Eat To Total Health Opening On Ashland Street
Renee Tassone poses in front of the counter at her new store Eat To Total Health, located at 14 Ashland St., which is set to open Dec. 26.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Renee Tassone's business Eat To Total Health is moving from her home to 14 Ashland St. on Dec. 26.
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Riverbend Cafe Serves Up Healthy Fare
Riverbend Cafe, dares her customers to try something new and healthy.
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Lindsey Tuller's got a good thing going and she knows it.
For the last eight years, the 31-year-old owner of the Riverbend Cafe (formerly Uncommon Grounds) at 403 Stockbridge Road has been serving up organic coffee, vegan biscotti and specialty smoothies to customers looking for a healthier food experience. And for eight years, they keep coming back for more. The secret to her success, she said, is not being afraid to try something new.
"I get a lot of suggestions from customers and from my employees. I take their input seriously," she said.
The cafe offers up several specialty fair trade coffees.
"We really get everybody in here," Tuller said. "We definitely get more of a family crowd, but we also get the construction guys. At first they come in here and kind of make fun of each other for ordering, especially the soy meats. I guarantee them that they will like the breakfast sandwich with soy sausage, and they always do. It's about trying something new."
In addition to the breakfast sandwich, which is "affordable and fills you up," the menu also includes baked goods, all of which are made on the premises.
"We now do all of our own baking. All of our flours are organic, the bread is homemade, there is no butter in any of our cooking," she said. "We do try to cater a little bit more to the vegans as far as our bakery items go. I don't think any other cafe does what we do."
And does it well. Tuller said the Riverbend is solely reliant on its local clientele to keep the place hopping. Art, statuary and good food make Riverbend home to a diverse crowd of skiers, writers, builders and, most importantly, area residents.
Art, statuary and good food make Riverbend home to a diverse crowd of skiers, writers, builders and most importantly, locals.
The family atmosphere, according to Tuller, is a natural offshoot of the atmosphere surrounding the Riverbend staff itself.
"It's hard to stay inspired in this business. I rely on my employees to keep me inspired. I need them to tell me what I'm not seeing," she said. "We call each other family. We are a family."
Tuller's place at the head of the family table was hard-earned. At 23, she bought the business (that she managed for two years prior to the sale) and became an instant entrepreneur. While most people were supportive of her endeavor, Tuller said she would have done a few things differently.
"For the first four years, I wish I'd asked for more support. I learned that over the years," she said. "A lot of business owners, especially women, have come forward and given me things that they think I need and that's been great. This isn't the kind of business that will pay you while you're not here. I'm not a vacationer. I'm here, every day, right alongside my employees. I'm in it."
The Riverbend Cafe is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 413-528-0858.
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That's A Wrap A Quick Hit On Spring Street
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — John LeVardi worked the cash register before rushing out the door for a delivery. Jason Boucher handled a stream of orders while telling his employees that they were doing a good job.
It was a busy lunchtime rush on Wednesday in the newly-opened That's a Wrap location at 60 Spring St., but the store's co-owners, Boucher and LeVardi, had everything under control. The new store, which opened on Tuesday, April 27, isn't the first business endeavor for either man; Boucher owns a That's a Wrap corporate franchise with locations in Pittsfield and Dalton, and LeVardi runs Krispy Cones Soft Serve Ice Cream in Lanesborough.
That's a Wrap, which specializes in sandwiches and wraps, also offers salads, soups, smoothies, a breakfast menu and catering services. Customers can sit down, order to-go or request a delivery.
The eatery distinguishes itself from other sandwich shops with a mission to provide a healthy, fast-food alternative. Judging by its steady flow of customers Wednesday afternoon, the word has spread quickly.
"We have a real good product, so I think that sells itself," LeVardi said.
"We're working to service the people of Williamstown," he added. "It's a beautiful location. It's real nice around here."
Jason Boucher, left, and John LeVardi recently opened their third That's a Wrap chain in Berkshire County, popping up on Spring Street in Williamstown.
Fourteen-year-old Sarah Apkin is a student at Pine Cobble School, which had a half-day on Wednesday. She went straight from school, lacrosse stick and all, to That's a Wrap — her second visit in the eight days since its opening.
"I'm familiar with the [franchise] because my mom went to the one in Pittsfield, and she said it was really good," Apkin said. "So once I found out about this one, I wanted to try it."
As a member of Pine Cobble's lacrosse team, Apkin seeks a diet that matches her athletic lifestyle.
"I had the chicken pesto flatbread," she said. "I think [That's a Wrap] is healthier [than other sandwich shops]. It's more original and it's fresher."
Kate Stephens, a senior at Williams College, was making her first trip to the eatery after hearing positive reviews from her friends. Like Apkin, Stephens was drawn to That's a Wrap because of its focus on freshness. A resident of Spring Street, she was delighted to see a new business in her neighborhood.
"It's good to not have another empty storefront on Spring Street," she said.
Boucher, who also runs the catering service at the North Adams Country Club, has been pleasantly surprised with business thus far, saying that the numbers have doubled their original projections.
"We're new, so we expected to be busy," he said. "But not this busy."
Boucher and LeVardi have interest in expansion and will be looking to open new stores in the Northampton/Amherst and Albany/Saratoga, N.Y., areas.
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