The vacant retail space between Tops Supermarket and the Rite Aid drugstore in the Town and Country Plaza has found a new occupant. A Family Dollar store is slated to open its doors to discount-seeking consumers Sept. 1.
The 8,750 square-foot space, which was formerly home to video-rental franchise Movie Gallery, women’s fitness center Curves, and local business MacKinnon Liquors, was recently signed over to the national discount retail chain through a long term lease with Empire Management Company.
“I think this will be good for Cazenovia because currently there isn’t a great deal of retail variety. There’s not a place you can buy toys or inexpensive clothing,” said property developer David Muraco, owner of Empire Management Company. “The store will feature more quantity and product availability within the town. They’re really a variety store; I almost wish they weren’t labeled as a dollar store. Family Dollar is good retailer, and strong company.”
When Movie Gallery filed for bankruptcy and closed their doors at the end of May 2010, the last business occupying the area Muraco needed to host Family Dollar was MacKinnon Liquors.
As owner Tracy MacKinnon’s lease ended in October 2010, she vacated the space and moved her business across the plaza’s parking lot, opening the building for development.
“This space hasn’t been available for over 25 years. So I’ve assembled all the pieces, and Family Dollar is very excited,” Muraco said. “I think they’ll bring customers from Cazenovia as well as surrounding areas like Georgetown and New Woodstock.”
While the addition of a Family Dollar store has been made official, the inclusion of a Nice N’ Easy gas station and convenience store on Route 20 is tentative. Muraco said he is in the process of acquiring a demolition permit for his adjacent property and hopes to make the package of land viable for developers.
Muraco said it isn’t his deal specifically, but thinks the Nice N’ Easy would be an asset to Cazenovia. “I hope it happens. I think it would be good for the community, especially the carwash, since there currently isn’t one in the area,” he said.
While Muraco believes the inclusion of the Family Dollar store and Nice N’ Easy would be advantageous to Cazenovians, local residents are be split on the subject.
Carol Murray voiced her concern for another national chain moving into town, especially one with a stigma that doesn’t seem to coincide with the Cazenovia aesthetic. “I’m not excited about it,” she said. “There has been so much commercial development all over, the absence of all that here is what makes Cazenovia so quaint and pleasant.”
Cazenovia native Laura Addante said she could understand the allure of opening a Family Dollar, having a nearby campus full of college students looking for inexpensive housewares. “This will be good for families with budgets that need everyday items, also I think college students will enjoy the store, being located within walking distance from their school,” she said.
Barbara Clarke took a diplomatic stance on the subject, evaluating both sides of the argument, all while hoping to keep Cazenovia as picturesque as possible. “I’m not so worried about what’s on the inside, as what’s on the outside,” she said. “If the retail space remains consistent with the character of the community, I think that would be fine. I’m sure there are many people that would take advantage of the store.”
Muraco has also been finding tenants for the numerous vacant storefronts he owns in Cazenovia.
The developments seem to be accepted by local residents, even anxiously awaited. He recently signed a lease with partners hoping to open an Italian restaurant in the McLaughlin Building at 82 Albany St. Although the name is currently unknown, the eatery will look to take up residence and open for business in the coming months.
For more information on Empire Management Company, located at 4306 East Genesee St. in DeWitt, visit their website empiremgtco.com or contact them by phone at 445-8990. The company can also be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.