ShopRite plans by early next year to have filled three more grocery store spaces on Long Island that were left vacant by A&P’s bankruptcy.
More than 650 full- and part-time workers will be hired for ShopRite stores that will open in leased spaces in Lake Ronkonkoma by this summer, Riverhead this fall and Port Jefferson Station by early 2019, spokeswoman Karen O’Shea said.
“We are excited to bring new, state-of-the-art supermarkets to these latest locations,” she said.
The Riverhead and Lake Ronkonkoma spaces were former Waldbaum’s stores and the Port Jefferson space used to be a Pathmark.
The Lake Ronkonkoma store was among 14 in four states — six of them were on Long Island — that their Montvale, New Jersey-based parent company, Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., closed as it planned to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2012.
The Riverhead and Port Jefferson Station locations were among 51 grocery stores on Long Island that closed after A&P filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection again in 2015.
In addition to the three new Long Island stores planned, ShopRite owners have taken over four other former Pathmark or Waldbaum’s locations on Long Island since 2016.
The new ShopRites on Long Island will join 250 others in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland that are owned and operated by 50 member companies under a cooperative, Wakefern Food Corp. in Keasbey, New Jersey.
ShopRite’s 13 stores on Long Island last year had estimated sales of $803.7 million, ranking second in market share — 8.35 percent — among retailers that sold groceries, including drugstores and warehouse clubs, according to Food Trade News, a Columbia, Maryland-based publication.
Stop & Shop ranked first, with 21.6 percent of the market on Long Island, and had estimated sales of $2.08 billion. Headquartered in Quincy, Massachusetts, that regional chain has 411 stores in five states, including 50 on Long Island.
ShopRite is positioned to benefit from an expansion because it is a low-price leader and Long Island is “under stored,” especially on the North and South forks of eastern Suffolk, said retail expert Burt Flickinger III, who founded the Manhattan-based consulting firm Strategic Resource Group and has studied Long Island retail.
Not only is it difficult to get building permits on the Island, but the high taxes and cost of living mean people of all income levels are spurred to shop where they can save money, he said.
“Whether people are poor on Long Island or better off, the poor people need a bargain and the working people who have solid jobs still want a bargain,” Flickinger said.
The three new ShopRite locations will be full-service grocery stores in completely renovated spaces, O’Shea said.
At the Port Jefferson Station location, which is on Nesconset Highway in the Station Plaza shopping center, the building size will be increased by about 40 percent to roughly 68,000 square feet.
“The store will include a wide selection of organic, natural and prepared foods, along with an in-store cafe,” O’Shea said.
The Lake Ronkonkoma store will occupy a 45,000-square-foot space on Portion Road in the Lake Shore Plaza shopping center.
Both the Port Jefferson Station and Lake Ronkonkoma stores will have bakery, floral and meat departments. The Port Jefferson Station store also will have an on-site dietitian and offer the online ShopRite from Home service.
The Port Jefferson Station and Lake Ronkonkoma stores are owned by the Gallagher family, as well as a location in Selden.
The roughly 60,000-square-foot store on Old Country Road in Riverhead Centre will “include a variety of fresh prepared foods along with a cafe, pizzeria, international foods aisle and online ShopRite From Home service,” O’Shea said.
It will be run by the Thompson family, which also operates ShopRites in Deer Park and Uniondale.
ShopRite needs a building permit to begin renovation work in Riverhead, and the application is under review by the town, said Brad Hammond, chief building inspector for Riverhead.