Store Manager Raanan Hartman cuts the cake as Mayor Richard Alcombright, left, and others look on.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Some of the changes at D'Amours Big Y have been obvious throughout the last couple months.
An aisle was knocked down at the entrance for an expanded produce section. Pizza and grinder stations and a soup bar have been set up at the back of the store. New cafe seating now exists on the east side.
The list of changes go on at the 47,000 square-foot store: new floors, motion-sensor energy-efficient lights on the now completely encased frozen food cases, new signage, new equipment, and new storage spaces for meat and dairy.
The renovations began at the beginning of September. Store Director Raanan Hartman said there's not much left to get done except some back-of-house tweaks and replacing the lobster tank.
"I know my employees did a great job getting this ready and we're all happy that it's coming to an end," said Hartman. "And the store came out really nice, it looks great, and I look forward to the future here in North Adams."
Big Y celebrated the change with many samples for its customers and an official cake-cutting ceremony with Mayor Richard Alcombright on Friday morning.
Alcombright said although the investment speaks about Big Y's financial dedication, to the city, he credited the convenience and service to the store's success.
"People wouldn't come here if they weren't well served," Alcombright said.
At the entrance a table was set up with coffee and doughnuts. Employee Becca Pike raced around the store hustling fresh, made-from-scratch pizza and sharp cheddar cheese. Near the bread section, a popcorn machine was set up. And of course, a celebratory cake rested on a table at the cafe.
The cafe offers two rows of tables with chairs and is convenient for eating a slice of pizza, a sub or enjoying some coffee and doughnuts. A bar is set up against the window looking outside with stools to come, Hartman said.
"It's nice, it's great for my customers. It's great for my employees," Hartman said. "It's a nice change."
North Adams wasn't the only North County store to get a makeover. Next door in Adams, the smaller 27,000 square-foot store had some changes of its own.
Adams Store Director David Smith said the store expanded in many departments. The bakery now offers single-serving desserts. The produce and meat departments and the hummus and cheese section has expanded. The deli now offers premade on-the-go and hot foods, including stuffed roast chicken.
In addition, to compensate for the store's tighter space, there are new smaller carriages for easier mobility.
Hartman said the renovations cost a total of $1.4 million for both stores. The North Adams store employs 110 people while Adams has 100 employees.