Berkshire Business | Dory & Ginger: Two friends use extra space to make their dream come true
Photo Gallery | Dory & Ginger
PITTSFIELD — Laurie Tierney and Cara Carroll had always wanted to own a store. Carroll had been thinking about it since she was 18.
The two friends even talked about running a store together when they worked at Pine Cone Hill. But they needed a site.
Laurie and her husband David own Hotel on North. When the Tierneys finished their plans for Pittsfield's first boutique hotel they were left with a little extra space, which happened to have a storefront on North Street.
"He said to me, "I don't want an empty tooth next to the hotel, but I want something fabulous in there," Laurie recalled her husband telling her. "So he said why don't you talk to Cara about a store?"
Carroll was a little hesitant at first because she would have to commute from Monterey to Pittsfield. "It just seemed impossible," she said.
Too good to pass up
But the more Carroll thought about it the more appealing the idea became.
"It was like how can I not do this," she said. "It was my little dream to do this, and Laurie and I are a great match for each other."
That is how Tierney and Carroll opened "Dory & Ginger", a small gift shop at 299 North St. that is located in that small space Hotel on North didn't fill.
The two women have an easygoing camaraderie. They are the type of business partners who finish each other's sentences.
And the store's name is a reflection of them.
Tierney received the nickname Dory when her nephew was a baby. No one had ever called Carroll "Ginger" before but the name sort of fit.
"With Cara, it's not a nickname," Tierney said. "But she's a redhead so she took one for the team."
Dory & Ginger sells a variety of items including children and baby goods; personal accessories like hats, scarves and purses; decorative housewares and table-top items; and items like candles, soaps and blankets. They even have a few furniture items.
In recognition of their partnership, Assembly Coffee Roasters of Pittsfield even made the two business partners their own brand of coffee, which is named Dory & Ginger.
Carroll said the partners frequently rotate the merchandise they offer.
"We sell a little bit of everything," Carroll said. "It's a small space, but we jam a lot in here.
"We like to think there's something for everybody here," she said.
Tierney and Carroll obtained financing to start their business that is separate from the funding that the Tierneys received to build the $14 million hotel.
"We are a separate business from the hotel," Tierney said.
However, the gift shop is accessible from the hotel lobby.
"So we designed the store with that in mind knowing we would not only be serving local customers but hotel customers." Carroll said.
So far, most of their customers have been hotel patrons.
"I think local people are still finding us," Carroll said.
A lack of parking spaces on North Street has hampered many small downtown businesses, but patrons of Dory & Ginger can park in the hotel's lot on Summer Street if space is available.
"Part of us taking the risk opening up a shop on North Street is because we want to be part of this vibrant, amazing community and keep the ball rolling and get people shopping on North," Carroll said.
Tierney and Carroll have two part-time employees. One of them is Pamela Downing, the mother of state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield.
Dory & Ginger is opened from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Saturday; from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday; and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.