Three new stores open at Berkshire Mall, just in time for the holidays


LANESBOROUGH -- With the holiday shopping season approaching, a Cape-Cod based national retailer of Christmas related items is opening a temporary store in the Berkshire Mall.

Christmas Tree Shops will officially open what a company spokeswoman refers to as a "pop-up store," Christmas Tree Shops Express, in the mall on Friday. It is one of three businesses that recently have either opened or plan to open at Berkshire County's largest shopping mall.

Gillys Snowboard Shop moved from Pittsfield to the mall during the first week in October. A third business, Candles and Gifts, is preparing to open, although the exact date was unavailable on Wednesday.

A smattering of other seasonal businesses also are expected to be open at the mall during the holiday shopping season.

Christmas Tree Shops is located in a storefront that served as a workshop for the Berkshire Carousel Project. Company spokeswoman Michelle Watkins said plans call for the store to remain at the mall through the holiday season "and potentially a little beyond."

"Everywhere we go we evaluate the potential for the future," Watkins said.

Founded in Yarmouthport in the 1950s, Christmas Tree Shops was purchased by Bed Bath and Beyond Inc., a publicly traded company, in 2003. The chain currently operates more than 70 stores in 21 states including outlets in Holyoke and Albany, N.Y. Watkins said a temporary store in the Berkshires fit into the company's demographics.

"We like the area," she said. "We think that customers will respond in that location, and we wanted to try it out."

The store in the mall will offer most of the items that the chain offers in its regular outlets.

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"It'll have a lot of the same items, but because it's a smaller location it won't be a full assessment," Watkins said.

Gillys was formerly located in a storefront on Tyler Street, but owner Blase Gilmore said moving to the mall has provided him with access to more customers.

"There's much more foot traffic," said Gilmore, who started Gillys in 2009. "There's more of a retail shopping atmosphere."

Gilmore said his Tyler Street shop contained only 800 square feet, while his storefront at the mall is more than twice as large -- around 1,800 square feet.

"I didn't have the space to grow," he said. "This gives me more space to grow."

Gilmore said he has signed a one-year lease with the Berkshire Mall's owner, the Pyramid Companies of Syracuse, N.Y.

"After that we'll decide how it's grown," Gilmore said. "I will say my walk-in traffic has increased (already) three or four times."

The owner of Candles and Gifts could not be reached for comment.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski:
(413) 496-6224


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