Stop & Shop To Set Up Shop

Thomas MacMillan File PhotoCentral New Haven will have a supermarket again, now that Stop & Shop has agreed to take over the old Shaw’s on Whalley Avenue.

Stop & Shop announced its decision in a release Tuesday. (Read it here.) It estimated that the move will bring 130 new jobs to New Haven.

Linda Townsend-Maier, who helped broker the deal as director of the Greater Dwight Development Corporation (which owns the property), said the new store should open some time in the spring. Stop & Shop is doing renovations first to the space.

City Building Official Andy Rizzo said Tuesday that Stop & Shop has not put in any requests for permits yet for the interior renovations. Representatives from the supermarket chain walked through the building a few weeks ago and showed the city some preliminary plans.

Townsend-Maier said that based on the drawings she has seen, the store should look like other Stop & Shop outlets, such as the one on Amity Road by the Woodbridge-New Haven border.

Amy Murphy, director of communications for Stop & Shop, said the store will be a full-service grocery with floral, deli, seafood, and bakery sections. The press release states that the store will have a bank and pharmacy. The store will also stock a variety of products to meet the ethnic diversity in the area and the needs of the nearby student population, she said.

The store will hire about 130 full- and part-time “associates,” she said. Store hours have not yet been determined, but most Stop & Shop stores are open from 6 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week, Murphy said.

Murphy said Stop & Shop is hoping to open the new store as soon as possible. The company is “very committed” to bringing a low-cost supermarket to an underserved area, she said. “We’re really excited to partner with the local community.”

Thomas MacMillan File PhotoThe surrounding Dwight, Whalley and Edgewood neighborhoods have clamored for a new supermarket since it became a “food desert” last year.

The main retail space in the Whalley Avenue shopping plaza has been vacant since March 2010. That’s when the Shaw’s store shut its doors, leaving 100 workers without jobs and New Haven without a grocery store.

Shaw’s parent company, Supervalu, announced the departure one year ago, in February 2010. It was part of the company’s departure from Connecticut. Eighteen Shaw’s stores in the state were sold or shut down.

Since then, community and business leaders have been working to bring a grocery store back to the location. Neighborhood meetings were held, and neighbors lamented the loss of a major supermarket within walking distance.

Yale, Greater Dwight, the Whalley Special Services District, and City Hall worked together to try to lure a new occupant for the vacant store.

“The collaboration that went on between all these diverse groups and the stakeholders in New Haven is a big story,” Towsend-Maier said. “That doesn’t happen very often. Nobody got paid. Everybody put in hundreds and hundreds of hours.”

Mayor John DeStefano Tuesday also praised the community effort to land the store.

“This was a neighborhood driven.  The neighborhood did a great job of defining the need and indicating it would work with the operators. It also indicates the importance of access to groceries,” he said.

New Haven has been a so-called “food desert,” broken only by the promise of a new food co-op opening downtown at new mixed-use tower, 360 State.

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Comments

posted by: Paul Wessel on February 1, 2011  3:02pm

Good news.  Good work, everyone.

posted by: Anderson Scooper on February 1, 2011  3:06pm

Awesome news.

I wonder if this was a defensive play by Stop & Shop, or if they finally came around to realize that servicing New Haven county, but not New Haven itself, was just plain wrong.

Anyway, going forward I’ll feel a lot better about sending my grocery dollars there way.

Does anyone know if it will be a Super Stop & Shop, or just a plain old Stop & Shop?

PS—Congrats and a huge thanks to those community players who got this done.

posted by: Cedarhillresident on February 1, 2011  3:08pm

I am so excited that we will have a really grocery in the downtown area! This is soooo exciting! I was truly impressed with all the work that so many did to make this happen! 

:)
I got to be a witness on the lease :)

posted by: nfjanette on February 1, 2011  3:20pm

I wonder if this was a defensive play by Stop & Shop, or if they finally came around to realize that servicing New Haven county, but not New Haven itself, was just plain wrong.

Business makes decisions based upon the ability to make profit.  Make no mistake about it, that was the calculation involved.

posted by: Anderson Scooper on February 1, 2011  3:29pm

I agree Janette.

The curiosity is why Stop & Shop initially decided not to buy this store when Shaw’s pulled out of Connecticut. (If I remember correctly, Stop & Shop bought 5 of Shaw’s 18 stores, ShopRite bought 11, and two went out of operation.)

Was it a political decision? Or is it the result of the coming Food Co-op?

Bottom line is I’m very happy for my neighbors.

posted by: East Rockette on February 1, 2011  3:41pm

Fantastic news. Between this and the Elm City Coop, downtown will almost be like a real city again!

posted by: Stephanie FitzGerald on February 1, 2011  3:52pm

Hallelujah!!!  Just what we need. Thank you, all of you who made it happen

posted by: Len'sLens on February 1, 2011  3:53pm

Great work by all involved.
My only question is why it took so long for Stop&Shop; to come around. This one is a no-brainer since now the company can brag about bringing shopping to an under-served area. In addition the move prevented real competition now that Stop&Shop; controls all the major shopping in the city west of I-91.
The folks in Dixwell, Whalley and Edgewood, as well as the city’s development staff, deserve a big thank you for this.
I hope the store will truly serve the needs of all the communities in that area, including keeping prices as low as possible as well as copying the wonderful work done in Amity to offer many kosher items including having the entire bakery as certified kosher.
By the way, the Lens will return to the blogspace soon.

posted by: Nan Bartow on February 1, 2011  3:55pm

This is terrific news for the neighborhood and the surrounding area.  Congratulations to all the people who worked together to find a good grocery store to fill this void.  Since it’s Stop and Shop, I assume it will have a pharmacy and a bank as well.  I hope my assumption is correct.

posted by: robn on February 1, 2011  4:01pm

Were there governmental inducements like equipment and property tax abatements? If so, what are the justifying numbers? I’m not saying I’m not happy about the store opening…its great for that neighborhood. But I’m just sort of agreeing with nfjanette and wondering if theres a back-story….like the IKEA backstory thats never been told or justified.

posted by: streever on February 1, 2011  4:21pm

Great work by Linda Maier-Townsend and the rest of the community out there! Very impressive work.

posted by: JB on February 1, 2011  4:34pm

Wonderful!!  Cannot wait.

Dear Stop & Shop: please remember to carry plenty of organic foods, free range meat & eggs, and other goodies as well as the usual foods.

posted by: Our Town on February 1, 2011  4:40pm

Thank you to all who got this done…Can’t say how many times I’ve gone past the site and lamented I couldn’t stop for something I needed.

And, I can’t wait for Norton Street to come on here and tell us how there weren’t supermarkets in the 30’s, and this is poor urban development, and we should all walk from shop to shop to buy our groceries.

posted by: Mike on February 1, 2011  6:16pm

I believe it has to do with the one on Amity Road by the Woodbridge-New Haven border getting so much extra business.

posted by: Che on February 1, 2011  6:16pm

All this is very positive. Although I do find the prices of S&S very expensive, unions I believe is the reason for it, I hope they do not take advantage of people’s need to have a supermarket and have ridiculous pricing. ALSO, Please, I urge the company to hire people with less attitude than Shaws had. There is nothing worse than having someone there not wanting to be there when there is plenty of people looking for work. The rolling of the eyes and huffing and puffing when asked to double check an item’s price is not the kind of person I would like working for my company. Whatever the job you have, do it with dignity and a sense of humility. A smile does not hurt you and a thank you as well.

posted by: HewNaven?? on February 1, 2011  6:48pm

It’s been a long time coming. Let’s hope Townsend-Mayer has it on her agenda to fix the deplorable conditions of the plaza regarding walkability and community-centricity.

Why does it seem to have a facade reminiscent of suburban plazas, and such a massive parking lot to go along with it? What an eyesore!

Also, can the community have a pedestrian crossing on Whalley in front of the plaza? I can’t tell you how many mothers with children in tow I’ve seen almost run over there. I know their behavior is illegal but it’s encouraged given the design of the plaza.

How about orienting some windows/storefront along Whalley instead of the seemingly endless brick wall that stands there now? Anything to make this a more welcoming edifice amongst our vibrant community would be nice. Whalley/Dwight is full of walkers, and if you build it properly, more will come.

posted by: L on February 1, 2011  7:04pm

Awesome news! Now, if only the food co-op would open downtown on State, and then Big Y would open up in the A&P they bought and shuttered over on Foxon Blvd. in East Haven… Dare to dream?

posted by: Jay Clark on February 1, 2011  7:41pm

To Anderson:

Stop & Shop has phased out the Super Stop & Shop branding of its stores. All stores are called Stop & Shop. And Walmart dropped Super Center from its name. All Walmarts regardless of whether they have the supermarket section of not are all being rebranded as Walmart.

posted by: Cedarhillresident on February 1, 2011  8:46pm

robn
This is privately owned property s&s is leasing the space, so none of that applys.

posted by: Jane Penny on February 1, 2011  8:59pm

To all the people who work to bring Stop&Shop; to Whalley Ave., THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I’m a bus rider and have a hard time getting a cab when I go grocery shopping, on Monday Jan 31 2011 I had to wait two and half hours for a cab from Stop&Shop; in Putnam Place Hamden to New Haven. It is hard to get aroung to the stores by bus.

Thank You Again

Jane Penny

posted by: Jay Dee on February 1, 2011  10:41pm

I am glad that Stop and Shop has decided to take over the old Shaws site, central New Haven needs and should be afforded the same things that almost every community has. Maybe this will encourage more retail shopping to come back to the city.

posted by: Scot on February 1, 2011  11:42pm

Great news!  congrats and thanks to all who made it happen!

posted by: East Rocker on February 2, 2011  5:07am

This is a good development.  I’m just nervous about the complete monopoly Stop & Shop has on food in the area.  Prices at the Amity Shop & Shop are outrageous.  I hope they do not use the lack of competition to gouge people at this new store.

posted by: PJ on February 2, 2011  8:22am

Thank you Yale University for making this happen!

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on February 2, 2011  8:24am

Thanks for the shout out, Our Town.
I’ll try to resist posting any maps of grocery store locations in 1930s New Haven.

There are many different kinds of businesses that can provide produce to a population. From what I could tell, the neighborhood was adamant about replacing the Shaw’s Supermarket with another supermarket from the beginning, which makes some sense considering that there was already a large building, loading docks and a parking lot on the site that could be reused. I do think that the community should have looked at alternatives - I know the idea of a food Co-op like that one that used to be on Whalley floated around for a while.
Other food providers besides national/regional chain supermarkets include:
Small regional/local chain grocery stores
Small grocery stores
Specialty/ethnic grocery stores
Farmer’s Markets
Grocery stands
Corner Stores
Convenience Stores

One of any of these alternative choices wouldn’t even come close to being able to replace what a supermarket like Shaw’s provided, but a combination of several or all of these stores would likely provide a far greater service than any single supermarket could. Unfortunately, a successful network of these types of stores takes time to develop - longer than the 1 year it will take to replace Shaw’s. However, attracting a smaller chain grocery like a CTown into the neighborhood to fulfill the short-term food needs of the community, while organizing a way to establish a much finer network of smaller locally owned grocery outlets probably would have been a better course of action for the community.
The types of publicly-funded incentives that typically go to large retailers like tax breaks, public construction and/or maintenance of infrastructure such as roads, parking lots, and sewers, and prime real estate could have been redirected towards helping residents (or groups of residents) start up small businesses like groceries. The benefits of locally-owned stores is that most of the money spent in those stores remains in the community because the store owner and employees use that money in other nearby businesses and stores, they use it to contribute towards local rent and property taxes, and they generally are more committed to the neighborhood long term. Other benefits include better customer service, more personable employees, better sidewalk presence (counter near the street so clerks can watch the sidewalk), smaller buildings which allow for a greater density of other establishments and building uses (like housing). The amount of money spent at a supermarket that is shipped out of the local community isn’t made up for with the low-priced items, and poor customer service, monotonous routine work, lack of character, and horrible street presence add to the negative aspects of chain supermarkets.
Having a chain supermarket guarantees that there will be no viable grocery alternatives in the neighborhood, whereas two locally owned specialty groceries (perhaps a Spanish market and an Italian bakery) could potentially sit right next door to one another and do just fine.

Hopefully places like Grand Avenue and Upper State Street can retain their smaller scale businesses and not fall into the same predicament that Whalley is in, which is essentially to be at the mercy of a national corporation.

posted by: joelle.fishman@pobox.com on February 2, 2011  9:52am

It will be a relief, and I’m glad it will be a unionized store.  Big question is if the former Shaws workers will have first priority for getting hired.  When the Omni opened, community pressure resulted in their giving first priority for hiring to former workers at that hotel under previous owner.  Most of the Shaws workers live in our neighborhood.  If this question has not been raised or resolved, we should put in at the top of the agenda.

posted by: cartman on February 2, 2011  11:02am

Next move for New Haven: COSTCO SAMS CLUB or BJS!!!!!!!

posted by: Swatty on February 2, 2011  11:04am

Congratulations? It’s about time!

posted by: Vinny G on February 2, 2011  11:07am

There are multiple small family owned international markets within walking distance to the Shaw’s site.  Italian bakeries are close by as well.  Two local produce markets that cater to diverse nationalities exist as well.  All of these stores are located along the public transit line and our walkable.

posted by: anon on February 2, 2011  11:53am

Vinnie G, where are all the markets and Italian bakeries that are within walking distance from the former Shaw’s?  I can think of some, but it would take a long, long walk to get to them.

posted by: Thomas on February 2, 2011  12:03pm

like to see an Aldi’s prices are cheaper without having to buy Platoon size portions.

posted by: nfjanette on February 2, 2011  12:55pm

Big question is if the former Shaws workers will have first priority for getting hired.

...only if the new store wants to preserve the incredibly poor customer service in general and the surliness directed toward many customers.

posted by: che on February 2, 2011  1:21pm

@nfjanette, I totally agree with you. It was the worst customer service I have seen. I never understood why customer service in the urban areas is so crappy. We all deserve respect and if you’re attitude is unacceptable. There were some young men working there who were so kind and went out of their way to help customers. The elderly employees were also very nice but those girls at the register were obviously not trained very well or did not care.

posted by: JAK on February 2, 2011  1:38pm

Joelle Fishman - Wow! What a blast from the past!  I remember that my father voted for you every single local election (for mayor?)during the 70s!  Dad is now in his late 70s and I think still has an affinity for communism.

Great to see that you’re still going strong!  You must be pretty frustrated about the way that our country has de-unionized in recent decades, though.  And across the world communism is pretty much a fading memory…And how about Obama?  Turned out he wasn’t such a lefty after all.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on February 2, 2011  3:42pm

Vinny,
I’m not denying that locally-owned groceries exist, I’m saying that those stores should be the model that the community pursued to provide the food needs for the neighborhood, rather than attracting a large chain supermarket. If the existing local groceries were providing residents with all their food service needs, there wouldn’t have been any demand for a supermarket like Stop and Shop to replace Shaw’s. Obviously, these local stores, as they exist, were not able to provide residents with what they needed. Hence my support for expanding the number of local groceries, corner stores, fruit/vegetable stands, etc to provide the high level of service that comes with a nation chain supermarket, but by using locally-owned smaller establishments to do so.

posted by: Stephanie FitzGerald on February 2, 2011  4:15pm

I agree that Stop and Shop needs to give first priority for hires from among former Shaw’s employees who apply.

I disagree with those people who disliked the service at Shaw’s.  I shopped there regularly about twice a week from when it opened.  In the beginning service was slow, but after that it was fine and friendly.  In fact, when I ended up at Shaw’s in Hamden or Stop and Shop in Amity, I found that the atmosphere in those stores did not seem warm or welcoming, and I missed Shaw’s, New Haven.

posted by: Nan on February 2, 2011  4:54pm

I agree with Stephanie.  I often shopped at Shaw’s and always had good experiences with the personnel, whether I was at the checkout or in any other part of the store. 
I agree also with HewNaven who hopes that Linda “Townsend-Mayer has it on her agenda to fix the deplorable conditions of the plaza regarding walkability and community-centricity.”  I also hope that the Dwight Corporation will landscape the planting areas in the parking lot.  When Walgreen’s renovated its store on Whalley and Blvd., the corporation did a beautiful job of landscaping.  Please, please don’t allow advertising placards to be placed in areas where plants should be.  That was done by Shaw’s in the year before it left.  it was very ugly.

posted by: HELEN C. POWELL on February 3, 2011  8:57pm

TO DWIGHT&WHALLEY; NEIGHBOHOOD VERY GLAD TO HEAR OF THE COMING OF,STOP&SHOP; MOVING INTO SHAW’S AFTER THE CLOSING.THE AREA NEEDS SOME
WHERE TO BUY GROCEIES,SENIOR’S,STUDENTS,AND THE
COMMUNITY LONG TIME OVER DO.WILL THEY HIRE ANY
OF THE SHAW’S EMPOLYEER’S OR JUST START FRESH
EMPOLYMENT THERE,HOW DO I GET INFORMATION ON HIRING PROCESS AND WILL THEY KEEP THE SAME HOURS AND HAVE BANK,BOTTLE ROOM,AND PHARMACY
WITH THE REST OF THINGS THAT SHAWS HAVE.HOPE THEY WILL USED AN SAVINGS CARD WITH WEEKLY SPECIALS AND OPEN 7 DAY’S A WEEK,AND HIRE COMMUNITY PERSON’S IN THE AREA.PLEASE SOMEBODY PLEASE ASK THE QUESTIONS ASKED AND KEEP THE PUBLIC IN TOUCH WITH THINGS.THANK-YOU