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Maria Sekowski is closing her store, Maria's European Delights, after nine years on North Street.

Maria's European Delights To Close in Pittsfield

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The smell of homemade soup, stuffed cabbage, and kielbasa fill the small yet lively Eastern European deli as patrons send Maria Sekowski off on her journey in retirement. 
Sekowski announced on her Facebook page in early October that she would be closing her doors at the end of the year with plans to retire. 
Patrons expressed their congratulations but were greatly saddened by this loss to the community. Many customers said they are going to miss her welcoming and energetic personality. 
The curtains will close on Sekowski's impromptu musical numbers and karaoke sessions. Music by Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Michael Bublé, and many others are fading and her new symphony into retirement begins. 
Although Sekowski is going to miss her customers she is looking forward to spending time with her family. She is making plans to visit her daughter, who lives now in Kansas City, Mo., and her brother in New Jersey.
Her son is also expecting another child so she plans on helping him take care of her grandson as well as continuing to fulfill her responsibilities as the legal guardian of a 12-year old.
Unless the store receives an offer to buy the business, there will be another empty storefront on North Street.
"The store will close unless there's someone that would be interested in buying the business," Sekowski said in the post. "I want to thank you all for supporting my business throughout the years. Please support your local small businesses as there are too many empty storefronts.
Although someone had inquired about purchasing the store, she had not heard back earlier last week so its fate is unclear.
Although the idea of saving the store from closure is nice, she said there is nothing drawing people to North Street aside from the few popular attractions. 
Foot traffic is not the only obstacle North Street business owners have to face, she said. Parking is a major issue that drives away patrons who become frustrated and give up after being unable to find a space. 
Those who are able to find a parking space on North Street then have to avoid walking into the flowerbeds, she said. 
In December 2007, Sekowski's husband, Krzysztof "Kris" opened Maria's European Delights in Great Barrington after being let go from Rising Paper Co., where he worked as a beater operator for 20 years. 
During this time she continued working at Brazabra Corp. in Lee and would help out on weekends until May of 2008. She quit her job and joined him. 
The duo ran the restaurant together building relationships with customers and, in 2013, they moved the business to Pittsfield. 
Kris died a year later. Since then, Sekowski has been running the business on her own. 
"It would be nice if somebody had bought it and continued," she said but added it is a lot of work for a single person.
"[It would] be a nice thing for a couple. For one person that's, that's too much. Would be nice for a family and it would prevent another storefront from being empty on North Street."


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Pittsfield Firefighters Snuff Cellar Blaze

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters extinguished a fire in a West Housatonic Street in about 20 minutes. 
The blaze started near a dryer but the cause was being investigated.
The department responded to the call of smoke in a building at about 12:23 p.m. on Sunday. Upon arrival, firefighters found a light smoke showing from the front and back of the building. 
The found an active fire in the basement of the 2 1/2-story, wood-frame structure at 92 West Housatonic, which is being rented as a single-family occupancy.
Engine 1 crew advanced a 1 3/4-inch hose to the rear of the building, entered the bulkhead access to the cellar, and conducted suppression activities. Engine 3 crew conducted a primary search of the building. Engine 6 secured a water supply to E1 and Tower 1 ventilated the building. Engine 5 responded as the Rapid
Intervention Team for firefighter safety.
The fire was under control and extinguished in 20 minutes. At the time of this writing there were no civilian or firefighter injuries reported. 
Fire damage was confined to the laundry area in the cellar with the dryer unit, clothing, and household cleaning supplies sustaining damage. There was minimal smoke damage with the entire building being ventilated in short order.
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