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Biz Briefs: Downtown Window Decoration Contest Winners Announced
01:38PM / Monday, December 05, 2016
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The Berkshire Emporium won the downtown window contest.

87 Main St. winning windows.

107 Main St. winning windows.

The winners are ...: The Berkshire Emporium was voted the winner of the Holiday Window Decorating Contest sponsored by the North Adams Chamber of Commerce for its multi-window display featuring various rooms throughout Santa's North Pole home. The Berkshire Emporium will receive a gift certificate with the Mohawk Soaring club for a one-month membership and flight with an instructor in the spring.

Of the six participating volunteer groups that decorate empty storefronts, there was a tie between the North Adams Farmers Market Committee windows at 87 Main St. and the St. Elizabeth's Youth Group windows at 107 Main St. Those groups will split the volunteer group cash prize of $100 provided by the North Adams Chamber of Commerce.

Free ATM: Greylock Federal Credit Union has joined the CU24 ATM network, adding 29,000 surcharge-free terminals for its cardholders. The affiliation with CU24 will complement the existing relationship the credit union has with the CO-OP ATM network, which has 30,000 surcharge-free terminals already available to Greylock cardholders.

CU24 has convenient locations across the country. As with the CO-OP ATM network, CU24 provides an ATM Locator available in a downloadable app, as well as locator online.

Bank merger: Berkshire Hills Bancorp has completed the acquisition of First Choice Bank and the merger of First Choice Bank into Berkshire Bank, effective at the close of business on Dec. 2. As a result of this merger, First Choice Loan Services Inc. has become a wholly-owned operating subsidiary of Berkshire Bank.
Berkshire issued approximately 4.4 million common shares as merger consideration in the stock for stock exchange detailed in the merger agreement. The total stock consideration is valued at approximately $150 million. Additionally, Berkshire paid cash totaling approximately $0.7 million to holders of First Choice options and warrants. Including the new shares issued, Berkshire's outstanding common stock has increased to approximately 35.5 million shares, resulting in a market capitalization of approximately $1.2 billion.
With this acquisition, Berkshire adds eight bank branches in the areas of Princeton, N.J., and Greater Philadelphia and First Choice Loan Services, a best in class mortgage banking business originating loans across a national platform. This merger adds approximately $1 billion in assets, will benefit Berkshire's capital and liquidity metrics and is book value accretive.

Just a taste: William Pitt Sotheby's International Realty's Great Barrington brokerage hosted a restaurant crawl on Nov. 19 titled "Taste and Toast," to raise money for local charities. The community event took place in downtown Great Barrington, where several restaurants offered a sampling of food and cocktails with the purchase of a $35 ticket. All proceeds benefited the charities.

Local charities included Charley’s Fund-Fighting Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy; Construct, an organization supporting housing in the community for over 40 years; the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center; and Extra Special Teas, a community-inspired tea house designed to provide opportunity and bring people with "extra special needs" together.

Participants checked in on the day of the event at the firm’s Great Barrington brokerage, and proceeded to the restaurant stops, which included GB Eats, Castle Street Cafe, the Well Restaurant & Bar, Fuel, Extra Special Teas and Siam Square for small appetizers and a cocktail. Some eateries offered desserts and tea.

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