NORTH ADAMS – The HiLo live music and comedy venue on Union Street opened in the summer of 2019, and in February, co-owner Glenn Maloney recalled, the venue was having its best month yet.
“If February looks like this,” he recalls thinking, “this thing is going to work. It was really good.”
And then, of course, came COVID-19.
âIn two weeks we went from exhilarating what might be to ‘We have to shut down’,â said Maloney.
The business has finally reopened, but on Saturday it had its last show – at least for now – and the future of the business is unclear.
“It is with great sadness that we announce that HiLo will be taking a hiatus,” the room recently announced on Facebook. “The challenges of a pandemic have made it very difficult for venues and artists. HiLo has not been immune to these challenges.”
Business is too slow, Maloney said on Friday.
âThere isn’t enough footfall in a pandemic world, that’s what it really boils down to,â he said. “It will be a difficult winter for restaurants and concert halls.”
Its building at 55 Union Street, which once housed the Crystal Hardhat Saloon and the Museum of Dog, is for sale. It is owned by Very Good Property Development – made up of Maloney, Orion Howard and Brian Miksic, also a co-owner of HiLo – but Maloney said the real estate partnership is being dissolved.
âThe dissolution of ownership of the building and the sale of the building also add a layer of complication,â Maloney said of the hiatus. “Although that’s not the reason, it doesn’t help.”
There is an interested building buyer, but Maloney said it was not clear what that buyer would use the property for.
âThere are avenues where HiLo could reopen, reappear, but it’s honestly very unknown,â he said.
Many apologized to Maloney when they heard the news, but he is not sad, he said.
“We are all leaving with our heads held high.â¦ Nothing is guaranteed to work. It was probably going to be a pandemic-free fight.”
He added, “I don’t feel any heartache.â¦ I’m proud of what Brian, I and our whole team have done.”
The company set out to fill a hole in the city.
âI’ve always wondered how come a town with two colleges doesn’t have a concert hall,â Miksic told The Eagle in 2019, referring to Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Williams College in Williamstown. neighbor. “It just doesn’t make sense to me, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
The space is also home to The Parlor Cafe, a coffee shop and restaurant, which plans to move into a new downtown space on Eagle Street at the start of the New Year.
âWe’re really excited about this,â said Julia Daly, co-owner of the cafe. “We’re mainly going to do what we’re doing now.”
She plans to apply for a beer and wine license or liquor license, and to host events in space, such as open mic events.
âI think the mood will be a little different. I’ll take all the plants with me, which is a big part of it, âDaly said, as he sat at a cafe table with a plant on it.
Before moving into the HiLo space last year, she and company co-owner Nick Tardive ran the Ashland Street cafe until their owner decided not to renew their lease.
Her business grew in the Union Street storefront, she said. “I really hope this will come with me.”