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Retail Roundup: Zorn's of Bethpage site will add Honda dealership

An architectural rendering of the planned, new location

An architectural rendering of the planned, new location for Zorn's of Bethpage on Hempstead Turnpike. The 8,000-square-foot building is expected to be finished in February.  Credit: Zorn’s of Bethpage

It's no secret that catering and food takeout business Zorn’s of Bethpage will be downsizing and relocating to a new building on its property at 4321 Hempstead Tpke. One of my colleagues reported that in March.

Turns out the move will make way for a new Honda dealership that will be built on part of the 4.09-acre property that was sold this year.  

The car dealership will replace Zorn’s current 25,000-square-foot building, which the business has occupied since 1940, said Merrill Zorn, president of the company founded by her grandfather, Peter Zorn.  

So Zorn’s of Bethpage will move to an 8,000-square-foot building being constructed on the western side of the property. The work should be done by February, she said.

Zorn’s operations will continue uninterrupted during the construction, even as the business known for its turkey dinners gears up for brisk Thanksgiving sales, Merrill Zorn said.

“This has been an emotional time for me and my family. The buildings where my brothers and I played as children and worked alongside my grandfather are now part of the area where construction is taking place,” she said in a statement Wednesday.

“While we will miss the old buildings, I hope that my grandfather would be proud of what I am doing and the fact that I am keeping all of my staff, which I consider my family,” she said.

The business employs 65 people.

Changes slated for Zorn’s after it relocates include the addition of customer seating and online ordering, she said.  

Zorn’s current building was part of the 4.09-acre property owned by Zorn Realties Inc., of which Merrill Zorn is the president. This past spring, three of Merrill Zorn’s siblings involved in the family business sold about 3 acres to the company building the dealership, but she retained an acre, she said. The new Zorn’s building is under construction on that acre.

Merrill Zorn said she did not receive any proceeds from the property sale and she is using loans to pay for the new Zorn's project. In March, Newsday reported it would cost more than $2 million; she declined to give an updated cost.

The site plan for the Honda dealership and the new Zorn’s building was approved by Oyster Bay’s Planning Advisory Board in December, and it was amended in July, said Marta Kane, town spokeswoman.

A building permit still needs to be submitted to the town for the Honda dealership, which will be 19,335 square feet in size, she said.

The dealership will be run by John Burns Jr., president of Honda City, which sells new and used vehicles in a 13,308-square-foot building at 3859 Hempstead Tpke. in Levittown. Honda City, which is more than 30 years old, is 0.8 miles away from the Zorn’s property.

Burns plans to move only his new-car sales to the new dealership that will be built in Bethpage, he said.

“We have a great customer base, and we want to give them the best service possible,” he said.

Honda City is part of a family-owned company, Burns Motor Co., that was founded by Burns’ father and includes nine dealerships, including Lexus of Smithtown, Audi of Huntington and BMW of Bayside.

Retail Roundup is a column about major retail news on Long Island — store openings, closings, expansions, acquisitions, etc. — that is published online and in the Monday paper. To read more of these columns, click here. If you have news to share, please send an email to Newsday reporter Tory N. Parrish at tory.parrish@newsday.com.

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