Here's the Scoop: Feb. 10, 2010
Nighttime makeover works wonders
When it was announced awhile back that a new company was purchasing the former A&P plaza, there was a collective sigh of relief from many local residents. The term “dump” is tossed around lightly these days, but an argument could be made that the former A&P plaza fit the description. Some things age well. Not strip malls. In fact, most strip malls never look good.
It’s difficult to remember now, if the A&P plaza ever qualified as “stylish.” Less dingy, certainly. A real “looker,” probably not. And things only got worse.
The historic flood of January 1996 marked the real end of the A&P. When the supermarket was forced to shut down to undergo repairs, many customers went elsewhere. And rarely came back.
When the folks from Freshtown Supermarket announced they were buying the plaza, there was hope. The new owners started with a good cleaning. Just this seemingly small detail quickly had folks feeling better. Real renovations were scheduled to begin, but these things take time, planning and money. Lots and lots of money. After a number of months, some noticeable changes began taking shape.
The new owners vowed to get the bulk of the work done “after hours,” while operating during the day. Anyone who had lived through a construction project probably had a good chuckle over that plan.
Yet, they have managed to work at night and sell groceries during the day. Without dust. I can’t bring a few pieces of firewood into the house without leaving a small forest on the floor behind me. These workers somehow make major changes overnight and leave virtually no construction traces behind.
It’s not like the renovations have looked “finished” all the way through. That simply wasn’t possible. There was the semi-creepy “Bare Bulb Period” when shoppers had to peer very closely at the products because of the temporary lighting.
Despite the fact that the former ceiling was now just a tangle of wires and hanging bulbs, the store still felt better. Much better. There was a charge in the air — and not one caused by a carelessly installed bulb.
I actually enjoy shopping (because I can buy what I want) and soon found myself looking forward to going to the store. I don’t think I had that sensation regarding the A&P since the store was located on Main Street and the high shelves contained an assortment of large trucks that any kid would admire. That was a few years ago.
I no longer wonder how cool it would be to own one of those large-scale toy trucks. My satisfaction these days comes from finding bags of organic mini peeled carrots on sale two bags for $4! Note: I know these aren’t really “baby” carrots, but they’re easy to eat and they’re good for you. It’s the small things these days.
Imagine my delight when I recently discovered that a new, extremely well-stocked beer section had been put into place. Now I understand how my wife feels in a shoe store!
There’s still a bit of work to go on the new Freshtown, but they’ve come so far the work could stop now and probably few would mind. But when the work is completed, it’s going to be a remarkable makeover. We’ll know that day has arrived when the last person ceases referring to the store as the “A&P.”
Me, I’m already toasting Freshtown.