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William Aubuchon IV, surrounded by Aubuchon Hardware employees, cuts the ribbon to open the chain's new Williamstown location.
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Williamstown Hardware Store Holds Grand Opening

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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Snowblowers lined up outside the new Aubuchon Hardware. 
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Aubuchon Hardware's president and CEO on Friday said the chain's newest location affirms its commitment to the Village Beautiful.
 
William Aubuchon IV cut the ribbon on Aubuchon's Main Street store, which opened a few weeks ago but held its grand opening celebration until this Friday and Saturday.
 
Afterward, Aubuchon said the move from a smaller location in the Colonial Plaza to the east on Main Street (Route 2) was necessary to serve the store's clientele.
 
"We needed to take care of the customers in this area, and to do that appropriately, we needed more space to offer more products to take care of everyone's needs in this community," Aubuchon said.
 
Aubuchon said the former location was one of the smaller stores out of more than 100 Aubuchon locations in the Northeast. The new site, most recently an Agway that closed in 2009 and later a second-hand store for the non-profit Minerva Arts Center, allows Aubuchon to display its offerings in a less crowded setting and gives the store more room outside for building and garden materials on pallets.
 
The relocation also comes at a time when many are writing eulogies for brick and mortar operations — even ones that trade in brick and mortar. But in the last year, Williamstown has seen a major renovation and expansion at the R.K. Miles building materials supplier location on North Hoosac Road and the major expansion of Aubuchon Hardware.
 
Speaking for the latter, Aubuchon, great-grandson of the chain's founder, said the Westminster-based chain's physical stores will not be replaced by e-commerce, only augmented.
 
"Our reaction to [the growth of e-commerce] is to simply double down on Retail 101," Aubuchon said. "Retail 101 is listening to the customer, having just what people need, having exceptional public service.
 
"And on top of that, we're investing in new stores like this and investing in technology. We have our own loyalty program and our own e-commerce initiatives. But most important is Retail 101. Let's listen to the customer, be rapid in responding to people's needs and provide the best possible customer service we can."

Tags: new business,   expansion,   grand opening,   hardware,   ribbon cutting,   

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Williamstown's Racial Equity Committee Discusses Core Principles

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Equity Committee on Monday discussed a statement of principles to guide the group's work as it seeks to work for justice in the college town of 7,700.
 
Among those principles: a recognition of the current injustice.
 
"We are beginning from the assumption that, like every other community in the U.S., our town and its residents are impacted by racism," the fourth paragraph of a seven-paragraph draft document reads. "Our work is to discover if our town's institutions and rules (policies, laws and regulations) deliberately or inadvertently encode such inequalities. Our goal is not to assess blame, but to seek accountability where appropriate and change where needed."
 
Committee members Aruna D'Souza and Kerri Nicoll developed the draft. And although there was no formal vote to adopt the language on Monday, there appeared to be general agreement that the pair had captured the spirit of the committee.
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