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North Adams City Hall Seeking Part-Time Planner

Staff Reports
iBerkshires

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city is looking for a part-time planner to help with the completion of the master plan and in implementing it.

Mayor Richard Alcombright had stated his intention last month to fill the post as soon as possible. He said a planner will be essential to bringing the city's zoning and ordinances into alignment with the master plan and in researching and writing grants.

The city hasn't had a master plan in some 40 years. The mayor has said he wants to put economic and community development in the forefront, and putting more support into the community development office will be necessary to achieve the master plan's goals.

The city hopes to use the comprehensive plan to access state and federal grant funding for projects. The position itself will be funded in part by Community Block Grant Funding. The salary is negotiable, according to the posting.

The job is listed as being 20 hours at first, with the likelihood of growing into a permanent full-time position with the next year. The individual will work with Community Development Director Michael Nuvallie.

According to job posting on BerkshireJobs.com, the planner will be expected to coordinate with the city's Planning and Zoning boards and take on addditional responsibility of projects including "neighborhood revitalization strategies, economic development planning, and bike path planning."

The candidate needs a master's degree in planning or five years in a relevant profession, and preferrably experience with a wide range projects, from enerty efficiency to trail planning to GIS mapping. Deadline to apply is April 5.

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North Adams Verizon Store Under New Ownership

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

The Main Street business in now under new management.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Wireless Zone, an authorized Verizon Wireless store on Main Stree,t has new owners, who are looking to expand inventory and remodel the showroom.

On Friday, owners Nate Bastarache and Keith Parzych moved into their new store after buying the business. The North Adams location is the fifth Bastarache will own and second in the Berkshires.

Over the next two weeks, the store will still be open but the owners will be completely overhauling the interior. The store will be a fully staffed, with five to six employees, open seven days a week and carry all Verizon products, including Apple products.

"We are remodeling with all brand-new fixtures and equipment. We're going to stock everything Verizon has to offer," Bastarache said.

They were even open Friday despite their inventory arriving late in the afternoon. The store may install a new exterior sign after receiving approval from the city.

Bastarache also opened the Verizon Wireless store in Great Barrington and when the opportunity to buy the North Adams store presented itself four months ago, he jumped on it.

"I love it [in the Berkshires]. I wanted a store on the other side of the county," he said. "There was the need and opportunity in North Adams."

Bastarache worked with Parzych for 12 years in the auto industry. After being frustrated with the customer service, he was receiving with wireless stores, he opened his first Verizon Wireless store in Easthampton. Shortly after, he opened another store in Northampton, followed by Chicopee and last year in Great Barrington. He reunited with Parzych to partner in purchasing the North Adams location.

He said the key to making the business thrive is good customer service and having the items in stock. All of the showroom products will be "live" for customers to "basically test drive the device" and at least two staffers will be on at all times, he said, including either himself of Parzych.

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North Adams Walmart Hiring for New Supercenter

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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Denim Depot's Grand Opening Set for Feb. 2

By John Durkan
iBerkshires Staff

Tom Quinton shows his products at Denim Depot, which will open on Saturday.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Tom Quinton's soon-to-be-open Denim Depot sets to offer an "affordable alternative" to high-price denim.

"It's a type of thing most people can appreciate," Quinton, a North Adams native, said of his roughly 600 square-foot store located at the Oasis Plaza on the corner of Ashland Street and American Legion Drive.
 
The shop's grand opening is set for Saturday, Feb. 2, with store hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The initial regular hours will be from Tuesday to Saturday, 10 to 5, but Quinton said he'll be considering offering later hours on certain days, like Thursday.
 
"I'm going to get a feel for what the customers want," Quinton said.
 
Quinton's store offers new and gently worn denim products, which includes men's, women's and children shorts, pants and jackets, as well as handbags and toddler clothes. Quinton hopes to offer more denim products as time goes on.
 
The products range from $8-$15. Quinton explained the prices are cheaper than other retail outlets because most of his stock comes from store closeouts and factory seconds — clothes that have defects, usually minor, such as slightly improper stitching.
 
On opening day, Denim Depot will have a buy two, get one half-priced sale (of up to equal-value) for jeans. Quinton said he's flexible with making deals on quantity.
 
"I'll do my best to make everyone happy," Quinton said.
 
In addition, Quinton said the shop will buy denim items, as a chance for the shop to pick up on inventory and for others to make an extra couple bucks for their unwanted clothing.
 
Quinton hopes the location of his low-price denim shop attracts customers who frequent the nearby shops — Angelina's Sub Shop and Whitney's Beverage Store for example — as well as college students looking for a cheap pair of jeans.
 
Quinton said he doesn't expect the store to be "a big money maker," but aims for it to be sustainable.
 
"Jeans just seem to be a staple in everybody's wardrobe," Quinton said.
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Berkshire Home Expo Seeking Exhibitors for 2013

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce will present the 2013 Berkshire Home Expo on the weekend of March 8-10 at the Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough.

Thousands come from all corners of Western Massachusetts to attend this annual event, which is open and free to the public during mall hours.

More than 20 exhibitors have already secured booth space, include those offering landscaping services; home renovations and expansions; appliances; financial services; and even "green" and solar options for your home. Booth space is extremely limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.  

Director of Programs and Events for the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce Christine Hoyt is confident exhibit space will sell out and encourages all interested parties to contact her directly at 413-499-4000, Ext. 126.

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