Bisque, Beads & Beyond Looking At McClelland's Storefront
Bisque, Beads & Beyond owner Donna Rivers at the grand opening of her Pittsfield location. Rivers may host another ribbon-cutting ceremony as she now looks to open a second storefront on Main Street in North Adams.
McClelland's Office Supply closed up its Main Street location last week after 28 years.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The empty space of McClelland's Office Supply has barely had the chance to get cold before a prospective replacement was found.
Pittsfield-based arts and crafts store Bisque, Beads and Beyond will look at the Main Street location as a possible second storefront. The company already has a store on North Street in Pittsfield but according to owner Donna Rivers, more than 30 percent of her business comes from the north.
"I've been looking at North County for five years," Rivers said on Friday. "We wouldn't be moving. This location is working well for me so we'd be opening a second store."
Rivers said she was approached by city councilors about the 85 Main St. location after the office supply store decided to close. Rivers expects to look at the site next week with David Bond, who does commercial leasing for the building's owner, Scarafoni Associates. Bond is also a city councilor.
"I think this is the type of business we need downtown," Bond said on Monday. "My goal is by the end of the year to fill all the empty spots downtown."
The crafts store had come close to a downtown location before but the deals always fell through, she said. The business requires a lot of space to accommodate its materials and many workshops at a reasonable price and McClelland's may be just right. The space previously was Apothecary Hall, once renowned for its mocha sundaes.
"I've looked a couple times under the previous administration but I couldn't put it together," Rivers said. "It's definitely a possibility. If I don't do it now, I don't know when there will be another chance."
According to Bond, the McClelland's building is 3,000 square feet - right in the range Rivers is hoping for. If Rivers likes the location, the two will negotiate a rental price, Bond said.
"We're willing to work with anyone to make the numbers work," Bond said. "We'll have an honest discussion about what the business can afford for rent and we'll set up a rent structure that would work."
Rivers said city councilors have been helpful in ushering in the possible expansion and told her the business would fit well with the city's long-term plans.
"We'd be a really good mix up there," Rivers said.
Bond said the craft store fits because it is unique, is not a competitor with the "big box stores" and brings the creative element that the city is trying to embrace.
McClelland's announced it was closing in early January, after 28 years at several locations on Main Street, and was liquidating its merchandise.
Shortly after Bond met Rivers through common friends and found out she wanted a North County location.
On Wednesday, the McClelland's lettering over the windows was scraped off. The store sold greeting cards, gifts and limited stationery and office supplies. Its store on Spring Street in Williamstown closed last year after more than 80 years in business.
Rivers opened her North Street location last July. The store offers workshops in ceramics, beading and other crafts to all ages.
Edited with more information on Feb. 26, 2011, at 2:30 p.m.
Edited with quotes from David Bond on Feb. 28, 2011 at 3:49 p.m.
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Santa's Spending Time In Downtown North Adams
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – The elves may be busy in the North Pole but Santa Claus is spending his days on Main Street.
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Where's My Crosswalk?!
Who decided this plan?
Nevermind the trees. Now they're removing crosswalks!
We were a bit shocked to come back from vacation to find that the well-used crosswalk between Boxcar Media and Atef's Jeweler is being removed as part of the ongoing reconstruction of Main Street.
We're not sure why a crosswalk is being eliminated at the same time the city is trying to drive pedestrian traffic into the downtown. Was it something we said?
The walkway lies about midway between the intersection with Eagle and Ashland and the crosswalk in front TD Banknorth. We can attest to its usage - it's right outside our window.
Old habits die hard.
People park their cars to use the mailbox on the shady side of the street and then cross over to the bank. It's easier to use to get to Eagle Street or to the post office than crossing at the intersection, where you have to watch the lights at multiple stops and righthand-turning vehicles. There's no "safe" centerpoint either at the intersection.
We don't understand the thinking behind the crosswalk's elimination (Do we really have too many points to cross the street? Did people complain?) but we're pretty sure it will mean more pedestrians crossing at the lights and faster speeds by our window.
Meanwhile, we're watching people navigating the just-installed granite curbing — and wondering what it's doing there.
Update: We talked to the mayor after Tuesday's City Council meeting. He said one of the strings attached to the federal grants by the EPA requires that crosswalks be a certain distance apart to reduce the number of vehicles stopping and idling out emissions. Our crosswalk isn't far enough away from the other two to qualify — so out it goes.
Hey, we're against over-idling and for reducing emissions, but this isn't the big city. There's no bumper-to-bumber traffic. We don't think the occasional car that has to stop/slow for 5 seconds is going to make that big of a difference. Not that the federal government cares about our opinion.
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