Utz leases warehouse
STERLING - The Pennsylvania company that purchased the Wachusett Potato Chip Co. in Fitchburg last year has leased a Chocksett Road warehouse.
Utz Quality Foods has leased the former A&E Distributors building at 13 Chocksett Road to distribute its products throughout 25 New England routes. The building has 60,000 square feet, which was opened up after several large beer coolers were removed.
Barry Krysiak, director of operations for Utz at its Fitchburg facility, said Utz signed the lease in June and has hired nine warehouse employees and five drivers. As part of the move, Utz closed its distribution facility at 14 Commerce Road in Shrewsbury. The company then consolidated its routes and drivers at the Sterling facility.
Mr. Krysiak said potato chips and potato sticks manufactured at the Fitchburg facility are shipped to the Sterling warehouse, where they are shipped along with other Utz products, such as pretzels, cheese curls and corn chips.
Utz Quality Foods of Hanover, Pa., purchased the Wachusett Potato Chip Co. last October. The plant has since added a second shift with 35 workers, making chips under the Wachusett and Utz labels.
Senior housing opens in Fitchburg
FITCHBURG - WinnDevelopment officially opened Fitchburg Place last week, a $19 million redevelopment of a former public housing tower in downtown Fitchburg.
The 96-unit affordable senior housing development opened at 16 Prichard St. after a year of extensive renovations.
According to WinnDevelopment, "Fitchburg Place has affordable and modern one-bedroom apartment homes for seniors." The complex has "newly renovated, fully appointed apartment units and many community amenities, including a resident lounge, laundry, wellness room, fitness center, computer learning space, and library and patio area."
The property, formerly known as Groop Townview Towers, was a public housing complex owned by the Fitchburg Housing Authority. Originally planned to be converted into an assisted living facility, the redevelopment stalled and the building sat vacant, beginning in 2006, because of financial difficulties, according to WinnDevelopment.
The company acquired the property in a joint venture partnership with the Fitchburg Housing Authority in October 2011. The Fitchburg Housing Authority is a part-owner, but the property will be managed by WinnResidential, according to a company spokeswoman.
Elder home care in north county
FITCHBURG - Peace of Mind In-Home Care Inc. has launched a business in north Worcester County to help seniors and disabled people who choose to live independently.
The new company, at 164 Elm St., "provides a variety of non-medical, home-modification and property-care services to people in the north Worcester County and North Central Massachusetts area."
The company offers personal care services such as companionship, help with bathing, showering and dressing; medication reminders, light housework, laundry, running errands, and meal planning and preparation.
The company also offers home modification and property care. Peace of Mind can install wheelchair ramps, bathroom grab bars, and do nearly all modifications that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Property care services include coordinating service calls, landscaping, handyman/repair services, hoarding services, preparing a home for sale, and other homeowner-related help.
All of the company's employees must submit references and agree to criminal background checks, according to co-owners Rick DiPaoli and Keith Lanzilotti.
Local companies win state awards
WATERTOWN - Companies in Oxford, Devens and Douglas have been named winners of the ninth annual Team Massachusetts Economic Impact Awards, which will be presented at a luncheon in November.
IPG Photonics of Oxford won a gold medal for the Central Northeast region, as defined by the Massachusetts Alliance for Economic Development. Winning a silver medal was Quiet Logistics in Devens, while Classic Envelope in Douglas won a bronze.
The winning companies were selected after site visits and a reception with competitors and judges, where companies laid out their attributes in categories such as job growth, facility expansion, investment and community involvement.
MassEcon "is a non-profit partnership of the private and public sectors, "dedicated to marketing Massachusetts as a competitive location for business," according to a press release on the awards.
Fidelity opens Leominster branch
LEOMINSTER - Fidelity Bank recently opened a new bank branch at 75 Main St., part of the bank's purchase of the Leominster branch of People's United Bank.
Fidelity Bank moved its branch from 29 Main St. into the new location. The bank held a ribbon- cutting ceremony at the new branch last week. People's United, a larger bank, sold only its Leominster branch to Fidelity.
Fidelity Bank, with total assets of $522 million, has full-service offices in Fitchburg, Gardner, Leominster, Millbury, Shirley and Worcester.
Gardner VNA changes its name
GARDNER - The Gardner Visiting Nurses Association has changed its name to GVNA HealthCare Inc.
The company has adult day care centers in Gardner, Fitchburg, Athol and Greenfield. The size of its coverage area will not be affected by the name change, according to Elaine Fluet, president and chief executive officer.
"We realized just how geographically limiting our name was when entering a new community," said Ms. Fluet, noting that the Greenfield center just opened. "In response to that realization, the board of directors evaluated the strategic plan, knowing that our name needed to reflect the many communities we serve."