NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- Never bet against a credit union.
What started out as an innocent bet was put to use in the best possible way. A few months ago, Mayor Michael Sullivan asked Sal Lupoli, owner of Sal's Restaurant and Conference Center where the Merrimack Valley Federal Credit Union's new headquarters will be located, if the branch building will be ready by the fall.
Lupoli looked confidently at the pile of dirt and said, "Not the fall! It'll be standing in 40 days."
In a friendly wager, Mayor Sullivan bet his hair if that were possible and Lupoli offered a free dinner. Fast-forward to the deadline and it was confirmed that the CU's four walls and roof were completed and the mayor would go bald.
MVFCU Vice President of Communications John MacDonald suggested turning the wager collection into a fundraising event dubbed the "Valentine's Day Hair Massacre" for several area nonprofits. Attendees would pay an admission fee of $25 for the privilege to witness Mayor Sullivan get his head shaved. There was also the opportunity of $1,000 sponsorship donations for corporations wishing to participate.
"I'd shave my head five times a year if it meant that I could raise money for local charities," said Mayor Sullivan, who admitted to liking his new look.
MVFCU President/CEO Peter Matthews served as host, encouraging the public to donate. Lupoli bid $1,000 to have the honor of taking the first cut of the mayor's hair and once the job of the electric razor was done, Mark Sullivan, the mayor's brother, offered an additional $1,000 to prevent him from being shaved completely.
A total of $7,925 was raised for the Merrimack Valley YMCA, Lawrence YWCA, the Boys and Girls Club, and CLASS, Inc.
The new corporate offices including a new 4,000 square-foot branch is expected to open in late spring 2007.
Merrimack Valley FCU was a finalist in Credit Union Times' Outstanding Political Action category for the awards program.