Two signs on the Greenberg's Home Center on Curran Highway on Tuesday informed customers it has closed.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — H. Greenberg & Son Inc. Home Center on Curran Highway closed abruptly Tuesday morning after nearly 40 years in business.
Employees were apparently informed in the morning that the lumberyard had closed. Contractors arriving for supplies found a sign on the store referring inquiries to the Bennington, Vt., store. A message on the store's phone also refers people to contact the Bennington store.
An employee who answered the phone at the original Greenberg's in Bennington said the reason for the closure was "the economy." No one was immediately available to speak further but iBerkshires has left a message and will update later with more information.
Update: iBerkshires was informed that a statement on the closure will be forthcoming in "a few days."
Update: Steve Greenberg released the following statement on Wednesday on behalf of the company:
It is with great regret that Greenberg's has made the difficult decision to close the North Adams store effective 1/7/2013 due to the current economic downturn.
North Adams, the surrounding communities, and our customers mean a great deal to us.
We are continuing to service all North Adams area customers and accounts (including our delivery services) from the Bennington location. For further information, questions or follow ups on existing orders, please contact us in Bennington at 802-442-3131 or visit Greenberg's main location in Bennington, Vt., located at 321 Main St., Bennington, VT 05201."
Mayor Richard Alcombright said he had been in contact with someone from Greenberg's earlier in the day. He said he was not made aware of the closing.
According to the mayor, the owner has offered some of the 20-or-so employees work at the Bennington store.
"It's a sad day in the city," he said at Tuesday's City Council meeting. "I also want to thank the Greenbergs for their commitment to the city for so many years."
Employees apparently had not been told ahead of time that the store would close and found out in the morning on arriving for work. One employee said paychecks and unemployment papers were distributed.
The Home Center has provided lumber, heating, flooring, windows, kitchens and bathrooms, paint, plumbing, electrical, tools, hardware, gardening needs and other supplies for area contractors and home owners since opening in 1976.
The store and lumberyard is situated at the corner of Hodges Cross Road and Curran Highway on property purchased in 1974 from the former Transcript Publishing Association Inc., which had considered the lot for a printing facility.
At the time of its planning, Edward Greenberg, one its executives, described the Home Center as something like a shopping center for home needs, including appliances, electronics and televisions. "You haven't seen anything like this," he told the North Adams Transcript.
The store opened in July 1976 with the cutting of a "golden" 2x4. Construction took longer than originally planned in part because a 6,000 square-foot warehouse was added to the proposed 12,000-square-foot store. Greenberg's had appeared to weather a number of downturns in the economy and the prevalance of even larger home center chains like Home Depot and Lowe's but rumors about financial troubles had circulated in the contracting community the last few years.
The first Greenberg's was opened by Norman Greenberg in 1949 on Main Street in Bennington. The original store has expanded in both size and variety of products over the years as it served Southern Vermont, North Berkshire and eastern New York. The North Adams location, too, underwent changes, including the expansion of the store and the addition of a 14,000 square-foot warehouse and expanded garden center in the early 1990s.
Updated with mayor's comments and information on employees' learning of the closure; updated again on Wednesday afternoon with Steve Greenberg's statement.