Haas Entrepreneur of the Year Award


Dick Haas

Our region depends on small business owners who take the risk to make our communities a desirable place to live and work. The Haas Award highlights positive examples of entrepreneurship based on years of hard work, community involvement and success.  Dick and Janet Haas, owners of Hillside Plastic founders of Sugarhill Containers were the inspiration for the award shape as their unique maple syrup jug.  The CDC is pleased to have honored our wonderful nominees for their hard work, dedication to our community, and entrepreneurial spirit.

We gathered nominations from the community to honor an entrepreneur who met the following criteria:

  1.  Franklin County business owner
  2.  Business employs at least 3 full time jobs and has been in business for five years or more
  3.  Entrepreneur has made a commitment to improve our community through
    -social responsibility
    -environmental sustainability
    -financial contributions
    – volunteer time

We continued to honor entrepreneurs these past 2 years, but due to the pandemic we did not have an in person celebration. Stay tuned to see what 2022 will bring!


Join us in May 2021!

The nominations are closed for the 10th Annual Haas Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, we canceled our 2020 celebration and are looking forward to next year’s award. Check back for more in 2021


Since 2011, the annual Celebrating Entrepreneurs event has honored the Haas Entrepreneur of the Year and acknowledged the importance and impact of businesses in Franklin County.

On May 9 we honored our 2019 Entrepreneurs of the Year Jim & Maggie Zaccara and Evelyn Wulfkuhle of Hope and Olive at Hawks and Reed. The night began with a welcome from FCCDC Board Chair Andrea Nathanson. Highlights of the event were the Franklin No. Nine custom-crafted cocktail (created for the event by Jim Zaccara of Hope & Olive), celebrity bartender John Howland of GSB, music by jazz pianist Robert Speth and a raffle of FCCDC goodies!

Check out the photos from the event below. (All images taken by Vinny Natale).


Since 2011, the annual Celebrating Entrepreneurs event has honored the Haas Entrepreneur of the Year and acknowledged the importance and impact of businesses in Franklin County.

Last year’s event, held on May 10th at Hawks & Reed in Greenfield, celebrated the 2018 awardee:

Chip and Sherry Hager, Kim and Aaron Stevens of Hager’s Farm Market

The night began with fresh local food from Hillside Organic Catering and a “Bright Ideas” craft cocktail, created by Hope & Olive’s Jim Zaccaro and served up by guest bartenders John and Phelicia Howland. Vocalist Jill Connolly (voice over artist), with bass player Dave Christopolis (ED, Hilltown CDC) and pianist Dave Bartley, provided the music throughout the evening.

Enjoy a slideshow of the event (photos by Amy Shapiro)

Master of Ceremonies AJ Bresciano (FCCDC Board Chair and VP Commercial Loan Officer, Greenfield Savings Bank) began the program with an update on FCCDC activities before turning the mic over to event sponsor Greenfield Savings Bank President John Howland who spoke about the importance of supporting small businesses and the FCCDC. Event co-host Natalie Blais, Executive Director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, spoke about event sponsor Travel Kuz who graciously delivered the Hager Family to the event in a stretch limousine.

Amy Shapiro, Business Development Director FCCDC shared some very interesting statistics:

According to 2016 US County Business Pattern Data (from the US Census), 73% of Franklin County businesses have less than 10 employees, 15% have between 10-19 employees, 7% between 20-49 and 5% have 50 or more employees. It’s clear that small businesses drive Franklin County, making it unique, visually interesting, and economically diverse like no other community.

With a Bright Ideas cocktail or festive beverage in hand, attendees shared toasts to Franklin County business owners and their supporters. Glasses were raised to the Hager family, the impact and leadership of small businesses, and to the many who support local small businesses.

Amy explained the Entrepreneur of the Year nomination and award process and then presented a short video about Hager’s Farm Market produced by Vermont Television Network.

Karen Gangne, a long time Hager family friend and employee, shared heartfelt stories about the family, the business, and her involvement with it.

Stacy Metzger, cooperative member owner of 2017 awardee, PV Squared Solar, presented the 2018 award to the Hager Family and offered her thoughts about what makes Hager’s Farm Market so special.

Jon Gould, Hilltown Community Liaison for the Office of Senator Adam Hinds, presented Senate and House citations to Hager’s Farm Market.

The evening wrapped up with more music, cake and networking.

This year’s Celebrating Entrepreneurship event was made possible with support from the Franklin Chamber of Commerce, Greenfield Savings Bank, Greenfield Cooperative Bank, Hawks and Reed, Travel Kuz, Hillside Organic Pizza, and the FCCDC CITC donors.

Celebrating Entrepreneurs celebrates the businesses that have made a difference in Franklin County. Previous winners have been the PV Squared Cooperative, Lisa Alber of Alber Hearing Services, Nan Parati of Elmer’s Store, Craig White and Bob Lindner of Hillside Organic Pizza, Karen Blom and Bruce Lessels of Zoar Outdoor, Molly and Van Wood of Small Corp, Alden Booth and Lissa Greenough of The People’s Pint.


2017 Haas Entrepreneur of the Year Award

PV Squared Staff

Congratulations to our 2017 Entrepreneurs of the Year, PV Squared Solar! Since 2002, PV Squared has provided renewable energy solutions to businesses and homeowners in the Pioneer Valley and the surrounding regions. They have built their reputation on strong word of mouth, quality craftsmanship, and outstanding customer service.


2016 Haas Entrepreneur of the Year Winner

The recipient of the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year Award was Lisa Alber of Alber Hearing Services.


2015 Haas Entrepreneur of the Year Winner

The recipient of the 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year Award was The Elmer’s Store in Ashfield.


2014 Haas Entrepreneurs of the Year

The recipients of the 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year Award were Craig White and Bob Lindner of Hillside Pizza. See a video about Craig and Bob.

You gotta love these guys! They have helped groups raise over $325,000 since 2001, opened three restaurants in Deerfield, Bernardson and Hadley and also have a catering business. Aside from working with over 100 fundraisers a year, Hillside Pizza provides a workplace for students with autism from the Inspire School in Guildford , Vt.


2013 Haas Entrepreneurs of the Year

The recipient of the 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year was Karen Blom and Bruce Lessels of Zoar Outdoor.


2012 Haas Entrepreneurs of the Year

The 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year award was presented to Molly and Van Wood of SmallCorp. Watch the video report from GC-TV.



2011 Haas Entrepreneurs of the Year

On May 19, 2011, Alden Booth and Lissa Greenough, founders of The People’s Pint restaurant and brewery and The Gill Tavern, were named the recipients of the first annual Haas Entrepreneur of the Year Award.  John Waite, Franklin County CDC Executive Director, said Booth and Greenough “exemplify many of the traits a community wants in their business people. Their business is as much about delicious food and great beer as it is about community and respect for people and the environment.”