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Florence Savings Bank, MassDevelopment Partner to Help Finance Creation of Old Creamery Cooperative

December 10, 2012


Contacts:
Susan A. Pepin-Phillips, Florence Savings Bank, 413-587-1786
sue.pepinphillips@florencebank.com
Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077 (cell)
kabbruzzese@massdevelopment.com

Florence Savings Bank has provided loans totaling $661,500, enhanced by a $107,000 MassDevelopment guaranty, to the newly formed Old Creamery Cooperative in Cummington. When the owners of the Creamery, a 126-year-old rural country store serving the Hilltowns of western Massachusetts, decided to sell the business, more than 550 community members united to form a consumer cooperative that will own, expand, and oversee management of this full service retail grocery store, café, and gathering place. The Cooperative is using loan proceeds to rehabilitate its building, redesign the building layout, and expand the parking lot. Florence Savings Bank also provided financing for the Cooperative to buy the building. The organization, which has 26 full- and part-time employees, has hired an experienced general manager to oversee daily operations.

“We are excited to be providing the financing support for the Old Creamery Cooperative project in Cummington,” said John Heaps, President of Florence Savings Bank. “We are also looking forward to serving our Hilltown customers with ATM service at the Creamery when the renovations are completed. The Creamery has been part of the Hilltown Community for more than one hundred years, and we are happy to play a role in building the financial foundation for the next hundred.”

“This effort shows the close-knit and community-driven nature of the Commonwealth’s Hilltowns,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “We’re pleased to enhance this financing to Old Creamery Cooperative, helping this historic network continue its support for local farmers, producers, and artists for generations to come.”

Old Creamery Cooperative’s facility dates back to 1886, when it housed the Cummington Cooperative Creamery, the co-op of local dairy farmers. Co-op members brought fresh cream from their farms to churn into butter; at peak, 145 dairies produced 20,000 pounds of butter per month. Since then, the Creamery has been a restaurant, general store, and combination of the two, and now serves as a vibrant community hub in the Hilltowns. The Creamery carries many items from Hilltown and Pioneer Valley producers, including produce; naturally raised and organic meats; cheeses; breads; bottled and canned grocery items; ice cream; locally roasted coffee; herbal and medicinal products; candles; beer; wine; crafts; books; CDs; and greeting cards.

Kimberly Longey, President of the Co-op’s board of directors, said this accomplishment was due to the “support of hundreds of people, each giving of their time, their talent, and their financial resources.”

“Thanks to the commercial financing provided by Florence Savings Bank and MassDevelopment, we are off and running on the next phase of our work,” Longey continued. “Together we'll be guiding this business through a physical renovation and many other changes. But some things won’t change. We will still strive to meet the needs of our community, respect our planet, and earn a profit. Our business is grounded in the notion of true democratic control. One person, one share, one vote. While the store will now be member-owned, we will continue to remain open to all.”

Information about the Co-op, items for sale, and the benefits of member-ownership is available at www.oldcreamery.coop.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2012, MassDevelopment financed or managed 280 projects generating investment of more than $2.3 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create more than 12,000 jobs and build or rehabilitate 900 residential units.