, Gloucester, MA

August 14, 2012

Business Briefcase

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Poirier promoted at accounting firm

Longtime Gloucester resident Robert A. Poirier, a certified public accountant, has been promoted to director of assurance services at Ambrosi Donahue Congdon & Co. P.C., announced Keith N. Congdon, president of the Newburyport-based accounting firm.

In a prepared statement, Congdon said that “Bob has been with Ambrosi Donahue Congdon since 2001 and brings over 20 years’ experience in taxes, accounting, and auditing of small businesses and non-profit corporations. He is responsible for planning and managing the audits and accounting services for a wide range of commercial and non-profit clients, as well as managing the firm’s quality control standards. Bob specializes in single audits, Yellow Book audits, compliance audits, and Uniform Financial Reports.”

Long a member of the Cape Ann business community, Poirier and his family have called Gloucester home for more than 20 years. He received his BS, cum laude, from Salem State University in 1988, his CPA certification in 1992, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants.

J Barrett & Company named top brokers

J Barrett & Company, an independent real estate company, recently announced that 13 of the firm’s brokers have achieved Top 20 status on the North Shore according to MLSPIN.

The list, which encompasses eight of the North Shore’s most desired communities — Beverly, Essex, Gloucester, Hamilton, Ipswich, Manchester, and Rockport— covers 2012 (from Jan. 1 to Aug.t 6) for “Total Sales Volume” and “Total Solds.”

Mimi Pruett of Manchester tops the list at No. 1. Emily McPherson of Manchester is No. 7, with Joan Henderson of Hamilton at No. 9.

J Barrett brokers are ranked 13 through 20 starting with the team of

Sandy Carpienter and Lynne Saporito, followed by Edward Dick, Binni Hackett, Jeanne Carpenter, Josephine Baker, Holly Fabyan, Michele Vivian, and the team of Ann Olivio and Chris Moore.

J Barrett agents have consistently ranked among the top producers since the company was established six years ago. Last year,

Holly Fabyan was No. 1, and in 2010 five of the firm’s agents were among the Top 10. In 2009, four agents made the list, and in 2008, two agents were No. 1 and No. 2.

“We are very proud of our outstanding brokers and their accomplishments,” said Jon Gray, president of J Barrett & Company, in a statement. “They are well-respected real estate professionals who exemplify our commitment to serving our clients regardless of market conditions.”

“The real estate industry faces challenges today but we are able to achieve success for our sellers and buyers. The critical component, regardless of the state of the economy, is to develop an appropriate marketing plan and then to follow through,” Gray said. “The process isn’t always easy but careful and thoughtful analysis of the current market is essential and that definitely includes pricing. When you do that correctly, properties at all price points sell. We also have the advantage of an extensive nationwide real estate network.”

Virden joins J Barrett & Company

Julia Virden, a full-time realtor, has joined J Barrett & Company in the Manchester office.

A successful realtor for five years, Virden was surrounded by real estate transactions and property management her entire life. Her family has been investing in commercial and residential real estate in Europe and on the North Shore for the last 40 years.

Virden, who was born and raised in Stuttgart, Germany, graduated from the University of California magna cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa honors. She started her real estate career in California before moving back to the North Shore in 2007 and specializes in residential transactions.

“Julia’s extensive knowledge of the national and local real estate industry is an incredible asset to our firm,” said Jon Gray, president of J Barrett & Company, in a statement. “As a company, one of our goals is to constantly expand the depth of our own in-house expertise. Julia’s industry expertise is another step forward in that ongoing endeavor.”

“My decision to join J Barrett & Company was based on their commitment to the Cape Ann residential real estate market and that will benefit my clients immeasurably,” said Virden in a statement. “The philosophy at J Barrett is that because every home and every client is different, the marketing strategy should reflect that. With that approach everyone wins.”

She lives in Essex with her husband and two sons.

Gasoline prices on the rise

Average retail gasoline prices in Massachusetts have risen 5.6 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.70 per gallon on Sunday. This compares with the national average that has increased 5.4 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.67 a gallon, according to gasoline price website .

Prices on Monday on Cape Ann ranged from $3.75 per gallon to $3.87 a gallon.

Including the change in gas prices in Massachusetts during the past week, prices Sunday were 23.1 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 24.8 cents per gallon during the last month and stands at 5.7 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

“The national average has spiked 25 cents per gallon just in the last month, thanks to an onslaught of refinery problems — mainly in the Great Lakes and California,” said Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. “While these situations are temporary in nature, it goes to show this nation’s dependence on domestic refineries. While oil prices have gained in recent days, there is some light at the end of the tunnel for motorists: driving season will be over in less than a month and soon thereafter the EPA also relaxes gasoline mandates, meaning cheaper winter fuel.”

To find the cheapest gas on Cape Ann, visit

Call-in program offers free legal advice

BOSTON (AP) — Free legal advice will be offered to Massachusetts residents during a call-in program presented by the Massachusetts Bar Association and WBZ radio.

“Ask A Lawyer” was a regular program from 1978 to 2005. The program has been revived by the bar association and WBZ’s Call for Action.

MBA President Richard Campbell says the country’s economic crisis has increased the need for legal help and at the same time made it more difficult for the average citizen to afford legal services. The program is aimed at bridging that gap.

Volunteer lawyers from the bar association will field phone calls Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. The Ask a Lawyer phone number is 617 787-7070.

WBZ Call for Action in a non-profit telephone information, referral and action service.

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