Supermarket's chain's struggles affecting many businesses
Karen Thomson of 1/2 Off Cards says business is up thanks to increased traffic at Hannaford supermarket next door at East Side Plaza in Manchester. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
"They're all Market Basket customers coming to Hannaford's filtering into here," said Thomson, a sales associate at 1/2 Off Cards.
"We are very sad, but we are the winners," she said.
"I don't think it's any secret that Hannaford and Shaw's are benefiting from additional business from Market Basket customers," said Andy Levy, vice president of retail leasing at The MEG Companies, the plaza's property manager and leasing agent.
Supermarkets bring people back to shopping plazas every week.
"That's why supermarket anchor tenants are the most desirable," Levy said.
"The anchor tenant is greatly important to the viability of any shopping center," Levy said. "The theory is the other small tenants will feed off that activity, so you need an anchor."
"There's strong interest from a couple of quality tenants at this time," Levy said.
"There is some extremely meaningful discussions," he said. "If that were to happen, that would totally enhance and change the dynamics of that shopping center."
Levy said nine of 28 retail spaces in East Side Plaza are vacant, some due to national chains, such as Movie Gallery, going out of business.
Virkram Patel, who owns a Subway restaurant franchise on the other side of the plaza from the Hannaford store, knows what it's like when a major business departs a plaza.
"The parking lot is full over there (by Hannaford). It's empty here," Patel said outside his store Friday.
Since Market Basket workers are picketing their new CEO, Patel said he has picked up five to 10 customers a week who formerly shopped at Hannaford, migrated to the Market Basket on Elm Street and since returned to Hannaford temporarily.
Carol McCoubry, who works at East Side Cleaners, said business there has remained steady, but she knows Market Basket customers are coming to the plaza.
Regular Market Basket shopper Anne Armstrong of Manchester doesn't like paying more at Hannaford.
"I know when I take something off the shelf, this is 50 cents more or 75 cents more than I used to pay at Market Basket," she said. Armstrong plans to return to her regular store "as soon as they open" fully stocked again.
"It's insane" at times inside Hannaford in recent weeks, she said.
Hannaford spokesman Jim Norton said the supermarket chain has seen increased business and hired more workers beyond the normal summer attrition, but he declined to cite specifics.
More people are coming to the store riding along the Number 2 bus route, according to Mike Whitten, executive director of the Manchester Transit Authority.The MTA has expanded from two to five days a week its "shopper shuttle" that drops off people for an hour at Hannaford at East Side Plaza, while the MTA has dropped the Wednesday shuttle to Market Basket on Elm Street.
Cindy Boyd of Manchester normally would drive her motorized wheelchair five to 10 minutes to the Market Basket on Elm Street, but Friday she rode the "shopper shuttle."
"I'll be one of the first ones there," she said before catching the bus.
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