Funding Secured For Pittsfield BJ's Wholesale
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than a year after announcing the construction of a BJ's Wholesale Club on Hubbard Avenue, the Braintree developer secured a $9.2 million construction loan for the project this weekend.
Reported on Monday by Waltham-based Bostonsf.com, Cape Breton Corporation and Saxon Partners worked with real estate intermediary Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P. to get the loan through Sovereign Santander Bank.
The developers plan to build a 85,188-square-foot freestanding building and fueling station behind Berkshire Crossings.
The project was announced in October of 2009 when Robert MacPherson, president of Cape Breton, said the group will begin the formal permitting process aiming to break ground in 2010. It will be the county's first BJ's club and City Hall said it would create about 120 new jobs. The closest BJ's clubs to Berkshire County are in Greenfield, Springfield and Albany, N.Y.
BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. is a leading operator of membership warehouse clubs in the East. The company, now in its 25th year, currently employees more than 20,000 team members and operates 180 clubs in 15 states from Maine to Florida.
Formed in 1998, Saxon Partners is a retail and residential developer focused on the New England region and Cape Breton Corporation is a real estate development company specializing in the site acquisition and local permitting of retail buildings and shopping centers.
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New Simmons Store Creates Allendale Alliance
Ward 1 Councilor Christine Yon cuts the red ribbon at the grand opening of Simmons Lifestyle Furniture with help from Mayor James Ruberto.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Shop owners at the Allendale Shopping center have welcomed Simmons Lifestyle Furniture into its fold. The store opening is not only the furniture company's third location, it marks the beginning of an alliance between related shops to offer consumers a broader palette for acessorizing their homes.
"This has always been the dream for us," store manager Donna Riley said. "It was a collective draw. We'd always sit around the dinner table and say 'this is what we should do.' Now we're doing it."
The 130-year-old Simmons also operates stores in Adams and in the Pittsfield Plaza on Route 20.
In addition to their own collective skills as designers and decorators, Riley and her mother, Phyllis Riley, have also signed on with the other stores in the shopping center to form the Interiors Resources Alliance, which includes Stevens World of Flooring (which recently added a discount flooring warehouse and includes Organize It home and closet organizational systems), Berkshire Fabric and Wallpaper and Litco Supply Co., which will be highlighting its Luxury Bath Center Showroom.
High-end bedroom sets are paired with modern recliners and accent pieces at the new Simmons.
Simmons celebrated its grand opening in Allendale on Thursday evening with supporters, other business owners and Mayor James Ruberto. Riley said moving into the large anchor space, formerly occupied by Stevens World of Carpets, has been an "unbelievable" experience thanks to her new neighbors.
"It's been a little bit of a long transition but everyone's been very welcoming," she said. "The doors have been open for about a week now and the purchasing is the same as in some of the other stores that we run. We've been having fun here, though, because we can really push the limits on style. We can go from really contemporary to really traditional. It's all here to visualize."
Indeed, the 25,000-square-foot space is filled with different styles and price points from $200 armchairs to $8,000 custom dining room tables. The store also offers bedroom, living room and dining sets, accent furniture, recliners and mattresses to name a few. The pieces are showcased in various themed settings, including a "Jetsons" living room complete with a bobble-head dog statue and futuristic glass folding tables.
High-end bedroom sets are paired with modern recliners and accents pieces in Simmons' Allendale store.
"Between all of us you can do anything," Riley said. "For shared customers, we're doing certain discounts. It's a new way for us to do business."
David Gopfert, owner of Berkshire Fabric and Wallpaper next door, said he was thrilled to have Simmons on board.
"This is a great addition to the center," he said. "It's going to drive a lot of people in this direction. It's one-stop shopping. There's everything for the budget-minded client as well as the high-end client."
Jan Barranger of Litco Supply was also at the opening to welcome her new neighbors.
"I'm thrilled to death that I have all of the resources my customers need here at Allendale," she said. "How nice to be able to say to a customer 'just walk up the stairs and take a left.'"
The Interiors Resources Alliance, said Ruberto, is a reassuring step in the right direction for the city's economic growth.
"Thank you for investing in the city of Pittsfield. This idea is terrific," he said. "This is really remarkable because small businesses are the backbone of Pittsfield and they are creating more jobs here. This is a mini design center, and we're very pleased that you've invested here."
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Simmons Expanding Into Customized Lines
Simmons Furniture is adding another Pittsfield location to the one it has in Adams, above, and in the Pittsfield Plaza.
ADAMS, Mass. — The 130-year-old Simmons Furniture is thinking 21st century with addition of a third venue that will offer customized options for the more discriminating consumer.
The company will open a 25,000 square-foot store in the Allendale Shopping Center in Pittsfield this fall that will offer some of its classic brand lines along with new additions focused on health and sustainable living.
"We have some great lines of custom furniture that we don't currently carry," general manager Donna Riley told us on Tuesday. "I think it really is something unique for the county."
Riley said the decision to open the new location was based on trends the company is seeing in consumers. They're more concerned with healthy living, selecting furniture and materials suited for their lifestyles and looking to spend money that may once have been used on getaways into "remaking their homes in a way that's about really living in them."
"We're noticing more and more people are coming in and want to do something more custom. They're thinking about how it affects their health," she said. That puts the focus on so-called green and organic materials and American-made and imported lines that offer greater customization and more versatile applications. It will also include accessories by local artists. And sometimes old is new, she said, such as the use of glider rockers to aid people suffering from diabetes and otehr leg circulatory problems.
"We're kind of going back to the way we did business in the old days, in the '70s," she said, recalling how her mother Phyllis Riley bought the Adams store in 1973 and began putting her own flourishes on the merchandise.
The new shop joins the 15,000 square-foot showroom in Adams and the 20,000 square-foot store in the Pittsfield Plaza, which will become more of an outlet. The three stores will provide a wide range of price points to ensure furniture offerings for every size pocketbook, said Riley. "I think there's room in the marketplace for all the furniture stores. "
In a statement, Phyllis Riley said, "This new location, named 'Simmons Lifestyle Furniture,' will hearken back to the roots of the original intent of the company: stylish, customizable, unique furniture at affordable prices."
The new store is expected to open in October; Riley wouldn't say which storefront in the center it's moving into because the current occupant has not yet announced it's relocating.
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Tax Holiday Returns!
Sen. Benjamin B. Downing sent us reminder in his latest e-letter today: The state's reinstituted a sales tax holiday for Aug. 14-15. The governor signed the legislation on Thursday giving Bay State consumers a break on most items costing less than $2,500.
The holiday, first enacted in 2005 and observed in some form by more than a dozen states, was canceled last year in light of the state's fiscal distress. Each tax holiday weekend costs the state about $15 million in revenue, and would have been more last year with the sales tax jumping from 5 percent to 6.25 percent.
The holiday is part of an economic development measure designed to help small business; getting consumers shopping will help stimulate the state's economy, say supporters.
Here's what Sen. Downing sent us. (To get the senator's Press Pass, sign up on his website.)
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Local Designer Offers Berkshire-Inspired Fabrics
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Walks along the Hoosic River inspired Martha Flood's line of designer fabrics displayed in her new studio space on Eagle Street.
The fabrics also mark the freelance surface-pattern designer's first step in producing and marketing her own patterns.
"It's so fun to take a concept and produce it as a reality," said Flood recently in her new studio. "I spend a lot of time engineering the pattern so it looks like it just fell out of the camera."
A sign announcing the store sat the window of the former Skiddoo retro shop since she'd received Planning Board approval last September, but elements had conspired to prevent its renovation and opening until late last month. https://www.iberkshires.com/story/32378/North-Adams-Planners-Approve-Ballet-Textile-Spaces.html
Flood, a Syracuse (N.Y.) University graduate, has been working in textile and wallpaper design for 30 years. She was working on a camouflage design a couple years ago when she got involved in the North Adams Artists Cooperative and expanded upon the concept. The results were shown at the co-op's gallery during Downstreet Art.
That became the jumping off point for The Woodlands Collection, a set of six designs echoing the Berkshires forests and riverbanks of bark, leaves, stones, water and brilliant Queen Anne's lace.
The very green-inspired cloth is also green in intent. The heavy canvas weave is produced by a company in North Carolina out of recycled plastics. The digital printing non only reduces waste, it signficantly cuts the time from concept to production. "It opens up a range of possibilities for what designers can produce," said Flood.
The fabric, which runs $64 a yard, is heavy enough for upholstery and light enough for use in products such as totes, pillows and shades. Right now, Flood has four designs - Black Cherry Bark, Hoosic River, Autumn Leaves, Lichen Wood, Savoy Birch and Queen Anne's Lace. She's considering with playing with color for several of them, such as a bluer "Hoosic River."
She's shopping the designs commercially but the fabrics are available off-the-rack at her studio.
Flood's decision to move her studio from the Eclipse Mill to the more visible Eagle Street location comes in part from her participation in the local Assets for Artists program, a collaborative effort of several cultural, educational and business entities that helps artists develop business plans and access grants.
"I felt really empowered to have a place and to know what to do," she said.
Store hours are Wednesday to Sunday from noon to 6 and at other times by appointment or chance. For more information: Martha Flood Design.
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