Letter: Recalling cherished North Street store
I read in The Eagle that the Spice Dragon's restaurant building at 273 North St. in Pittsfield is being considered for a hotel. It seems to me that the hotel business is serving a pool of customers that has enough choices already. The present hotels and motels do not have a good occupancy rate as it is. Patriot Suites built a hotel on Dan Fox Drive that ultimately failed. That is an extremely large building that is being converted to other uses.
The Besse-Clarke department store was the owner and occupant of 273 North St. for quite a few decades. My dad was employed by Besse-Clarke for the last two decades of its existence. The store had beautiful suits for men and as well as casual clothing on the first floor. The second floor was the sporting goods department, which carried everything from skis to sneakers and did a tremendous amount of business. As my dad was the store's tailor, he knew what brands sold well and which did not. I am not a tailor myself but learned a lot about how to fit clothing.
Since the days of Besse-Clarke I've been in the building only once, when it was the Goodwill store. It so disheartened me to see how the once elegant interior had been changed. I never went back. I prefer my memories of how it was in its heyday.
In the summer tourist season, Pittsfield will have to advertise that there are other hotel venues besides Lenox, Stockbridge and Williamstown. Pittsfield has not traditionally been part of the summer tourist market, so the proposed hotel at 273 North St. would have to advertise along the lines of, "Come and discover downtown Pittsfield."
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