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Spare Room has what you need

Recorder/Paul Franz
Kendra Williams of Williams' Spare Room in Bernardston Center.

Recorder/Paul Franz Kendra Williams of Williams' Spare Room in Bernardston Center.

BERNARDSTON — For many, a sluggish economy would be a reason not to start a new business.

For Paul and Kendra Williams, the current recession was just the impetus they needed to open Williams’ Spare Room.

“We said to ourselves, ‘The economy’s pretty bad, let’s see about opening a secondhand store,’” said Kendra Williams.

When people move to a new apartment, it’s hard enough just to come up with the cash for first and last months’ rent and a security deposit, let alone money for furniture, dishes and other necessities.

“We both struggled earlier in our lives,” she said. “We wanted to help people in need. We’re not out to get rich, just cover our overhead and make a small profit.”

The downturn in the economy put Paul Williams out of work about two years ago, as he was let go after 31 years with Lamson and Goodnow.

“It was the first time he’d been without a job since he was 12 years old,” said Kendra Williams. “He’s an old-fashioned, bread-winner type. It was tough for him, knowing that I was out working while he stayed at home.”

Try as he might, her husband couldn’t find another job. So, about a year ago, the couple started looking for a place to set up shop.

An available spot in their hometown of Colrain didn’t work out, a large retail space in Turners Falls cost too much, and other places in the area weren’t right for one reason or another. But, eventually, they found a home for their business.

“Bernardston seemed very inviting,” she said.

Their location also gets a lot of exposure. It’s on well-travelled Routes 5 and 10, and right down the street from the Kringle Candle Co. Though there are a few antiques shops on the thoroughfare, there’s not much in the way of affordable, practical used goods.

Though the idea for a secondhand store came to them only a year ago, the opening fulfilled a lifelong dream of Kendra Williams.

“I’ve wanted to own a business as far back as I can remember,” she said. For years, though, she wasn’t sure just what kind of business that might be.

“I ran a restaurant for a friend for two weeks, but it wasn’t for me,” she said. She’d also entertained the idea of a convenience store, but it never came to fruition.

The inventory at Williams’ Spare Room came from a few sources.

The couple were married in 2009, and when Kendra Williams moved from her Westfield house to Colrain, the newlyweds found themselves with two house-fuls of belongings and one home.

So, they picked and chose, and put many of their old items onto the store’s shelves. The gaps were filled mostly with things bought from estate sales.

“We started going to auctions, and I was hooked,” said Kendra Williams. “We’ve probably got enough things to fill the store 21∕2 times.”

Two of the store’s rooms are full of furniture, she said, and the rest is full of shelves, racks and tables of other items.

Their wares include kitchenware, tools and toys, books and DVDs, and a handful of antique and vintage items.

Williams Spare Room, at 3 South St., is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, and closed on Wednesdays.

David Rainville can be reached at:
drainville@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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