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Reena and Sanjay Sharma say they listen to their customers, who in turn have provided the essential support needed for the small family business.

Williamstown Package Store Keeps Customers Coming Back

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Gold Leaf is coming up on its first anniversary after a successful year in Williamstown.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Family-owned Gold Leaf package store wants to keep it personal and supply its customers with exactly what they want.
 
"It is a family business and we want this to be personal. People who walk through the door know who we are what we have to offer and they know if they want something we can get it," owner Reena Sharma said. "A lot of the stuff you see is what people have recommended. We started off with two racks."
 
Manager and husband Sanjay Sharma agreed and pointed to the wall of various wines and beers in the Colonial Plaza package store. Customers had recommended 60 percent of the beverages.
 
"We have a lot of craft beers and a lot of the stuff I have you can only find it in Berkshire County as a draught," Sanjay said. "If you walk in and ask for something I will try to find it."
 
Reema, who works in the regional school district, owns the store with another partner and Sanjay runs the shop that opened last May. Sanjay said he has worked in retail for a large portion of his life.
 
"I have been in retail 22 years between North Adams, Williamstown, and the nearby area," he said. "I know retail and this is why I am here I want to interact with my customers."
 
Sanjay said Golden Leaf carries items at different price points. He said he has a bottle of wine for $4.99 or one for $110. This also goes for beer and his selection ranges from standard domestic beers to limited craft brews.
 
He said he of course also carries everything else you would expect in a convenience package store.
 
Sanjay said the Gold Leaf also offers beer and wine tastings which are advertised on the store’s Facebook page. He added that this is also a good place to make suggestions.
 
He added that eventually, he would like to be able to sell liquor even just on a seasonal basis. He said with so many hotels popping up in the area a lot of tourists stop in looking for liquor. 
 
Sanjay said Gold Leaf is also in the process of getting a catering license. 
 
"Pretty soon we will be offering those services," he said. "Before the summer comes we want to be able to offer catering at people's houses."
 
Sanjay said he already has a steady and supportive customer base. He added that it is tough being a small local business but luckily the people of Williamstown are supportive of small businesses that often face an uphill battle.
 
"Starting a small business is tough," he said. "That is what I like about this community they want to support small business. They are such supportive people."
 
Sharma said they are happy to be part of the Williamstown community and want to be part of its success. 
 
"We are raising our family here. He has been here for 20 years and I have been here for 17 so we want to see the town succeed," she said. "Our kids go to school here ... we have lived our entire lives here and we don't intend on going anywhere."

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Williamstown Playground Project Nearing Completion

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — After more than a year of planning, fund-raising and advocacy, efforts to rebuild a town playground are in the homestretch.
 
Last week, the poured rubber surfacing was scheduled to be laid at the new playground at Linear Park, off Water Street, and one of the volunteers helping lead the project said the hope is that the site will be ready for youngsters before the end of the fall.
 
"It's starting to look like a playground," Amy Jeschawitz said as she surveyed the partially installed equipment that will be finished off once the rubber padding and wood fiber infill are installed.
 
The brightly-colored, modern play pieces are a far cry from the dated equipment at the park just a couple of years ago, when a safety inspection found deficiencies at the town facility.
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