Reps of ‘sticky businesses’ share stories at March Chamber of Commerce breakfast

Robert Betsold of All States Materials Group talks at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce breakfast at Terrazza Ristorante last week where the theme was “Sticky Business.”

Robert Betsold of All States Materials Group talks at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce breakfast at Terrazza Ristorante last week where the theme was “Sticky Business.” STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Wade Bassett, chair of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce board of directors, gives a box of doughnuts from Adams Donuts to happy raffle winner Dylan Nelson, 3, of Greenfield, who was in attendance at the March chamber breakfast with his father, Michael Nelson.

Wade Bassett, chair of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce board of directors, gives a box of doughnuts from Adams Donuts to happy raffle winner Dylan Nelson, 3, of Greenfield, who was in attendance at the March chamber breakfast with his father, Michael Nelson. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Chip Williams of Williams Farm Sugarhouse talks at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce breakfast at Terrazza Ristorante last week where the theme was “Sticky Business.”

Chip Williams of Williams Farm Sugarhouse talks at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce breakfast at Terrazza Ristorante last week where the theme was “Sticky Business.” STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

The Easter Bunny, who may have been Franklin County Chamber of Commerce board of directors Chair Wade Bassett, welcomes those to the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce breakfast at Terrazza Ristorante last week where the theme was “Sticky Business.” Puns were rampant as the featured speakers each described their sticky business situations involving everything from asphalt and maple syrup to doughnuts and honey.

The Easter Bunny, who may have been Franklin County Chamber of Commerce board of directors Chair Wade Bassett, welcomes those to the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce breakfast at Terrazza Ristorante last week where the theme was “Sticky Business.” Puns were rampant as the featured speakers each described their sticky business situations involving everything from asphalt and maple syrup to doughnuts and honey. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Sabra Billings of Adams Donuts talks at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce breakfast at Terrazza Ristorante last week where the theme was “Sticky Business.”

Sabra Billings of Adams Donuts talks at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce breakfast at Terrazza Ristorante last week where the theme was “Sticky Business.” STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Sandy Thomas of the Greenfield Bee Fest talks at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce breakfast at Terrazza Ristorante last week where the theme was “Sticky Business.”

Sandy Thomas of the Greenfield Bee Fest talks at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce breakfast at Terrazza Ristorante last week where the theme was “Sticky Business.” STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

For the Recorder

Published: 03-27-2024 10:03 AM

GREENFIELD — Representatives of Franklin County’s stickier industries, ranging from honey and maple syrup to doughnuts and asphalt, took center stage at this month’s Franklin County Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

Speakers at Terrazza Ristorante included Robert Betsold, director of marketing at All States Materials Group; Chip Williams, co-owner of Williams Farm Sugarhouse; Sabra Billings, co-owner of Adams Donuts; Sandy Thomas, Greenfield Bee Fest organizer; and Hannah Rechtschaffen, director of the Greenfield Business Association.

Betsold shared his experience working in the asphalt industry for more than a decade.

“It’s been a wild ride,” Betsold said. “We had a little under 300 employees when I started in 2013 and now, 10 and a half years, 12 acquisitions and two new facility builds years later, we’re pushing 750 employees and working all across the Northeast.”

Betsold noted that, in addition to providing products and services to the heavy/highway construction industry, All States Materials Group is working to improve roadways and reduce the industry’s environmental footprint.

“On average, in a given year, we recycle over 125,000 tons of asphalt,” he said. The company also recycled more than 250,000 scrap tires in 2023.

Billings gave a glimpse into how her career path led her to pastries when she decided to buy the Greenfield doughnut shop with her sister, reopening the 70-year-old business in November 2020.

“Adams Donuts is the purveyor of thousands of sweet, sticky handfuls of happiness each week, and the best part is that it comes right back to us,” Billings said. “Adams is really truly adored in Franklin County. It’s humbling to have customers come in and just thank us for being here, and that happens on a regular basis.”

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Williams described how maple syrup production has been a family “side hustle” for more than 150 years. As the fifth generation, Williams and his two sisters start sugaring in February before opening the Deerfield restaurant on Saturdays and Sundays each spring. He described the sugaring process, how climate change has impacted maple syrup production, and encouraged attendees to stop in for breakfast and to see the boiling process before Williams Farm Sugarhouse closes for the season on April 7.

Thomas, meanwhile, shared the history of Lorenzo Langstroth (1810-1895), the sixth minister of the Second Congregational Church who is known as the father of modern beekeeping and who inspired the creation of Greenfield’s Bee Fest 14 years ago. Langstroth developed the moveable frame beehive that Thomas said was considered “a revolutionary way to collect honey and to do beekeeping.”

“One way we honor Langstroth and his work is to hold a Bee Fest, and we have our 14th Bee Fest coming up,” Thomas continued. “The Expandable Brass Band comes up from Northampton every year wearing yellow and black costumes. They lead kids to the farmers market to make that big connection between agriculture and honey bees for the children.”

Rechtschaffen also shared the Greenfield Business Association’s excitement for Bee Fest, to be held Saturday, May 18, from 9 a.m. to noon.

“We would love to see the week leading up to Bee Fest be really festive in Greenfield and beyond,” she said. “We would love to create a buzz. It’s important that we are all here this morning working together and being connected because that’s how we all take our business forward.”

The next Franklin County Chamber of Commerce breakfast is scheduled for Friday, April 26, at Greenfield Community College.