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Uncle Giuseppe's to open in former King Kullen 

Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace plans to open a store

Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace plans to open a store in a former King Kullen space in North Babylon in spring or summer 2021.  Credit: Barry Sloan

Specialty grocer Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace plans to take over a North Babylon space that King Kullen left in September after 40 years there.

The new store is set to open in spring or summer 2021 in Sunset Plaza, at 1170 Deer Park Ave., Uncle Giuseppe’s said in a statement Monday.

The 39,241-square-foot store will be the Farmingdale-based chain’s seventh on Long Island. The company also has a store in Westchester County and one in Ramsey, New Jersey. 

Founded in 1998, Uncle Giuseppe’s is a family-owned chain of full-service grocery stores that specializes in Italian food.

The leased North Babylon space will include a full-service deli, specialty butcher, bakery and viewing rooms where pasta and mozzarella will be made fresh daily, the grocer said.

The chain has been slowly expanding since its founding, having opened its last store in 2017 in a former Waldbaum’s in Melville.

“We’re looking to move into new areas of Long Island and New Jersey, so [North Babylon] was one of the areas that other people have requested,” said spokeswoman Jillian Gundy, who said the North Babylon space will be fully renovated.

Uncle Giuseppe’s biggest grocery competitors on Long Island are Whole Foods and Stew Leonard’s, because they have similar focuses on natural, organic and specialty products, said retail expert Burt Flickinger III, who founded Manhattan-based Strategic Resource Group and has studied Long Island retail.

Uncle Giuseppe’s holds its own because of its strong consumer loyalty and the fact that it is "family focused.  It’s very disciplined in its financial focus," Flickinger said.

The King Kullen store had been in North Babylon since 1979.

Last year, Bethpage-based King Kullen Grocery Co. closed the location and two other stores — in Mt. Sinai and Lake Ronkonkoma — that it said were underperforming, while the company was going through the process of being sold to Quincy, Massachusetts-based grocery chain Stop & Shop.  That sale still has not been finalized after being announced in January 2019.

 King Kullen Grocery Co. operates 29 King Kullen supermarkets and five Wild by Nature natural food stores, all on Long Island.

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