Stop & Shop at Centennial Plaza will officially close its doors at 6 p.m. on Nov. 12, according to a sign posted on the doors of the west side location.
The supermarket chain announced it was closing the store and gas pumps last spring, citing lackluster sales and low store traffic. It invited customers to visit Stop & Shop’s newly remodeled east side store at 485 Broad St.
The announcement didn’t surprise union representatives and retail experts who said it was rare for grocery chains to have two stores in a city the size of Meriden. But it did surprise employees and customers who started a petition to save the store.
Some customers, who lamented the lack of a grocery store on the west side started a separate petition to get a Trader Joe’s in the space. Others complained the closure was pressuring customers to shop out of town.
The current Stop & Shop location was an Edwards until 1982, when the chain acquired and rebranded the 46,000-square-foot space. Its lease isn't expected to expire until May 2021, said Bruce Fischman, president of Cornerstone Properties and a partner in Centennial Main LLC, the plaza owner.
Once Stop & Shop signed its lease in Centennial Plaza, First USA Realty, which represented Stop & Shop, handled the leasing for the entire plaza. Keystone Property Management assumed the property management function. Now that Stop & Shop is ready to leave, Cornerstone is prepared to assume leasing and managing operations at Centennial Plaza, Fischman said.
City officials have said the space calls out for a supermarket, after renovations are made at the plaza.
“I have been in constant contact with Centennial Plaza owners,” said Economic Development Director Joseph Feest. “I know that they have walked around a couple of potential tenants and hopefully they can start filling the empty spaces.”
The City Council approved an incentive program last year that offers tax abatements to help improve properties on the city's west side. It mirrors similar incentives offered for east side developers that were credited with spurring economic development.
"The loss of the large anchor store for that plaza will be felt, but with the new West Main tax incentive now could be a great time to have someone new come in and reinvest in the building and take advantage of the program," Feest said.