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Jeff Rodgers will take the helm as the Berkshire Museum new executive director beginning April 1. Photo courtesy Berkshire Museum

Business Briefs: New Berkshire Museum executive director; Random Harvest Market opens; the Bookloft at Facebook Communities Summit; social media workshop

By Tuesday, Feb 5, 2019 Trade and Commerce

Berkshire Museum announces new executive director

Pittsfield — The Berkshire Museum will welcome Jeff Rodgers as its new executive director Monday, April 1, the same day the museum opened more than 100 years ago. Rodgers brings with him more than 20 years of museum experience, and currently serves as provost and chief operating officer of the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, Florida.

Rodgers has held broad leadership responsibilities at the South Florida Museum in strategic planning, creating innovative programming, fundraising and outreach across the community to build and sustain crucial partnerships and collaborations.  A former teacher, Rodgers also served in a variety of roles at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, including as director of the Moveable Museum Program.

Rodgers was the unanimous selection after a four-month search led by the Berkshire Museum’s board of trustees and facilitated by national firm Brent D. Glass LLC, which specializes in museum management. Berkshire Museum staff and Berkshire community members participated in the search process. David Ellis, who has served as interim executive director, will work with Rodgers through a transition period.

Members of the community involved in the selection included Barrington Stage Company artistic director Julianne Boyd; marketing and social media specialist Jennibeth Gomez; Pittsfield Public Schools Superintendent Jason McCandless; Judy Rush, director of curriculum of Pittsfield Public Schools; Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation President Peter Taylor; Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter School executive director Jay White; and artist and Blue Q employee Bill Wright.


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Random Harvest Market offers area farmers, food producers more sustainable sales model

Random Harvest Market. Photo: Lawrence Braun

Craryville, N.Y. — The newly opened, worker-owned Random Harvest Market will offer high quality produce and products from area farmers and producers year-round. After Hillary and Cameron Melville and one other investor purchased and renovated the late 19th-century roadside building, a group of five people started the process of creating a cooperative market that opened Dec. 13, 2018. The market also features a cafe with seasonal prepared foods, coffee drinks and deli items; a forthcoming certified kitchen for producers and community members; and a community space that will be used for a diverse array of events. An earlier market named Random Harvest, a beloved local farm store and deli, was located in the same building for more than three decades. Ten years after its closing, the current owners hope the newest incarnation of the market will help provide community, sustenance and a living wage via a unique and thoughtful business model.

Offering food and a culture that foster connection and collaboration, the vision of this employee-owned market is to participate in a “relational food economy,” a food system that puts relationships at its center by using models of exchange, pricing, and community-building to support the needs of workers, producers, and community members. Vendors sell their products on a consignment basis, giving a higher profit margin to their businesses. EBT/SNAP cards will soon be accepted, along with cash and credit cards, making fresh local food accessible to all. The five owners bring a variety of talent and experience in food-related businesses, farming and community organizing to the business.


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The Bookloft to participate in Facebook Communities Summit

Pamela Pescosolido

Great Barrington — The Bookloft has announced that it has been invited to participate in the 2019 Facebook Communities Summit Wednesday, Feb. 6, through Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Representatives from approximately 200 groups from around North America and other locales were selected after an application and interview process this past fall. Represented will be nonprofit groups, small businesses, and groups that exist only online. The aim if the summit aim is to bring together leaders from different spheres who are using social media to connect with their respective members, supporters and customers as well as improve their communities in concrete ways.

Representing the Bookloft at FCS 2019 will be owner Pamela Pescosolido, who will be accompanied by the Bookloft’s social media/advertising manager Tim Oberg. Pescosolido took over ownership of the Bookloft in May 2016 upon the retirement of the store’s original owner and founder. 


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Downtown Pittsfield Inc. to offer social media workshop for businesses

Pittsfield — Downtown Pittsfield Inc. will host a free, basic Facebook and Instagram class for DPI members, prospective members, and employees of downtown businesses Tuesday, Feb. 12, from 11 a.m. to noon and from 6 to 7 p.m.

The beginner-level class will be led by DPI marketing coordinator Kimberly Gritman and is an introduction to using Facebook and Instagram for business. Participants will learn how to choose images and content for their social media pages, use hashtags, update basic Facebook page information, create a basic Facebook ad, and incorporate DPI’s Heart of the Berkshires toolkit. Attendees are encouraged to bring their laptops and smartphones, as there will be an opportunity to practice and work through social media issues. If attendees need help setting up social media accounts, there will also be an opportunity to work with the instructor at the end of class.

Attendees are free to bring lunch or dinner to whichever session they choose to attend. Coffee and water will be available. For more information or to register, contact info@downtownpittsfield.com.


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