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Group Urges Return Of Food Option At North Adams Price Chopper, Historic Site In Question

Berkshire Interfaith Organizing
The shuttered North Adams Price Chopper.

Update: Berkshire Interfaith Organizing lead organizer Wendy Krom says the group received a letter from Neil Golub of the Golub Corporation.

“We’re very pleased with his response,” Krom said. “It was a very personal and cordial letter. He said that this issue has his personal attention and that he will keep us as informed as he realistically can and that they are making every reasonable effort to secure a food outlet for that location. We applaud his response.”


An interfaith community group is urging the owners of the shuttered North Adams Price Chopper to offer the building to an organization that will provide healthy food.Representing 17 county congregations and groups, Berkshire Interfaith Organizing, or BIO, is calling on the Golub Corporation to give preference when leasing or selling the former grocery store on State Road.

“That Price Chopper is situated very close to several vulnerable housing developments,” said Jeff Lowenstein, a BIO organizer. “For many residents of those communities, transportation to a more distant food store is very difficult or very expensive. Price Chopper being there really offered them a way to have access to healthy, affordable food that they could also get by walking. It was less than a mile for many folks.”  

The Price Chopper store, which employed 15 full-time and 42 part-time workers, closed in February. In making the announcement, Mona Golub of the Golub Corporation said closure was the appropriate action after reviewing the store’s financial viability. It opened in 1959. Earlier this month BIO sent a letter expressing its desires.

“And also to request that a suitable representative from the corporation sit down with BIO and the Brayton Hill Action Committee, which is working on this issue with us, to see what else they might be able to do to help ensure that people in that community continue to have access to healthy, affordable food,” Lowenstein said. “The Golub Corporation has indicated that they’ve sent us a letter in return, but we have not yet received it.”

Without any news to share about the North Adams site, a spokesperson for the Golub Corporation said it would be premature to discuss the topic. The company owns and operates more than 130 Price Chopper and Market 32 grocery stores in six states. Overall, Lowenstein says the Golub Corporation has indicated a willingness to talk with those involved in the so-called Price Chopper Action Group.

“We’ve recently been going through the communities to ask people to sign letters of support to ask Golub to sit down with us and see what they may be able to do,” he said. “Many people have expressed a willingness to do that. I think we have broad support in the community and I think that support grows out of a need.”

Additionally, a portion of a 1930s replica of Fort Massachusetts stands on the Golub Corporation property in North Adams. With Price Chopper closed, questions have been raised as to what will happen to the chimney and plaque that remain. The original fort was built in 1745 and the following year its less than 50 inhabitants were attacked by about 1,000 French and Native American soldiers as part of King George’s War. Darrell English is a local historian and museum operator who has called for a new replica of the fort.

“The fort fell,” English explained. “The French flag was raised. And historically significant, this was the furthest encroachment of the French Army during that time so Fort Massachusetts is an interesting historical sidebar, but has an importance in itself that the French actually came down here and conquered this region.”

Jim is WAMC’s Assistant News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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