New Realty Group Opens in Williamstown

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN — Five local women have banded together to establish Williamstown Realty Group, serving all of Berkshire County, eastern New York and Southern Vermont.

Longtime Realtor Lynne Blake said she and Kim Burnham, Judy Giamborino, Carlyne Mills and Rebecca Gold decided the time was right to strike out on their own.

"We'd all talked about doing this at one time or another," said Blake on Wednesday as she showed off the real estate firm's airy office space at 4 Water St. "Some of us have worked together before and we've all crossed paths.

"We've all been in the real estate business for many years, except Rebecca. But even she has five years experience."

All told, the women bring some 100 years of experience to the group and each their own special insight.

"When we say group, we really mean it," said Blake, because when clients come in "they have the fine fortune of getting all five of us."

Burnham, a Williamstown native, has her "finger on the pulse of the community"; Giamborino, too, is lifelong resident and executive director of the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce; Mills owned her own realty company for 15 years, and Gold has insights into what the under-35 market is looking for.

Blake has been working in real estate for two decades and is a former president of the Berkshire County Board of Realtors and a Realtor of the Year. Right now, she's president of the Board of Realtors' multiple listing service.

"Together we are a powerful group," she said, adding the business had gotten a lot of positive feedback.

Blake said the group of five isn't too worried about how the current downturn in the real estate market will affect.

"We have faith in the real estate market. There're ups and downs. ... We want people to know we're here for the duration," she said.

They've refurbished the former TGL Photoworks building Water Street to house their new office. The building was sold in February to Keith Abuisi and H20 Nominee Trust by Howard and Dale Levitz, who moved their photography shop to North Adams.

Williamstown Realty Group is leasing the space; all of the women have an interest in the property along with outside investors "who really believe in what we're doing. Who stand behind us," said Blake.

The floors have been polished and the walls painted; flowers adorn desks and fill pots outside the door. A small waiting area displays three artworks by Gold's aunt, Ellen Wineberg, a former Adams resident now living in the Boston area.

Wineberg stopped to see the office and decided the walls needed artwork, said Gold. "She gave them to us."

More artwork is needed, said Blake, along with curtains and few final touches. But Williamstown Realty Group is open for business and eager to take its place in the community.

<L2>In fact, said Blake, "We have a few surprises up our sleeve that will help the community with real estate."

The group is inviting the area residents to its grand opening celebration this evening, Thursday, from 5 to 8.

Town Manager Peter Fohlin will cut the ribbon at 5; hors d'oeuvres are being provided by Gramercy Bistro of North Adams. Parking will be available at the town garage site on Water Street.

The office is open weekdays from 9:30 to 5; Saturdays from 10 to 1; and anytime by appointment. The phone number is 413-458-1950 or go to
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Williamstown Planning Board Appoints Master Plan Steering Committee

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Planning Board on Tuesday appointed nine residents to serve on the steering committee to draft the town's updated master plan.
By a unanimous vote, the board approved a slate of nine candidates selected by members Peter Beck and Stephanie Boyd, who will represent the elected board on the steering committee. That panel is expected to work over the next 18 months to update the planning document last drafted in 2002.
Approved for inclusion on the Master Plan Steering Committee on Tuesday were: Justin Adkins, Susan Briggs, Melissa Cragg, Don Dubendorf, Sarah Gardner, Daniel Gura, Susan Puddester, Tanja Srebotnjak and Huff Templeton.
"With Peter and I, that makes 11 members," Boyd said. In a meeting telecast on the town's community access television station, Willinet. "A couple of months ago, we said we'd aim for eight to 12. This is on the higher end of that.
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