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Terry Cowgill
The former Sears appliance store building at right on Stockbridge Road in Great Barrington has been sold, along with the former Marty & Jim's sandwich shop building, at left. Goodwill Industries plans to relocate to the Sears building sometime in May.

Empty Sears appliance store purchased; Goodwill to move in by May

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By Wednesday, Feb 13, 2019 News 4

Great Barrington — A major storefront on Stockbridge Road that had become vacant last year will soon be stocked with goods again, refilling a void that had been left with the closing of the Sears appliance store.

The Sears building last year before it closed. Image courtesy Google Earth

Tuesday, Great Barrington businessman Craig Barnum closed on the former Sears store, which had shut its doors in October. Barnum purchased the property, which includes the former Marty & Jim’s sandwich shop building, for $1.2 million from CGAM LLC, which is owned by Austin and Carole Mooney of Egremont. The listing broker was Wheeler & Taylor Realty.

The new tenant will be Goodwill of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont, which operates a retail outlet in a Stockbridge Road building that it currently shares with Laramee’s Cleaners, adjacent to the Price Chopper complex.

“They love the location,” Barnum told The Edge, referring to the Sears property. “Goodwill will be a fantastic tenant there. Their business model works well there. They have a lot more space and there is a loading dock.”

Barnum said he has not yet decided what to do with the former sandwich shop building next door. In addition to the ground-floor retail space, there is an apartment on the second floor of the building, which reportedly had mold issues.

The existing Goodwill retail location on Stockbridge Road between Mavis Tire and Theory Wellness. Image courtesy Google Earth

Barnum is confident he can remediate that problem effectively, in part by eliminating the source of the moisture in the basement. He said it would make an ideal location for a real estate office or law firm. The previous model could work, as well: retail on the ground floor and apartment above.

“That property just needs to be maintained and cared for properly,” Barnum said.

In an interview, Goodwill regional CEO David Twiggs said the Sears building will provide vastly expanded floor space and better access for customers and donors. In addition, Goodwill will increase its retail sales floor space from 1,200 square feet in its current location to 5,600 square feet in the Sears building.

“We can really put more merchandise out on the floor and give the shopper a better experience,” Twiggs said. “And we can better handle donations. It’s just logistically better.”

David Twiggs. Photo: Lisa Vollmer Photography

The parking situation will also improve. Currently, Goodwill shares a parking area with Laramee’s and Theory Wellness. In addition, Twiggs said donors will be able to drive around the back of the building for drop-offs and loop back out.

“The loading dock is a huge advantage,” Twiggs added. “We get a lot of box trucks coming and going.”

Finally, Twiggs said Goodwill’s training programs, such as the Rise Program and occupational skills training, will have far more room in which to operate at the new Stockbridge Road location.

The former Sears building was built in 1997 on a little more than eight-tenths of an acre and totals some 8,400 square feet, including a large storage room at the rear. It is zoned for business and has additional storage on the second floor that is serviced by a lift.

Twiggs says he plans start the process of moving the Goodwill operation to the Sears building soon and to open in the new location sometime in May.

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4 Comments   Add Comment

  1. Kayemtee says:

    Sad on multiple levels. Reminder of the demise of the Sears store, where one could buy major appliances at reasonable prices, right here in town.
    The building’s reuse as a second hand store, and one only moving location, not creating a new business, at that. So there is still a retail hole, still infilled.
    It would appear that the only growth is in the marijuana business.
    Still plenty of empty retail in town.

  2. ira kaplan says:

    This is great news. Goodwill provides an incredibly important service recycling goods that would otherwise go into the landfill and they also provide training programs.

    1. John Grogan says:

      Agreed IRA. But I sure do wonder how Mr. Barnum will make any money on this deal. $1.2 million seems like a very steep price, and an awful lot to recoup from a second hand store with presumably a very low revenue per sq. ft. ratio and a second property that sounds like a tear down. Good luck to all though. That section of route 7 was fast becoming a ghost town and really needs some investment.

  3. Laura C says:

    Great for them!!! The store will be larger and can carry more bigger items like furniture. The current store is too small
    and can only stock so much. I am sure that all the inconsiderate pot people are taking all their parking spots like they are
    at the Price Chopper lot.

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