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Crane Museum Opens Retail Store
On: 03:08PM / Monday November 25, 2013
The Crane Museum now has a retail shop to pick up note cards and other Crane products.

DALTON, Mass. — The Crane Museum of Papermaking opens a new retail store on Tuesday, Nov. 26. Housed in what was formerly Crane's stainless steel fabrication shop, the space has been transformed into 500 square feet of retail, which is accessed through the museum.

"We're very excited about this project," said Crane Museum Director Peter Hopkins. "Almost without fail, visitors to the museum want to purchase Crane stationery. We're pleased to bring them a generous assortment."

The store is stocked with dozens of Crane's engraved holiday cards, as well as initial notes and cards, thank-you notes and a mix-and-match bordered stationery and envelope table. The table itself was once used by a Crane borderer. It features many stocking-stuffer items and hard-to-find Crane stationery.

The opening also marks the return of Crane's Old Money list pads, made with recycled U.S. currency paper. Crane has supplied the United States with currency paper since 1879.

"We see this space as somewhere between a museum store and a factory outlet," said Hopkins. "Everything we have is available at significant discounts."

The store hours will coincide with those of the museum, which for the first time, will be open year-round. Regular hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 1 to 5 p.m. In anticipation of the holiday season, the museum and store will be open Friday, Nov. 29, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and every Wednesday before Christmas until 7 p.m.

The Crane Museum is housed in what was the rag room of Crane's Old Stone Mill, built in 1844. It is located off West Housatonic Street behind Crane's Main Office. For GPS purposes, use West Housatonic Street, and you will see signs.

Sleepy's Closes in North Adams
Staff Reports On: 03:26PM / Tuesday August 27, 2013

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — One of the  business questions downtown has been "how long can Sleepy's survive here?"

Turns out about six years.

The Sleepy's mattress store that's anchored the corner of the L-shaped mall since about 2007 has closed up. This all apparently happened on Tuesday morning.

A sign on the door informs patrons that there is a Sleepy's showroom at 555 Hubbard Ave., otherwise known as Berkshire Crossing, in Pittsfield.

There are also Sleepy's in Greenfield, the Springfield area and in Manchester, Vt.

A Brooks Pharmacy had previously occupied the corner space.

Ocean State Job Lot, Tractor Supply to Open in North Adams
By Tammy Daniels On: 12:08PM / Wednesday May 22, 2013
An Ocean State Job Lot is expected to move into the former Walmart store along with two other tenants.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Closeout retailer Ocean State Job Lot has signed a purchase and sales agreement for the old Walmart building on Curran Highway.

The chain expects to hire for 30 to 40 jobs and will sublet a section of the building to Tractor Supply Inc., with both operations opening in the fall, pending permitting.

The location will be the 46th in Massachusetts for the North Kingstown, R.I.-based chain, which has several stores in the Springfield area. It has 109 stores total with 4,000 employees in New England and New York, and annual sales of more than $540 million.

Tractor Supply, a farm and ranch retailer, operates more than 1,000 stores nationwide with the closest in Pittsfield's Allendale section and in Bennington, Vt.

Walmart constructed the 94,000-square-foot building at 830 Curran Highway 20 years ago at the site of the former Coury's Drive-In. It relocated two weeks ago to a new 160,000 square foot "super center" a mile or so south.

Ocean State will take up 40,000 square feet of the building for operations and storage; Tractor Supply will occupy 27,000. The plans will go before the Planning Board for permitting on June 10.

Ocean State's head of marketing, David Sarlitto, said the area was a good fit for the chain, which looks for right-priced, retail-based real estate that can be readily repurposed in good shopping locations. Walmart, too, has been aggressive in selling off vacant locations to other businesses.

"Massachusetts has done pretty well for us," he said, adding that Ocean State had been aware of the Walmart building's upcoming vacancy. "We've been talking to them for quite a while for their plans, and the price was right."

Ocean State's store size varies from about 19,000 square feet to mid-50,000s, said Sarlitto. The new North Adams location is about right in the middle. "I think this one is right in the sweet spot."

There are still some elements to be worked out with the city and the agreement but the number of inquiries the store was getting about a possible opening led to Tuesday's announcement.

There also is the likelihood of a third operation going into that location, since some 27,000 square feet would still be available, but Sarlitto said there was nothing he could specifically say at this point.

According to the retailer, Ocean State sells brand-name, first-quality merchandise at closeout prices, including household goods, apparel, pet supplies, seasonal products (gardening, pool supply, outdoor), and kitchen pantry staples. The chain buys overstocks and discontinued items.

Sarlitto said the store carries everything from $2,000 pellet stoves to 39 cent Pez dispensers, and if they could sell a 747, they'd carry that, too.

As one example, the chain recently bought all the excess cleaning equipment from the BP oil spill in the Gulf.  "We now own more hazmat suits than any store in North America," said Sarlitto.

The company plans two donations to area organizations to coincide with its North Adams store opening through its Charitable Foundation: a tractor-trailer load of food to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts with distributions to local food pantries, and the sponsorship of Honor Flight New England, which flies Massachusetts-based World War II veterans to visit the WWII Memorial dedicated to their service in Washington, D.C.

Mayor Richard Alcombright called the opening good news for the city.

"I think these are two national, regional retailers that are both strong within their markets," said Alcombright, who figured that once the building was fully occupied, it would mean 70 to 80 full and part-time jobs. "I think it's a good fit for the area, the price points are there for the people to shop.

 "They create another bit of an anchor and destination post with Walmart."

The addition of Ocean State and Tractor Supply, just down the road from the Walmart Super Center, adds to the idea of creating a "shopping destination" along the Curran Highway corridor that officials hope will continue to draw more anchor stores and spill over to the smaller unique stores and restaurants in the downtown. 

In a statement, the mayor had said, "We are a city that's committed to being business friendly and are focused on the positive economic development and goodwill initiatives that Ocean State Job Lot can bring to our community."

Sarlitto said the goal was to open by October, sooner if possible.

"We're hoping step it up as fast as we can," he said. "I think it will work out well."

Updated at 3:25 p.m. to add mayor's comments.

Caligari Opens Luxury Linens Store in Great Barrington
On: 05:26PM / Monday May 13, 2013

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — William Caligari has opened Linen, a luxury linens store, at 105 Main St.

The president of William Caligari Interiors and The Drapery Workroom said his newest venture offers the finest luxury linens for bed, bath and table to retail customers in the region.

"Linen is bringing a carefully selected line of leading international and European fabrics to the Berkshires," said Caligari. "We believe that the market for really beautiful home furnishings in the region was calling out for this."

Linen will be working closely with sister company The Drapery Workroom, a full-service fabrication studio, at 85 Main St. in providing customers with access to custom alteration, monogramming and design services for the home. Store hours for Linen are Wednesday through Saturday 10 to 5. More information is available by calling 413-429-8005 or on the website.

William Caligari Interiors is a full-service commercial and residential interior design firm specializing in residential interiors, spa and hospitality properties, and commercial interiors. It recently completed work on the Crane AP 2.0 project for the Technical Materials division of Crane in Dalton.

North Adams Walmart Hiring for New Supercenter
On: 11:55AM / Friday March 01, 2013

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Walmart is holding a job fair on Wednesday, March 6, to hire for the new Walmart Supercenter being constructed on Curran Highway.

The company is expected to hire some 85 associates. According to store manager Alexis Bartos, the openings will be for both full- and part-time associates.

Previous reports put the total number of workers needed for the new 160,000 square foot structure at about 300. The more than 170 employees at the current store, also on Curran Highway, were to move to the new location without having to reapply for their jobs.

"We are excited that relocating our store will bring additional jobs with great career opportunities to the area," said Bartos.

The new Supercenter is twice the size of the current Walmart and includes a grocery, deli, bakery, expanded electronics section, garden center, pharmacy and vision center.

The hiring event will take place Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the existing store located at 830 Curran Highway.

Walmart said it provides a benefits program to eligible full- and part-time associates, including a variety of health and well-being benefits. Walmart also offers eligible associates matching 401(k) contributions of up to 6 percent of pay, discounts on general merchandise, an Associate Stock Purchase Program and company-paid life insurance. Additionally, eligible associates receive a quarterly incentive based on store performance.

The majority of new associates will begin work in April to help prepare the store for its grand opening.

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