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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Holidays 2006: Keep A Good Thing Going

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Friday, October 20, 2006

It's happening. The plastic Santas, the shimmery ropes of garland, the clear- or colored-bulb strings of holiday lights, all finding their way to a store shelf near you. Weeks before November's traditional "Black Friday" seasonal shopping launch, retailers are reminding us that the days of reindeer on rooftops are nearly upon us.

Those who are in the business of predicting such things have said during recent days that consumer spending is expected to top 2005 holiday spending levels. It may be a very good year for merchants, so say pundits.

Downtowns First

Let's make it a very good year for local merchants.

Let's make our downtowns "holiday central" when we are selecting our gift-giving treasures and trinkets.

Downtown North Adams is no longer a vacant, gaping maw in the city center. The Peebles and Staples store openings have added two new venues to the downtown shopping-scape, and if you haven't already heard, YOU CAN BUY QUALITY MENSWEAR AT PEEBLES!

But shopping isn't limited to the two newest retailers; a stroll along Eagle Street will lead shoppers to Persnickety, a nifty site for toys, games, and other interesting childrens' amusements, or to skiddoo, which hosts an eclectic mix of vintage items, to Molly's for baked goods to take home or to EGL, the former Gideon's Luncheon and Nightery, for a bit of sustenance.

The ever-popular Jack's Hot Dog is on Eagle Street, and the holidays seem a great time to introduce youngsters to the fast and furious grilling pace of owner and cook Jeff Levanos and the one-of-kind taste of the eatery's hot dogs and burgers.

If pizza is the family favorite, Village Pizza is at one end of Eagle Street while Moulton's Pizzeria is at the opposite end. Just a bit farther along, along American Legion Drive, is Papa Gino's. The Steeples restaurant offers a wonderful dining experience, as does the Freight Yard Pub, and don't forget Red Sauce Ristorante, or the Cup and Saucer, the Sugar Llama Cafe, brew-ha-ha or Gramercy Bistro...you get the idea.

If you are shopping the city's downtown, there is no excuse for hunger!

The Crafty Creations store and Moultons General Store are two of the Main Street shopping options. Galadriel's boutique has established a very loyal patron circle. Find out why...visit the store, meet owner Joanne Burdick, and peruse the assortment of clothing and accessories. I am a fan of the sparkly hair baubles.

On Ashland Street, the DiLego Jewelry store offers engagement rings, mothers' rings, wedding bands, birthstone items, bracelets, chains, pendants, watches, cigarette lighters, family tree plaques, and more. There are clocks and photograph frames, items crafted from pewter, and money clips. The store features an "add-a-pearl" opportunity, which allows a genuine pearl necklace to be created over time. Gold, silver, platinum; it's all there at DiLego's.

Atef Fine Jewelry is on Main Street and owner Atef Bolos is most often behind the counter to greet customers. The store hosts glass display cases filled with rings, necklaces, bracelets, and other adornments. Precious metals and precious stones are part of the store's offerings.

Make A Day Of It

Shoppers, don't be shy...travel to the Park Street/Summer Street area of Adams and investigate shops such as Mysterious Wonders and restaurants such as the Red Carpet, the Daily Grind, and the Firehouse Cafe. Head on over to Williamstown and see what the Spring Street "Where'd You Get That?" store has to offer. See what's available at the Colonial Shopping Center's Village Kountry Krafts shop. Investigate the selection at "The Cottage" on Water Street; make a day of it and visit several downtowns.

Southern Berkshire residents are encouraged to visit the locally-owned shops along the streets of Great Barrington, Lee, Lenox, and other communities. Dalton and Pittsfield folks would serve themselves and their neighbors well by taking a peek inside the independent shops in those communities.

Almost every Berkshire region community does have something to offer within downtown shopping arenas. And local economies are cultivated by local folks.

Spread The Word

Shop the Berkshire region downtowns this holiday season. Share your experiences with me at suebush@iberkshires.com . Tell me where you found a great gift, praise a particularly helpful store employee, or offer some constructive criticism. Whether from the Northern, Central, or Southern Berkshires, I'd like to know where the best shopping is found.

So many of the region's elected officials and civic leaders have worked hard to revive downtowns. Shop owners have introduced new businesses or maintained existing venues despite financial challenges.

There are success stories of one sort or another in nearly all the Berkshire downtowns.

Let's keep a good thing going.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.
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