Business of the Month
10 Commercial Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201
413 344 4314
Bead by bead, Beth and Greg Carpenter have built a business—and it has far exceeded their expectations.Yummy Treasures Bead Shop “started out of our basement in Pittsfield,” says Greg. It all began because Beth loved collecting jewelry and crafting supplies such as beads, findings, and cabochons. In 2008 she set up a shop on Etsy.com to “see if she could make a few bucks” from this habit. “And it took off from there.”
Andrew LaPatin is a young man from Pittsfield with a passion for art. He has autism, and his work reflects his unique perception of the people, characters, wildlife, & natural beauty of the enchanted hills of Berkshire County. After Entry to Entrepreneurship he plans to continue his education by taking college-level art courses, establish a store on Etsy, and start building his network. Andrew is ready to accept special commissions and sell his artwork. You can contact him through .
“It is about caramelizing sugars,” explains Thomas Doyle, a fifteen-year coffee roasting veteran and co-owner, with his wife Julia, of Assembly Coffee Roasters in Pittsfield. The coffee bean, he points out, is a cherry seed; roasting coffee is really just the process of applying heat over a period of time to caramelize the sugars in that seed. Julia jumps in, “That’s why coffee really shouldn’t be bitter!”
“It’s about way more than just skiing.” So says Lucinda Vermeulen, owner of Kenver, Ltd. the outdoor specialty store in South Egremont that is famous for its atmosphere.
When Lucinda’s late husband Ken Vermeulen founded the business with Ernie Beckwith in Great Barrington in 1959, the focus of the business was rather different. Both men were avid hunters and outdoorsmen and, Lucinda laughs, “if you can imagine, they used to hang deer on Railroad Street, with everybody walking around in neon orange!”
Soon, however, Ken Vermeulen moved the business to its current location in Egremont. The iconic building, which dates back to 1731 and once served as a stagecoach stop, had been decimated by fire, but the beautiful marble floors, high ceilings, and original beams were still intact, and they captured Vermeulen’s fancy.
BerkShares, Inc. is a membership-directed non-profit organization focused on responsible economic development in the Berkshire region. BerkShares, Inc. has worked in partnership with local businesses and community banks to issue BerkShares, a local currency for the Berkshire Region. BerkShares help to build regional identity, raise awareness about the importance of local ownership, and empower community-based economic decision-making. On October 20th, BerkShares, Inc. held its Annual Meeting, where the membership elected the following five of their fellows to join the Board of Trustees of the organization:
“Honey, I bought a brewery.” That is how Chris Post announced to the world (and in particular, to his wife) that his home brewing hobby had morphed into something more serious. At that point, Post was still working in finance in New York City, and brewing was something that happened on a two-ring burner in his apartment. But one day, while browsing eBay for home brewing equipment, he had stumbled upon the entire contents of a brewpub in Michigan, listed at “an absurdly low price.”
“I was convinced that I would be outbid, but I didn’t want to die wondering ‘what if I had taken that chance and pressed the button.’ So I pressed the button.” As it turns out, that was the beginning of Post’s adventure from banker to brewer.
“The idea that a group of people can control a business by exercising the democratic process is a very powerful one,” says Daniel Esko, General Manager at Berkshire Food Co-op. And in Great Barrington that power, aligned with a common demand for high-quality food, has led the Co-op to evolve significantly from its “humble roots on Rosseter Street,” where it was incorporated by 160 families in 1981.
AW Baldwin's Hardware
2 Center Street, West Stockbridge, MA
Henry Baldwin’s hardware business has a genealogy. His great-great grandfather, also by the name of Henry, bought the business 150 years ago, and Baldwin’s Hardware has been a steadfast presence right smack in the middle of West Stockbridge ever since then. From this vantage point, Baldwin has a pretty special perspective on this little—and very walkable—town.
39 Silver Street, Sheffield, MA
Cold hard stone? Not in the hands of master mason Mark Mendel and his crew at Monterey Masonry. When you talk to Mendel you realize that his business has a lot more to do with warmth than you might anticipate. In fact, Mendel’s “bread and butter” since he founded Monterey Masonry in 1982 has been in building fireplaces. Mendel specializes in building energy
7 South Street, Stockbridge, MA
Maurice Peterson’s ambitions did not originally tend toward owning a salon in Stockbridge. “I was going to be a movie star and director,” he explains. But his husband, Mark Johnson, had always dreamed of having his own salon, and after working for some of the top salons in London, Los Angeles, and New York, he knew a lot about the business. So eight
“I don’t think there’s a better place in the world to grow apples than New England and in particular the Berkshires,” says John Vittori, co-owner of Hilltop Orchards and Furnace Brook Winery. Though they grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts, Vittori and his sister Wendy always
Bizalion's Fine Food
684 S. Main Street, Great Barrington, MA
Entrepreneur comes from the French entreprendre. “It’s the adventure of launching yourself into something new” says Jean-François Bizalion of Bizalion’s Fine Food in Great Barrington. When Jean-François and his wife Helen opened their café and specialty food shop a little over ten years ago, in 2003, they were certainly embarking on a new adventure