Making news in business, July 4

Kim Baker

Kim Baker

Published: 07-03-2024 12:40 PM

Modified: 07-05-2024 11:13 AM

Rocky’s Ace Hardware breaks ground in South Hadley

SOUTH HADLEY — Rocky’s Ace Hardware held a groundbreaking ceremony on June 19 for a new, expanded store in the South Hadley Plaza at 501 Newton St., which is co-owned locally by the Falcone, Picknelly and Yee families. The anticipated opening of the new store is March 2025, replacing the existing South Hadley store in the same plaza.

“This is going to be a 13,000-square-foot new building, all new construction,” said Rocky’s Ace Hardware President and CEO Rocco J. Falcone II. “We will be relocating from a 10,000-square-foot store, expanding the sales floor and adding a 2,000-square-foot garden center for live plants, Christmas trees and things of that nature.”

Plans for the new Rocky’s store also include expanded paint and grilling centers, as well as a workwear department featuring the Carhartt brand.

Falcone noted that when the Falcone, Picknelly and Yee families purchased the plaza in 2016, it contained an empty former grocery store and wasn’t being used to its potential. He said the second phase of the project, slated to begin in March 2025 in conjunction with Way Finders, is to construct a six-unit apartment building.

The current Rocky’s store will remain open with minimal disruptions during construction and will be available for lease after the store moves to its new home. Construction of the new store is being led by Caolo & Bieniek Architects and Inglewood General Contractors, in conjunction with Falcone Development.

Hatfield resident earns Community Support Award

FLORENCE — Florence Bank recently presented its 2024 Community Support Award to longtime employee Kim Baker of Hatfield.

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The Community Support Award was established by the bank in 1997 as a means of formally recognizing team members who are active in the community and give their personal and professional time to local nonprofit organizations.

Each year, the award recipient selects an organization of his/her choice, and the bank donates $500 to that organization on the recipient’s behalf. Baker chose to support United Way of the Franklin & Hampshire Region.

Baker joined Florence Bank in 1995 and currently serves as vice president/commercial loan operations and compliance officer at the bank’s main office in Florence. She is responsible for commercial loan compliance, including regulatory and management reporting.

Baker holds an associate degree from Holyoke Community College, a bachelor’s in business management with a concentration in finance from Westfield State College and a master’s in business administration from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

In the community, she is a member of Hatfield’s Finance Committee and the Hatfield Saint Kaz Polish Club. She volunteers for Jessie’s House, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, the Cancer Connection, the Three County Fair and the Northampton Saint Patrick’s Association. Baker is also chair and co-chair for United Way of the Franklin & Hampshire Region’s Annual Ski United fundraising event.

PeoplesBank, Cornerstone merge holding companies

HOLYOKE — Following a unanimous vote from their boards, PeoplesBank and Cornerstone Bank have announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement to combine their holding companies.

While the merger agreement will unify holding companies, both banks will continue operating under separate names and brands for the foreseeable future. After the completion of the merger, the new consolidated holding company for both banks will be named PeoplesBancorp, MHC and have approximately $6 billion in assets. Thomas Senecal will remain as CEO & chairman and Todd Tallman will become president of the combined mutual holding company. Brian Canina will be the chief operating officer of the holding company and will remain president of PeoplesBank.

Both institutions will benefit from the combined financial strength of two strong community banks coming together to create one of the largest mutual multi-bank holding companies in the Northeast. PeoplesBank, serving western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut, and Cornerstone Bank, serving central Massachusetts, will each continue their normal operations with no disruption to customers.

Five Star Building donates $20K to WorkHub on Union

EASTHAMPTON — The Chamber of Greater Easthampton has received a $20,000 donation from Five Star Building Corp. toward its co-workspace project, WorkHub on Union. The donation will support the development of a collaborative co-working space, providing resources for entrepreneurs, and businesses in the greater Easthampton region.

“We were thrilled to be chosen as the general contractor for this project and even more pleased to be able to give back to support its success,” said Five Star Building Corp. President Kevin Perrier.

WorkHub on Union aims to create an innovative environment where entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners can work in the same space. Through this partnership with Five Star Builders Corp., The Chamber of Greater Easthampton will be able to enhance the support and services offered to local professionals.

In addition to offering a dynamic and flexible workspace, the WorkHub on Union will provide access to mentorship programs, networking events, educational programming and other support services designed to accelerate the growth of startups and small business.

WorkHub on Union, located at 33 Union St., is slated to open toward the end of the summer.