Amherst BID hires Gabrielle Gould as new executive director

A longtime Nantucket resident with extensive experience in starting businesses and fundraising is the new executive director of the Amherst Business Improvement District. Gabrielle Gould, who moved with her family to Amherst in January after 20 years on the island, will assume the leadership role on Monday. Gould replaces Sarah la Cour, who stepped down in May after six years at the helm as the BID’s second executive director. Gould said she is prepared to work with downtown businesses and get ready for the annual Celebrate Amherst block party, which will be held Sept. 19. “My specific goals over the next few weeks are to meet our local business owners, landlords, and community members and to listen to them,” Gould said.

With her husband Brandt, Gould operated two small businesses on Nantucket. In addition, she served as a vice president for business development at Nantucket Bank. Coincidentally, it was last year’s block party, which the Goulds attended, that attracted her and her family to the area. “The town’s diversity was a huge draw and we loved the beauty of the area,” Gould said, noting the proximity to ski areas, the Connecticut River for water-based activities and mountains for hiking. Being part of the Five College Area, Gould said she knows she is getting a good school system for her children, and her home is within walking distance of town center.

A two-month search led to the selection of Gould, whom Barry Roberts, the president of the BID’s board of directors, described as a person with enthusiasm and a can-do spirit. “It’s this energy that will help us build on our previous successes and sell our great downtown,” Roberts said. Formed in 2011, the Amherst BID is designed to supplement existing town services and add to the vibrancy of commercial areas. The BID is funded by an assessment on property owners within downtown, and financial and in-kind assistance also comes from the town, the University of Massachusetts and Amherst College. BID members are required to make biannual contributions in the form of assessments to their properties to support a yearly budget in excess of $250,000. In her brief time in Amherst, Gould has already been active on the events committee for the Jones Library’s Samuel Minot Jones Awards and is part of the Amherst Regional Middle School PGO.