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Little Neck Stop & Shop delays opening until 2003

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Anyone hoping to buy Thanksgiving turkeys in Little Neck this year probably will be disappointed since construction has forced a long-awaited supermarket to push back its start date by several months.

A new Stop & Shop was slated to open in Little Neck sometime in this fall, but extensive work to renovate the former Grand Union site at the intersection of Marathon Parkway and Northern Boulevard has forced the company to rethink its original start date, a company spokeswoman said this week.

The supermarket has now planned an opening in early 2003, said spokeswoman Kelly O’Connor, who said she hopes the store will open “within the first three months of the year.”

Grand Union, which had a large parking lot, has been closed since October 2000 when the company went bankrupt, leaving Little Neck and Douglaston residents north of the Long Island Expressway without a neighborhood supermarket.

O’Connor said construction crews renovating the site were forced to do more work than first anticipated, including “a significant amount of carpentry work that needed to be replaced.”

One civic leader said the timing of the delayed opening was bad.

“I think that it’s a major mistake on their part to miss the holidays,” said Eliott Socci, president of the Douglaston Civic Association, who pointed out that construction delays were beyond the company’s control.

Community Board 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece said he had heard no specific complaints about the delay but thought the community has been eager for the new store.

“I know for the longest time people have wanted something to open in that location,” he said. “They want it to open sooner rather than later.”

After months of consideration and community pressure, the Boston-based Stop & Shop officially agreed in April to take over the site but declined to give an exact start date for its store.

The Stop & Shop building will have a new facade, a slightly expanded sales area and a refurbished interior, O’Connor said.

Renovations also will include repaving and repainting the parking lot, updated lighting in the parking lot and a new sidewalk in the front of the property, she said.

The store will include typical supermarket departments such as meat, dairy and produce, the spokeswoman said, and will have a deli counter, a seafood department with a lobster tank, a natural foods section and a department that will have prepared foods to go.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

Posted 7:25 pm, October 10, 2011
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