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Malverne Regains Grocer, Loses Landmark

The Associated makes a comeback, as Cork N'Board closes its doors.

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.

Lori Hunt-Lang February 18, 2011 at 08:32 PM
I hope the Merchants Association is doing everything in it's power to make sure our main strip does not start looking like some neighboring towns with empty storefronts - and that our elected officials are getting involved as well. I shop local, that is what we residents can do. I hope they are doing all they can do as well.
Gina Genti February 19, 2011 at 01:13 AM
I think it's time to get the anti-franchise law off our books. A Starbucks 2 minutes off the Southern State would go along way towards bringing more revenue into Malverne and getting a Trader Joes in town.
Tom Grech February 22, 2011 at 11:46 AM
You mean those friendly people who use Hempstead Avenue as a cut-through from the SS to Sunrise Hwy and vice versa, laying on the horn the millisecond the lights turn green? Imagine how nice they'll be when they see a Starbucks. Is there a no-franhise law or does the Village just turn them down? If everyone who lives in Malverne took an opportunity to buy local we would be in much better shape.
Gina Genti February 22, 2011 at 01:39 PM
I'm fairly certain the drivers use Ocean Avenue as that cut through and they now have an opportunity to grab a coffee and some dessert at Baskin Robins and DD. Guess where that revenue is going-not Malverne! I do shop local but there's only so many manicures and greeting cards I can buy.
Tom Grech February 22, 2011 at 01:46 PM
LOL Most know that that trip will cost an extra $50-100 and 2 points on the license!!!!! Speed trap!!! Be well.
Vin Zumo February 22, 2011 at 09:23 PM
Very true. Go take a ride down Deer Park Avenue, the franchise champion of the east coast, on Saturday afternoon. Imagine dealing with traffic like that. I hope the new owners of the Associated Supermarket do the right thing. We have the best butcher around right across the street, and the best bakery around right down the block. Malverne could be a great place to shop.
Vin Zumo February 22, 2011 at 09:26 PM
How much money would go directly to Malverne annually from donut sales?
Gina Genti March 20, 2011 at 04:31 PM
Since my last comment the COrk n Board and Malverne Realty are now vacant. What's next?
Tara Conry (Editor) March 20, 2011 at 05:49 PM
FYI: Malverne Realty is still here. They just moved a few stores down.
Gina Genti March 20, 2011 at 06:44 PM
Thanks Tara. I actually knew that I'm glad to see she's still in business. That's actually 2 storefronts smack in the middle of town that are unoccupied.
Paul Brandel March 20, 2011 at 07:40 PM
Geez what else are those Village officials going to close next???? LOL. Congrats Mayor and Trustees - keep up the great work - it is appreciated.
Tom Grech March 20, 2011 at 08:52 PM
Absolutely. It isn't as if any elected official controls rents or the success or failure of any business. Real estate is seing the worst market ever and places like Tricolor Photo Lab shrunk due to the digital nature of film processing. Up and down Hempstead Avenue the stores are vibrant and many have been spruced up. The vacant buildings were, for the most part, replaced by new and different businesses: Law Office were Bear Tavern was, Chase from WaMU, Il Villagio, Assisi Vet.....so where else are the vacant store fronts? It is a difficult environment but we need to shop local and keep the Village vibrant.
Gina Genti March 20, 2011 at 09:59 PM
I don't see where blame is being put on anyone in this discussion including our elected officials? It's obvious to all that the economy is the reason for businesses closing or downsizing and I think the point Lori and I are both trying to make is that it's up to us as a community to work together to try and help or solve this and any issue that confronts us. That includes local government, merchants, residents and civic leaders. We can sit around jotting down the reasons and defending or we can collectively work in an attempt to solve the problems facing us. The Patch has been helpful in making residents aware of the new grocer-so much so that people are finding time in their weekend to go and see the store. This is the kind of communication we need. Malverne Realty appeared to be shut down. I had the benefit of a conversation with the owner but many residents didn't. All they see is what looks like a long time Malverne business gone.
Gina Genti March 21, 2011 at 01:11 AM
Mr. Zumo that depends on if a coffee is purchased with that donut after seeing a movie and before picking up some last minute groceries at tthe new market or maybe after a lunch at the diner or a visit with the accountant. I'm pretty certin there are studies showing how a Starbucks can help a local economy.
Lori Hunt-Lang March 21, 2011 at 02:10 AM
Thanks Gina. I agree 100%. There is no blame at all. Everyone needs to play a role to keep our business district intact: residents, merchants assoc. and village officials alike!
Lorraine Smith March 21, 2011 at 12:23 PM
Hello all: I made a point to visit the new Associated this weekend and was very pleased with what I saw. There were familiar faces back at work, and the store was immaculate with a fresh look. The produce department was an especially nice surprise. I met the new owners who are friendly and trying very hard to make this work. The only way this will succeed is for the locals to give it a chance. If you don't see something you need they advise me they will get it if you make a request. We need this in Malverne so I would encourage everyone to shop there! Thanks. Lorraine Smith

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