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Biz Briefs: New Jersey Brothers Purchase Elm Street Market
02:22PM / Monday, February 05, 2018
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The Elm Street Market, owned and operated by Main Street Hospitality, has been a local favorite and community staple for more than 20 years.

Changing hands

Main Street Hospitality has sold Elm Street Market to Verson, Inc., headed by brothers Rajesh and Rajeev Verma from New Jersey. New management took over operation of the market immediately when the sale was completed on Jan. 19.

The Elm Street Market, owned and operated by Main Street Hospitality, has been a local favorite and community staple for more than 20 years. "We stopped at Elm Street Market on our way to visit my son at college and immediately fell in love with the restaurant and Stockbridge," Rajesh Verma said. "The market is a strong community anchor and we intend to keep it that way, building on its existing strength and evolving its local food offerings over time."

Verson, Inc. is a family-owned business that owns and operates a group of deli and catering shops in New York City. Verma plans to keep the current staff while adding more prepared foods to the menu. 


Working it

Southwestern Vermont Health Care has been named one of the 2018's Best Places to Work for the fourth year in a row. SVHC received the honor for the first time in 2015. It remains the only hospital to be recognized by the awards program. This statewide program is operated by Vermont Business Magazine and the Vermont Chamber of Commerce with partnership from the Society for Human Resource Management, the Vermont Department of Labor, and the Vermont Department of Economic Development. The program surveys and identifies the best places of employment to recognize organizations that benefit the state's economy, its workforce and businesses.

In addition to the Vermont Business Magazine honor, SVHC has also appeared on Becker's Hospital Review's national list of the "Top 150 Places to Work in Healthcare" since 2016. Both Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, SVHC's hospital, and the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, SVHC's skilled nursing facility, have been awarded the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' 5-star rating, and in 2017, the hospital received the American Nurses Credentialing Center's top honor, the Magnet Prize.

The final rankings for each category of the Best Places to Work in Vermont awards will be announced at a special awards presentation in early spring 2018. A listing of SVHC’s open positions and other workplace information can be found at online.


Nonprofit awards

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires is launching an annual awards program to recognize people who work tirelessly in the nonprofit sector to serve the Berkshire community. The NPC will present the first Berkshire Nonprofit Awards breakfast on Tuesday, May 22, from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Country Club of Pittsfield.

Nominations are being solicited from across the Berkshires in seven categories:  Executive Leadership, Board Member, Super Staffer, Unsung Hero, Volunteer, Rising Star and Lifetime Achievement. Finalists and winners will be selected by a committee of business leaders. The nomination form is now available online. The deadline for submissions is March 31.

The NPC is currently seeking sponsors for this celebratory event. To date, major support comes from The Berkshire Eagle with additional support from Berkshire Bank as well as Adelson & Co., Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and Lee Bank. Founded in 2016, the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires serves as a clearinghouse for information, helping nonprofits connect, learn and grow. The NPC has over 70 members.


Mixed bag for business

Berkshire Money Management has released the results from the most recent Berkshire Business Confidence Index surveys. The surveys, which were sent to nearly 4,000 businesses countywide, contained questions about strength of sales annually, cost increases and/or decreases, and inventory levels.

The Berkshire BCI for this most recent quarter is 56.4, up slightly from the last survey's 55.6, signaling continued optimism among local business and organization leaders. While this number is heartening, what is most concerning, according to BMM founder and Chief Investment Officer Allen Harris, is the number of respondents who are looking to retire and offload their businesses within the next five years.

The impact of these numbers is significant, both to the local economy as well as to business owners looking to retire soon, but with no exit strategy in place to guarantee a quality of life after a major sale, if such a sale even occurs. To see the complete results of the most recent Berkshire BCI survey, go online. If you are a business owner and would like to be put on the mailing list for future BCI surveys and information, please contact Harris by email.


Growing again

Berkshire Hills Bancorp reported that fourth quarter pre-tax income grew by 82 percent to $19.5 million in 2017 compared to $10.7 million in the prior year. This improvement was due to business development and the benefit of mergers, including Worcester-based Commerce Bancshares Corp. which was acquired on October 13, 2017.

Net income after-tax was impacted by an $18 million non-core charge to income tax expense resulting from federal tax reform enacted near year-end. This reform is expected to benefit future earnings due to a lower statutory federal tax rate beginning in 2018. Net income after-tax totaled $55 million in 2017 compared to $59 million in 2016.


Thanks for the gift

Community Health Programs has received a $5,000 donation from the Massachusetts Bankers Association Charitable Foundation to support CHP’s health care and family support services in Berkshire County. CHP was nominated for the award by MountainOne, the Berkshire-based financial services company.

The foundation, supported by the 150 member banks of the MBA throughout Massachusetts and New England, distributed the grants over eight geographic regions in Massachusetts in late 2017.

Community Health Programs, with 10 practice locations throughout the Berkshires, is federally qualified health care network serving approximately 34,000 Berkshire region adults and children with primary care, women’s health care, dental care, physical therapy, vision care and nutrition services. CHP Family Services reaches parents and children in Southern Berkshire County with parent-child networking, education, and the South Berkshire WIC nutrition program. CHP accepts all patients, regardless of ability to pay, and accepts all forms of public and private health insurance.


Bank investments

Adams Community Bank has announced investments in its employees, customers, and the Berkshire community following the recent passage of federal tax reform legislation.  

These investments include paying a special one-time bonus of $1,000 to full-time employees and $500 to part-time employees, focused on those employees making below a certain compensation threshold; increasing base pay by $1 per hour for regular non-officer employees making below a certain compensation threshold; raising the minimum wage to $13.25; reducing the employee's share of medical and dental insurance premiums from 30 percent to 20 percent for all bank employees who are not officers; and increasing interest rates on customer deposit products beginning in January.

In addition, during 2018 Adams Community Bank will be upgrading its website, ATMs and streamlining account-opening processes. Finally, the bank anticipates having more money to use for its long-standing goal of donating 10 percent of net income each year to local charitable and nonprofit initiatives.

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