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2015 Best of Business

Anything worth doing in the first place is usually worth repeating. When we launched our first “Best of Business” awards contest last year, we were dipping our toe into unfamiliar waters. Yet we thought it was a worthwhile idea to let our readers tell us which companies in Central Massachusetts really stood out in delivering a wide variety of products and services.

Well, last year's debut turned out better than we expected, so, yes, it's worth doing again.

“Best of” contests are hardly a new concept for publishers. But for us, a “Best of Business” nudged us into new territory, offering our readers a chance to tell the rest of the WBJ readership who really deserves to be called “best.” Since our readership is made up chiefly of business leaders, it sees things differently than would a general-interest readership, which we hope adds value to the results we're sharing in this issue This year, we're recognizing the top vote getters in 39 different categories. We eliminated a few of the lowest vote-total categories from last year and came up with a couple new categories for 2015. Please let us know if you think there's a popular business product or service category that we're missing and we'll consider it for next year.

From late October to mid-December, we collected votes through a web-based survey from more than 1,600 respondents, each of whom had to select a company in at least 10 of the categories listed. Again, we got what we had hoped for: a comprehensive list of winners that include both household names as well as several businesses that, for the most part, have been flying under our radar. Many are repeats from last year, yet there are plenty of new additions. We cross-referenced the nominations with what we know about businesses in the region, taking into account some obvious — and anticipated — “campaigns” on behalf of some organizations in order to come up with this year's list. To be clear, we're still honoring winners that were the beneficiaries of campaigns but we also recognize that it's of real value to our readers to list multiple top vote-getters as runners-up so that it's clear who else is really delivering in a category. Does a readers poll help reveal who several of the top players are in a category? Absolutely. Can we trust a readers poll to be an authoritative source for who you ought to be doing business with? Hardly.

Yet, a “Best of” poll be a fun way to recognize many deserving area companies and have their employees celebrate in that success.

Our 2015 winners will be honored at our second Best of Business Awards event, which will take place Thursday, Jan. 29 at The Urban Kitchen & Bar (formerly Coral Seafood) in Worcester.

To the winners: Congratulations! And enjoy your year-long bragging rights!

Rick SaiaEditor



Bank For Business

Bank of America

One of the largest banks in the United States has 40 branches in Central Massachusetts, with nearly $4 billion in deposits in the region, as of mid-2013. No other bank that does business in Central Massachusetts comes close to that.


  • UniBank for Savings
  • Commerce Bank

Business Insurance Agency

Sullivan Group

What started as the William F. Sullivan Insurance Agency in 1957 now has more than 50 employees, including 18 principals. In 1991, Green Isenberg Small Insurance Agency and The Carrick Agency were acquired and combined with the William F. Sullivan Agency to form Sullivan Insurance Group, which also has an office in Needham.

10 Chestnut St., Worcester


  • Sullivan, Garrity & Donnelly, Worcester
  • Marsh & McLennan (formerly The Protector Group), Worcester

Financial Planning/Investment Services

Provo Financial Services

(repeat winner)

The firm was founded in 1992 by Christopher Provo of Shrewsbury, who had previously worked on Wall Street. It provides advice in investments, financial planning and group benefits.

385 South St., Shrewsbury


  • Southbridge Savings Bank Investment Services
  • FMG Financial, Worcester

Credit Union for Business

Digital Federal Credit Union

(repeat winner)

What began as a credit union for employees of the former Digital Equipment Corp. is now the largest credit union in New England, with more than $5.5 billion in assets (as of March 2014) and 21 branches, including four in New Hampshire.

(Headquarters) 220 Donald Lynch Blvd. Marlborough


  • Millbury Credit Union
  • Leominster Credit Union

Employee Benefits Consultant

Marsh & McLennan/Protector Group

Marsh & McLennan, which acquired Protector Group in 2012, is a full-service insurance, retirement, and risk management firm that helps small and mid-size businesses with employee benefits and commercial insurance.

100 Front St., Worcester
975 Merriam Ave. (Twin City Mall), Leominster


  • Benefit Development Group, Worcester
  • FMG Financial Services, Worcester


College For Business

Clark University

Clark's Graduate School of Management offers seven business programs, as well as undergraduate studies in management and a minor in innovation and entrepreneurship. It is also home to The Massachusetts Small Business Development Center, which advises existing and prospective small businesses.

950 Main St., Worcester


  • Assumption College, Worcester
  • Worcester State University
  • Nichols College, Dudley

Health Insurance Provider

Tufts Health Plan

(UPDATED Jan. 19, 2015 at 2 p.m. and Jan. 20, 2015 at 4:50 p.m.) Founded in 1979, Tufts offers members and employers an array of health management programs. It's the second largest health maintenance organization in Massachusetts (behind only Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts), with nearly 312,000 HMO members as of the end of 2013. It's total membership as of last September totaled more than 1 million.

705 Mount Auburn St., Watertown


  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts
  • Fallon Health


Luxury Automobile Dealership

Lexus of Northborough

The locally owned dealership on the eastbound side of Route 9, notched in between Westborough and Shrewsbury, sells new, used and certified pre-owned Lexus cars, SUVs and hybrids.

14 Belmont St. (Route 9), Northborough


  • Wagner Motors, Shrewsbury

Truck Dealership (new category)

Lamoreux Ford

The East Brookfield dealership was established in 1977. It's run by its president, Lionel Lamoreux, and vice president, Marc Lamoreux. It features a wide line of Ford trucks, vans and cars.

366 East Main St. (Route 9), East Brookfield


  • Diamond Chevrolet, Buick, GMC; Auburn
  • Tuck's Trucks, Hudson


Hotel for Business Clients

Beechwood Hotel

(repeat winner)

The Beechwood opened 26 years ago and sits in an enviable business location, with Biotech Park on one side and the University of Massachusetts Medical School/UMass Memorial Medical Center's University campus on the other. Owners Charles and Janet Birbara have planned a multi-million-dollar refurbishment that they say will upgrade the Beechwood into a "modern, state-of-the-art, upscale boutique" hotel with the goal of making it the "most luxurious" west of Boston.

363 Plantation St., Worcester


  • Marriott Plantation Street, Worcester
  • Hilton Garden Inn, Worcester

Venue for a Business Meeting

Beechwood Hotel

(repeat winner)


  • DCU Center, Worcester
  • Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston

Restaurant for a Business Breakfast

Ceres Bistro at Beechwood Hotel

(repeat winner)

Restaurant for a Business Lunch

EVO Dining

After watching his mother create elaborate home-cooked meals when he was a child, EVO's executive chef, Al Maykel, took that accumulated knowledge into adulthood. And in 2008, he and his sister, Celeste Zack, opened EVO Dining.

234 Chandler St., Worcester


  • VIA Italian Table, Worcester
  • The Sole Proprietor, Worcester

Restaurant for a Business Dinner

111 Chop House 

(repeat winner)

The 111 has become an institution on Worcester's "Restaurant Row." Robb and Madeleine Ahlquist opened it in 1999, two decades after they opened The Sole Proprietor. The 111 exceeded its third-year projections in less than a year.

111 Shrewsbury St., Worcester


  • EVO Dining, Worcester
  • VIA Italian Table, Worcester

Coffee Service for Business (new category)

* Good as Gold

Good as Gold has been providing office coffee services in the Worcester, Boston and Springfield markets for more than 40 years. Traditional coffee? Espresso? Tea? Water? Yep, they have all that.

115 Green St., Worcester

After-Work Bar (new category)

Tavern in the Square

Northborough is just one of eight locations for this company, founded in 2004 as a sports bar. A decade later, Tavern in the Square has evolved into full-service restaurants with sizeable bars and patios. The Northborough location has the largest bar of the eight sites, with 50 beers on tap.

318 Main St., Northborough


  • Tavern at Worcester Country Club
  • Nick's Bar & Restaurant, Worcester

Golf Course – Public

Cyprian Keyes Golf Club

This public golf course, which opened in 1997, has a private-club feel with four function rooms and an onsite event planner to help you sweat the details for an outing or meeting. The club can accommodate golfers of all ability – or lack of it – with an 18-hole championship course, a 9-hole Par-3 course and a golf school.

284 East Temple St., Boylston


  • Green Hill Country Club, Worcester
  • Wachusett Country Club, West Boylston

Golf Course – Private

Worcester Country Club

The club was founded in 1900, but last year marked its centennial at its current location. The course stretches more than 6,650 yards and plays to a par 70. The club has hosted major tournaments, such as the men's U.S. Open (1925) and the women's U.S. Open (1960), and served as the site of the first Ryder Cup, in 1927.

2 Rice St., Worcester


  • Pleasant Valley Country Club, Sutton

Golf Club for Corporate Outing

Cyprian Keyes Golf Club

(repeat winner)


  • Wachusett Country Club, West Boylston
  • Pleasant Valley Country Club, Sutton

Venue for a Corporate Event

DCU Center

The arena has been around since 1982, but the site expanded 15 years later with a state-of-the-art convention center and 50,000 square feet of exhibit space, 11 meeting rooms, a ballroom and a state-of-the-art kitchen. Within the last six years, it underwent more than $30 million in capital improvements and upgrades.

50 Foster St., Worcester


  • Mechanics Hall, Worcester
  • Beechwood Hotel, Worcester

Exercise Facility/Fitness Center

Worcester Fitness 

(repeat winner)

It's your conventional health club, but also has personal trainers who can assist with workouts, along with nutrition, stress reduction and lifestyle changes.

440 Grove St., Worcester
123 Summer St., Worcester


  • Fit Friendzy, Shrewsbury
  • Planet Fitness

Caterer for a Corporate Event

Pepper's Fine Foods Catering 

(repeat winner)

The husband-and-wife team of John and Susan Lawrence has been delivering its luscious fare to discerning taste buds since the late 1980s. And apparently, they don't disappoint. The company has received high ratings on, from chambers of commerce and from the online bridal boutique Bride's Choice.

43 Hudson St., Northborough


  • Struck Catering, Worcester


Awards & Promotional Products Company

Olympic Trophy

The 77-year-old family business offers a range of plaques, acrylics, glass awards, commemorative clocks and assorted other forms of awards both online and from its downtown Worcester location.

204 Main St., #2, Worcester


  • Engraveables, Marlborough
  • Guertin Graphics, Worcester

Limousine Service

Knight's Airport Limousine Service 

(repeat winner)

Knight's provides shuttle and private vehicle service to all airports within 75 miles of Central Massachusetts, as well as those in the New York City area.

390 Hartford Tpk., Shrewsbury


  • WLimo (formerly Worcester Airport Limo), West Boylston
  • Joey's Limousine Service, Worcester

Law Firm

Bowditch & Dewey

Central Massachusetts' largest law firm has 60 attorneys, with expertise in more than 25 practice specialties. Last year, it marked its 100th anniversary. In 2013, the firm's Worcester office received nine top-tier rankings in U.S. News – Best Lawyers, Best Law Firms rankings.

311 Main St., Worcester
175 Crossing Blvd., Ste. 500, Framingham


  • Darrow Everett, Worcester
  • Mirick O' Connell, Worcester

Accounting Firm

Stolberg, Ebbeling & Blanchette

The four-partner Worcester firm specializes in accounting, audits, tax planning and business advice, especially succession planning, business valuations and financial planning.

41 Elm St., Worcester


  • Bollus Lynch, Worcester
  • Griffin & Griffin, Worcester

Commercial Landscaping Company

J.A.M. Landscaping

Founded in 1988, J.A.M. works with a wide variety of customers, from single-family homeowners to large corporate clients. The company's services include drought-tolerant landscapes, excavations, grading, landscape design and installation and lawn care. And there's no rest in winter, when they plow and salt.

45 Randolph Rd., Worcester


  • Camosse Masonry Supply, Worcester

Commercial Printer

Curry Printing 

(repeat winner)

Peter and Joe Gardner run this family-owned firm that can take a document from end to end: design to delivery. It also assists clients with mailing services through its two locations.

190 Turnpike Rd., Westborough
165 Southbridge St., Worcester


  • Alpha Graphics, Worcester and Framingham

IT Services Company

Akuity Technologies 

(repeat winner)

Founded 27 years ago, Akuity, formerly PC Plus, employs about 50, including over 25 technical staffers. Among them, they hold over 75 industry certifications. (Disclosure: The Worcester Business Journal is an Akuity client.)

One Westec Dr., Auburn


  • Astari Networks, Marlborough
  • Triton Technologies, Worcester

Internet Service Provider

Charter Communications

(repeat winner)

Charter provides a wide range of advanced broadband services with Charter Spectrum to residential and commercial customers throughout Central Massachusetts.

301 Barber Ave., Worcester


  • RCN, Verizon

Document Destruction Company


(repeat winner)

ProShred is a national firm that, in addition to shredding documents, destroys hard drives on computers that are being replaced.

75 Post Office Pk., Wilbraham


  • E.L. Harvey & Sons, Westborough

Advertising Agency

Penta Communications

Now in its 28th year, Penta has served an array of clients, one of them the United Nations. Last year, it moved its headquarters to the former Bergson's 1790 House restaurant on the eastbound side of Route 9 in Westborough, having purchased the building located just a few hundred yards from its long-time offices.

182 Turnpike Rd., No. 200, Westborough


  • Davis Advertising, Worcester
  • smith&jones, Sturbridge

Web Design Firm

Penta Communications

(repeat winner)


  • Pagano Media, Worcester
  • Applied Interactive, Worcester

Video Production Company

Skyscope Creative

(repeat winner)

The firm is run by three Clark University graduates, each with a different skillset, who saw a growing need for business video. The eight-employee firm is a mix of filmmakers, marketers, designers, and motion graphics artists.

40 Jackson St., Ste. 1120, Worcester


  • Pagano Media, Worcester

Staffing Agency

The Davis Cos.

(repeat winner)

Davis is a 30-year-old family-owned firm that helps with staffing needs in a variety of disciplines.

325 Donald Lynch Blvd., Marlborough


  • I Know a Guy, Worcester

Electrical Contractor

Coghlin Electrical Contractors Inc.

(repeat winner)

Founded in 1885, Coghlin is one of Central Massachusetts' oldest companies. Run by family member Sue Mailman, Coghlin is a widely recognized name and has served a wide range of industries.

100 Prescott St., Worcester

Plumber/HVAC Contractor

J.J. Bafaro Inc.

What began as a one-man shop in the early 1960s has grown into a full-service firm specializing in HVAC, plumbing, and sprinkler work for both the commercial and residential markets. Its business customers get the help of an in-house design team that specializes in design-build projects. Team members work with business owners, engineers, architects and construction managers from concept through completion.

9 Winter St., Worcester


  • Garabedian Plumbing & Heating Inc., Worcester

Waste Removal Company

E.L. Harvey & Sons Inc.

(repeat winner)

The 104-year-old family firm also focuses on recycling and document destruction. In 2013, the company opened a new single-stream recycling facility designed to process up to 600 tons of material a day. It also recently expanded just over the Westborough line into Hopkinton.

68 Hopkinton Rd., Westboroug


  • P. Pellegrino Trucking Co., Shrewsbury
  • Funky Junk, Worcester

Office Cleaning Company

Enterprise Cleaning Corp.

(repeat winner)

Company CEO Steve Buchalter has grown the company significantly since its founding more than a decade ago. It employs about 120 and trains each employee specifically for the job he or she will perform at a particular client site.

75 Main St., Boylston


  • Discover Cleaning, Worcester
  • Eagle Cleaning, Worcester

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