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After Binghampton Save A Lot closure, new grocery operator expected to come quickly
Less than three years after its opening, the Save A Lot grocery store on Tillman Street and Sam Cooper Boulevard will close June 30.
Its closure will once again transform the Binghampton neighborhood into a food desert, putting fresh produce out of reach for many.
The nearest full-service grocery store will be the Kroger in Poplar Plaza near Poplar Avenue and Highland Street. Although the store is just a short drive away, about 27% of the Binghampton’s residents lack access to reliable transportation and the bus ride can take several hours.
While the closure is surely devastating for people who depend on the Save A Lot, a new operator could take over the space within months, said Shawn Massey of The Shopping Center Group.
“As of Friday, I had been working with three different parties,” Massey said. “Now, it’s five operators that have shown interest in the Binghampton Gateway. Had COVID not come, we probably would have been already under lease.”
The wave of interest in the property is notably different this time. It took nearly a decade demolishing a blighted apartment building, negotiating complex land deals, inventing new incentives and courting many grocers before Save A Lot finally agreed to open in 2018.
This time, though, Massey is working with a transformed area and says Save A Lot’s decision to close is more indicative of trouble in the company than a problem with the location.
The nearby Broad Avenue Arts District has proved itself as a formidable retail corridor, with many businesses bringing in more than $1 million in annual revenue. Two major apartment projects are planned on Sam Cooper Boulevard and Broad Avenue and are expected to increase the population and spending power of the neighborhood.
Finally, Massey added, a more nimble grocer is more likely to succeed where Save A Lot failed simply by offering products more tailored to the wants and needs of the neighborhood.
“We’re going to have a local operator next time backed by a national wholesaler,” Massey said. “We want somebody that’s going to listen and stock products that the community wants.”
Noah Gray, executive director of the Binghampton Development Corp., said despite the closure, he is optimistic for what will come next.
“This isn’t a derailment of our mission there,” Gray said. “The name of the building won’t read Save A Lot … but we’re going to provide affordable quality grocery in the Binghampton neighborhood.”
Desiree Stennett covers economic development and business at The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached at email@example.com, 901-529-2738 or on Twitter: @desi_stennett.
Original post appeared here.