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Biz Briefs: Wild Oats Celebrates 35 Years As Cooperative in Williamstown
02:13PM / Monday, December 11, 2017
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Even when the weather outside is frightful, Wild Oats has been delightful for 35 years.

35 and counting

Wild Oats is seen in 1982 when it first opened as a retail store in Colonial Shopping Center.

Wild Oats Market, a cooperatively owned natural foods grocery store, bakery and cafe, will celebrate 35 years as a cooperative, community-owned business on Saturday, Dec. 16, in conjunction with Owner-Appreciation Day. The main event will be a cake cutting at 3:35 p.m., but the celebration will go on all day with vendor demos throughout the day, including Maplebrook Farm, Hop2o, Heritage Cider and Niman Ranch.

The hot bar, salad bar, sandwich bar and soup will be 35 percent off for all shoppers that day and a small coffee will be just 35 cents There will also be specials on beer and wine. Since the event is happening in conjunction with Owner Appreciation Day, member-owners will save 5 percent on all purchases that day.

"In an age of intense competition from big box stores, conventional grocers and online retailers, it's no minor feat for a small, local business to be marking 35 years of serving the community," said David Durfee, general manager of Wild Oats. "It's a testament to both the cooperative ownership model and our focus on being a local market in a way that a chain or online store could never be. We source our local products from within 100 miles of the store, and our customers know that when they buy a local apple, local beef or local maple syrup they are benefiting a farmer or producer who is part of the community and supporting the local economy."

Beginning as a cooperative buying club in 1975, Wild Oats Market opened its first retail store in 1982 in the Colonial Shopping Center in Williamstown with 100 cooperative owners. Those numbers grew steadily over the years as more and more people became interested in local, organic food and sustainable living. Today, in its present location on Main Street, the co-op boasts more than 1,500 owners.


Carr in Top 10

Carr Hardware, announced last month as making it to the quarterfinals of the ational small business movement "Independent We Stand," has been notified they have now made it to the top 10. The winner will be announced later this month.

"This year's top ten list represents the independent businesses from across the country who go above and beyond to support their local economies," said Bill Brunelle, co-founder of Independent We Stand. "This award is our way of honoring the contributions they've made to their communities."

Carr Hardware is the only hardware store left in the running and the only business chosen from New England. American’s cast votes for 249 nominees during the nominations phase. If Carr Hardware does receive the Indie Award, its owners have committed to donating 100 percent of the cash proceeds ($5,000) toward the "Build the New Splash Park" project in Pittsfield.


Better to give

Berkshire Bank has launched its sixth "Season of Giving," the company's annual initiative to assist children and families in need during the holiday season. The campaign runs through the end of the holiday season and engages more than 300 company employees from across the country in a variety of community service projects, all of which benefit nonprofit organizations in the footprint where the bank and its subsidiaries conduct business operations.
Highlights and regions for the more than 60 activities include collecting and distributing gifts for the Salvation Army’s Holiday program in Pittsfield, preparing meals for homebound individuals with the Bennington Eagles in Bennington, Vt., and assembling holiday gift baskets for the Arlington Food Shelf in Manchester, Vt.

In addition to local volunteer efforts, Berkshire Bank invites the general public to participate in the initiative through You Give Goods, a virtual collection web site where individuals may purchase goods online for selected nonprofit organizations through Dec. 15 This year, the online efforts are focused on collecting food for Feeding America, basic needs items for the American Red Cross, toys for Toys for Tots, and animal care items for the Humane Society of the United States. Purchases are 100 percent tax deductible and items are shipped directly to the organizations.
Berkshire Bank Foundation, the charitable arm of Berkshire Bank, also plans to contribute grants to local nonprofit organizations serving those in need this holiday season.


The old and the new

Berkshire Money Management, an independent investment advisory firm, is opening its doors - and its walls and floor space - to artists from the Berkshires and beyond. The firm invites submissions of two and three-dimensional original artwork for a one-night, group exhibit titled "New Art in an Old Building," to be held on Friday, January 19 at the Model Farm on Main Street.

The historic, 19th century property has undergone extensive renovation, and is now the new headquarters for the firm. Berkshire Money Management founder and CEO Allen Harris, himself an art collector, sees the 15-room estate as a perfect canvas to showcase art in all mediums. "The renovations for the building were extensive, taking about six months to complete. And while the process and the move was exciting, I am most eager to see new art displayed in our space,” Allen said. "Whether it was a new initiative like ArtsWalk, or the Paintbox Project, or supporting long-lasting venues such as Tanglewood and Jacob's Pillow, we have worked hard to be a good cultural neighbor to our community. Now we're hoping to be a good host to the creative work of living artists."

The show is open to all artists—video installation, sculpture, soundscape, painting--and submissions can be sent digitally by email with the subject line "New Art in an Old Building." Works need to be displayed free standing, on pedestals or easels, and must be ready for display by Jan. 18. Up to six pieces may be submitted by any individual. The deadline for submissions is Dec. 23 at 5 p.m. Artists whose work is selected will be notified by Dec. 31.


Celebrating 10 years

Greylock Insurance Agency, a subsidiary of Greylock Federal Credit Union, is celebrating its 10th year in Great Barrington. The Great Barrington office opened in 2007 and was Greylock Insurance's sixth location, making it the only truly county-wide insurance network in the Berkshires. The full service insurance agency, operating at 325 Stockbridge Road, offers a full array of auto, homeowners, life and commercial insurance.

The office has been managed since its opening by Jessica Havens, a Greylock Insurance Agency account manager who started her career as a teller at Greylock 14 years ago when the Credit Union opened its Great Barrington branch.

GIA's five other offices are located in: Adams, 2 Park St.; North Adams, 66 Main St. (moving soon to 131 Ashland St.); Pittsfield locations at 150 West St. and 5 Cheshire Road (Allendale Shopping Center); and 552 Main St., Williamstown.

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