The City of Pittsfield, through its Department of Community Development and the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation (PERC) offers a number of programs as to developers and entrepreneurs locating or expanding businesses in Pittsfield.
Department of Community Development
City Hall, (413) 499-9368. The Department has three primary functions: planning, community and neighborhood redevelopment, and economic development. DCD staffs the City's Community Development Board, which serves as the City's Planning Board, and Zoning Board of Appeals as well as providing staff support for the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation, a non profit community development corporation that provides grants and loans to city businesses. In addition, the DCD administers programs for the rehabilitation of single family and multi-family housing, including de-leading of residential spaces. Below-market-rate loans and/or grants are available to qualified persons for these purposes. DCD also provides assistance related to Fair Housing and resolution of tenant/landlord disputes. A guidebook called 'The Complete Landlord' is available for $5 from DCD at City Hall. Copies of the City's zoning ordinance and map, sign ordinance and subdivision regulations are also available for purchase in DCD's office.
Berkshire Economic Development Corporation
75 North Street, Suite 360. (413) 499-4000.
North Street Relocation Program
Legacy Bank has established a pool of $250,000 available in up to $25,000 loans to businesses either new or relocating to the downtown area. (Mark McKenna, Legacy Bank, (413) 445-3466.)
North Street Facade Improvement Loan Program
A loan pool of $200,000 set aside by Legacy Bank available in loans of up to $20,000 for facade improvements to buildings between Park Square and Union Street. ( Mark McKenna Legacy Bank, (413) 445-3466.)
Handicapped Accessibility Improvement
Loans may be obtained by private and non-profit property owners in the downtown area to make buildings handicapped-accessible with ramps, bathroom improvements, warning devices and widened doorways. Matching funds are required. Laura Mick, DCD specialist, (413) 499-9378.
Both Western Massachusetts Electric and Berkshire Gas offer energy conservation assistance to small and medium commercial and industrial customers.
Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation (PERC)
A number of programs to assist entrepreneurs and developers locating or expanding businesses in the city - Ann W. Dobrowolski, DCD Specialist, (413) 499-9371.
Small Business Administration
* Loans may be obtained through a combination of sources to qualifying businesses.
* PERC small business loans for construction or acquisition of fixed assets or working capital.
* CDFC Venture Capital Fund for approved loans of from $100,000 to $250,000 preferably for manufacturing companies that will increase employment. PERC also sponsors applications for similar loans of up to $20,000 through the Western Massachusetts Enterprise Fund for businesses outside of the city.
* Economic Development Incentive Program offers a variety of tax incentives for businesses creating permanent new jobs and investing in facilities that will resuscitate blighted areas.
Non-Profit Business Organizations
Aside from government agencies, a host of non-profit organizations work to improve business or help consumers and business people with information and assistance. Those include:
Berkshire County Consumer Advocates
150 North St., Suite 34, (413) 443-9128. Free assistance and advice regarding consumer issues and complaints.
Berkshire Visitors Bureau
3 Hoosac St., Adams, (413) 743-4500 and Pittsfield Visitor Center, 121 South St., (413) 443-9186, (800) 237-5747. www.berkshires.org. Dedicated to encouraging and supporting tourism and hospitality industries in the region. Formed as the Berkshire Hills Conference in 1926 and incorporated in 1938. Supported with state funds and member fees.
Berkshire Chamber of Commerce
75 North St., Suite 360, (413) 499-4000. David Bissaillon, President. One of the largest chambers in the state representing 1,300 businesses, the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce is committed to economic development in the Berkshires. Monitors legislation and hosts forums and workshops aimed at assisting Berkshire County businesses. www.berkshirechamber.com
Berkshire Business and Professional Women's Club
Kim Baker, President, P.O. Box 3152. Local chapter of national organization serving as an advocate for all working women but open to women and men, working or not, as members. Meetings are usually the first Monday of the month at various locations. Topics range from networking and legislative issues to financial planning and professional development. The group honors a county Woman of Achievement and awards scholarships to women who are non-traditional students.
75 North St., Suite 360, (413) 443-6501. Yvonne Pearson, Director. The mission on Downtown, Inc. is to attract and encourage economic, cultural, civic and social excellence and growth in downtown Pittsfield. www.downtownpittsfield.com
Employment and Training
Berkshire Community College Business and Industry Development
(413) 499-4660 ext. 555. Work-related seminars and training customized for on-site or on-campus.
Berkshire Enterprises and Berkshire Business Information Center
1 Fenn St. Suite 301, (413) 448-2755. Steven Fogel, Director. An entrepreneurial training and consulting program for those interested in starting their own businesses. Program was founded in 1989 and has worked with hundreds of businesses throughout Berkshire County and surrounding areas. www.berkshireenterprises.com
Pittsfield Enterprise Center
1 Fenn St., Suite 302, (413) 448-2755. Small business incubator. Low-cost furnished spaces and shared business services and consulting. A great place for small businesses to go to grow. www.berkshireenterprises.com.
160 North St., (413) 499-2220, www.Berkshireworks.org. Berkshire Works provides an array of quality and unique services to all of Berkshire County. There is a full range of employment services, electronic job listings, resources library, resume and cover letter development, basic computer instruction, and job placement. They have employer services where they can screen candidates, use pre-employment assessment tools, help with outreach and recruitment, and offer forums and job fairs.
Advantage Employee Network (AEN)
20 Taconic Park Drive, (413) 443-1038. A division of Berkshire County ARC , this non profit employment program assists employers to hiring and retain reliable workers. Tax Credits, effective screening of applicants, on the job supports/consultation provided. Rick Hawes is the contact person.
Berkshire Vocational Services of Meridian Associates
141 North St., (413) 448-5353. Placement agency that matches disabled workers with entry-level jobs. Provides screening and on-the-job training and assessment, tax credits and long term follow-up.
66 Wendell Ave., (413) 499-0524, 1-800-544-5242, www.esbci.org, Offers employers and their employees support in the form of working caregiver and care management programs.