'End of an era': Longtime North Adams toy store to close

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NORTH ADAMS — After 18 years of owning and operating Persnickety Toys, the charmingly quaint, distinctive toyshop that has become a landmark for the Eagle Street corridor, Monique Suters is closing the business next month.

Suters said the decision was made based on several factors: the loss of business due to the closing of the North Adams Regional Hospital in 2014, the growth of competition on the internet and the unexpected death of her son, Colter Suters, 27, last summer.

All of this has led her to a place in life where she wants to move on.

After working seven days a week for so many years in the store, Suters said, she wants to spend more time visiting with family before she starts seeking another direction for her life. But until mid-December, she'll be there, as always, behind the counter, greeting customers with a smile and talking about kids and toys all day long.

Suters has marked down prices 20 to 50 percent to help empty the store. She said she owns the building, which she will sell after the store is closed.

Suters opened the store in 2001, selling only handmade goods that she produced. She started introducing toys in 2002. Over the years, her reputation grew for stocking out-of-the-ordinary toys and games, and offering a unique collection of goods that encourage creativity and imagination.

"I didn't want to sell toys attached to a movie or a TV show," she said. "Kids can come up with their own ideas."

Her biggest influence in opening a toy store was her grandparents, Glenita and the late Donald Moore of Kansas, who always bought thoughtful toys and gifts for their grandchildren.

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Indeed, in 2007 and 2009 Persnickety Toys was named best toy store in New England by Boston Magazine, Suters noted.

After North Adams Regional Hospital closed, the laid-off employees no longer could come in as much, and the patients who used to stop in on their way out of town don't come by anymore. These days, she said, she has been getting more visits from tourists, but the local business is just not enough to sustain the operation.

"And the loss of my son in August has led me to take a hard look at my priorities," she said. "Now, I want to live my best life for him and his siblings, and find a strong purpose."

Whatever Suters winds up doing, she said, "I want to be with people and see their smiling faces and share hugs and stories, because that what life's about."

She said she is going to miss her customers a great deal and expressed gratitude for their loyalty over the years.

Loyal customer Kathy West, of Clarksburg, who stopped in to the store to pick up some gifts for her grandchildren, said it's a shame the store is closing.

"She's done a wonderful job here, and I hate to see her go," West said. "It's like the end of an era."

Scott Stafford can be reached at sstafford@berkshireeagle.com or 413-629-4517.


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