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Updated: January 6, 2020 2020 WBJ Best of Business Awards

2020 Best of Business Awards: Events & Venues

Bowling is the most popular activity at Apex Entertainment.

Best Venue for an Employee Outing

  • Apex Entertainment*
  • Location: Marlborough
  • Website:
  • Top executive: Chief Operating Officer Marcus Kemblowski
  • Founded: 2017
  • Employees: 200+
  • Notable runner-up: Kimball Farm

Two years after Apex Entertainment opened in Marlborough, the 80,000-square-foot entertainment mecca has carved out a place for itself opposite what can sometimes be drab meeting environments.

The region might not think of a complex with bowling, an arcade, bumper cars, go-karts, laser tag and sports simulators as a go-to place for business gatherings. But it’s become that, said Sam Miller, Apex’s marketing manager.

“Large companies, small companies, that’s really our bread and butter,” Miller said. “They’ll throw an arcade or laser tag in between meetings.”

The most popular? “Bowling just dwarfs everything else,” Miller said.

Tucked in between those flashier features, Apex has 4,000 square feet of meeting space, to fit up to 250 people.

Companies may be less likely to book Apex for a quarterly staff meeting, for example, than a holiday party. But with on-site catering options, including dozens of gluten-free options, it can easily compete with, say, any of Marlborough’s numerous hotels.

“It’s definitely a big differentiator,” Miller said.

Apex Entertainment is part of the surrounding Apex Center of New England on Route 20, with a few dozen tenants: Hyatt Place, Fairfield Inn & Suites and a range of restaurants and retailers, including 110 Grill, Hot Table, Friendly’s and Evviva Trattoria. There’s also an office building next to the entertainment center, whose tenants include a 15,000-square-foot shared work space by the firm Venture X, along with the software company Vidsys, Kuchnir Dermatology & Dermatologic Surgery, and the construction contractor firm Whiting-Turner.

While not technically part of Apex Entertainment, the building shares its space with other draws as well, including a Planet Fitness, the escape room site Breakout, Altitude Trampoline Park, and Half Axe, a place to throw an ax in a safe and fun way.

The entertainment complex itself draws from across much of Massachusetts, particularly the central and eastern parts of the state, along with pockets of New Hampshire and Rhode Island. It has been expanding its programming to include a go-kart tournament, a longest-drive competition at the golf simulator and a kids’ video game tournament.

Then there’s been the geographic expansion.

Marlborough has been the first for what is now three locations, with a fourth soon on the way. A Syracuse, N.Y., location opened in early 2019, and an Albany, N.Y., outpost in December. Another in Virginia Beach will join them by the end of 2020.

Best New Real Estate Development

  • 145 Front at City Square
    Photo | Courtesy Mack-Cali
    Front Street in Worcester
  • Location: Worcester
  • Website:
  • Developer: Roseland Residential Trust, a subsidiary of Mack-Cali Realty Corp.
  • Headquarters: Jersey City, N.J.
  • Websites:,
  • Top executive: CEO Michael DeMarco
  • Founded: 1992
  • Employees: 170

Roseland is known for innovative, lifestyle-oriented communities, enriching the quality of life for residents and enhancing the economic vitality of their surrounding environments. In Worcester, Roseland’s 145 Front Street is serving as a cornerstone for the city’s downtown revitalization efforts.

  • Notable runner-up: Mercantile Center

Best Venue for a Corporate Event

  • Apex Center of New England
    Photo/Apex Entertainment
    The Apex Center in Marlborough
  • Location: Marlborough
  • Website:
  • Founded: 2017
  • Top executive: Principal Robert Walker

The $160-million, 475,000-square-foot Apex Center development is awash with places to conduct events, including a Hyatt Place hotel and a Fairfield Inn & Suites. The property offers numerous options for event goers to visit before and after, with retailers and restaurants, along with the Apex Entertainment complex.

  • Notable runner-up: Mechanics Hall

Best Private Golf Course

  • Worcester Country Club*
    Worcester Country Club
  • Location: Worcester
  • Website:
  • Top executive: Head Golf Pro Allan Belden
  • Founded: 1900

Worcester Country Club has hosted the men’s national championship (the 1925 U.S. Open) and the women’s national championship (the 1960 U.S. Open) and was the site of the inaugural Ryder Cup in 1927. It is one of three golf clubs in the country to host the premier men’s, the premier women’s and the premier international golf tournaments.

  • Notable runner-up: Tatnuck Country Club

Best Golf Club for Corporate Outing

  • Worcester Country Club*
  • Location: Worcester
  • Website:
  • Top executive: Head Golf Pro Allan Belden
  • Founded: 1900

The Worcester Country Club clubhouse has multiple space for events overlooking the championship course. There is seating for nearly 450 indoors & nearly 200 outdoors, with flexibility for creating entertainment spaces.

  • Notable runners-up: Wachusett Country Club, Cyprian Keyes Golf Club, The International

Best Nonprofit Fundraiser Event

  • March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction*
  • Location: Westborough
  • Website:
  • Top executive: Stephen Sycks, senior development manager for Central & Western Massachusetts
  • Founded: 1938
  • Employees: 10
  • Amount raised from 2019 fundraiser: $160,000, up $35,000 from 2018

With the help of the auction fundraiser, in 2019 March of Dimes launched two supportive pregnancy care sites in Central Massachusetts, bringing together at-risk pregnant moms in a familiar group setting for prenatal care and education. Evidence shows prenatal care delivered in a group leads to better care with better outcomes.

  • Notable runners-up: CASA Project Champion for Children, 15-40 Connection Gala, The Be Like Brit Foundation Gala

Best Venue for a Business Meeting

  • Beechwood Hotel*
    Courtesy | Beechwood Hotel
    Beechwood Hotel
  • Location: Worcester
  • Website:
  • Top executive: Asset Manager & Managing Director Sayed Saleh
  • Founded: 1989
  • Employees: 100

The Beechwood’s meeting space can accommodate a gathering of almost any type and size, ranging from large educational events with tables and chairs, to networking events and fundraisers. Its state-of-the-art system provides all the necessary amenities, and since it is a hotel, it can offer on-site overnight accommodations and hospitality for guests.

  • Notable runners-up: AC Hotel by Marriott, The Worcester Club

Best Hotel for Business Clients

  • Beechwood Hotel*
    Sonoma Restaurant inside Worcester's Beechwood Hotel
  • Location: Worcester
  • Website:
  • Top executive: Asset Manager & Managing Director Sayed Saleh
  • Founded: 1989
  • Employees: 100

The only AAA Four Diamond-rated hotel in Central Massachusetts, the Beechwood combines a seasoned team of hospitality professionals, its award-winning onsite Somona Restaurant, and a private art collection to offer a unique experience for business guests. This year, the hotel will add to its art collection with a new outdoor fountain.

  • Notable runner-up: AC Hotel by Marriott

Best Public Golf Course

  • Green Hill Municipal Golf Course*
    Green Hill Municipal Golf Course
  • Location: Worcester
  • Website:
  • Top executive: Matthew Moison
  • Founded: 1929

This course owned by the City of Worcester seeks to be accessible to all ages and income levels while still providing an excellent golf experience. Last year, the facility opened a new driving range.

  • Notable runners-up: Wachusett Country Club, Cyprian Keyes Golf Club

*Repeat winner

Read about the other 2020 WBJ Best of Business winners in the links below.


  • Best Accounting Firm: Bollus Lynch, LLP Certified Public Accountants & Consultants*
  • Best Credit Union: DCU – Digital Federal Credit Union*
  • Best Forensic Accountant: McLaren & Associates CPAs, PC*
  • Best Law Firm: Mirick O’Connell*
  • Best Woman-owned Business: PENTA Communications, Inc.*
  • Best Minority-owned Business: Resource Management, Inc.*
  • Best Business Insurance Agency: Sullivan Insurance Group*
  • Best Bank: UniBank*
  • Best Chamber of Commerce: Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce*


  • Best Health Insurance Provider: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts*
  • Best Professional Training Company: MindsetGo
  • Best College for Business Education: Nichols College*
  • Best Financial Planning/Investment Services Firm: Provo Wealth Management Group*
  • Best Employee Benefits Consultant: Sullivan Benefits*
  • Best Staffing Agency: The DAVIS Cos.*
  • Best Luxury Automobile Dealership: Mercedes-Benz of Shrewsbury*
  • Best Exercise Facility/Fitness Center: Worcester Fitness*
  • Best Young Professionals Network: YPWA (Young Professional Women’s Association) of Worcester*


  • Best Locally Owned Place to Meet for Coffee: BirchTree Bread Co.*
  • Best Restaurant for Business Dinner: One Eleven Chop House*
  • Best Caterer for a Corporate Event: Peppers Artful Events*
  • Best Blackstone Valley After-Work Bar: Reunion Tap & Table*, North Grafton
  • Best North County After-Work Bar: Slattery's, Fitchburg
  • Best Metrowest After-Work Bar: Tavern In The Square Northborough*
  • Best Worcester After-Work Bar: The Beer Garden
  • Best Central Mass. South After-Work Bar: The Cedar Street Grille*, Sturbridge
  • Best Restaurant for Business Lunch: The Sole Proprietor*
  • Best Local Brewery: Wormtown Brewery*


  • Best Commercial Landscaper: Cheaper Than The Kid Next Door Landscaping*
  • Best Coworking Space: Clearly Coworking*
  • Best Waste Removal: E.L. Harvey*
  • Best Office Cleaning: Eagle Cleaning Corp.*
  • Best Logistics Company: Euro-American Worldwide Logistics*
  • Best Coffee Service: Good As Gold Coffee*
  • Best Plumber/HVAC Contractor: J.J. Bafaro, Inc.*
  • Best Commercial Real Estate Brokerage: Kelleher & Sadowsky
  • Best Limousine Service: Knight’s Airport Limousine Service Inc.*


  • Best IT Services provider: Cinch IT, Inc.*
  • Best Commercial Printer: Curry Printing*
  • Best Awards & Promotional Products: Engraveables
  • Best Video Production: Pagano Media*
  • Best Advertising Agency: PENTA Communications, Inc.*
  • Best Internet Service Provider: Spectrum Enterprise*
  • Best Sign Company: Sunshine Sign Co., Inc.*
  • Best Web Design Firm: Worcester Interactive

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