Stop & Shop and ShopRite in New Jersey Standoff
A local group is fighting to prevent a ShopRite from coming to town, reportedly over traffic, safety, noise and other aesthetic concerns. The twist is that the group is led by Stop & Shop.
Inserra Supermarkets first proposed the project in Wyckoff, NJ on the site of a long-abandoned A&P and strip mall in 2009, and has since been fighting to gain town approvals.
The 62,000 square foot ShopRite location would open adjacent to a recently expanded Stop & Shop in the redeveloped Boulder Run shopping center. Last week, an anonymous flyer — later found out to have been penned by a public affairs executive hired by Stop & Shop — was sent to residents urging them to contact municipal officials, according to the Wyckoff Patch.
An attorney representing Inserra Supermarkets, the parent of ShopRite, called the anonymous mailer "the public relations spin of a desperate objector."
At a town Planning Board hearing in late August, Stop & Shop brought out a landscape architect and an engineer to detail the concerns. They charged that the buffer areas around the property would not adequately block view of the store and parking lot from neighboring residential areas. Plans to raise the property could also create flooding. A proposed left-hand turn lane would present risks for emergency stops.
Speaking earlier in the year to the Record, an attorney representing Stop & Shop and the Boulder Run shopping center added that the site is not zoned to allow a single "big-box" supermarket, but rather is zoned for what was on the site previously — a smaller "food market," along with other small retailers.
"It doesn’t make any sense to have supermarkets backing up on each other," she said.
A consultant working on behalf of Inserra Supermarkets told the Record that the smaller 35,000- to 48,000-square-foot supermarkets of the 1980s and early 1990s are too small for the suburban supermarket prototype. The bigger boxes can stock the perishable offerings shoppers are looking for. The bigger boxes also attract shoppers up to 4.5 miles away.
Larry Inserra, head of Inserra Supermarkets, told the Record that the town used to have four smaller supermarkets: a Grand Union, an A&P, a Kings and a Foodtown. He added that Wyckoff residents already are traveling to shop at ShopRites in Ramsey and elsewhere.
"We feel this is an underserved area for ShopRite," Mr. Inserra said.
- Stop & Shop Responsible For Anonymous Anti-ShopRite Flyer – Wyckoff Patch
- Poll: How Do You Feel About the Proposed ShopRite? – Wyckoff Patch
- Stop & Shop’s Experts Testify About ShopRite Application – Wyckoff Patch
- Supermarket turf war – The Record
Discussion Questions: To what extent should a retailer be engaged in preventing a competitor from opening up next store or even nearby? Do you see any issue with adjacent supermarkets?