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The Opportunity

Have you always dreamed of running your own restaurant or bar?? Are you an experienced restaurateur looking for your next home? Elmer’s Community Spaces, a nonprofit, owns the building at 396 Main Street in Ashfield, and we’re looking for a restaurant partner! We can offer below-market rent, low start-up costs, a turnkey commercial kitchen and dining room set up, and a customer-base hungry for breakfast! (Please see the results of our community survey here.)


If you’re interested in partnering with us, please send us a letter by March 31, 2024. Your letter should contain: 

  • Information about you and your relevant background and experience

  • Why you would be excited about opening a restaurant or bar at Elmer’s

  • A high level concept / vision for your enterprise 

  • Your ideal timeline for opening the restaurant 


We’ll review materials on a rolling basis, and reach out to promising prospective partners to discuss ideas and possibilities in more detail. If you’re unfamiliar with the space and would like to schedule a walk through with a board member before writing a proposal, please contact


After a long history as a beloved restaurant, store and center of the Ashfield community, the building known as Elmer’s Store was foreclosed and listed for auction in early 2023. Elmer’s Community Spaces, Inc. is a nonprofit formed by a group of Ashfield residents who see the building as a critically important gathering space for the Hilltowns. More than 400 residents of Ashfield and neighboring communities contributed funds to buy the building, which we acquired on May 12th, 2023! 


We spent the last eight months bringing the building back into compliance after half a decade of disinvestment, including: deep cleaning the kitchen and having all major appliances professionally serviced, completing structural and accessibility repairs on the building, and clearing generations of accumulated items out of the commercial and storage spaces. 


As of late-January 2024, we are getting close to receiving renewed occupancy and use permits, and are launching a search for a creative, visionary restaurant partner to help us bring Elmer’s back to life! 

Our Vision

It’s hard to make a restaurant work! Or a community center! We believe that combining forces is one way to change the results for everyone. We’re looking for a restaurant partner excited about sharing the first-floor commercial space in the Elmer’s building. Read one imagined version of how this would feel to a visitor! 

How would it work??

The Elmer’s building has a large main dining area with a coffee / bakery counter, a smaller dining area, a dedicated bar, and potential for significant outdoor seating and an enclosed beer garden. The commercial kitchen has separate prep and bakery areas and an external walk in cooler. An office space on the second floor can be shared with the nonprofit. 


Our dream is to find a single restaurant operator who is interested in being open for breakfast 3-7 days per week, lunch 3-7 days per week, and dinner / bar 3-4 nights per week.


We are also open to separate restaurant, bar and bakery operators, depending on interest, recognizing that this would add complexity and the need for a lot of good communication among operators! 


The community center would – with careful boundaries and agreements in place – oversee access to the building at times when the restaurant is closed. We are primarily interested in sharing the dining room / event space and outdoor spaces, with possible occasional kitchen usage. (Any community kitchen use would come with explicit agreements about equipment use, food storage and cleaning requirements.)


Elmer’s Community Spaces, Inc. owns the building outright, but we need to cover taxes, utilities, repairs and ongoing maintenance for an almost-200-year-old building. We commit to open bookkeeping (transparency about our income and expenses), with an intention to keep the rent as low as possible while still covering our expenses. Exact rent will depend on hours of operations, and will be negotiated with potential tenants directly.

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