USA Deli and Grocery is coming soon to the Stockade.
Members of the city’s Planning Commission approved a site plan for a convenience store to move into the former Arthur’s Market property on Tuesday. They took the action after hearing concerns from about a dozen residents of the historic neighborhood.
To address these concerns, the owners agreed to close two hours earlier than they originally planned and promised to be receptive to the advice of nearby residents.
Commission Chairwoman Sharran Coppola told the store’s owners they could come back to the panel seeking to extend their hours in several months, if the early closing proves onerous. But she warned them to run a tight business, since the store’s critics will be scrutinizing their operation.
“You are in a very unique neighborhood,” she told Maein Nagi, a partner who represented the convenience store before the commission. “Everybody is watching, so listen to what these people are saying.”
The Polachek family ran the market on North Ferry Street for more than five decades before retiring in 2004. They later put the building up for lease, but two consecutive tenants failed at the location.
In 2007, the building was purchased by Artur and Joyce Wachala, who tried to replicate the old Arthur’s Market. But they closed down in August after finding that they couldn’t turn a profit at the location.
The Wachalas thought they had a tenant in November, but the deal fell through. Then last month, they agreed to lease the market to Mohammed Alazani so he could operate a convenience store there.
The proposed business was met with immediate resistance from some Stockade residents. Neighbors of the market worried the new operators might use objectionable signs or sell offensive items.
Some of these concerns were voiced again prior to the commission’s approval Tuesday. Some said the two stores operated by Nagi in Troy looked shabby, while others questioned why the location couldn’t host a neighborhood grocer more akin to the original Arthur’s Market.
Resident Connie Colangelo said all of the residents want the store occupied, but many worry that a late-night convenience store could disrupt the area. She said the 11 p.m. closing time initially proposed by the partners would create a nuisance for residents.
“It’s a quiet residential neighborhood,” she told the commission. “It’s just not right to have an operation going until 11 at night.”
Commission member Brad Lewis doubted residents’ claims that the space could support a small grocery store. He noted that no one in the Stockade seemed eager to open up a business at the vacant storefront.
“The worst thing for me would be to leave it vacant,” he said.
After the vote, Stockade Association President Mary D’Alessandro-Gilmore approached the partners who will run the convenience store and offered to broker a meeting between them and the residents. She pledged to help the new business get acclimated to the neighborhood.
“We just want to help them to adjust to the neighborhood, and they seem willing to do that,” she said.