After 27 years of serving the Ithaca community, John’s Convenience Store will be closing in approximately three weeks.
In the past almost three decades, store owners John Tadros and his wife, Simona Tadros, have built their entire lives around the downtown-located shop. Everyday, John and Simona eat breakfast and dinner at the store.
“On top of all that, we have three kids — three boys,” John told the Sun. “That’s a whole life attached to the place.”
In 1993, John had heard that there was a store being sold on Clinton Street near the Commons. Having had previous experience running a convenience store in Syracuse, John decided to take over the store, which he ran until the building was sold in 2000. Afterwards, he moved to the stop’s current location, on West State Street.
However, maintaining the Ithaca store has not always been easy.
For John, “it was getting [to be] too much.” The couple does not receive benefits, do not take vacations and struggle to keep up with the price of health insurance.
Working from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., John spends more time working at the store than at home.
“I’m not enjoying life,” he told The Sun.
“I’ve been doing this since 1977, and it’s all I know how to do,” John said. Wanting a change of pace, he plans to continue working — but doing something different.
Ahead of the final operation date the couple is trying to get rid of everything in the store. Everything except cigarettes has been marked off by 20 percent. According to John, anything that isn’t sold will go to the Salvation Army.
Charrise Mitchell is one of their longest customers, first going to the store in 1995, back when it was at the Clinton Plaza location. She would go to the store everyday to play the lottery, sometimes even twice.
“John’s was a diamond in the rough,” Mitchell told The Sun. She and Simona quickly became friends, and Mitchell now considers them to be family.
“There would be times that I’d be short on funds, and John would let me run a little tab,” Mitchell said. “He didn’t do it for everybody, but he did it for me. And I appreciated it because at the time I wasn’t working.”
“They’re just really good people,” she continued.“They look out for me, and I look out for them.”
Although a seemingly sudden decision, the pair have had the building on the market for the last two years, when they originally decided it was time for them move on.
John cited several reasons for closing the store, mainly related to growing older.
“My age is catching up with me,” he said. “I’m not 30 or 40 years old anymore.”
Competing with supermarkets and gas stations has also made it difficult to keep the store going, John told the Sun.
The Tadros family plans to continue the friendships they have developed with their customers.
“We’ve built up unbelievable relationships with the community,” John said.
Mitchell believes that closing the store is going to be a loss, not just for her, but for the entire community.
But even as the store says its goodbyes, Mitchell and Simona plan to keep in touch. Now, the two families share something in common outside the store –– grandchildren –– a new investment of a different kind.
“It’s sad,” Mitchell commented on the closing of the store, “but it’s all going to be good.”