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Crown and Hammer Restaurant Reopens Its Doors

March 22, 2017 Business, Community No Comments

Crown and Hammer bartender Will Shafer pours a beer on Wednesday night. The restaurant had been closed for repairs following a late January accident. It will open for dinner Thursday, with regular hours resuming Friday.
Photo by John Fitts

By John Fitts

COLLINSVILLE — The Crown and Hammer Restaurant and Pub reopened its doors Wednesday night.

The popular Collinsville spot had been closed since Jan. 23, when a local man drove his vehicle into the building. The crash, which police said is still under investigation, resulted in the death of a passenger in that car.

The restaurant was closed at the time and while owner Lisa Maurer was in the kitchen area minutes before the accident, she was upstairs when it happened.

The accident caused extensive damage inside the building. In addition to the direct impact, the crash resulted in flying grease, broken glass behind the bar, active gas leaks and water damage. Structural work, extensive repairs and installation of some new equipment was required before the restaurant could reopen.

“I’m just really thrilled that we’re open,”  said owner Lisa Maurer, adding that a core group of employees, contractors and other professionals worked diligently to make it happen. “”Everybody just worked so hard to get it open. I’m very grateful.”  … Continue Reading

Commission Approves Modified Proposal for Used Car Dealership in Collinsville

March 22, 2017 Business No Comments

By John Fitts

CANTON — At its March 15 meeting, the Canton Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved a modified plan for a used car dealership at 5 River Road in Collinsville.

Property owner Stephen Roberto said he does not currently have a tenant, but said he sought to add the potential use to ones already allowed on the half-acre property, which sits on the corner of Maple Avenue (state Route 565) and state Route 179.

Dentfix Express continues to use the property and Roberto is actively marketing it, so a dealership is just one possibility for the site.

See more, including a rendition of how a dealership would look, in this week’s Valley Press.

Gas Station and Convenience Store Proposed for Former Canton Village Gulf Site

March 22, 2017 Business No Comments

CANTON — A Massachusetts businessman is looking to open a gas station and convenience store at the former site of Canton Village Gulf on Route 44.

Sanjay Patel of West Springfield, Mass., is looking to tear down the existing 2,713-square-foot structure at 210 Albany Turnpike and construct a new 2,766 square-foot, multi-angled building in one corner of the 1.594-acre site.

“It’s going to be a good-looking addition there,” said Patel, who has filed the application with the Canton land use office.

Under the plan, the operation, dubbed Sparky’s, would include the convenience store and gas pumps at existing island locations, utilizing existing 8,000- and 6,000-gallon underground tanks. The developer is also proposing a new 4,000-gallon tank for diesel fuel. Fourteen delineated parking spaces are proposed and the developer is requesting some additional paving behind the building.

Some concept drawings can be seen below and read more in this week’s Valley Press… Continue Reading

Images of Canton: CrownAid2017


Photos by John Fitts 

This past weekend, two events were held to benefit Crown and Hammer Pub and Restaurant employees, who have had limited economic opportunities following the fatal Jan. 23 accident, in which a vehicle crashed into the kitchen of the building, causing extensive damage.

On Feb. 25, fellow Collinsville businesses Wilson’s Pub and LaSalle Market hosted fundraisers for the employees. At Wilson’s, CrownAid2017 was spearheaded by local musician Corey Michael Rieman with the help of other area artisans and owner Esther Witkos. That event featured numerous musicians and generated $3,000, a total which was then matched by a private individual.

At LaSalle, Jean-Claude Trans/Am played a special Give Back Series event, which raised more than $900.

With some additional donations on Monday, the funds collectively raised had reached approximately $7,000.

Crown owner Lisa Maurer is targeting mid March for re-opening the 3 Depot St. restaurant.

See a full-sized gallery at https://johnfitts.smugmug.com.

Canton Commission Continues Public Hearing on 5 River Road

February 16, 2017 Business, Community No Comments

A file photo of 5 River Road.

By John Fitts

On Wednesday, Feb. 15, the Canton Planning and Zoning Commission heard varying opinions on a proposal to add a used car dealership to the list of permitted uses at 5 River Road in Collinsville but ultimately continued a public hearing on the matter.

The half-acre, “v-shaped” property sits on the corner of Maple Avenue (state Route 565) and state route 179.

Resident Stephen Roberto purchased the property, formerly home to a gas station, in 2011, and in 2014 was successful in getting it re-zoned from “non-conforming” residential to business.

The proposal before the commission now looks to get permission for used car dealership with 30 spaces for “inventory,” 7 parking spaces, dark-sky compliant lighting for use during business hours and use of existing bays for limited repair.

While some businesses uses are allowed “by right,” a dealership would require several special permits and a site-plan modification.

Various criteria and standards come with the special permits and much of the debate on the proposal centers around intensity of use on the property, the character of the neighborhood and the town’s economic viability.

The commission is slated to continue the hearing at its March 15 meeting, which would take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Canton Community Center.

See more in next week’s edition of the Valley Press.  

Musical Events to Benefit Crown and Hammer Employees

February 15, 2017 Business, Community No Comments

Hand-drawn and watercolored image by Kate McAllister of KMcA Fine Art.

By John Fitts

COLLINSVILLE – On the last Saturday in February, two local establishments will host musical fundraisers to benefit employees of the Crown and Hammer Pub and Restaurant.

Many of the 17 people who work at the Crown have had limited economic opportunities since the restaurant had to temporarily shut its doors after the Jan. 23 accident in which a vehicle crashed into the building, which resulted in the death of passenger Margaret Stoppani, 86, of Canton. Police said the investigation is ongoing.

While the death has certainly been the most tragic outcome, employees at the restaurant have also struggled to keep up financially.

On Feb. 25, there will be two efforts to lend them a hand.

From 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. on that day, Wilson’s Pub, 3 River St., will host CrownAid 2017, featuring numerous acts. There will be a $10 suggested donation.

Additionally, from 7 to 10 p.m. that same evening, LaSalle Market and Deli, 104 Main St., will host its monthly Give Back Series, also to benefit Crown employees. The night will feature Jean Claude Trans Am, which plays “Space Rock and beyond” and people will have the chance to donate to the effort.

See more in this week’s Valley Press. To view updates search LaSalle Give Back Series on facebook and visit https://www.facebook.com/CrownAid2017/.

Fencing expert Marc Ganych teaches the skill locally

February 13, 2017 Business No Comments


By John Kitts

CANTON — As a youth in the Soviet Union, Marc Ganych trained in a manner most young athletes couldn’t envision. 

Six days a week, twice a day, from age 10 to 18, he took a 20-minute bus ride, then walked another 10 minutes to the gym to hone his fencing technique. He spent a year working on footwork alone.

Today, Ganych, who teaches under the name MG Fencing Club at the Jazzercise studio in Canton, will sometimes share stories with his students. 

“When I say I did 1,000 thrusts every day, they cannot believe it, because this is too much,” Ganych said. 

For more information, see last week’s edition of Valley Press, visit www.mg-fencing-club.com or call 860-803-3929.

Images of Canton: A Sweet Sendoff

January 28, 2017 Business, Community No Comments

COLLINSVILLE — On Saturday, as  Shirley Scarpino opened the doors to the Village Sweet Shoppe for the final time, a group of musically gifted area residents visited the store and sang a personalized rendition of the famous pop song, “I Want Candy.”

Late last year Scarpino announced she would be closing the store, which had been in business for 30 years. She initially operated in Riverton, and in 2004 moved to River Street in Collinsville. 

See our previous story here. Additionally a partially video clip from the musical treat can be found on the Canton Compass facebook page

Collinsville Property Owner Moves Forward with Used Dealership Application but Leaves Options Open

January 27, 2017 Business No Comments

5 River Road.

By John Fitts 

COLLINSVILLE – The owner of 5 River Road has filed an application for a used car dealership but said he continues to market the property for other potential uses.  

Stephen Roberto has filed an application at the land use office, proposing the use of a used car dealership  with 30 spaces for vehicles, 7 parking spaces, two dark-sky compliant light fixtures and the ability to use two existing bays for limited repair and inspection. 
 
The application comes after a Burlington resident seeking to run a used car dealership decided not to pursue the business. The proposed use was already controversy but the withdrawal came amidst a flurry of controversy. (See this week’s Valley Press for more details). 
 
Now Roberto is pursuing a special exception that would allow the use on the property, The proposal is slated for a public hearing on Feb. 15. However, Roberto is also entertaining other proposals for the property, which is “offered for lease.” Currently Dentfix Express operates at the site. 
 
 See more details in a future edition of the Valley Press. 
 

Images of Canton: Francesca’s Reopens its Doors

Francesca’s Wine Bar and Bistro officially reopened its doors on Wednesday, Jan. 25. 

The Nadeau family, which originally opened the restaurant in the fall of 2012, reopened the doors Wednesday.

In August of 2015, the family had sold the business to a different partnership, and the doors closed in October of 2016. 

However, the Nadeaus have opened the restaurant again with original owners Francesca and Don taking a more minor role and their son Jonathan, who is also executive chef, as the primary owner. 

However, Francesca and Don will still be a presence at the restaurant, especially for the next year. 

“I feel like we never left, like it was yesterday,” Francesca Nadeau said Wednesday evening. “It feels so natural. It’s wonderful. It really is.” 

See more at https://www.francescaswinebar.com or https://www.facebook.com/FrancescasWineBarAndBistro/

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