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Crane Museum Opens Retail Store

The Crane Museum now has a retail shop to pick up note cards and other Crane products.

DALTON, Mass. — The Crane Museum of Papermaking opens a new retail store on Tuesday, Nov. 26. Housed in what was formerly Crane's stainless steel fabrication shop, the space has been transformed into 500 square feet of retail, which is accessed through the museum.

"We're very excited about this project," said Crane Museum Director Peter Hopkins. "Almost without fail, visitors to the museum want to purchase Crane stationery. We're pleased to bring them a generous assortment."

The store is stocked with dozens of Crane's engraved holiday cards, as well as initial notes and cards, thank-you notes and a mix-and-match bordered stationery and envelope table. The table itself was once used by a Crane borderer. It features many stocking-stuffer items and hard-to-find Crane stationery.

The opening also marks the return of Crane's Old Money list pads, made with recycled U.S. currency paper. Crane has supplied the United States with currency paper since 1879.

"We see this space as somewhere between a museum store and a factory outlet," said Hopkins. "Everything we have is available at significant discounts."

The store hours will coincide with those of the museum, which for the first time, will be open year-round. Regular hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 1 to 5 p.m. In anticipation of the holiday season, the museum and store will be open Friday, Nov. 29, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and every Wednesday before Christmas until 7 p.m.

The Crane Museum is housed in what was the rag room of Crane's Old Stone Mill, built in 1844. It is located off West Housatonic Street behind Crane's Main Office. For GPS purposes, use West Housatonic Street, and you will see signs.

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License Commission Approves River Street Package Move

By John Durkan
iBerkshires Staff
Chairman Jeffrey Polluci, left, and Commissioner Jeff Kemp review the floor plans of the future River Street Package location.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Joseph Lora got the go-ahead from the License Commission to move his store, River Street Package, to the former Lopardos Package Store location.
 
The commission granted the move quickly on Tuesday evening and credited Lora with holding his license without issues.
 
"You've got your nose clean over there, I expect the same here," said Chairman Jeffrey Polluci.
 
Real estate agent Michael Hernandez said not much will change in the store's operation. 
 
"There's not much in the change of the business, all the hours, licenses and everything are going to stay the same," he said, adding that the 1,200 square-foot space is very similar to the amount allotted at the current location after rental spaces are considered.
 
The current, and future, hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday.
 
Hernandez said storage will be adequate. The new location at River and Eagle streets will feature two walk-in coolers and additional storage space in the basement.
 
Earlier this month, Hernandez said the store will remain open at 177 River St. until around Dec. 16 and the new store will open in early January at a previous Planning Board meeting. 
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North Adams Big Y Celebrates Renovations

By John Durkan
iBerkshires Staff
Store Manager Raanan Hartman cuts the cake as Mayor Richard Alcombright, left, and others look on.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Some of the changes at D'Amours Big Y have been obvious throughout the last couple months.

An aisle was knocked down at the entrance for an expanded produce section. Pizza and grinder stations and a soup bar have been set up at the back of the store. New cafe seating now exists on the east side.

The list of changes go on at the 47,000 square-foot store: new floors, motion-sensor energy-efficient lights on the now completely encased frozen food cases, new signage, new equipment, and new storage spaces for meat and dairy.
 
The renovations began at the beginning of September. Store Director Raanan Hartman said there's not much left to get done except some back-of-house tweaks and replacing the lobster tank.
 
"I know my employees did a great job getting this ready and we're all happy that it's coming to an end," said Hartman. "And the store came out really nice, it looks great, and I look forward to the future here in North Adams."
 
Big Y celebrated the change with many samples for its customers and an official cake-cutting ceremony with Mayor Richard Alcombright on Friday morning.
 
Alcombright said although the investment speaks about Big Y's financial dedication, to the city, he credited the convenience and service to the store's success.
 
"People wouldn't come here if they weren't well served," Alcombright said.
 
At the entrance a table was set up with coffee and doughnuts. Employee Becca Pike raced around the store hustling fresh, made-from-scratch pizza and sharp cheddar cheese. Near the bread section, a popcorn machine was set up. And of course, a celebratory cake rested on a table at the cafe.
 
The cafe offers two rows of tables with chairs and is convenient for eating a slice of pizza, a sub or enjoying some coffee and doughnuts. A bar is set up against the window looking outside with stools to come, Hartman said.
 
"It's nice, it's great for my customers. It's great for my employees," Hartman said. "It's a nice change."
 
North Adams wasn't the only North County store to get a makeover. Next door in Adams, the smaller 27,000 square-foot store had some changes of its own.
 
Adams Store Director David Smith said the store expanded in many departments. The bakery now offers single-serving desserts. The produce and meat departments and the hummus and cheese section has expanded. The deli now offers premade on-the-go and hot foods, including stuffed roast chicken.
 
In addition, to compensate for the store's tighter space, there are new smaller carriages for easier mobility.
 
Hartman said the renovations cost a total of $1.4 million for both stores. The North Adams store employs 110 people while Adams has 100 employees.
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