I expect my plea to Stewart’s to keep V’ville store open will fall on deaf ears

To the Editor:

I was chagrined to learn this week that Stewart’s will be permanently closing its store in Voorheesville on Jan. 13. I’d like to offer an open letter to the powers-that-be at Stewart’s.

Dear Stewart’s: So you’re closing your Voorheesville store. Permanently. Not a very classy move in my opinion.

I’m sure you can express this decision in business-speak. Say you’re “pursuing other business interests” or, “it doesn’t fit with our brand,” or some such platitude.

This isn’t the end of my world. I live about an equal distance from another Stewart’s and can still get my milk, eggs, ice cream, lottery tickets, or newspaper from there or other Stewart’s shops, but I considered the Voorheesville shop to be my “home” shop.

I can still get all these things close by at non-Stewart’s businesses, too, but it was just nice to support a centrally-located establishment in the village for a quick in-and-out.

Sure, the store had limited space and couldn’t offer a whole lot of groceries or gasoline, but since there is already a Mobil mini-mart and Hannaford supermarket in town, you knew who your competition was.  Perhaps this shop wasn’t as profitable as some of your other, larger shops, but I have no reason to believe it was hemorrhaging money.

You’ve probably owned the building outright for quite some time, and we weren’t expecting you to pump a lot of money into it to “modernize” it. We didn’t expect frills.

I have to bring up the elephant in the room, though, Stewart’s. It seems like you might be trying to punish the people of Voorheesville for not adequately backing your proposal to build a new Stewart’s in the former Smitty’s Tavern location. At least it looks that way.

There were several problems with that site, like its location in the Vly Creek floodplain and being situated right next to another Voorheesville business we like to support. But in the grand scheme of things, that didn’t really matter to you.

You could have brought in a ton of fill to bring the elevation up to deal with the floodplain issue, and you surely relished competing with the Mobil next door. Your proposed store got shot down and it looks like you might be spitefully closing our store because of it.

I wonder, would the same thing have happened in Altamont if you couldn’t rezone the adjacent parcel, clearing the way for a potential expansion of that store? After all, most people commuting into Altamont can shop at other modern Stewart’s shops on the way into the village, just like they can in Voorheesville.

Yes, it’s a little different since Altamont doesn’t have a Hannaford, but would you have dropped the news on the village of Altamont that you were permanently closing its store if you didn’t get your way?

I understand you’re offering the Voorheesville employees the opportunity to go to whatever Stewart’s they want to. That’s nice. They deserve as much. They’re a friendly, hard-working bunch. It shows you may actually not be the mean, vindictive, only-the-bottom-line-counts company you might appear to be.

I expect my plea to you to keep our store open will fall on deaf ears. You’ve already made your decision. I might have considered a boycott or something, but that would, of course, be ineffective.

But I can say with sincerity that I won’t be going out of my way to patronize other Stewart’s Shops if it’s not convenient to me. It may surprise you to hear that people actually do go out of their way to do that for their local stores.

My decision won’t really hurt your bottom line, but at least I’ll feel better about it.  After all, who am I other than a loyal customer?

Thanks for listening, Stewart’s. I’m glad you’ll be paying taxes on your two empty Voorheesville properties. Good luck in Altamont.

Larry Alden


Editor’s note: Larry Alden signed himself as living halfway between Voorheesville and Altamont.

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