Business of the Month
Berkshire Gold & Silversmith
152 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA
Growing up with a silversmith for a father, there was always something for Thomas Parker and his brother to tinker with and they were encouraged to develop their skills from a young age. Armed with a torch, some solder and flux, and scraps of raw metal, Tom says the only disclaimer from his Dad was: “don’t burn the house down!” In 1995 he became an official apprentice at his father Richard Parker's Little Silver Shop in Avon, CT and in 2007 Tom opened his own shop, the Berkshire Gold & Silversmith in downtown Great Barrington.
Joe Roy Sr. & Joy Roy Jr.
12 Main Street, West Stockbridge, MA 01266
When you think of Stockbridge you might think of Norman Rockwell, but there’s another institution that’s just as important to Americana: Chesterwood. The lesser known, yet equally significant Stockbridge mainstay lays claim to the studio, house, and gardens of famed American sculptor Daniel Chester French. You may recognize his work— the Minute Man in Concord, MA, the fountain at Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., the Continents at the U.S. Custom House in New York City, and, of course, the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Catherine and Bill Kane
2 Sheffield Road, South Egremont, MA
Multi-generational family businesses make up the fabric of the Berkshires and Kwik Print, Inc. is no exception. Cheryl and John Raifstanger Jr. launched their family print shop in 1973 in the basement of the Mahaiwe Theater with a second-hand press and scrappy entrepreneurial spirit. Now under the direction of their son John III, the business continues to flourish and serve the Southern Berkshire community in a new technological era.
Gert and Cindy Alper
Swiss Hütte Inn and Restaurant
Route 23, Hillsdale, NY
At the base of Catamount Ski Area sits an alpine-style building. In the front garden a Swiss and American flag wave proudly in the wind. It is a view that could have come straight out of an advertisement for idyllic ski chalets in the Swiss Alps. The building is home to the appropriately named Swiss Hütte, a 14-room inn and restaurant serving international cuisine that is owned and operated by Swiss-born chef Gert Alper and wife Cindy.
289 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230
When Emily Carlotta goes out to dinner, she recognizes people by their feet. “I think, ‘I helped them get those boots – I knew they’d like them!’” Carlotta is the store manager and buyer at Barrington Outfitters at 289 Main Street in Great Barrington, and she loves where she works.
Brothers Richard and Peter Drucker founded Barrington Outfitters in
The Chef's Shop
31 Railroad Street, Great Barrington
(413) 528 0135
Like any good entrepreneur, Rob Navarino loves what he does and does not mind taking a plunge. Owner of The Chef’s Shop on Railroad Street in Great Barrington, Navarino “always knew” that he wanted to have his own business. In 1991, after “paying his dues” in the corporate world, he snatched an opportunity to fulfill his dream, and started a little store he originally
864 S. Undermountain Road (Rte 41) Sheffield, MA
(413) 229 8585
Nestled ’neath the shadow of Race Mountain, the Stagecoach Tavern is tucked beneath layers of history. Few places in Berkshire County have served as a “watering hole” longer than this tavern on Route 41 in Sheffield, and few have accumulated as much character. The oldest parts of the low-slung tavern date back to the early 1770s, while the grand brick “Coach House”
258 Stockbridge Rd. Great Barrington
31 Main Street, Stockbridge
By traditional Berkshire reckoning, Home Sweet Home Doughnut Shoppe is a newcomer. Owners Debbie and John Scalia are transplants from Enfield, Connecticut, and their Doughnut Shoppe at 258 Stockbridge Road (Route 7) in Great Barrington has not yet been open five years. But this new arrival has had no problem integrating into the community. In fact, the
“All of our local businesses should trade in BerkShares,” says Catherine Chester, an attorney at Hellman Shearn & Arienti LLP. In her view, BerkShares help to combat one of the main challenges that face the Berkshires. “We have an aging and a
On a weekend trip to the Berkshires in 2012, Jeffrey Blaugrund entered a tried-and-true recipe from his New Mexico roots into a chili cook off at the then Meat Market in Great Barrington. To his surprise, and perhaps the dismay of some local contestants, his Carne Adovada dish won! At the suggestion that he begin selling the red chile pork stew, Jeff became consumed by the idea of starting a business.
Moonlighting as a Crossfit coach, Jeff loved the routine and convenience of prepared meals that allowed him to maintain his fitness goals and made for quick desk lunches during his busy day. In thinking through his business idea, he realized that it’s not one great product that makes a business, but rather “the value proposition of quality sourcing, thoughtful cooking and a convenient, delicious result.” Enter Braise Worthy: a line of frozen meals that Jeff and co-founder Austin Banach say are “exactly what you want to eat when you don’t have time.”
These aren’t your grandpa’s TV dinners. Anyone who has ever braised anything knows the cooking process can take hours to develop flavors and tenderize meats. They'll also know it tastes best after a night in the refrigerator, so all meals are flash frozen immediately after production to preserve freshness and taste. Each of Braise Worthy’s meals showcase locally sourced high quality ingredients, masterful cooking, and creative recipe development. From the Beef Satsivi, a regional specialty from the Republic of Georgia, Mississippi Pot Roast with pepperoncinis and homemade ranch dressing, to the vegan Menudo that calls upon mushrooms to replicate the texture of tripe in the classic Mexican soup, Braise Worthy’s products respectfully honor the tradition of each dish while bringing it new life.
Braise Worthy has a unique business model, too. Through a direct-to-consumer subscription service, meals are delivered weekly to three pick up locations throughout the southern Berkshires. Jeff and Austin say this format gives them flexibility when it comes to research and development while sustainably scaling their business operations. In addition to feeding the masses at community events, their baby blue taco truck can be seen traveling around the county acting as a testing ground for new recipes. Braise Worthy will soon be releasing 7 more dishes, offering a total of 16 omnivorous and vegan menu items.
Fundamental to Braise Worthy’s commitment to quality and consistency, is transparency. That’s why each batch of their slow cooked meals includes an ingredient tracker that allows customers to see exactly where their food is coming from. Jeff and Austin source their proteins and vegetables from local farms as much as possible, including fellow BerkShares businesses North Plain Farm and Mayflower Farm. The same commitment to transparency is why they decided to take BerkShares. BerkShares distinguish local businesses from global counterparts and makes visible how money circulates in the region. As they continue to iterate and grow, Jeff and Austin look forward to deepening their connection to the local economy and community.