Community members rallied alongside state Senator Tony Avella in front of the vacant supermarket at 153-01 10th Ave. The public demonstration intended to stress community’s need for a supermarket in the area to the property owner as well as supermarket franchises after Waldbaum’s closed down in November.
At the press conference, Avella revealed that North Shore Farms supermarket might control part of the potentially subdivided property. He told residents about the inconsistent responses he received from The Feil Organization, property owners of Whitestone Shopping Center. The company had initially supported the plan for a complete supermarket before contrary rumors arose.
“They had assured me that they were gonna bring back a full-service supermarket,” Avella said. “One of the things they did was, they purchased wall utilities and fixtures from Waldbaum’s with the intention to do that.”
Avella continued that Feil started dodging his calls in the last two months after rumors surfaced that a subdivision is likely. “They have refused to officially deny or confirm what we know of the rumors. The latest information is that North Shore Farms … will come into part of the space. Part of the space behind us would be subdivided into three small stores.”
Avella also expressed his skepticism toward North Shore Farms. He pointed out that the supermarket may not suit the budget of residents due to its expensive pricing.
“I have a number of issues here. North Shore Farms is a high-end [supermarket] with higher prices. That is not necessarily the type of supermarket that many of the residents [can afford], especially LeHavre and Cryder Point, which is almost a naturally occurring retirement community with many seniors on fixed incomes, this is going to be a problem for them,” he said.
Millie Ronza from Whitestone came to show support for a new supermarket in the empty space: “For me, it’s not that important but I feel for some of the people that I know in the area who live here. I’m near ShopRite and Stop & Shop, I’m in Whitestone … A lot of elderly, retired, they need a supermarket that’s why I’m fighting for them … It’s very sad, it’s a sad situation.”
Avella added that if North Shore Farms fail, the possibility of another supermarket like ShopRite and Stop & Shop is “killed off.”
Avella urged residents to sign a petition, which requests that the property owners reserve the location for a full-service supermarket. He promised to provide Feil’s contact number for residents to call them personally.
QNS contacted The Feil Organization on Thursday and received no response.
A spokesperson for North Shore Farms told QNS that the Whitestone space is not guaranteed and they are still exploring different locations.