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Monique Suters stands inside Persnickety Toys, which is closing after 19 years in North Adams.

Persnickety Toys Closing After 19 Years in North Adams

By Rebecca DravisiBerkshires Staff
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A 'for sale' sign adorns the side of 13 Eagle St. in North Adams, which has housed Persnickety Toys for the last 19 years.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A longtime fixture of the downtown North Adams business community is closing its doors.

Persnickety Toys, which has operated for 19 years at its 13 Eagle St. location, will close within four to six weeks, owner Monique Suters said this week. Suters made her official announcement on Oct. 25 in a video on the shop's Facebook page.

"I've loved watching your kiddos grow up here in this magical place and will forever cherish those memories created here," Suters said in the video, asking her customers to remember to "honor the power of play."

Suters said her decision to close came after struggling to stay afloat with online competition as well as a smaller market since the closure of North Adams Regional Hospital in 2014 and the recent death of her son in August.

"That made me look at my priorities," she said. "He'd want me to be happy. Not that this doesn't make me happy, but it's just not viable."

Suters opened Persnickety Toys in 2001 by leasing the space; in 2004, she purchased the building with plans to renovate the space above the storefronts into a living space for her family. That never happened, she said, because she instead opened a second location on North Street in Pittsfield in 2010 that was operated by her brother, Mike Moore. That store closed after the end of the 2015 holiday season.

In North Adams, the toy store occasionally shared its smaller, conjoined space with other businesses, including "incubating" Bark 'N' Cat, which went on to open on Holden Street until it closed earlier this year, and Shima, an infant and toddler clothing and toys shop that ended up closing at the end of 2014. Currently the toy store uses both spaces.

Suters said she is starting the process of liquidating her inventory and hopes to be closed before the holidays so she can enjoy them not as a retailer. 

Glenn Maloney, president of the North Adams Chamber of Commerce, said the downtown community will miss Suters, who he said was "a vital part of so many young lives over the years."

"I can picture the joy on my own kids' faces when they would see the hand-printed Persnickety bags at a birthday party. The enjoyment that was shared with so many is immeasurable," Maloney said. "Monique will leave an indelible mark on our business community and our families. We are truly fortunate to have had her contribution to our business district and our lives."

As for what she will do next, Suters said she is taking it one step at a time until the building is sold, but she hopes to travel and spend time with family. Originally from Kansas, Suters said she has no plans to leave the area, where she has a daughter set to graduate from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in 2020.

"I'm happy to say that this is home," she said.

Suters said it was really difficult to make the Facebook video announcing her decision to close because she has made so many wonderful connections while running the store.

"This was a life's work and it's hard to say goodbye," she said.

On that Facebook post, she has received many, many words of sadness but gratitude from longtime customers. "You have given so much joy and richness to our lives, and the lives of the children we love," one customer wrote. "You have put so many smiles on the faces of so many children ... and adults," wrote another. And yet another wrote: "My children and grandchildren have loved every gift purchased with your expert advice. We will miss you and your special gifts and the love and care packed in every package. I wish you a beautiful next adventure."

As for Suters, she has one final message to give back to the customers who supported her over the years.

"Thank you for making me feel like family and part of this community," she said. "Even though I wasn't born and raised here, I consider it home."


Tags: business closing,   toys,   

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Letter: Bernard Endorses Bond for Mayor

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

As I prepare to conclude my service to the city of North Adams, and as I explore my options for the next chapter of my career, I've had the opportunity to talk about my work and my experience during job interviews as well as the chance to engage in a lot of personal self-reflection. Right now, Lynette Bond also is going through her own job interview, along with the public vetting that those of us in public service know well. As a North Adams voter, and therefore as one of nearly 9,000 members of the "hiring committee" for our next mayor, I recommend Lynette Bond wholeheartedly for the top job in the city of North Adams.

I've known Lynette for years. The content, message, and tone of her campaign are consistent with the character and integrity Lynette has demonstrated in her work with MCLA and the town of Adams, her service on the North Adams Planning Board, and her advocacy and leadership on behalf of our North Adams students and educators. In speaking with her over the course of her candidacy it's clear she has a deep knowledge and understanding of municipal and fiscal management, education, public safety, and economic development. What's more, Lynette has the grit and resilience to tackle the constellation of issues that cross the mayor's desk on any given day.

Great leaders ask focused, insightful, and pointed questions. They dig deep in order to understand, get to the heart of the matter (including the human concerns that inform decisions), identify options, alternatives, and outcomes, bring stakeholders together, and come away with a deeper awareness and a decisive plan of action. Lynette has demonstrated that she personifies these core competencies. I know this is how she will operate as our next mayor, and how she will lead and collaborate with city staff.

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