Greg’s Meat Market closes its doors after a 34-year run
MIDDLEBURY — Greg’s Meat Market officially closed its doors at the end of its business day on Wednesday, April 1, ending much speculation about the future of the independently owned community supermarket on Elm Street in Middlebury.
Greg’s co-owner Bart Litvin confirmed the closing on Tuesday in the following statement issued to the Addison Independent:
“Greg’s Meat Market is closing their doors at the end of business on Wednesday, April 1. Revenues were unable to service the debt, thus forcing a transaction. There is a potential sale, which Greg’s is still negotiating. We believe the county needs an independent, locally owned source of groceries and are hopeful that either a buyer or an entrepreneur will revive the grocery business at this historic location. To our many loyal customers and partners, thank you.”
Litvin did not offer details about the “potential sale.”
Mac’s Market has been cited by several parties close to the Greg’s situation as having shown some interest in running a store at the property. A call to Mac’s corporate office was not returned as the Addison Independent went to press.
Greg’s had been paring back on staff and inventory in recent weeks. Rumors of a store closing had been circulating among Greg’s dedicated clientele for weeks.
The store had operated as Greg’s Meat Market since 1981.
Litvin and Lisa Hartman purchased the store from longtime owner Greg Wry in December of 2009. Wry established the supermarket in place of Stan’s Shop & Save back in 1981. He had previously worked at the former Middlebury A&P for 22 years — 19 of them as manager.
“It’s very sad,” Wry said on Wednesday morning of the store’s demise. “We had a lot of good employees and loyal customers.”
GROCERIES WERE SPARSE on the shelves in the days before the store closed.
Wry acknowledged he has not been in Greg’s since last December. He would not speculate on the future of the store, though he acknowledged the “Mac’s” rumor. He added he was unlikely to jump back into the grocery business.
Wry added that the sale to Litvin and Lisa Hartman back in 2009 included the business, the Greg’s building at 3 Elm St. and the building at 30 MacIntyre Lane in which Pool World is located.
“I would love to go back, but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Wry said.
Wry was asked if he will suffer any financial consequences as a result of the grocery store failing. He replied, ‘Yes — a lot of money. It’s going to hurt me financially, but I’ll make it.”
Many local people, hearing about the demise of this store, weighed in on social media and in letters to the editor. Most lamented the demise of what they called a “local institution,” saying it filled a unique niche in the local business landscape.
“Greg’s Meat Market was also a local early morning gather spot for local businessmen, construction workers etc., to talk over a cup of coffee and catch up on recent ball game scores, local news or maybe even a joke or two,” Vergennes resident Chris Cousino wrote to this newspaper. “It didn’t matter what walk of life you came from, it was always a friendly spot to gather.”
Cousino, who said he was proud to say he worked at Greg’s for 13 years, pointed out that the store kept business in the community by retailing goods from local berry and produce farmers and from the likes of Monument Farms, Maple Meadow Farm and Misty Knoll Farm.
Others said they will miss interacting with the staff at Greg’s.
“I’m really going to miss it and the people,” Middlebury’s Flanzy Chodkowski wrote on Front Porch Forum. “They had great customer service. Very sad.”
Weybridge resident Greg Pahl said in a letter to the editor that he was a steady customer years, and was very distressed by the closing.
“I have spoken to other customers who are equally distressed and puzzled by this sudden, unexpected turn of events,” he wrote.
Pahl mirrored the desires expressed by many Greg’s customers when he wrote:
“I can’t help but think that someone out there must be interested in keeping this business open.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].
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