CITY OF NEWBURGH — When the ShopRite of Newburgh left its location at 88 North Plank Road last October, it left a noticeable hole in the community, said Scott Manley, assistant city supervisor.
“It certainly had an impact on my residents who loved shopping at ShopRite, but unfortunately if you look at newer supermarkets, they’re twice the size of this one,” Manley said. “I spoke to people at ShopRite, and they said it was too small and they were losing money and needed a bigger store.”
The loss was disappointing, he said, but the 41,676-square-foot storefront won’t be vacant for long.
Ocean State Job Lot — a Rhode Island-based discount retailer that sells a wide variety of merchandise including housewares, clothing, pet supplies, food and seasonal goods — plans to move into ShopRite’s former location this fall and hopes to breathe new life into the whole place, according to Paul Cox, the company’s chief operating officer.
It will be the chain’s first store in Orange County, Cox said.
“I think that will help fill the rest of the (vacant storefronts) there,” Cox said. “I think something we do very, very well is bring centers like this back to life.”
Cox said the company has purchased the entire 55,296-square-foot mall — which includes a subway, Domino’s and the Green Garden Chinese restaurant — and hopes to make physical improvements to the plaza that will help both businesses there and attract new ones to the mall.
According to Cox, a Tarrytown native, he and others at Ocean State Job Lot have been interested in opening a location in Orange County for some time.
“Newburgh and this area is a very sought after area. I mean, the views, these little villages and all that – it’s just beautiful,” he said. “Also we have a store across the river in Fishkill, and that’s been nothing but great for us…We thought there might be some of the population on the Newburgh side of the river that did not cross the bridge. I really think Newburgh is going to be the perfect community for us and I think we’re going to do a good job there.
The new store plans to hire about 50 employees, Cox said, the majority of whom will be local. Candidates can apply for www.oceanstatejoblot.com/careers.
Cox said Ocean State Job Lot hopes to open its Newburgh location in late October, but there is no confirmed opening date. Ideally, the retailer hopes to open before Thanksgiving and in time for the holiday season, he said.
“Part of it is that immediate gratification of sales, but you’re also letting people know about you during a time when there’s a lot of people buying,” Cox said. “So a lot of it is an investment in the years ahead so people know about us a little earlier than they would if we had to wait until March or something like that to open. “
Cox and Manley, Newburgh’s assistant supervisor, said the city and the retailer are working well together and plans are coming to fruition quickly.
The city, Manley said, is very happy to fill the vacancy vacated by ShopRite and have a little more traffic passing through the mall.
“It’s so much better than having another empty storefront, that’s for sure,” he said. “Right now it is very difficult to have retail businesses in many areas. This should be very good for our residents.”
Erin Nolan is an investigative reporter for the Times Herald-Record and USA Today Network. Join her at [email protected].