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Updated: January 8, 2024 / 2024 Best of Business Awards

Best of Business 2024: Best Ways to Relax

A customer and a cashier stand at a retail counter inside a cannabis dispensary. Photo | Courtesy of Major Bloom Major Bloom, a cannabis business in Worcester

Best Marijuana Company: Major Bloom

Major Bloom aims to be more than just a dispensary. Now in its third year of operation on Millbury Street in Worcester, this marijuana retailer and delivery license holder has a permission to manufacture products, allowing it to stock its shelves with pre-rolls, edibles, and the like consumers can’t find anywhere else.

The company’s ability to manufacture its own products has allowed it to take its collaborations with neighboring small businesses to new heights. In September, Major Bloom partnered with Femme Bar, a lesbian bar on Green Street, to launch a line of pre-rolled joints including herbs aiming to alleviate symptoms associated with endometriosis, a chronic disease impacting the uterus.

Other co-branded products highlighting local businesses are in the works. As part of Major Bloom’s Black History Month initiative, the company honored fellow Black cannabis businesses nationwide and introduced an exclusive menu item for the local community.

Originally from Connecticut, Major Bloom Founder and President Ulysses Youngblood said city officials and the local small business community have welcomed him to Worcester with open arms.

“We’re very grateful to have the opportunity to partner with some of these other small businesses,” Youngblood said.

Beyond its product offerings, Major Bloom seeks to be a force for good in the community. The company donated more than 1,000 food items to local nonprofits and schools during the holiday season. Its radio show and podcast “Infused Influence” on Worcester-based 90.5 WICN Public Radio has created a platform to discuss the formerly taboo topic of cannabis on public airways, and Youngblood has been a guest lecturer at colleges in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York.

All of this has turned the formerly long-vacant commercial property Major Bloom now occupies into a hub of activity, bringing fresh energy and pride to a neighborhood yet to see the same levels of development witnessed closer to Polar Park.

While other cannabis companies may not be too thrilled with the idea the Cannabis Control Commission, the state agency regulating the industry, is only a few blocks away, Major Bloom has turned the fact into an asset to help lobby for changes to benefit small and minority-owned businesses.

Meeting with all four currently active commissioners at some point in 2023, the company helped convince them to vote 3-1 to begin the process of eliminating a rule requiring two employees to be in any vehicle delivering marijuana, a regulation critics say is overly burdensome.

“We played our part alongside some other people just to push for that change,” Youngblood said.

- Story written by Eric Casey

*denotes repeat winner

Best Brewery: Wormtown Brewery*

Beer cans
Photo | Courtesy of Wormtown Brewery
Wormtown Brewery beers


Top executive: David Fields, owner

Founded: 2010

Employees: 50

In 2023, Wormtown launched its Be Smooth Hazy IPA, which is a new year-round beer to accompany the brewery’s Be Hoppy IPA on shelves and on tap. Wormtown’s leaders and employees focus on people, passion, and product. Wormtown produces more than 20,000 barrels of beer annually, ranking third in Central Massachusetts behind Jack’s Abby Brewing in Framingham and Tree House Brewing in Charlton.

Notable runners-up: Tree House Brewing, Redemption Rock Brewing, Greater Good Imperial Brewing

Best Exercise Facility/Fitness Center: Worcester Fitness*

Five people stand for a photograph
Photo | Courtesy of Worcester Fitness
The leadership team at Worcester Fitness


Top executive: General Manager Katherine Butterfield

Founded: 1978

Employees: 75

In 2023, Worcester Fitness marked the 40th anniversary under the MacDonald family’s ownership, a celebration including the launch of new programs and enhanced amenities and equipment. The result was the highest membership growth in 10 years. The center’s approach is designed to foster physical and mental well-being for members.

Notable runners-up: Planet Fitness, Anytime Fitness

Best Public Golf Course: Green Hill Municipal Golf Course*


Top executive: Matthew Moison, director of golf

Founded: 1929

Employees: 15 (including 3 full-time)

Green Hill aims to create an environment open to all and offer an affordable golf experience to a diverse group of people, which includes the golf course, driving range, and restaurant. In 2023, the course completed renovations to sand traps, increasing the value of play while decreasing the required maintenance of the traps.

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

Best Private Golf Course: Worcester Country Club*

A building sits behind a golf course
Photo | Courtesy of Worcester Country Club
The clubhouse at Worcester Country Club


Top executive: Troy Sprister, general manager

Founded: 1900, relocated to its current site in 1913

Employees: 125

In 2023, Worcester Country Club achieved a major accomplishment whe golf course architect Gil Hanse completed a renovation of the WCC course, upholding the integrity of the golf course and preserving the classic playing characteristics as envisioned and designed by its originating architect, Donald Ross.

Notable runners-up: Tatnuck Country Club, The Haven Country Club

Best Golf Club for Corporate Outing: Cyprian Keyes Golf Club*


Top executive: General Manager David Frem

Founded: 1997

Employees: Varies seasonally

While dealing with supply chain issues, increased costs for goods and services, and staffing shortages, Cyprian Keyes operated multiple businesses in 2023: two golf courses, golf school, golf shop, fitting center, restaurant, and its event venue, all without compromising its customer experience.

Notable runners-up: Highfields Golf & Country Club, Worcester Country Club

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