Business Briefs: Blantyre to join Ocean House Management; Senate honors Lenox; BCI survey results; new hires, board members for WAM Theatre; Greylock adds financial advisorMore Info
Blantyre to join Ocean House Management hotel collection
In partnership with Blantyre’s owner, Linda S. Law and Blantyre Hotel Ventures, OHM will relaunch the Relais & Châteaux and Forbes Five-Star property in April following a multimillion-dollar renovation.
Said Law, “A key consideration for us selecting a business partner for this Country Manor Hotel was to find one who would continue the careful conservancy and enhancement of this magnificent estate.”
April will also see the debut of Blantyre Bistro, which will serve classic dishes with locally sourced ingredients in a French bistro setting. This spring, the resort will also unveil the Conservatory at Blantyre, a fine dining restaurant and outdoor dining terrace overlooking lush, tiered lawns. The Retreat at Blantyre, the property’s transformed spa, will feature four treatment rooms as well as a water suite with deep soaking tub and private shower. In addition, guests will be able to enjoy a sauna and Eucalyptus steam room, relaxation lounge with Vitality Bar, fitness center, meditation garden, spa cuisine menu. Treatments such as massage, facial and body treatment therapies will include sustainable products from Farmaesthetics.
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State Senate recognizes Lenox’s achievements
Lenox — The Lenox Chamber of Commerce has announced that the Massachusetts Senate has awarded it and the town of Lenox an official citation for being named by Expedia as the ‘best place to escape’ in Massachusetts.
Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, stated in an accompanying letter that he “…wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate the community and the Chamber of Commerce on this designation. Lenox has long been a gem of Massachusetts with so many cultural and recreational offerings for all to enjoy. It’s clear that the town has put forth a great deal of effort in making itself such a welcoming designation.”
Expedia released its “Best place to escape in every state” feature Jan. 3, in which writer Lily Rogers chose on place in each U.S. state where people can “soak up nature’s wonders and revel in serene solitude.” The article notably highlighted the Lenox destinations of Blantyre, Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary and the Mount.
Said Lenox Chamber marketing director Jamie Trie, “We are very happy to be receiving these recognitions, and thankful for all of the work Senator Hinds does for our community.”
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Business Confidence Index sees businesses selling, disappearing
Dalton — Berkshire Money Management has released the results from the most recent Berkshire Business Confidence Index surveys. The surveys, which were sent to nearly 4,000 businesses countywide, contained questions about strength of sales annually, cost increases and/or decreases, and inventory levels.
The Berkshire BCI for this most recent quarter is 56.4, up slightly from the last survey’s 55.6, signaling continued optimism among local business and organization leaders. While the number is heartening, what is most concerning to BMM founder and chief investment officer Allen Harris is the number of respondents who are looking to retire and offload their businesses within the next five years.
“About one-fifth of area business owners are looking to exit their business in some form in the next two years,” said Harris. “More than one-third intend to sell within the next five years. This is consistent with a national finding by the Business Enterprise Institute that was released one week after the BCI survey. BEI found that, nationally, one-third of business owners intend to exit within three years, and one-fourth intend to exit within five years.”
Harris continued: “We are always happy to find that our survey methodology is validated, however, this is a grave concern. It is a concern from both the standpoint of a retiring business owner who is expecting there to be a buyer in the waiting, and it’s a concern as our community loses not only jobs, but employers.”
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WAM Theatre announces new hires, board members
Lee — WAM Theatre has announced that Talya Kingston has been named as its associate artistic director and Max Galdos-Shapiro will join as general manager. WAM has also newly appointed Lynn Festa, Wendy Healey and Arwen Lowbridge to its board of directors.
Originally from the United Kingdom, Kingston is a dramaturg, playwright and educator with an interest in new play development and theatre for social change. Prior to joining WAM, she was a visiting professor of theatre at Hampshire College in Amherst and has also held the positions of education director at Hartford Stage in Connecticut and educational programs coordinator at the New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco, California. Her writing on theatre has appeared in Theatre Journal, the Moving Voice, European Stages, HowlRound and the Valley Advocate. She is a member of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and the Northampton Playwrights Lab, and holds an master’s degree in dramaturgy from UMass Amherst.
Galdos-Shapiro is a Berkshire-based educator and theater-maker with experience in both creative and technical work. His recent credits include serving as production manager for WAM’s production of “The Last Wife” and assistant director for “Passage,” a new play written and produced by Kickwheel Ensemble Theater. When not in the theater, Max works as an environmental educator, teaching ecology and outdoor skills to young people.
Festa has been a certified hand therapist since 1995, and has been a clinician in a variety of settings for over 29 years. She combines her work with providing training in promoting wellness and limiting burnout to other health care providers. She attained her certificate in positive psychology from the Wholebeing Institute, and is a certified facilitator of the Daring Way. She has completed life-coach training through the Martha Beck Institute, a clinical consultant at Berkshire Hand to Shoulder Center and the owner of Health Professional Coaching LLC. She is also on the board of Berkshire Music School. She lives in Lenox with her husband.
Healey has been in the banking and financial technology business for over 20 years. She has worked for Lee Bank since December of 2015. She has been active with local chambers of commerce her entire career and has served on the board of three of them, as well as serving as the president of the Avon Chamber of Commerce. Healey holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees from the University of Connecticut. Wendy lives in an 1832 home on an old dairy farm in Colebrook, Connecticut, with her partner, Scott, and their three rescue dogs.
Lowbridge has had a 20-year career in the nonprofit arts world. She earned her bachelor’s degree with honors in acting from the New York University Tisch School of the Arts and a certificate in fundraising and development from the Rollins College Crummer School of Business in Winter Park, Florida. In 2015 she changed directions to pursue her second passion: financial planning. She is a financial advisor with Baystate Financial and is pursuing her certified financial planner designation. In addition to WAM, she sits on the board of directors for the Brooklyn, New York-based play company the Debate Society. She lives in the Berkshires with her husband and volunteers at Berkshire Botanical Garden.
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Greylock adds Du Pont as financial advisor
Du Pont is a graduate of Columbia University in New York City, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science with a primary focus in international affairs. He is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Prior to joining Greylock, Du Pont worked with senior software and infrastructure technologists within the financial industry at Andiamo Partners in New York City. He also worked with comedian Kevin Bartini to rename 121st Street and Amsterdam Avenue in New York City to George Carlin Way. He volunteered doing community outreach for families in New York and New Jersey affected by Hurricane Sandy, and also worked with the ASPCA in Berkshire County and New York City. DuPont returned to the Berkshires in 2015 and lives in Lenox with his wife, Shawnee Tannenbaum.