Greg’s Market slated for February opening
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury Development Review Board on Monday approved local businessman Tony Neri’s plan to reopen the former Greg’s supermarket at 3 Elm St. as soon as this coming February.
“I’m very pleased,” Neri said on Tuesday. “I thank the board for working with me on this.”
Managed by Gail Daha, the supermarket will continue to bear the “Greg’s” moniker in honor of its namesake, Greg Wry, who developed a loyal clientele for the independent grocery store by offering good prices, friendly service, deliveries to shut-ins and a well-stocked deli/meat department.
Neri plans to replicate much of what made Greg’s successful, albeit on a slightly smaller scale. He said the store will continue to emphasize meat, vegetables, deli and deliveries. But he told DRB members the new Greg’s will largely be a “grab and go” market; he doesn’t foresee carrying the extensive inventory of grocery items that the former market stocked during its heyday.
Neri’s plan includes removal next June of the adjacent Pool World property at 30 MacIntyre Lane, which will create an additional 37 parking spots for a new total of 49 in the often busy lot between Greg’s and the complex that houses Nino’s Sicilian Pizza, Middlebury Discount Beverage and Cole’s Flowers.
The once-thriving Greg’s Market has stood dormant since April of 2015, when Bart Litvin filed for bankruptcy protection after having owned the enterprise for six years. During the summer of 2017 Neri purchased Greg’s and the 2,000-square-foot Pool World building for a sum of $380,000 from TD Bank.
Neri, who owns several local businesses (including the A&W on Route 7 South), saw potential in the Greg’s property and believed he could resurrect it if he could buy it for the right price. It includes 4,820 square feet of retail space that he is in the process of renovating.
“We’ll be making some major changes inside,” Neri said.
A big portion of the work involved rebuilding the storage cooler system and replacing the antiquated light fixtures with energy-efficient ones. Efficiency Vermont is working with Neri on a lighting scheme.
He isn’t proposing any expansion or exterior changes to Greg’s at this time. The business will continue to maintain entrances at the front and side (facing the parking lot), according to Neri. He’s agreed to eliminate the handful of parking spaces at the front entrance/Elm Street side of the building, but will be able to keep the few spaces on the Exchange Street side of the structure.
Plans originally called for a small café seating area outside the store, but Neri has withdrawn that concept and will instead put out planters.
The new Greg’s will eventually employ around 25 full- and part-time workers, according to Neri, including grocery delivery drivers. Customers will also be able to call in a grocery order and then pick up their assembled purchases, he said.
The Independent will do a more detailed story on the new Greg’s once Neri and Daha refine their business plan and set an opening date.
Jen Murray, Middlebury’s director of planning and zoning, said DRB members are pleased with the outcome of the Greg’s application review.
“Everybody feels great about it; we really want him to be successful,” Murray said. “We didn’t create anything in our decision that should be a terrible obstacle for him. We appreciate him coming back and giving us a revised site plan that helps us understand what (the property) is supposed to look like in the future.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].
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