New scooter business, massage school eye Route 9 in Hadley

  • Route 9 in Hadley, Hampshire Mall. Josh Kuckens

Staff Writer
Monday, November 29, 2021

HADLEY — An all-electric scooter sales and service business may be coming to the Route 9 commercial district, along with a massage school and a real estate office.

Diane Kirby of South Hadley told the Planning Board Tuesday that she is considering renting 4,000 square feet, or about 40%, of the 1970s-era building at 299 Russell St., which previously housed Rocky’s Ace Hardware until it closed in 2016.

Scooters for sale will top out at speeds of around 37 mph, and don’t have to be registered or insured, Kirby said.

Planners waived site plan approval for the new business and informed Kirby she can put up only externally illuminated signs at the site. Rocky’s old internally illuminated signs, as well as an LED sign that can flash and scroll messages, are no longer grandfathered under town zoning.

But members cautioned that Kirby may not be allowed to open the business if she needs a Class 1 auto license. Hadley bylaws prohibit Class 1 auto dealers from being within 2 miles of each other, and the possible scooter site is only a few hundred feet west of the Steve Lewis Subaru dealership.

Kirby said she doesn’t believe she’ll need such a license. “I think I’m free and clear on that,” Kirby said.

Massage school, realtor also coming to Hadley

Two additional businesses could also be locating on Route 9.

At 231 Russell St., previously the home of 50/50 Fitness/Nutrition before it closed this fall, The Massage School could be moving to the building. Since 2005, the business, owned by Alexei Levine and Valerie Hood, has been in the Memorial Hall building in Easthampton.

“We train people to be massage therapists. We are licensed by the state,” Levine said.

The business, started in Amherst in 2001 and relocated to Easthampton in 2005, also has sites in Boston and St. Paul, Minnesota.

“This building came on the market and it’s just perfect for our school,” Levine said.

The board waived site plan approval, informing Levine and Hood they will have to come back for permitting of any signs.

At 111-113 Russell, Premier Realty Group real estate agenct Kathy Song is proposing to use part of the building for her office. She is being allowed to install signs with exterior lighting.

The rest of the building is used for Gohyang Korean Restaurant and the Korean Market, both of which are run by Song’s brother, Hoony Song.