PITTSFIELD -- Carr Hardware has been involved in the party and event rental business since 1997. But with the need for those services expanding in Central Berkshire, the company had been seeking additional space to house them.

The county-wide chain didn't have to look far. It has opened a new rental facility in the building that abuts its hardware store on North Street.

The new facility is located at 549-551 North St., in a two-story commercial building that is owned by Pittsfield contractor Scott Graves.

"We took over two retail spaces and blew out the walls," said Carr's owner, Bart Raser.Raser declined to comment on the cost of the renovations, except to say that they were in the six figures.

"We took over two retail spaces and blew out the walls," said Carr's owner, Bart Raser.Raser declined to comment on the cost of the renovations, except to say that they were in the six figures.

"It's a pretty significant investment," he said.

A grand opening for the new facility will take place in the spring.

Carr has also moved the heavy equipment that it has always offered for rent, like excavators, carpet cleaners and insulation blowers, into the new space. The new space also includes a television that allows patrons to view instructional videos.

The party and event items include all types of tents, a photo booth that can be rented for parties, champagne fountains, and a device known as a "quebbie" that Raser describes as a "DJ in a box."

"It's a total sound system," Raser said. "Words cannot describe it."

Carr has also hired two new employees to staff the rental facility, and may add more.

"It will have a new dedicated party and rent person, and a by appointment person which we're interviewing for now," Raser said. "If it continues to grow, will be advocating for adding more. The space came out great."

Raser said Carr's party and event rental business has experienced "double digit growth almost constantly" for the past two or three years. Until now, that side of Carr's business was centered at the chain's store in North Adams. Carr opened a new store in North Adams last April.

"It broadens the exposure dramatically because rental service is a big part of our business," Raser said, referring to the new location. "Central Berkshire needed a total and complete operation. This gives us more opportunity to help customers."

Raser attributed the growth in Carr's party and event rental operations to an "awareness that rental is an option."

"I don't think we're taking business from other folks," he said. "People realize that you can rent it instead of buying it."