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Letter to the Editor: 'Chicken Littles' Don't See ShopRite's Upside

Send your letters to joseph.gerace@patch.com

Dear Editor,

Unfortunately, as is the case recently with many of the “issues” in Wyckoff, the ShopRite matter has been usurped by a small minority of Chicken Little residents that foist propaganda regarding traffic, trees and their singular vision of the town’s drastic downfall on their fellow citizens. These scare tactics are tired and insult the intelligence of progressive minded residents who they claim to speak for, but who actually despise their message.

While it is comical that the CLs never address how Wyckoff possibly survived two supermarkets in the same locations for many years, their biggest oversight is who these residents are trying to keep out of Wyckoff: the Inserra family. 

The Inserras are deservedly recognized as extremely generous and caring in the areas where their other supermarkets are located.  There are countless stories about the ShopRite in Ramsey repeatedly donating to local schools and consistently supporting charity efforts in the area. 

As a resident of Mahwah for a period of time that frequented the Inserra’s Ramsey location, I can personally attest to the congeniality and small business feel of the store, which greatly contrasts with the One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest atmosphere of the massive Wyckoff Stop & Shop. Furthermore, the Inserras provide generous donations to numerous charities through the Inserra Family Foundation, including hefty donations to support diabetes research.

The tunnel vision of the CLs prevents them from seeing anything outside of their narrow, detached worldview. These same people who harp about Wyckoff losing its old school charm are actively opposing an application from a family that is everything they supposedly support: small business, consideration of their neighbors and active, beneficial participants in their local communities. 

Can the same thing be said for the massive Stop & Shop corporation? Perhaps if the CLs could actually see the forest through the trees (pun intended,) they would reconsider their contradictory position.

Sincerely,

Joseph R. Haftek, Jr.
Wyckoff, NJ

Email your letters to Editor Joseph M. Gerace

Chuckles February 15, 2012 at 12:19 PM
What the previous writer fails to note is that Stop & Shop is as large as the two stores in wyckoff previously, Boulder Run is not fully leased yet and the YMCA is much larger. We can find a Shop Rite in another town if we love it so much. Not here please.
susan February 15, 2012 at 12:46 PM
What a pleasure it would be to have a locally owned supermarket. There was a Wallgreens plus A&P on site for many years. Easy in, easy out. Shoppers benefit when there is competition. Bring it on!
RONALD PIRES February 15, 2012 at 04:01 PM
I live on Monroe Ave in Wyckoff which is uptown and I welcome ShopRite. It will be great for Wyckoff. The only reason why people do not want it is because the lawyer who runs the opposition group needs a job to make him look good.
alejandra Friedman February 15, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Can't wait to see it running! Tired of driving to Ramsey! Not a big fun of Stop and Shop or A&P.
Gary Rabinowitz February 15, 2012 at 07:19 PM
As someone who has objected to ShopRite on Wyckoff Patch (aka, a “Chicken Little”), Mr Haftek’s straw man arguments, histrionics, “progressive mind” and “insulted intelligence” notwithstanding, I address his two or three substantive points as follows: Pt #1: I have never read any objection to ShopRite based on the Inserra family’s involvement. I’m sure they’re nice people. But, who cares? If Mother Teresa was sponsoring another supermarket instead of the Inserra family, we’d still have more traffic, demand for police, unsightly commercial development and a diminished ability of Boulder Run to pay ratables. Your point is a nonsequitir: the Inserra family’s generosity is irrelevant.
Gary Rabinowitz February 15, 2012 at 07:20 PM
If Shop Rite is so great, you can get in your car and drive to Oakland or Ramsey. The “you must patronize the Wyckoff Stop and Shop law” has not been enacted. My sources tell me it never will, either. This thing called the “automobile” was invented. There are other supermarkets besides Shop Rite in the area. You might find some of them from this thing called “the Internet.” We don’t need ShopRite. And drive a few minutes extra to another store if you dislike Stop and Shop so much. Cheers GXR
Gary Rabinowitz February 15, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Pt #2: Yes, some of us objectors do wish Wyckoff maintain its small town feel and rural character. (NB: I have never seen nor used the term “old school charm” with respect to Shop Rite – my teenagers however do describe pop music in such terms..) The town never should have let Stop and Shop be developed at its current dimensions. Unfortunately, it dropped the ball, and the best we can do is prevent or limit additional incongruent commercial development. The generosity or structure (family owned) of ownership is IRRELEVANT. We have an obligation to make new development conform to our parameters. On your family business point, unlike a big strip mall or regional mall conglomerate such as Kimco or Westfield, Boulder Run’s owner (Hekemian) is a “family owned” business. That family business didn’t serve Wyckoff too well, did it? Pt #3: No one is suggesting Wyckoff won’t “survive” should ShopRite get approved and open. Our community will be, for the reasons cited by me and others, worse off. There will be more traffic. We will need to hire more police. We should expect slower police response times and coverage in residential areas. We will have more commercial buildings, more parking lot area, less trees and more noise. The likelihood that Boulder Run, one of the largest rate payers in town, will encounter additional economic pressure and vacancies will increase.
Pete Retriever February 15, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Way to prove the author's point GXR. Everything you write is pure speculation, especially the portion about increased traffic. What is the basis for that? Aren't most people either going to go to both stores or switch their allegiance to Shop Rite? Where is this massive influx of people coming from? Per your logic, people from Ramsey and Oakland will stay away and go to their "own" Shop Rites. Also, where is the support for your contention that this will strain police? Are they reaching a point of strain as is? Lastly, there are already abandoned commercial buildings and a large parking area at the site. A new development will clean up the eyesore. Is that so bad?
Gary Rabinowitz February 15, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Mr. "Pete Retriever" -- fact is unless both stores are open, there's "speculation" on both sides. The question is: what is reasonable and expected given what's happened in other towns? Your point that traffic forecasting is dynamic is a fair one -- i.e., traffic of 1 standalone store + traffic of 1 standalone store is not = traffic of 2 stores that are potential substitutes. To answer your question, "Aren't most people either going to go to both stores or switch their allegiance to Shop Rite?," the answer is typically no. But let's "speculate" that does happen: having two giant supermarkets compete for the existing base of Stop and SHop customers will result in two nonviable supermarkets. One will close up, and we're back to square one. If two stores do attract new customers,and it would be naive to suggest that "most people either go to both stores or switch allegiance," then we get more traffic. Having analyzed retail and commercial real estate companies, when one store wins share over the other, the loser store will pursue (or try to) different customer segments such that each store will attract more customers than Stop and Shop currently does or else one store will go out of business. So, if a "massive influx" of people don't come to the new Shop Rite, it closes and we're back to square one? The only way two supermarkets can be viable in town is if we get more traffic.
Gary Rabinowitz February 15, 2012 at 10:10 PM
My points stand. Within a few years, we will either have 2 thriving supermarkets with a lot more traffic and need for policing, or we'll have allowed two supermarkets to open understanding that one was doomed to fail, and we have another weed strewn vacant store. In retrospect, I wish Shop Rite did open in BOulder Run instead of Stop and SHop. Stop and Shop is pricey and their smarmy direct mail tactics repulse me. But the gigantic Boulder Run is a fait accompli. Stabilizing it is, in my opinion, in the best interests of Wyckoff taxpayers. Cheers, GXR
D February 16, 2012 at 02:35 AM
The majority of people in the town want convenience. All in town stores benefit from more traffic. Bring people into town in what you want to make the stores thrive. If people constantly leave town to shop for groceries.... they will buy other things else where also because its more convenient. The majority also want Shoprite !!!
Louise February 16, 2012 at 03:40 PM
@ Gary Rabinowitz, most likely if ShopRite opens Stop & Shop will fail because generally most people flock to A & P and ShopRite in neighboring towns complaining about Stop & Shop for various reasons. Boulder Run will succeed because Boulder Run is more than just Stop & Shop! The complex contains other store: Marshalls, Starbucks, & Blue Moon Café, just to name a few that draw the crowds; it’s not Stop & Shop that draw the people. And guess what, it could potentially decrease the amount of traffic going through town because people in our community won’t be going from one side of town to the other to get to ShopRite or A&P in neighboring communities, think about how much crisscrossing one does because you want to go to a different food store….
Gary Rabinowitz February 16, 2012 at 04:01 PM
@ Louise -- I don't know if Stop & Shop will fail or not. Most patch commenters seem to agree with your preference for ShopRite. While you are correct that Boulder Run has more stores than Stop & SHop, I do believe that Stop & SHop is considered the "anchor tenant" and thus most important tenant for BOulder Run's success. Conventional RE wisdom says shopping centers with grocery stores as anchor tenants are the most desirable and stable kind of properties. Grocery stores tend to attract more and better customers than an apparel retailer (Marshalls), a restaurant or a "quick serve" food/coffee retailer like Starbucks or McDOnalds. If Stop & Shop fails, all of Boulder Run will suffer -- lower rents and traffic. We are, for lack of a better term, "married" to Stop & Shop for the time being. Given the apparent preference for ShopRite over Stop & Shop, I think the best way to accommodate my position with yours is to let time pass and Stop & SHop wither on the vine, so that Shop Rite might eventually move in. If it fails, it seems like Shop Rite would be well received in Wyckoff to take its place. I have 'no dog in this fight' other than what I believe is in Wyckoff's taxpayers' best interest. If Shop Rite were in the space Stop & SHop was right now trying to open up the old A&P location, I would argue just as vocally against Stop & SHop for the same reasons I argue against Shop Rite currently. Cheers Louise, GXR
M Cole February 16, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Actually, there was a time, going back about 35 years now, when Wyckoff supported 4 supermarkets. There was Stop & Shop, A & P (corner of Clinton and Wyckoff) and two Grand Unions (one located on Cedar Hill). Also, the population of the town was smaller, and shopping habits were certainly different, as the town also still had several butchers, a produce store, and two bakeries. Basically, the function of those small businesses have been absorbed by the supermarket in our current retail environment. Having said all that, I find it difficult to believe that the current population cannot support two large supermarkets and provide them with a profitable situation.
Gary Rabinowitz February 16, 2012 at 06:44 PM
@ M Cole -- if the support Wyckoff provided 4 stores was so great, why did 3 of them shut down? Similarly, I find it difficult to believe the supposed need is so great that we need to incur the burdens and costs of a new store when we have lots of stores within 5-10 mins driving distance that we need Shop Rite.
Carol February 28, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Bring Shop Rite to Wyckoff. It has great values and would certainly help contribute to our taxes. It's interesting how a 'mega' Stop & Shop was created without controversy. We've always had two supermarkets. It's about time we consider another. Carol Raff
Jackie March 16, 2012 at 01:19 PM
We have two stores in Hackettstown (ShopRite and Weis Market). They are literally within walking distance of each other. They have survived and offer the public a choice. I don't understand why residents would want to continue looking at that eye sore instead of having it redeveloped into something useful. I have to agree that the argument about increased traffic is weak. How did the town ever manage when there was an A & P in that location? and a Stop N Shop before that? Boulder Run hadn't even been built yet so all shopping was done at the one location.
Just Watching March 28, 2012 at 04:39 PM
When Boulder Run was approved, it gave shopping center developers the rubber stamp of approval. Now it is destined to happen again. When CHCC Vista is approved, it will give approval for apartments and taller buildings. Will we ever learn?
susan April 03, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Hmmm... So we stop growing? We stand still? We go backwards, not forwards? What a sad state our lovely town would be in if everyone felt that way. Thank goodness its just a minority. I cannot believe the narrow minded thoughts being expressed here!. Competition is good for us all. Can't wait for Shop Rite to open.
Q April 24, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Gary Rabinowitz, you're not alone! I do not want Shop Rite to open in Wyckoff for all the reasons you mention AND I am not a fan of the store in Ramsey. Low prices and low quality.
Guy Cappello April 29, 2012 at 01:23 PM
The approval position of Shop Rite's right to be included in Wyckoff by the many who were in attendance the other nite, makes me feel proud that reason still prevails in our town. Guy Cappello
John A. Unglert May 17, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Have read all the above I am wonering if Mr. GXR is double parked in the Twilight Zone. I think I did see Rod Seling go by a few moments ago. Traffic increase, NO ONE care truly gausge that. We will always have differing studies. But that seems to be Mr. GXR's center piece. One would have thought that when there was an A&P AND the DMV in the same location, PLUS a really great Pizza "place" traffic would mimic what may be expected now ? Was that so terrible even when the bank was open ? I think NOT. Business competition is GOOD and should be supported. Maybe it will drive down some of the prices from that large vault building we already have. AND rateables are rateables. The property sits idle, let Shop Right use and an contribute to the tax base. I just beleive all the sayers of no have nothing better to do. Myself, I will go with Mr. Halftek's comments !

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