PITTSFIELD -- Music, gaiety and a general fair atmosphere prevailed Thursday at Discover Tyler Street, but the subtext was no joke: Organizers sought to bolster the health of the city’s off-North Street business community.
With hundreds visiting Woodlawn Avenue’s Pittsfield Economic Development Authority parking lot for the event, promote they did.
Business owners and Tyler Street Business Group members highlighted the street as a place one can find top-notch goods and services.
"We’ve got the greatest places to eat, pizza to Polish food, the most interesting shops and furniture stores -- and we’ll even build you a house," said Joe Castoldi, owner of Castoldi’s Barbar Shop on Tyler Street.
Diane Marcella, owner of Marcella Building & Renovation, also on Tyler Street, said the event has evolved since its beginnings in 2010.
Thursday marked the first time Discover Tyler Street occupied the parking lot, where Marcella said a more focussed and "intimate" setting was found.
"I couldn’t be happier with the turnout," Marcella said. "We’ve definitely come a long way. Now we want to increase the focus to the whole Morningside area."
Marcella said the area’s business community, comprising perhaps 150 businesses, initially viewed the event with a measure of skepticism, but each year has seen increased participation.
Former Ward 1 City Councilor Christine Yon, a member of the Tyler Street Business Group, agreed.
"Now that they see we’re making a difference they’re jumping on board," Yon said. "Enthusiasm is starting to grow and I couldn’t be happier. The benefits trickle out into the neighborhood."
Roughly 40 participated in Thursday’s event, and Marcella wanted to see this increase in future years.
"We have a little work to do in continuing to get the word out," she said.
To this end, the business group has recently held events -- like one where North Street clothing merchant Steve Valenti held forth on how to properly dress windows -- and encouraged improved networking between the businesses and potential customers and peers.
Thursday’s event saw merchants offering foods, crafts, baseball bats, coffee, beer and wine and more.
Attendees found entertainment in everything from Zumba to live music and magic performances and a classic car show.
"As time goes on I see other [business communities] doing this," Castoldi said. "This is great for Tyler Street but we really want to improve the whole area."
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