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NH Mutual Bancorp named Financial Business of the Year by magazine

MEREDITH — New Hampshire Mutual Bancorp (NHMB) and its subsidiaries, Meredith Village Savings Bank (MVSB), Merrimack County Savings Bank (The Merrimack) and MillRiver Wealth Management, have been chosen as Business NH Magazine's 2015 Business of the Year for the Financial Services category. The organization received the award on Wednesday, May 27 at Business NH's Annual Business of the Year Award Ceremony held at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester.

In 2013, The Merrimack and MVSB formally allied under a mutual holding company, New Hampshire Mutual Bancorp – the first relationship of its kind in New Hampshire. This growing relationship has allowed the Banks to expand their service area, increase lending capacity, mitigate growing regulatory and technology costs and offer more career opportunities to their employee base.

Both Merrimack County Savings Bank and Meredith Village Savings Bank have similar histories of commitment to their communities. Employee volunteerism is a hallmark of the banks' cultures with total employee volunteer hours averaging over 15,000 each year. The Banks are also leaders in charitable giving within their respective communities, collectively giving back over $500,000 in 2014 alone.

"Paul and I are so pleased and honored to receive this public acknowledgment that, in our minds, was made possible by the hard work of our employees," said Sam Laverack, President and CEO of Meredith Village Savings Bank and Co-CEO of New Hampshire Mutual Bancorp.

"We are so appreciative of the loyal support of our employees, customers and community members as we have worked through some of the most significant changes in our Banks' histories," said Paul Rizzi, President and CEO of Merrimack County Savings Bank and Co-CEO of New Hampshire Mutual Bancorp. "This recognition reaffirms our decision to join forces as successful institutions so that we can continue to serve our communities for many years to come."


Last Updated on Monday, 08 June 2015 04:13

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EFI marks 10-year anniversary of acquisition of VUTEk

MEREDITH — EFI is marking the 10-year anniversary of its acquisition of VUTEk, a pioneering developer of superwide-format industrial inkjet technologies. The landmark deal, completed on June 3, 2005, moved EFI from focusing only on digital production and print MIS workflows into the industrial inkjet space – an industry segment that continues to be one of the best-performing parts of the global graphic arts and printing market.

When EFI first announced its plans to acquire VUTEk, EFI CEO Guy Gecht praised the Meredith, N.H.-based company as "the best acquisition to enter the market," adding that "its UV applications bring interesting advantages to our customers."

"Ten years later, the significant success we have seen with our VUTEk, Jetrion and Cretaprint products definitely validates our decision to enter the industrial inkjet market," Gecht said today.

"I'm tremendously proud, looking at our accomplishments over the past decade, of the innovation that EFI has brought to industrial inkjet and the success of our customers across the world," said Scott Schinlever, who joined EFI as part of the VUTEk acquisition and is now SVP/GM of EFI Inkjet Solutions. "Ten years later, when I look at the team, road map and market expectations, I can only conclude that the best is yet to come."

Today, EFI's robust inkjet portfolio has expanded beyond VUTEk superwide-format printers to include Jetrion label and packaging printers, wide-format printers, inks and Cretaprint ceramic tile printers.

Last Updated on Monday, 08 June 2015 03:54

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PSU skier destination study helps NH resorts fine tune marketing efforts

PLYMOUTH — Downhill skiers choose a New Hampshire ski destination based on a mountain's geographical features far more than their family vacation history or an internet review, according to a new study conducted by Plymouth State University researchers.

Skiing is a huge economic engine for the Granite State, generating more than a billion dollars in revenue per year, according to Plymouth State's Institute for New Hampshire Studies. Determining how skiers choose their favorite slope is a critical piece of marketing information for state tourism officials and the ski industry, according to Marina Plopeanu '15, a PSU anthropology student who performed the study along with Department of Social Sciences Professor Brian Eisenhauer.

"My research indicates that, the younger the visitor, the more they focus on the features of the mountains and less on the amenities," said Plopeanu. "I found key motivators influencing destination choice are related to having fun, excitement and a sense of achievement. If ski resorts want to attract older visitors, then I believe amenities are an important factor in bringing back that revenue source to the resort."

The survey results show price, proximity and personal recommendations ranked lower than geographical features as deciding factors in choosing a ski destination; online reviews and family history of attendance were not strong considerations. Friendliness of resort staff and snowfall amount were also considered minor factors.

The three-week long study was conducted in April 2015, with more than 80 recreational skiers and snowboarders of all ages participating. The survey questions were distributed in person and online through social media. The survey included Likert scale items (strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree and strongly disagree) and multiple-choice questions. Slightly more men were surveyed than women, more than half were skiers, one-third were snowboarders and the remainder were engaged in other activities like tubing and snowshoeing.

"The results from this type of research can help organizations like Ski NH and its member ski areas customize their marketing messages for various audiences," said Jessyca Keeler, Ski NH executive director. "Because snow sports are such a critical economic driver in New Hampshire, information provided by the type of research Marina did can help our industry do a better job in attracting people of all ages to come to our ski areas."

"This research is a great example of the kinds of work our students are engaging in that can really impact our state," said Eisenhauer. "While a limited budget means we'd need more data to draw solid conclusions for ski resorts to act upon, the design of the research Marina conducted was excellent and could easily be scaled up. The focus of her research in connecting place attachment to marketing the ski industry is innovative and has high potential to enhance our understanding of ski tourism dynamics."

There are 33 downhill and cross-country ski areas in New Hampshire.


Last Updated on Monday, 08 June 2015 03:19

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Together we can do so much


The Lakes Region community really knows how to work together. Several years ago, it seemed as though there were lots of organizational boundaries and efforts being made in silos. It is heartwarming to see the changes our communities have made as we work together on common goals with mutually beneficial results.

Many times I am told it is so hard to decide which non-profit organization I should belong to – the Lakes Region Chamber, the Meredith Chamber, the Lakes Region Tourism Association, the Belknap Independent Business Alliance, the Economic Development councils, the Main Street programs? It's so confusing!

What is most important is that all of these organizations serve a purpose to our communities, have a unique mission dedicated staff and passionate volunteers. The resources they provide, service they offer to their members as well as to public, initiatives that they engage in should all support that organizations mission. Your membership or donation is your direct investment in support of that mission.

With the struggling economy the last few years, many local businesses have experienced downsizing and adapted to doing more with less staffing resources. The non-profit organizations have adapted by doing more together through collaboration. I find that collaborating is much better than creating redundancy. Collaborating on initiatives that have specific importance to our individual missions creates more value to all of us.

This week the Lakes Region Chamber released its 2015 edition of Lakes Region LIFE. This is a magazine that is important in relocation to the Lakes Region and a recruitment tool for our local employers. It promotes our communities, four seasons of fun, recreation, healthcare, education, marketplaces, Lakes Region stats and facts and includes our local business directory. It's a publication that truly spotlights our Lakes Region LIFE. This publication took the place of our travel brochure several years ago. Why? The Lakes Region Tourism Association produces a wonderful map and guidebook annually that focuses on tourism in our area. The Lakes Region Chamber proudly displays their resources in our visitor information centers. And, in collaborations, the Chamber and the Tourism Association promote tourism each year combining our marketing dollars along with a New Hampshire Joint Promotional Program grant to further promote the Lakes Region both in-state and out-of-state. We welcome opportunities like this to do more together, supporting our individual missions and the businesses in our shared communities.

Another great collaborative initiative is the 200 by 2020 collaboration between the Lakes Region Chamber, Belknap EDC, Lakes Region Community College, Huot Technical Center, New Hampshire Employment Security, the Greater Meredith Program, Granite United Way and the many of the surrounding school districts including Franklin, Winnisquam, Belmont, Gilford, Laconia and Inter-Lakes. Each organization comes to the table to support their mission and overall workforce development. This collaborative network allows us to support local business needs, engage and inspire students, address the needs of the educators, sustain job seekers. We have worked together to develop and promote an internship database, hosted job fairs and career exploration panels, mock interviews, promoted manufacturing week annually creating an awareness on STEM opportunities. Together we all build a stronger community.

Providing resources through education, business advice, technology updates along state and federal policy and support services to keep business owners and leaders current in our ever changing economy. Collaboratively, it's always important to be listening to what are the needs of our local businesses, small business and large businesses. What are they most challenged by and how can we present the tools and resources they or their staff need to meet those challenges. The Chamber and Belknap EDC will be offering the fifth annual Lakes Region Business Resource Fair, a B2B expo with a half day of workshops and presentations. The event will be held September 23rd at the Margate Resort. Whether providing support for an existing business, assisting the needs of a growing business or encouraging an entrepreneur starting a business, together our goal is to provide the tools to be successful.

Together we can do so much. Every organization has a mission and a purpose. Learning and understanding what each other's missions can make collaboration further effective for everyone. Determining where you invest is up to you and the return on your investment is for you to value.

If you are still deciding whether your business should join the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, consider this. Are you looking for business referrals? Do you want to grow your network? Are you looking for marketing and promotion to consumers and visitors? Is it important to invest in an organization that will advocate for your business and believes collaboration? Member businesses are the Chamber. Together, we promote economic growth and help to create a strong local economy.

For more information about Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, go to LakesRegionChamber.org and visit our online Business Director and our community Calendar or Events, or call 603.524.5531.

Last Updated on Monday, 08 June 2015 03:17

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