Retailer of the Year
Debbie Rio and Stephanie MacFarland opened Goodhearts in 1999. In 2003 they moved to their current location on Main Street in Reading where they have survived and thrived during difficult economic times and a prolonged urban renewal project. This is the type of business every shopping area in America would love to claim. The reason is that they execute the basics exceptionally well. They know their customers and are in perfect alignment with their merchandise. They have mastered the concept of customer service and truly live to improve their community. Debbie and Stephanie have a sincere enjoyment for what they do and in turn they have a very loyal customer base. At Goodhearts, shoppers will find those special items for children that are different and unique; items that will be treasured.
“Goodhearts is the ‘anchor' store for the downtown community. The mother and daughter team provide a great atmosphere and window displays that keep the downtown alive and well.”
- Meghan Young, Economic Development Committee Chairman, Reading
Rookie of the Year
Nan Parati moved to Ashfield from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and bought the historic Elmer's General Store Building which had been gutted and sitting empty for three years. Through a lot of hard work and creativity (providing local residents surveys to find out what they needed and wanted in their community) she has turned Elmer's Store into not only “THE” place to eat breakfast, but also a place for all walks of life to come together. Elmer's sells local produce and groceries as well as a houses gallery for local artisans to display and sell their work. Elmer's now provides dinner three nights a week and holds an After Hours Elmer's Speakeasy that hosts a variety of live music: Blues, Bluegrass, Folk, Classical and R&B. At Elmer's they say “We could do that! We can do anything we want!”
Keon's 105 Bistro
Restaurant of the Year
Alan Boisvert, a former five star chef at some of the finest restaurants in the world and native of Lawrence, was looking to buy a restaurant three years ago and came upon Michael Keon's in Haverhill. Alan's decision to invest in Keon's has contributed to the revitalization of Haverhill's downtown district. He kept the name and upgraded the menu to create what is now a favorite among locals and worth the trip if you are not. The atmosphere is warm and inviting and you will be sure to see Alan mingling with the customers. The menu is small, but not limited. Everything is prepared fresh on site from the stocks to the sauces. Keon's also has an excellent offering of wine and martinis. Whether you are looking for a place for a special celebration or just a night out, Keon's 105 Bistro won't disappoint.
Lucia Lighting and Design
In May of 2005, real estate developer David J. Solimine, Jr., purchased the former Pinkham Estate Mansion in Lynn as a real estate investment. He immediately approached his long-time lighting consultant, Lucy Dearborn, about the idea of bringing a top-notch lighting showroom to Lynn. In short order, Lucy and David drafted a business plan and formed a partnership. Over the next nine months, the landmark mansion was renovated into a lighting showroom. Lucía Lighting & Design now features 12 showrooms in 8,000 square feet of this lovingly restored mansion. Lighting is displayed in settings unlike any other lighting showroom, allowing you to visualize your lighting needs in action. Lucía Lighting & Design IS everything in lighting.
Sugar Plum Parties
Sugar Plum Parties was dreamed up by Linda Tsitos to create a birthday party that's imaginative, fun and personable without all the stress. Sugar Plum Parties offer six all–inclusive party packages which include a variety of costume dress up, popular themed activities, use of the vanities, stage and dining area. Linda has converted a small, narrow retail space into two spaces - an enchanted castle and an actor's studio including stage. The dining area, with its chandeliers and beautiful table dressings, will have the birthday girl and her guests beaming with delight. These private, elegant, all-inclusive parties will leave lasting memories with you, your child and all her guests.
Debra's Natural Gourmet
Happiest to be socializing around food, Debra Stark mixes business with pleasure and has taught her staff and customers to enjoy the same. Putting heart and soul into a business that represents a way of life, Debra opened Debra's Natural Gourmet in October 1989 and instantly began fostering the sense of shared passion and community that is her dream. Debra and her staff volunteer in soup kitchens, host free educational program with holistic health providers, offer poetry readings, community dinners and teach knitting.
Retail Hall of Fame
In 1873, Dennis Nelen opened the Dennis Nelen Furniture Manufacturing and Retailing Company as a wholesaler and retailer in elegant furniture on Main Street in Springfield, MA. By 1900, William Kavanagh had become a partner and the name was changed to Kavanagh and Nelen, moving the business to its present location on State Street.
Through the years, the company has established a reputation for selling quality, durable, affordable furniture. Today, Kavanagh's is one of the oldest, continuously operated retail furniture stores in the entire country, offering fine furnishings from leading manufacturers for every room in your house.
Now in its 132nd year, Kavanagh Furniture has expanded to four stores serving Western Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut. The fourth generation of the Nelen and Kavanagh families now leads the company into the 21st century with the same guiding principles: Quality, style, affordability, and customer service. CEO Jack Nelen is a forty year member of the RAM Board of Directors and a Past Board Chairman