Finally, after countless meetings, planning sessions, a long environmental cleanup, removal of those unsightly oil tanks and a few lawsuits, Port Washington North Mayor Tom Pellegrino officially opened the Stop & Shop Supermarket, located at 65 Shore Road, the site of the former Lewis Oil Co. To make the ceremony unique, the mayor cut a ribbon that was actually a ten-foot long cash register receipt at the ceremony held last week.
In addition to traditional products, the 66,000 square foot building also houses a pharmacy, deli, bakery, seafood, health and beauty care, natural foods department, portrait studio, floral department and more.
Many specialty items were stocked, for the opening at least. Some of these unusual products included Italian seafood sausage, ground buffalo, smoked pheasant and chicken sausage, buffalo steaks, ground ostrich, semi-boneless quail, pheasant breast and wing and fresh whole and quartered rabbits.
While Mayor Pellegrino said in his opening remarks that Port Washington will be made a two supermarket town, others disagree. Some question whether Port will be able to support two large supermarkets, and feel that one may be put out of business within the next few years.
Others however, see this a healthy competition which will benefit consumers. They raved about the generous coupons at King Kullen, and the fact that it was empty last week and easily negotiable. (Though S & S matched the competition with many coupons of their own!) Of course, Stop & Shop's "honeymoon" period has just begun. A better reading can be made in about three months.
Still others fear for Port's Main Street. The much beloved mom and pops may be sacrificed to one stop shopping, or "progress."
An interesting feature of Stop & Shop, new to Port, is the "self check-out." The supermarkets self-scanning registers make the shopping experiences even easier. A shopper can simply scan their card at one of the designated registers and follow the easy instructions to scan their purchases. Coupons can be used, and the customer can even get cash back at the register.
Stop & Shop is making a real effort to become a good community member. To this end, they established a new scholarship at Schreiber High School that will endow $500 for at least the next 20 years to a Port Washington senior who is going onto higher education and has assisted the community through volunteer public service. Assistant Superintendent for Business for the school district, Mary Callahan, was on hand at the opening to receive a check for $5,000, which covers the first ten years of the scholarship.
Asked about the status of the promenade/boardwalk proposal for the site, Gary Lewi, a representative from Stop & Shop reported that the village officials reviewed the proposal, and had several questions (i.e. land use) that the supermarket's designers are in the process of answering.
As far as renting space to other businesses, Mr. Lewi advised that the current structure has 15,000 square feet that is unrented, for the moment. About 18,000 square feet of rental space is not built yet.
Asked to comment on the rumors flying around town that Applebees will be tenants, or Old Navy, Mr. Lewi said that Stop & Shop is currently negotiating with several possible tenants and feels that, at this time, it's inappropriate to comment on the status of the properties.