|Persnickety Toys Closing After 19 Years in North Adams|
|By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff|
04:06AM / Thursday, October 31, 2019
|Monique Suters stands inside Persnickety Toys, which is closing after 19 years in North Adams.|
A 'for sale' sign adorns the side of 13 Eagle St. in North Adams, which has housed Persnickety Toys for the last 19 years.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A longtime fixture of the downtown North Adams business community is closing its doors.
Persnickety Toys, which has operated for 19 years at its 13 Eagle St. location, will close within four to six weeks, owner Monique Suters said this week. Suters made her official announcement on Oct. 25 in a video on the shop's Facebook page.
"I've loved watching your kiddos grow up here in this magical place and will forever cherish those memories created here," Suters said in the video, asking her customers to remember to "honor the power of play."
Suters said her decision to close came after struggling to stay afloat with online competition as well as a smaller market since the closure of North Adams Regional Hospital in 2014 and the recent death of her son in August.
"That made me look at my priorities," she said. "He'd want me to be happy. Not that this doesn't make me happy, but it's just not viable."
Suters opened Persnickety Toys in 2001 by leasing the space; in 2004, she purchased the building with plans to renovate the space above the storefronts into a living space for her family. That never happened, she said, because she instead opened a second location on North Street in Pittsfield in 2010 that was operated by her brother, Mike Moore. That store closed after the end of the 2015 holiday season.
In North Adams, the toy store occasionally shared its smaller, conjoined space with other businesses, including "incubating" Bark 'N' Cat, which went on to open on Holden Street until it closed earlier this year, and Shima, an infant and toddler clothing and toys shop that ended up closing at the end of 2014. Currently the toy store uses both spaces.
Suters said she is starting the process of liquidating her inventory and hopes to be closed before the holidays so she can enjoy them not as a retailer.
Glenn Maloney, president of the North Adams Chamber of Commerce, said the downtown community will miss Suters, who he said was "a vital part of so many young lives over the years."
"I can picture the joy on my own kids' faces when they would see the hand-printed Persnickety bags at a birthday party. The enjoyment that was shared with so many is immeasurable," Maloney said. "Monique will leave an indelible mark on our business community and our families. We are truly fortunate to have had her contribution to our business district and our lives."
As for what she will do next, Suters said she is taking it one step at a time until the building is sold, but she hopes to travel and spend time with family. Originally from Kansas, Suters said she has no plans to leave the area, where she has a daughter set to graduate from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in 2020.
"I'm happy to say that this is home," she said.
Suters said it was really difficult to make the Facebook video announcing her decision to close because she has made so many wonderful connections while running the store.
"This was a life's work and it's hard to say goodbye," she said.
On that Facebook post, she has received many, many words of sadness but gratitude from longtime customers. "You have given so much joy and richness to our lives, and the lives of the children we love," one customer wrote. "You have put so many smiles on the faces of so many children ... and adults," wrote another. And yet another wrote: "My children and grandchildren have loved every gift purchased with your expert advice. We will miss you and your special gifts and the love and care packed in every package. I wish you a beautiful next adventure."
As for Suters, she has one final message to give back to the customers who supported her over the years.
"Thank you for making me feel like family and part of this community," she said. "Even though I wasn't born and raised here, I consider it home."