“It’s all about something that’s real, you can touch it, you’re there,” says Dana Bixby, owner of Dana Bixby Architecture, teasing out the threads of what inspires her to accept BerkShares for her architectural services. She might be talking about BerkShares, but you could almost say that she is talking about her own practice. “I do ‘spatial architecture,’ which is different from fictional or superficial architecture,” says Dana. “I want to create the possibility of experience, rather than a representation or idea of experience.”
Business of the Month
273 Great Barrington Road, Great Barrington, MA 01126
Maddie: (413) 329-8389
Abe: (413) 429-6266
Imagine a currency that is backed by fermented cabbages, carrots, and garlic. Sound far-fetched? Here in the Berkshire Hills it’s a reality. Take a handful of BerkShares with you to the Great Barrington Farmers’ Market, for example, and you can quickly convert it to kimchi or sauerkraut.
“Hosta Hill is a cultured food business. We make lacto-fermented sauerkraut and kimchi and unpasteurized tempeh, and we accept BerkShares,” confirms Maddie Elling, who is co-owner with her partner Abe Hunrichs. “Our business is based in the Berkshires, and so accepting BerkShares is a really great way of ‘walking the talk’ of the local economy.” When you use BerkShares, Maddie says, “the money is happy wherever it goes.”
John Isaacs has never been afraid to try his hand at new things. At 17, the Brit hopped aboard a Norwegian merchant ship, swabbing the decks as a ship boy. As a philosophy student in the mid-60s he found a summer job with an advertising agency, acquiring a fascination with typography and his first graphic design experience.
Later, he threw himself into filmmaking, then became the executive director of a publishing company in New York. Now he runs his own small firm in Claverack, John Isaacs Design.
Tom Doyle and David Thorne, co-owners of Gateway Berkshire Real Estate & Services, are in the business of introducing people to the Berkshires–and they have enlisted the assistance of our local currency! “BerkShares are a great way to quickly inform new entrants to the area about our local economy,” says Doyle, who uses BerkShares to take clients out to lunch. People are always really intrigued, he says, and the “best part” of Gateway’s gift at a closing is a starter set of BerkShares, along with information about where to spend them. “The directory is filled with the types of shops and services new homeowners will need, so it’s like a tutorial.”
In the Berkshires you can find heirloom tomatoes, artisanal cheese, pasture-raised beef... but can you find a real bagel? Thanks to the Great Barrington Bagel Company, the answer to that question is yes. “We’re making an authentic New York-style bagel. It’s a specialty,” says owner Bob Climo with pride.
AW Baldwin's Hardware
2 Center Street, West Stockbridge, MA
Henry Baldwin’s hardware business has a genealogy. His great-great grandfather, also by the name of Henry, bought the business 150 years ago, and Baldwin’s Hardware has been a steadfast presence right smack in the middle of West Stockbridge ever since then. From this vantage point, Baldwin has a pretty special perspective on this little—and very walkable—town.
39 Silver Street, Sheffield, MA
Cold hard stone? Not in the hands of master mason Mark Mendel and his crew at Monterey Masonry. When you talk to Mendel you realize that his business has a lot more to do with warmth than you might anticipate. In fact, Mendel’s “bread and butter” since he founded Monterey Masonry in 1982 has been in building fireplaces. Mendel specializes in building energy
7 South Street, Stockbridge, MA
Maurice Peterson’s ambitions did not originally tend toward owning a salon in Stockbridge. “I was going to be a movie star and director,” he explains. But his husband, Mark Johnson, had always dreamed of having his own salon, and after working for some of the top salons in London, Los Angeles, and New York, he knew a lot about the business. So eight
“I don’t think there’s a better place in the world to grow apples than New England and in particular the Berkshires,” says John Vittori, co-owner of Hilltop Orchards and Furnace Brook Winery. Though they grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts, Vittori and his sister Wendy always
Bizalion's Fine Food
684 S. Main Street, Great Barrington, MA
Entrepreneur comes from the French entreprendre. “It’s the adventure of launching yourself into something new” says Jean-François Bizalion of Bizalion’s Fine Food in Great Barrington. When Jean-François and his wife Helen opened their café and specialty food shop a little over ten years ago, in 2003, they were certainly embarking on a new adventure