Shi-Shi’s Lounge – Small Business of the Year

Rave reviews by loyal and appreciative clients vouch for the work of our first award winner.

Shi Shi’s Lounge – a hair salon and recipient of the Small Business of the Year award – was opened by Eurayshia Williams Reed in 2008 as Worcester’s first multi-textural hair salon.

Shi Shi’s – which means upscale and lavish – offers just the right mix of artistry and edge to their clients seeking the perfect look.

This small business is a style powerhouse with services that go beyond offering that perfect hairdo to include skin care, make-up, and more.

With an enthusiastic following, she is clearly doing a lot right.

While they’re in the salon, Shi Shi’s caters to its clients’ inner divas with a concierge service, refreshments, and a relaxing atmosphere where patrons can enjoy a respite from their busy day.

Located on Chandler Street, it’s a neighborhood business in the true sense — Shi Shi’s hosts events that bring the community together including ladies’ night and other opportunities for social gatherings.


Emerald Meats – Joe Cohen Retailer of the Year Award 

Located on Chandler Street, the bustling deli and butcher shop was founded a dozen years ago – in 2004 – by Robert and Joan Culbert.

They describe their life as the American dream. But it wasn’t always so.

Robert and Joan grew in Dublin, Ireland where — for years — the economy suffered setback after setback and offered little opportunity.

When they received approval to immigrate to the United States in 1990, Robert proposed marriage on the spot — right outside the U.S. Embassy in Dublin.

Without knowing a soul, John arrived first and settled in Worcester. He arrived on a Sunday and walked to Fairway Beef the next day to look for a job. He was hired, but despite his years of training as a butcher, their only position was as counter help. John grabbed the opportunity.

Three months later Joan arrived and within a week was waitressing at O’Connor’s Restaurant and Bar.

Together, they saved as much as they could.

Earning tips for the first time ever, Joan didn’t know that the money left behind on the table was for her. Delighted when someone finally told her, she remembers thinking — ‘This is great, all you have to do is work hard and you get cash.’

In three year’s time, they had saved enough to buy a three-decker in the city’s Greendale neighborhood and then another a few years later.

They used that first investment to buy a building – the former George’s Fruit – and open a butcher shop. The venture reminded them of how frightening it was to immigrate, but now with three children to support – the fear was even greater because they had a lot more to lose.

Their hard work paid off when in 2004 Emerald Meats Butcher Shop and Deli opened a week before St. Patrick’s Day and sold 1,000 pounds of corned beef in the first week.

According to Robert, “If you put your mind to something here, if you work real hard, you can get ahead.”

Arriving in Worcester with experience, but little money and even fewer contacts, Robert and Joan seized every opportunity to create something of their own.

They are truly an example of the American Dream coming to life in Worcester.


GFI Partners – Richard B. Kennedy of the Year Award   

Two and a half years ago, GFI Partners — with founding partner Steven Goodman — purchased the U.S. Steel building on Blackstone River Road in the Quinsigamond Village area of Worcester.

This 610,000 square foot industrial behemoth was on a 36-acre blighted and vacated property in desperate need of redevelopment.

GFI Partners’ $26 million redevelopment plan to renovate this property is creating a multi-use industrial building with a modern, first class, commercial industrial facility — the type of space that was lacking in the city’s inventory.

Renovations are slated for completion this December with 100% occupancy projected at the end of the build out.

Tenants will include Imperial Distributors, Mid-State Packaging Inc., and a third that is currently in negotiations with GFI.

Massive rail infrastructure owned by Providence & Worcester Railroad that runs through the property and connects to the new building via rail spur makes this one of very few locations in the region with that connectivity.

The project will generate a minimum of 300 jobs and 1.4 million dollars in property tax revenues annually upon completion. The jobs will create an immediate benefit to the neighborhoods of Quinsigamond Village as well as the Vernon, Union, and Grafton Hill areas.

Other Worcester buildings owned by GFI include 640 Lincoln Street – home of Greenwood Industries; the old Texas Instruments building on Clark Street; and two buildings just off Plantation Street that are home to tenants Walker Magnetics and ABC Supply.

Founded in 1989, GFI is a full service real estate advisor who has completed more than 100 transactions with a total value of more than 1 billion dollars.

For the company’s commitment to redeveloping the property at Blackstone River Road and improving the neighborhood with a renovated property, new jobs, and contributing to the city’s tax revenues, the Chamber is pleased to present the 2016 Richard B. Kennedy Business of the Year award to GFI Partners.

Maureen Raillo (WLimo Airport Limousine) – Ambassador of the Year   

It is now my pleasure to recognize — for the second year in a row — the 2016 Chamber Ambassador of the year — Maureen Raillo, chief operating officer at WLimo Airport Limousine

The Chamber ambassadors are an important team of professionals who assist us with a variety of duties. In many cases, we view these volunteers as an extension of the Chamber staff. Maureen certainly falls into that category.

And she’s racked up the activities in support of the Chamber to prove it!

Maureen puts in many hours of service for many different ambassador assignments including welcoming new members to the Chamber, greeting them at events, inviting businesses to join the Chamber, and supporting staff with various volunteer activities.

Maureen’s done all that and more!

She has gone above and beyond by donating limo services for our career fair, providing transportation to out-of-town guests of the Chamber, and giving us door prizes and auction items.

Maureen is a past chair of the Ambassadors Committee where she led the group and mentored her peers.

Her experience and contributions have been invaluable to the Chamber and we thank her for her service.

Marvin Silver – Christopher, Hays, Wojcik, & Mavricos, LLP – Chamber Achievement Award    (TIM)

When we found out that Marvin Silver had been a Chamber Ambassador since the inception of the program – now beginning its 25th year, we just had to recognize him for his service.

His impressive years of service as an ambassador have witnessed many changes at the Chamber – 4 CEOs, 2 moves, dozens of new staffers, hundreds of initiatives, and thousands of events!

He has been a constant through it all.

Not only is longevity his strong suit – he also does double duty. Marvin has been a member of the Chamber’s board of directors for the past 6 years.

This versatility gives him a unique perspective. As a board member, he interacts with long-established businesses and community leaders. As an ambassador he has a pulse on what new members are looking for and the challenges they face.

Marvin’s work on behalf of the Chamber for two and a half decades is a truly remarkable example of loyalty and dedication.

We thank Marvin for all that he has done – the countless conversations he has had with fellow members and those questions about membership, for showing up at events to volunteer for whatever staff needed assistance with, and for hundreds of other things he has done that we will never know about.


Ryan Canuel – Entrepreneur of the Year   

A gaming revolution is underway here in Worcester and our next award recipient is helping to lead the way.

Ryan Canuel, a graduate of one of the top digital gaming schools in the world, Becker College is part of the region’s growing mobile gaming industry.

Ryan majored in interactive entertainment with a focus on game design and became deeply involved in creating games for his student projects. He quickly made a name for himself among his fellow students and set his sights on his next goal — to start his own company.

When he created Petricore, with fellow student Aaron Lin, his goal was to impress others with his skill and retain creative control of game development.

He hit the ground running. Only days after his graduation from Becker College in 2015, Mind the Arrow was introduced through the Apple App Store and the Android Google Play Store. With more than 100,000 downloads in the first week of August, Mind the Arrow debuted as one of the most successful gaming apps in history.

One of Perticore’s major successes is a game called “Mind the Arrow.” The timed puzzle game features an arrow surrounded by six whitedots. The objective is to match the dot pattern. As the game progresses, play becomes increasing complex as the arrow begins to rotate.

In addition to his role as developer, Ryan is the company’s CEO and manages day to day operations as well as their growth strategy.

He spends a large amount of time at networking events, spreading the good word about Petricore Inc.

Petricore was one of 12 companies that won a spot in the StartUp Worcester 2015-2016 initiative to help local, entrepreneurial college and university graduates launch startup business.

Petricore targets the $26 billion mobile gaming market and finances itself through contract work including app development for businesses and healthcare providers.

So far, his plan is on track. With their early success and fast growth, Petricore, moved from their space at Running Start Coworking to the Worcester Innovation Center in downtown Worcester.

Thomas Glynn, CEO, Massport – Chamber Advocate of the Year award   

When ownership and operations of the Worcester Regional Airport were turned over to Massport in 2010, it set the stage for an important partnership between Massport, the City of Worcester, and Chamber of Commerce’s business community.

Two years later, when Thomas Glynn became CEO of the Massachusetts Port Authority, that partnership grew exponentially with his support of the Chamber.

From sponsorship of the Business Expo, the annual meeting, speaking at Chamber events, targeted events to increase ridership, and a seminar designed to help local businesses become Massport vendors, Tom has supported the Chamber and its members in many important ways.

Under Tom’s leadership, Massport has demonstrated a commitment to being a good neighbor to those who live and work near Massport facilities by increasing community engagement efforts.

Just a few of those include providing the airport facility at no cost to hold the annual Career, Intern, and Live Local Fair, hosting a business after hours for chamber members, among others.

Tom has led organizations in both the public and non-profit sectors and at the state and federal level.

As the head of Massport, he oversees the 1,250-person agency that owns and operates Boston Logan International Airport, Hanscom Field, Worcester Regional Airport, the Port of Boston’s Conley Container Terminal and Black Falcon Cruise Terminal, and real estate holdings in South Boston, East Boston and Charlestown.

Under his leadership, Massport is committed to the success of the Worcester Regional Airport as evidenced by bringing commercial service back with JetBlue, installation of the CAT III system that will make the flight schedule even more reliable, new firefighting equipment, and much more.

Because he has supported the Chamber, the Worcester community, and the region with outstanding service and dedication to the Chamber’s mission, vision, and values, the Chamber is pleased to present the Chamber Advocate of the Year award to the Thomas Glynn. Tom, please accept this award with our congratulations and our thanks!

Euro-American Logistics – Family Owned Business of the Year  

Located at the Worcester Regional Airport, Euro-American Logistics has been helping our local business community to ship their Made in Central Mass products all over the world.

For their generations of first-class service, they are the 2016 recipient of the Chamber’s Family-Owned Business of the Year.

The company was founded in 1966, by Cornelius Lucey who, after returning home from serving in the U.S. Navy, realized that there was an unmet need to ship overseas from the Worcester area.

An entrepreneur and philanthropist, Mr. Lucey founded Euro-American – a company that remains family owned and operated and is now in its third generation of leadership with five decades of experience.

Euro-American has been part of the local supply chain by providing cost efficient and expedited transportation to and from overseas, offering customs clearance, providing warehouses for storage, and for local distribution services.

They provide worldwide import and export services for air and ocean freight with customs brokerage through the ports of Worcester, Boston, and Hartford.

Their temperature controlled warehouse facility offers heightened security along with TSA approved employees, packing, inventory control, and distribution services.

For the company’s accomplishments, and contributions to the local business community over the years, the Chamber is pleased to present the 2016 Family-Owned Business Award to Euro-American Logistics.

Silver Hammer Awards


The Silver Hammer Award recognizes buildings — usually in excess of 100 years old  — in Central Mass that have undergone extensive renovation. The restorations and redevelopments help to preserve some of the region’s most historic assets and have a positive visual and aesthetic impact on our landscape.

Edge at Union Station   

Located at 6 Grafton on the edge of Route 290 but in the heart of the city, The Edge at Union Station has a rich history that has been brought back to life with the restoration of this historic building.

Vision Development invested $33 million into this large property known as the Osgood Bradley building creating 82 units of university housing for the city’s large college population and young professionals.

Adjacent to Union Station near Washington Square, the building was constructed in 1914 by the Osgood Bradley Car Company – considered the oldest manufacturer of railway passenger cars in America.

In 1930, Osgood Bradley was purchased by the Pullman Standard Company, which manufactured the popular streamliner railway passenger car in Worcester. These attractive, lightweight cars encouraged public use of rail transportation while offering improved economy to railway companies.

Rising eight stories from a concrete foundation, the Osgood Bradley building was designed as a leading-edge, fire-proof brick structure with a distinctive shape. Most striking is the decoration of its façade with granite blocks and shield, scroll and flower designs.

Castellations on the roof give the appearance of a castle, and dentils, a classic repeating block ornament provide a distinctive look. The building was designed by the well-known, New York City industrial architect and engineer, Walter S. Timmel.

Just steps away from the train station, The Edge at Union Station is centrally located near some of the city’s best restaurants, museums, parks, bike paths, shopping and more.

And the interior offers a lot too.

Newly renovated loft apartments are fully furnished and feature a sleek design, modern amenities and 24/7 on-site professional staff.

To make it appealing to parents as well, 24-hour security and maintenance, socially supportive community assistants, and fun and engaging study breaks are also part of the amenities.

Students appreciate the state-of-the-art fitness center and comfortable study areas, along with educational, recreational and social activities that complement loft living.

Careful attention went into the design and quality and sustainable construction materials that are environmentally friendly were used in building the units.

A long list of amenities make this historic building a desirable location for today’s young student and new professional.


Junction Shop Lofts  

Purchased by Brady Sullivan Properties and Starr Development Partners in 2012, the Junction Shop Lofts is our second Silver Hammer Recipient.

Located on Beacon Street in Worcester, the building was originally known as the Junction Shop.

Spanning nearly a city block, the building was constructed in 1851 near three railroads, and served as a major center of manufacturing in Worcester.

The building was once home to numerous manufacturing companies, for the production of metal tools and materials, machines, organs, fabric such as woolens, flannels, and fancy cottons.

Until the recent investors, the 233,000 square foot mill complex was vacant, decrepit and deteriorating.

And partners Brady Sullivan and Starr Development were the right duo for the job — they specialize in purchasing old mill buildings and converting them to housing.

They invested $20 million to convert this historic mill complex with a unique blend of historic preservation and modern renovations.

The Junction Shop Lofts offers 173 luxury apartments on Beacon Street in downtown Worcester.

The apartment homes range in size from one to four bedrooms, each capturing the building’s historic past, while providing modern comfort.

These renovated lofts feature stainless steel appliances, original reclaimed hardwood or bamboo floors, granite countertops, and sophisticated colors, all in combination with the mill’s characteristic soaring ceilings and large, bright windows.

Beautiful brick walls set against smooth contemporary painted walls with modern fixtures offer a glimpse into the past with all of the comforts of home.

State-of-the-art amenities include a fitness center, an indoor basketball court, a theatre room, an indoor putting green, a game room and a community room.

Outdoors, the facility offers more amenities including a barbeque on the patio, a courtyard and a fire pit.

Lock 50 – Silver Hammer Recipient

Our final recipient of the 2016 Silver Hammer Award is the perfect Chamber story.

A successful chef dreams of opening his own restaurant, finds a building in need of a new life, invests both money and and hard work to open a dining establishment in an area of the city that is on the rise with other entrepreneurs who are just as motivated to bring the canal district to life.

That’s just what Tim and Ed Russo and Sean Struder did. This trio of family members brought together culinary skills, business savvy and a lot of sweat equity to launch Lock 50 – a unique dining experience with atmosphere.

The story began in 1825 when ground broke on the Blackstone Canal forever changing the city of Worcester.

The restaurant – Lock 50 – sits on the 50th lock of the old Blackstone Canal, once thriving with business, trade and prosperity.

The building has had many uses over the decades.

Known as the Dental Arts Building, it was the original site of Norton Company. Later, the building housed Puritan Bottling company and after prohibition, became Consolidated Beverage.

The 1 million dollar renovation involved gutting the first and second floors, removing the façade and replacing it with what would have been there a century ago.

The space includes a 100-seat restaurant on the street level with a 50-seat outside patio and three apartments on the second floor.

Located at 50 Water Street, the restaurant aims to bring back the heart and vitality of the Canal District with a creative landmark featuring unique storefront designs, a beautiful mural and an upscale modern restaurant.

The intimate space boasts impressive windows offering its guests a street view of the up and coming Canal District.

The exposed brick and dark rustic tones of wooden frames provide a welcome contrast to the sophisticated décor and soaring ceilings.

Family is everywhere at Lock 50. Owner Ed Russo’s vision couldn’t be complete without his son Sean and nephew Tim to guide the restaurant.

Chef Tim Russo, a Worcester Vocational School grad and last year’s Worcester’s Best Chef winner runs the kitchen at Lock 50 offering a menu of contemporary American style dishes with a Mediterranean influence.

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, a French-style menu is serving in the morning followed by salads and sandwiches at noon and small plates — larger than Spanish tapas but smaller than a traditional dinner portion for dining.

A barista from the Pacific Northwest will be in charge of the high-end café coffee menu.