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McClelland’s closes

The Transcript has some sad news for Spring Street:

McClelland’s in Williamstown closes doors

McClelland’s Stationery & Office Supplies has closed its store at 36 Spring St., ending 83 years of the company’s presence there.
Owner William Elder declined to give details of the closing on Tuesday, saying only that it did not do enough business and would not reopen. Elder did confirm that the North Adams McClelland’s on Main Street, which specializes in greeting cards and gifts, and McClelland’s Press on North Street in Williamstown would remain open.
He would not say whether the Spring Street location would be sold or offered for lease.

Link to full article.

In my day, McClelland’s was by far the best place in town to get school supplies and stationery. I’m guessing this means that students are now stuck buying from the Newsroom or Wal-Mart?

(h/t JeffZ)

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#1 Comment By frank uible On October 17, 2009 @ 3:35 am

To an irregular (about six to eight times per year) shopper at McClelland’s, this development was not only foreseeable but foreseen – only the timing was uncertain.

#2 Comment By Ken Thomas ’93 On October 17, 2009 @ 8:57 am

Hmm. And I was about to make a snarky comment.

There was a time in which anyone with a good ear and a boyish, “I’m just sitting here reading” face could sit in Baxter Lounge, when the merchants of Spring St. met to discuss their products and noncompetitive agreements and generally how to milk the most out of students via price-setting and the like– that one could get one’s ear full of it.

My immediate thought was then that anyone with a suspicious gene might wish to turn one’s nose up a little and sniff for fish. But it is possible that– as with so much of good old small town small business in America– we have good old-fashioned neglect and incompetence. Or that the fish have been rotting for a number of years.

In any case and regardless, if one can’t make money in that spot, one’s not trying, and that’s a darn shame, because McClelland’s was an icon, despite anything else.

#3 Comment By Parent ’12 On October 17, 2009 @ 11:08 am

The Elder family owns McClelland’s, by buying out McClelland. What happened to the McClelland family?

And, does anyone from days of yore remember any McClelland ascendants?

#4 Comment By JeffZ On October 17, 2009 @ 11:33 am

If Walmart is the issue, I’ll just remind folks to shop there at your own peril:


#5 Comment By Ken Thomas ’93 On October 17, 2009 @ 8:02 pm


Well, the difference between the General Store and McClelland’s on Spring… well, as I remember it, the claim was that the General Store was still profitable, but no one wanted to run it. Not surprising there, on the surface.

But the difference is that WalMart cut hard into the General Store and other local businesses with a larger reach, while the function of a McClellands is to sit next to campus and sell convenience items at a premium, to students who don’t want to take the time to go to WalMart.

So long as you understand what students want to buy, that doesn’t seem too hard to win on, presuming you want to be in that business and the profits are sufficient for your time.


#6 Comment By ephpostfacto On October 19, 2009 @ 5:26 pm

I would think that there’s not a huge demand for the products offered at McClellands. First, people are a lot more likely to send an e-card these days. Second, many students don’t want to pay $4.50 for a somewhat generic birthday card. A small shop like that needs to look to new products in changing times…perhaps offering and advertising. personalized stationary for Williams students and providing them at a reasonable price. Talk a little about the value of a hand-written note and provide some examples. I could have seen myself buying those when I was a senior and doing all my job interviews. Instead, I just bought a big box of generic stationary…