New ShopRite in Fairfield: A few signs of progress
Updated 1:29 pm, Friday, April 22, 2011
More than a year after the former Shaw's supermarket on Black Rock Turnpike closed, a new ShopRite Grade A Market planned for the site has yet to open.
Even the Cingari family, owner of the Grade A stores, isn't certain when the grocery store will open, leaving Fairfield residents with a shopping lineup of only two Super Stop & Shops and Trader Joe's.
A Whole Foods store, however, under construction next to Home Depot, off Grasmere Avenue and Kings Highway, is scheduled to open by fall.
A woman who answered the phone this week at the Cingari headquarters said, "They're working on it. There's no set date yet."
In February, a sign was posted in front of the store to notify the public of the grocery chain's liquor permit application. According to John Suchy, from the state Liquor Control Commission, the store was issued a provisional permit on March 1, allowing the store to sell beer, while the full permit application is reviewed by the department.
He said no formal objections have been received, which would have triggered a hearing before the commission.
Fans of the chain have periodically posted messages on Grade A's Facebook page, wondering when the store will open. The latest update by the market posted April 15 reads: "No updates yet, very shortly." Earlier posts indicated a possible opening date near Easter, which is Sunday.
Building Official James Gilleran said ShopRite has taken out permits for mechanical work on such things as refrigeration and kitchen equipment, as well as the electrical system. "Everything else is cosmetic," Gilleran said. He said also store officials needed to solve a "water problem" in the building's basement.
The outside of the store, along with the rest of the shopping center at 1901-2009 Black Rock Turnpike, will be getting a facade makeover, according to Assistant Planning Director James Wendt. The green roof will be covered, Wendt said, and gables added for architectural interest.
The Cingaris have opened two Grade A markets at former Shaw's locations in Shelton and Southbury. They also own ShopRite stores in Stamford, Brookfield, Derby and Norwalk. The Grade A Markets originated in an old school bus purchased by Salvatore Cingari, who used it to sell fresh produce. In 1943, Cingari moved the operation into its first building, with his sons joining him in the business. In 1991, the Cingari stores became part of the Wakefern-ShopRite cooperative.