SARATOGA SPRINGS — Customers of the downtown Price Chopper saw their meal options skyrocket overnight after the supermarket moved into its new home on Railroad Place.
Price Chopper closed its aging store at the intersection of Railroad Place and Church Street and relocated to the ground floor of a 124-unit apartment complex just a few steps further toward Division Street. It opened its doors for the first time Sunday morning.
The new store, dubbed Price Chopper Limited, is the company’s first of its kind. At 19,000 square feet, the store is slightly smaller than its predecessor and considerably smaller than many modern supermarkets, which can be more than triple the size.
“This, for us, is an experiment,” Executive Chairman of the Board Neil Golub said. “It’s the first store we’ve built this size. It gives us an opportunity to see if this size store will work.”
Price Chopper Limited is modeled after urban markets shoppers would find in New York City, Golub said. While acknowledging the store won’t carry the same variety of goods the company’s Route 50 stores in Saratoga Springs and Wilton do, he said it should meet the neighborhood’s day-to-day needs.
If all goes well, Golub said, the company could start pursuing as many as a half-dozen other locations for Price Chopper Limited.
The “experiment” was a hit Sunday with many of the store’s first customers, who said the market’s new design actually made it look bigger and more inviting.
“Huge improvement,” said Eric Stranburg of Saratoga Springs. “It’s a fresher looking store.”
Stranburg shopped at the Railroad Place Price Chopper because it was within walking distance of his home. He said things got tough in the days leading up to the move, though, as the old store stopped restocking its shelves as it prepared to make the switch. Many shelves were left bare, he said, leaving few meal options.
“This makes it all worth it,” he said. “It really does.”
That sentiment was echoed by Kimberlee Williams, a lifelong Saratoga Springs resident who has shopped at the Railroad Place Price Chopper for years. After being one of the last people through the door at the old Price Chopper on Saturday, she waited outside the new store Sunday morning to be one of its first customers.
“I got all choked up,” she said of her first impression of the new store. “It really is beautiful. It doesn’t seem any smaller, it just seems more organized.”
Williams grabbed milk, salad dressing and a slice of breakfast pizza, one of the many grab-and-go items on the store’s menu.
“We have a lot of offerings for the lunch crowd,” Manager Stephanie La-Mountain said, adding that the store’s variety is markedly better than its predecessor’s. The new market features the meat and seafood counters that were noticeably absent from the old store, along with make-your-own sandwich and coffee bars.
“It’s really an upgrade from the Price Chopper next door,” city resident Pete Sgoranno said.
The fate of the old building has not yet been determined, developer Sonny Bonacio said Sunday.
Bonacio owns Bonacio Construction, which took about one year to turn a parking lot into the six-story Market Center complex that now houses Price Chopper Limited. He said he is looking at a couple different proposals for the old Price Chopper, but couldn’t offer more details.
Bonacio said the first 25 tenants are slated to move into their Market Center apartments this June. Another 25 or so are expected to move in during July, he said, and he’s optimistic the entire building will be occupied by the end of November.
LaMountain said Price Chopper Limited will host a grand opening in June.
Cignoli, Michael. "Price Chopper Limited Opens on Railroad Place (WITH VIDEO)." The Saratogian: Saratoga Springs, Saratoga County, New York Daily Newspaper Covering Local, Regional, and National News (saratogian.com). Journal Register NY, 30 Apr. 2012. Web. 01 May 2012. <http://saratogian.com/articles/2012/04/29/news/doc4f9d703bd75a3090659613.txt?viewmode=fullstory>.