Happy Spring!

As promised at the Fall breakfast meeting, the staff and board of the GSFABA have begun making calls to members asking for your response to our short survey. The survey is designed to help us understand what you want and how we can better serve you. Please take a few minutes when we call to chat about the organization! We want to know what you're thinking!

If you haven’t gotten a call yet, you should be hearing from someone in the next few weeks. If you have responded already, thank you!

We’ll have results at the Breakfast on April 29th.

Until next month!

Carmela Lanza-Weil
Executive Director


The annual Place Map is almost full! Two spaces left so act now to get your business in front of 25,000 visitors! The Place Map is one of the most popular and well-used brochures; it is distributed throughout the region including the visitors' centers in Greenfield and Shelburne Falls, the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, and the Big E, to name just a few! It is placed in retail outlets, commercial businesses, and at the Bridge of Flowers throughout the season.

$250 gets you a space and our designer, Susan Wyant, will work with you to create a great image for your business.

Going to print in two weeks so contact us today!


Nominations Sought

The Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association seeks nominations for the Annual Marvin J. Shippee Community Service Award. The recipient will honored at the GSFABA’s Annual Breakfast on April 29, 2016. The deadline for submitting nominations is April 13, 2016. 

The Marvin J. Shippee Community Service Award was awarded for the first time in 1998 in memory of Shippee’s leadership and his commitment to volunteerism. Shippee, the founder of the Business Association, offered inspired leadership and had direct involvement to countless community projects.

Nominees should demonstrate volunteerism above and beyond the recipient’s paid employment. The award will recognize service in the 10 town area, which includes Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Conway, Hawley, Heath, Plainfield, Rowe, and Shelburne.

The Award Committee will weigh nominations according to the following criteria (additional appropriate considerations may also be considered):
Level of community service
Level of impact on the community
Length of service

The recipient has:
Demonstrated inspired leadership and involvement in community projects
Earned the respect of their town and community for their contributions
Performed community service as an individual, not as part of a group, business, or organization.

You are invited to put forward a nomination by filling out a nomination form (available Monday, March 2) at the GSFABA office,, or by email Nominations should be mailed to GSFABA, P.O. Box 42, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370 or emailed to

Former recipients of the award are not eligible to receive the award again. Former recipients include: Michael McCusker, 1998; Marion J. Taylor, 1998; Rolland Gifford, 1999; Dorothy Giffin, 1999; Carol Bolduc, 2000; Susan Samoriski, 2001; Bernie Butler, 2002; Mark Zenick, 2003; Dick and Jeanne Bole, 2004; Ruth Anderson, 2005; Wesley Rice, 2006; Dr. Mark Purinton, 2007; Polly Bartlett, 2008; Hugh Knox, 2009: Lawrence Shearer, 2010; Stefan Racz, 2011; John Taylor, 2012; Thomas Lively, 2013; John Bos 2014; Sandy Lilly, 2015.

Following is information provided by Flanders Law Offices.

For Federal and MA Tax Withholding Purposes
The IRS’s (and MA Department of Revenue’s) twenty factors considered in determining
employee status:
Workers are generally employees if they:
● must comply with employer’s instructions about the work;
● receive training from or at the direction of the employer;
● provide services that are integrated into the business;
● provide services that must be rendered personally;
● the employer hires, supervises, and/or pays assistants;
● have a continuing working relationship with the employer;
● must follow set hours of work;
● work full time for an employer;
● do their work on the employer’s premises;
● must do their work in a sequence set by the employer;
● must submit regular reports to the employer;
● receive payments of regular amounts at set intervals;
● receive payments for business and/ or traveling expenses;
● rely on the employer to furnish tools and materials;
● lack a major investment in facilities used to perform the service;
● cannot make a profit or suffer a loss from their services;
● work for one employer at a time;
● do not offer their services to the general public;
● can be fired at any time by the employer; and
● may quit work at any time without incurring liability.
No one factor is decisive and the degree of importance of each depends on the occupation and factual context in which services are being performed. In addition, if an employer treats a person
as an employee under some laws, it can add more weight to a determination to treat the person as an employee for IRS and DOR purposes.

For Federal Fair Labor Standards (federal minimum wage and overtime requirements)
Purposes: The “economic reality” of the relationship, including the following factors determines whether a person will be considered an employee:
● the extent to which the services rendered are an integral part of the employer’s business;
● the permanency of the relationship;
● the amount of the worker’s investment in facilities and equipment;
● the nature and degree of control by the employer;
● the worker’s opportunities for profit and loss;
● the amount of initiative, judgment, or foresight in open market competition with others
required for the success of the claimed independent contractor; and
● the degree of independent business organization and operation.
Employee Status in MA for Unemployment Compensation, Workers’ Compensation, and Wage and Hour Law Purposes
There is a presumption that a person performing any service is an employee under these laws. A person may be considered an independent contractor if and only if all three of these tests are met:
● the person is free from its control and direction in performing the service, both under a contract and in fact;
● the service provided by the person is outside the employer’s usual course of business; and
● the person is customarily engaged in an independent trade, occupation, profession, or business of the same type.

See the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division Advisory Opinion (2008) and Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 149, Section 148B. Also an article about the challenges here.

In addition to the above test, a written contract indicating that a worker is free from supervisory direction or control is required. Note that: A party’s (employer or other person) subjective belief, desire, or contract agreement that a person is an independent contractor has no bearing on whether the law requires that the person be treated as an employee.

The law creates broad liability for both business entities and individuals, including corporate officers and those with management responsibility over affected workers. The Attorney General can issue civil citations and institute criminal prosecution for both intentional and unintentional violations of the law. Willful violations can result in fines up to $25,000 or imprisonment for up to one year for a first offense, and fines up to $50,000 or imprisonment for up to two years for
subsequent violations. Non-willful violations can result in fines up to $10,000 or imprisonment for up to six months for a first offense, and fines up to $25,000 or imprisonment for up to one year for subsequent violations. Employees also may file civil actions for themselves and others similarly situated seeking treble damages, attorneys’ fees and costs. This is a fertile area for claims, and recoverable money damages can be substantial. For example, if a group of workers treated as independent contractors worked over forty hours per week without receiving one and one-half times their
regular rate of pay, damages may include three times the owed overtime pay for a period going back as far as three years. In addition, if a person files an unemployment, workers compensation, or wage and hour claim, the involved agencies will impose penalties and interest and sometimes a “stop work” order.

earthlydelights"Earthly Delights", A group show featuring paintings, fiber, jewelry, photography, wood and pottery by artists in the Shelburne Arts Cooperative;
February 24 through March 28
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11-5; Friday and Saturday 11-7; closed Tuesdays
26 Bridge St., Shelburne Falls, MA


The Town of Montague (MA) and Turners Falls RiverCulture are requesting proposals for a public sculpture to be installed in the new pedestrian park on the corner of Avenue A and 3rd Street (green triangle above). Any artist in the United States may apply. Freedom Credit Union recently donated $1,000 to this project, bringing the award amount to $6,000. Proposals are due April 28, 2016.

For deadlines, guidelines, review criteria and information about the selection process, download the RFP from the Town of Montague website. Click "Request for Proposals (RFP) " under Quick Links on the home page. For questions, contact RiverCulture: 

franklincountycdcInformation Session for Small Businesses to Start and Grow:
April 6, Wednesday at the Franklin County CDC, Greenfield (offered first Wednesday each month)

Free! (preregister recommended but not required at For anyone interested in starting or growing a business looking to learn about business planning, financing, and available resources for small businesses and how the Franklin County CDC can assist.

“Shark Tank with a Heart”:
Greenfield Mentorship Monthly Meeting with Valley Venture Mentors: April 7, Thursday 5:30-8pm, Arts Block, Greenfield. Free (pre-registration recommended but not required at (meets first Thursday monthly) Hear from the 10 business owners who have been mentored for 5 months present and learn how to apply for mentorship or assist start up businesses. Pizza from 5:00-5:30, program begins at 5:30pm.

Business Growth Seminar:
Stabilize & Expand Your Business: April 12, 19, 26 and May 3 on Tuesdays,
Franklin County CDC $175. Registration required at
This workshop is geared toward established businesses seeking to increase their revenue. Topics presented by Amy Shapiro, Director of Business Development, and guest experts include operational efficiencies, financial management tools, employee hiring guidelines and sales and marketing strategies. Course materials will be

Product Development Considerations: Beyond the Concept:
April 13, Wednesday, 9:00am-5:00pm, Franklin
County CDC $200. Do you want help better understanding the food safety principles behind your process? Do
you need help with product development for a current or future product? Propel your food business to the next
level by delving into product development and food safety with Amanda Kinchla, of the UMASS Food Science
Department, an expert on HACCP and product development. Register at

Learn About Food Product Development:
April 19, Tuesday, 10:00-11:30am FCCDC - Free
(Offered monthly on the third Tuesday) - preregister recommended but not required at
For food producers looking to make or have their products co-packed at the Western MA Food Processing Center. Access the FCCDC’s expertise at a food focus session and facility tour.

Heading for the Exit: The realities and process of transitioning the ownership of your business:
May 5, 5:00-7:00 pm, Cloud 85, 85 Main St., North Adams Free (pre-registration recommended at
May 12, 5:00-7:00 pm. Franklin County CDC. Free (pre-registration recommended at
Presenter Michael Vann, of the Vann Group has been assisting businesses for over 30 years develop business succession plans. One of the largest challenges facing business owners today is how to solve the question of “how do I get out of my business”. This overview seminar will cover: The current transition/succession
landscape, Establishing transition expectations and objectives, Business valuation facts and realities, Family and partner dynamics, Exit options and structure considerations, Preparing the Company for transition, and Your advisors and the value they create.

A more in-depth multi session seminar will be offered Fall 2016 and Spring 2017.

For more information contact Anita Eliason, Business Development Specialist 413-774-7204 ext 114

The SBA has a variety of courses available on-line to help your small business.  Titles include Taking Your High-Tech Product to Market, Understanding Your Customer, Sales: A Guide for the Small Business Owner and many more!  Take advantage of these free learning opportunities!

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