After 2,300 petition signatures and local complaints for years, announced that Long Island-based Best Yet Supermarket this spring at Wednesday's press conference.
Murray declared the name of the supermarket on Tuesday night in a press release, though the supermarket hasn’t signed the papers yet.
“They’re just wrapping up the details, but the engineers are already in there, they’ve got plans rolled out, it’s a done deal,” he said.
Joined by , , , and Serota Properties owner Jeff Serota and Director of Real Estate Steve Appas, Murray explained how important this new venue will be for Patchogue residents.
“This is the perfect example of creating a business friendly environment- government working with the private sector to do what’s best for the community, and all parties coming together,” he said. “It took a while, but we were able to pull this off and I’m absolutely thrilled.”
had also been advocating for a food store in the area to not only boost revenue, but to assist the senior citizens at who are in walking distance of the Commons.
“We are so thankful, and I speak on behalf of the community and the merchants, because they have been struggling for, I would say, almost four years now since this building was emptied,” Focus President Tom Berger said. “It was [Assemblyman Murray’s] idea to initiate the petition, which allowed him to have something to bring in to the supermarket officials to begin to negotiate.”
Berger wasn’t the only resident pushing for a new food business- Audrey Villani of East Patchogue was thanked by Murray for her efforts.
“I made many phone calls because we really needed this, everything has gone up on Sunrise Highway and the seniors needed something like this in the area,” Villani said.
Best Yet President Aviv Raitses said the supermarket was in the negotiation process since the shutdown of Walbaums.
“We knew it was the right place for us, the demographic here really fits our concept,” Raitses said. “We’re going to create a modern, open market feel- we believe this is what customers are looking for.”
According to Berger, Walbaum’s, owned by the A&P Corporation, had shut down their Patchogue location to expand the Sunrise Highway and Waverly Avenue venue, but the Corporation continued to lease the building through Serota Properties to avoid a rival taking the space.
Appas said this strategy by A&P delayed the process in finding a new business to lease the property.
“[Walbaum’s] went dark for the purposes of keeping competition out,” he said. “They didn’t walk away from the store, and we didn’t have the right to regain possession, otherwise this would’ve been done a long time ago. It was a simple evil of the supermarket business.”
Like many others, Murray has seen the positives of this new business coming to the area, and said the supermarket could be opened sooner than expected.
“What’s great is that most of the work will be inside, so they can work through the winter which should speed up the process,” he said.