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Officials: D'Agostino's to Close Chappaqua Store

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- The D’Agostino supermarket chain will cease to operate the grocery store it has operated on King Street in Chappaqua, town officials confirm, to the dismay of many hamlet residents who have told The Daily Chappaqua and the Town of New Castle that its closing will pose a hardship.

Nicholas D’Agostino III, president and chief executive officer of the food store chain, also confirmed the store closing to The Journal News last week. The chain, which was founded in Manhattan in the 1930s, is headquartered in Larchmont. Phone calls to Mr. D’Agostino were not returned Monday.

The company has cited in previous reports the difficulty of operating smaller stores in the current economy amidst the proliferation of larger supermarkets and big-box stores in the suburbs—the company said it intends to concentrate on operating its New York City stores.

A Walgreen’s drug store will take over the store’s lease, according to town officials. Town of New Castle Supervisor Barbara S. Gerrard, a real-estate attorney, wrote a letter to the Horace Greeley Village Shopping Center management earlier this month urging it to find a way to retain the supermarket, or find another to replace it. The letter is posted on the town’s website .

Deputy Town Supervisor Elise Mottell said Monday, "There is a need for a grocery store in that part of town and strong support for the D'Agostino's to remain, but the chain is focusing on its Manhattan business." She says D'Agostino told her he tried to obtain another market to take over the lease, "But there was no interest."

The closing of the Chappaqua store is part of a recent trend in Westchester County that has seen smaller and older supermarkets, including some Pathmarks and A&Ps, which are owned by the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, close in Greenburgh and Mount Vernon.

A Food Emporium in White Plains, also owned by the company, also shut down several years ago. In some instances, larger markets operated by other chains have opened nearby, such as a new ShopRite on Central Avenue in the Scarsdale Midway Shopping Center in Greenburgh, and one on Main Street in White Plains.

But the closings of established stores near village centers and in older malls present difficulties for neighborhood residents who don’t drive, such as the elderly and the disabled. Often the supermarkets are being replaced by chain drugstores that stock some grocery items such as canned goods and milk, but generally don’t sell produce or meat.

Zulema Wiscovitch, executive director of the National Supermarket Association, an organization representing about 400 independent grocers in the tri-state area and Florida, says many supermarket chains in the suburbs are withdrawing from communities as their demographics change. Members of the association, which include CTown and Key Food, are establishing themselves in neighborhoods that some large chains have departed, especially those with growing immigrant populations. The group’s smallest supermarkets are about 30,000 sq. ft.

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