As a reporter, I take great pride in my ability to stick to the facts and refrain from editorializing. I speak to sources, I watch meetings, I read reports and review renderings—then I write down everything I can responsibly say. If I’m uncertain about a bit of information or I can’t verify its veracity, it won’t appear anywhere near my article. I’d like to think that standard of professionalism makes Yorktown News a trustworthy source of information in the community.
But, like everyone else, I can’t resist personally speculating on the juicy rumors I read on Facebook. And, after a decade of doing this, I’ve developed a “Spidey Sense” for the articles that are bound to send our local social media groups into a state of frenzied speculation. Last week’s Page 1 article about an unnamed “specialty grocer” coming to Yorktown checked all the boxes.
Though I had to be responsible and stick to the facts in that report, I’ll gladly join the rest of you in recklessly speculating in this opinion space. With that in mind, I’ll take some time to field some of your questions.
IS IT A TRADER JOE’S?!?!
Pump the brakes and be cool. I know we’re all excited about the potential of what this could mean, but I don’t want you guys to end up with broken hearts. I have not been told, on or off the record, that a Trader Joe’s is coming. Having said all that, it’s certainly possible.
First, the size of the proposed building is right in line with traditional Trader Joe’s buildings, particularly the other two in Westchester. According to news reports, their buildings in Scarsdale and Hartsdale are 12,000 and 12,500 square feet. This building would be 12,500 square feet. Not many grocers operate in such small buildings, so the list of potential tenants is short.
Second, Trader Joe’s has an existing relationship with Breslin Realty, the company that owns the Crompond Road property that this specialty grocer would call home (if the plan is approved by the Planning Board). Trader Joe’s operates two stores in Breslin Realty shopping centers: Lake Grove and Plainview.
So, the speculation is warranted. Yet I would still urge caution. We’ve been burned before.
What else could it be?
That’s a good question. Honestly, there aren’t many other “specialty grocers” that operate in such a small space. Whole Foods stores, for example, are generally between 30,000 and 45,000 square feet. DeCicco & Sons has been opening stores between 18,000 and 25,000 square feet. Even Uncle Giuseppe’s in Yorktown is 38,000 square feet.
Perhaps it could be a grocer none of us have ever heard of before. Green Way Markets, a family-owned grocer, opened last year in Cross River, for example. But even that store is 23,000 square feet.
Why the secrecy?
You know the saying, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch”? Well, I’m sure Breslin doesn’t want to count its specialty grocer before its approved—especially given that I’ve been told this is a “time-sensitive” application.
What about the vacancy in the Food Emporium building? Why would they build a new place before filling that?
There are several reasons for that, but this is perhaps the most important: Location, location, location.
Breslin’s shopping center is located right next to the Taconic State Parkway, making it an ideal location for prospective tenants who would like to attract out-of-town customers. The Food Emporium building, disregarding the fact that it’s about five times the size of this proposed building, is located on Downing Drive in the middle of Yorktown Heights, about 3 miles away from the highway.
Also, Breslin’s shopping center has an attractive anchor tenant in Lowe’s, while the other shopping center is anchored by a vacant Kmart building.
This all came about by rather interesting circumstances. Before there was a Lowe’s, it was expected that a Costco was coming to Yorktown. However, after years of planning and litigation, Costco bailed, and Lowe’s filled the space. Costco was expected to be much larger than Lowe’s, leaving little to no space for other tenants at the property. So, should this specialty grocer—whoever it may be—eventually open in Yorktown, perhaps the rival gas station owners who sued Costco out of town should get the credit.
JUST TELL US ALREADY!
The second I find out anything, you’ll be the first to know. I’ll put my reporter hat on and start making some phone calls. In the meantime, keep on speculating.
Extra Marsh Madness
I have lived in Yorktown for most of my life, and I learned last week that I’ve been pronouncing one of the town’s pre-eminent thoroughfares, Barger Street, incorrectly. All this time, I’ve been saying it with a soft “g.” But Councilman Tom Diana, a lifelong Shrub Oak-ian, said that’s wrong. It’s actually pronounced with a hard “g”—named after a family that lived in and owned property in Shrub Oak. Think: Burger, but with an “a.”