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Aug 19, 2015 8:49 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Waldbaum's To Close Its Doors In September

The Waldbaum's supermarket in Westhampton Beach will close for good next month, according to village officials. KYLE CAMPBELL
Aug 19, 2015 12:17 PM

Waldbaum’s supermarket will be checking out of Westhampton Beach before summer’s end.

The Sunset Avenue store will close down for good at the end of the business day on Friday, September 11, joining hundreds of other grocery stores that have been put on the selling block in the wake of the bankruptcy filing by the New Jersey-based Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, or A&P, according to Westhampton Beach Building and Zoning Administrator Paul Houlihan.

Mr. Houlihan said he was informed of the impeding closure on Monday, August 10, when he went to the store to investigate a string of complaints about an off-putting smell in the area. He said he discovered that the smell was due to grease leaking from the supermarket’s trash compactor and into a nearby stormwater drain.

While discussing solutions to that issue, Mr. Houlihan said he was informed by store management that the supermarket would be going out of business early next month—and that a number of other grocery store chains have already expressed an interest in moving in.

“He said there have been a few supermarkets in to look at it,” Mr. Houlihan said, referring to one of the store’s managers. “King Kullen, Stop & Shop and a couple other places, but he didn’t know who was going to take it over at this point.”

When reached Tuesday afternoon, a manager who declined to identify himself denied that the store was set to close on September 11.

“No, it’s not accurate at all,” the man said. “You have to call the main office to get exact dates,” he added before abruptly hanging up.

Last week, a spokesman with A&P’s corporate offices in Montvale, New Jersey, said only the 142 locations listed on the company’s informational website would be closed down or sold to different chains. Westhampton Beach was not included on that list.

Representatives from A&P, which owns several supermarket brands including Pathmark, Superfresh, The Food Emporium, A&P and Waldbaum’s, did not return multiple calls seeking comment this week.

Westhampton Beach Mayor Maria Moore, who was informed of Waldbaum’s departure by Mr. Houlihan, said she’s glad that the supermarket—which has been the target of numerous resident complaints over the years, most dealing with the quality of its food—is on track to be replaced by a new operation.

“I’m happy for the community that we’re going to be getting a new supermarket,” she said. “I think the people who manage the Waldbaum’s and the people who work there are wonderful, but they had no control over what happens in the store.”

In light of Waldbaum’s forthcoming departure, Westhampton resident Andrew Mendelson, who has been trying to build a new supermarket in the village for years, said he’s willing to back off his efforts, at least for the time being. He also noted that friends in the local real estate market have told him that ShopRite is the leading candidate to move into the roughly 32,000-square-foot building at 70 Sunset Avenue that is owned by Spa77 NLP, according to village records.

Mr. Mendelson has been petitioning the Village Board for the past several years for a change of zone on a swath of land he owns on the west side Old Riverhead Road that would allow him to build a grocery store there. He said Tuesday that the issue is not the quantity of supermarkets in the village, but rather the quality.

“I’ll do whatever is best for this community,” Mr. Mendelson said. “If the community wants a new grocery store up there, I’d be happy to build it, but I think with ShopRite coming in, we have a chance for them to come in and clean the place up.

“Unfortunately,” he continued, “we as a community let [Waldbaum’s] get out of hand and turn it into a dump.”

Elisabeth Loeb, a spokeswoman with ShopRite, a brand under the Wakefern Food Corporation umbrella, declined to comment on whether her company brand would be taking over the space in Westhampton Beach.

“We’re always looking for new locations,” she said. “But we have no written agreements yet and no leases, so until then we can’t comment.”

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Thank you again A&P for deep-sixing National and now leaving us with nothing.
By tired and broken (6), remsenburg on Aug 19, 15 10:38 AM
2 members liked this comment
Seriously.. What was that? I wonder if that was actually the true story here.. Did A&P really take over the lease and do absolutely nothing for nearly a decade? That's bad business.
By Aspatuck Gardens (30), Westhampton Beach on Aug 19, 15 8:59 PM
Agreed. But that's how I heard it at the time. Also heard Genovese kept their site empty in HB's Macy mall to prevent CVS from picking it up. Maybe WHBQT can find the truth and publish it. Thanks for reply.
By tired and broken (6), remsenburg on Aug 20, 15 8:20 AM
Here's where this dying village needs to do something drastic. They need to find some funds through the county or state to "make an offer they can't refuse" regarding lease abatement or taxes to Trader Joe's to become a magnet for the village.

Of course no such thing will ever happen with the Luddites running the circus.
Aug 19, 15 12:26 PM appended by VOS
Even the realistic, sensible move to allow the guy to build a real supermarket up by the railroad station would be a positive step and we've all seen how that has gone. Throwing up roadblocks simply because they can is no way to run a government..
By VOS (1241), WHB on Aug 19, 15 12:26 PM
Trader Joes. Wild by Nature. That would be nice.
By double standard (1506), Remsenburg on Aug 19, 15 4:30 PM
Good riddens. It will be nice to see anything new here.
By beachbme11978 (78), Westhampton Beach on Aug 19, 15 1:04 PM
What is a riddens?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Aug 19, 15 2:42 PM
Well, it's nice that some are praising the closing of WHB Waldbaum's. But, did anyone realize and show concern for the employees that work there, that they will be losing their jobs and a paycheck? Especially mayor Moore! Not a situation anyone wants to be in
By Jaws (245), Amity Island on Aug 19, 15 2:19 PM
3 members liked this comment
A&P is fighting the employees, not wanting to pay them the severance agreed to. So they are losing their jobs (many well into middle age) AND severance pay. The union had given many concessions to help keep the company from going back into bankruptcy.

But no doubt the incompetent managers that drove the company into bankruptcy have THEIR golden parachutes and premium benefits.

By susgeek (41), Speonk on Aug 20, 15 7:42 AM
what is Luddites?
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Aug 19, 15 7:23 PM
Goodd riddens Luddites

Fiddle Fiddle Fiddle !!!

dd dd dd . . .
By Nero (301), Sag Harbor on Aug 19, 15 8:21 PM
People who are against increasing industrialization and advances in technology.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 19, 15 8:28 PM
Best part about this .. Nobody here realizes that "Lisa Loeb" (yup that actual Lisa Loeb.google it) is telling you she doesn't want to "STAY"...
By Aspatuck Gardens (30), Westhampton Beach on Aug 19, 15 8:52 PM
Also.. our take from this little mom & pop that has existed for 39 years in WHB... Westhampton Beach is amazing, Local businesses are amazing. . Our current supermarket is not. WHB deserves a good supermarket. Wild By Nature would work well here.
By Aspatuck Gardens (30), Westhampton Beach on Aug 19, 15 8:57 PM
Waldbaums is a disgrace in every town their located. Good Riddance to that lousy supermaket.
By BillWillConn3 (180), Southampton on Aug 19, 15 10:09 PM
Whole Foods would be a huge draw to our village!!!
By for truth and justice (11), Westhampton on Aug 20, 15 8:26 AM
Not in the winter when the population drops out. There's no way WFM could survive on the summer season alone
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Aug 20, 15 9:08 AM
I disagree. Whole Foods, since not a traditional supermarket, would draw in a lot of traffic from outside the village.

Many people are driving out to Lake Grove to go to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's now.
By susgeek (41), Speonk on Aug 21, 15 8:14 AM
1 member liked this comment
Everything east of Hampton bays is dead in the winter and WHB/Speonk/Remsenberg are ghost towns. Plus, there's a wild by nature in Hampton bays which is similar to a WFM.

WFM opened a "pop-up" store in EH years ago for the summer and it was a resounding failure.

MAYBE they could survive in Southampton Village, but not WHB
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Aug 21, 15 9:07 AM
I drive to Whole Foods near the mall, but do nots go to Wild by Nature. I think Whole Foods would draw more people,
By for truth and justice (11), Westhampton on Aug 26, 15 6:57 PM
Write them a letter - if they move in you get a fat finder's fee (no BS)
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Aug 27, 15 12:42 PM
The mayor's reaction is - good, see ya later?? That's fine if she knows another grocery is slated to come into town. But it sounds like there is no confirmation of that yet, which leaves the town in limbo. So much for the resident's quality of life and the employees who will lose their jobs. I would love to see a nice, new market and I hope the town is doing everything they can to make that happen rather than what it typically does- throwing power-hungry fueled hurdles on zoning and permitting ...more
By nycleo (5), Westhampton Beach on Aug 20, 15 9:47 AM
1 member liked this comment
7-11 sells milk and lucky for you there are 2 of them in WHB
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Aug 20, 15 10:43 AM
Goats require license plates and registration now. More bureaucracy.
By JeffoftheWest (1), Northwest Woods on Aug 21, 15 8:37 AM
Agreed. but the Mayor has a lot of vacancies to deal with lately. her platform was to fill those but than reality checks in and she becomes another BS Politian. And also remember she appears to have some other troubles on her hands now. Possibly the Village will get luck and she will resign from this position also.
By realistic (472), westhampton on Aug 20, 15 10:12 AM
1 member liked this comment
turn it into a pool or a community Rec center, or a skatepark or a night club, anything fun would be a nice change, I forgot this place turned into a retirement community
By fojoxctf (13), Westhampton on Aug 20, 15 11:29 AM
1 member liked this comment
This might be a not work within the economics of the business but I think Fairway would be a great draw for WHB as well as push the Fairway operation further East. The mayor needs to be careful about putting too main stream of store in there that sits on it's own. She may want to careful about further commercializing the town..but it's a fine line. the town needs store that will stay put. Bye Bye Wbaums.
By djmalter (1), West Hampton on Aug 20, 15 4:17 PM
The best scenario would be if Wegman's, an amazing market from upstate NY, would take over, keeping the WHB Waldbaums employees.
By Bltmctoppy@aol.com (1), Westhampton on Aug 20, 15 11:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
As we know former Mayor indicated it was a great supermarket, And the application for a new zoning of proposed market in Westhampton must be considered. Its Time for a real market.
By 1percent (52), Quogue on Aug 21, 15 2:38 PM
So where are all the people that were opposed to Mendelson building a supermarket on Old Riverhead Road? Not a peep now from them on these comment boards. They didn't want shoppers to leave the Main Street area to do their grocery shopping. So now those shoppers will not only leave the Main Street area, they'll leave Westhampton Beach all together. Thank you and good job.
By biggmoney21 (1), Westhampton Beach on Aug 24, 15 1:29 PM
1 member liked this comment