Massachusetts business in brief

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Real estate execs buy former company back

BROOKLINE – The founders of Hammond Residential have acquired a controlling interest in the Boston-area real estate agency that they sold to GMAC Home Services in 2001. Hammond co-founders Saul Cohen and Joe Hare, along with other senior managers, closed the deal to buy the eight-office Hammond network on Friday from Brookfield Residential Property Services, a Canadian company that acquired the GMAC real estate brand last year, Cohen said. Included are four offices in Boston, and four others in Newton, Brookline, Wellesley and Weston. Cohen, the firm’s president, also said his team acquired four Carlson GMAC offices from Brookfield Residential, including offices in Winchester, Lexington, Concord and Framingham. Together, the Hammond sales team includes about 350 sales agents, Cohen said. Hammond’s new ownership will continue to use the GMAC brand as a franchisee.

Travel, tourism office launches ad campaign

BOSTON – The state Office of Travel and Tourism has launched a nearly $3 million campaign to promote Massachusetts in various markets in the Northeast. The campaign includes TV ads that launched on Monday, a revamping of the agency’s Web site and print ads in several publications. The TV ads will run in the Boston, New York, Providence, Hartford and Albany markets through June 12. The agency spent about $361,000 making the ads, and about $2.6 million buying air time and other media purchases. Boston ad agency Connelly Partners worked with the state agency to reuse much of the video footage shot for a state tourism ad campaign last year.

NStar seeks 70 percent rate cut for gas users

BOSTON – NStar has asked state regulators to approve a 70 percent rate cut for its residential customers who heat with natural gas. The utility said the price cut reflects a major decline in its cost of purchasing natural gas in the futures market. NStar said if the new rates are approved by the Department of Public Utilities, the average NStar customer who uses 38 therms of natural gas per month between May and October will pay $15 a month this summer season, down from $50 at the same time last year.

Gas prices remain at $1.87 for regular

BOSTON – Gas prices continued to stabilize in Massachusetts, remaining unchanged during the past week and down slightly from a month ago, AAA Southern New England said. The state average stayed at $1.87 a gallon for regular, self-serve gas on Monday. The state average is 5 cents a gallon below the national average, and nearly $1.30 per gallon below the state average a year ago.

Shaw’s parent offers ‘refund rewards’

WEST BRIDGEWATER – Supervalu Inc., the parent company of Shaw’s and Star Markets, has adopted a “refund rewards” program for customers who buy grocery gift cards in $250 or $300 increments through April 15. Those Shaw’s and Star Market customers will get an additional $20 or $30 added to their cards, respectively.

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