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.