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Harry's Supermarket on Wahconah Street which was gutted by fire last year is on the market. The grocery never reopened.

Harry's Supermarket For Sale After Severe Fire

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A "gutted" Harry's Supermarket is on the market after a severe fire last year.  The store has been boarded up since.

The more than 8,000-square-foot building on Wahconah Street is listed for $799,000 by Coldwell Banker Realty. It sits on a 0.88 acre lot and property taxes last year were nearly $15,500.

The commercial space is described as having a "large open floor space" that is the "gutted former Harry's Supermarket" with two parking areas. Currently, the 1950s building is boarded up, as the windows were broken to release smoke at the time of the fire in July 2023.

On Friday, the Pittsfield Fire Department confirmed that the official cause of the blaze is undetermined.  The case is closed at the moment and will be revisited if the owners file an insurance claim.

The storied Harry's Supermarket originally opened in Pittsfield in 1914 and stayed in the Nichols family until being sold to new owners in 2021 for $750,000. In 2014, the store celebrated its 100-year milestone.

Land records show the new mortgage recorded under SRH Realty LLC in 2021 and a discharge was filed in 2022, meaning that the mortgage is paid off.

Harry Nichols Sr. opened the business as a variety store in Wahconah Street in 1914 and it was run by his family of 11. The family also operated Nichol's Package Store and a pharmacy, which have since been sold and closed.
 
"My grandfather started it in 1914. He had seven sons and two daughters, a big family. They all lived above the store where the pharmacy used to be. Their whole crew was the family," son Robert Nichols told iBerkshires in 2014.
 
"When they came back from the war, they kind of split up. They opened the package store. They opened the supermarket."
 
In 1957, the family built the store that stands today to replace the variety store. Nichols even had fond memories of playing in the store before he was an employee and his father had taken it over.


 
"I've been here 42 years, I think Tom's been here 46 years full time," he said. "We were there way before that as part-timers. seventh grade, probably."
 
They leased a second location in the old A&P Supermarket spot on Elm Street for about 16 years that was closed and demolished in 2012. Harry's was known for its meat department and hometown vibe.

In 2021, the Nichols sold the operation to Ravikant Patel, who owns a number of other businesses in the county including Williamstown Wine and Spirits and O'Geary's in Adams. The new owners said they would keep it mostly the same and continue its legacy as a generational venture.

This was until last summer when a two-alarm blaze caused heavy fire damage in the rear of the store, as well as smoke, and water damage throughout.

Firefighters worked aggressively to control/extinguish the early evening fire, ventilate the smoke, and prevent the fire's spread. The fire was eventually brought under control in a little over an hour and a fire watch was posted through that night.

The mural on the side of the supermarket was affected by the fire.

"The North End Remembers," dedicated in September 1987, was painted by Daniel O'Connell, Daniel Galvez, Stephen Mark, and Diane Poirier. It contains many images including Harry, the owner of the market, and a man working on a General Electric transformer.
 


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West Side Residents Build Ideal Neighborhood At Zoning Session

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

Program manager James McGrath opens the session at Conte Community School.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Residents mapped out a West Side they would like to see during an input session this week, utilizing multi-use properties to create robust density.

Held at Conte Community School on Monday, this was the second meeting of a project to examine zoning in the neighborhood. The Department of Community Development, in partnership with Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, has been working with an urban planning and design consulting team on the effort that will conclude on June 30.

"This is a really important project for your neighborhood," Park, Open Space, and Natural Resource Program Manager James McGrath said.

Multifamily houses with spaces to accommodate a small business were popular. A community center, church, year-round farmer's market, and even a place to draw in commerce appeared as elements on the tabletop street.

An emphasis was also placed on the amount of immigrants coming to the area in need of housing.

Max Douhoure, community outreach coordinator for Habitat, explained that he grew up in Africa where people liked to live together, which his build reflected.

"I wanted to improve their conditions," he said. "That’s what I did."

During the first meeting in November, the team heard desires for businesses and commercial uses — including a need for small, family-owned business support. The session provided an overview of what zoning is, what zoning can and can't do, how zoning can improve the community, and the impact on residents.

"Today's exercise is really about creating spaces in buildings and on properties to do a combination of residential [uses] that meet the needs and commercial uses that meet the needs of the neighborhood,"  Emily Keys Innes, principal of Innes Associates explained.

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