The interior of Shiro Kitchen and Asian Market in Great Barrington. Photo courtesy Shiro Kitchen and Asian Market

Business Briefs: Asian market opens in Great Barrington; ‘Giving Back’ guide; new VIM Berkshires board member; Roots Rising becomes nonprofit; grant for Villages in the Berkshires

Roots Rising was launched in 2017 as a farm-based youth development program focused on providing meaningful work to Pittsfield teens.

Former Shiro Restaurant reopens as multi-cuisine Asian market and kitchen

Great Barrington — The former Shiro Restaurant on Stockbridge Road has re-opened as Shiro Kitchen and Asian Market. Harry Yu and Wei Wei Shi have run Shiro Restaurant for 18 years, altering the business model several times to appeal to changing demographics.

Most of the former restaurant space is now an Asian market. “The Asian community here is diverse,” said Yu. “We have foods from many cultures.” Shiro’s shelves are stocked with classic Asian noodles, sauces, ingredients, candies, and confections. The freezer cases hold dumplings, mochi, frozen cakes and more. The market has an extensive selection of ramen. The Shiro Kitchen and Asian Market bar continues to offer beer and wine, with a focus on Asian-themed cocktails. Shiro Kitchen serves Asian comfort foods in an airy seated dining area. The grab-and-go section of the market has Asian foods for easy pick-up for lunch and dinner options.

The couple also plans to offer Asian cooking classes. “Wei Wei is an amazing cook,” said Yu of his wife. “We are delighted to share our cooking techniques with the community.” Class subjects will include sushi and yakitori, Japanese cuisine, southeast Asian and Korean cooking styles, curry, and how to properly prepare ramen and shabu-shabu.


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NPC Berkshire releases third annual ‘Giving Back’ guide

Image courtesy Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires

Great Barrington — The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires is distributing the third annual “Giving Back” guide throughout Berkshire County. The free publication is designed to facilitate connections between nonprofits and individuals wishing to donate or volunteer.

Berkshire County is home to approximately 1,000 registered nonprofit organizations, all of which are listed in the guide in categories such as Arts & Culture, Education, Human Services, and Youth. Additionally, the guide includes more than 100 profiles of nonprofits, providing more information about their programs and ways to help.

NPC Berkshires partnered with area business advertisers to make the 160-page booklet available free to the community in time for the giving season. NPC founder Liana Toscanini said the guide has grown every year as more nonprofits participate to increase awareness of their missions. “The book is used by individuals to help plan year-end giving; and also by giving circles, agencies, and schools to organize donations and community service,” said Toscanini.


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Levin joins VIM Berkshires board of trustees

Peter F. Levin. Photo courtesy VIM Berkshires

Great Barrington — Peter F. Levin, a 50-year veteran of the investment management industry and a resident of both Lenox and Cincinnati, Ohio, has joined the board of trustees of Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires.

Levin is the founder and former CEO and chairman of Greystone Investment Management. He is a graduate of Williams College and the University of Michigan Law School, a chartered financial analyst, and serves on the boards of several philanthropic foundations. A member of VIM’s development committee, Levin has supported the organization since 2004.


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Roots Rising to become nonprofit organization

Roots Rising participants Jaclyn and Sumowo at the Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market. Photo courtesy Roots Rising

Pittsfield — Roots Rising has announced that it is incorporating as a nonprofit organization. Formerly a program of the nonprofit Alchemy Initiative, Roots Rising and Alchemy Initiative will merge and Roots Rising will become the lead organization. Roots Rising, the mission of which is to empower youth and build community through food and farming, will be increasing the scale and impact of its work with this transition.

Roots Rising was launched in 2017 as a farm-based youth development program focused on providing meaningful work to Pittsfield teens. Roots Rising currently hires 36 youth per year to work in three seasonal crews on farms and in food pantries throughout the region.

Since its 2009 launch, Alchemy Initiative has used food as the foundation for creative community building. Its two primary programs, Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market and Roots Rising, have both contributed to the strengthening of the local food system and the creation of work opportunities for Pittsfield youth.

As a result of the merge, Roots Rising will offer two new crews: Market Crew, which will transform the Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market into the first teen-run farmers’ market in the region; and Truck Crew, in which youth will run a nonprofit food truck, learning entrepreneurial and culinary skills while expanding the community’s access to healthy food. Each new crew will offer advanced job skills, leadership opportunities and a continued sense of community belonging.


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Villages in the Berkshires receives grant

Pittsfield — Villages in the Berkshires has received a $10,000 Tufts Health Plan Foundation Momentum Fund grant to design a village model for Berkshire County. Established to make cities and towns better places to grow up and grow old, the fun awarded 27 grants to community organizations across Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.

The goal of Villages in the Berkshires is to create a model for providing community and support services that enable older adults to stay in their homes as they age. Members of Villages in the Berkshires will receive these services from volunteers and other members as well as existing providers in the community.

Villages in the Berkshires is a partner and collaborator with the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission’s Age Friendly Berkshires initiative and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College, which will present a free information session about Villages in the Berkshires Monday, Dec. 17, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Berkshire Athenaeum. For more information, contact Howard Shapiro at (413) 212-9948 or