NORTH ADAMS -- There's a new face at the North Adams Chamber of Commerce office at 107 Main St.

Ricco Fruscio, a longtime local businessman, has been appointed to serve as the program coordinator. He becomes only the second person to hold the position, which was created last year.

In a recent interview, Fruscio said he sees increasing the city's population and traffic flow as keys to creating a strong local economy.

Fruscio replaces Catie McDonough, the former program coordinator who relocated with her husband at the end of May.

A native of Watervliet, N.Y., he attended Hudson Valley Community College. Fruscio has lived in the city with his wife for 34 years. His daughters graduated from Drury High School.

His experience includes owning several small businesses in Rhode Island and New York, including a chain of Teddy bear stores, and serving as head of a downtown merchants association in Newport, R.I.

Fruscio also manages the hardware department at Carr Hardware on State Road, and is also the founder and owner of Northeast Church Services.

One of the most important things, he said, is for the city to capitalize on the arts. That initiative was recognized by website PolicyMic.com, which listed North Adams as good for 20-something creative types.

"Let's find them, invite them here, give them a tour," he said. "And then we show them what we see."

Fruscio also said he's enthusiastic about working one-on-one with small business owners on attracting new customers.

"Store owners need to bring customers over the door threshold, and they will come back," he said.

Fruscio will work part time in the chamber's office at 105 Main St., a space it shares with the North Adams Office of Tourism and Community Events and the Franklin County Community Develop-
ment Corp.

"We are so very excited at the skill and experience he brings to the North Adams Chamber of Commerce," said Glenn Maloney, president of the North Adams Chamber of Commerce, in a statement. "As we enter our second membership year we are all very excited to see Ricco extend and grow the network of the North Adams Chamber of Commerce while continuing to identify the needs of the North Berkshire business community."

To reach Edward Damon:
edamon@berkshireeagle.com or (413) 663-3741, ext 224.
On Twitter: @BE_EDamon