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JULY 2016




Beer Garden Wednesdays - A Big Hit for Downtown Office Workers

Downtown Springfield office workers are finding “hump day”a bit more enjoyable this summer as they end their busy Wednesdays with some fresh air, live music, libation, food, and games during the White Lion Brewing Company Beer Garden Wednesdays.

Presented by Northwestern Mutual and the Springfield Business Improvement District, Beer Garden Wednesdays, was created to get people out of their offices and to generate positive energy on the streets of downtown Springfield.  The event takes place every Wednesday throughout the summer, rotating locations between three downtown venues:  One Financial Plaza (1350 Main St.), Tower Square Park (1477 Main St.) and The Shops at Marketplace (1341 Main Street – rear).

The weekly event features locally produced beer by White Lion, food offered by Elegant Affairs, as well as a variety of regional musicians, a magician, and games including bean bag toss and Jenga.

To be a part of the festivites mark your calendar for the upcoming Beer Garden dates and locations:

July 6…..One Financial Plaza

July 13….Tower Square Park

July 20…..Marketplace

July 27……One Financial Plaza

August 3…..Tower Square Park

August 10…..Marketplace

August 17….One Financial Plaza

For more information on Beer Garden Wednesdays and other downtown events visit:

Springfield Stuff Now Available at Wonderland Gifts 

Folks looking for a Springfield souvenir, now don’t have to go any further than Tower Square to get one!

Wonderland Gifts located on street level, is now selling a nice selection of Springfield mementos perfect for local residents and downtown workers who want to show their community spirit, or for the traveler, who wants to take something home to remember their trip to the City of Homes.

 “We heard from so many people that wanted to be able to purchase a t-shirt or mug that celebrated the city of Springfield, so we decided to get in touch with a vendor and come up with a few of our own designs, which we’ve created on t-shirts (one of which mimics the look of The Simpsons cartoon), as well as mugs, coasters, bottle openers and wall signs representing towns across Western Mass,” explained Jim Cicerchia, co-owner of Wonderland Gifts. 

 The Sprigfield products are unique, well made and affordable…ranging in price from $5 to $25.

Wonderland Gifts is located on street level of Tower Square.  Find them on Facebook at

Spirit of Springfield Announces July 4th Festivities

Get your lawn chairs and bug spray ready, as the Star Spangled Springfield Independence Day Celebration is set to kick off on Monday, July 4th at Riverfront Park in downtown Springfield!

The Spirit of Springfield is planning an evening filled with patriotism, pyrotechnics and popular music starting at 6pm including:

6pm….Music provided by students musicians from Falcetti Musix

7pm….Brief program and National Anthem performed by Vanessa Ford

7:30pm….Maxxtone Music playing classics to current hits

9:30pm…..Fireworks by Grucci from the Memorial Bridge.  (Music simulcast on MIX 93.1FM)

“It is going to be a spectacular evening,”explained Judy Matt, President of Spirit of Springfield.  “July Fourth is a day for patriotism, to reflect on our freedoms and spend with family and friends.  The Spirit of Springfield is pleased to be able to bring the community together in celebration of Independence Day thanks to the generosity of many Springfield area businesses.”

CBRE-NE/Tower Square management is pleased to be one of Star Spangled Springfield’s sponsors for more than twenty years.



What’s In Season at The Farmers Market at Tower Square Park


If you happen to like locally grown strawberries, corn or tomatoes to name a few, then the Springfield Central Downtown Farmers Market is the place to be on Fridays in July!


The Downtown Farmers Market, which is held across the street at Tower Square Park at the corner of Main & Bridge streets from 11:30am – 5:30pm every Friday thru October, is gaining momentum as more and more local crops are coming into season.


According to the 2016 Western MA Pioneer Valley Locally Grown Farm Products Guide, this month the following local produce should be ripe for the pickin’ and eatin’:


-Beets                 -Blueberries       -Broccoli

-Cabbage           -Carrots              -Corn

-Cucumbers       -Garlic               -Green Beans

-Greens               -Leeks                -Lettuce

-Onions             -Peas                  -Peppers

-Potatoes           -Radishes           -Raspberries

-Scallions           -Spinach           -Squash

-Strawberries    -Tomatoes         -Turnips      


Stop by the market and ask Farmers Market Manager Glenroy Buchanan about CSA shares, if you’re interested in “buying a piece of the farm” to enjoy a box of local fresh produce each week.


The Springfield Central Downtown Farmers Market is presented by Northwestern Mutual and The Springfield Business Improvement District.


VVM Presents $252,000 in Prize Money to Startups!

Twelve hard working local entrepreneurs received a nice boost to their businesses, after being selected to receive cash prizes during the 2016 Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) Accelerator Awards Banquet.

The twelve winners were chosen from among the thirty-five startups that graduated from VVM’s 2016 Accelerator Program.  VVM awarded a total of $252,000, with the top three winners receiving the largest checks. 

Celia Grace, an Amherst startup that sells “Wedding Gowns that Give Back:  Ethical. Eco. Fair Trade,” was awarded the largest prize of $50,000.

Homebody Holistics, based out of Hatfield, MA, a maker of organic eco-friendly cleaning solutions, received the next highest prize of $45,000.

Scout Curated Wears, a designer, curator and producer of thoughtful women’s accessories out of Holyoke, received the third largest check for $32,000. 

VVM Mentorship Program Audition Night – July 13 

Startup companies seeking to become a part of VVM’s next Mentorship Program will have a chance to pitch their product/services to an audience of mentors on Wednesday, July 13th.

You’re invited to make a two-minute pitch to the audience.  If enough mentors commit to helping you and your company, then you’re in!

This is a fun, fast-paced and casual event connecting business mentors with local amazing startups.  No commitment is required.

Free beer, wine, food and childcare is provided to help fuel the evening’s festivities, which will be held from 5-8pm at VVM headquarters on street level at Tower Square next to Champions Sports Bar.

To register go to:




A Touch of Argentina Comes to Art for the Soul Gallery


Artist Nora Valdez, pictured here with some of her sculptures,
will be among the artists featured at the new “Tango” exhibit
 at Art for the Soul Gallery.


Work has been ongoing behind closed doors at Art for the Soul Gallery at Tower Square, as the new exhibition on Argentina, entitled “Tango”, prepares to open to the public with a tentative date set for Thursday, July 7th.


The exhibit will feature artwork recently on display at the US Consulate of Argentina in New York City, as well as the work of other Argentina influenced artists Nora Valdez, and Andrea Iturrioz to name a few.


“This is the first time an Argentinian show of this magnitude has ever been exhibited in the US,” explained Rosemary “Tracy” Woods, Executive Director of Art for the Soul Gallery.


While the Tango exhibit is up, Art for the Soul Gallery will also feature several special events including Tango Dance demonstrations, Argentinian food and wine tastings, as well as a visit by the Deputy Consul of Argentina, who will be appearing for a speaking engagement and reception at the gallery in August.


The exhibit is being produced by Artistic Director Bill Myers, Art for the Soul Executive Director Woods, with the assistance of gallery interns Sierra Myers, Elizabeth Crippin and Audira Cave.


Art for the Soul Gallery is located on the second floor adjacent to the food court.  For additional information call the gallery at 413.301.6314.




New Study Finds Travel Agents Save Consumers an Average of $452 Per Trip

New research from The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) proves that travel agents save consumers time and money. Consumers report that travel agents save them an average $452 per trip, and four hours in travel planning.  Perhaps most importantly, consumers said that agents help them avoid costly mistakes. 

The independent study, "Best of Both Worlds:  Quantifying How Travel Agents Save Consumers Time and Money," was funded by Carnival Corporation and conducted by market research firm TNS Global.


"We couldn't hold back the good news, and that is that travel agent usage is at its highest level since we began commissioning independent consumer research three years ago.  At this point, consumers have tried it all. They've booked online, they've gone direct, and they've used a travel agent. This study dispels the myth that booking direct with suppliers or spending hours online yourself gets you a better deal, or gives you a happier travel experience. Consumers told TNS Global that if you want a better travel experience, use an agent," said ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby.

“I’m not surprised by the findings,” commented Janice Webb, owner of Emerald City Travel at Tower Square.  “My goal as a travel agent and consultant is to try to get the best value for my customers’ dollar, to save them time, and to make travel as seamless as possible.”  

Key preliminary findings in the ASTA survey include:

  • In the past 12 months, nearly half of consumers polled (47%) booked travel through supplier websites, followed by 25% on online travel agency websites, and 23% through travel agents. That 23% was the highest share in the past three years.
  • When looking back on their past travel experiences, almost two-thirds (63%) said using an agent makes their overall trip experience better; 69% reported that agents save them time in planning and booking; 66% said agents help them avoid costly mistakes, and 64% say agents find the better deals.
  • The key reason consumers who haven't used an agent in the past 12 months say they went that route:  "I want to do it myself."
  • Travel agents lead other booking channels in selling river cruises, and tie online suppliers for selling ocean cruises and tour packages. Agents also scored well for selling all-inclusive resorts and travel insurance, nearly tying with online suppliers.
  • The top reason cited by consumers who have not used an agent in the past 12 months of why they would consider it is if the agent can save them money (47%), followed closely by if the agent can find better deals than online websites and if the travel agent can help the consumer avoid mistakes.
To save money and time in booking your next travel experience, you can contact Janice Webb at Emerald City Travel at 413.737.4361 or stop by their office on street level of Tower Square just down the hall from Champions.



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