September 7, 2017
40 Under Forty: Behind the scenes

40u40: Something for everyone in the Heart of the new Worcester

Erika Sidor
At Crompton Collective in Worcester are 40 Under Forty winners (from left) Heather Belair, Julianne Dahrooge, Robert Fecteau and Kevin G. Johnson.

This is the eighth in a series of 11 stories describing the photos behind this year's 40 Under Forty awards, where rather than shooting all the images in one location, WBJ took the winners to 11 properties around Worcester, showcasing the new developments of a city on the rise. Check out the parts: Burns Bridge, public murals, deadhorse hill, The Edge at Union Station, Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center, The Grid District, Wormtown Brewery.

When I first made my list of locations around the city to showcase the destination Worcester is becoming, at the top was Crompton Collective.

Plenty of locations can lay claim to the title of "Heart of the new Worcester" and none can really win it, but – to me – the eclectic Canal District store founded by Amy Lynn Chase out of the back of her car gets the closest. The mix of unique items crafted by artisans with a healthy dose of Worcester love just exudes this local pride that matches the shift in attitude for New England's second largest city.

With this generous selection of items in a unique location, the initial plan for Team Crompton Collective (Heather Belair, Julianne Dahrooge, Robert Fecteau and Kevin Johnson) was for each of them to find something in the store that spoke to their personalities and professions. This turned out to be a bad idea, because it just came across as four people holding four unrelated objects.

Erika Sidor
The plan to have each of the four winners hold an object symbolic of their personalities and careers had limited success.

Instead, what we were left with a choice between two photos. The first was photographer Erika Sidor's idea to have one of the winners pretend to be reading a decades-old Playboy (pretending because Crompton only had the cover of the magazine, not the actual issue). Fecteau – who had this brilliant smirk on his face throughout the photo shoot as if he found the whole thing endlessly amusing – volunteered to be the one reading the Playboy. Dahrooge then played the perfect counterpart, pretending to be aghast at what Fecteau was doing. The scene made for quite the amusing photo.

The second photo choice was one showcasing the Worcester pride of Crompton. With American flags and Woo banners and bags in the photo, this photo very clearly showed off the "Heart of the new Worcester" concept. The only drawback here is the photo looked very staged.

Erika Sidor
This photo definitely portrays the "Heart of the new Worcester" concept, but didn't showcase the 40u40 winners as well as other photos.

In the end, we decided to use the Playboy photo, because of its playfulness. The "Heart of new Worcester" would have summed up the entire 11-photo package nicely for the entire 40 Under Forty, but when you are in a place like Crompton Collective anyway, the Worcester pride just radiates from the photos regardless.

- Brad Kane, editor

Meet the 40 Under Forty Class of 2017

Asmar N. Akman – Akman Enterprises Inc.

Brendan Aylward – Unified Health and Performance

Greta Bajrami Campoverde – Golden Group Construction Corp.

Kathryn Behan – UMass Memorial Healthcare

Heather Belair – Bay State Savings Bank

Neil Callahan – R.H. White Construction

Michelle L. Cote, Esq. – Law Offices of Richard S. Ravosa

Julianne Dahrooge – Chan & Dahrooge Financial Group, LLC

Patrick J. DiGregorio – Veterans Inc.

Justin Dufresne – VHB, Inc.

Courtney Ross Escobar – Doucette & LaRose, LLC

Robert Fecteau – BirchTree Bread Co.

Hilary Gardner – The Davis Cos.

Ashleigh C. Gelinas, Esq. – Gelinas & Ward, LLP

Avra Hoffman – BirchTree Bread Co.

Maryann C. Johnson – Oak Hill CDC

Kevin G. Johnson – O'Connor, Maloney & Company, P.C.

Heather Mangione – United Way of Central Massachusetts

Jay Merrill – Clifford & Rano Associates

Meghan E. Montaner – The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts

Edward Murphy – Baystate Investment Fund

Joy Rachelle Murrieta – Main IDEA

Dr. Milka Njoroge, PharmD – Century Homecare, LLC

Jim Notaro – Fidelity Bank

Andrew B. Palumbo – Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Kevin Peterssen – United Bank

John T. Pitcavage – Endless Energy

Julia Randall, M.D. – Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center

Keith Reardon – Commonwealth Consulting Group, LLC

Giselle Rivera-Flores – The Learning Hub & IgWorcesterMA

Patrick T. Royce – UniBank

Jamie Salois – Atlas Distributing

Lindiana Semidei – Raices Latin Dance

Jody Staruk – Consigli Construction Co., Inc.

Francisco Torres – Town of Westborough

Abel Travis – Hanover Insurance Group

Elizabeth Tripp – Hanover Insurance Group

Alexis G. Vallejos – Columbia Tech

David Viens – Bowditch & Dewey, LLP

Ryan A. Wagner – Robert Fine & Associates

Meet this year's judges

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