Freshtown opening this week

By Brian Sweeney
The Freshtown Supermarket in Margaretville will reopen this week, nearly nine months after sustaining massive damage from last August’s historic flood.

PSK Supermarkets Vice President Dan Katz told the News on Monday that “we are aiming to reopen by mid- to late-week, but we are waiting on confirmations for certain equipment.”

Mr. Katz said that employees from the Margaretville store, along with staff from a number of other supermarkets operated by PSK, have been working feverishly to put the store back into operating shape. He said that the Foodtown cooperative, which Freshtown is part of, has altered its schedule to assist getting the Margaretville location reopened.

“We borrowed all the elves and they have been working long hours to help us get open,” Mr. Katz commented. “We have allocated all of our resources to getting the store open.”
He stated, “The goal is to be operating by Wednesday or Thursday.

Work will continue
He noted that there will still be some finishing work ongoing for awhile.
“At least customers can get in and do some shopping. In this situation, it’s a lot more important to get the store open.”

Mr. Katz added, “It’s similar to when we renovated and kept the store operating while work was still being done.”

He noted that shelving for the store arrived last week and that stocking dry goods is the fastest part of the process. Making certain that refrigeration is working and that serving areas are in proper working order are the time-consuming parts of the renovations, he explained.

The road to reopening has been a long one following historic flooding last August 28 that dumped more than 10 inches of rain on parts of the region. Photos and videos of water gushing through the smashed windows of the Freshtown are indelibly etched in the minds of many residents.

Several delays
Despite the devastation, the Freshtown owners originally anticipated having the store operating again by last October.

Permitting delays and insurance settlement issues led to long periods where only minimal work was performed on renovating the store.

In April, the owners announced that they had reached a settlement with their insurance company and could proceed at an accelerated pace. At that time, Dan and his brother, Noah, announced that the store would reopen by June 1.

“Nobody is happier than me and Noah,” stated Dan Katz. “It’s been a lot longer than I would have wanted it to be. As much as it (having the store closed) bothered the people of Margaretville, it bothered us more.”

Mr. Katz said his company has not received its entire insurance payment, but has gotten enough of an advance to get the store operational.

Mr. Katz also said that the CVS Pharmacy will be rebuilt next to the supermarket, but he did not have a timetable. The store was razed the day after the August 28 flood because of extensive structural damage.

“They are coming back in,” he stated.