NORTH ADAMS -- A new downtown space aims to offer one-stop shopping for tourism and business development.
The shared storefront at 105 Main St. will be used for the North Adams Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor's Office of Tourism, and the Franklin County Community Development Corp.
As business owners and community leaders gathered in the space for the first time Wednesday night for the chamber's monthly business exchange, Chamber President Glenn Maloney stressed the need for collaboration.
"All of a sudden, we realized it was a natural fit to put these three agencies together," he said. "We'll be able to share space and resources."
The office was furnished at no cost to the three agencies, Maloney said, with donations coming from businesses including Wilkinson Appraisal and Everyday Health.
Maloney said until the opening of the Main Street space, the organization established in 2012 has met in various locations around the city.
"This is the first place we have our name on the wall," he said.
The tourism office was housed in 6 Main St., which will be part of the redevelopment of Western Gateway Heritage State Park into the Greylock Market, a mixed-use artisan center.
The city's involvement with the FCCDC stems from the Economic Resiliency in the Northern Tier, a development program with Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and the Franklin Regional Council of Governments. The 18-month program, launched in July, was funded by a $284,311 Disaster Relief Opportunity Grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and a 25 percent match from the FCCDC.
Dawn Broadwell, a business development specialist with the FCCDC, said she will be present in the office on Wednesdays. The organization will provide information to business owners, she said.
"Some businesses don't know what resources exist because they don't have the time to go look," Maloney said.
She said Jennifer Krouse of Imagine North Adams suggested recreating the "business incubators" in Shelburne Falls, where prospective business owners can rent a desk.
"Whether this space lives here forever, it's important we come up with a template that works," Maloney said. "As buildings and development evolves we can figure out where that heads ... whether this space involves into a bigger space that can help incubate businesses."
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