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Daily News

GREENFIELD — Ja’Duke Inc. owners Kimberly Williams and Nicholas Waynelovich announced their intent to expand their childcare, driving-instruction, and performing-arts program through the purchase and renovation of 270 Main St. in Greenfield. Formerly occupied by Greenfield Community College, this 25,000-square-foot facility has been vacant since 2020 and has remained unused even after Dave Mell purchased the building in January 2023.

If approved, Ja’Duke plans to utilize the 270 Main St. site as a satellite location to its Turners Falls facility located at 110 Industrial Blvd., which currently houses seven of Ja’Duke’s businesses. After opening in 2004, Ja’Duke Inc. has grown to include driver’s education through the Ja’Duke Driving School, 75 weekly performance-art classes under Ja’Duke Center for the Performing Arts, 14 early-education and childcare classrooms through Ja’Duke Preschool, and dozens of performances hosted annually in Franklin County’s largest theater, Ja’Duke Theater. Additionally, owners Williams and Waynelovich operate Ja’Duke Backdrops, with an on-site coffee shop, Ja’Duke Café, and ice-cream shop, Ja’Duke Scoops.

Williams and Waynelovich plan to focus the Greenfield site’s programming on childcare, driving, and performing-arts education.

“It’s our vision to revive this building and bring back the educational component that once thrived there,” Williams said. “We currently serve hundreds of families in Franklin County through our educational services offered in Turners Falls. As we expand our services to Greenfield, we are excited about the potential of reaching even more children and families by providing childcare, performing-arts classes, and driver’s education in a very central and accessible location.”

The 270 Main St. site would house 14 classrooms, accommodating 150 new childcare slots per day serving children ages 0-5. The basement floor will host Ja’Duke Driving School offices, which hopes of serving hundreds of new Franklin County drivers ranging from teens to adults. According to Williams, the third floor will hold Ja’Duke’s performing-arts classrooms. The proposed project would create at least 30 new jobs and significantly increase foot traffic in the downtown district.

JaDuke’s expansion will be good for Greenfield, Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jessye Deane said. “JaDuke is famous for providing high-quality education and building community, both of which will benefit Greenfield’s downtown. Kim, Nick, and the Ja’Duke team have a long history of success, and we look forward to celebrating this expansion and the foot traffic it will bring to Greenfield’s downtown.”

Ja’Duke plans to present to the Zoning Board on Thursday, May 16, with the purchase and sale pending finalization in early June. Williams hopes to launch Greenfield-based programming in early 2025 once renovations are complete.