New York State In-depth

Business Monday ETC: January 30, 2023

Trees of Hope brings in over $175,000

The Ronald McDonald House of Springfield and partner sponsor Gary Rome Hyundai announced that they collectively raised $175,686 at the second annual Trees of Hope event, held at Gary Rome Hyundai in Holyoke.

The effort ran from November 4-18.

“We would like to thank all of our sponsors and donors who made this event a success. We are especially grateful to our host and partner sponsor, Gary Rome Hyundai, for his leadership, generosity and support,” said Michelle D’Amore, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. “The impact of the dollars raised through this event will make a tremendous difference to the lives of the families and children who stay with us at the Ronald McDonald House of Springfield. It gives us the resources to ensure families have a home away from home while their child is being treated at Baystate Children’s Hospital, Shriners Hospitals for Children or other local medical facilities.”

The car dealership’s showroom was transformed into a winter wonderland in the first two weeks of November. It featured Christmas trees, dream gifts and displays donated by local businesses, individuals and community organizations. Each display was then raffled off, with proceeds going to the fundraiser.

“I am very excited to be working with Springfield House again in 2023 and bringing Trees of Hope back to retailers,” says owner Gary Rome. “Now more than ever, the Ronald McDonald House of Springfield is an essential resource for families who are facing a challenging time. I hope our community will continue to join me in ringing in the holidays by supporting them.”

MiraVista expands HR hours

The MiraVista Behavioral Health Center in Holyoke recently extended hours to accommodate the needs of night shift workers.

In this move, an HR coordinator worked a late afternoon shift, lasting after midnight two nights a month, to provide services to employees working the 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. shift.

“Is it normal for HR to be open until 1am,” said Kassandra Andrade, HR coordinator. “Not at all. But when an employee finishes their shift at 7 a.m., the last thing they want to do is go to HR with a question. They want to go home, see their families, take their kids to school and frankly, to Go to bed.”

The normal HR opening hours of the center are Monday to Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m

“Our first night was January 12 and staff came by to see if we were really open,” Andrade said. “It was fun but a good handful came out who were really really excited that we were there for them. They said that being open while at work helps them since HR is where most employees go with work-related questions.”

Kimberley Lee, director of creative strategy and development, praised both Andrade and HR director Theresa Byrd for their commitment to helping employees “meet their needs at work so they can meet their needs outside of work.”

“Their willingness to work late hours demonstrates MiraVista’s commitment to providing good customer service to our employees,” said Lee.

HCC offers hotel training

Holyoke Community College is offering a free five-week hospitality training program starting February 7th for anyone interested in a career in the hospitality industry.

The hands-on, face-to-face courses for hotel receptionists and housekeepers are held at the HCC-MGM Culinary Arts Institute Hotel Training Laboratory at 164 Race St. in downtown Holyoke.

The program runs on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:30 to 8:30 until March 9th.

Additional training programs will also take place from March 28th to April 26th (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) and from May 9th to June 8th (Tuesdays and Thursdays).

The course provides students with up-to-date knowledge of the hospitality industry, hands-on experience for receptionist or room attendant roles, workplace skills, resume preparation, job interviewing, job search assistance, and connections with local employers.

The hotel training course is offered as part of the College’s Business & Workforce Development Division and is free of charge to qualified applicants. For more information, email Laura Smith, Employment Assistant and Career Development Advisor, at [email protected] or fill out an online request form at

Hampshire Mall adds restaurant

Hampshire Mall recently welcomed Latino’s Cuisine to their Café Square.

Latino’s Cuisine, which opened January 22, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with “authentic Latin American favorites.”

“I fell in love with my mother’s kitchen from a young age,” said owner Eduardo Castillo. “This is my 28th year in the restaurant business providing good service and delicious home cooked food at affordable prices. Everything on the menu is 100% freshly made.”

Breakfast options include traditional sandwiches as well as the Dominican favorite mangu con los tres golpe, a dish made with plantains, egg, cheese, and salami. Appetizers include empanadas, meat skewers, and alcapurrias, Puerto Rican fritters.

The lunch and dinner menu includes dishes such as roast pork, roast pork, octopus, oxtail, beef tripe, chicken stew, mofongo, fried sweet plantains and more. All lunch and dinner are served with a choice of meat, rice and beans. Desserts include favorites like three milk cake, vanilla flan, and churros.

“We’re excited to offer our guests this exciting new dining option, as well as welcoming another small business to the mall,” said Lynn Gray, mall general manager. “Hampshire Mall always strives to bring new and unique tenants to the center and the menu choices at Latino’s Cuisine are unlike anything else on offer here.”

Latino’s Cuisine also has locations at Holyoke Mall in Ingleside and its sister malls at Crossgates in Albany, New York. Another location is under construction at the Walden Galleria in Buffalo, New York.

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