LENOX -- A one-stop shopping emporium for home design and remodeling will be the new retail anchor at the Lenox Commons mixed-use development just north of town along Routes 7 and 20.
Berkshire Home Design Center is a spinoff of Stevens World of Flooring at Pittsfield's Allendale Shopping Center, which remains open, along with its warehouse and fabrication operation.
The Lenox location represents an investment of about $200,000, with annual sales projected at $3 million, according to William E. Hines Sr., chief executive officer of the 20-20 Hines Sight Group that owns the network of enterprises. Revenue at the Allendale location currently ranges from $1.5 million to $2 million, he said Friday.
For him, the business represents an expansion and spinoff of his existing operation, a vote of confidence and expression of faith in a slowly reviving economy, especially housing, and an effort to reach new customers in the southern half of the county.
"We're seeing the economy increasing," Hines explained, "but in reality we're seeing it more from Pittsfield south, while Pittsfield north, with the exception of several pockets, is sort of stagnant and not growing with the economy."
According to Lenox Commons owner David Ward, the home design center reflects another major step in the unfolding success of his complex of condos, retail businesses, two restaurants, professional offices and medical practices, to be joined in a few months by a primary-care facility operated by Berkshire Health Systems.
The 8,000-square-foot center offers furniture, carpets, rugs, hardwood floors, custom cabinetry, kitchens, closets and "organizational systems," windows, shades, blinds, shutters and treatments, granite countertops, ceramics, tile, home theater, security systems and environmental monitoring, as well as remodeling and installation services. It carries a selection of Hunt Country Furniture, which used to have a separate store at Lenox Commons.
Hines already has a working partnership with Ward's company, LD Builders, having supplied carpeting for Ward's condo developments -- Lenox Woods, the Pines at Bousquet in Pittsfield, Silver Maple Farm in Dalton, Ashmere Landing in Hinsdale, Devon Meadow in Lee and, just getting underway, the 44-unit Barrington Brook complex.
Ward is bullish on the revival of the real estate market -- "we've had a great year," he said. "Now we have a home design center under one roof, where people can come in and see everything at once."
Berkshire Home Design Center, with a five-year lease, replaces the Berkshire Mountain Country Store, which occupied the space for 18 months and has added a location on Main Street in Lee to owners Alan and Teresa O'Brient's long-established Williams & Sons country store and Once Upon a Table cafe on Main Street in Stockbridge.
"We had an amicable parting of the ways," Ward explained. "They weren't getting the volume for that kind of souvenir business here."
"We're looking for long-term tenants, we're not here to have a revolving door," he said in reference to Hines' long-term lease.
The new business, open from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday (until 7 p.m. on Thursdays), employs several design consultants and salespeople, said William Murray, president of the store as well as of Stevens World of Flooring and Organize It!, a related storage and organization business. The Lenox location will be managed by Jared Mallet, who has been a sales and design consultant at Stevens.
"We're not just relocating a store," Murray said. "We're offering a service so somebody's not bouncing all over the country trying to find all their picks and dragging their samples around. At the same time, it's our chance to capture more of the market. In this economy we've been battling, market share is the only opportunity we have to grow."
A "grand opening" party will be held at the Lenox Commons site on Wednesday, Aug. 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. with appetizers, wine, beer and soda, and live music performed by Sherri James Buxton.
Information: 551-7136 or www.berkshirehomedesigncenter.com.