Freshtown Supermarket plans unveiled; renovation work to begin in September

New owners will convert A&P store

By Brian Sweeney
The changeover from the Margaretville A&P to a Freshtown Supermarket is set to begin in September, it was revealed at public meeting last Tuesday. Noah Katz, a partner in PSK Supermarkets, gave a presentation about what customers can expect when the transformation to the new store is complete. He indicated that the supermarket will remain open during renovations, with most of the work taking place at night. The changeover into a state-of-the-art supermarket is expected to be complete by Christmas.
Mr. Katz addressed about 75 community members following the Middletown Town Board’s workshop meeting. He gave a slide show providing photos of many of his company’s 14 supermarkets, which operate either as Foodtown or Freshtown stores in the New York City area and several upstate counties.
Mr. Katz said his company, which purchased the A&P plaza last year, will remodel the entire supermarket — inside and out. The CVS store will remain as a tenant, but the exterior refurbishing will include that façade as well.
He said the emphasis for the new Freshtown will be providing the types of products customers want (based on their input) and offering pricing that is very competitive.
He noted that the 14 stores operated by PSK Supermarkets are part of a 65-store cooperative that benefits from strong buying power to achieve lower retail pricing.
Among the key aspects of his company, Mr. Katz said, is its public involvement.
“We become active participants in every community that we serve. We develop relationships with each business in town,” he told the audience.
This philosophy also extends to the company’s willingness to carry items produced in the region, he said.
“We never say no to a local vendor,” Mr. Katz commented.

Maintaining jobs
Asked about continued employment at the new supermarket, Mr. Katz said that current workers will be given an opportunity for job interviews.
He stated that, “The people who work for us are the key” to our business. “When we take over a store, the vast majority of employees will stay on,” he noted.

Company store
He pointed out that his company offers a “great benefits package, bonus programs and profit sharing.” The store will have between 30-40 workers.
Responding to a question about the poor attitudes of some of the A&P employees, Mr. Katz stated, “It is the upper management that is at fault in such cases, not the people in the store.”
Mr. Katz said the new Freshtown will be slightly larger than the A&P with the front extended to a “bubble front” that encompasses the sidewalk. The store will also expand by utilizing the space formerly occupied by the Soap-n-Suds laundry.
The Freshtown will be about 20,000 square feet. Mr. Katz said this is an ideal size for a store, because it’s easy to navigate. He also noted that the ability to stock extra goods high on shelves allows for a larger inventory.
“There will not be anything that a bigger store carries that we won’t have here,” he told the crowd.
He also confirmed that his company has purchased the former Margaretville Service Station property on the opposite side of Bridge Street. Vacant since a January 1996 flood, the lot has served as an informal parking lot. Mr. Katz said the property will continue as a community parking lot, with its appearance improved by landscaping.
The MARK Group, community economic development organization has been instrumental in working closely with the Katz family to bring the new supermarket to town.
“For well over 12 years this community has been in need of a high quality supermarket and a resolution to the status of the flooded out Mirabito lot on Bridge Street. During the last four years, MARK made this our highest priority. It looks right now like we are very close to achieving both and we will be very proud of the accomplishment when it comes to fruition,” statted JR Lawrence, MARK Group president.