Still need gifts? Shop local!

Still need gifts? Shop local!

Still need gifts? Shop local by going to your chamber of commerce’s website to get a list of the small businesses in your area.

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Valley CDC’s $27M affordable housing plan at former nursing home in Northampton gets boost

Valley CDC’s $27M affordable housing plan at former nursing home in Northampton gets boost

NORTHAMPTON — Plans to redevelop a former nursing home on Bridge Road into 60 affordable apartments cleared two significant milestones in recent weeks, when Valley Community Development won approval from the city’s Planning Board to move ahead with the $27 million project and the state agreed to send $830,000 to remove asbestos from the old building.

Clearing these hurdles will enable the Northampton nonprofit to hire a company to begin removing a “very significant amount of material with asbestos” from the former Northampton Rehabilitation and Nursing Center at 737 Bridge Road, while at the same time seeking other financing from the state for the multimillion dollar project, said Laura Baker, real estate development director at Valley CDC.

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Viewpoint: Funding needed to convert hotels to housing

Viewpoint: Funding needed to convert hotels to housing

At the height of Covid-19, the need for social distancing threatened the congregate model of shelter housing, requiring an emergency solution to house those most impacted by the health crisis. Hotel and motel properties have long been the fallback for crowded shelters, but during the pandemic, the idea of adaptive reuse projects to convert vacant and underused motel properties into dignified housing solutions was born.

These motel conversions — from the urban core in Brockton to rural Hampshire and Berkshire Counties — now are becoming an important long-term solution for people facing homelessness who need supportive services where they live. That’s a welcome development by all those who work collaboratively to provide safe housing for at-risk populations across Massachusetts.

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TCB Creates Mixed-Income Development on Former Hospital Site

TCB Creates Mixed-Income Development on Former Hospital Site

The Community Builders (TCB) recently completed the 53-unit North Commons at Village Hill, marking the final phase of the redevelopment of the former Northampton State Hospital site in Northampton, Massachusetts.

North Commons at Village Hill was conceived in partnership with the city of Northampton and Valley Community Development to bring more affordable housing opportunities to the Village Hill campus. The development includes deeding 20 acres of conservation land to the city, open space preservation, a state-of -the-art playground, multiuse path connections, and sustainable landscape design practices.

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New Employee Spotlight: Eyad Salha

New Employee Spotlight: Eyad Salha

Eyad Salha, Small Business Advisor, completed his B.S. in Finance at the American University of Science & Technology. After graduation, Eyad worked as an accountant for a couple of years in Beirut, Lebanon before relocating to Saudi Arabia to work in business development.

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JoiaBeauty | Small Business Spotlight

JoiaBeauty | Small Business Spotlight

Throughout the COVID pandemic, JoiaBeauty worked with various consultants at Valley to understand the various resources available to weather the storm all while also working on improving their social and digital marketing.

JoiaBeauty offers a selection of natural products for skin and body care along with facials and body treatments. Dr. Hauschka, Annemarie Borlind, Weleda, Phyto, and butterLONDON are just a few of the many lines they carry.

JoiaBeauty received an MGCC Empowered Digital Grant in April to help increase their digital capacity. Through this opportunity, JoiaBeauty worked to be consistent and targeted with their social media posts and updated their website to attract new customers and improve the customer experience.

“The level of expertise of our Valley CDC consultants impressed us as did their ability to listen and identify our needs.  We have become more consistent and targeted with our social media posts and were helped by a digital grant to upgrade our website which we saw an immediate positive response to and have felt the support of business colleagues during a time when small businesses could become isolated.  We appreciate Valley and would seek an opportunity to work with the organization again!”  Luahn Page, partner JoiaBeauty

For a look inside the store visit joiabeauty.com or stop by 6 Craft Avenue, Northampton, MA just steps from City Hall.

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Amherst affordable condo project scores $1.25M in financing from statewide partnership

Amherst affordable condo project scores $1.25M in financing from statewide partnership

By SCOTT MERZBACH
Published: 8/31/2022 2:26:21 PM
Modified: 8/31/2022 2:22:42 PM

AMHERST — A Valley Community Development project in North Amherst to build 30 condominiums, two-thirds of which will be affordable, is receiving an acquisition loan and predevelopment loan totaling $1.25 million.

The Community Economic Development Assistance Corp. on Wednesday announced its support for the project, on the former site of a repair garage and trucking terminal on Ball Lane.

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Hadley board backs affordable housing plans

Hadley board backs affordable housing plans

Published: 8/4/2022 8:56:55 PM
Modified: 8/4/2022 8:53:48 PM

HADLEY — A letter supporting Valley Community Development’s interest in converting the EconoLodge hotel on Route 9 into a 51-unit affordable housing complex will be issued by the Select Board.

Following extensive discussion with Laura Baker, real estate development director for Valley CDC, the board Wednesday voted 3-1, with member Amy Parsons voting against and member Joyce Chunglo abstaining, to have a support letter go to the state’s Department of Housing & Community Development’s Division of Housing Development and Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program.

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Valley CDC eyes North Amherst parcel for affordable condo development

Valley CDC eyes North Amherst parcel for affordable condo development

Staff Writer
Published: 7/28/2022 3:28:13 PM

AMHERST — A North Amherst site long used as an auto repair garage and trucking terminal could be redeveloped for 30 affordable condominiums to be sold to first-time homebuyers, including many who may be racial minorities.

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Ribbon cutting to mark opening of 53-unit North Commons at Village Hill in Northampton

Ribbon cutting to mark opening of 53-unit North Commons at Village Hill in Northampton

NORTHAMPTON – A ribbon cutting to celebrate completed construction of North Commons at Village Hill, a 53-unit apartment building on 140 Olander Drive is set for Thursday at 11 a.m.

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The Ekus Group | Small Business Spotlight

The Ekus Group | Small Business Spotlight

The Ekus Group is a boutique culinary agency in Hatfield that recently celebrated its 40th year in business. What began as a culinary public relations company has grown into a successful agency whose services encompass literary and talent representation, media training, consultations, and workshops.

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Office building, affordable housing plans at Hadley hotel sites advance

Office building, affordable housing plans at Hadley hotel sites advance

By SCOTT MERZBACH
Staff Writer

HADLEY — Projects to bring a new office building and 51 affordable apartments to the Route 9 corridor, which would cause two existing hotels to close, continue to move toward development.

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Sticks & Bricks | Small Business Spotlight

Sticks & Bricks | Small Business Spotlight

Sticks & Bricks, a vintage furniture store and showroom, opened 13+ years ago and has been located at 9 Market Street, Northampton. They offer original made pieces and vintage furniture as well as a selection of other artists’ work. As the business has grown and times have changed, owner Liz Karney is moving the business to 90 King Street, Northampton at the end of the month.

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Wonderland | Small Business Spotlight

Wonderland | Small Business Spotlight

Wonderland opened in Easthampton in May 2019 and will celebrate its third year in business this month, Wonderland is a vintage and home décor shop owned by Beth McElhiney.

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A welcome space: At the Fields Center in Northampton, neurodiverse individuals have a home

A welcome space: At the Fields Center in Northampton, neurodiverse individuals have a home

One of Valley’s Small Business clients, the Fields Center, was recently profiled in the Gazette.

Staff Writer

NORTHAMPTON — When Greg and Amy Richane learned from their pediatrician that their 3-year-old son was autistic, they felt that while the diagnosis itself made sense, it lacked nuance.

The Easthampton family described the experience surrounding the initial diagnosis as pretty negative with much of the overview highlighting universal challenges.

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Masa Mexicano | Small Business Spotlight

Masa Mexicano | Small Business Spotlight

Roberto Saravia has been in the restaurant business since he was 14 years old. When he decided to open Masa Mexicano in 2020, he was able to bring his invaluable food industry knowledge to his own restaurant.

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Valley CDC Helps Small Businesses Succeed

Valley CDC Helps Small Businesses Succeed

By Elena Sharnoff
Originally published May 2022 in Northampton Living

Along with almost all businesses, COVID took a toll on mine. I launched my website strategy and design shop in 2019, and have spent more time working during COVID conditions than normal ones. So, I jumped at the chance to enroll in the Valley Community Development (Valley CDC)’s Small Business Fundamentals workshop listed in the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce’s newsletter.

I received an email from Sarah Sargent, Valley CDC’s Small Business Program Manager. She felt that the workshop wasn’t a good fit and proposed a one-on-one meeting to assess my three-year-old business situation and needs. How could I refuse this free opportunity to evaluate and troubleshoot what my business needed most?

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Applications open for Sanderson Place: new affordable senior housing in Sunderland

Applications open for Sanderson Place: new affordable senior housing in Sunderland

Staff Writer

SUNDERLAND — More than 40 people at the South County Senior Center were treated to a presentation from the Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority Friday morning as it kicked off the application process for Sanderson Place, the new affordable senior housing complex in Sunderland.

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The International Language Institute | Small Business Spotlight

The International Language Institute | Small Business Spotlight

Financial Literacy project – a collaboration between International Language Institute and Valley Community Development, is now in the pilot stage!

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Town of Amherst Soon To Break Ground on Affordable Housing Project

Town of Amherst Soon To Break Ground on Affordable Housing Project

The town of Amherst is set to break ground on a new affordable housing project, East Gables, this spring. The project is being built in response to the town’s lack of affordable housing.

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Michael Giles: Groundbreaking work

Michael Giles: Groundbreaking work

Thursday, March 31, 2022

OPINION | LETTER

Groundbreaking work

I hope that, when our time in this Valley passes, we are remembered for how well we cared for all members of our small town society. But as we work toward that lofty ideal, let’s pause for a moment to celebrate the ground that is being broken this week at the East Gables development on Route 9.

Not only is the Valley Community Development constructing a large affordable housing complex, but they are simultaneously righting wrongs from the past while stepping bravely into the future. As intractable as our current homelessness crisis may seem, it has its roots in recent degradations in housing and health care.

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Joyful Valley Coaching | Small Business Spotlight

Joyful Valley Coaching | Small Business Spotlight

In early 2021, Sarah Schmidt and Rachel Martins, longtime friends and colleagues, had the idea to start a life and career coaching business. Several months later, their partnership, Joyful Valley Coaching, was formed.

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EconoLodge in Hadley eyed for affordable housing complex

EconoLodge in Hadley eyed for affordable housing complex

By SCOTT MERZBACH
Staff Writer

HADLEY — A Route 9 hotel could be converted into a 51-room affordable housing complex according to concepts presented to municipal boards this week.

At the Housing and Economic Development Committee Monday, and at a joint meeting of the Planning Board and the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Tuesday, Laura Baker, real estate development director for Valley Community Development, unveiled plans that would convert the EconoLodge hotel at 329 Russell St. into permanent rental housing.

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East Gables housing project in Amherst set to break ground in March

East Gables housing project in Amherst set to break ground in March

Staff Writer

AMHERST — Construction of 28 small studio apartments for low-income individuals, including more than a third that will be set aside for those who have recently been homeless, is expected to begin by mid-March.

The Valley Community Development project at 132 Northampton Road, to be called East Gables, is nearing its groundbreaking on the site acquired by the agency three years ago, and which received a comprehensive permit under the state’s Chapter 40B law in November 2020.

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Yoga Major | Small Business Spotlight

Yoga Major | Small Business Spotlight

Over the past few months, Alexis Major Jameson has been working with our Valley Community Development Consultant, Ray Rieder, on developing her business, Yoga Major.

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Housing plan aired for former nursing home

Housing plan aired for former nursing home

Developer, Valley CDC eye $25M project to build affordable development

By BRIAN STEELE
Staff Writer
NORTHAMPTON — The public got its first look Monday evening at a proposed overhaul of the vacant Northampton Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, a $25.3 million project that would create 60 units of affordable housing. The 6.2-acre property at 737 Bridge Road has been vacant since 2011.

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Amor Propio by Jada | Small Business Spotlight

Amor Propio by Jada | Small Business Spotlight

Over the past few months, Jada Fraser has been working with our Valley Community Development Business Consultant, Ray Rieder, on developing her holistic wellness business, Amor Propio by Jada.

To launch Amor Propio by Jada, Jada has created a line of soy-based, all-natural candles. She offers a variety of scents and smells to match various preferences and all products are made with gentle, sustainable products. These candles are currently available for direct sale to customers and for wholesale to interested retail outlets.

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Announcing our new Executive Director, Alexis Breiteneicher

Announcing our new Executive Director, Alexis Breiteneicher

Dear Friends,

We are very pleased to tell you that we have hired Alexis Breiteneicher as our next Executive Director.

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Matt Dibrindisi | Small Business Spotlight

Matt Dibrindisi | Small Business Spotlight

Last week, Matt Dibrindisi, a themed entertainment company based in Northampton, co-hosted their first in-person event at A2Z Science and Learning Toy Store in Northampton since being founded last year.

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Fields Center | Small Business Spotlight

Fields Center | Small Business Spotlight

Last week, the Fields Center celebrated its grand opening for the second time with the mission of improving the quality of life of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In early 2020, owner Jenn Bogin was ready to open up her business at the Roundhouse in Northampton. She had hired staff, painted the office, and started servicing clients when Covid hit.

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