October 5, 2000

Moving In

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Collegetown residents will soon be able to save gas money while satisfying their grocery needs. Wilson Farms, a division of Tops Friendly Markets, will open at 409 College Ave. on Dec. 1, occupying the space formerly taken by Kinko’s.

The Ithaca Common Council worked to bring the store to the area to provide more grocery shopping options to student residents and reduce traffic and parking problems created by student cars.

“For many years, people in the neighborhood and the Common Council have talked about the need for a grocery store in Collegetown to minimize driving through the city and perhaps reduce the number of cars [that students bring to college],” said Susan Blumenthal ’78 (D-3rd Ward), chair of the Planning and Economic Development Committee.

“Students need cars to go shopping for food,” she added. “To some extent, it will help students; it will be a great resource.”

The store will occupy 2,655 square feet, which is “about average” size for a Wilson Farms store, according to Brian LaValley, community relations manager for Tops Friendly Market chain in Buffalo, N.Y.

The store will include a 14-door cold beverage department, eight doors of frozen food and an ATM machine. The store will also sell money orders, lottery tickets and ready-made items, including subs, sandwiches, pizza and baked goods.

“This will be a place where students can buy some groceries, and also some ready-made items. It should be a nice addition,” LaValley said.

In addition to the convenient location, potential customers are looking forward to saving money on their grocery bills.

“If the prices are closer to Wegman’s and less like a boutique, then I’ll go shopping there. I want deals,” Elisa Willet ’03 said.

Other convenience store owners are not concerned about the added competition, however.

“That’s a world away, a block up the street,” said Jason Burnham, owner of Jason’s Grocery and Deli at 301 College Ave. “We already have one convenience store up the street, so two won’t make a difference.”

“There’s a pretty big market in Collegetown [for groceries, consisting of] a few thousand students,” Blumenthal said. “Some people in the neighborhood may stop in, too,” she added.

“People in Ithaca have wanted a supermarket in Collegetown,” Burnham said. “It’s too bad [Tops] didn’t build a supermarket.”

In the weeks leading up to the opening, the retail space will be renovated and the shelves will be stocked in late November, LaValley said.

Archived article by Heather Schroeder