To the Editor:
I was very upset to read that the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) has quickly approved of a new apartment building and supermarket on State Road in Vineyard Haven. My initial concern was a strong reaction to opening another grocery source on the Island, and particularly in Vineyard Haven, which, in my opinion, is already well serviced by two large establishments and numerous small ones.
In fact, the proposed new owner is already selling food at two places on State Road. Another regret I feel is the unfortunate competition with Steve Bernier of Cronig’s, who is still laboring to get his large general store in full operation. Knowing Steve’s generosity to his church and its people, and to many, many organizations on the Island, I am frankly angry.
The spirit of a town is important to a happy and healthy community. Competition in business, while often good for the consumer, can become an evil on a small Island.
Very recently the Tisbury selectmen have approved a license for a truck selling chicken goods to operate this summer on the Main Street in Tisbury. Again, do we really need or want another food concession on Main Street during a heavily congested time of the year? In past years, several restaurants in Vineyard Haven have struggled with the lunch trade to make it profitable, and this approval does not seem to help this situation, and it certainly does not help the traffic situation. Where is the public’s feedback on this hurriedly passed decision?
The proposed State Road tenant is not new to business efforts in our town. I have personally patronized his present stores and the restaurant he once owned. I have not personally found them to be shining additions to Tisbury’s business climate. In fact, the only complaint about outdated food I have had on the Vineyard was at Mr. Silva’s present Farm Market, and I never returned because the food offered and the prices were also not in line with what I can afford to pay.
I do like Reliable, Stop and Shop, and occasionally Cronig’s, because they are clean and customer-oriented.
Most importantly, we are talking about prime property in Vineyard Haven, of which very little is left. The MVC might think longer and harder about our future before they give away our land. They have often refused other businesses, and rightfully so. I do not believe a gas station belongs on crowded State Road either. However, what’s wrong with a little spare land on State Road? Trees never go out of fashion on Martha’s Vineyard, and, in fact, are why people make this their beloved home.
My strongest suggestion is to have Tisbury selectmen, if this goes on, make sure Mr. Silva’s present grocery sites are sold and out of business before this new project starts. It needs careful monitoring to be right for the Vineyard we love and cherish.
Mr. Silva is a consummate entrepreneur and an aggressive mover. He is a civic leader, agreed. I don’t approve of our civic leaders, all of them, including selectmen and MVC, showing favoritism to business people and destroying what beauty is left on the Vineyard. Most of us have a much deeper devotion to a peaceful and pretty ride up-Island than to Trader Joe’s or increasing business ventures on an already built‑up main road.
Roberta Bradford Mendlovitz