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Idle Potential: Home-Grown Farm Stand May Get New Home

Reading, like most communities, needs new businesses to thrive. This week, we look at places where those new businesses could soon take root and the challenges they face there.

The overgrown lot at 80-100 Main Street once served as home to a number of businesses, including a paint store, a realty office and a now-defunct free weekly newspaper. With those gone, the lot has been home to grass, bushes and unfulfilled potential.

In 2007, the town approved a site plan for 80-100 Main Street that would include retail space and a restaurant, but the parcel's owner failed to find tenants.

Now, the lot could become the new home of The Calareso Farm Stand and Garden Center. Joe Calareso, owner of the farm stand, presented preliminary plans July 26 for a structure that would include a retail store and an un-walled greenhouse – not unlike the business' current incarnation at 122 Main Street.

The plan garnered support from members of the Community Planning and Development Commission, as well as enthusiasm from Michelle Williams of the Economic Development Committee.

Town manager Peter Hechenbleikner said Calareso's expanding within Reading would please him.

"When I cam here, Calareso's was a shack on the side of the street," Hechenbleikner said.

While Calareso hasn't submitted formal plans yet, his attorney said they planned to as soon as possible.

Status: New plan proposed but not yet formally submitted.

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