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The Parlor Cafe Opens in North Adams

By John Durkan
iBerkshires Staff

Jason Morin and Elizabeth Osimo pose at the bar of their recently opened shop, The Parlor Cafe, located on 303 Ashland St.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Last year a popular coffee and tea shop, The Elf Parlor, closed its doors for good.

But on Wednesday, a new coffee and tea shop, The Parlor Cafe, opened in its place.

"It's a love story," owner Jason Morin said. "I can't name anybody that wasn't heartbroken when it was closed."
 
Morin opened the shop with Elizabeth Osimo after spending about two months renovating the Ashland Street building. Morin has business experience running his own website-building service, BerkSites, while Osimo previously worked as a barista and bakes the goods.
 
The Parlor Cafe uses Dean's Beans, which is roasted in Orange and uses certified fair trade, organic and kosher beans, for its coffee. A 10-ounce to-go cup or a house mug costs $1.67 and a 16-ounce to-go cup costs $2.04.
 
An array of Ann Arbor tea flavors are also available — $1.75 for a 10-ounce to-go cup or house mug, $2 for a 16-ounce cup or $2.50 $3.20 for "Tea for Two," served in a 24-ounce teapot.
 
For food, a variety of baked goods, fudge, Sunshine Bagels, salads and sandwiches are available. Specialty sandwiches range in price from about $3.50 to $7.75.
 
Morin said he hopes to have a liquor license in the spring, once all the needed paperwork and application process is completed.
 
The Parlor Cafe will offer late-night entertainment. Friday will be open mic night and Morin plans to host more structured shows on Saturday. Morin is also open to having smaller, local private functions at the shop on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
 
Morin and Osimo are welcoming more ideas; at the bar, a chalkboard is displayed with the message "Tell us what you'd like so we can be your cafe!" 
 
The Parlor Cafe, located on 303 Ashland St., is open Tuesday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. For more info, check out The Parlor Café Facebook page or website. The drink and food menus can be found here and here, respectively.
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MountainOne Uniting Three Banks Under One Charter

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — MountainOne Financial Partners announced that it plans to unite its banking operations under a single charter in 2013. Following the merge of Hoosac Bank and Williamstown Savings Bank operations earlier this year, the company is moving forward in bringing its South Coastal Bank unit into a common MountainOne Bank charter for all three banks. 

The banks will retain their current identities and independent community focus while operating as "A Division of MountainOne Bank."  The integration is subject to regulatory approval and is targeted for completion in the third quarter of 2013. 
 
"We will preserve the heritage of three fine institutions," said Thomas S. Leavitt, president and CEO of MountainOne.  "We are fulfilling a commitment to a common platform that will drive efficiency and allow us to focus our programs on outstanding customer care. South Coastal Bank CEO Robert Fraser and I have worked with our teams to assure that we will honor the history of deep community connections in the Berkshires and on the South Shore of Massachusetts. MountainOne's ten years of development has led us to this opportunity to achieve integration of products, services, and systems."  
 
Leavitt said that he will serve as CEO of the unified bank and that Fraser will become chief operating officer.
 
"Our South Coastal board, management team, and staff are all excited to be part of a larger banking presence in the Commonwealth," Fraser said. "We will come together with new customer initiatives supporting a strong identity and local decision making in each of our communities. 
 
"As I have visited North Adams, Williamstown, and Pittsfield over the past year, I have been pleased with the strength of the MountainOne name and the strong ties that Hoosac Bank and Williamstown Savings Bank have forged for well more than a century. I look forward to working with Tom and our banking teams in eastern and western Massachusetts to advance all of MountainOne."
 
"We are decidedly leaning into the 21st Century with our MountainOne Financial Center in Pittsfield," Leavitt said. "This new facility in an important market brings the best of our banking, insurance, and investment advisory services together in a compelling way. Our communities can expect to see this model advanced as we bring our three banking brands into alignment and innovate with both our physical and digital delivery channels."
 
The action to consolidate Hoosac Bank, Williamstown Savings Bank (a division of Hoosac Bank) and South Coastal Bank under one bank charter has been approved by the board of directors of each of the banks and by MountainOne Financial Partners. Formal applications will be filed with the Massachusetts Division of Banks and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
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New North Adams Chamber Elects Officers

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The newly formed North Adams Chamber of Commerce has elected Glenn Maloney of North Adams as president for 2013. Also elected as officers were Vice President Keith Bona, Treasurer David Atwell and Secretary Veronica Bosley.

"On behalf of the North Adams Chamber of Commerce I would like to thank outgoing president Brian Miksic for his vision and energy," said Maloney in a statement. "Over the last three years Brian has worked tirelessly with many members of the North Adams business community to grow the vision that was Develop North Adams. Brian's leadership was invaluable as we worked to transform DNA into the North Adams Chamber of Commerce. We all look forward to being the voice of and central hub for the city’s business community."

Maloney is service manager for McAndrews-King Pontiac Buick GMC Trucks in Adams; Bona is owner of Berkshire Emporium and Antiques on Main Street in North Adams and Bona Marketing; Atwell is owner of Desperados Fresh Mexican Grille in North Adams and Williamstown; and Bosley is director of tourism and community events for the city of North Adams.

"We have an energetic group of volunteers leading and serving on our board of directors," said Maloney. "This next year will be an important one as we encourage local businesses to join us to promote the city, build our downtown and other retail centers, and enjoy the revitalization that is the goal of so many."

Maloney noted that even as the chamber membership drive builds, the organization has collaborated with the city’s Office of Tourism to organize and promote Hometown Holidays. He added that other businesses have joined forces in a cooperative advertising and marketing campaign.

In addition to the elected officers, the chamber's board of directors includes Miksic, Michael Bedford, Blair Benjamin, Tom Bernard, David Carver, John DeRosa, Ryley Gaudreau, Steve Green, Paul Hopkins, Eric Rudd, Jana St. Jermain, Bill St. Pierre, Jonathan Secor and Gail Sellers.

The North Adams Chamber of Commerce welcomes new members. Information is available at www.northadamschamber.com or by email at info@northadamschamber.com.

 

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Real Estate Partnership Buys Travel Store Building

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The well-known Travel Store location at 616-620 Main St. was sold to K&J Holdings LLC, a real estate investment and property management partnership, on Dec. 3 for $350,000.

The seller was Claudine R. Auge, owner of the Travel Store. It was built in 1969 and is just over 2,000 square feet with rear parking.

"We're excited about the property," said Allen Jezouit of K&J in a press release. "It is a great location within easy walking distance to the Williams College campus and Spring Street."

The Travel Store will continue operations on the first floor and Berkshire Direct, a local marketing agency, will be relocating from its 173 Water St. location to Main Street in early January.

"We own the Water Street property where Berkshire Direct is located, so their move to Main Street is opening up a nice suite of offices there," said Jezouit, owner of the business. "That's my next priority – getting those offices rented out. Then, we look at more properties to purchase. It is a great time to buy real estate."

The Main Street building features two offices on the first floor and three residential apartments on the second floor. Jezouit said one of the apartments is currently available for rent by contacting K&J Holdings.
 
Maureen Baran and the team at Adams Community Bank provided financing. The buyers were represented by Alan Marden of Alton & Westall Agency and Stan Parese of Parese, Sabin, Smith and Gold LLP. The listing broker was Paul Harsch of Harsch Associates and Robert Ware was attorney for the seller.

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Amazon to Collect Massachusetts Sales Tax Next Year

BOSTON — Massachusetts residents will have to pay a little more next holiday season for their online purchases.

Gov. Deval Patrick and Amazon announced on Tuesday an agreement for the online retail giant to collect and remit state sales taxes beginning next Nov. 1. According to the press statement, Amazon also plans to create hundreds of high-tech jobs in Massachusetts in coming years.

Online retailers for years have been under pressure to collect state sales taxes even if they don't have a physical presence in the state. Brick-and-mortar merchants say Web retailers failure to collect taxes puts them at a disadvantage, states that they're losing billions in revenue.

The Congressional Research Service says states lost some $8.6 billion in tax revenue in 2010 alone.

Amazon already collects sales taxes for California, Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington. Massachusetts and five other states will be added in the next couple years.

"We are thankful Amazon was willing to come to the table and we will continue our conversations with them about creating jobs here," said Patrick in a statement. "This agreement is a win for all sides, and I am pleased it promises to generate millions in long-term revenue for the commonwealth."

Patrick and Amazon officials reiterated support for federal legislation to resolve the sales tax issue. The Supreme Court in 1967 determined that collecting sales tax would place an undue burden on what were then catalog sales but technology has vastly changed the remote retail industry.

"We appreciate Governor Patrick's commitment to Massachusetts jobs and investment and his support for legislation now before Congress that would provide a final resolution to the sales tax issue," said Paul Misener, Amazon vice president of global public policy. "We look forward to creating hundreds of high tech jobs in Massachusetts and continuing to work with Governor Patrick, state leaders, retailers and Congress to pass federal legislation permitting interstate sales tax collection."
 

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