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City Councilor Lisa Blackmer, left, Bart Raser, Mayor Richard Alcombright, Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, Erin Clark, Marshall Raser and Rich Talbot.

Carr Hardware 'Opens' To Eager Crowd

Staff ReportsiBerkshires
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Above, Rich Talbot, of True Value, presents a beaming Bart Raser with plaque of appreciation; right, the store was crowded around noontime. This is the Raser family's 50th year in operating the Carr chain.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — More than 1,000 people had been through the doors of the new Carr Hardware on State Road by noon on Saturday.

The grand opening celebration kicked off on Saturday morning and included popcorn, specials, live music, Whoopee radio and plenty of specials. It continues Saturday until 5 and picks up on Sunday with new specials. 

"The turnout is spectacular," said owner Bart Raser after a ribbon cutting with Mayor Richard Alcombright and state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, D-North Adams. "We've had over a 1,000 people come through our doors today and it's only 12 o'clock ... We're exceeding expectations."

Cars were trying to find places to park and the lines at the register were five and six deep at some points as costumers scooped up bargains or just wanted to check out Carr's new digs.

The new store is triple the size of Carr's former cramped quarters on State Street. The former car dealership at the corner of State Road and Roberts Drive has 10,000 square feet of space that's allowed the True Value store to expand its offerings for hardware, rentals, kitchen and bath fixtures, some home goods, lighting and paint, as well as a line of Agway products.

"It's a tremendous reuse of space that we had here," said Alcombright. "I think the location to this store is absolutely critical  [between North Adams and Williamstown]. And the addition of the Agway store ... to bring that back was just a great business choice."

North Berkshire has been without an Agway since the longtime store in Williamstown went out of business a few years ago. Carr now offers its line of bird food and pet products, among other things.

Carr buckets were being sold to benefit BFAIR.
Shoppers were filling up yellow Carr buckets for 25 percent off. The sale of the buckets for $3.99 were benefiting Berkshire Family And Individual Resources.

"People are supporting BFAIR, which is a good organization," said Raser. "We're selling buckets and giving them the proceedd and they've gotten almost 500 buckets so far."

True Value representatives Rich Talbot and Erin Clark were on hand for the festivities. Clark, a regional manager overseeing some 350 True Value stores from Maine to Connecticut, said the Carr and True Value had shared interests in "standing up for the community."

Talbot, a retail consultant for the region, presented Raser and his staff a plaque recognizing the opening.

"I work with the store on a daily basis and I cover stores from Central Mass west," said Talbot, whose region extends to Albany, N.Y., and includes all five Carr Hardwares. "This is a big event: a new store, new opportunities.

Talbot said the new Carr is laid out along the True Value prototype. "The concept of the layout for this store has been out about four years," he said. "It's been a success for us, I think it's going to be a success here for them ... If you look at today, it's looks like it's being very well received."

The store opened earlier than planned in January. Raser said he was pleased with the response since.

"Business has been strong," he said. "It's a great location, we're just happy to be here. ... The team we've been able to put together has just done a great job."

The new Carr is open Monday through Fridays from 7:30 to 6; Saturdays from 7:30 to 5 and Sundays, 10 to 4.

Tags: Carr,   opening,   

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Mount Greylock District Builds Diversity Training Days Into 2021-22 Calendar

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School Committee last week approved a 2021-22 academic calendar that includes six half days for all-staff professional development with an emphasis on diversity training.
"When it comes to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging work, that's a community effort, and it starts with the community in the central office and goes to everyone who works in school buildings or around school buildings," Superintendent Jason McCandless said in proposing the calendar.
"I would suggest to you that if we adopt this calendar, it becomes, in many ways, a template for moving forward with inclusion of half days as professional development time. We need time to reflect, to gather and learn from one another, and we need time to learn from experts, whether joining us in person or virtually, who are helping us become better practitioners all the time."
McCandless scheduled the half days for staff training on Oct. 8, Oct. 29, Jan. 14, Feb. 11, March 11 and April 18 — all Fridays. He also built into the schedule a full day for professional development on Friday, March 18.
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