Ernie's owner looking to reopen by City Hall

May 17, 2013
By Thor Jourgensen/The Daily Item

Ernie's Harvest Time owner Ernie Fratangelo plans to reopen his former Boston Street produce and prepared food store next to City Hall and District Court in three months.

Fratangelo said his store will be similar in layout and goods sold to the Harvest Time familiar to the former Boston Street store's loyal shoppers.

"Their store is beloved by generations of Lynners. It will be great for downtown," said Ward 5 City Councilor Brendan Crighton.

Fratangelo's special permit request submitted to the City Council this week states his intention "to operate (a) retail food store selling meat, produce and dairy" on the former Sir Speedy copy center site at 597 Essex St.

"It's a heavily populated area, and downtown is definitely coming back," Fratangelo said.

Ernie's is one of three established businesses making plans to open downtown. D'Amici's Bakery and Rossetti's, a Winthrop-based restaurant, are opening downtown Lynn locations in July, said Economic Development and Industrial Corporation Director James Cowdell.

"Ernie's is another good sign for downtown. They are a welcome addition with a loyal customer base; plus, this is a heavily populated area," Cowdell said.

Cowdell said D'Amici's and Rossetti's will employ about 30 people. Fratangelo said he has contacted the 20 people who worked with him on Boston Street and said he looks forward to seeing long-time customers and meeting new ones.

"My help is excited. We've all stayed in touch since we closed in December," he said.

A New Hampshire developer bought Ernie's, Happy Valley Automotive and Over Easy, a Boston Street restaurant, in 2012, and the council approved zoning changes on March 12 to clear the way for a pharmacy and parking lot to be built on the business sites.

Fratangelo estimated 14 spaces are available in the former Sir Speedy's parking lot, but said he needs employee parking and spaces for customers. He said 30 spaces in his former Boston Street lot were available for customers and workers.

"I'll be looking for help from the city," he said.

Ernie's new site is located a block from the city lot on Johnson Street where many municipal employees now park. D'Amici's and Rossetti's are located near the Andrew Street city lot and the Off Street Parking Commission voted in March to open the lot's Liberty Street side to provide easy parking for both businesses' customers.

Crighton said municipal lots across the city need to be examined to determine if they have the "flexibility" to meet business parking needs.

"Do we have capacity where we can assist businesses? I don't think we have the answers quite yet," he said.

City planners with the council's support are organizing a downtown traffic study to look at how to reconfigure central business district streets so, Cowdell said, drivers unfamiliar with Lynn streets can get in and out of downtown quickly.

A Lynn resident for most of his life who now lives in Peabody, Fratangelo thinks a fresh look at downtown traffic makes sense.

"It's like a maze," he said.

Thor Jourgensen can be reached at



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