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Monday, October 20, 2014
Controversy grows over ‘general market’
Howard Schwach

Resident John Grech termed the proposal “shlock and junk.”

Others looked at the “eyesore abandoned supermarket” on the site and asked that a new “general market” proposed for the site be given a chance.

More than 30 Malverne residents crowded Village Hall on Jan. 17 to have a say on an application to allow a general store to fill a vacant supermarket in the downtown shopping area. Three supermarkets chains have opened at the property, at 344 Hempstead Ave., and all three have failed.

“A supermarket is not going to work here,” Grech told village board trustees. “The people voted with their feet. They did not support [any of the supermarkets].”

While the property’s owner, Tammy Teller, of Bellrex Associates, has called the proposed store a general market, a number of locals who spoke out at the meeting, and in an online chat room, said that it sounds suspiciously like a 99-cent store.

Teller, whose family has owned the site for 50 years, said that she noted the failure of the supermarkets and wanted to “try something new.” She submitted an application to the village board to change the designated use of the land from supermarket to general market, a designation that requires the board to grant a special exception.

At the meeting, the board put aside a decision on whether to grant the exception, putting it off until more information is available.

Teller said that if the board grants her exception, she has a tenant willing to sign a 15-year lease for the property if the tenant is allowed to open a “discount variety store” on the property. She said that the store would be laid out like a grocery store, and would carry more than 5,000 “brand-name staples and high-end closeout merchandise.”

“It will be like a supermarket without the perishables,” Teller told the board. The proposed tenants own three other discount stores, she said, two of them in Nassau County.

While several residents criticized the idea of a discount store — even a “high-end” one — one resident, who declined to give her name, said she would welcomed a discount store within walking distance of her home.

“Everybody is looking to save money these days,” she said. “The store would be welcomed, and would draw residents from outside Malverne, which would be good for our other businesses as well.”

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