Over the past week, the usually stable business district in Malverne has undergone some major changes- regaining a grocer but losing one of its landmarks on Hempstead Avenue.
It started Friday night as some residents reported seeing signs of life inside the Associated supermarket building, which had closed up shop in early December. The lights were on inside and workers were busy cleaning up the store.
In the morning light, it was clear that the "Sorry We're Closed" sign that had been posted on the door had been replaced with one that read "Coming Soon." Another sheet of paper hanging on the side of the building announced that the business was hiring too.
For the past week the store has been dark and empty during the day, but springs to life at night as the new owners, managers and workers prepare the store for its grand opening - now slated for early March.
Patch spoke with Noel Collado, one of the managers of the new supermarket, on one of these nights. Collado said that the store will still be called Associated, but will be run by a completely new team.
"Customer service will be our focus," he said."And gourmet foods and catering."
He also plans to offer a delivery service.
In response to an article Patch posted when the last supermarket closed, one reader said the business was "doomed from the start," alleging that "the first thing [the owner] did was fire all the nice local residents that worked there."
When asked if locals would be hired, Collado said that they will employ "everyone," welcoming all those interested, including Malverne residents, to fill out an application.
Right now, they are hoping to be open for business by March 1, but said that they have much work to do to get there.
Henry Stampfel, president of the Malverne Merchants and Professionals Association, was happy to see the village will have a grocer again.
Stampfel, who owns the movie theater on that same block, had said that the previous owner of the supermarket had been struggling ever since he opened up the business.
Still, he had feared what the loss of the grocery store would do for the economic stability of the entire local business district. In December, he had said that while Malverne is mostly a service town comprised of beauty salons, banks and business services, the closing of the supermarket could hurt the few retail places it does have, such as convenience stores. People are more likely to patronize these while they are in town picking up groceries, he said.
"I wish them well," Stampfel said of the new supermarket owners. "I hope that they can do what it takes to promote their business in the village."
Although the building has been home to a supermarket for many, many years (Before it was Associated it was C-Town.) Stampfel said they do have some competition in the area.
He added, "I was told they do have some experience and hope they can overcome the challenges."
Meanwhile, earlier this week another business on Hempstead Avenue, which has been a staple in the village for over 30 years, quietly announced that it will close its doors. The Cork N' Board restaurant will serve its last meal this Sunday. (Patch will have an interview with the owner on Monday.)
"He's going to be missed," said Stampfel of the restaurant's owner. "He's always helped out every group in Malverne. He's such a great guy."
Stampfel encouraged residents to patronize the local shops in Malverne to ensure they stay here and continue to thrive.