For 10 weeks this summer, pairs of “walking concierges” took to the streets of downtown Pittsfield to serve as Downtown Pittsfield Ambassadors. Seven Berkshire residents answered the call to be an approachable source of directions, information, and assistance for visitors and residents alike who visited our bustling downtown for theatre performances, dining, shopping, First Fridays Artswalk, and more.
This year, thanks to the generous sponsorship of the program by the City of Pittsfield, Pittsfield Garden Tour, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, NBT Bank, Lee Bank, Barrington Stage Company, Berkshire Museum, Hotel on North, and Berkshire Theatre Group/Colonial Theatre, Downtown Pittsfield, Inc.’s Ambassadors worked 35 hours per week for a total of 350 total hours this summer.
To increase their downtown knowledge and to better serve downtown visitors, the 2019 Downtown Pittsfield Ambassadors were given tours and information sessions at the following downtown venues: City Hall, Barrington Stage Company, Berkshire Theatre Group/Colonial Theatre, Hotel on North, Holiday Inn, Berkshire Museum, Berkshire Medical Center, Berkshire Athenaeum, Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center, Berkshire Family YMCA, Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires, Ralph J. Froio Senior Center, and the Pittsfield Police Department. The ambassadors were trained and certified by the Pittsfield Police Department in CPR, AED, First Aid, and public safety protocol.
This year’s Ambassadors were Amarie Starr, Nick Bryant, Jessica Lojano, Nolan Pratt, Talia Traversa, Melvin Wright, and Cheyenne Van Bramer.
We asked Downtown Pittsfield Ambassador Amarie what her favorite part of the job was.
“Interacting with people from all walks of life. There are some people, both residents and professionals, who I saw regularly, and their faces lit up when they saw me. It melts my heart knowing that I’ve left an impression on them simply by being myself. I’ve even met people from Italy, Australia, and Brazil who are visiting The Berkshires for the first time.… Typical day? There’s no such thing. Every day is a new adventure and that’s what I love about this job.”
Some of her memorable moments: meeting Mayor Tyer and her staff, attending her first Working Cities meeting, and celebrating Harry Potter’s birthday at the Berkshire Athenaeum.
A memorable moment for Ambassador Talia was attending the grand opening of Omega1 African Fashion at 393 North Street. Omega1 carries beautiful and colorful merchandise directly from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.
Ambassador Nick created a video memory of his experiences downtown this summer: https://www.facebook.com/DowntownPittsfield/videos/2889631651108601/
Business owners, residents, and visitors were very happy with the program and the Ambassadors this year. Here is just some of what they had to say:
Museum Outlets: “Kudo’s to the ambassadors! They are a bunch of friendly kids that represent Pittsfield well!”
Gary Cardot (co-owner of The Funky Phoenix): “Melvin is great!! I’ve been blessed enough to talk to him on a few occasions. When I first met Melvin, he had no idea who I was. So I asked him where I could find a HANDMADE gift made HERE in the Berkshires, preferably Pittsfield. He directed me right to The Funky Phoenix. Glad to have the ambassadors, it’s fun keeping them on their toes lol. Keep up the great work Melvin and gang!!”
Sheila Kerber: “OK, (Amarie) is amazing! My husband and I talked with her walking down North Street several weeks ago! She has a great vibe!”
Expect the Downtown Pittsfield Ambassador program to be back in the summer of 2020 and beyond!
By Kimberly Gritman, Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. Marketing Coordinator