Credit union members vote to approve merger

LAWRENCE – The members of Merrimack Valley Credit Union, one of the 10 largest credit unions in Massachusetts, and Ocean Spray Employees Federal Credit Union, which provides financial services to Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. employees, contract-member growers and their families, voted in favor of merging the two organizations on Monday, Dec. 9. More than 70 percent of Merrimack Valley Credit Union members who participated voted in favor of merging, and 96 percent of Ocean Spray Employees Federal Credit Union members who participated voted in support of merging.

“We are thrilled that the members of both organizations recognized the benefits to merging Merrimack Valley Credit Union and Ocean Spray Employees Federal Credit Union,” said John J. Howard, president and CEO, Merrimack Valley Credit Union. “We are very excited to welcome Ocean Spray Employees Federal Credit Union members to our family.”

For the past two years, Ocean Spray Employees Federal Credit Union has shared a location with Merrimack Valley Credit Union’s Bridgewater branch. Both teams have worked together seamlessly, and will continue to do so. The merger will not result in any lay-offs or the elimination of any positions.

Merrimack Valley Credit Union members voted 43 in favor, 16 against and 2 in abstention of the merger, and Ocean Spray Employees Federal Credit Union members voted 161 to 7 in favor of the merger.

Members of both credit unions can continue to conduct business as usual without any interruption to their accounts or the branch offices they visit.

MVCU recently completed a $382 million merger with Bridgewater Credit Union, creating one of Massachusetts’ 10 largest credit unions, with more than $1 billion in assets and 10 branch locations. 

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The Savings Bank donates $1,500 to Lazarus House

METHUEN — Lazarus House Ministries of Lawrence was the recipient of a $1,500 donation from The Savings Bank in honor of the bank’s 150th anniversary. Julie Brady, manager of the Methuen office of The Savings Bank, presented the donation.

Lazarus House Ministries is among the many area nonprofit and community groups that have received a donation during the bank’s anniversary year. 

Thrift store grand re-opening

LAWRENCE — Lazarus House Ministries invites everyone to its grand re-opening of the newly renovated South Union Street Thrift Store, at 229 South Union St., on Saturday, Dec. 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Lazarus House’s goal is to better serve the community and provide more opportunities for enjoyable, respectful shopping experiences for its guests. The organization is committed to serving the southern part of Lawrence and is pleased to contribute to the neighborhood’s revitalization, hoping to attract more donations and bring more business to the community while providing more opportunities for guests to have access to affordable clothing and household items.

The event will feature raffles, prizes and treats.

Lazarus House is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to giving strength, healing and hope to everyone who comes through its doors in need of help.

Great NH Restaurants raises $84,000 for local nonprofits

BEDFORD, N.H. – The annual Thanks For Giving event held at all T-BONES, CJ’s, and Cactus Jack’s once again raised much-needed funds to help New Hampshire nonprofits. This is a favorite fundraiser among restaurant-goers, as each time they visit and donate $5 to (Great NH Restaurants’ Charitable Trust), they receive a $10-off dining coupon for a future visit.

The following organizations have been selected to receive various amounts from the Thanks for Giving Fundraiser: Bridges, Marguerite’s Place, Friends of Aine, NeighborWorks, Rockingham Nutrition Meals on Wheels, Granite State Independent Living, Children’s Scholarship Fund New Hampshire, Breakthrough Manchester, Big Brothers Big Sisters NH, and ROCA Kidz Club.

The annual fundraiser started in 2005, and has raised more than $650,000. Each year, various organizations are chosen to receive support.

T-BONES Great American Eatery has locations in Salem and Derry, as well as Laconia, Bedford, and Hudson; Cactus Jack’s, in Laconia, and CJ’s Great West Grill in Manchester. For more information contact Tanya Randolph at 603-488-2833 or

Jillian’s Nail Spa completes upgrade in time for the holidays

NORTH ANDOVER — Jillian’s Nail Spa, which has come to be known as a “tropical oasis” in the heart of North Andover, at 140 Main St., has completed another upgrade in pursuit of accommodating customers.

Owner Victor Ton has added new state-of-the-art leather massage chairs for pedicures, as well as new leather sculpted chairs for manicures, to complement leaf-shaped glass sinks, exotic plants, stenciled pastel walls, and a tropical fish aquarium.

Always striving to improve the service and ambience of Jillian’s, Ton learned the value of hard work early in life in Vietnam, growing up the youngest of 10 sons.

For more information, 978-685-0121.

New Balance adopts innovative education and training initiative

BOSTON – Boston-based New Balance Athletics, Inc. announced it is adopting Gap Inc.’s P.A.C.E. (Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement) program, an innovative education and training initiative, to help improve the lives of women workers in its global supply chain.

“The P.A.C.E. program has a proven track record of increasing the self-esteem of female workers who complete the program, which in turn gives them the skills and confidence they need to advance in the workplace and better manage personal issues at home,” said Monica Gorman, vice president of responsible leadership and global compliance.

New Balance, which owns five factories in New England, including one in Lawrence, will launch the P.A.C.E. program at two supplier footwear factory locations in Vietnam that employ more than 15,000 women. Participating workers will take courses in effective communication, problem solving, time and stress management, financial and legal literacy, and general and reproductive health, among other topics. New Balance plans to grow the program each year to ultimately reach women workers at all of its global footwear suppliers.

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 Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence receives holiday surprise from Planet Fitness

LAWRENCE — On Friday, Dec. 13, employees from Planet Fitness’s Hampton, New Hampshire, headquarters donated more than 600 toys that they collected for Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence youth. Upon delivering the toys, they also presented the Boys & Girls Club with a surprise $5,000 donation. Goody Moving LLC, based in Salem, New Hampshire, donated its services to help transport the toys. The youth will receive the toys at the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence’s annual holiday party, on Dec. 19.

In 2018 Planet Fitness donated a mini-Planet Fitness to the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, providing its youth members 14 and older with the ability to exercise in an inclusive and encouraging workout environment, without the risk of feeling judged or bullied.

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