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The Girard brothers and Mig Girard opened Bloom Brothers in early March.
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Bloom Brothers Reopening in Pittsfield

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Bloom Brothers will open for curbside pickup on Tuesday.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Bloom Brothers opened on Merrill Road in early March — only to close a few weeks later because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. 
With the state now entering Phase 1 on its reopening plan, the marijuana dispensary plans to reopen on Tuesday, May 26. 
"We will only be allowed to open for curbside pick up at this time but we hope to increase our operations as the different phases roll out and are allowed according to the governor," said one of the owners, Nathan Girard on Friday.
The family business wants to brings variety and customer service to the forefront to benefit Berkshire County and plans to keep its operations only in the Berkshires, Girard said in an interview shortly before the state went into lockdown because of COVID-19. 
"All of us have moved out to the Boston area for years but our community called us back to the area to raise families, be closer to our family, and build this business to grow in this community," Girard said at the time. "We could of taken this opportunity elsewhere to a more populated area or an area with better proximity to Boston but we chose this area because we truly do care about this area. We want this area to benefit from the economic impact of what this retail store can bring."
Girard owns the business with his wife, Migdeliz, and two brothers Ben and Nick. He has primarily worked in real estate and development and also operates Royal Property Group with his wife and brothers. 
"We had invested significantly into real estate locally with purchasing and rehabbing many buildings and we were thinking what is something else we could potentially invest in," Girard said. "Real estate was a very slow process and was more of a local platform for us to be known for good work and hard work."
He said they saw "the writing on the wall" about two years ago when the legalization of recreational marijuana looked to be a real possibility. They were lucky to already own the property at 92 Larch St. that sits in Pittsfield's marijuana overlay zoning and, after receiving many calls from developers, they thought about selling it.
They had originally thought about opening a dispensary in Cheshire at the former Country Charm restaurant, which they also own, but this proved to be a much larger project with challenges accessing utilities. So they turned their focus back to Pittsfield.  
"Pittsfield made a lot of sense to us because the city was completely on board," Girard said. "We were able to sit with decision-makers from day one and they had a roadmap for us to follow to get open compared to other communities we were looking at. While the process did take quite a long time; the city of Pittsfield was great to work with and made their end very smooth for us."
He said they quickly became experts in all things marijuana while going through the tedious process of acquiring a license. He added that the process brought his family closer and they had to rely on each other’s individual expertise.
"We became a family more than ever before going through this process together and without every single one of our subject matters expertise we would of never made it to this point," he said.
Mig Girard has a background in compliance and inventory management. Ben comes from an education and financing background. Nick has a background in computer science and had a knowledge of cultivation.  
Nate Girard said he supplied the business expertise and together they were ready to run a successful bussiness that he admitted took a lot of work to get off the ground.
"This process wasn’t only difficult it is not for the faint of heart or someone who gets frustrated easily," he said. "The process, all in all, took a solid 18 months and four people focusing on it full time to achieve all of the stuff we have been able to achieve to this point."
He said they not only had to build a new building but develop partnerships with suppliers and attend conferences. All this on top of running a real estate brokerage, and managing more than 35 properties.
But the hard work paid off and Girard said as of early March, they had the largest menu in the entire state with 259 items. Sixty-five of them are accessory related while 194 are cannabis-derived products. 
He said they are working with 16 different suppliers and carry 27 strains of flowers. 
The list goes on: 37 different options in pre-rolls, 51 types of concentrated marijuana products, 10 topical options, 19 vape cartridge options, and 66 different types of infused edibles
"We have from one reviewer online been called the Cheesecake Factory of marijuana," Nate said. "Our menu is ever-evolving; for instance just this week we added 20 new items to the menu and we are always listening to what the customers are telling us."
He said they treat every customer like family and that his focus on customer service is important to Bloom Brothers because they want to "break the negative stigma of marijuana and doing whatever it takes to do so."
"It is our responsibility as a business as well to care for everyone from the moment they enter the door to the moment they leave and beyond," he said. "Our mantra and our hashtag we live by is #WELCOMETOTHEFAMILY and we mean it."
This also spreads to employees and Bloom Brothers look to hire local and offer high-quality jobs with salaries and benefits that actually support their workers. He said their priority in all aspects of the cuisines is to take care of people.
In the future, Bloom Brothers hope to open a grow facility in Lee. Girard added that he would also like to see the business become "intertwined" with the hospitality industry that would create "420 friendly" tourism.
But whatever the future brings, Girard said it will take place in Berkshire County.
"This industry is poised to become a multibillion dollar statewide industry and I firmly believe the roots of that industry be born and groomed in Berkshire County," he said. "Why not? The opportunities are endless if people are willing to reach up and grab them and I hope that we can be involved in some, any, all capacities."
This article was originally scheduled to run the week Gov. Baker ordered nonessential businesses closed, including recreational marijuana dispensaries. They are allowed to reopen this week for curbside service only.


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Berkshire Theatre Group to Present 'Godspell' Outdoors

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Theatre Group will produce "Godspell" this summer – the first musical in the United States to be approved by Actors' Equity Association in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The show will be presented outdoors in an open-air tent adjacent to The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, and is scheduled to run Aug. 6 through Sept. 4. Tickets will be available for purchase Tuesday, July 7, at noon. 

"We could not bear the thought of a Berkshire summer without live theater to support our community, so we jumped through every hoop to create a safe way to make this happen," said BTG Board of Trustees Co-President Lee Perlman. "I hope our production gives hope to the tens of thousands of theater professionals who are on the sidelines this summer. Theater is unstoppable and will be back”

Artistic director and CEO Kate Maguire said "Godspell" got the green light after BTG established a strict protocol to protect the health and safety of the audience, the performers and others involved in the show. 

"We have been working daily and in the true spirit of care and collaboration with Actors’ Equity Association for the past several weeks," she said. "Guided by Executive Director of Actors’ Equity Association Mary McColl and her extraordinary team, I have learned much about how to lead a theater in the new world. Our industry, which has been devastated by this global pandemic, will be served by their seriousness, data driven wisdom, and profound understanding of the need for artists to rebuild. 

"I am so proud that Berkshire Theatre Group, in its 92nd season will be authorized and granted the responsibility to produce the musical 'Godspell.'”

After careful consideration with the local and state government, Mayor Linda Tyer of Pittsfield and Actors’ Equity Association, BTG relocated "Godspell" from its original site at The Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge to outside under a tent at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield.

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