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Passport to Downtown Pittsfield Seeks to Support Small Businesses

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Downtown Pittsfield Inc. is celebrating Small Business Saturday with a "Passport to Downtown Pittsfield" event in an effort to support local businesses. 
"For downtown Pittsfield Inc. it really is our goal right now to bring shoppers downtown and have them purchase things in the small businesses really that's what the day is about," Managing Director Rebecca Brien said.
This Saturday shoppers are encouraged to visit downtown Pittsfield to support small local businesses and for a chance to win a prize package. Collect one stamp from every participating business where you make a purchase. 
Downtown Pittsfield Inc. partnered with almost 25 restaurants, organizations, and retailers. The more stamps you collect, the greater your chance to win.
Shoppers can pick up and drop off their passport at any participating businesses on Saturday. A representative from Downtown Pittsfield Inc. will also be available at 33 Dunham Mall from 8 until 5.
Extra stamps were available for those who participated in the Berkshire Running Center/MountainOne Thankful 5K and to participants who wear their Thankful Run beanies while shopping. Shoppers can also get extra stamps for bringing a non-perishable food item or a pair of socks to Downtown Pittsfield Inc. in support of its community donation efforts this holiday season.
The eclectic options that are available to shoppers are what makes the trip downtown worthwhile. There are shops that can fit anyone's needs including candle stores, tourist stations, antique shops, a metaphysical retailer, clothing, and more, Brien said. 
"We only want to remind everyone that downtown Pittsfield is community minded and our goal really is to bring downtown Pittsfield back alive. There are wonderful shops, there are wonderful restaurants, and there are wonderful things that we are doing right now. Going forward, making it really a place that everyone wants to be."
This event is a great opportunity to see what the area has to offer and encourage residents to come back and support the small businesses, she said. 
"It's really key for [small businesses] to have people come in and stop and see what they're all about," Brien said. "We have some new businesses since last year that are a part of our downtown community and even if it's just stepping in and buying something small, that can be a big thing for a small business."
Amanda Ring, owner of Kidding Around Consignment at 700 North St., agreed with that sentiment.  
"We're excited about being part of the Downtown Pittsfield program and about the possibility of some new people coming down and seeing what we have to offer the community," she said.
The convenience of online shopping and big chain store discounts small businesses are slowly dying, WitchSlapped owner Danielle Munn said. 
"We, among our fellow small business owners, have found that these community events are absolutely essential for our survival …These events remind our neighbors we are always here ready to serve them with the love and appreciation for their support," Munn said. 
Witch Slapped, Berkshire Yoga Dance & Fitness, Berkshire Fitness and Wellness Center, Soma’s Aromas, and artist Sally Tiska Rice at Clock Tower Artist, will be having sales or events discounts during the day. More information here
Berkshire Theatre Group will be participating in the effort to promote small businesses, which are the lifeforce of the area's cultural economy, said Colonial Theatre Executive Director Nick Paleologos
"The Colonial Theatre is so excited to support Small Business Saturday. We value our role as the Gateway to Downtown Pittsfield whose lights never dimmed — even during the darkest days of the pandemic," he said. 
"Our patrons love to shop at local businesses, which are the beating heart of the cultural economy of the Berkshires, and which we loudly and proudly promote. This holiday season, come and meet us at the Colonial."
A list of participating venues can be found here

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Owner of Abandoned Cats Pleads Guilty to Animal Cruelty

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A woman accused of abandoning more than a dozen cats during snowstorm a year ago has pleaded guilty. 
Kelly Hathaway of Pittsfield pleaded guilty on Friday to two counts of animal cruelty in Central Berkshire District Court as part of a plea agreement. Following the plea agreement, she was ordered to have a mental health evaluation and follow any after care as instructed by the court.
She was placed on two years probation and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service. She is not allowed to possess any animals and was ordered to surrender any she has in her care. She is also prohibited from volunteering with any animal groups.
Hathaway and another defendant were charged last March with abandoning 15 cats on back roads in Richmond and Lanesborough after an investigation by Lanesborough Police, Lanesborough Animal Control and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
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