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New Grocery Store Coming to Cobleskill?

Written By Michael on 6/22/15 | 6/22/15

By Timothy Knight and Joslen Pettit

SCHOHARIE - The Village of Cobleskill might be getting another grocery store to the detriment of the Schoharie Valley.

After years of negotiating with representatives of Big M Supermarkets to bring a grocery store to the Schoharie Valley, Schoharie Town Supervisor Gene Milone announced at his town board's June meeting on Wednesday evening that the Syracuse based food chain is looking to possibly open a store in Cobleskill instead.

Breaking the news after Middleburgh Town Supervisor Jim Buzon and himself have worked on trying to bring the supermarket chain to the valley for over a year and a half, Mr. Milone said that he was disheartened by Big M's decision, which he and Buzon had only recently learned about in a closed door meeting.

Telling the two supervisors that they know Cobleskill has a guaranteed four to five million dollar per week grocery market, Big M representatives indicated that they are interested in the vacant Rite Aid building and one time Eckerd Pharmacy on Main Street in Cobleskill near NBT Bank.

However, that was news to Cobleskill Mayor Linda Holmes.

Telling The Schoharie News that she was unaware of Big M's interest in the vacant building, Mrs. Holmes said on Thursday afternoon that, "we have no application at our codes office from Big M."

Still, Big M's decision was a major blow to the Schoharie Valley. Pointing out that there had been attempts to locate a potential store in Middleburgh, but that "the landowners killed that concept" with excessive land prices, Milone was blown away by the rejection of a deal he characterized as one "you couldn't refuse" in Schoharie.

Working out a deal with the owners of the old Catholic Church in Schoharie, the chain was offered two years of no rent and no taxes to come into the Village of Schoharie, but alas, store representatives thought differently, and turned their attention toward Cobleskill, where two grocery stores already operate.

Functioning without a major grocery store since Hurricane Irene wiped out the Grand Union store in Middleburgh, residents of the Schoharie Valley and the southern portions of the county have had to travel to Cobleskill, Duanesburg, or Stamford to buy their groceries since August of 2011.
Although Middleburgh has seen some strides with the opening of a Dollar General store on Route 30 and The Olde Corner Store in the Village, the need for a full service supermarket remains; a need that public officials had hoped would be filled by Big M Supermarkets.

The largest independently owned supermarket chain in New York, Big M currently operates twenty stores in both New York and neighboring Pennsylvania. Despite being in a prime position to come into the Schoharie Valley, the grocer has faced financial pains since the 2007 recession began, selling seven stores to Tops Friendly Markets across the state.

Cobleskill, in addition to having Wal-Mart and Price Chopper, also has several big box pharmacies - CVS and Rite Aid - as well as Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and smaller delicatessens and locations that sell food products.

Multiple calls to Big M Supermarket's corporate offices were not returned.
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