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New Children's Clothing Store Opens in North Adams

By Justin SaldoiBerkshires Intern
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NORTH ADAMS — A veteran children's clothing discounter has set up shop in the downtown with the grand opening of Kids ... Deals in the L-Shaped Mall.

"Our philosophy is nobody should have to pay exorbitant prices for quality-brand children's clothes," said Cathy Cohn, the chain's president and founder on Wednesday as employees put the finishing touches on the new store's displays.

Kids ... Deals offers a wide variety of brand-name children's apparel up to 75 percent off retail prices. Brands such as The Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch and Phat Farm in sizes for infants to 12-year-olds fill the space formerly occupied by Rent-A-Center.

Cohn says she can offer such steep discounts because of the way she acquires her inventory.

"I travel the United States looking for the best distributors to do business with so my customers get the best deals," she said. 

Cohn has a great deal of know-how when it comes to children's clothing with more than 30 years experience in the business. Fifteen of those years were spent operating her first business, Priceless Kids, which she started with her cousin Peter Elitzer, owner of Peter Harris Clothing. (Peter Harris is the parent company of Label Shopper, which recently opened a store in the mall building.)

Priceless Kids grew into a 32-store chain that gained wide popularity with parents in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and here in Massachusetts for its principle of selling brand-name children's clothes at discount prices. Cohn and Elitzer sold the chain off and in August 2006, Cohn opened first Kids ... Deals in Albany, N.Y., along the same principles of her first successful chain.

That first store didn't fare well. Cohn closed it in April after two years because of disappointing sales, according to The Business Review. However, two other Kids ... Deals are in operation in Malone and New Hartford, N.Y., and Cohn was upbeat about the chain's potential in the smaller North Adams market, saying the area had good demographics.

Kids ... Deal had its grand opening on Wednesday afternoon with a full staff of 12 employees from the area. Hours are weekdays from 10 to 9, Saturdays from 10 to 6, and Sunday, 11 to 5. The store will have first area sale, a "Winter Outwear Sale," beginning Aug. 14 with every winter jacket, coat and snowsuit priced at $15.99. For more information, call the store at 413-664-0454.
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North Adams Fire Chief Meranti to Retire

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Fire Chief Stephen Meranti, center, with the late Public Safety Commissioner E. John Morocco on receiving the MEMA award in 2015. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Stephen Meranti had a particular goal in mind when he updated his resume in the mid-1990s: to become director of the city's fire services.
Early next year, he'll retire after 17 years leading the North Adams Fire Department and as the first "fire chief" to retire in nearly 40 years. 
"I've had a pretty good run I think, 33 years with the city and 17 as chief," said Meranti on Wednesday morning, as he sat in the mayor's office. "It's been a good run, we have great people working with the city, I've had made great relationships here. It's like the mayor said, bittersweet for me also. I love the job I but I had planned on my career retiring at 55 and here I am." 
Meranti and Mayor Thomas Bernard announced the chief's retirement after more than three decades working with the city. His last day will be Jan. 26, 2021.
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