Belltower bought out the inventory of the former Toonerville Trolley.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Belltower Records has settled into the community as a hub for music fans, musicians, and audiophiles alike.
It is easy to lose a few hours on the third floor of the Norad Mill digging through the overflowing record crates at the independent music store.
"We have just been longtime collectors, my wife and I, and we have been looking to do something for a while and we basically stumbled upon this," owner Wes Nelson said recently.
With news that Hal March, owner of Toonerville Trolley Records in Williamstown, was looking to close and sell his business in 2017, a shockwave rippled through the Northern Berkshire record collecting community.
Collectors knew that in the near future they would have to travel farther than Williamstown to satiate their need to fervently dig through crates of records.
That day came and a "closed" sign was fixed to March's door.
It was over.
But in 2018, Nelson and his wife, Andrea Belair, announced that they had purchased March's inventory and planned to open up their own record store in the Norad Mill in the West End.
"We opened this October and business has been steady," Nelson said. "There is still lots to be done in the building but it has been good ... it has been pretty much full steam ahead."
So the local record store was saved but collectors were still dealing with another loss: March, their local record store guy — an important relationship in any audiophile's life.
But Nelson and Belair seem to be fitting the bill and are able to bring in what the people want.
"Our collection is largely our own taste but we do take note of what our customers like," Nelson said. "We try to keep it diverse in that way and cater to peoples' tastes."
Beyond selling records, CDs, and even cassette tapes, Belltower looks to be part of the larger music community.
"I wouldn't say that we are the locus of any community here but we are part of it," he said. "We are new here and want to contribute. "
Belltower hosts live shows and Nelson said they use their connections to bring in live acts that may be on tour.
"If we have friends on tour we hook them up with a little gig," Nelson said. "We try to serve the music community."
Typically the shows take place in the store but on Saturday, Aug. 10, Belltower will host a larger show in the mill's reception room on the third floor.
There are more than 10 acts included in the lineup for Summer Jam II and Wandering Star Brewery will be selling beverages.
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Drury High School graduates will be getting their diplomas via a car parade on June 11 but school officials confirmed there will be a celebration later this summer.
Several other schools are holding their graduations or a celebration after July 19, the date set by the state Department of Education to allow for outside ceremonies that abide by health guidelines because of COVID-19.
Last week's announcement of a car parade led to grumbling over the weekend from parents and students who had also expected a delayed graduation ceremony.
Principal Timothy Callahan said he and class adviser Christopher Caproni had met with the class officers to assure them that an outside graduation continues to be in the plans.
The governor noted that people had been demonstrating outside the State House last week over their frustration with the slow pace of the reopening, and that several protests had been going on peacefully all day Sunday.
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