Deerfield Decides to Come Together

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Nicole Ciesluk in her new market on the common in South Deerfield.
Nicole Ciesluk in her new market on the common in South Deerfield.

Deerfield really feels like we’ve taken a turn into a new chapter.  For so long, the symbol of our downtown has been the tired old building that once housed Franklin County’s Cable TV channels, which is now for rent.  We’ve had a lot of empty stores and sad “now leasing”signs.  But we’ve turned a corner.

The Giving Circle Thrift Shop, between Jerry's Place and Ciesluk's Market.
The Giving Circle Thrift Shop, between Jerry’s Place and Ciesluk’s Market.
Nobody knows what will become of the soon-to-be former Cumberland Farms. The company told me that it can't sell coffee or gas.
Nobody knows what will become of the soon-to-be former Cumberland Farms. The company told me that it can’t sell coffee or gas.

The biggest thing is that people are talking to one another and planning protests against what they don’t like, and at the same time coming together for things they do.

 The Deerfield Now page on Facebook is a place where people have been venting against the proposed Dollar General store on Route 5, and getting people to come together to build a Deerfield float for Sunderland’s big 300th parade.

I’ve never been more proud of my neighbors or to live in our town. Here’s what has happened in recent months, and what’s coming up.

A new general store, ice cream joint and coffee bar, Ciesluk’s Market, opened up right on the common near Jerry’s Place. Nicole’s store is open from 5:30 am till 8:30 pm, serving the town with great coffee, sandwiches, produce and ice cream…and they are so friendly and welcoming, how can you not love them?

Right next to the new market is the new Giving Circle Thrift store, offering gently used clothes and housewares. All to a good cause–teaching people how to do home care.

The new Cumberland Farms will be open 24 hours a day on the corner of Elm and Route 5.
The new Cumberland Farms will be open 24 hours a day on the corner of Elm and Route 5.

Up the street, work is moving fast on the new Cumberland Farms store on the corner of Route 5 and Elm Street, a giant version similar to what the chain has built in Greenfield and around New England.

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They want to sell a whole lot of coffee, food, and gas, and will be open 24 hours. I am not crazy about gas stations, but I do like having public bathrooms for people. This should be open for the summer, and the big question in town is, what will happen to the small existing store building downtown?

Further up Route 5, we have the new Deerfield International Market, where they sell foods from all over the world. I was getting a pizza at Hillside Pizza right next door and wandered in.

They have fascinating different foods from everywhere!  Not sure who they’re intended market is, but I think there are things here I might come back for, like the Marmite from England that I just ran out of today.

The Deerfield International Market, next to Hillside Pizza in South Deerfield.
The Deerfield International Market, next to Hillside Pizza in South Deerfield.

Further up the road, we have the Bittersweet Bakery and Cafe opening up this summer, in the former Savages Market.  These folks have renovated the building and put on a new coat of yellow paint, and they are applying for a beer and wine license. So this will be a new place to enjoy soon too!

And to patronize all of these new businesses, work is proceeding on the Sugarloaf Estates over 55 condo development, where over the next few years 71 condos will be built to house many new neighbors.