Block Party Cookout Builds Community
'It's our pleasure to help build a healthier, stronger community.'
Above: Trecia Marchand appears on the set of "Mass Appeal" at WWLP-TV in Springfield, Mass.
TRECIA MARCHAND’S credit union experience started as a child, when her parents were members.
“That experience sticks with me today,” says Marchand, vice president of marketing/business development at Pioneer Valley Federal Credit Union in Springfield, Mass. “When time came for me to move out, the place where I became a member as a child is where I got my first loan.”
Adding value for members is key to Pioneer Valley Federal’s success and to expanding its business and member base, according to Marchand.
A few years ago, the $56 million asset credit union came up with an idea to raffle off a barbecue grill for a loan promotion.
Marchand ran with the idea and suggested hosting a cookout for members and neighborhood businesses. About 150 people attended the event that first year, and attendance doubled the next year.
“It grew so much that we couldn’t do all of the cooking and we partnered with a local restaurant so we could mingle and build neighborhood and member relationships,” Marchand says.
What started as a one-off promotion has grown into a July block party at two locations—the credit union and nearby Westover Air Reserve Base—that has attracted nearly 2,000 attendees since its inception in 2012 and builds goodwill and business for the credit union.
“What used to be one of the slowest growth months for us became one of the biggest,” Marchand says.
Jennie McPherson, human resources and administrative coordinator at Pioneer Valley Federal, says the block party has generated multiple select employer group (SEG) signups and stronger connections with businesses.
“Trecia has her finger on the pulse of the local area and has been at the forefront of adding diverse SEGs such as Baystate Health, the largest health-care system in western Massachusetts; Westover Air Reserve Base; and the Springfield Falcons, our American Hockey League team,” McPherson says.
Marchand has also nurtured relationships with local charities. Pioneer Valley has strong ties to the Children’s Miracle Network; a community bike ride event, Katelynn’s Ride, that supports pediatric cancer research; Rays of Hope, a walk to benefit breast cancer research; and a local radiothon that raises funds for Baystate Children’s Hospital.
“It’s our pleasure to help build a healthier, stronger community,” Marchand says. “It’s not about us. It’s about how Pioneer Valley can help others.”