Store owner Leah King, left, with Shire Bakery's Jessie Kratz and the store's assistant manager and barista Breanna Hillard.
ADAMS, Mass. — Wigwam Western Summit owners Lea King and Wayne Gelinas want to demonstrate the "soul" of the Berkshires with their new endeavor 57 Park Street Gifts & Goodies.
"This can't be the community's best kept secret. We need community engagement. The streets are dead and we want to make it alive again," King said.
The couple have been able to attract tourists to Berkshires with the restoration of the Wigwam Western Summit in North Adams, which has been a major part of the area for more than a century for its "scenic beauty that inspired poets, artists, and musicians."
Although they have been able to do this for the last five years, they felt limited because Wigwam is only open about six months out of the year and they wanted to do more.
Having a retail store will not only allow them to promote Adams all year long but will help them expand on their efforts.
They hope to encourage people to visit downtown Adams by offering discounts to their Wigwam patrons and having flyers at their other business.
Recently, Adams seen new investment, including the work Yina Moore has been doing with the Adams Theater and Topia Inn, King said
The community has been very collaborative and supportive of the opening, she said last week as passers-by peered in and waved.
"I think for a small town, Adams is very friendly and the locals are very collaborative. Everybody wants you to succeed," King said.
"And this is something that we have seen since we announced that we're going to open a shop here."
57 Park offers a variety of merchandise from T-shirts, hoodies to art and maple products. The duo is also bringing a little taste of King's Taiwanese heritage by offering boba tea, a drink she remembers fondly from her childhood.
Boba, or bubble tea, is a flavorful tea drink with tapioca (boba) balls or other toppings.
"I want to bring this community back to life and I want to do it with what we know how, which is making pour-over coffees, which is bringing part of my culture. I was born and raised in Taiwan and I love boba tea as a child," she said.
"My parents would say, 'you would only get boba tea when you get straight As' and guess what, I got straight As every quarter. Got a lot of boba tea. Got a lot of good grades, but that was the go-to treat."
There is something for everyone at 57 Park, King said.
"Our tagline is, we create drinks that are fun to eat. We have all kinds of toppings. We have lychee jelly, coffee jelly, pineapple jelly that you can put in any of the drinks, whether it's a smoothie, tiger milk boba, or a slushie," she said.
Not many people in the Berkshires know what tiger milk tea is, King said. She trained assistant manager and barista Breanna Hillard to make the boba balls that take more than an hour to cook.
"Tiger milk tea has no tea in it. It doesn't have caffeine, but it has these gigantic we call them mega boba balls. [Once the boba balls are made] you put this beautiful syrup and [Hillard] lines it up so it's like a tiger, like the stripes on a tiger, and then put milk in there. It's delicious," King said.
King moved to the Berkshires several years ago with her partner, a North Adams native, and quickly fell in love with the area.
They have been attempting to share their love of the community by collaborating with local businesses in an effort to create economic vitality and promotional opportunities for artists.
Recently, they have expanded on the Art Walk experience by having Art Talk events at their retail store.
Art Walk is a paid service during which attendees take a three-hour tour and interact with artists as they visit local outdoor installations and then to hike the trails on Western Summit, followed by coffee and whoopie pies at the Wigwam.
Art Talk is in collaboration with the Common Folk and the Adams Arts Advisory Council. The hope is to host the Art Talk events once a month and increase them based on demand.
The store provides artists a space to not only sell their artwork but also speak on their process and inspiration.
"There's not enough retail presence and there's not enough places for them to actually show and sell their things," King said.
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Adams Theater Welcomes Comedian and Violist
ADAMS, Mass. — The Adams Theater will present a comedy variety show on June 3 starring Isabel Hagen, a stand-up comedian and a classically trained violist who has appeared on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.
According to a press release, in this performance, Isabel explores self-doubt, consciousness, and sexuality while tackling big questions like "what does it mean to be happy?" and "what's a viola?"
Isabel Hagen was named a New Face of Comedy at Montreal's Just for Laughs Festival in 2019. She made her debut performance on "The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon" on March 11, 2020, and was the last comic to perform before the quarantine. Her second appearance on the show was on October 26, 2022. This performance is not to be missed!
Berkshires-based professional comedian Charlie Nadler will be the opening act for this show.
Gianna Pesce scored five goals and assisted on two more Wednesday to lead the Mount Greylock girls lacrosse team to a 19-2 win over Pope Francis in the title game of the Western Massachusetts Class B tournament. click for more