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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.