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McKenna Burzimati has a moment with Roxie, who was the incentive for what would become Roxie's Barkery.
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Burzimati and her stepfather, John Kozik, who jumped in to work on the cooking side of the family venture.

North Adams Wags its Tail for Roxies Barkery

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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Jackson's Favorites are peanut butter, blueberry banana and bacon biscuits, named for the family's border collie-Lab mix who died four years ago. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass — When McKenna Burzimati adopted her first dog, a beagle named Roxie, she found it difficult to find quality treats that were not filled with unhealthy ingredients, dyes, or preservatives.
 
Dogs have long been a part of her life growing up, in part leading to her past work as a veterinary assistant and attending a year of vet technician training. 
 
This struggle to find healthy treats in addition to the allergies and food sensitivities she noticed pets experiencing during her time at the animal hospital drove her to start baking all-natural dog treats.
 
Burzimati started out selling the baked goods online as Roxies Barkery but the small enterprise quickly became a family endeavor when the orders began flooding in. 
 
To keep up with demand, she went to her family for support. 
 
"I started it super small, a Facebook page selling to friends and family. I was working at a dog day care at the time and it was quickly much more than I ever thought it would be," Burzimati said. 
 
Her stepfather, John Kozik, retired as food service director at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts during this time so helped her bake the treats. 
 
The decision to move to a brick-and-mortar establishment was cemented when they became overwhelmed during one of the holiday seasons. Burzimati was struggling to cook in her family's kitchen with four hyper dogs eagerly peering over their shoulders in an attempt to sneak a treat. This chaotic environment cemented her decision to invest to open a storefront. 
 
The Norad Mill on Roberts Drive was the only space that they considered and she said owner David Moresi was welcoming and helped transform the space. 
 
"He transformed this whole entire space into a kitchen for us. It was kind of like my perfect vision when I looked at it because of the segregation of the two spaces," Burzimati said. 
 
"I knew we were able to have a kitchen and then a small retail space so it's literally the only space we even looked at. It was just perfect. And then with just how amazing they are. It was not an opportunity I was gonna say no to." 
 
The "barkery" now offers more than dozen varieties of biscuits, cookies and dog treats and even a couple snacks for those of the feline persuasion. 
 
A year after adopting Roxie, Burzimati's household quickly grew from having one dog to three. When her grandfather Steven Alcombright died, Burzimati took in his puggle mix, Leo, but also had already committed to adopting another puppy, a red Labrador named Tinsley. 
 
One of the family dogs that she fondly remembers is a border collie-Lab mix named Jackson who passed away four years ago from leukemia. 
 
"I had this little pet vet kit and I used to be his little nurse and he was just so good. Him and I just had that amazing bond and besides Roxie, I feel like Jackson is also another reason that made me just pursue animals in general because they're just so amazing, lovable dogs. They just deserve the best," Burzimati said. 
 
In honor of Jackson, Burzimati sells a special treat bag with all of his favorite treats. 
 
The quality of her goods can be seen by how quickly the business grew and the numerous reviews customers have left on social media, as well as a couple local awards including "Best in the Berkshires."
 
The transition to cooking for humans and animals was a natural one, she and Kozik said, because it is all the same spices and knowing what goes with what. 
 
Although on occasion the bakery may get inspiration from other recipes, all the treats that they sell are original, having put their own spin on it, Burzimati said. 
 
While she develops the treats, Roxie is the official taste tester. If Roxie does not give her "barking good" approval, which is not a regular occurrence, then it doesn't make the cut.
 
Burzimati's mother, father and sister also take time to help with the business whether that is working in the store or helping with events. And she strives to create a comfortable environment for both the owners and the dogs, she said. 
 
"It really lends itself well because people can come in and watch us do what we do all the time and comment on how good it smells and everything is made right here. So we bake, we dehydrate, we bag and we shelve," Kozik said. 
 
Burzimati agreed with this sentiment and added that they connect with their customers and give treats to the dogs whenever they come in. She said it was also important to support rescues and shelters so they donate as much as possible, including to the rescue from which Roxie was adopted.
 
Her face lit up as she talked about how happy it makes her to see the dogs wagging their tails in excitement to be there. 
 
"It's something that this community has really always needed. We're almost like a safe space for them and their dogs. They know when they come here that they can trust what we're selling them, that we're carrying only products that are good for their dogs, that we would give our dogs," she said. 
 
"We're not trying to sell them on something that's not good for their dog. So I would say that they've really enjoyed us being here is the experience that this area has never really had."
 
As they continue to expand, Burzimati hopes to one day get a bigger space. 
 
A number of local venues offer Roxies' treats including Angelina's Sub Shop (pup-cups), Greylock Animal Hospital, the Williams Inn, Wild Oats Market, Dotties Coffee Lounge in Pittsfield, Dave's Country Store in Dalton, and KayCee & Co. Gift Boutique in Canaan, Conn. 
 
The store also sells dog toys and accessories and custom pup-cakes, frosted cookies, treats. Shop online or order a custom treat by emailing roxiesbarkery@gmail.com
 
The store is open Tuesday-Thursday 11 to 5:30, Friday noon to 5:30, Saturday 11 to 3 and Sunday 11 to 2. It is located in Suite 107 at the Norad Mill. More information on the business here

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Pedestrian On Moped Hit on Mass Ave

Staff Reports
Update on June 6, 2024 at 2:55 pm: Lieutenant Anthony Beverly released a statement indicating that officers are continuing their investigation of a "serious motorcycle accident" on Mass Ave.
 
Road closures are expected to last "several hours," and future updates will be communicated by the Berkshire District Attorney's Office and the Massachusetts State Police.
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A portion of Mass Ave. was closed Friday after a pedestrian on a moped struck a car.
 
According to officers on scene, around noon, a woman on a moped struck a Honda CRV that was backing out of a driveway near the Ashton Ave intersection on Mass Ave.
 
The moped driver, who was heading towards North Adams, tried to go around the vehicle. As the vehicle backed out, the woman hit the left rear bumper of the car, reported police.
 
The woman was taken away via ambulance, reporting officers had no information on her condition.
 
Currently the road is closed from Protection Ave to just before Ashton Ave as officers continue their investigation.
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