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Among the stores you can find in downtown Pittsfield, MA, is an improbable Scuba Diving Center. Since its founding 35 years ago by Laurie Rock’s parents, AST Scuba has offered scuba education, introducing non-divers and avid Scuba divers alike to the underwater world. 

Laurie took over her parents’ business in 2014 and continued at the helm when COVID-19 hit in 2020. As an entrepreneur whose business thrives when people are planning trips, Laurie faced a stark decision: innovate or close the center. 

She heard about the EforAll Berkshire County Accelerator Program on social media and thought it would help her during this “reset” process. Even though the program was conducted entirely online, Laurie’s cohort and her mentors were able to really connect. “We exchanged messages, emailed,  called, and supported each other all the time. It was like a family to me! The networking was unbelievable!”

During the Accelerator Program, she realized that one of the secondary services she provided should become her primary service offering. Aquatic Roots, an underwater gardening business, was born. 

Next summer, she’s partnering with a local college to offer STEM students internships and is getting her social media presence and new brand ready to be launched in early spring 2021.

Facebook/Instagram: @ast.scuba

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