SARATOGA SPRINGS — Soon after 5 Points Market and Deli announced Wednesday that it would soon close, lines of customers in search of answers and breakfast burritos flooded the store.
Owner Maura Pulver reassured customers that the popular neighborhood deli’s closure would not be a permanent goodbye to her famous mac and cheese chowder: she plans to open a deli and catering business, Simply Food by Maura, at the Saratoga senior center next month.
Pulver, who has owned the store located near the racetrack for nine years, has slowly worked to transition it from a mom-and-pop convenience store into a favorite place to pick up homemade turkey dinners on Tuesdays.
She wants to be able to make those “Take 5 Dinners” all the time at Simply Food.
“We make homemade stuffing and homemade mashed potatoes and we have such a following. People keep asking me to do it more than once a week, but I’m so busy ordering 87 different kinds of Pringles and this that and the other [thing],” explained Pulver.
“I just want to cook. I just want to do simply food.”
After she put up the announcement that 5 Points was closing on social media, the comments started rolling in. “I grew up two houses from 5 Points and truly hope it remains a corner store,” one read. Another declared that Pulver makes “the best sammers.”
The shop has long been a community hub for downtown, often serving as the site for local authors’ book signings. Since April, it has prepared free bagged lunches on weekends and put them on a table outside the shop.
“5 Points has touched so many hearts and it has touched mine. And to think that I’m going to be another picture on the wall of one of the past owners, I don’t know… It’s been a crazy morning,” said Pulver.
The curious mob at the deli Wednesday morning asked Pulver if she was closing because of the coronavirus. The answer to that question is both yes and no.
She calls it “Covid Clarity,” or a “Pandemic Pivot.” The lockdown, the decreased hours, the low-risk COVID-19 exposure that shut down the shop for nine days, and her brother’s death from a brain tumor all showed Pulver what she valued in her life.
“I hadn’t lost a sibling yet. Where do I want to be at that state? It clearly was a thing out of the blue, he was a healthy guy with a great life.”
Working seven days a week, 15 hours a day running a convenience store/café has a way of taking up one’s whole life.
Now Pulver is excited to be able to breathe at her new space in the Saratoga Senior Center and focus on what she loves: thinking up quirky sandwich ideas and designing catering spreads. She hopes to open up there on Sept. 7, and to officially close Five Points on August 31.
The 5 Points building nestled in between Park Place and Lincoln Avenue downtown has held tenants for at least a century. Pulver also says it is home to a ghost named Dan. While he’s a mischievous spirit, it’s one that Pulver has made good memories with at 5 Points.
“I’m wondering if he will follow me across town. He does belong here, but I hope he pays me visits. He’s a sense of comfort.”