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Adams Theater Owner Buys Topia Inn
By Sabrina Damms, iBerkshires Staff
05:09AM / Monday, February 27, 2023
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ADAMS, Mass. — History is repeating itself at the Topia Inn under its new owners and operators Yina Moore, Kate Chen and Dimitrios Kolaxis.
Moore, owner of the Adams Theater, and the previous owners Nana Simopoulos and Caryn Heilman have taken similar paths in opening the Adams Theater and the inn. 
Simopoulos and Heilman purchased the theater and opened it in 2005 as the Topia Arts Center, doing some of the initial restoration work. Two years later, they opened Topia Inn on Pleasant Street as an organic and environmentally conscious operation. 
The new owners, as Pleasant St Holdings LLC, purchased the property on Jan. 18 for $600,000. They are working with local designer Beau Barela, who owns Hearts Pace tea shop in North Adams, to reconceptualize the design.  
Simopoulos and Heilman traveled the world interacting with artists who participated in the design of each of the rooms' world themes, such as the African, Moroccan, Native American, and the Greek rooms. 
"I'm a composer. I write music and I write world music. In other words, I take samples of instruments and melodies and rhythms from different parts of the world and I blend them together to create something that's original," Simopoulos said. "For me every room was like a song. It was like a composition."  
Heilman wanted to bring the world to her while also making the rooms comfortable for their patrons. 
Moore, Chen and Kolaxis also want to make each room have its own theme but rather than depicting different parts of the world they want to showcase the Berkshires. 
"This is kind of the approach you want to take is that this inn will be a project of collaborating with some of the local talents that we identify and take it to the next level from where Nana and Caryn started," Moore said. 
They are currently putting together a team of designers and people in hospitality management who can be at the site. 
Simopoulos and Heilman have been very involved in assisting Moore in the turnover. 
"During this transition, Nana has gone far beyond what any seller would do. I think that's shows how much she cares about the inn and the theater, in terms of sharing information, sharing vendors ... she's part of this in the sense of spirit," Moore said.
The inn is currently offering a special rate because of the redesign until the end of June. 
The former ski lodge has been part of the community's redevelopment, becoming an integral part of the area's growing cultural attraction. 
While on the way to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts, Simopoulos' friend John Worth informed her of the existence of a vacant theater.  
He did not know much about it, so they called the town's Community Development Office and discovered it was for sale. 
"So we thought OK, maybe we could do this. We could get our friends together and get a community going and help the town bring this back to life," Simopoulos said. 
Like the previous owners, Moore first focused on the Adams Theater, purchasing and opening it in 2021. She was not yet comfortable financially and confidence wise to also own the inn.
"Over the years Nana and I have been talking about the inn, but I wasn't feeling comfortable taking on another project unless there is more financial commitment and some other expertise that can come and help me because I don't come from a hospitality background," she said. 
When her friends expressed interest in investing in both the inn and the theater she decided to put together a collaborative team. 
Like Moore, the previous owners opened the theater first while renovations of the inn were taking place. 
"The theater to us was an opportunity for us to be able to revitalize ourselves, revitalize our work, and revitalize the town. It just seemed like an incredibly wonderful project," Simopoulos said. 
They opened the Topia Cafe first, providing a place where their friends and fellow artists could come and perform 
"We met all these great artists from the area and they would come and do performances and we wanted to extend that into the theater. We did that for a while for about 10 years, we had performances in the theater," Simopoulos said. 
After renovations to follow Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design guidelines and to make the building more eco-friendly, they opened the inn on Earth day, July 7, 2007.
Although they are New Yorkers, they wanted to be part of the growing cultural rejuvenation that was taking place in the early 2000s, spurred in North Berkshire with the opening of Mass MoCA.
"The other thing is that there's a really beautiful part of Adams that's kind of hidden and undetected by the world and so we gave outsiders the opportunity to discover this little gem of a town, which is sort of the last of the bigger towns in the Berkshires to really benefit from the cultural, the creative tourism," Simopoulos said.
While performing at Jacob's Pillow in Becket as part of the Taylor Dance Company, Heilman found the experience to be very unique because the area was able to combine both nature and culture. 
In other areas, performers spent most of the time performing in concrete buildings in cities, away from nature. This combination is what makes the Berkshire so attractive, Heilman said. 
"I think there's a way in which your experiences are different when you're in nature and you have that juxtaposition," she said. 
More information on the inn here
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