Op-Ed: Meeting the needs of our Vineyard Haven customers

Op-Ed: Meeting the needs of our Vineyard Haven customers

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Intended to reduce the visual impact of the Vineyard Haven based Stop & Shop, architect Chuck Sullivan has reduced the second floor sales area by 250 square feet, as well as moved the facade 15 feet back on the Water Street side. — Photo courtesy of MVC

For many years, Stop & Shop has been a local employer and member of the Martha’s Vineyard community. We have worked diligently to provide quality products and friendly customer service at our Edgartown and Tisbury stores and to support the Vineyard community and its schools.

As Stop & Shop prepares to celebrate its 100th year in business, we look forward to continued contributions to Vineyard schools and community needs. We value our partnership with Martha’s Vineyard, and in past years, we have donated generously to the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust, the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, the Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club, the Tisbury Fire Department, Tisbury Ambulance Services, various Vineyard church and Island food pantries, the Martha’s Vineyard Red Cross, the Martha’s Vineyard Red Stocking Fund, and other Island causes.

Our Tisbury store, once an A&P, has been an ongoing challenge for us in terms of its limited size and capacity to properly serve our customers, with its narrow aisles, crowded shelf space, limited fresh products, and inadequate parking. In addition, our rundown, deteriorated buildings along Water Street leave a poor first impression of Martha’s Vineyard, and they will only decline further in time.

I know firsthand of these challenges. Years ago, I lived on the Vineyard while managing both the Tisbury and Edgartown A&P. I continue to be deeply impressed with the Vineyard’s natural beauty and with the integrity, character, and independence of its residents. Stop & Shop respects these values and is committed to operating stores in Tisbury and Edgartown that reflect the local Vineyard culture.

With this in mind, we came to the decision that a new Stop & Shop store was needed in Tisbury — one that could offer a wider selection of products, improved displays and more modern amenities, such as wider aisles, and more parking. We have proposed a new store that will be an asset to Tisbury in offering an improved shopping experience year-round and a design in keeping with Tisbury’s historic character at the gateway to the Vineyard.

We also will be creating new jobs. Stop & Shop today is one of Martha’s Vineyard’s largest employers. Our new Tisbury store, as proposed, will add 64 full-time and part-time Island jobs in season — 43 of which will be year-round.

Working closely with the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, and after listening carefully to the public, we have made numerous improvements to our proposal. The commission and the public have made this a better plan, and we are thankful for that. The revised design gives the look of several smaller stores and includes a deck for shoppers, overlooking the harbor.

Stop & Shop will continue to do all it can to provide Tisbury with the best shopping experience possible, and we are hopeful the Martha’s Vineyard Commission will approve our revised proposal that we believe is in the best interest of everyone.

Joe Kelley is president of Stop & Shop New England.

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