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Emilee Yawn and Bonnie Marks in the 'jungle' at the Plant Connectors new location on Main Street.
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North Adams Plant Shop Growing Into New Main Street Location

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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The new terrarium room has a tropical theme. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Plant Connector's new space on Main Street is filled with light and overflowing with green. 
"Literally, last night this girl went by here and her jaw dropped — she went 'oohh,' really, as she looked in. It was so cool," said Bonnie Marks. "Seeing that that really, you know motivates me to work in this shop and make it better and better."
Marks and business partner Emilee Yawn will open the doors at 73 Main St. on Friday at 4 p.m. as part of the downtown's First Friday. The store's been closed a few weeks during its move from Eagle Street to more than double the space on Main. 
"It was really tiny and really tight. We've been super busy so we're just filling what people have been asking for — more plants — and we're doing the 'Refillery' that we're getting set up right now," Yawn said. "We definitely had gotten to a place where we were having a really tough time operating out of that. It's hard to take care of plants in it as well."
The Plant Connector opened in 2020 in the flatiron on Eagle Street as Yawn and Marks, who had worked together at Jacob's Pillow pre-pandemic, put their energy into the startup and with a level of success that had surprised them. In less than a year and a half, they were getting pot-bound and needing more room. 
"We thought we were building a fake store. We didn't think it was gonna be for real at all," laughed Yawn. 
They offer classes and workshops, both residential and commercial plant care, and sell variety of plants and related merchandise. The popular terrarium workshops will now have their own room featuring a tropical mural.
Yawn said it was important to them not to lose what made them unique as they grow. Community is a focus of the store that will now be expanded along with the new larger location. 
The Refillery will include a variety of grab and go, sustainable personal and home care products. 
"We thought it was a great idea to introduce to the community because it's a community thing begin to think about waste and and how to correct it," said Marks.
Yawn said they had wanted the store to be all to be about plant love. "We thought it was like showing how plants really do nurture our bodies. They nurture our home, not just aesthetically or through the air but also through a lot of our products."
Local artists will be continue to be featured in a popup gallery but Yawn said the focus will be one at a time to bring more focus to the individual creators. The first will be ceramics artist Keri Granda. Granda will be giving out bud vases at the opening. 
Plus there's a wall-size bulletin board open for community fliers, a lending library on plant care, and the "propagation station" for swapping cuttings, and the store will accept used batteries for recycling and is looking into accepting razor as well. 
"We're really trying to be like, Oh, it's care for plants, it's care for our bodies, it's care for us," she said, adding they were keeping the original quirky vibe. "We're trying to create a little bit of a nurturing place."
On Thursday, they had some helpers to unpacking and cleaning up, and painting and preparing the Refillery wall. Patrons will be greeted by shelves full of plants, pots and merchandise, with a "welcome to the jungle" mat at the entrance. 
"I think what Bonnie and I are doing is we are committed to North Adams. We've put so much of ourselves into this place, like I only had a day off in like 70-80 days," Yawn said. "But we really do believe that this town is a great place to do business and, yeah, I mean, it's a hard time to start a business and but it's a good time to have a business."

Tags: plants,   reopening,   

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MountainOne Marks 175 Years Since Founding

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Board Chairman Daniel Bosley calls the meeting to order.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — MountainOne ended a successful 175th anniversary year approaching $1 billion in assets and a future that looks to be "busy."
"So with all this you might say we're busy, except for MountainOne, we're not allowed to say we're busy. You've got to work, you're supposed to be busy, right?" said President and CEO Robet Fraser after ticking off a list of positives. "So we're not busy. We're fulfilled, and this year is going to be incredibly fulfilling."
The banking institution held its demisemiseptcentennial, or maybe it was a septaquintaquinquecentennial, business meeting on Wednesday night. Whatever the preferred Latin is for 175 years, MountainOne was marking a significant milestone with more than 120 guests and bank members at Norad Mill and another grouping at the Weathervane Golf Course in Weymouth. 
Fraser, speaking via livestream from the South Shore, joked that "we have this unique business model where we give you the money — but you have to give it back."
That's been the standard since April 1848 when Isaac Hodges, Thomas Robinson and William Brayton founded the North Adams Savings Bank on Main Street. 
The first merger occurred in 1962 between North Adams Savings and Hoosac Savings banks, later becoming simply Hoosac Bank in 1998; Hoosac acquired True North Financial and Coakley, Pierpan, Dolan & Collins Insurance a year later; in 2002, MountainOne Financial Partners is formed as holding company for Hoosac and Williamstown Savings and MountainOne begins its South Shore adventure with the merger of South Coastal Bank; a year later, all three banks change their names to MountainOne. The investment and insurance arms also come under the MountainOne moniker and the newest affiliate, a Longmeadow insurance agency, was acquired in February.
"When I think about MountainOne, I think of one organization that was comprised of three different banks, two insurance agencies and investment division," said Fraser. "And we've been able to come together and be incredibly successful working with each other. 
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