CNY Solidarity Coalition

A Perspective on Nojaim’s Closing

To read in more detail the background information on Nojaim’s closing, refer to the excellent article by Ken Jackson:

http://www.urbancny.com/price-rite-vs-nojaims-supermarket-is-there-a-civil-war-between-neighborhoods/

Below is a summary of the conditions that led to Nojaim’s closing:

Shopping competition increased in the neighborhoods in the vicinity of Nojaim’s when an Aldi store and a Save-a-lot store were built in the area. Paul Nojaim recently received government incentives to expand, but prior to the upgrade, he had received complaints about expired meats, dirty aisles and a general bad odor in his store.

To blame Nojaim’s closing solely on Price Rite is misleading and unfair. First, competition comes from more stores than just Price Rite. Second, conditions at Nojaim’s may have improved when the store was expanded, but a bad reputation can stick even after changes have been made. Third, the price differences in produce between Nojaim’s and Price Rite is greater than would be expected from Price Rite’s ability to buy in large volumes.

The people of the community are very upset about the negative message
being spread by the news and others about Price Rite, which was built due to a petition circulated by Jubilee Homes and signed by over 2000 community residents expressing their need for a supermarket. Jubilee Homes could not find a local grocer interested in the project. They heard that Price Rite had successfully rehabbed an abandoned Wegmans in Rochester, and they seemed to be a good fit.

Price Rite has proven to be a true partner to the neighborhood and doesn’t deserve to be made a scapegoat for Nojaim’s closing. Price Rite has filled more than 100 new jobs with 98% of the employees coming from the surrounding community and the supermarket’s ability to buy in large volumes to keep prices low is a benefit to the surrounding neighborhoods.

A neighborhood effort came together with local government to provide an essential need for the community. Subsidies were obtained to help defray project costs. For details on these, please refer to the Ken Jackson article. Using a portion of the Midland Avenue Sewage Plant compensation funds, Jubilee Homes purchased the Old Loblaw’s Supermarket and developed it into the modernized supermarket, which it now leases to Price Rite. The neighborhood recognizes that most of the development that has occurred in the Southwest Community has occurred because Jubilee Homes has been the catalyst. The trust that the community places in Jubilee Homes is not taken lightly by the agency.

Complaints are being heard about the relatively small subsidies that have been obtained for economic development on the Southwest side, yet similar complaints are not made when larger subsidies are granted in other neighborhoods. The South Avenue Corridor had received very little investment in infrastructure or economic development until recent years, despite the fact that it’s a major thoroughfare leading to Upstate Community Hospital and OCC’s Campus. Questioning the subsidies obtained to build this supermarket is akin to questioning the community’s integrity in negotiating with local officials to obtain compensation for being saddled with a sewage plant in close proximity to the neighborhood. It also shows a lack of appreciation for the work that Jubilee Homes did; over a decade of writing grant proposals and garnering support to raise the necessary funds for this project. Again, for details on this funding, please refer to the Ken Jackson article.

Jubilee Homes has maintained that the Near Westside and the Southwest Neighborhoods were separate communities. For people without access to transportation, it can be difficult to travel along West Street with bags of groceries, children and strollers. Two different supermarket-specific marketing studies agreed with this assessment. So, Price Rite is now at its current location after thorough evaluation of the community’s needs and after consulting with the residents of the surrounding neighborhood. The community should receive praise for their good faith negotiations with local and state government to provide a needed benefit to the neighborhood.

 

~ Diana Ryan

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