New website markets Pittsfield's business strengths
PITTSFIELD — The city and its economic development partners launched a new website Tuesday as a way to market Pittsfield's business assets.
"Pittsfield wants your business," the site's homepage says.
The website, businesspittsfield.com, was unveiled by Mayor Linda Tyer, Business Development Manager Michael Coakley and leaders of the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority and the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation during a news conference in council chambers.
"Pittsfield is really knocking it out of the park, and right now we're just rounding second base," Tyer told the room, packed with public officials and business leaders.
The website provides a platform for the city to show the world what it has to offer its businesses.
The city is at a turning point, Tyer said. She said the moment came because the city and its partners decided not to wait around any longer for businesses to come to them.
"We decided, our partners and I, that we were going to take control of our own destiny," she said.
The city and its partners contracted Roger Matus, owner of the marketing firm Business Growth Catalyst, to design the site. The work started about six months ago; the city kicked in $5,000, Coakley said, and PEDA and PERC covered the rest.
"Our story — the Pittsfield story — it's a powerful story," Tyer said. "We have highly successful businesses that thrive right here in our city."
Christina Wynn, vice chair of PEDA, said while standing at a podium beneath the new website's projection that this is a milestone for those looking to promote Pittsfield.
"What you're seeing now above my head is another step forward as you think about business in the city," she said.
The site offers step-by-step guidance for those looking to start, grow, locate and explore new business opportunities in Pittsfield. Matus said "it's more than a website."
"It's an online mentoring tool; it's a mirror and it's a guide."
Jay Anderson, president of the PERC, which offers grants and mentorship to city businesses, said the city is reaching a critical mass of economic development energy.
"I think that we're at a point where we can actually tip the scales in our favor," he said.
The new site informs existing and potential businesses about grants available to help city business get off the ground. The site also showcases businesses that have been given a leg up from either the city, PEDA or the PERC.
Alfred Enchill, of Elegant Stitches, said he used one such grant to launch a design-your-own-garment function on his website. He said he saw 25 percent growth within one year. Kacey Boos, of Shire Acupuncture, said she realized that in order to have a job in acupuncture and live in Berkshire County, she'd have to start a firm. So she did, with help from PERC.
Steve Oakes, a downtown developer, said he's seeing an influx of new tenants from out of town. The site will only help that along, he said, and it's all "a very positive calling card for the city."
Chris Kapiloff, of LTI Smart Glass, said the city's government does what every local government should do: "take a step to the left and be out of the way so we can do what entrepreneurs do."
He recalled needing a transformer at one point, and fearing that getting all the paperwork done would take a long time.
"We accomplished literally in 90 minutes what I expected was going to be done in six months," he said.
Amanda Drane can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-496-6296.
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