Her first step was to talk to other acupuncturists in Berkshire County to get ideas. They were extremely encouraging. She then started to look at real estate on North Street. It was her real estate agent, Billy Keane, who put her in touch with Laura Mick, Community Development Specialist for the City of Pittsfield.
Laura Mick’s expertise includes connecting the right applicants to the correct, available resources for small businesses. In addition, she administers programs, including loans and grants, from the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation (PERC).
“I had no idea that the City could be a resource for a startup,” Kacey recalled. “I wished that some kind of grant would be available to me. But, I had no idea how to go about getting one.”
Kacey met with Laurie to describe her vision and goals, but she had not put together a business plan. At the meeting, Laurie told her about the Technical Assistance Grants that are available for startups. However, a business plan would be needed to apply. Kacey had no experience with business plans and did not know where to begin.
Laurie put Kacey in touch with Nancy Shulman from the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center’s offices in downtown Pittsfield. The MSBDC is part of the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts. It provides free, confidential, one-to-one business assistance.
“Who knew that the University of Massachusetts had people here in Pittsfield?” Kacey said. “They helped me think about my business and to put a business plan together that I could use to apply for a grant from the City. And, I got it. I got the grant!”
Technical Assistance Grants are matching grants from PERC of up to $5,000 to be used for professional services including accounting, bookkeeping, business consulting and marketing. Grants never need to be repaid. The program is funded by the City of Pittsfield through its Community Development Block Grant and administered by PERC.
“Laura Mick, Nancy Shulman, and Billy Keane have literally made this dream come true. They have been amazing and so generous,” Kacey said. “They believe in me. They’re supporting me. They’re encouraging me. It’s amazing. I can’t thank them enough.”
Shire Acupuncture is located at 55 North Street, Pittsfield, MA.
– by Roger Matus