerly worked in financial development at WFCR before returning to his studies at Tufts University in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning. His areas of focus at Tufts included transportation planning, creating sustainable communities, and economic development. Krogh-Grabbe’s master’s thesis focused on collaborative planning practices as they related to the the Gateway Corridor plan in Amherst and a similar project between the University of Connecticut and Storrs.
“The BID board is really excited about having Alex on board and about our chances for success,” says Jerry Jolly, the BID’s vice president. “In addition to the commitment by the landlords to the BID, we have the support of the town, UMass, and Amherst College. Having the institutional partners on board really shows the deep support for our downtown and its success.”
The core elements of the initial 3-year BID plan are designed to create downtown Amherst as a special destination that includes welcoming public spaces, multi-use sidewalks and a sense of vibrancy through marketing, special events, dining and entertainment experiences that appeal to a wide range of audiences.
The Amherst BID area covers the downtown commercial district from UMass at the northern end to the Town Common at its southern tip. It also includes the Main Street commercial district which runs east from the Town Common through to Railroad St.
For more information on the Amherst BID, please visit www.amherstbid.com.
April 24, 2012 at 12:41pm
By Joan Temkin
Membership and Marketing Director
Val Nelson (left) teaching with a workshop participant.
At our latest Brown Bag gathering, almost 30 people participated in the workshop, Networking Secrets from an Ex-Wallflower, presented by Val Nelson, Career and Business Coach.
This was one of our most popular Brown Bag events yet! We struck a chord with this topic.
Val had promised that everyone would leave the Brown Bag with relaxed shoulders and new ideas for improving their networking skills, and she delivered. The presentation included some effective interactive exercises. The photo shows Val with a participant enjoying a networking demo.
By the end, participants went from being hesitant to passionate about their next networking opportunity.
As a perfect extension, or for those who couldn't attend, Val is now forming a short-term group called Heart-Centered Networking Momentum Group. It's designed to help people have more ease, authenticity, and impact with networking. Group members will define their who, what, where, and when of networking... and even what to wear. Details here: http://www.valnelson.com/nmg
April 23, 2012 at 08:39am
By Kathryn Grandonico
Lincoln Real Estate
Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce
President, Board of Directors
Editor's Note - This is the first in a weekly series of blog posts from our Chamber Board of Directors.
During a recent Chamber board session where we were discussing the organization’s goals, accomplishments and what our future direction should be, it occurred to me that there are many ways in which the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce touches the lives of our community and our businesses on a daily basis. So I suggested a board project, to blog about our experiences as Chamber members with all of you. As members, we experience what you do, and can relate to your struggles, work, and issues. We know why you’ve joined –because we have, too – and what makes the Chamber important to your business.
Beginning this week, each of our board members will write a blog submission to begin a dialogue with not only our members, but the community. We want to have a transparent organization. If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know. Any of our members are encouraged to write on our blog as well. (Did you know that we created a new website where every member has their own porthole which they can update at any time: submit events, create member to member discounts, advertise, pay for dues and so much more?!)
How has the chamber impacted me recently?
On Thursday April 12, as the Amherst Area Chamber President, I attended a welcoming event for our town's new building inspector, Robert Morra. It was one of the most hopeful events I've attended in some time. Town hall officials. the police and fire departments, local business owners, members of the chamber, and members of the publiic all were there. Everyone was laughing and smiling and speaking about the potential for Amherst. The optimism in the room was tangible and might I add, refreshing. We are at the tipping point for greatness and prosperity. We’ve survived the difficult financial times and we are on an upswing for success.
The second event I attended was for the "Ground Breaking" for the Amherst survival center at the old Rooster's location in North Amherst. The AACC awarded the Amherst survival center an AACC A+ award this past year and with good reason. Did you know that over 200 people a day are helped by the center? In one week I was able to see success on a business development and community front; all of which were touched by the AACC. Congratulations Mr. Morra and the Amherst Survival Center. I wish you both great success!
March 30, 2012 at 12:48pm
So this is a rewrite of a great post that I wrote earlier and lost. I hope I remember everything.
The Chamber's first-ever Margarita Madness took place this past Wednesday at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. What a great evening. Almost 200 Chamber folk and members of the public were in attendance to sample a slew of spectacular tequila mixes by Chandler's Restaurant (by the way, check out Undercover Boss this weekend, as Yankee Candle CEO Harlan Kent will star), Elegant Affairs, The Pub, Johnny's Tavern, Judie's Restaurant, 30Boltwood, Lit/Moti, Encharter Insurance, Florence Savings Bank, Hope and Feathers Framing, NEPM, and Country Nissan/Northampton Volkswagon.
Needless to say, as is my want, and it is my job, I sampled them all. I couldn't pick a favorite (what did you expect me to say?). But the crowd did speak. NEPM won for best business margarita. Judie's took best in the restaurant class. Overall winner was 30Boltwood with their beet-flavored margarita (locally grown!).
We couldn't have done this without our participants and our sponsors - MassLive.com, Valley Advocate, Daily Hampshire Gazette, Applewood, Greenfield Savings Bank, Country Nissan/Northampton Volkswagon, Mix 93.1 (who sent their morning team Zito and Karen!), and Copy Cat Print Shop. Also, a big cheer to the Carle for hosting a wonderful event. The Museum turns 10 this year. I was at the first party waaaay back, and they still know how to have fun there! (Make sure to check out Kadir Nelson's exhibition before it leaves town.) Big ups to Alix Kennedy and her whole staff - Megan, Rebecca, Rosemary, Annie, Sandy (!), and Susan - for making us feel welcome and comfortable.
The event doesn't happen without the brainstorm and dedication by Youssef Fadel, a past Chamber president, margarita champion, and MVP of this organization. Youssef just rocks and rallied our team, which included Joan Temkin (who led, as usual, on the staff end), Phil Ciccarelli of Murphy McCoubrey, and Tom Crossman of Crossman Properties. Youssef also brought in Suzanne Boniface who made this event hum by getting all the sponsors, media, and planning together. Great job all and thank you!
February 21, 2012 at 05:28pm
Just for fun, and because I'm so far behind in posting, I thought that I might post with some links to recent Amherst Area Chamber and business news. Lots has gone on, and here's a good way for our readers to catch up.
The month got off to a rousing start, as the Chamber welcomed Amherst College President Biddy Martin to our February breakfast. We look forward to exciting times here in town with President Martin at the helm. Larry Kelley, local blogger extraordinaire covered the event. You can read all about it (and see it) here.
The Chamber was pleased to contribute to the Springfield Republican's Outlook 2012 section this month. We took an appropriately optimistic tone for 2012, which we hope you'll agree is bright. Here's our contribution, but do read through the "Reinventing the Valley" insert. There's so much going on throughout the Valley. It truly feels like we're on the cusp of something grand.
If you aren't paying attention, there's a whole bunch of great new restaurants to complement our already terrific cuilinary stock. Don't worry . . . I'm trying them all out for you!
Chamber member and B and B owner Connie Kruger is helping to create a better permitting system in Amherst. Good luck and thank you, Connie!
The Amherst Area Chamber congratulates UMass Deputy Chancellor Todd Diacon on his new appointment as Provost at Kent State. We're sad to lose such an important figure in our improved Town/Gown relations. You'll be missed, Todd.
Great news for downtown Amherst! The Amherst BID has officially formed as of last Thursday. To learn more about the BID click here. Those exciting gentlemen in the video have been great leaders in getting this initiative off the ground. The Chamber looks forward to an important and fruitful partnership with the BID in the months - and years - to come!
January 24, 2012 at 08:32am
I'm going to personal blog today. I've got some stuff on my mind, and few readers at this point, so I think I'm safe. Also, I think the personal has more universal applications. Hopefully, I'll get some feedback that tells me I'm right. Or wrong.
"You catch more bees with honey . . ." That's today's motto.
I've been a crab lately. That happens when you work in New England. We're a seafood people, even out here in the sticks. Winter can get you hard. And when you work in an office with one window but you have a little nook without access to that daylight (my plight), it's easy to get crustacean or snarly or both.
So that has been me lately. That's the personal part. I've been in a bad mood.
But here's the universal part. Bad moods don't work. They make work terrible. Terrible attitudes yield commensurate results.
Generally when I'm in this mode, I try to fake it. But you can only fake it so long before someone calls you on it, or it catches up to you because that sentence that you think is innocuous is unusually harsh.
Sometimes for me that plays out in the public. I get to satisfy my fantasy of being a journalist with my monthly column in the Amherst Bulletin. In that column space, I'm occasionally ready to rumble (at least as long as it takes me to write the column). As it was in my Decemeber column, I think my corn flakes were tampered with and I was unusually grumpy: "Village Center growth is key". The feedback I got from readers was pretty mixed. Even those who agreed with me did so through pursed lips and clenched fists.
However, the following month's column: "Passing peace pipe over dinner" (we didn't smoke a pipe, by the way . . .) was one that I received some accolades for. The pats on the back for the piece were jovial and releaved. Folks happily talked to me about what I wrote this month. Much love.
What do I take from all of this? A rather simplistic, but mostly easy to follow rule: your mood dictates how your business operates. That face you put on that the world sees is tied to your success or failure.
A few years ago, the Chamber launched its A+ Campaign, with our slogan, The Amherst Area: A Perfect Place . . . The campaign was meant to counterbalance the long prevailing view of the town as a difficult place to open, to get permitting, to do anything.
We get the occasional smirks from cynics, and have been hit with some inventive chalk graffitti next our front door, but for the most part, the campaign has corresponded with a more optimistic view of the town as a place for business. We're getting things done here because we believe we can. Optimism makes a difference.
So what do you think? Am I nuts? Are you glass half-fuller? Why?
Join me in smiles and thank yous. Tell me how it goes.