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Ashfield Stone to Construct Shelburne Building, Purchase Equipment Thanks to $2.6 Million MassDevelopment Bond

June 20, 2011

Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077
Johanna Andersen-Pratt, Ashfield Stone, 413-628-4773

MassDevelopment has issued a $2,643,000 tax-exempt bond on behalf of Ashfield Stone LLC, which quarries and fabricates rare, local stone from the Berkshires for use in residential and commercial projects. Bond proceeds will help construct an 8,250-square-foot facility in Shelburne and purchase sawing, polishing, and finishing equipment. The Shelburne site lies about seven miles from the Pratts’ original quarry, and will have the electrical capacity, equipment, and space needed to meet the demand for products such as counter tops, floor tiles, stair treads, walls panels, and vanities. Greenfield Cooperative Bank purchased the bond.

“The Pratts’ story is amazing – they discovered a unique natural resource in their backyard and turned it into a business highlighting the beauty of the foothills of the Berkshires,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “MassDevelopment takes pride in supporting the Commonwealth’s manufacturers and businesses in Western Massachusetts, and this project presents an exceptional combination of those two priorities.”

Robert Pratt and Johanna Andersen-Pratt founded the company in 1987 after they purchased a tract of land in Ashfield to build a home and barn and found a ledge of flat stone determined to be mica schist, a type of metamorphic rock. The Pratts obtained a permit to open the quarry in 1988 and initially split out the stone by hand. The company has a policy of donating stone to Ashfield and the surrounding communities, including making polished memorial benches in the Ashfield Plain Cemetery and war memorials in Charlemont and Buckland. Company officials expect to create at least nine new jobs as a result of the Shelburne project.

“We have come a long way in the past 25 years and with the help of MassDevelopment and the Greenfield Cooperative Bank, we are excited about our future,” said Robert Pratt and Johanna Andersen-Pratt. “The new shop, with its state-of-the-art equipment, will enable us to offer this unique local resource to a much broader market. We are also looking forward to creating new job opportunities for the area. Our long range goals include a visitor's center and a public sculpture garden.”

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2010, MassDevelopment financed or managed 238 projects in 104 communities across the state generating investment of nearly $1.4 billion in the Massachusetts economy.