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Business Briefs: Habitat for Humanity to dedicate new home; award for Carr Hardware; Entry to Entrepreneurship applications open; new director for Berkshire Rainbow Seniors; ‘Best Practices’ status for Greylock Insurance

BerkShares Inc.'s Entry to Entrepreneurship program offers a forum in which young people can learn the fundamental tools and considerations of business.

Habitat for Humanity to dedicate new home

Pittsfield — Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity will dedicate a new home to the DelSonno family Saturday, Dec. 16, at 1 p.m. at 92 Clarendon St. The formal presentation will include local leaders Sen. Adam G. Hinds and Roberta McCulloch-Dews, director of administrative services for Mayor Linda Tyer.

The DelSonnos committed to becoming a Homebuyer Partner in July 2015. They began working with their volunteer coach, Diane Sturtevant, to complete the homebuyer application process, attend the Building for Tomorrow financial preparedness program, and accomplish 600 hours of sweat equity while working opposite shifts to optimize their time with their five children. Building commenced May 6 with Habitat’s annual Women Build event and ceremony led by Team Women in Government including Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier and Tyer. More than 700 volunteers and over 17,500 hours of volunteer labor helped build the DelSonno house during the last seven months. Community partners have made donations of materials and services, and restaurant partners have provided over 860 lunches for 48 groups of volunteers and leaders.

The public is invited to join the celebration. Due to limited parking at the home site, a shuttle service will be available from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Zip N Sort. For more information, contact Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity at (413) 442-3181.


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Carr Hardware named small business of the year

Pittsfield — The national small business movement Independent We Stand has given its 2017 Independent Small Business of the Year Award to Carr Hardware.

“This year’s winner exhibits the spirit of what makes independent businesses special — a focus on both customer service and the community,” said Independent We Stand co-founder Bill Brunelle. “Carr Hardware garnered support through its mission to serve customers and the community by choosing a pay it forward approach with the prize winnings. The $5,000 cash prize will help pay for a splash pad at a community park.”

Carr Hardware will receive prizes with a combined value of more than $50,000 including:

  • A $5,000 grand prize;
  • $1,000 for the winner’s favorite small business group;
  • A $1,000 STIHL equipment certificate;
  • A 12-month subscription and three months of free managed marketing services from SnapRetail;
  • Advertising and public relations makeover independent advertising agency the Meridian Group;
  • A retreat and branding workshop in Virginia Beach, Virginia;
  • A plaque to display at the business; and
  • Public relations and social media recognition.


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Applications open for BerkShares’ Entry to Entrepreneurship program

Great Barrington — Entry to Entrepreneurship, BerkShares Inc.’s crowd-sourced business planning program for young people, will be accepting applications through Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017.

The program, offered in partnership with the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network’s Berkshire regional office and in collaboration with Berkshire Community College, offers a forum in which young people can learn the fundamental tools and considerations of business. Participants in the program are asked to consider the goods and services currently imported to the Berkshires that could be produced locally instead.

Over a 10-week program set to begin Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, students will benefit from the expertise and support of the local business people who volunteer their time in the classroom as instructors, mentors, advisors and business-plan reviewers. The program will culminate in a public presentation of business ideas by students to an audience of community members Wednesday, April 11, 2018.

Applications require a deposit of $50 or 50 BerkShares. For more information, contact Rachel Moriarty at (413) 528-1737 or


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Rainbow Seniors of Berkshire County announces new director

Kenneth Mercure. Photo courtesy Rainbow Seniors of Berkshire County

Williamstown — Rainbow Seniors of Berkshire County has announced Kenneth Mercure as its new director.

Mercure, a Berkshire County native, was the driving force behind the Berkshire Pride festival and a lead organizer of the Berkshire Transgender Day of Remembrance in 2017. Mercure began working as a Lyme disease community organizer and patient advocate in 2010 and went on to found the Lyme Alliance of the Berkshires. To date, Mercure has moderated more than 70 meetings and organized numerous public education events.

For the first two months, Rainbow Seniors founder Ed Sedarbaum and Mercure will work as co-directors, after which Mercure will assume sole leadership of the two-year-old organization. The membership of Rainbow Seniors will formally greet Mercure at a holiday potluck Tuesday, Dec. 19, from noon to 2 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Williamstown.


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Greylock Insurance Agency earns ‘Best Practices’ status

Pittsfield — Greylock Insurance Agency has announced its achievement of Best Practices status for the second year in a row from the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America. Greylock Insurance won the honor by participating in the IIABA Best Practices Study Group, an annual survey and study of leading independent insurance agencies that documents the business practices of the “best” agencies and urges others to adopt similar practices.

The selected Best Practices agencies retain their statuses during the three-year cycle by submitting extensive financial and operational data for review each year. This is the second year of the current three-year study cycle, and more 1500 independent agencies throughout the U.S. were nominated to take part in the annual study in 2016. To be chosen, the agencies had to be among the 35 to 45 top-performing agencies in one of six revenue categories.



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