Business Briefs

Posted
Thursday January 6, 2011

Green River Farms, Store at Five Corners to close for changes

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Two South Williamstown icons -- Green River Farms and The Store at Five Corners -- are closing.

Franklin C. Lewis, who owns the businesses at the intersection of Green River and New Ashford roads, said Monday he is closing the store and farm in order to reorganize their operations.

"The idea is to reorganize to take the businesses to the next evolution," he said. "It’s very unlikely the corner will remain vacant or quiet."

Lewis, of Salt Springs, Fla., purchased Green River Farms for $1.5 million in April 2010 from James E. Galusha. Galusha, whose family operates Fairfields Dairy Farm, purchased Green River Farms for $1 in December 2008 from Harry S. Patten.

In July 2009, Lewis purchased The Store at Five Corners for $375,000 from Meredith K. Woodyard of Petersburgh, N.Y.

Once the properties were under common ownership, Lewis set to work making them a destination for locals and tourists.

"The goal is to make it a community resource, an educational center and a place for people to come and have an outstanding experience, and that hasn’t changed," Lewis said.

Lewis wouldn’t state if or when the businesses may reopen saying that he "can’t predict the future."

Signs posted in the entrance way of The Store at Five Corners on Monday stated the store would close at the end of the day on Thursday, Jan. 6, for renovations and reorganization. Lewis said a large enough sum of money had been lost that made it prohibitive under the present course and former leadership to continue operating the businesses.

"Essentially there is no question that financial issues make it ridiculous to continue on our present course, and that is why there needs to be a reorganization. It needs to be essentially a regrouping in order make the businesses viable," he said.

The closure of Green River Farms and The Store at Five Corners, which has been a staple in South Williamstown since 1832 when it opened as a tavern, has residents and local officials shocked and concerned.

--North Adams Transcript Yogurt factory to open in the spring

BRATTLEBORO -- With the building that will house its operations complete and sealed from the elements, progress at the Commonwealth Dairy factory will continue moving along through the winter, according to Benjamin Johnson, Commonwealth co-founder and chief financial officer.

Johnson said consumers can expect to see Commonwealth yogurt in stores starting this spring, though it won’t be under the Commonwealth name.

The company plans to make yogurt for retailers under private labels and to sell its own all-natural "Mountainberry" brand product as well. "We’re excited to offer to customers what we believe to be a very high quality product," said Johnson.

He said that Commonwealth’s manufacturing process allows for the removal of many ingredients that exist in yogurts today.

"We’ll be able to remove some stabilizers and other extra ingredients that other companies have to put in to keep their product on the shelf longer," said Johnson.

The new company broke ground in April 2010, and it plans to ultimately have 25 to 30 local employees on its payroll by April, Johnson said. The production facility is being built on 5.9 acres of land on Omega Optical’s Delta Campus off Paul’s Road.

"We’re getting close," he added. "We’re working right now to be shelving yogurt in April."

The project has utilized the skills of more than 20 local subcontractors.

-- Brattleboro Reformer

Dufour will halt tours

HINSDALE, Mass. -- Dufour Tours is planning to either sell or shut down its motor coach and bus tour operations by late 2011, so the company can focus exclusively on its large school bus fleet.

Owner William Dufour said he hopes to have a buyer for the motor coach operations by Aug. 31, which is the end of the family-owned business’ corporate year.

If he doesn’t locate a buyer by then, Dufour said he will discontinue that part of the business, which Dufour Tours has run since 1970. But Dufour termed shutting down the motor coach and tour buses a "worst-case scenario."

"The four motor coaches [the company owns] all have high value," he said. "I have a lot of great clients and accounts. I’d love to introduce them to somebody. The value is there on the equipment side to sell them in the marketplace."

Dufour said he would prefer to find someone suitable that would continue to operate the motor coach and tour service in Berkshire County, and has had preliminary discussions with two Western Massachusetts companies, including one that expressed an interest three years ago.

He declined to disclose his asking price. "I have a number in my mind," he said. "But I’m more interested in getting fair market value for the equipment and getting someone for my customers. I’d prefer to keep the asking price private."

-- The Berkshire Eagle


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