A Spirited renovation


Photo Gallery | Spirited Renovations

LENOX -- Following a five-month, $200,000 top-to-bottom renovation, Spirited is sporting a new look and expanded offerings as a one-stop, full-service destination for artisan foods and, of course, spirits.

Owner Jim Nejaime, who rebranded the former, 25-year-old outpost of Nejaime's Wine Cellars two years ago when he took over as sole proprietor, explained that "soup to nuts, we replaced everything in the store," including an exposed industrial ceiling and ductwork, new lighting and sound, and a touch of woodwork for a warmer look.

The wine, liquor and food emporium at the busy intersection of Holmes and Pittsfield-Lenox roads is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily except Sunday.

"Our intent was to make it a better layout, better flow, easier to shop," he said, "so that included widening the aisles, expanding the selection in all areas, new flooring, so it's easier to move around."

The reboot, which stretched from September to April with a one-month holiday season break, included a 10-foot pushback of the rear wall that added 400 square feet to the original, 3,600-square-foot space.

The liquor inventory has expanded to include grappa, single-malt whiskey and high-end tequila. Also available are what Nejaime called "an exploding section of craft beers" and an enhanced, extensive wine selection.

A consolidated gourmet food section features a coffee bar stocked with a hand-roasted special blend from Depot 6 in West Stockbridge -- complimentary coffee, tea or cocoa for customers -- as well as packaged coffee beans and teas.

There's a selection of baguettes, focaccia, ciabattas and paninis from Richard Bourdon's Berkshire Mountain Bakery in Housatonic and from Daily Bread's bakery in Great Barrington.

Specialty cheeses, spreads and pates are for sale from area purveyors such as Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown, Monterey Chèvre and Sangha in Plainfield, as well as high-quality cured meats such as duck sausage, duck salami, foie gras and prosciuttos. Also on sale: Serrano ham, caviar, fresh mozzarella, other prepared foods. and sweet delectables from Chocolate Springs.

There's an extensive variety of old-world style, refillable vinegar and olive oil bottles, jams and jellies, as well as a freezer stocked with Soco ice cream and Maple Valley ice cream from Hadley, soups and homemade quiches from Farm and Country of Southfield, pre-packaged frozen ravioli and Berkshire Mountain pizzas.

Items such as Bubba's Marinara by Jason Macioge of Lenox are also on offer, along with a wide variety of other quality gourmet selections.

Prepared picnics to go are available in multiple varieties.

There's a new wine bar for the establishment's weekly tastings every Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. that include Skyped-in video sessions with wine experts.

To get the word out about new products, tastings and special events, the business is relying on its website, Facebook, and direct e-mails to customers.

"The reaction from people has been wonderful," said Nejaime. "They feel like the space is more open and inviting, nicer lighting and sound, and still very shoppable."

In a competitive field, he pointed out, to stand out from the crowd he aims to make the store "as nice, comfortable, clean and full of great products as it can be."

He also stressed the importance of knowledgeable, well-trained staff to maximize customer service -- his employees have been with the business, on average, for 20 years.

"Having dedicated people who are passionate about it, care about it, makes a big difference," said Nejaime.

The store offers catering services and also delivers its products up and down the county (no minimum order), as well as to customers in the Boston and New York metro areas (three-case minimum).

The business employs 14 full-time and seven part-time staffers. Allegrone Construction was the general contractor for the renovation, with contributions from Pignatelli Electric, Scott's Flooring, JP's Painting, and Pariseau Heating and Cooling. Decorative and aesthetic design was handled by Sue Allegrone and Heidi Nejaime, the owner's wife and office manager for the establishment.

At a glance ...

What: Spirited, a wine, liquor and fine-food emporium

Where: 444 Pittsfield Road (Routes 7 & 20), Lenox.

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m to 9 p.m. Closed Sundays.

Information: (413) 448-2274 or jim@spirited-wines.com

On the Web: spirited-wines.com or facebook.com/spiritedwine

To contact Clarence Fanto:cfanto@yahoo.com or (413) 637-2551. On Twitter: @BE_cfanto


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions