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The supermarket carousel begins

August 25, 2018 12:02 am Updated: August 25, 2018 12:02 am

Thousands of shoppers from Columbia and Greene counties cross the river to visit supermarkets that will give them value. With amazing speed, however, the local retail landscape is changing again, and the area will face new challenges.

In short order, the Rite Aid Pharmacy on Route 9W in Catskill closed. This was followed by the surprising announcement the Price Chopper on Route 9 in Greenport is closing its doors in late September. Then, ShopRite formally announced Wednesday its store on Healy Boulevard, adjacent to the Fairview Plaza, is relocating to the space that Price Chopper will leave in a few weeks.

Price Chopper’s departure after 40 years will have the greatest impact on the local economy. More than 100 jobs will be relocated or lost. Company officials cited the economic decline of the immediate area of the store.

“The location is no longer viable for the future of the company,” said Mona Golub, Price Chopper’s vice president of Public Relations and Consumer Services.

Store employees will have the opportunity to transfer to another Price Chopper location. The company owns stores in Catskill, Chatham and Ghent. Those stores will remain open, Golub said, but there is no guarantee the employees will be able to get the transfer they request. If the employees decide not to transfer, they will be offered fair severance packages, she added.

ShopRite is owned by Wakefern Food Corporation. The company considers all aspects of relocation, including distance between the two stores, before making a decision, Wakefern communications specialist Karen O’Shea said.

The move could mean additional jobs for the area, O’Shea said, but she declined to say how many jobs could be created.

“We will be adding jobs due to the addition of the pharmacy and other business needs in the new space,” she said.

Whether you’re a Price Chopper shopper or a ShopRite fan, there is a question that must be answered as the supermarket carousel rolls on: If the economy in the vicinity of Price Chopper is spiraling, why would any big retail chain want to relocate there?