It’s been a busy month around here!  
We held a fabulous Business After Hours event at Greenfield Savings Bank on Wednesday, February 15, with a great presentation by Karen Cartier on email fraud prevention!  These networking events bring members together from a wide range of disciplines who meet new people, network, and discover new business connections. Don’t miss the next one on March 16 at the Greenfield Cooperative Bank.

On February 11, we held our first Fabulous February Fringe Festival.  Over 100 people attended events throughout the day including the Women’s Film Festival, the announcement of our second round of HATCH (Hilltown Arts and Thriving Community Happenings) artists, and the first ever Shad Ladder Radio presentation.  Each event was met with thunderous applause and tremendous support! It was a great day and the start of something big for West County Arts & Culture!

In late January, I attended a workshop convened by the Massachusetts Downtown Initiative through the Mass. Dept. of Housing and Community Development.  We spent the day learning about new initiatives, study findings, and innovative practices that will keep commercial centers alive and thriving. In this post, I want to share with you some of the trends and findings I learned about at that meeting.

According to 2016 studies, consumer confidence is up and retail and restaurant sales are expected to increase 3.7% in 2017.  Researchers predict significant restaurant growth, particularly in the" grab and go" options attractive to millennials, who comprise 25% of the market segment. Baby boomers are another 25% of the market segment and 1,000 boomers will be retiring EVERY DAY between now and 2019.

Trends in consumer tastes point toward an uptick in the desire for “experiential shopping;” people are looking for places to connect with other people in their shopping and eating adventures. Good news for our smaller commercial enterprises that offer opportunities to connect in creative ways.  Examples of how to provide this experiential effect include sidewalk cafes, music and art options in the mix, and places to mingle and connect throughout the commercial center.  Walkability is a big plus with shade, places to sit, and attractive shop windows.

Another prediction: self-driving cars are expected to take off (no pun intended) in the next five years. Use of these vehicles may change the way we think about transportation and impact parking decisions. Imagine your driverless car dropping you off, driving to park in outlying areas, and then retrieving you on command after shopping!  

Growth industries include wellness, sharing economy enterprises (rent/reuse/recycle), and again, restaurants. Today, 46% of people will venture into a new town or neighborhood to try a new restaurant – more than any other reason (to attend cultural events, shop, or recreation).  

There was a lot more information at the workshop that I’ll share in the coming months - next month: ideas on how to stay competitive as the internet – retail’s “invisible competitor” -- continues to grab market share.  

Happy almost Spring!  


Are you taking advantage of the latest in business services?
Come for a short presentation by Jim Alexander, Vice President of Commercial Lending at Greenfield Cooperative Bank, to find out if you are!
Thursday, March 16, 5-7 PM
Greenfield Cooperative Bank
33 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls
All are invited!
$5 for GSFABA Members | $8 for non-members
The Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association (GSFABA) created a new 501c3 subsidiary, WEST COUNTY ARTS & CULTURE (WCAC) in 2016. It was formed to promote the many vibrant arts and culture initiatives in our region that are a vital part of our economy and quality of life. The  organization creates opportunities for the GSFABA to create programming and new funding to support the Creative Economy, an important part of our mission.
The mission of WCAC is to produce and/or present arts and cultural programs, such as Hilltown Arts and Thriving Community Happenings (HATCH).   Also, WCAC may produce and/or support educational programs about sustainability, ecology, and heritage.
The board of directors of GSFABA will serve as the board for the new organization, which holds monthly board meetings.
Email or call 413-625-2526.

Saturday, April 8, 2017 at 6 PM
Shelburne-Buckland Community Center

Donate an Item to the Auction:
Advertise your business while supporting the arts and culture initiatives of the GSFABA!
New this year: The Auction is produced by West County Arts & Culture, so your donations are tax deductible!

Download the Auction Donation Form.
Complete the above form and send to:
P.O. Box 42, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
Donated items must be arranged to be picked up or delivered to:
Greenfield Savings Bank, 58 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls
by March 10
Attend the Auction:
Tickets are on sale now!
Tickets include entry, 1 free drink ticket, hors d'oeuvres, and dessert.
$15 in advance | $20 at the door
Call 413-625-2526 or email 
to make your reservation today.
Proceeds benefit West County Arts & Culture.
Call for Caterer:
GSFABA is looking for a caterer for the Auction to serve hors d'oeuvres and desserts. Must be ServSafe certified. Contact or 413-625-2526.

Are you having any upcoming special events, promotions, or workshops? Have you recently opened or remodeled? Or do you just want to get your business name out there?

Be a Featured Business!

The GSFABA will highlight one business every few weeks on the homepages of both websites ( & Your featured profile will include contact information, a few sentences about your business, a photo of your choice, and any other information you wish to include such as sales, classes, or events.

To be a featured business, fill out our online request form here.

It's time to order your 2017 Place Map ad. After many years of creating this beautiful map, Susan Wyant has decided to pass the torch on. We are excited to be working with Phyllis Labanowski and The Art Garden's Jane Beatrice Wegscheider on this year's map. Jane and Phyllis are hard at work to create a new, spectacular map that will grab attention and draw customers to advertising businesses.
Are you having trouble with mail merges, label-making, or setting up a social media page? Are you unsure what a hashtag is or how to use it? 
Shira, Project Coordinator at the GSFABA, is ready to help you with your daily technological and web needs! 
Ask Shira about:
  • Social Media
  • Email
  • Website set-up and maintenance
  • Microsoft Office
  • Google for businesses
  • Marketing materials/printing
  • Other- if she doesn't know the answer, she will help you find it!
Call Shira at 413-625-2526 or
to ask questions or make an appointment.

We need amazing people like YOU to help us with upcoming events and operations in the office. Here are some ways you can get involved and support us, supporting you!

Fabulous February Fringe Festival, Sat., Feb. 11
  • Set up/Clean up
  • Popcorn Poppers/Servers
  • Door ticket sales
21st Annual Auction, Sat. April 8
Day Before the Auction (Fri. April 7):
  • Pick up beer, wine, soda, water, ice, coolers, cups/glasses, and bottle openers, and deliver to auction site.
  • Move physical donations from storage to auction site.
  • Pick up and deliver sound system to the site.
  • Site set up: Set up of tables and chairs at the auction site; set out live and silent auctions on tables. Set up sound system.
Evening of the Auction:
  • Sell beer, wine, soda, and water
  • Hold up and walk items around during the live auction
  • Move through the crowd, selling 50-50 raffle tickets.
  • Clean up: Trash removal, breakdown of tables, chairs, and sound equipment, and anything else to leave the room better than we found it.
Iron Bridge Dinner, Sun. Aug. 20
  • Set up/Clean up
  • Beer/Wine Servers
  • ​Plate food
Office Cleaner, Monthly
We are seeking someone to come to the office at 75 Bridge St in Shelburne Falls once a month to do some light cleaning:
  • Vacuum the floors and stairs
  • Dust​​​​​​​
GSFABA Committees
Join one of our committees and be an active part of the association. Committees meet one morning a month. Email for more information.
If you can help with any of these tasks, please email
Thank you in advance for your time and support!

We know Christmas is over, but we didn't quite get everything on our list. Check your basements and closets for your old office stuff and let us give it a new home. We are looking for:

  • Small filing cabinet on wheels
  • Mini Fridge
  • Shelves
  • Office Dividers
  • Shredder
  • Desk Speakers
  • Locking file cabinet
  • Wireless Keyboard
  • Office Desks
Give us a call if you have any of these items and we will gladly come take them off your hands!
Cavalier Cottage Bed & Breakfast owner, Patricia Butterfield, was awarded Superhost status by AirBnB this year. Superhosts are experienced hosts who provide a shining example for other hosts, and extraordinary experiences for their guests. 
  • River front office
  • 2 huge windows
  • Hardwood floors
  • Exposed brick walls 
  • 12' x 18'
  • Use of kitchen and waiting room
    Rent is $310 and includes all utilities.
    Contact Michael GW (413) 625-8300
Existing small businesses can apply for up to $10,000 under the program and receive a decision on the application in 48 hours and cash in hand within a week. 
With Common Capital, there's no chance of risk, fraud, scams or other problems that can arise in online lending. And of course, all borrowers are entitled to receive no-cost business assistance services from Common Capital staff and consultants in the areas of accounting, marketing, human resources and financial planning.
Here are the details on Fast Track:
Interest rate: Between 5 to 8 percent, 2 percent closing fee
Loan terms: 6 to 42 months
Eligibility: Must be an existing business; no start-ups 
People can also APPLY online using the secure online application.  
If you have any questions, contact: 
Michael Abbate | Chief Operating Officer
(413) 420-0183 x102
Dear Friends ~
 I am writing to tell you about a brand new adventure at Sowing Solutions – a community hub for ecological living and learning– and to request your support to make this vision a reality!
Sowing Solutions provides ecological garden design and maintenance services to homeowners and land stewards, helping to create landscapes that are more productive, beautiful, and healthy.  Sowing Solutions also offers a Permaculture Design Certification Course twice a year to guide people in ecological design for abundant landscapes and thriving communities.  
We are now creating a comfortable meeting place for classes, workshops, film screenings, meditations, and community events dedicated to promoting ecologically mindful lifestyle choices. It will be a place where people are welcome to peruse our extensive library, access detailed resources, form personal connections, and view design examples. You are welcome to drop in and gather guidance about how to make your home and landscape more productive, resilient, and healthy.
We have recently launched an Indiegogo Fundraiser Campaign, and it will run through mid-April.  Please consider sharing this announcement or donating to our new community hub located in downtown Shelburne Falls:

 At this link, you can see all of the 'perks' that we appreciatively offer to thank you for your sponsorship. Many perks will be:
  •  Attendance at our Evening Events (such as: A seed swap, Viewing of the film 'Inhabit, A Permaculture Perspective', Fermentation demonstrations, Workshops for planting native pollinator habitat, etc.) 
  • Or ~ Attendance at our Full Day Events (such as: Growing gourmet mushrooms, Designing your garden with annual and perennial vegetables, Creating a rain garden, etc.)
In this environmental climate, I am ever more aware of the need to foster connections in our local communities. I am inspired to create more opportunities and jobs for others, to further share the knowledge and skills that we at Sowing Solutions have gathered thus far, and to be of benefit to our community.

Kay Aihla McGrenaghan Cafasso
~ Director of Sowing Solutions Permaculture Design & Education
~ Certified Permaculture Designer & Instructor
- Ecological Planning & Garden Design Services
- Permaculture Design Certification Courses

Our New Address is #8 Deerfield Ave (down by the river, next door to the fitness center)

"Let the beauty of what you love be what you do."  -Rumi
Anthony Dunne, Executive Producer at WGBY-TV, interviewed several people from the community for a story about the Historic Sweetheart Restaurant, a landmark of Shelburne Falls. Click here to view the nostalgic history piece he produced for the "Gone But Not Forgotten" series on their nightly magazine show, Connecting Point.
The Shelburne Cultural Council approved for funding 30 projects in its 2017 grant cycle, amounting to a total of $5,175. The awarded grants range from $50 to $700. The Council received 40 applications requesting a total of $11,834. Tentative dates are included but please check the relevant websites and calendars for actual event or performance dates.
Bridge of Flowers Crosswalk Project (Spring & Summer 2017)
Community Exhibits at The Art Garden (Winter, Spring/Summer, Fall 2017)
Mary Lyon Foundation’s Big Read Author Talk, Luis Urrea  (April 11 & 12, 2017)
Memorial Hall Association’s Footlights at the Falls Presents (Fall 2017)
Mohawk Trail Concerts, Music at the Arms (Oct 2016 - Feb 2017)
The Art Garden Hilltown Draw-Around (April 2017)
John Porcino’s Fairy Tale Reader Theater at Buckland-Shelburne School (Spring 2017)
Buckland Historical Society, Colonial Buckland at the Wilder Homestead (Spring 2017)
Rona Leventhal’s History Alive (February - March 2017)
Piti Theatre Company’s SYRUP: One Sweet Performing Arts Festival (March 18, 2017)
Pioneer Valley Symphony’s Education Program and Concert (Spring 2017)
Charlemont Forum 2017 (Summer 2017)
Racial Justice Rising Programs (monthly 2017)
Meadowedge Art, Readers as Artists (June 2017)
Ashfield Community Theater's spring play (May-June 2017)
The Collected Poets Series 2017 Season (February-December 2017)
Pothole Pictures Film Series (Spring 2017)
Learn Ukulele with Julie Stepanek (April 4, 2017)
Transportation for Musica Franklin After-School Program (Spring 2017)
Emma Musante’s Youth Curated Community Art Show Exploring Visual (February 2017)
Franklin Land Trust’s Winter Tracking Workshop (Winter 2017)
Heath Fair Music (August 18-20, 2017)
Arms Library’s Imagine That: Celebrating Reading (Spring 2017)
Double Edge Theatre’s The Hilltown Spectacle (July - August 2017)
Hilltown Families’ Learn Local, Play Local 2017
Ann Hutt Browning Poetry Series (Spring 2017)
Shelburne Grange Fair (August 17, 2017)
Beginner Drawing Class at Shelburne Center (January - February 2017)
Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival (March - April 2017)
Concert of Irish Music at Shelburne Senior Center (March 22, 2017)
“We were very pleased with the overall quality of the 2017 applications that our Council received,” reports Chairperson Constance Clarke. “Guided by our priorities to encourage local venues, innovation and collaboration, this list of grants reflects a rich variety of programs and projects in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences.”
Members of the Shelburne Cultural Council are:
Constance Clarke, Chair; Kay Berenson; Drew Campbell; Nancy Eisenstein; Honor Judd; Diane Poland
SLCC contact information:
51 Bridge Street, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
A local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency
Winter Class Schedule
8:30-10:00 AM            Intermediate Kripalu Yoga (Kate)
4:00-5:00 PM              **Yoga for School Teachers (Kate) 
6:00-7:15 PM              **Introduction/Refresher Series,                                     
                                       dates TBA (Kate)                          
8:00-9:00 AM              YogaFitness (Cordelia) 
9:30-11:00 AM            **QiGong Series  (Collin)
6:00-7:00 PM              Yin Yoga /Gentle (Kate)
8:30-10:00 AM            Intermed./Advanced Vinyasa Yoga (Kate)  

8:00-9:00 AM              YogaFitness  (Daniel)      
12:00-1:00 PM          **Easy Tai Chi (Steven)      
3:00-5:00 PM               Intro to Yoga 30 min. sessions (Kate)
6:00-7:15 PM              Slow Flow Moderate Yoga (Kate)                                        
8:30-10:00 AM            Gentle Kripalu Yoga  (Kate)  
12:00-1:00 PM            Co-op/Community Yoga (Rotating)                                                                            
9:00-10:15 AM            Slow Flow Vinyasa (Melissa)                                                                  
9:00-10:30 AM            Morning Yoga (Robin)                                                           

Don't forget to check our schedule page for any weather-related cancellations- these will be posted at least one hour prior to the start of class time. 
MGM Springfield is seeking vendors, including minority-, woman-, and veteran-owned businesses, for project-related furniture, fixtures, and equipment purchases and other supplies listed. MGM Springfield representatives will host an informational session in the morning to explain the scope of upcoming purchases, the prequalification process and MGM Springfield's policy on vendors and purchasing. There will also be an overview of the project's diversity requirements. Vendors will also have the opportunity to participate in round table meetings with members of the MGM Resorts procurement team during the afternoon session. Pre-registration is required. 
DATE                                                TIME
Wednesday, March 1                 General Session
                                                9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Mass Mutual Center                   Speed Round 
1277 Main Street                       Table Meetings
Springfield, MA 01103             12:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Please note that MGM Springfield typically works with vendors that directly manufacture or fabricate products, rather than brokers or distributors. Purchasing for food and beverage products, paper products, promotional products, and perishable and replenishable products, will be the subject of a future events. Please see a detailed list of applicable purchasing areas below,
Art Consultants
Art Printing & Framing
Art Installers
Decorative Lighting
Decorative Mirrors/Repairs
Awnings/Canopy Fabricators
FF&E Logistics/Installation/Warehousing
Operational Supplies
Uniform Conveyor
Audio Visual Equipment
Fabrication & Installation
Decorative Pillows
Signage, Vinyl Graphics
Furniture Touch Up/Repair
Stone Tops for Tables and/or Consoles
Glass Tops for Tables and/or Consoles
Banquet Chairs
Gaming Chairs
Table Games
Slot Bases
celebrates spring, sap and the arts at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls on Saturday, 3/18. Two time Grammy winner Bill Harley headlines the Festival at 4 pm, performing his own set and narrating stories performed by Piti’s Youth Troupe. « Sammy and the Grand Buffet », a solo physical comedy world premiere​ by Piti Theatre co-founder, Jonathan Mirin, ​taps things ​off at 2 pm. Plus syrup tasting, free pickles, ​physical comedy ​workshops ​for adults and children on 3/19 ​and more!      ​Businesses and individuals interested being a SYRUP sponsor, raffle prize donor or offering discounts to ticket-holders, can contact, 625-6569. Schedule and ticket info at    
Silver birch Watercolor2
a group show by member artists at the Shelburne Arts Coop
March 1 through March 27 
Hours: Sunday, Monday, 
Wednesday, Thursday 11-5; 
Friday and Saturday 11-7; closed Tuesdays  
26 Bridge St.,
Shelburne Falls, MA  
Sponsored by The Friends of Heath Free Public Library

People have been caring for deceased loved ones at home for millennia. The experience, while sad, is ultimately healing and beautiful. Beginning the grieving process in the privacy of our homes allows for sharing and support on a deeper level.
You can care for your loved one at home
You may not realize that...
• Embalming is not required
• A family can fill out and file the death certificate.
• A family can transport the deceased to the cemetery or crematory.
Come learn more on Saturday March 25, 1 to 4:30 PM
This program will introduce you to home wakes and funerals. It will describe the enormous personal benefits that come with this profound moment in a family’s life. It will also include the legal facts and logistical details. There will be time for discussion, questions and answers. An excerpt from the PBS documentary “A Family Undertaking” which follows the story of four families who chose home funerals will be shown. The final hour will include a hands-on demonstration for those who are interested in the details of a home wake and funeral such as bathing, dressing, cooling and carrying the body.
Heath Community Hall
1 West Main St. Heath, MA
The Workshop is offered free of charge. Donations will be accepted.
Pre- Registration Required
Contact Rol Hesselbart
Registration will be limited.
This workshop will be led by Peg Lorenz, home funeral guide, consultant and founder of Peaceful Passage at Home. Peg has 20 years of experience with hospice care. Peg was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Home Funeral Alliance. She has a certificate in end-of-life care from the University of Southern Maine and has completed the training taught by Crossings: Caring for Our Own at Death, a resource center for home funeral care. 
March 16
Greenfield Coop Bank
Saturday, March 18
Saturday, April 8
Save the Date:
Friday, May 5
7:30 - 9 AM

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