2015 February

It is important to let your friends, neighbors and customers know what a fiber network could mean to your business.

Several of the towns in our region have the opportunity to participate in the building of a regional fiber-optic network through WiredWest and MBI (the Massachusetts logoBroadband Institute, a state agency). This fiber network will connect all of the homes and businesses in the participating towns and will offer robust, high-speed internet, telephone and video services. WiredWest, a cooperative of 40+ small Western Massachusetts towns, will oversee the operation of the network once built, ensuring local control (and the creation of local jobs).

The Commonwealth has allocated $40M in public funds to help pay part of the construction costs of the regional network. The rest of the cost will need to be financed by the towns, although if the subscription rate is high enough, the network will be able to generate enough revenue to return money to the towns to cover some (or perhaps even all) of the debt service. With a sufficient subscription rate, the network would be effectively free to the towns, with no increase to the local tax rate.

What does this mean to our local businesses? A fiber network is critical infrastructure to expand the economic base of our communities. It is an enabler for small businesses and for tele-workers. It will increase home and property values. It will help attract and retain younger families, which can help counter our aging population demographics and declining school enrollments. Although Verizon DSL currently serves parts of some of our towns, DSL is not nearly as fast as fiber and is delivered over the aging copper wires that currently support our landline phones. And there is no guarantee that DSL will be around forever. There is much speculation about Verizon's long-term commitment to copper-based services, including DSL.

Which towns are participating? In the GSFABA membership area, the towns of Ashfield, Charlemont, Colrain, Hawley, Heath, Plainfield and Rowe are eligible to participate in the regional fiber network. Towns with internet service through Comcast (Buckland, Conway and Shelburne) are participating in a separate program to expand Comcast service to unserved parts of those towns. Together, these two initiatives will cover all of the GSFABA membership area.

How can businesses lead the way? Towns will be asking residents and businesses this Spring to pre-subscribe for internet service and to put down a refundable $49 deposit (to be applied to the first month's bill). Towns need to achieve a 40% pre-subscription rate to demonstrate sufficient demand. These pre-subscriptions do not have to come just from homeowners. Businesses count towards the 40%. And landlords can pre-subscribe for rental properties. A town's pre-subscription rate will also impact the build-out schedule for the network - the higher it is above 40%, the better.

It is also critically important to let your friends, neighbors and customers know what a fiber network could mean to your business. Towns will need to pass borrowing authorizations at town meeting this year in order to fund their participation in the network. Many people do not realize how many different kinds of businesses today depend on reliable, high-speed telecommunications. Economic growth is a partnership between growing our businesses and growing our local customer base, a virtuous cycle of prosperity.

Watching for mailings from your town with pre-subscription forms. Speak out about the importance of fiber networking to our future. With the state contributing $40M to help finance this regional network, this is the right time for us to make this investment.

For more information, see the WiredWest web site ( which includes a list of delegates from each town, or you can call Bob Handsaker (Charlemont) at 339-0232.

Sponsored by the Great Shelburne Falls Area Business Association

John Baldwin of Stepping Stone Accounts will be presenting free monthly (if there is interest) QuickBooks and Accounting seminars. The first introductory presentation will bedownload “How QuickBooks does Basic Accounting ” Your time is better spent on managing your business, so here is an opportunity to learn basic accounting techniques and use QuickBooks to maximize the effort you spend on your bookkeeping.

Day: March 23 2015 Time: 9:00am to 10:00

Location: Greenfield Savings Bank Conference Room – Shelburne Falls

Link to sign-up:

We would like to recognize and thank several GSFABA members and residents for spending their Sunday morning removing the overhead holiday lights in the Village. If you

DSC03290 800x600see any of theses individuals, please say "thank you" for contributing their time and efforts.

John Taylor and family, Blackmer Insurance
Skip Hopkins, Lanoue Tree & Landscape Service
Chris King, Mocha Maya's
Alex Brown, Mocha Maya's
Laurie Wheeler, Arms Library
Anthony Moffatt

Applications Available

The Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association (GSFABA) is seeking applications from local students This scholarship award is intended to support a graduating senior with a strong interest in pursuing a career in business or related field, e.g. marketing, trade, agriculture, engineering, and more. The student will have demonstrated an interest in business and have an entrepreneurial spirit. The $500 scholarship will be used to help the student continue his/her education through an accredited continuing education course or a college or university.

To qualify the applicant must be a resident of one of the ten towns served by the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association (Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Conway, Colrain, Hawley, Heath, Plainfield, Shelburne and Rowe), a graduating senior, and have maintained good academic standing throughout high school.

Applications are available at school guidance offices, your local town hall, or a PDF version of the application can be downloaded at, or request a copy by email at Applications must be submitted to the student’s school guidance office or the GSFABA office by April 1, 2015.

Seeking Nominations

The Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association (GSFABA) is now seeking nominations for the 2015 Marvin J. Shippee Community Service Award to be given to a deserving individual or group at the Annual GSFABA Spring Breakfast on Friday, May 1, 2015. Anyone is welcome to submit a nomination. Those making nominations should not assume that the Award Committee knows the nominee.

Nomination forms can be downloaded at and should be sent to the GSFABA, P.O. Box 42, Shelburne, MA 01370 or email to no later than April 5, 2015.

Please go to for more information.

Become a Business Sponsor & Support the Local Arts

This year we are celebrating our 9th anniversary in Shelburne Falls, and for the second year in a row we have the opportunity to bring an exciting professional guest artist heremicaela to our community. Flamenco dancer Micaela Paule, director of Micaela y Fiesta Flamenca of New Orleans, will be in residence for a week in May, culminating in her performance in Ballet Renversé’s 9th Annual Spring Recital on May 29th. The program, including residency and recital, is entitled “Many Cultures, Diversity in Dance,” and will take place at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School. It will serve as a resource for Buckland-Shelburne Elementary as well as Colrain Central and Mohawk, and the performance is free and open to the public.

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Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 6:00 PM at the Shelburne / Buckland Community Center

This premier fund-raising event will auction over 100 items ranging from certificates from local businesses to items produced by renowned local artisans.

By making a donation to the 19th Annual Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association (GSFABA) Auction you have an opportunity to showcase your product and/or Art Walkservices that your business provides.

For your generous donation, your business will be listed in the event program and on If you would like to make a donation, please email Wanda Mooney.

The 19th Annual GSFABA Auction will be held on Saturday, March 28, 2015 starting at 6:00 PM at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center located at 53 Main Street in Shelburne Falls, MA. Hors d'oeuvres will be prepared by Elmer's Store. A cash bar will be available. Tickets are ONLY $10 per person. Tickets at the door will be $15 per person.

To make reservations for the 19th Annual GSFABA Auction, please mail checks to the GSFABA office at P.O. Box 42, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370. Cash payments can be made at the GSFABA office located at 75 Bridge Street, Shelburne Falls. Credit card payments can be made in person or by calling 413-625-2526.

If you have questions or need additional information please contact the GSFABA office at 413-625-2526 or email

Seeking Vendors

Franklin County Chamber of Commerce and the Greenfield Business Association are excited to present the 34th year of the county's lifestyle tradeshow!unnamed

This year we'll be moving to Indoor Action Sports on Bernardston Road in Greenfield on April 18 & 19 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. both days. As always, we'll highlight the businesses, products, leisure services, and information available in the greater Franklin County area through the trade show format. We'll continue our popular workshop series on both days; see the application to find out how you can host a workshop.

Get a 10% discount off booth space if you register and pay by February 27.

Vendor applications can be downloaded at the website. Applications can be picked up in person at 395 Main Street, Greenfield or mailed by request, call (413) 773-5463. Questions, email

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