Spring St. venues set for summer opening

By this summer, Spring Street will be home to several more new stores, restaurants and offices – including campus favorite The Purple Pub, which is reopening under new management. Together with Nature’s Closet, which arrived at 61 Spring St. last month, and Subway, these new additions will reanimate a commercial area that has seen the closure of four businesses in the last several months.

The recently completed building at 61-65 Spring Street will be soon be occupied by The Purple Pub; Spring Street Pizza, which will serve pizza pies and slices as well as salads for lunch and dinner every day; VoodooVox, a venture funded media company moving from Mass MoCa; Overland, an organizer of summer adventure travel programs for 10- to 19-year-olds; Barr and Barr Inc., a construction management firm; and Spring Street Office Suites, a flexible-term office space arrangement.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the caliber [of] tenant[s] that this building has attracted. Spring Street is more desirable than ever,” said Mark Paresky, local developer and property owner, in a Feb. 18 press release. “We invested in 61 Spring Street with the assumption that, to serve the local population and attract visitors from a 50 mile radius, Spring Street needed a larger critical mass of shopping and eating experiences.”

That’s A Wrap – a sandwich, salad and smoothie eatery from Pittsfield – will be located at across the street in the space formerly occupied by Helen’s Place. The Purple Pub, after being destroyed in a fire two years ago, will reopen with new management in a larger setting with indoor and outdoor dining as well as an expanded menu.

“All of these changes are great for students,” Paresky said. “The college town to any college is an important part of a student experience. The return of The Purple Pub and the addition of Spring Street Pizza certainly improve the offerings to students. This will only get better over time when you have 10 or 15 more stores from which to choose.”

According to Nature’s Closet owner Steve Hinchliff, Williamstown is a good location for the store, since most Williams students actively participate in outdoor activities. Although the store sells popular brands such as North Face and Patagonia, Hinchliff asserts that his business is traditional “mom-and-pop.” He confirmed the store has been doing well in terms of sales, even though January is generally not the best time to open a new store. Hinchliff, however, was pleased with the sales during Winter Carnival weekend and expects the new spring inventory to attract even more customers.
According to Paresky, the focus of construction on Spring Street will be shifted to 41-57 Spring St. now that the 61-65 Spring St. renovations have been completed. Paresky said that he anticipates that construction will continue for the next few years.

“Spring Street [currently] gets traffic because people are in town for other things – I’d like to see it become a destination itself,” Paresky said. “You can go to a mall anywhere, but what we need is to have an authentic town with real shopkeepers who deeply care about what they sell and how they merchandise it. Any good merchant will realize that their merchandise and pricing must be appropriate for the students, locals and tourists alike.”

Additional reporting by Iliyana Hadjistoyanova, opinions editor.