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Stop & Shop Responsible For Anonymous Anti-ShopRite Flyer

Circular urged residents to call, email Mayor Rooney

Attorneys for the Boulder Run Stop & Shop have hired a public relations firm to rally residents against a controversial proposal to build a ShopRite in a nearby abandoned lot. 

In the latest stunt in an ongoing fight between the supermarket chains, an anonymous flyer — penned by a public affairs executive hired by Stop & Shop — was sent to residents, claiming that traffic, safety and aesthetic concerns would arise if Inserra Supermarkets were granted approval to build a 65,000 square foot ShopRite.

The mailer, which landed in mailboxes across town late last week, urged residents to contact municipal officials, prompting dozens of calls to Town Hall and at least 50 emails to Mayor Kevin Rooney's inbox. is being heard — an autonomous board, separate from the both the mayor and township committee.   

The man behind the mailer is Stephen Reid, a public relations executive working for Stop & Shop Attorney Gail Price. 

He told Patch he sent the flyers, adding that his goal was to "educate" the public.

"When this is over, said and done and ShopRite gets their 65,000 square foot approval, I don't want people to say, 'We should have done something,'" said Reid, senior vice president at Capital Public Affairs.

"I told them... you're not being loud enough," Reid added. "The only thing I did was educate."

John Lamb, the attorney representing the owner of the lot where Inserra hopes to build the massive supermarket, wrote a scathing letter to the Wyckoff Planning Board calling the mailer "the public relations spin of a desperate objector."   

In the letter, dated December 6, Lamb contends that a number of points stated in the mailer were misleading, including claims about traffic increases.

"We think this 'unidentified' correspondence is tarnishing the good name of the Wyckoff Planning Board which has worked very hard on this application and also causing problems in the Township which should be addressed," Lamb wrote.

Lamb also requests that an accountable party's name be signed to further mailings and that "false and misleading information" be curbed.

"We all know this is the public relations spin of a desperate objector which is afraid of the competition if the application is approved."

In response to the deluge of letters and phone calls received by officials at Town Hall, Rooney said the flyer incorrectly told residents to contact a governing body with no say in the matter at hand. 

"Whether it be Mrs. Jones with a small addition or  or , whatever it may be, this governing body cannot comment on municipal land use law," Rooney said, adding that he replied to emails sent to him with a "very generic form just thanking the residents for their interest."

Attached to Rooney's response to residents was a letter from Wyckoff Planning Board Attorney Joseph Perconti, explaining that the mayor and township committee members cannot comment on a pending application before any Wyckoff land use boards. 

But Reid, , said Rooney shouldn't complain. 

"He should hear from his constituents, I'm a councilman in my town and the bottom line is if I don't hear from my constituents I think everything is OK," said Reid, adding that the people in Wyckoff to whom he's spoken don't believe their concerns are being heard. 

"I was happy to hear that people are picking up the phone or emailing, that's the only way that people are going to get heard," Reid said.

The mailer, which arrived in mailboxes across the township on December 1, also incorrectly stated the next time Inserra's application would be before the planning board.

The next meeting will be December 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the second floor courtroom in .

TSDK December 09, 2011 at 09:18 PM
Shop Rite is the better supermarket. Stop & Shop should be nervous. Every time I go into Stop & Shop, another brand has been eliminated. Shop Rite carries just about everything so people don't have to go to 5 different markets in a week to get what they need.
michele dee December 09, 2011 at 09:45 PM
As a parent who have children in St Elizabeth's, when making a left from Greenwood onto Wyckoff Ave has become nearly impossible and extremely dangerous any time of day. Why is it so important to add another supermarket in this area? Why not build some type of facility for families, and kids @ theater, bowling ally, something other than a food store. How can the town of Wyckoff allow 2 supermarkets within walking distance from each other? Something does not seem right here
rick December 09, 2011 at 09:46 PM
just what we need another big dirty store, where the only concern is their bottom line.
jan December 09, 2011 at 09:46 PM
Funny that Stop & Shop is the culprit I noticed the flyer mentioned nothing about the Vista RE Development which WILL cause problems. I did read the flyer and found it written very juvenile. The residents of Wyckoff are smart people - the don't need a flyer to help make their decisions. I would worry more about the Vista RE Development. Wasn't there 2 Supermarkets a bunch of yrs ago in this town?? In the same locations?? What happened to the traffic of cars and trucks then??
pat December 09, 2011 at 10:01 PM
Do you honestly think Stop & Shop is concerned about the traffic on the streets? More like they are concerned about the lack of foot traffic in their store!
Chris December 09, 2011 at 10:07 PM
Since when did competition become a bad thing? When healthy competition exists, the end product is always improved and generally at a better price value relationship. ShopRite has always been an excellent store Stop and Shop, not so much. Methinks thou doth protest too much S&S! I personally welcome the Inserras to build their store and bring value to Wyckoff. Heaven forbid it remains vacant or becomes yet another soccer field.
D December 09, 2011 at 11:04 PM
Shop Rite is a great store. No matter what type of business is put in that large empty space it will draw more traffic.Currently, it is an eye sore in the middle of town . Majority of residents if asked would tell you they prefer shop rite and do not even currently do the majority of their shopping in stop and shop . Most travel to Ramsey and Oakland. The other businesses in town will benefit from the additional "traffic" that they argue will result from this. Competition is good and we the residents will benefit from lower prices, better assortment and overall service. This is going on long enough and wasting our time and money. Let Shop Rite build and be done with it.!!!
Ron December 10, 2011 at 03:23 AM
They should be nervous. Shoprite has fresher produce and cheaper prices for just about everything! In Wayne, I rarely go to the Stop and Shop. All my shopping is done in Shoprite of Oakland.
Susan December 10, 2011 at 04:59 AM
The Stop & Shop attorney hired an idiot who thought the the people of Wyckoff were uneducated and ignorant. The Boulder Run development is an eyesore and a nightmare for this town; the mega Super Stop & Shop wants to complain about the size of a potential competitor? That is certainly laughable. I believe having Shop Rite will be beneficial had hope that Inserra will be sensitive with respect to the over all design. A traffic light has been needed at the Greenwood/Wyckoff Ave intersection for a long time ... perhaps this will prompt the addition of same that can operate during high volume periods. Another solution would be to have the private school and the Y pay for a police officer to direct traffic flow during those peak periods. My child's private school in another town does the very same thing, twice daily - every day, and it certainly helps vehicular and pedestrian traffic move much more fluidly and safely. As far as VISTA is concerned; the neighbors knew when they purchase adjacent properties that there was a healthcare facility in their backyards. The CHCC has always taken pride in the development of their facilities, been a good neighbor and taken excellent care of the residents of this community and beyond. I would much rather see them develop VISTA then to have ever allowed the hideous development of the former Hoffman Farm now known as Barrister on Grandview Ave.
Ricky December 10, 2011 at 09:54 AM
Shop Rite (Wakefern) weekly flyers do a good "selling job" themselves of making it appear like they're much cheaper throughout their whole inventory by placing a handful of 'loss leaders' on the front page. Once past those loss leaders, most of the items especially their large inventory of non-food products are not 'cheap' and often more than what you'd find in Walmart. Those loss leaders are used to get you in the door and do all your shopping (food and non-food).
Diane D Haase December 10, 2011 at 02:34 PM
I am appalled that Stop and Shop has stooped so low. The majority of people I've met want Shop Rite in Wyckoff. It is a superior organization, giving the people lower prices, fresher food (it doesn't stay on the shelf a long time), community support and, it's an American company that has gained the respect of all who shop there.
paula proud December 10, 2011 at 04:26 PM
I lived in Wyckoff for ten years and never shopped at Stop and Shop unless I needed a few items and was in a rush. Shoprite in Oakland has always been my store. On a large shopping trip I typically save $25 or $30 versus Stop and Shop. Some people in Wyckoff are too snobby to go to Oakland to shop and don't care about the savings. They care more about being spotted by people who may know them in the Shoprite in Oakland because they think it's seedy. The store brings people from the Wayne and Oakland area, and most Wyckoff people won't been seen outside their own kind. It's the same reason they won't shop at Marshalls. Seriously, the majority of people who live in Wyckoff could care less about the savings. They just want a certain image to be maintained and the 'low price leader' Shoprite will attract customers from Midland Park and Waldwick, and they can't have that.
Dee December 10, 2011 at 07:05 PM
I've lived in Wyckoff for 50 years. There were always several supermarkets within walking distance. Stop and Shop was where they now want to build and Grand Union was in Boulder run. Funny how they didn't mind building next to Grand Union. Now, its only Stop and Shop and their price gouging. Can't build it fast enough for me.
Rob Francin December 10, 2011 at 08:16 PM
The underlying issue is one of long term planning. Stop and Shop will not survive once Shop Rite opens and then Boulder Run will have a giant empty eyesore. There will be two shopping centers in an area that only needs one. Both of these border along Main Street which has difficulty sustaining business. The Township's Master Plan should be revisited so that protection against over development is ensured with an eye for smart long term visioning.
Matt December 13, 2011 at 02:24 AM
BOYCOTT Stop & Shop! As the name implies, Stop Shopping at Stop & Shop. Stop & Shop should spend their $$ on becoming more competitive, rather than trying to keep out the competition. Within 3 years of Shop Rite's opening, one of the two will be out of business, and I think everyone knows which one it will be. The fact that S&S is fighting so hard and wasting tax payer money by prolonging the approval makes me mad. I have already stopped shopping at Stop & Shop. As a Wyckoff resident, I will drive out of my way to go to Oakland or A&P rather than S&S. Inserra has done everything they can to design an appealing store, and frankly, anything is better that what we have now.
Mari Keating Schofield December 16, 2011 at 01:55 PM
So much for caring about traffic, pollution, and the actual looks of this town! Wyckoff is NOT CHARMING,QUAINT or A TOWN for that matter any more. It literally has an UGLY DOWNTOWN!! We do not need two massiv e grocery stores back to back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! -Mari Keating Schofield
Chuck January 17, 2012 at 11:05 PM
If Stop and Shop and Hekemian are so concerned about extra traffic and public safety there is a simple solution: put in an access road from Boulder Run to the Shop Rite parking lot. This would keep shoppers off the street that may be shopping at other retailers in Boulder Run and then buying their food at Shop Rite. I'm sure the tenants of Boulder Run, other than S&S would welcome access. .
LC February 02, 2012 at 06:42 PM
As far as more traffic in town is concerned, Stop & Shop's experts need to take into consideration that AT LEAST half of the Boulder Run/Stop & Shop traffic will be over at the new Shop Rite, therefore spreading the congestion we now have at Boulder Run out over a larger area. That Stop & Shop building is going to make a great Home Depot or Lowes in a couple of years when it turns out they can't compete with Shop Rite's prices and quality. Sorry....
John Margroff April 29, 2012 at 03:47 PM
What many of whose, who comment on the Shoprite issue do not know, is that the site was the former home of Jacob Keyser Oil Company and then the Sam Brean Oil Company. The Sam Brean Oil Company was the exclusive distributor of Shell Petrolium products for Norh Jersey. This was prior to the building of the stores on the current site and prior to environmental regulations. There were mant large storage tanks above and below ground on the site and environment problems keep popping up. There is the possibility that some of the below ground tanks were not removed. Evidence of this can be seen by the large rectangular areas in the parking lot that is constantly be filled with blacktop because of the caving of the area.

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