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Business Briefs: Tanglewood Airbnb hosts earn nearly $2 million; Berkshire Business Confidence Index results; grant for Berkshire Community Diaper Project; ‘Best of Hudson Valley’ for Peony Vodka; farming workshop series

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By Friday, Sep 29, 2017 Trade and Commerce

Airbnb hosts earned nearly $2 million during Tanglewood season

Boston — In a new report released Wednesday, Airbnb found that one of Massachusetts’ most popular summer and cultural events, the Tanglewood Music Festival, helped thousands of residents gain additional income via Airbnb. By sharing extra space in their homes with Tanglewood performers and patrons, families earned nearly $2 million.

Key findings of the report include the following:

  • Residents earned nearly $2 million sharing their spaces with Tanglewood Music Festival performers and patrons between June 16 and Sept. 3.
  • Airbnb host earnings during the 2017 Tanglewood Festival represent an increase of nearly 460 percent from the same time period in 2014, with the typical host netting $3,650.
  • A total of 10,620 Airbnb guest arrivals occurred during the Tanglewood Music Festival, a jump of 370 percent from the same time in 2014.
  • The typical price of an Airbnb listing during the festival ranged from $85 for a private room to $200 for an entire home. The top cities of origins for guest arrivals were New York, Boston, Cambridge, Arlington, Somerville, San Francisco and Philadelphia.


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Berkshire Business Confidence Index survey

Pittsfield — Berkshire Money Management has just released the results from the most recent Berkshire Business Confidence Index surveys. The surveys, which were sent to more than 5,000 businesses countywide, contained questions about how businesses are faring in the current national market and also addressed more local issues that have been on the minds of business and organization leaders. The survey yielded a general positive skew with a reading of 55.6, which indicates a slight increase in optimism from the last survey’s 53.4 reading.

“Businesses are seeing the challenge of matching sales growth to increasing operational costs,” said Allen Harris, BMM’s chief investment officer and CEO. “Revenue growth isn’t comfortably outpacing the rising costs, especially increasing energy expenses, commercial property taxes, and employee health insurance, to name a few of the big ones.”

Area businesses also expressed some trepidation about the future, wondering what their respective industries will look like in the coming decade. Seventy-four percent of survey respondents indicated strongly that they expect their businesses to look moderately (29 percent) to substantially (45 percent) different in the next 10 years.

“We have seen big changes recently,” said Harris. “We cannot be sure what the future national trends will be, but we do know that those future trends – just like current ones are now – will disrupt us locally. In part, that is why we created the Berkshire BCI. It gives the Berkshire business community the opportunity to transform dialogue in actions.”


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Berkshire Community Diaper Project receives grant

West Stockbridge — The Berkshire Community Diaper Project has received a $1,600 grant from the Jewish Women’s Foundation to support the purchasing and provision of diapers to children of low-income families across Berkshire County. The Jewish Women’s Foundation gives grants that promote their mission of tikkun olam, a Jewish concept defined by acts of kindness performed to perfect or repair the world.

Since its inception in 2014, BCDP has distributed over 285,000 diapers to agencies serving low-income families and participated in the effort to create a state voucher system for those families to buy diapers. Such a system would be similar to the help given to low-income parents by the WIC and SNAP programs, which do not include diapers as approved essential items.


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Peony Vodka wins ‘Best of Hudson Valley’ poll

Leslie Farhangi. Photo: Jonathan Doster

Millerton, N.Y. — Three Meadows Spirits owner Leslie Farhangi could hardly contain herself when the envelope arrived back in August advising her that her fledgling liquor company and its boutique brand, Peony Vodka, was one of the winners of Hudson Valley Magazine’s 2017 Best of Hudson Valley poll.

“To be chosen as an Editor’s pick for the Best of Hudson Valley Award just eighteen months after launching PEONY VODKA on the market is such an honor, and so gratifying,” said Farhangi. “I’m thrilled.”

Peony Vodka’s new distributor, Dutchess Beer Distributors of Poughkeepsie, will now carry the brand to additional restaurants and stores in the Hudson Valley and beyond.

“It’s still baby steps, but we feel very strongly that organic growth is the way to go and we don’t want to run until we’ve learned to walk,” said Farhangi.


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Columbia Land Conservancy to offer workshop series for farmers

Chatham, N.Y. — The Columbia Land Conservancy has announced that has teamed up with the Dutchess Land Conservancy and American Farmland Trust to offer a series of educational workshops for farmers.

The first workshop, “Intro to the Farmer-Landowner Match Program and How to Finance Farming,” will take place Wednesday, Oct. 11 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at Camphill Hudson and will include a presentation on the Hudson Valley Farmlink Network’s Farmer-Landowner Match Program and discussions of USDA programs designed to help farmers begin or grow their farm operations as well as farmers’ experiences financing their farm businesses. “Protecting Your Farm from Crop Loss: Planning and Risk Management” on Wednesday, Oct. 18, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Camphill Hudson and will explore both foreseeable and unforeseeable situations that challenge most farmers such as natural disasters, crop loss and drops in market prices. “Finding Your Way Through Conflict: Agricultural Mediation Programs” on Wednesday, Oct. 25, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Camphill Hudson will cover common causes of conflicts between landowners and farmers as well as ways to avoid breakdowns in communication. “Climate Change and Farming in the Hudson Valley” on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook will look at how climate changing is impacting local farms and at federal emergency conservation programs designed to help farmers affected by natural disasters and severe drought.

All of the workshops are offered free of charge. Snacks and drinks will be provided. For more information or to register, contact Terence Duvall at (518) 392-5252 x225 or terence.duvall@clctrust.org.


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