MassEcon lauds Tanglewood, Berkshire Food Co-op for community impact

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Tanglewood and Berkshire Food Co-op are scheduled to receive awards for their "exceptional economic impact" in the Berkshires later this month.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra's summer home in Lenox has been chosen to receive the 2019 Community Impact Award by MassEcon, a Watertown-based nonprofit that serves as the state's private sector partner in business growth. The award is presented occasionally by MassEcon to honor employers for exceptional economic impact in both their community and region over a period of time.

Berkshire Food Co-op, located in Great Barrington, is one of 15 companies from around the state that will be honored for being named the 2019 winners of the 16th annual Team Massachusetts Economic Impact Awards. The co-op was selected as one of three finalists from the state's western region. Both Berkshire entities will receive their awards Nov. 16 at the 16th annual Team Massachusetts Economic Impact Awards luncheon in Boston. The Team Massachusetts awards honor state companies in multiple industries for their outstanding contributions to the economy.

Team Massachusetts is an informal name given to a consortium of state and quasi-public economic agencies that include MassDevelopment, the state Office of Business Development and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.

BSO Executive Director Mark Volpe will accept the award on Tanglewood's behalf. With the ceremony scheduled so close to Thanksgiving, Berkshire Food Co-op will not be able to attend the ceremony, general manager Troy Bond said.

"Were very excited to represent this part of the state," Bond said. "To be represented this way is a real testament to the strength of the co-op being here for 34 years in its third location. Our membership is growing. We recently added another 45 owners. We're close to 3,600 owners."

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Founded by local families who wanted to provide the community with a place to shop, gather, eat and learn by offering food and sustainable products at reasonable prices, Berkshire Food Co-op recently invested $5 million and added 20 jobs when it expanded its space on Bridge Street to 6,800 square feet. Berkshire Food Co-op had been selected as a finalist for the award in August.

With more then 1,100 employees in a typical year, Tanglewood annually brings $100 million in economic activity to the Berkshires, according to MassEcon. Tanglewood recently expanded its program offerings in the Berkshires when it opened the $33 million Linde Center for Music and Learning, its first year-round facility, in June.

"We hope that Tanglewood's annual impact on the regional economy will only increase," said Volpe in a statement, referring to the opening of the Linde Center, which because it's open between October and June now makes Tanglewood a year-round venue. "We're very excited that this new facet of Tanglewood might bring an additional boost of economic energy to the Berkshire community that has supported Tanglewood as the BSO's summer home since 1937."

"Tanglewood is a treasured cultural asset that delivers a tremendous economic impact in the Berkshires and Massachusetts," said MassEcon Executive Director Peter Abair. "With its latest investments in facilities and people and its ongoing commitment to investing in the Berkshires, we will be pleaded to honor Tanglewood with this special award."

State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, who grew up in Lenox and previously served on the town's Select Board, said Tanglewood "is unquestionably the single most important driver for the tourism industry in my district.

"I can still remember traffic coming and going from Tanglewood during my summers as a child," the Lenox Democrat said. "Tanglewood has served as an economic engine of the Berkshires since that time. ... There is truly no better organization more deserving of this honor."


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