Package Store, Chinese Restaurant, and Coffee Shop Slated for Crafts Avenue; Miss Flo’s gets Liquor License

Eugene Ferrer and his wife will be opening a "different type" of coffee shop on Crafts Avenue downtown next month.

With more common victualer and liquor licenses being issued, new businesses are springing up and old ones are adding to their repertoire. The License Commission is also looking to raise the cost of almost all licenses and permits it issues.

NORTHAMPTON – Three new businesses will be opening soon on Crafts Avenue across from City Hall downtown: a coffeehouse, a Chinese restaurant and a beer and wine package store.

All three were recently approved by the city’s License Commission, which has been busy lately. At their meeting last week, commissioners also OK’ed a seasonal beer and wine license for the Miss Florence Diner, and set a date to raise license fees across the board.

Changes on Crafts Avenue

Big changes are taking place on Crafts Avenue, with almost half the businesses either vacant or in the process of being renovated for new uses.

Package Store. At the bottom of the street, a new beer and wine package store, to be called “Provisions,” will be coming to the large commercial space at 30 Crafts Ave. (formerly Paradise City Copies and, more recently The Fix, a Pilates and yoga studio).

A wine and beer package store, "Provisions," could open by September at 30 Crafts Ave. (David Reid photos)

Holyoke resident Gordon Alexander, who will be the manager, appeared briefly at the License Commission’s July 12 meeting, and his application sailed through with no questions. Records show that Alexander is an equal partner with three others in Oxbow Wines LLC, as the new business is called: Alexander Chester Feinstein of Haydenville, Benson Hyde of Haydenville, and Nancy Elizabeth Baker of Springfield.

(Feinstein is a principal in the Go Berry Frozen Yogurt store at 80 Main St., which opened up last year and is doing quite well, thank you.)

The license was transfered from the Village General Store (Smith Store, Inc.) in the Baystate section of the city and was purchased from Judith Rys-Jones, Stanley Rys and Robert Jones for $25,000, commission records show. Alexander had been before the commission before with unsuccessful efforts to obtain the same license.

Records show that Alexander and his three partners also paid $255,000 for the Village General Store’s alcohol stock and other inventory, and are spending $133,640 to renovate the large space on Crafts Avenue. Florence Savings Bank is financing the renovations, including $50,000 in start-up expenses.

According to Alexander, the new business could open as soon as Sept. 1, and will use about half of the total 5,000 square feet for retail operations. The building is owned by Realtor Peter J. Whalen through his solely owned corporation, J.W. Inc.

Oxbow Wines' Gordon Alexander.

The new package store will feature “wines that hit the ‘sweet spot’ between quality and value, select beers and specialty foods,” including “cut-to-order cheeses. . .fine cured meats,” sausages, “fine pastas, sauces and condiments, smoked fish and caviar,” truffles, coffees and teas, glassware and more, Alexander told Northampton Media. In addition, the owners plan to hold regular wine and food tastings, and to offer delivery services.

“Our goal is to transform the shopping experience into something our customers look forward to, rather than another chore to be crossed off the list,” said Alexander, who most recently has worked as a “consultant analyst” for the McCallum’s Dry Good Store LLC (Cedar Chest).

As with all liquor licenses, an OK from the city License Commission is only the first step; final approval must come from the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

Sip, a new coffee house at 8 Crafts Ave., is expected to open up next month.

Coffeehouse-Restaurant.  Up the street at 8 Crafts Ave., Eugene Ferrer and Michele Curry were granted a common victualer license on June 1 for a new coffee shop, to be called simply “Sip.” Renovations are almost complete at the storefront, formerly occupied by “C.S.O.R.K. Fair Trade. Fashion”; there are new wooden benches and white-birch wallpaper, shiny new kitchen equipment and a working fireplace, a long counter and lots of light through the front windows.

The new corporation, Café Sip! Inc., is solely owned by the couple, who live on Florence Road here. Ferrer told Northampton Media he hopes to open in mid-August, and that the 1,000 square-foot store will feature coffee and tea, pre-made sandwiches, and baked goods. It will seat 25 to 30 patrons, said Ferrer.

While the city has plenty of coffee shops already, Ferrer said his hope is to make Sip “a little bit of a different place,” where customers can come to relax. While the coffee is not local, it will come from the North Carolina-based Counter Culture Coffee; and Ferrer and Curry said they plan to buy from local food sources.

The building is owned by Trident Realty Corp., which was formed by Eric Suher, Richard M. Madowitz and the late Douglas Kohl.

The former Taipei and Tokyo restaurant will reopen soon at 16-20 Crafts Ave.

Chinese Restaurant. Between the new coffee shop and package store, at 16-18 Crafts Ave. (or 16-20 Crafts Ave. as the county records show), is the new location for the Taipei and Tokyo restaurant, which operated for years at 18 Main St. here before closing last year.

In May, the License Commission approved a transfer of the beer and wine license from one corporate entity (Chen’s Northeast Inc.) to Kungbao LLC; Kung Huan Chen, who was the secretary of the old corporation is now the resident agent for the new limited liability corporation, and will serve as manager for the new Taipei and Tokyo restaurant.

At that same meeting, license commissioners approved Taipei and Tokyo’s change of manager, a change in its location, and a change in the corporate structure. More importantly, it approved converting the restaurant’s old seasonal beer and wine license to a year-round one. That change, allowed by the City Council and the commonwealth, will cost the restaurant $5,000, to be paid in five annual increments of $1,000.

Looking up Crafts Avenue towards Main Street: a small street with renewed vitality.

The application shows that the reconstituted restaurant will be about 1,600 square feet and will seat about 65 patrons. Chen’s partner in the new corporation is Bao Tsai Huang; both list their home address as 282 Bridge St., the city.

Renovations are well underway to the location, which formerly housed Sabin Lock and Sid Vintage. Chen told Northampton Media he plans to open by the end of August or early September.

The new menu, said Chen, “will carry the most popular Taipei and Tokyo dishes from our Chinese and Japanese menu since 1994, and will also incorporate new trendy Asian dishes and Taiwanese eatery.”

In 2009, Chen (operating through his Chen’s Management Inc.) bought the building at 16-20 Crafts Ave. for $815,000 from the Nevada-based Essex Corporation, which obtained it several years earlier following a bankruptcy filing there. City files indicate the rent will increase from $2,500 to $3,000 a month over the life of the five-year lease.

Miss Flo’s Diner Gets a Beer and Wine License

Also last week, the License Commission approved a seasonal beer and wine liquor license for the Miss Florence Diner at 99 Main St., Florence.

Paschalia and Dimitrios Zantouliadis, owners of the Miss Florence Diner, will soon have a seasonal beer and wince liquor license.

The application was requested by Dimitrios and Paschalia Zantouliadis of Florence. The couple, who live on Westhampton Road in Florence, are the principals in D.P. Z. Inc., which operates the diner. According to the file, the Zantouliadises pay $3,100 a month rent to the property owner, Florence Family Enterprises LLC, whose principal manager is Konstantinos N. Sierros, of Old Wilson Road, Florence, state records show.

The Zantouliadises’ son John, who lives in Holyoke, will be the manager for the liquor license. In 2003, the Zantouliadises bought the historic diner, which occupies a total 5,756 square feet.

Miss Flo's Diner manager John Zantouliadis.

Seasonal liquor licenses are active between April 1 and the following Jan. 15, and are inactive for the remaining two-and-a-half month period.

A Public Hearing on Proposed License and Permit Fee Hikes

The License Commission has also proposed modest raises for almost all licenses, from all-alcohol restaurants and bars (from $2,215 to $2,265), all-alcohol package stores (from $2,330 to $2,380), to common victualer ($80 to $100) and short-term wine and malt licenses (from $60 to $75). To see a list of all proposed fee hikes, click here.

A public hearing on the proposed fee increases will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 3 at 4 p.m. in the City Council chambers behind City Hall. The current fees have been in place since 2009. (See the public notice by clicking here.)

A recently completed report by the License Commission shows the body oversees more than 400 licenses and permits, from all-alcohol inholders permits and beer and wine package stores to lodging houses, automatic amusement devices and used car dealerships.

In all, the commission raised $186,950 during the current calendar year. The proposed fee hikes would, if adopted, generate another $18,595 in revenues for the city.

© 2011 Northampton Media

David Reid can be reached at dreid@northamptonmedia.com

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