Small businesses make the Berkshires the Best
The Eagle’s “Best of the Berkshires” (BoB) is a Who’s Who list of the community. My company, Berkshire Money Management (BMM), was fortunate enough to secure a place on the list for the second year in a row. (A big thank you to those who voted for us.) However, I don’t think that people necessarily voted for BMM because of our proficiency in investment selection, tax mitigation, reducing tuition payments, or anything else that our clients pay us for.
That math doesn’t add up – we’re a small business with relatively few clients. Presumably, larger and older wealth management firms in the area have more clients than BMM. Clearly, those firms’ clients believe their advisor is “the best,” which is why they work together. BMM doesn’t have enough clients to surpass other financial advisors’ votes, assuming all clients voted for their advisor.
I hypothesize that many BoB votes for BMM and some for other small businesses were not made because of first-hand comparisons. Some of the voters defined “best” not by skill but by impact.
And that’s why the Berkshires are the best.
The people of the Berkshires are a community that wants to make an impact on the world. They support like-minded businesses that want to do good in the world. I’m sure many voters had positive traditional experiences with this year’s list of BoBs. By “traditional,” I mean an exchange of goods or services for remuneration.
Enough positive traditional experiences form a strong enough opinion of a company to earn them a BoB vote. That’s true even when there may not have been an objective comparison. I once gave my mother a “World’s Best Mom” coffee mug. While I strongly feel that’s true, I didn’t set up a metric system to compare my mom to other moms. I just knew she was the best. She takes care of me and does things that make me happy.
It isn’t a giant leap that some of the BoB voters made their selections because they appreciated the company’s community impact. These are the businesses that take care of their employees and those in need, and other things which make the voter happy. The Berkshires are filled with companies like this, both on and off the BoB list.
Bloom Brothers have been unwavering with their community donations. The owner of Casablanca dedicates time and expertise with Construct, Inc. to house people. Holiday Brook Farm has been the voice of suppressed voters. Flynn’s Pharmacy extends its services beyond larger businesses to make health care more accessible. Berkshire Mountain Bakery donates bread to non-profits to help feed the hungry. There was zero hesitation from Wohrle’s Cash & Carry when I called them to help get $25,000 worth of food to the Thanksgiving Angels to feed local families this year.
These businesses and others in Berkshire County excel at what they do. They are also respected and admired because of their community impact. This community is comprised of too many small businesses to all be on the BoB list. While I’m a massive advocate for our local small businesses, I admit that I haven’t used or visited all of them yet. The ones I support the most, and the ones I voted for, aren’t just great at their craft. They’re great at giving back. No. They’re the “best” at it.
Congratulations to all the businesses which made it onto the 2021 Best of the Berkshires list. I am confident they appreciate those who voted for them. For 2022, let’s celebrate those who practice people over profits not just for voting for them but by giving them our business. They give so much to us – they make the Berkshires the best. Let’s give back to them.
*”Best of the Berkshires” survey is based solely on the number of votes received by the listed entity. This survey does not offer voters specific criteria or factors that define “best.” The judgment factors used by voters are not known to the survey sponsor or BMM. Appearance on the “Best of the Berkshires” list should not be construed as an endorsement of BMM’s investment skill or acumen or an endorsement by any regulatory or government body. BMM promotes the survey in its marketing materials and makes active efforts to encourage voting but has not provided any financial remuneration to the survey sponsor or voters.