MERIDEN — Stop & Shop will close its store and gas pumps in Centennial Plaza this fall, citing lackluster sales and low store traffic.
The grocery store is the largest anchor in the West Main Street plaza.
“Stop & Shop has made the difficult decision not to renew the lease for our store in Centennial Plaza in Meriden, Connecticut, as the store was not meeting financial expectations,” according to a prepared statement by a company spokeswoman. “Stop & Shop intends to operate the store and the fuel station through the fall of 2020 and at that time, all associates will be given the opportunity to transfer to other Stop & Shop locations.”
Stop & Shop’s store at 485 Broad St. (Route 5) will remain open and be remodeled starting this summer.
Centennial Plaza has long struggled to fill its 85,000 square feet of retail space.
“While I am disappointed that they are closing the west side store I am pleased that they have made a commitment to the Broad Street store and are remodeling it to better serve our town,” said Economic Development Director Joseph Feest. “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.”
The city recently approved a tax abatement program for the west side that mirrors similar incentives offered for east side developers. The program has been credited with spurring economic activity on the east side, including new businesses and expansions.
Feest said he has reached out to the broker to offer assistance in finding another tenant for Centennial Plaza.
Stop & Shop has applied for permits for about a half million dollars in work at the Broad Street store, said David Lowell, City Council Democratic Majority Leader.
David Lowell, the City Council’s majority leader, said he was surprised Stop & Shop maintained two stores in the same city for so long.
“The (Centennial Plaza) is prime real estate right now,” said Lowell, who also chairs the council’s Economic Development Housing and Zoning Committee. “There is absolutely a need for a market of some kind there that might well bring competition to Stop & Shop.”
Lowell said the west side incentives could allow a developer to come in and fill some of the vacancies.
“They could add life to that plaza,” Lowell said. “It could be a logical move for another brand that could take advantage of that space.”