Town tries to keep D’Agostino space as grocery store

D’Agostino suffered a power outage during Irene; yesterday signs went up informing customers that it is “unable to open our Chappaqua store at this time.”
With 21 comments since publication Friday
September 2, 2011
by Christine Yeres

Last Saturday morning, the day before Irene overtook the town, Deputy Supervisor Elise Mottel held an outdoor press conference across the street from D’Agostino’s to announce that after repeated attempts to contact D’Agostino management, D’Ag’s landlord and Walgreen management, the town had received a response only from Walgreen’s.

A representative of the drugstore chain made it clear, said Mottel, that Walgreen’s move into D’Agostino’s space was “imminent,” and had offered no more details of the status of any leasing contract between the two.

Frustrated that D’Agostino landlord Steven Nardozzi had “ignored all of our requests to meet and to work together to find a solution for all parties,” Mottel said that she had written to the management of several grocery stores such as Trader Joe’s and Turco’s, urging them, also, to contact Nardosi. Trader Joe’s wrote back thanking Mottel for the invitation, offering to pass the information on to its real estate department. 

“I understand that we live in a free market economy,” said Mottel, “and we cannot simply tell and landlord or Walgreens what to do. However, maintaining a vibrant economy and a balance of stores in Chappaqua and Millwood is a vital concern.”  She would continue, she said, “to reach out to the landlord to encourage positive dialogue.”

Mottel noted that although the town does not have the legal means to prevent landlord from leasing to Walgreen’s, it was not too late, she believed, to bring the landlord to the table to talk.

Asked what residents could do at this point, Mottel responded, “We need the public to band together to see if we can reach out to the landlord, to get an opportunity to meet and to discuss the community’s concerns,” said Mottel.  “At this point I think there is time.  We need to let the landlord know our concerns and we need to be very, very vocal.”

Asked whether the parking at the RiteAid site downtown would support a grocery store if Walgreen’s presence caused that pharmacy to fail, Mottel responded in the affirmative, noting that the RiteAid site had previously been a Gristedes grocery store. 

Mottel has asked that the issue of the D’Agostino-Walgreen lease be placed on the town board’s work session agenda for September 6, to be discussed by the entire board.

To read Mottel’s entire statement, click HERE

UPDATE:  To NCNOW’s question yesterday, September 1, asking whether Mottel had heard from the landlord since her press conference, she responded by email, “the Town received a letter from the landlord yesterday [August 31] responding to our letters.  The Landlord told us that he has a long term lease with D’Agostino and that D’Agostino is looking to sublet the space. We will follow up with the landlord and D’Agostino next week.”  The landlord, she continued, “did not say whether or not there was a deal. He indicated his willingness to work with the community.”
From NCNOW’s archives: See “Can New Castle keep D’Agostino’s?” August 12, 2011.

We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

I find it ironic that Elise Mottel complains that she made repeated phone calls to the landlord and D’Agostino’s which weren’t returned given that I personally have called Ms. Mottel on 2 occasions within the past 6 months and she didn’t return either of my calls.  And I’m her constituent. 

By Robin Murphy on 09/02/2011 at 7:07 am

I’m not for commanding which stores go where, but easy times and easy money is over.  In order for this town to prosper, we (and I mean government) have to make sure we have constant, regular contact with the irregular bunch of absentee landlords that make this town so difficult for merchants to prosper in.  Constant, regular, and FRIENDLY contact with them.  Relationships. 

This “rumor” was about for months and months.  This letter writing took place very late in the game.

By laissez faire has to end; need hands on on 09/02/2011 at 8:29 am

This is a prime example of our elected officials focusing on the wrong thing. If the town truly needed D’Agostino’s that much, the store would have done a ton of business and would have never planned to move. The fact that it is closing tells you how much our town really need the store. The bigger problem is that Elise Mottel as an elected official for this town can’t not find more important things to work on.  It is a shame!!!

By Wrong thing to focus on on 09/02/2011 at 9:41 am

The closing due to the hurricane has made life difficult for people on this side of town. When the Village Market closes for the day one has to go a distance to get supplies. I got home after 7 Thursday and had to go to Millwood to get dinner supplies. Not impossible but inconvenient and time consuming.

By Inconvenient on 09/02/2011 at 9:51 am

I remember when “the landlords” began to assert their economic power over the merchants in Chappaqua, often aided by ineffective and self-serving local politicians. One by one, long time family-run and resident-owned businesses began to disappear; and the tiny downtown became overrun with traffic from condos squeezed in to the margins of King Street hill. These were the businesses we kids grew up wanting to work in as soon as we got our working papers, our families had “tabs” in these stores, they were run by the parents of our peers so someone always had their eyes on us… and I remember the Grand Union when the cashiers actually knew how to make change. Anyone who remembers Chappaqua the way it used to be should fight to keep a small local grocery store at the top of King Street; and fight to keep out big chains.

By SMS, Class of 1980 on 09/02/2011 at 10:14 am

I think most stores here fail is because we have too many of the same ones.  How many super drug marts do we need in a small town?

By Laurie Greene on 09/02/2011 at 10:28 am

The local community was ready to support D’Agostinos when it opened.  The owner insisted on charging sky-high prices and establishing a “point” system to reward repeat customers with better deals.  The problem is that customers don’t have time to count points and remember them every time they walk into the store to know whether they’ll get the sale price.  We are busy.  We want to shop for supplies as quickly as possible and get on with our lives.  Even if you can “use your points” you get a total amount that is still overpriced.  Customers heard that the owner was unwilling to listen to advice about making this a regular supermarket with reasonably priced items.  There are many residents living close to the store who refuse to shop there.  We go to Shoprite.  D’Ags did not serve it’s customer base.  This was market forces at work.

By Resident on 09/02/2011 at 11:29 am

Has Elise Mottel heard of zoning ?  There are ways to zone lawfully for a town’s wants and needs.  Perhaps she should consult with our town planner and our excellent town manager.

Interesting to see that this is to be a sublet.

By Bob on 09/02/2011 at 11:36 am

Unfortunately, the Super-size chain stores and the internet have dried up a lot of local traffic. What about all the other stores that have closed down over the years due to the poor economy? Chapp Stationary, Second Story Bookstore, Photo Store, Michelle Daniele, Greeley hardware, Little Eric shoe store, the old French Restauraunt behind Rite Aid, etc…...

Even if town and the landlords some sort of an agreement to provide incentives for merchants to open…if we do not shop locally, the stores will not survive.

Think twice before going to the Chain stores. Please, please, please patronize the stores in town. We don’t want our little hamlet to become more of a ghost town.

By Concerned Citizen on 09/02/2011 at 1:04 pm

Check out today’s Chappaqua/Mount Kisco Patch. The article states that as of 2:02PM today, the Chappaqua store is no longer listed on the Dag’s Web Site. 

So much for a robust economy! Forget out not being able to all my Dag points. What about all of their employees out of a job :(

By Concerned Citizen on 09/02/2011 at 2:16 pm

Just passing along that reportedly the landlord of the former Indigo spot is in serious talks with someone wanting to open a nail salon.  Please let your voices be heard and let’s try to speak to this landlord before he finalizes any deal.

By Dawn Greenberg, Aurora on 09/02/2011 at 4:18 pm

So D’Ag closed the store using the excuse of hurricane damage, probably laying off all of the workers without warning,  The landlord gets to make an insurance claim to cover his transitioning costs, and gets D’Ag out of town before public opinion against Walgreen’s escalates.  A fait accompli?  Not if the town board acts now - this week - to place zoning restraints on the property, while at the same time offering the landlord a good deal if he walks away from the imminent deal with Walgreen’s and negotiates with a food store.

I will never shop at Walgreen’s if this deal goes through.  Rite Aid is an alternative and so is CVS.  Maybe we should all let Walgreen’s know that we will boycott any store opened on the D’Ag site.  Petitioners?  Leafleters?  This is politics, not merely contract law, and in politics, there is always more than one way to “skin a cat.”

By Lawrence Farms East Resident on 09/02/2011 at 4:49 pm

I am very sorry to tell you this - you will not be able to keep Walgreen’s out.  I remember when we tried to keep Rite Aid out.  Ha, that was a joke….the best thing to do is do not shop in Walgreens.  If they have no sales or very little then they may leave when their lease is up.  The town gets more and more interesting.

By do not live in Chappaqua any more----. on 09/02/2011 at 5:48 pm

Sorry to do not live here anymore, Walgreen’s has been successfully denied in other towns and cities.
And, the town did nothing to prevent the Rite Aid from moving into the former Gristede’s location.

By Bob on 09/02/2011 at 7:53 pm

I agree with the comments raised by Larence Farms East tht they will use the Hurricane as an excuse. In fact, I drove by Dag’s at 5pm tonight. When I drove by, I saw two manager-type employees sitting at a table near the front window with what looked like an adding machine. Probably doing inventory to determine what profitable items they can ship off to the NYC or Rye Brook store and what awful items they can leave behind. And then in about a week, Dags will come out with some announcement that they had extensive damage and they are no up to building code and per the health department will not be able to open any time soon. Thankfully, I was able to shop at the Chappaqua Village Market tonight before 6pm. On Saturday, I’ll go to the Chappaqua Hardware Store.  And before they close tonight, I’m going to LOCAL, the ice cream parlor that just opened up this spring. LOCAL is on South Greeley Ave and they close at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Love the name!!

By Concwened Citizen on 09/02/2011 at 8:32 pm

In a free Country, Landlords provide an important service, that in New Castle is very hard to do. They try to find a balance between setting the right amount of rent, getting the right Tenant, maintaining their property, and paying property Tax and Insurance.

For a Town to try and intervene between a Landlord and a Tenant replacement matter is dangerous to hear. Leave the Landlord alone, wish him luck, because it should be apparent to all, that this situation has been being worked on for most likely a years time.

Common sense would dictate that the Landlord would have liked a replacement Tenant to be another grocery store. What we are reading about is this Landlords best attempt to get Walgreens as a Tenant.

If the Town interferes with the Landlords attempt to secure another Tenant; then as a Community we are going to be paying the rent previously paid on empty space.

How many teachers were told to leave? How many good Municipal employees were told to retire early? How many Municipal employees are going to be fired? Lets thank this Landlord for paying his Taxes! How come the Town does not use its own Web Site to promote this space and extend a red carpet out to the types of Tenants that can rent this space and pay the Landlord his needed rent? Who in our Community is using their influence to try and stop Walgreens; and who at Town Hall is listening? Not right!

By Municipal Taxes on 09/02/2011 at 9:37 pm

In response to municipal taxes…. I agree 110% but the problem is no one else thinks like that. Everyone thinks it easier than it is and doesn’t realize the amount of time and stress that goes into all of this.

By About time on 09/03/2011 at 6:56 pm


By GOOD NEWS on 09/04/2011 at 12:55 pm

Seems like a “coincidence” that Mottel now is trying to be the name out front of this fools play to save an unprofitable, overpriced grocery store as soon as she is up for re-election and faces a difficult climb to run against viable Repubs and Independents.  Where was this Mottel the past few years besides recusing herself from Chappaqua Crossing and hiding from that decision?

By Bruce Baar on 09/05/2011 at 9:31 pm

I say thanks to Debbie Glickman and Dep Supervisor Elise Mottel for reaching out to the D’agostino people and the other grocery store operators last month to try to bring another grocery store to Chappaqua .  Even though supermarkets seem to be closing in many of our westchester communities, I’m glad Debbie started her petition and that Elise called the press conference and contacted other potential grocery tenants. Chappaqua is too large a community to thrive with no grocery store, and too small a community to require three pharmacies.

By Grocery shopper on 09/05/2011 at 10:08 pm

At 9pm tonight, my next door neighbor came back from a two week vacation and what a surprise when they wanted to run into Dag’s to get just a couple of things and saw they are closed!!!

7-11 in Pleasantville was the best option since they didn’t want to head over to 24 hour CVS in Mt Kisco or head over to Rocky’s Deli.

Since I doubt that Dag’s will ever return, will Walgreen’s meet our needs? Only time will tell.

By Concerned Citizen on 09/05/2011 at 10:42 pm

I last visited D’ags two weeks ago,  with the simple purpose of buying hotdogs, rolls, relish, and potato chips.

I found relish——I looked at two jars of the same brand, both the same size,  and noticed that one was 1.79 and the other .99.  Hmmm.  Turns out the .99 cent jar had an expiration date that was 2 years old.  Typical. 

There were only two types of hotdogs available….not including 6 types of a “gourmet sausage” brand.  I have seen better selection at my corner deli.



By Good Riddance D'ags on 09/09/2011 at 8:32 am

I agree with the previous poster who said the letter writing was too late in the game. I wrote to Decicco of Deciccos supermarkets in early august. He was very interested in the space and put a bid on the store apparently. He would have done great there; pride and effort in many of his stores. I truly believe Chappaqua dropped the ball here. Too little too late.

I personally feel bad for that little pharmacy next to the starbucks in town. Many store owners will feel the hit of Walgreens. Ridiculous in this cute little hamlet.

By Marisa on 09/09/2011 at 10:04 am

Another drugstore is just what the town needs…the town has lost all of its charm,,,and whoever is in charge should take off there rose color glasses and take a good look around..

By nancy granitto on 09/09/2011 at 9:51 pm

I think it was sam kinison who made the joke “go where the food is.”

By stu on 09/10/2011 at 6:49 am

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