Outgoing North Adams superintendent prepping for antiques business

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NORTH ADAMS — With his retirement on the horizon, North Adams Public Schools Superintendent James Montepare has purchased and renovated two buildings in which to operate his antiques business.

One is on State Road in North Adams and the other is on Cole Avenue in Williamstown.

At a recent meeting of the North Adams Planning Board, Montepare was granted a change of use permit for the building at 432 State Road, a former auto parts store.

"It's a nice building and it suits my purposes quite well," Montepare said. "I needed additional space for some of my larger items."

The building is in a residential zone, and because it had a change of ownership, it became a non-conforming use, requiring a special permit.

Montepare said the location will be open by appointment only for now.

According to Massachusetts Land Records, he paid $60,000 for the building and property in January.

In March 2013, Montepare paid $64,000 for the former Williamstown Youth Center at 270 Cole Ave., next door to the Spirit Shoppe package store. The building had been unoccupied after the youth center moved to its new location adjacent to the Williamstown Elementary School.

Montepare said he also has been moving merchandise from his antique business into this space, with the idea to open for business at some undetermined point in the future.

"It's just a beautiful old building," he said. "And the Spirit Shoppe drives a lot of traffic there."

At both buildings, some cleaning, general repairs and fresh paint were needed, Montepare noted.

Montepare has been working for the school district for 41 years, and until he is off the job, "the students of North Adams are my only priority," he said.

With his retirement set for April 1, he is likely to continue on in the job as a consultant until a successor is named.

Montepare said he likely will to be able to devote more time to his antiques business by mid-year.

He has already been dealing in antiques on a part time basis, renting space from Keith Bona's Berkshire Emporium & Antiques on Main Street in North Adams, and he had been storing some merchandise in rental space.

"At some point I'll be opening the store, so I'll have plenty if things to keep me busy," he said. "And I enjoy doing it."


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