The former site of Leo's Luncheonette on Cole Avenue in Williamstown is the new home of LaPlante Appliance.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- The former Leo's Luncheonette will have new life, but not as an eatery.
David LaPlante, the proprietor of LaPlante Appliance, last week sought and received the approval of the Zoning Board of Appeals to "daylight" his Cole Avenue operation.
LaPlante has been operating his repair shop in the basement of the same 248 Cole Ave. property that housed the long-time luncheonette.
When Leo's proprietor Donna LaBombard retired, it gave LaPlante an opportunity to raise his visibility, he said.
"Basically, we want to move into the light ... so my poor wife, Dawn, can get out of the basement," he told the ZBA.
While LaPlante himself spends much of the day on the road making house calls, his wife, who handles the scheduling for LaPlante Appliance, works in the office, he said.
"My wife takes care of answering the phones and stuff," LaPlante said. "My son and I are both out on the road.
"When we had that Thursday blizzard ... at about 2 o'clock, she calls me up and says, 'I just walked outside, and there's not a soul out anywhere.' I said, that's why we keep you away from the windows, so you don't realize how bad it is out there."
LaPlante said his upstairs location will make it more convenient for those customers who do drop off small appliances for repair, and he may offer a line of vacuum cleaners for sale at the store.
But in general, he said his appliance service center will have less of a need for parking than the site's previous incarnation.
"We're not that popular," LaPlante joked.
In other business on Thursday night, the ZBA planned a site visit to survey the renovation and expansion of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute campus.