×

ONE BLOCK: BAK Plaza, Northampton Street, Easthampton

  • The exterior of Adamo’s Pizzeria & Restaurant. Complete with a full bar, Adamo’s Pizza has only been in the spot for two years. In that time, they’ve expanded their business and hope to expand it even more. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Service advisor Tyler Dupras of Computer Works disassembles the back of a laptop for repair Feb. 6, 2018 at the business located in Easthampton's Bak Plaza. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Refurbished phones for sale are displayed Feb. 6, 2018 at Computer Works in Easthampton's Bak Plaza. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Rick Melanson of Barkhamsted, Conn., left, and Peter Fuller of South Deerfield dine at Adamo’s Pizzeria & Restaurant at BAK Plaza. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Manager Melvin Moreno of Turners Falls takes a call-in order Feb. 6, 2018 at Adamo's Pizzeria & Restaurant located in Easthampton's Bak Plaza. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • The exterior of Fleury’s Outdoor Power Equipment. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • President Wes Sicard, left, and service advisor Tyler Dupras, both of Computer Works, show customer Bryan Daley of Easthampton the price for a phone repair at the business located in Easthampton’s BAK Plaza. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Cook Julio Ramon prepares chicken Feb. 6, 2018 at Adamo's Pizzeria & Restaurant located in Easthampton's Bak Plaza. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • The exterior of Computer Works, located in Easthampton's Bak Plaza, is shown Feb. 6, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • The interior of Computer Works. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Mechanic Keith Delaney works to replace the belts and auger cable in a Craftsman snowblower at Fleury’s Outdoor Power Equipment in Easthampton’s BAK Plaza. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Cook Julio Ramon makes a calzone Feb. 6, 2018 at Adamo's Pizzeria & Restaurant located in Easthampton's Bak Plaza. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Mechanic Keith Delaney works to replace the belts and auger cable in a Craftsman snowblower Feb. 6, 2018 at Fleury's Outdoor Power Equipment in Easthampton's Bak Plaza.

  • Easthampton’s BAK Plaza. GAZETTESTAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Service advisor Tyler Dupras of Computer Works disassembles the back of a laptop for repair Feb. 6, 2018 at the business located in Easthampton's Bak Plaza.

  • A Troy-Bilt 2420 Snow Thrower is displayed in the showroom Feb. 6, 2018 at Fleury's Outdoor Power Equipment in Easthampton's Bak Plaza.



For the Gazette
Monday, February 12, 2018

THE BLOCK: About a mile down the road from where the Manhan Rail Trail overlaps Route 10 lies a small but bustling collection of shops and restaurants that tenants say is the backbone of Easthampton.

The BAK Plaza, located at 126 Northampton Street is outfit with a pizza parlor, dry cleaner, a real estate office and even a karate dojo — but business owners here like to do things their own way.

WHY COME HERE? “We have the old time approach to things,” said Wes Sicard, the owner of Computer Works, a computer repair shop that also doubles as a gift shop which sells an array of other merchandise, including trinkets, used video games and carnations from a local florist in Hadley.

A computer repair shop that sells locally sourced and novelty items may seem like an unusual combination, but Sicard says that’s what makes him unique. Paired with a fully visible workstation where customers can watch their computer repair in real time and calming instrumental music over the speakers, the combination attracts customers.

“In May of 2003 we started as a family business in a garage. We just started this particular storefront 3.5 years ago, and we try to make our store different than your average computer shop,” said Sicard. “It gets people in here.”

FEEL OF THE PLACE: The plaza’s red-brick exterior looks ordinary from the street, but the businesses’ collection of signage strays far from standard. Each tenant puts their own flavor on their signage — even Fleury’s Outdoor Power has a large secondary sign posted in the parking lot, stationed on the middle of their collection of displayed power equipment.

The choice for rooftop advertising pays off, since the plaza is always busy with customers, said Steven Fleury, owner of Fleury’s Outdoor Power, which does service or sales on outdoor power equipment.

“It’s a very busy plaza, so it’s pretty good here,” Fleury said. “We see a lot of customers come through here. It’s on the beaten path, 30 feet from a busy road.”

WHAT’S NEW: Situated right next to Western Massachusetts Martial Arts sits Adamo’s Pizzeria and Restaurant, one of the newest additions to the plaza.

Inside, customers can either opt for a regular dine-in experience in one of the many booths or tables that line the walls of their dining room or grab a pizza to share for quick food while they make their way through their errands in the plaza.

“Lunches here are always busy,” said manager Melvin Moreno, whose uncle Jose co-owns the shop. “People always call here for deliveries and catering. That’s where we make most of our money, and people always have good things to say after we’ve catered for them.”

Complete with a full bar, Adamo’s Pizza has only been in the spot for two years. In that time, they’ve expanded their business and hope to expand it even more — they hope to start selling pizza by the slice in the near future.

“I think our prices are reasonable and our pizzas are cheap,” said Moreno. “People say that we make the best salads.”

WHAT’S ENDURING: Many of the shops are new, but some including Valley Farms Dairy Store, Chinese restaurant Tong Sing and the General Cleaners have been in the plaza for a while. Included on the strip is Distoli Real Estate, owned by Tony Distoli, who himself has been in the plaza going on six years after running a real estate business in Cape Cod and Boston.

Distoli, whose business focuses on property management, leases and real estate sales, recently moved to his current spot after being in the martial arts spot for a few years. He took the location after a local dentist went out of business, and said that he had to do some renovations since the interior’s look was so out of date.

“That dentist office was here since at least the late 1980s,” Distoli said. “When I moved into the spot, everything was in pink wallpaper with old furnishings. I had to call in a interior designer to make things look more modern.”

Now Distoli does real estate work out of his office with pride in its appearance, which he says has garnered him a lot of business.

“A lot of people say that they like the service they get from boutique real estate businesses since they can relate to more personal experiences,” said Distoli. “This location gives me an opportunity to connect as a member of the community. There’s lots of foot traffic and good owners — it’s a great place.”

THE PLAYERS: As a host to many different types of businesses, BAK Plaza is the place to go for shoppers to get anything they need in one trip. Walk-in culture is accepted here: If you’re waiting for your dry cleaning there’s always a place to eat or gifts to browse.

A lot of the businesses are family-run, which Sicard says brings and retains customers into the plaza and his business.

“We’re family oriented,” said Sicard. “We donate to a lot of community organizations, and we see a lot of business from people who are hanging out getting pizza and want to check out our shop.”

THE UPSIDE: Businesses in the plaza almost universally say that the location is the biggest reason they get so many customers. As route 10 turns into Northampton Street, the road traffic alone and the Dunkin’ Donuts in the parking lot attracts a lot of revenue.

“It’s busy in this plaza all of the time,” said Fleury.

THE DOWNSIDE: Although other pizza places, like Papa George Pizza across the street and Antonio’s in downtown Easthampton, give competition to places like Adamo’s, Moreno says he’s not worried since they still get plenty of business.

Most of the businesses joined in saying that there aren’t many downsides, but Dastoli says the parking lot can get a little dangerous, since people fly in and out of it constantly. Dastoli himself has seen a few accidents in the plaza, and says that the high amount of traffic brings those risks.

VERBATIM: “This is the best location I’ve ever been in,” said Distoli.