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Price Chopper on Fairview Ave. to close this fall

The Price Chopper at 351 Fairview Ave., Greenport. Price Chopper will shut down its Fairview Avenue store in late September.
August 17, 2018 01:47 pm Updated: August 17, 2018 05:17 pm

GREENPORT — The Price Chopper on Fairview Avenue, which employs 106 people, will close this fall because of the area’s economic downturn, company officials said Friday.

Price Chopper Vice President of Public Relations and Consumer Services Mona Golub confirmed rumors Friday that the company will shut down operations at its 351 Fairview Ave. grocery store sometime in late September, citing the economic decline of the area around the location, which, Golub said, is no longer viable for the future of the company.

The company has not set an exact closing date, Golub said.

“This is the only store we are closing,” Golub said. “We continue to make thoughtful decisions in the best interest of moving the company forward.”

Price Chopper set up shop on Fairview Avenue for more than 40 years ago, although it started at a smaller location across the street from the current site.

“Back then that part of town was a good place to do business,” Golub said. “Now, the population has decreased and the traffic has declined and other local retailers have either relocated or left the area.”

The store employs 22 full-time and 84 part-time workers and is one of the company’s smallest and older stores, Golub said.

Local shoppers expressed disappointment that the store is closing.

“It is a shame because it is an excellent store,” said Alice Schools, of Greenport. “The competition, with Wal-Mart here and Hannaford in Livingston, hurt them.”

Justin Quinones, of Hudson, and his family have a long history with the Price Chopper, with his mother working for the store for 43 years and retiring last year.

“It’s disappointing because it is a good store,” Quinones said. “It’s been here as long as I can remember. Wal-Mart is cheaper, but the quality of the food is better here.”

Joe Drabick, of Stockport, does his main shopping at Price Chopper, going to the store twice a week and sometimes more, he said.

“I think it is a poor move for Price Chopper,” Drabick said. “There are very few grocery stores out there.”

Greenport Town Supervisor Kathy Leck Eldridge lamented the closing.

“I don’t like to see any local commercial business close,” Eldridge said. “I don’t know what the effect will be on the town. I can imagine that it has something to do with the state’s inability to fix Route 9.”

The company’s decision did not specifically take the condition of the road into account, Golub said.

Company representatives talked to store employees and will be offering most of them the opportunity to transfer to another of the company’s locations, although there is no guarantee they will be able to transfer to one of the other local stores. The company owns stores at 2614 Route 66, Ghent, and at 320 West Bridge St., Catskill.

“Employees will have the opportunity to transfer to one of our other stores, based on business needs,” Golub said. “If the teammates choose not to transfer they will be offered a fair severance package.”

Golub made a point to stress that the company continues to invest in locations where the company has the best opportunity to move forward and do well, including rebranding as Market 32, to which the company has converted several of its stores.

Price Choppers has lost their market share because the Golub family has not been responsive to their changing consumer base. They have declined in the variety of quality of brands and freshness of produce they stock and are not competitive.

Having made several constructive suggestions to them over the years directly to their website and corporate structure, I have found them totally deaf to feedback. They have 'decided' that Catskill is a 'low income demographic,' and by catering to that income niche only have lost customers. This is really a shame because the employees there are really nice and try to be as helpful as possible. They are being undercut and sabotaged from above. The Golubs should have tried to look at establishments that work around here, like Adam's Fair Acre Farms in Kingston, where people come from miles around. Instead, they have tried to go discount for discount against WalMart, which specializes in crushing those who try to out discount them.

I find our family driving to Adams on 9W/Ulster Ave. in Kingston once a week to pick up items like "Skim Plus" milk that Price Choppers used to stock, but now they mostly just stock their house brand, which unfortunately doesn't compare. That's just one example. I could cite 100 items I buy there that just aren't available at Walmart or Choppers.

In season, the numerous farm stands in the area, like Story's on Rte. 32 in Catskill, far outshines Choppers and is worth the extra pennies because we use everything we buy. As a regional enterprise Choppers could have taken much more advantage of the local producers than they seem to have.

This is really too bad. Ten years ago this store was doing much better, a lot of weekend New Yorkers used to shop here because they could find 'upscale' items, now they go elsewhere. This is a job that a lot of employees at that store use to make ends meet for their families.

The Golub family has generated data based on their data, which has been formed by their downgrading their stock and undercutting their variety. They have made the mistake of letting their business decisions be corrupted by their own preconceptions about Catskill. Meanwhile, we have a lot of new folks moving up here from Brooklyn and they are going to miss out. Sad.
I'm sorry, I just reread this story and see it just pertains to the Greenport store. I thought they were talking about closing the store in Catskill, but reading this story makes me just as concerned for Catskill where the store has fallen down in all the same ways described in this article, so I hope you run my comment because, the closing of the Greenport store and its complaints sound like a rehearsal for the Golubs backing out of their Catskill location next. They'll be making a big mistake if they do. They should listen to our suggestions and improve their stores, not just try to take profits and let the community down.