CROSS RIVER, N.Y. - Residents will have a new place to buy their groceries on Oct. 11.

Green Way Markets is poised to open in Orchard Square at Cross River, a retail hub at Routes 35 and 121. Its address is 20 North Salem Road, in Cross River. 

It’s welcome news for those who’ve been schlepping all the way to Connecticut, Pound Ridge or the hamlet of Katonah for groceries since DeCicco Family Markets pulled up stakes last year. DeCicco Family Markets is not to be confused with DeCicco & Sons, a different business, which opened a new supermarket in Somers this summer.

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Lewisboro resident Brian Mardon, who was getting a haircut at a nearby barbershop, said he has been driving to Ridgefield, which “isn’t easy” when you have a bunch of kids. 

It’s also been “brutal for the shopping center” to not have an anchor store, Mardon said.

DeCicco’s had occupied the space for seven years. It cited a rent hike for its decision to leave. Residents were equally agitated when previous occupant D’Agostino suddenly moved out with seven years left on its lease.

Green Way signed a “very, very long-term” lease with the shopping center's owner, EK Cross River, in January, said Adam Brodsky, director of its commercial properties.

Three grocery groups had been in contention for the spot, but Green Way won out because of its operating history and because it planned to vastly improve the space.

It had hoped to open this summer, but held back because of the amount of work needed to bring everything up to snuff.

It’s also good news for the 90-plus people the new store is employing, most of whom will work full time. Local farmers should be happy, too: Green Way plans to buy local fruits, veggies, eggs, meat and dairy products.

And it certainly isn’t bad news for merchants whose businesses have suffered without an anchor store to draw walk-ins to the town’s geographic center.

DeCicco’s departure was a “shock to the community,” said Elaine Feldman, Cross River Pharmacy’s owner.
The hamlet has always had plenty of places to grab a bite, but without a grocery store, many have been shopping elsewhere on their way home from work, she said.

Feldman is so pleased with her soon-to-be-neighbors that she plans to bring over some welcome-to-the-family balloons.

Mike Novak, owner of Cross River Wine Merchant, opened in the shopping plaza proper in 2004, but later moved into his own building at the corner.

“Every day I have someone coming in here asking, 'When are they (Green Way) going to open?' ” he said.

The lack of a grocery store also has had a ripple effect on the local economy.

“Think about the logistics” of having to travel out of town to buy bread or milk—“that’s  a lot of mileage, a lot of money leaving the community,” Novak said.

Lewisboro’s supervisor hailed Green Way’s arrival as “absolutely brilliant.”

“We need it badly,” said Peter Parsons. “This will fulfill the community’s dearest dreams.”

Green Way has already “demonstrated its commitment” to Lewisboro by financially supporting community events such as Shakespeare in the Park, he said.

Its “Neighbors Serving Neighbors” program allows shoppers to use their club cards to link to local charities and organizations.

The store then donates a certain percentage of proceeds, said Green Way Vice President Robin Estevez.

Green Way fully intends to live up to its environmentally conscious name.

Equipment and lighting are energy efficient, produce bags are eco-friendly and the store café’s plates and utensils are compostable. Only paper bags are available. Customers will be encouraged to bring their own reusable totes.

“I think the community will be pleasantly surprised by the organic, gluten-free products, as well,” Estevez said.

Among the amenities will be a seating area where folks can nosh on bakery or café goodies or enjoy beer and wine.

Green Way is a member of the Foodtown family, which is part of Allegiance, a supermarket co-op, said the new store’s assistant manager, Vladimir Reynoso. 

The Estevez brothers (Robin, John and Bill) own and operate 10 other Foodtown markets in New York and New Jersey.

Since Green Way hopes to grow its brand here as well as in New Jersey and Connecticut, the flagship Cross River store is seen as “the next step in the evolution,” Robin Estevez said.

General manager Esteban Luna is also “very excited” about the impending debut.

Sen. Pete Harckham was among those also on the welcoming committee. 

"I would like to welcome the Estevez brothers—John, Bill and Robin—and their entire Green Way Market staff into the Cross River community," Harckham said. "As a highly successful, family-run business, they have created a warm and inviting store, and I'm confident our community will embrace their great food selection. We all look forward to shopping local in their store, as well as at the adjacent businesses in and around the Orchard Square Shopping Center."