MILLWOOD, N.Y. -- Amid throngs of shoppers, grocery chain DeCicco & Sons opened its latest location in Millwood on Friday.
The grocer is located in Millwood Plaza, in a space that was occupied by supermarket company A&P before it closed 13 months earlier due to bankruptcy.
Within a day, the opening upended the relatively sleepy environment in the plaza, as parking quickly became a scarce commodity. The store's main floor, meanwhile, was bustling with new shoppers.
A ribbon cutting was held in the afternoon to mark the store's arrival. Attendees included several members of the DeCicco family; New Castle Deputy Supervisor Adam Brodsky; New Castle Councilwoman Hala Makowska; members of the town's Millwood-West End Advisory Board; Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino; and Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Michael Kaplowitz.
“This is a great place,” Astorino said, adding that "the DeCicco family is amazing."
The store, which was built following a gut renovation, includes new furnishings, fresh meats and produce; beer on tap with an accompanying bar; and a second-floor eating space with expansive views of the first floor.
The opening came roughly six months after it was announced that the grocer signed a lease.
John DeCicco Sr. noted that work in the space started on Sept. 3 and included a gutting of it.
“We worked 24/7,” he said.
Recalling why his company selected the storefront, John DeCicco Sr. credited the owner of Dodd's, a liquor store in Millwood Plaza, for mentioning the vacancy. The elder DeCicco also credited New Castle town officials coming to the business.
A line of 50 people formed at the time of the store's opening, John DeCicco Sr. said, adding that people have been "overwhelmed."
“One guy grabs my arm, he says 'Touch me, touch me. Am I live or am I dead? I'm in heaven!'”
Brodsky credited the effort to make the grocer's location a reality to Dodd's, Town Board members and those of the Millwood-West End Advisory Board. Town officials also encouraged the Building Department to have the grocer as a priority, the deputy supervisor recalled.
“I just can't be more thrilled," Brodsky said.
The volume of foot traffic exceeded expectations, Joe DeCicco Jr. told Daily Voice, adding, “we were overwhelmed and pleasantly surprised.”
DeCicco & Sons is one of two grocery chains run by eponymous family members. The original chain, previously known as "DeCicco's," split in two as the family's second generation got involved in the business, Joe DeCicco Jr. recalled.
“It was more just a practical way to manage the stores,” he said, noting that the split, which happened about two years ago, was amicable.
The younger DeCicco explained that the branch running DeCicco & Sons includes first-generation founders (and brothers) John DeCicco Sr. and Joe DeCicco Sr., along with their kids. He added that the other branch, called DeCicco Family Markets, is run by Frank DeCicco, who is the third founding brother, plus other members of the second-generation.
Both chains have stores across the Hudson Valley.
“Everything's very fresh and clean,” said Chappaqua resident Elizabeth Diederich, who came with her daughter, Mikayla and her friend, Dillon Rusiecki. The trio left the store after getting soup, bread and kombucha.
“It's really nice, I like it a lot," Mikayla Diederich said, noting that it was more convenient for her than the grocer's location in Armonk.
Dillon Rusiecki said he liked the range of stuff available at the store, and noted that it is cleaner than the old A&P.