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The Nichols family is retiring after operating Harry's Supermarket for a century. A new family, the Patels, are taking over the operation.

Harry's Supermarket Sold to New Owners; No Changes Planned

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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The Nichols brothers celebrating 100 years in business in 2014.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Robert and Thomas Nichols have worked at Harry's Supermarket for their whole professional career and are ready to retire.
The century-old business is being turned over to another local family who say they will keep it mostly the same and continue its legacy as a generational venture.  
"It's hard because, it's been in the family for over 100 years," Bob Nichols said. "But it's time, if we ever wanted to retire, this is the only way."
The Nichols sold the operation to Ravikant Patel, who owns a number of other businesses in the county including Williamstown Wine and Spirits and O'Geary's in Adams.  
On Friday, the sale was official.
There will be no closure due to the change of ownership as the supermarket will largely remain the familiar location that many Pittsfield residents have shopped at for a lifetime.  
Even its name will be unchanged.
"At this time, just a little bit in the store probably," Patel said about possible alterations to Harry's. "But not much at this time."
Patel added that the business, in partnership with Sam Patel, will remain in his Berkshire County-based family similar to the Nichols.
The new owners have been training on-site by Bob and Tom for over a month and feel confident going into this new venture.
Nichols said they are "very nice people."
In 2014, Harry's celebrated its 100-year milestone. Nichols' grandfather Harry Nichols Sr. opened the business as a variety store in Waconah Street in 1914 and it was run by his family of 11.
The family also operated Nichol's Package Store and a pharmacy, which have since been sold and closed.
"My grandfather started it in 1914. He had seven sons and two daughters, a big family. They all lived above the store where the pharmacy used to be. Their whole crew was the family," Bob Nichols told iBerkshires in 2014.
"When they came back from the war, they kind of split up. They opened the package store. They opened the supermarket."
In 1957, the family built the store that stands today to replace the variety store. Nichols even has fond memories of playing in the store before he was an employee and his father had taken it over.
"I've been here 42 years, I think Tom's been here 46 years full time," he said. "We were there way before that as part-timers. seventh grade, probably."
They leased a second location in the old A&P Supermarket spot on Elm Street for about 16 years that was closed and demolished in 2012.
Harry's is known for its meat department and hometown vibe and the Patels plans to continue that legacy. Staff is also being retained.
Nichols said the sale is purely out of a wish to retire and it has been planned since the beginning of the year. He said it is not because of the effects of COVID-19 or competing with big-box chains.

Tags: business changes,   family business,   grocery,   

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