PITTSFIELD -- Bisque, Beads & Beyond!, the popular studio arts and retail store on North Street, will stay open for another year.
Donna Todd Rivers told The Eagle she officially signed a new one-year lease for the two-floor 3,000-square-foot space at 141 North St. on Tuesday morning. She also made a public announcement via Facebook.
"Yes, the news is confirmed. I'm so excited. We all are," said Rivers, whose business has been on North Street since 2009. It was established first in Porter Plaza on Pecks Road in 2003.
Earlier this year, Rivers announced that she planned to close her North Street store by September, and would continue the business online and through private instruction.
Rivers said she "literally got hundreds and hundreds of letters, calls, stops in" in support of her keeping open the North Street store.
"It's been like going to a funeral. You don't know you're loved ‘til you die," she said.
Now, the studio has plans to not only stay in place, but to expand and improve operations.
"We've always been a healthy business. It's just been a logistics thing" about keeping the space open, Rivers said.
Bisque, Beads & Beyond! is now in its 10th summer. Rivers said July and August are the studio's biggest months for activity and sales -- more so than Christmas time -- so the store is currently stocked with inventory. The store offers instruction and materials for painting your own pottery, hand-building with clay, fused glass work, beading and jewelry making, and mosaic work.
Rivers said a party room will be maintained on the store's lower level. New fixtures will be installed and the first floor will be reconfigured for two new art areas for new canvas painting classes and continuing the handbuilding clay program. The studio will also expand the kinds of beading classes offered.
"And we're still going to do our mobile business," she said.
The idea is to bring classes and materials to customers. For example a staff member recently visited Lenox Community Center with a mug painting class for 60 students on site, according to Rivers. Bisque, Beads & Beyond! also does on-site monthly business with Peppermint Park Camping Resort in Plainfield.
"Everyone's really been supportive, and all this is because of the community. They would not let us close," Rivers said.