For Immediate Release
Greenfield, MA — The Franklin County Community Development Corporation awarded the 3rd Annual Haas Entrepreneur Award to Zoar Outdoor, honoring businesses in the county that drive the economy and give back to the community. This year’s award focused on innovation and sustainability, according to the CDC, which this year selected its winner from 15 nominees. The award is named for the late Richard Haas, who developed Hillside Plastics and was CDC board member. Mass State representative, Paul Mark presented a certificate of congratulations to Zoar Outdoor on behalf of the Massachusetts House of Representative. Bruce Lessels and Karen Blom, the company founders were honored in a ceremony at the Shea Theatre this past week.
“We want to recognize all entrepreneurs in the area, and we’re focused on innovation,” said CDC Executive Director John Waite, who added that Zoar Outdoor was selected partially because of its longevity and partly for its nimbleness in looking ahead to see what its customers might want.
Zoar Outdoor has a long tradition of community involvement and supporting local events and organizations. Lessels has served on the board of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, the Academy at Charlemont, and Double Edge Theatre. Blom has served on the board of the Shelburne Falls Area Business Association, been a member of the Buckland Finance Committee and has been a deacon at Charlemont Federated Church.
Zoar Outdoor was founded in 1989 with 3 employees offering kayaking instruction and rafting. After 24 years the business has grown to 150 seasonal employees, 10 full time managers and in addition to rafting and kayaking, now offers zip lining, guided kayak rentals, rock climbing lessons, retail sales, lodging and camping on-site.