NORTH ADAMS — To some people, downtown North Adams is an tiny island of perpetually vacant storefronts, except for the apparently successful pizza shops that adorn every other corner. A new boutique, dealing in vintage clothing items, wouldn’t seem likely to find fertile ground in this, until recently, mostly overlooked smallest of cities in the Commonwealth, but that’s exactly what Terra has done.
Terra is the newest addition to the downtown shopping spree in North Adams, offering vintage clothes and second-hand books, housewares, decors, trinkets, and handmade treasures for customers to pick from.
The inside of the shop is illuminated with bright yellow lights and is decorated with secondhand treasures ranging from baskets, suitcases, hats, mirrors, bookcases, old cameras, picture frames, suitcases, and black and white photographs. Along with a clothing rack filled with traditional, but still contemporary, colorful fleece dresses, tacky pants and long-sleeved shirts accompanied with boots and Mary Jane heels at the top.
Samantha White, owner of the Terra opened the store for business on Thursday, July 15. White had always wanted to thrift for a living and has been gathering vintage pieces for two years now.
White claims that the best places to get and find people’s old treasures are at yard or state sales.
“Whenever I’m thrifting, I just pick stuff out, and it’s less about dressing for myself but knowing that somebody would like this. So, I figured that I could put it all into a store, and hopefully someone can find something that they love.”
Before opening Terra, White graduated with a degree in Studio Art and Math at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) in 2019 and has stuck around the North Adams area ever since.
White’s hopes for customers when visiting her store is that people lean towards a clothing item or a household object with a story behind it. Thrifting is more about dressing for other people and finding cheap second-hand goods that are in relatively good shape but are still affordable.
From a student perspective, there’s not much to do in North Adams and few clothing stores exist for people to check out. If you wanted to go shopping, the closest places are either the Crossgates Mall in Albany, NY or the Lee Premium Outlets in Lee, Mass.
White realizes that, for a college town, young people need more options to do on the weekends when they’re not stressing about school. Having a clothing store in town that sells affordable but also trendy clothes can attract all sorts of people who are looking to do something fun. Adding something new to the area can encourage more college students to get off campus and explore North Adams more.
“We’re trying to make it more and hip and fun to live here. More things to do because we don’t have anything like this here. We need more diversity and less pizza places said White.”
Terra is open for visitors from Thursdays to Sunday at 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. You can learn more about the store on their Facebook page.
Mei Craig is a rising senior at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) majoring in English & Communications with double concentration in Literature and Journalism. At MCLA, Mei serves as an anchor and news reporter for MCLA’s student media outlet, Beacon Web News and as a staff writer for MCLA’s student publication, The Beacon, where covers events happening around campus and North Adams. Mei hopes to pursue a professional career in journalism and is excited to advance reporting skills this summer as writer for The Greylock Glass.