Iredale Breaks Ground

October 20, 2010 : The Berkshire Eagle, by Derek Gentile

GREAT BARRINGTON – With the 111-year-old former Bryant Elementary School as a backdrop, state officials and the owners of Iredale Mineral Cosmetics on Tuesday announced the receipt of a $4.6 million Recovery Zone Facility Bond that will pay for the retrofitting of the school.

The 17,700-square-foot building will provide office space for the firm and serve as the world headquarters for the company.

The announcement came at the end of a ceremonial “ground-breaking” headed by company president Jane Iredale and her husband, Robert Montgomery, who is also vice-president and CFO of the business.

“This is a global company, with offices all over the world, and they have a home base here in Great Barrington. That says a lot about the commitment this company has to the community,” said state Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli, D-Lenox.

More than 80 state and local officials, and local businessmen and women were on hand for the event.

The $6.4 million bond has been issued by MassDevelopment as part of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to state Administration and Finance Secretary Jay Gonzalez.

“It’s basically a low-interest loan,” said Gonzalez, “and it will make it cheaper for Iredale to build this business.”

The international cosmetics leader plans to relocate some of its out-of-state operation to Massachusetts and is hiring new staff. The company presently employs about 159 people,

Montgomery added that the cosmetics firm is also moving toward environmentally sensitive packaging of its products.

The company began eyeing the former elementary school more than three years ago as a way to meet its expansion needs, said Montgomery.

As a “thank-you” to the town, Iredale Cosmetics has agreed to donate the blackboards and other pieces of school equipment at Bryant to the Great Barrington Historical Society.

“We have people working [for Iredale] whose relatives went to Bryant School,” said Jane Iredale. “It is worthwhile to know the history of this venerable building.”

© Copyright 2010 The Berkshire Eagle.