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Couture Bros. to close retail, remain in contracting business

TURNERS FALLS — In the face of a changing retail business, Couture Bros. is retrenching and retreating to the original, 103-year-old contracting arm of the business.

After 80 years of Coutures selling paint, wood finishes, picture framing, screen repair and other services from the 187 Avenue A shop his grandfather built at the height of the Depression in 1933, Christian Couture is closing the retail arm of the business Dec. 31.

The contracting business predates the retail shop by two decades, and will continue.

Couture started working for the company in high school 40 years ago, becoming president in 1982, and he said it wasn’t an easy or a quick decision to close the store.

“It’s very disheartening to me,” Couture said. “It’s tough, obviously. I’m the third generation and it took a lot of thought.”

Financial constraints, the economy and the closure of the Turners Falls-Gill bridge — recently reopened to two-way traffic — all contributed to the decision, he said.

“I guess one of the deciding moments for me was when retail, they decided to start opening on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve,” Couture said. “It’s tough to compete for mom-and-pops.”

Samuel Couture, the current owner’s grandfather, bought the painting business from his brothers for $350 and built the Avenue A building as a paint shop and gas station.

The contracting business will continue out of the warehouse shop at 400 Avenue A under the direction of Couture and the fourth generation, his children Corey and Nicole.

The framing business is for sale, Couture said, and he will continue to own the building, which he hopes to see returned to use.

“I’m pro-Turners all the way, I want to make sure something happens there, I want to see Turners do well,” he said.

You can reach Chris Curtis at: ccurtis@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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