Stop and Shop meets and greets local Tisbury merchants

Deborah Farr, Director of Real Estate for The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, presented the proposal to a small gathering of Vineyard Haven merchants. — Photo by MIchelle Gross

Representatives for Stop & Shop hosted an informal meet and greet at the Mansion House on June 5, to discuss the store’s plan to renovate its current Water Street store.

“We see tonight as a casual evening to answer questions,” Greg O’Brien, a Stop & Shop consultant, said last Wednesday. “We felt that as a courtesy to neighbors, we should invite them to a friendly event, and this is the first of several outreach opportunities we’re gonna have.”

Deborah Farr, director of real estate for the Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, presented the proposal to a small gathering of Vineyard Haven merchants. “We’re pretty excited about the plans for this expansion and for the store that we’ll be able to provide,” Ms. Farr said. “It’s a major renovation, and the town of Tisbury deserves better.”

The plan would dramatically reconstruct and expand the Water Street, Vineyard Haven, market, changing the appearance and size of the nondescript building the grocery store now occupies and adding enclosed parking for 43 cars. “We can have rotisserie chicken,” Ms. Farr said, in response to a question about how the extra space will be used.

The building site includes the block of land that houses the present grocery store, the space at the rear previously leased to Midnight Farm, the adjacent, former Golden Dragon Chinese restaurant, and a residential building behind the Golden Dragon building, at 15 Cromwell Lane.

“Everything will be under one roof,” Stop & Shop store manager Sam Koohy said. “It’s something I’ve been fighting for, for a long, long time.”

In their comments Wednesday, many town merchants favored a wait-and-see approach. “I need to see the plans,” Mansion House co-owner Susie Goldstein said. “It affects me, you can see the store from the cupola deck.”

“We were scheduled to be in front of the (Martha’s Vineyard) Commission tomorrow night, but we had to delay a little bit,” said Geoghan Coogan, a former Tisbury selectmen and a lawyer who represents Stop & Shop. “We’re still working on some of the floor plans, so we don’t want to go forward with the MVC until we have it right.”

The first public hearing to discuss the permits is scheduled for July 11.

April Levandowski, owner of Le Roux at Home, was one of about 20 business people who attended. “It sounds like there’s still some pieces that really aren’t decided; the MVC is going to make all the difference,” she said.

Elaine Barce, owner of the Green Room at 71 Main street, only a couple blocks away from the Stop & Shop, said she hopes the new store will bring positive change to the community.

“Initially, I think it’s a good proposal for town,” Ms. Barce said. “There’s been so many changes over the years in Vineyard Haven, we should have a grocery store that reflects those changes.”