She is one of Tower Square’s youngest and most unassuming merchants. Yet behind that pretty smile and quiet demeanor, Karrah Smith is getting attention for the impact she is making on the community as the owner of Something to Talk About Boutique. Smith was recently named Black Business Owner of the Year through the Association of Black Business Professionals, and was awarded a special certificate by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in Boston last month.
As if that is not impressive enough, in January, Smith was also named Young Business Owner of the Year.
Smith, a 24 years old Springfield native, received her Associates degree in Criminal Justice from Holyoke Community College. However, her passion for fashion took center stage in 2015 when her beloved older cousin, Diane Evans, original owner and founder of Something To Talk About, passed away from pancreatic cancer, leaving the store to Smith and her mother, Stephanie.
Smith took over the store in Evans’ memory, and never looked back. “I have always loved fashion,” explained Smith, “and my goal is to grow the business, while continuing to give back to my community.”
Smith has given back to the community in multiple ways, including donating proceeds from fashion shows to local charities. She also works with other young women, giving them pointers on how to run a business.
Something to Talk About Boutique is located on street level of Tower Square.
Junior Achievement of Western MA’s (JAWM) annual Enteenpreneur Challenge is always an exciting affair, but this year’s event had another element of excitement that had everyone buzzing!
A film crew from CPTV out of Hartford, working on a national documentary about JA’s history in recognition of the organization’s upcoming 100 year anniversary, spent several hours filming the challenge, talking with local student participants and JA staff and volunteers.
“JA is well known, but not known well,” commented CPTV producer John Holt. Holt says the documentary, will help to shed some light into the impressive work that JA has done and continues to do to introduce students to financial literacy and business basics, better preparing them for college and the job market.
According to Holt, a former JA student himself, the documentary will cover the history of JA across the nation from the days of the great depression to this current digital age. He and his crew have already visited JA events in Atlanta, Tampa, San Diego and San Jose, with a trip to Dallas in the not too distant future. However, the JA here in Western MA is crucial to the documentary, because the non-profit organization was established right here in Springfield, the “City of Firsts” in 1919.
“We are thrilled to be a part of this special documentary highlighting our organization’s progress and achievements over the course of our 100-year history,” noted Jennifer Connolly, JAWM Executive Director. “JA has a rich history of investing in our nation’s students with the help of an incredible network of volunteers down through the ages. We have a story that is worth being told.”
The JA documentary is being prepared for air play in 2019, with the hope of national clearance for PBS affiliates across the country.
For more about Junior Achievement and the JAWM Enteenpreneur Challenge visit their website at www.jawm.org
She’s wowed the crowds on Last Comic Standing, The Today Show, The View and Larry King Live to name a few. Now comedian Kelly MacFarland is ready to bring laughter to downtown Springfield’s admins and other office professionals during Tower Square’s annual Administrative Professionals Day Luncheon on Wednesday, April 25.
To make the afternoon even more enjoyable, event attendees will be served a wonderful meal in the exclusive and elegant Colony Club located on the Plaza level of Tower Square.
The Tower Square management office, the event’s producers, also has some great surprises lined up for luncheon goers including free giveaway items and a nice assortment of raffle prizes.
The cost to attend is $25. Seating is limited, so be sure to get your registration forms and payment to the Tower Square management office while there is still room.
Download a registration form from the events calendar by clicking on the Admin Luncheon event on April 25 from this site.
The Valley Photo Center is pleased to announce another visually exciting exhibit featuring the works of Members of the New England Large Format Photography Collective.
This latest exhibit opens on April 1 with a special Meet the Artists Reception on Sunday, April 29 from 1 – 4pm.
Members of the New England Large Format Photography Collective work together to share ideas, goals, and vision to achieve the highest possible standard in large format photographic expression, through the support of personal growth. Thru the Collective members share ideas, print-shares, technical demonstrations, fieldwork, and group exhibits employing disciplines of the past and the technology of tomorrow.
In addition to photographic prints on display at the Valley Photo Center there will also be images for view in their new digital photo gallery. Thanks to a generous grant from the Springfield Cultural Council, the Valley Photo Center was able to purchase six 43” 4K television monitors to display photographic works without the need for prints.
In April Valley Photo will also be accepting prints for the Student Open Submission and Open Submission Show for the general public at the gallery and other locations.
The Valley Photo Center is located on the second floor of Tower Square across from the food court. Visiting the Center and attending the reception is FREE and open to the public.
The Valley Photo Center is a 501C3 not for Profit Corporation whose mission is to educate its members and the public about the art and science of photography to bring about a greater appreciation for photography. Membership and more information about the exhibit and the VPC is available at their website, www.thevalleyphotocenter.com. The gallery phone number is 413-378-5253.
As Retail Banking Officer and Branch Manager of Westfield Bank’s Tower Square location, every day is different for Roberta Lussier. She might be training an associate, familiarizing a customer with the Bank’s online banking products or be giving a presentation on financial literacy to local college students. Whatever each day brings, Roberta always remains focused on one thing --- helping people.
“Any day I can help people is a good day,” says Roberta. “Managing the Bank’s Tower Square branch provides me with opportunity to do just that; provide customers with great service and the best banking products.”
Roberta grew up in Ware, MA, excelled in her high school business classes and was offered a job at Ware Trust Company. During the 37 years she was there, the company changed hands several times and was eventually purchased by a large national bank. Having started her career at a local bank however, Roberta chose to return to her roots and joined Westfield Bank in September 2017.
“I love working for a bank that cares about its customers and the community,” she says. “From senior management to tellers and support staff, at Westfield Bank, we’re here to provide a great banking experience, to listen and to ask questions like ‘how can we make your life easier?”
Westfield Bank is located on street level of Tower Square near the Main Street entrance.
Startup Accelerator Showcase: Thursday, April 5 - 5pm
We need you to help our Accelerator startups! 35 startups will be practicing for the Accelerator Awards on May 24th where VVM will distribute prizes! The startups would love your help to get ready for the Big Day!
The format is like a tradeshow, with each startup at a booth trying to tell their story. Many of them have never done a trade show before and so even a little advice from you could REALLY make an impact! Please join us for this exciting event!
Save the Date for our Accelerator Celebration: May 24 – 5pm
Join us to celebrate the accomplishments of our 2018 startups and innovation and entrepreneurship in the region. Networking, a startup showcase and a fast-paced presentation of cash awards make for a fantastic and memorable evening. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for sponsorship opportunities.
Valley Venture Mentors is located on street level of Tower Square.
Does your teen need a “reality check?” Do you think it’s important to help students develop smart money management behaviors and skills?
Understanding and experiencing the power of money can play an important role for teens to learn how to manage that power in order to achieve goals. Through the Teen Reality Fair, Junior Achievement of Western MA (JAWM) wants to start students on the right path to learning the skills they need to navigate their financial future.
Sign up to volunteer at Junior Achievement’s Teen Reality Fairs on 4/12 in Chicopee, 4/25 in Northampton, or 5/1 in Westfield to have an impact on the future of our youth!
Just 3 hours of your time can make all the difference. As a volunteer, you will man a booth (savings & retirement, housing, food & nutrition, insurance, loan center, furniture, transportation, credit card, counseling, part-time job, education & training, charitable giving, or fun, fun, fun) and assist students in selecting the best budget option at that booth based on their income, provide information about additional living expenses, and record and initial cost of choices on spending plans.
All volunteers receive training before event; no experience or financial background necessary. Each booth is equipped with a ‘cheat sheet’ for the volunteers’ convenience. E-mail Megan at email@example.com or call (413) 747-7670 to sign up to volunteer today!
The Tower Square management office will miss one of our longtime friends and co-workers, as Accountant Donna Kane retired on March 29, 2018.
After 34 years of dedication and service to Tower Square, Donna is saying goodbye to her multitude of accounting functions, and hello to a wonderful new season in her life where she plans to spend time with her family and more time in the kitchen preparing her delicious Italian meals!
Donna's retirement is so special in fact, that Springfield Mayor Sarno declared March 29, 2018 Donna Kane Day! She was presented with a proclamation from the City of Springfield by her son Police LT. David Kane on her last day here at Tower Square.
Congratulations, Donna! We already miss you!