posted Aug 15, 2013, 9:08 AM by Staff News & Citizen
JOHNSON – A name has been chosen for the revamped Johnson grocery store. At a special meeting on Wednesday, July 31, owner Mike Comeau announced that the new store will be called ‘Johnson’s Sterling Market’. The name was chosen after a contest was held during which Johnson residents could submit their ideas for the name of the store. The meeting announcing the name was held at the Johnson Municipal Offices beginning at 7 p.m. and was attended by roughly 70 local residents, including the individual who submitted the winning name, David Grozinsky.
‘I’m appreciative of the turnout,” Comeau stated at the meeting regarding both the number of people at the meeting and the support he has received during the past few months.
“I’m going to give you the best store I can,” he told residents at the event.
Mike Comeau, the owner of the new grocery store in Johnson, stands with store manager Ray Williams as they unveil the new name and logo for the former Grand Union. The new name for the store, Johnson’s Sterling Market, was chosen from nearly 200 submissions from the residents of the town. The new name and logo of the store was announced at a public meeting at the Johnson Municipal Building on Wednesday, July 31. Nearly 70 people attended the event. Martin photo
The meeting began with a brief statement by Johnson resident Ben Waterman, who was one of several individuals who committed to seeking out ways to ensure the return of a grocery store in Johnson after Grand Union was flooded out. After Waterman explained the history of the project and how Comeau’s involvement came about, he introduced the new store owner.
Before unveiling the name of the new store, Comeau gave a rundown of where the project of refurbishing and remodeling the store is now. The entire store has been stripped, right down to the electrical wiring. Comeau explained that the remodeling that followed the gutting of the structure will lead to a new store that will look very different to customers once it is open. One of the only sections or areas of the store that is even remaining in the same location is the deli.
According to Comeau the current work taking place at the store includes the final coats of paint, with the flooring scheduled to also start soon. One of the next major steps will be the delivery of the new equipment for the store, including the new refrigeration equipment. Delivery of these products is scheduled to begin the week of August 19 and should be ongoing for between one and two weeks, according to Comeau.
Comeau explained that the opening date for Johnson’s Sterling Market is still not set in stone. However, he is hoping that if everything goes smoothly moving forward he can open by October 1 at the latest, with the possibility of opening a few weeks before still not out of the question. One of the main determining factors in when the store does open will be how smoothly the process of delivery and the installation of the new equipment for the store goes.
Along with the remodeling of the interior of the store Comeau further explained that he has been in contact with the Pomerleaus, who own the building. He explained that they are planning an exterior renovation for the entire building as well. Portions of the parking lot should also be paved in the near future.
After giving his overview of what stage the project currently is in and where it is headed, Comeau outlined how the name for the store was chosen. Nearly 200 people submitted possible names for the store before Grozinsky’s entry of Johnson’s Sterling Market was chosen. With the help of the store’s new manager, Ray Williams, Comeau then unveiled the name, and logo, of the new store and presented them to those in attendance.
The community input on the name of the new store was just one example given by Comeau of how the success of the new store will depend at least in part on the community.
“This store will be as good as the locals make it,” stated Comeau, who went on to explain that the more people use the store the better he can make it while also emphasizing how he wants to fill the store with local products.
Following the unveiling of the name and logo, Comeau answered questions from the locals in attendance. During the Q&A session he explained that the store will have both local and mainstream items. He also explained that he has investigated the possibility of adding a liquor outlet to the store, but at the current time the store is already tight for space, with only 13,000 square feet. He added that at the current time his neighbors wish to remain in the building, putting a halt to that option for now. He did state that the expansion of the store in the future has not been ruled out.
Comeau also explained the several steps taken to help better protect the store in the case of future flooding. These steps included flood gates, the relocation of all electrical and refrigeration wiring to the ceiling rather than the floor, and alterations to the water drainage systems, both inside and outside the store. He stated that while these measures and the others taken will help minimize damage during normal flooding they will not prevent damage to the store in the case of several feet of high water.
“They (the flood-proofing work that was done) should help with manageable amounts of flooding,” stated Comeau.
Another of the questions Comeau answered had to do with parking, and he explained that he has been working with the other businesses around the lot to help alleviate parking concerns. Regarding the store’s hours, he stated that it is likely that the store will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. every day except Sunday, when it may close earlier. However, he is open to the idea of changing the hours if the locals so desire and it remains feasible for him.
He also explained that he and Williams, who has years of experience in the grocery store business and even managed the Johnson Grand Union years ago, will likely begin hiring the department managers and fulltime associates soon and will complete the hiring of the store’s other employees a few weeks before it opens. Comeau further stated that he plans to have an unannounced soft opening of the store before officially holding the grand opening. An open house will also likely take place one night just before the grand opening.
“I think I’m the most proud of this one out of all my stores,” stated Comeau near the end of the meeting, explaining that this being his third store has allowed him to better understand and control the reopening process. Comeau also owns the Waterbury Village Market and the Richmond Market.
At the meeting Comeau explained that the best way for people to contact him at the current time to ask questions or make comments about the new store is to use the email address HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com. While this email may not remain in use once the store is officially open, Comeau explained it is currently the best way for Johnson residents to contact him about the store. The logo for the new store is available for viewing at www.townofjohnson.com.
The traffic circle portion of the new roundabout is now complete, meaning that from now on traffic will be directed into the new, proper patterns when traveling through the intersection as the final stages of construction for the project are completed. Above, workers from G.W. Tatro can be seen working last week to complete the hub portion of the project. Over the next couple weeks the final work items will include the lighting of the rotary, curbing the edge of the road, paving, line striping, the installation of signage, and landscaping within the actual rotary. Smith Photo