I'm Lucky to have Pittsfield Co-op on My Side!

Bill “Buster” Koziara likes to say he got his start in the family business handing wrenches to his dad as a 9-year-old boy. He jokes, “Sometimes I even managed to hand him the right one!”


Now the president of the second-generation John’s Building Supply and ACE Hardware in Pittsfield, MA, Koziara has helped the 76-year-old family business weather changes in the economy, unexpected turns—like COVID—and become a trusted resource for homeowners and contractors throughout the region.


An integral part of the success and recent growth of the business, says Koziara, has been the relationship he established with Pittsfield Cooperative Bank.


“I’m a local business,” says Koziara, “so I like to work with other local businesses. I really appreciate being able to meet face to face with the people I’m dealing with and know that they understand what I’m trying to do for my business and the community.”


When Koziara’s original bank moved their operations out of the area in 2018, he grew frustrated by the lack of responsiveness he began to experience.


“This happened to coincide with when we were looking at opening the ACE franchise,” he recalls. “I was venting to our lawyer about it, and he asked if I had talked to the Coop. I hadn’t but I made a call to the president’s office and, just like that, he set me up with their commercial lender.


“I’ll never forget my first meeting,” says Koziara. “It was me, the commercial lender, and the bank president in the president’s office. I explained what was involved in getting the franchise off the ground—licensing, putting up a new building and all that entails, and so on. Right then and there they started figuring out how to make it all come together. They knew the local contractors, the regulations…everything that it would take to make things happen. Even lots of things that really weren’t banking related. They saw my vision and did what they could to help me succeed.”


The challenge of completing the build was complicated by COVID and the resulting supply chain complications. “Things moved slower than I would have like,” says Koziara, “but the Coop stuck with us. At one point I had to go back and ask for more money for an issue related to gutters and groundwater. It’s hard to convey how easy they made it—people almost don’t believe me when I tell them. But all I did was explain the issue and the need and the next day we had the funds needed to keep moving ahead.”


Koziara says, “The Coop is a real community bank in every way. Not only do they greet you by name when you walk in the door, they really take the time to get to know you and do everything they can to make sure your needs are met. And they make it all so easy. They’re more than a bank; they’re a partner in your success.”