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Linwood Mill

Barbara Van Reed

WHITINSVILLE - The day here starts at 8:00 a.m. with breakfast and a headline news update. That's followed by a half hour of stretching and exercise, and then it's on to morning activities that range from a geography spelling bee to baking oatmeal cookies in observance of January as the official oatmeal month.

Lunch is followed by games, discussions, movies, board games, bowling. It’s an entire day of engaging activity and interaction, supported by a professional staff who tend to each individual's medical needs.

Look out the windows, and there’s a magnificent eye-level view of water rushing over the Mumford River dam and falling onto the rocks below.   

The place we’re in is St. Camillus Adult Day Health Center, the newest tenant in the newly renovated Linwood Mill, on Linwood Ave. It joins Blackstone Valley Physical Therapy Services, Major League Barber Shop, Past Present & Etc. Antiques, Mill House Wine & Spirits and Fulcrum Acoustic as the retail/commercial tenants in the mill complex.

The 19th century cotton mill has been restored by current owners into a gleaming structure...

The upper stories of the main mill have been converted to an apartment complex containing 75 units for residents aged 55 and over. The ground level, which is accessed from the rear of the building, is being developed for retail and commercial use. The current tenants occupy approximately half of the 30,000 square feet of available space. Gary Moyer of Uxbridge is the project’s architect and Marty Green of Whitinsville is the realtor. 

Lisa Bernard,Director of the St. Camillus Adult Day Health Center, said the mill location was ideal for its new day program, spacious enough for all the planned services, and still located in the Whitinsville community.

She explained the concept behind the new adult day center. “The St. Camillus Health Center (on Hill Street) has specialized in long term care for 50 years, and we wanted to open it up as a service for folks who still live at home but require skilled nursing care. The idea was to provide the same high level of care, honoring folks who have some physical or cognitive issues, to help promote and maintain a good quality of life for them.” Family members and caregivers who work can be confident that their loved ones are well cared for.  

The participants at the Day Health Center have any number of medical issues: COPD, diabetes, Parkinson's, for example. The staff can provide complete case management, assist with the activities of daily living, including bathing and toileting, administer medications, and provide chronic disease management. Onsite physical, occupational and speech therapy is provided with doctor's orders.

Lisa, a licensed social worker who’s been with St. Camillus for 18 years, explained that the medical aspect is what distinguishes the St. Camillus Adult Day Health Center from other adult day care centers. “The state requires us to have a licensed nurse here at all times.”  The staff also includes two CNAs:  Jessica Rennie, who assists with activities and exercise, and Maggie Heuklom, who helps with exercise and showers. Personal trainer Melissa Hadley comes in one day a week to do assessments and develop an individual exercise plan for each participant based on his/her needs and strengths..

Lisa gave us a tour of the 4,400 square feet center, which includes a large gathering space with tables and chairs, an activities section, a snoozing room with lounge chairs, a nursing treatment room, a shower, a kitchen, offices, and an exercise room. The original wood ceilings and brick walls of the mill have been retained, giving the rooms a beautiful, appropriately historic aspect.

Nurse Lisa Haire said, “I love working here. It’s just like being in a home.”    

Participants can come to the day health center from one to all five days of the week, and transportation can be provided. Financial assistance may be available; the center works with MassHealth, Tri-Valley Elder Services, and some insurance companies.

For more information about the St. Camillus Adult Day Health Center contact Lisa Bernard at 508-266-2054 or email lbernard@stcamillus.com.

Blackstone Valley Physical Therapy Services Inc. became the renovated mill’s first commercial tenant in August of 2012, moving there from an office on Providence Road near Plummers Corner.  Eric M. Connelly, PT, MSPT, and president of the company, said the new location is working out very well. The space, at 3,300 square feet, is significantly larger than they had before, which has allowed the addition of a wellness program to their core physical therapy services.

The space has a waiting area, office, treatment area, and a large central room filled with equipment: strength training, elliptical, treadmills, bikes, weights, balancing. The fitness equipment is a high tech contrast to the exposed beams and ductwork that gives the space its personality. “You can thank my wife for that,” said Eric. “I was ready to install a dropped ceiling.”      

Blackstone Valley Physical Therapy, with a staff of seven, specializes in orthopedics and sports medicine. Most patients are sent for physical therapy by their doctors, but nowadays they are also getting “walk-ins” and referrals from friends, said Eric. “People come in with a problem – their elbow is hurting or their back hurts from working in the yard – we will help them or direct them to another medical provider.”

Physical therapy is often covered by insurance, but each plan is different and the rules can be complex. Most times the insurance covers only a specific number of visits, and that’s where the new Wellness Program comes in. “People can continue to come in and use the equipment to complete their rehab, and we can keep an eye on them, semi-monitor them,” Eric explained.           

The facility is also available for people as a “stepping stone” to a large gym. “Some people are intimidated by working out in front of 50 other people. Here they can do it in a quieter environment,” he said. The charge is $25 to $32 a month, depending on the term.

Blackstone Valley Physical Therapy was founded in 1991 by physical therapist Barbara McCumber. Eric joined in 2002, became a co-owner in 2004 and took over as president in 2011. “We’re busier than we’ve ever been. But we always try to see people within a week.” Contact the office at 508-234-7544 or go to www.bvpts.com.

Across the hall is the Major League Barber Shop. Owner Mike Arriaga started the shop in the standalone “office” building in front of the mill two years ago, and moved to more spacious, renovated quarters inside the mill last May. Mike had been working at a local barbershop at the time and had decided to go into business for himself. He met Bill Giannopoulos, saw the space up front, and decided “it was a perfect space in a good location.”

His business has been growing, he says. “It’s getting better every year,” and he now has five barbers working in the shop. The inspiration for the name? “I’m from the Dominican Republic, and baseball is a big thing there. I get to call my shop MLB,” he jokes. The sports theme here is obvious. 

Major League Barber Shop offers classic cuts, hot towel straight razor shaves, and carved hair designs, popular with fans who like to “wear” the logo or number of their favorite sports figure on their heads. 

You can contact the barber shop by calling 508-372-9229 or find it on Facebook.

William and Patricia Giannopoulos purchased the Linwood Mill in 2007 for $1.1 million. Bill had been involved with a group of investors in the mill since 2001.The plan was to convert the building to condos, but by 2007 “the economy was sliding on us” and the group decided to sell the property. “By then, Patty had really taken a liking to the mill, and she said we should buy it,” said Bill.

He noted that the mill's location set on the river in a more residential area, rather than in an industrial district, makes it uniquely picturesque.

Accounting and payroll for the Linwood Mill was done in the small office building in the front.

Accounting and payroll for the Linwood Mill was done in the small office building in the front. Bill explained that every Thursday the mill workers, who numbered up to 300, would walk in one door, pick up their pay in cash, and then exit through the other. That building is now the home of Past, Present & Etc. Antiques, Rick Clark’s store of antiques, collectibles and interesting items of all kinds. (See story in the Dec. 15, 2013 issue of the Yankee Shopper.)

The original power house, on one side of the main building, is now the home of Mill House Wine & Spirits. The power house contained two Hercules turbines made by the Holyoke Machine Company that turned the looms in the mill. Some of the artifacts from the power house are displayed as 3-D art in the store.  

Another standalone building in the back of the rear parking lot is the old store house, which is now the home of the R&D division of  Fulcrum Acoustic, manufacturer of professional loudspeakers.

The Linwood Mill is located at 670 Linwood Ave. in Whitinsville. Call 508-320-7786 or go to www.LinwoodMillCommercialProperty.com for more information.