Ferns Country Store
Retailer of the Year
Ferns Country Store sits directly in the village center on the rotary in Carlisle, where a comparable establishment has existed since 1844. When husband and wife team Robin Emerson and Larry Bearfield acquired the site of Ferns, they recognized the enormous responsibility that was entrusted to them as the only store proprietors in the entire town. After opening in 2004, they rose to the occasion. Ferns is a staple in the Carlisle community, hosting community events on their newly renovated piazza, providing a “first-job” mentoring program for young workers and successfully creating an improved adaptation of the quintessential New England country store.
“…Ferns is not only a convenient and important retail source for our citizens, but it remains an important focal point in the social structure of the town, one of the few places where folks regularly meet and interact, It is safe to say that the store plays a critical role in the cultural context of our community…”
- Timothy Hult, Chairman, Carlisle Board of Selectman
Rookie of the Year
John Earle found success when he decided to design a tee-shirt inspired by one of the various nicknames his friends had given him; Johnny Cupcake. What started as a joke in 2001 blossomed into a thriving business with a cult following. In 2006, John opened his second location on trendy Newbury Street in Boston, to the excitement of the more than 600 people who lined-up outside the store on Opening Day. Johnny Cupcakes is designed to resemble a bakery; his t-shirts are displayed in bakery display cases, a vanilla scent wafts throughout the store, his employees wear aprons and a 1,000 lb dough mixer sits near the entrance.
“I started this company as a complete joke!”
- John Earle
Restaurant of the Year
Since opening in June of 2006, Spice has done much to promote the revival of Pittsfield. The 1840's building that houses Spice, the former Besse-Clark department store, is the flagship building on Pittsfield's historic North Street. The menu offers “familiar food with a twist,” and it hits the mark. This casual fine-dining restaurant quickly earned a reputation for providing guests with the definitive dining experience; brilliant food, atmosphere, service and décor that is warm and original. Co-owners Joyce Bernstein and Larry Rosenthal's first foray into the restaurant business is decidedly a success.
“…the success of Spice represents a rebirth that has come to define economic growth in Pittsfield…”
- Senator Ben Downing
Dunia Ecostore, located in downtown Maynard, offers products that fall into three main categories: Fair Trade, Environmentally Sustainable and Cruelty-free. The idea of Dunia, which means earth in Indonesian, first came to owners Paige O'Brien and Didi Chadran in 2002. Today, Dunia offers earth-friendly goods that include an eclectic mix of home décor, fashionable accessories, games, books and bath and body products. In addition, Dunia features an art gallery with rotating exhibits that compliment their earth-friendly and humanitarian foundation, with a percentage of the proceeds going to charity.
“The mission was to fuse our day-to-day values with our day-to-day avocations.”
- Paige and Deeds, Dunia Ecostore
Handworks Gallery of American Crafts
Handworks Gallery was founded 30 years ago in Acton. In 1995, Glenn Johnson, who has been making and selling art since the age of six, purchased Handworks and brought it to a new energy and focus. Today you can find the finest American crafts presented in eye-catching, ever-changing displays at Handworks. More than 300 craftspeople are represented annually in Handworks' collection of jewelry, pottery, fiber, woodenware, blown and stained glass, and sculpture.
Advertising & Promotion
When IKEA first opened its Stoughton store in 2005 nearly 20,000 people lined up to be some of the company's first Massachusetts customers. IKEA-Stoughton has generated over $1 million in annual local revenue and employs over 500 people. IKEA, founded in 1943 in Sweden by Ingvar Kamprad, offers a wide range of functional home furnishings at low prices. IKEA's name is derived from the founder's name, and the farm and village where he grew up; Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd. IKEA's renowned success is partially due to their innovative ideas, signage, advertising and promotional concepts.
Vaillancourt Folk Art
Vaillancourt Folk Art (VFA) began in 1984 with a simple gift. Gary Vaillancourt gave his wife Judi a gift of three antique chocolate molds. With that, Vaillancourt Folk Art began. In the years since, Judi's collection has grown to more than 3,000 vintage molds -one of the largest collections in the world. VFA is one of America's last remaining Christmas ornament and collectibles makers. Unlike most Christmas collectibles, which are manufactured overseas, Vaillancourt chalkware figures are still made by hand at the VFA studio in Sutton, Mass.
“The Vaillancourts commitment to the community is truly remarkable and evident in every aspect of their business and personal lives.”
- Representative Jennifer Callahan