Shack’s Clothes Closing in Fitchburg
By Mina Corpuz
FITCHBURG -- Shack’s Clothes and Gallery Sitka West are leaving Main Street.
The Shack family sold the building that houses the store and gallery space next door.
“Thanks to our loyal customers for many years of your patronage. It has been our pleasure to serve you. Please come visit us soon and enjoy the fabulous discounts now being offered,” the store wrote on its Facebook page Friday.
Signs posted in Shack’s store’s front advertise an “all merchandise must go sale.”
Jill Shack, daughter of store founder Phillip Shack, said if there is merchandise still available, the store could stay open until January.
The Fitchburg store opened on Main Street in 1950 as a way for Shack to expand his business.
“He took a lot of pride for what he did with the store,” said manager Kent Bourgault of Shack in 2016, when he died at the age of 94.
For nearly 70 years, the store has been a constant on Main Street as businesses have come and gone.
Shack, a Worcester native, opened the first Shack’s clothing store there in 1928. The store closed last year.
There was also one in Auburn that closed about a decade ago.
Gallery Sitka owner Tamar Russell Brown said the gallery will close Saturday for financial reasons. The gallery wasn’t making enough money and there were more overhead costs to run one in Fitchburg, she said.
“It’s been two and a half years and we have a new landlord now,” she said. “We’re not sure what our lease arrangement is now ... “We would stay in Fitchburg if we had a good space to stay in and afford.”
The Main Street gallery opened in July 2016 as a place for artists to display and sell their work. That space was also used for community events, like International Youth Day in August.
Russell Brown knew going into the gallery business would be difficult. She runs another gallery in Shirley, which opened in 2014.
“Fitchburg was a real gallery,” she said. “It’s a huge space ... and what we wanted it to be and it looked like a New York gallery.”
After living in the area for a few years, Russell Brown has relocated to Greenfield and is looking for space to revive Gallery Sitka in the Western Massachusetts area.
It’s unfortunate that the gallery and its neighbor, Shacks, will be leaving Main Street, she said, because they have been part of the community.
Focusing on supporting small businesses and shopping local could be a way to help similar businesses in downtown Fitchburg, Russell Brown said.
“Think about it: Nobody is an island and everyone needs everybody,” she said.
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