Respecting the Past, But Not Living In It
The Mill District is built on the foundation of our community’s agro-industrial past. Every generation of the Cowls family built what their community needed on the Home Farm, while sustainably managing thousands of acres of forestland throughout western Massachusetts.
The Mill District has hosted animals and crops, processed dairy products and tobacco. It has manufactured locally-harvested lumber, post and beam timbers, pine siding and flooring. The Amherst to Sunderland street-railway system was built here, along with work-force affordable housing, Riverside Park apartments and shops, and Cowls Building Supply.
When Cinda and Evan Jones, Cowls’ 9th generation, closed their great grandfather’s sawmill, they decided what their generation’s community needed most was community itself. So this brother and sister team built The Mill District – a fast-growing, experiential downtown, filling with local retailers, services, and places to stop and eat.
“Dad used to say, ‘Come See What We Saw,” says co-founder Cinda Jones. “Now we’re thrilled to hear people say to each other, ‘You won’t believe what we saw today!’ It makes us proud of what we’re building here.”
Cowls’ 9th generation is evolving the family business, offering opportunities for local entrepreneurs to share in the regeneration. The Cowls company has endured for 279 years by adapting to a constantly shifting marketplace, and now more than ever, that adaptation takes real ingenuity, creativity, and confidence. More than just stores, The Mill District is a family business through and through.