West Lynn welcomes Market Basket project

January 25, 2013
By Thor Jourgensen/The Daily Item

Regulars eating breakfast at the Little River Inn Thursday welcomed news that DeMoulas’ wants to open a Market Basket store in West Lynn.

“There’s not really a supermarket down this end of Lynn,” said Lynn native Joe Caruso.

Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy and city economic development chief James Cowdell announced Wednesday that General Electric could be less than 90 days from selling the Factory of the Future site in the city’s center to a realty holding firm that will lease part of the land to DeMoulas.

Lynn attorney James Moore said 500 workers, including 100 full-time employees, will work at the proposed Market Basket store.

Caruso said long-term jobs combined with construction jobs for workers hired to renovate GE’s Factory of the Future building into a grocery are good news for Lynn.

“It will make Lynn look better and employment will bring things up,” he said.

West Lynn residents, business owners and anyone are invited to a meeting to discuss Market Basket’s plan on Feb. 16, 9 a.m. at the Drewicz School, 34 Hood St.

“We want to know whatever we can do better for the neighbors,” said Ward 7 Councilor Rick Ford.

Ford and Lynn resident Wayne Johnson said the giant GE-owned lot bordered by Western Avenue and Federal Street has sat vacant for too long.

“Let’s put the property to use to create jobs — I think it’s a good deal,” Johnson said.

Antolin Arias owns a grocery three blocks away from Market Basket’s proposed site but he is not worried about a major supermarket chain opening a new store down North Common Street.

“How can I say to someone else, ‘You can’t compete?’ It’s important for the city,” Arias said.

Arias’ customers shop for 10-pound bags of potatoes, bunches of “platano verde” and a wide variety of other items while music plays over the store’s public address system. He employs 18 workers at the store, and he owns a store in East Boston and another in Revere.

“The only thing you need to do is take care of your customers,” he said.

John Maxwell of Revere shops regularly at Arias’ store because it is near his workplace and because Perfect Super Market sells “everything I want.”

Maxwell isn’t familiar with Market Basket, but George Young drives to Middleton to shop at the Market Basket there.

“I couldn’t afford to shop at a more expensive store. Sixty or 70 dollars I spend at Market Basket would be $100 at another store,” he said.

John Fleury of Lynn said a Federal Street Market Basket will offset the loss of two Boston Street grocery stores: Johnnie’s Foodmaster and Ernie’s Harvest Time.

“Will I shop there? Definitely. I miss the variety we had at Johnnie’s,” he said.

Thor Jourgensen can be reached at tjourgensen@itemlive.com.



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