The Main Street Market, now twice its former size, is back in business.
On Wednesday, the store reopened after closing for several months for renovations, expanding both its size and the scope of service offered.
“It’s our official soft opening,” said Rich Rivera, owner of the market. When he spoke with NewsWorks on Wednesday, some shelves were waiting to be stocked and final preparations were being completed.
Rivera indicated that operations will ramp up through the remainder of the week as the final touches are performed and perishable food items are delivered.
With at least twice the footprint of the original store at 4345 Main Street, the expanded grocery will feature a full gourmet deli, a butcher, a salad bar and a larger produce section, as well as enhanced coffee service and indoor seating. In addition, there will be a Wi-Fi-lounge in the basement of the expanded area, which is the former home of Saxbys Coffee.
“The expansion allows us to grow all of our departments and improve our service,” said Rivera.
More space, increased staff and extended hours
After Saxbys closed with little warning in January of 2011 – legal action from multiple creditors was suggested by local business leaders as a possible rationale – Rivera jumped on the property, signing a lease within a week of the coffee shop’s demise.
At the time, Rivera said that he had his eye on the Saxbys location since his market first opened in 2010.
The market will employ approximately 30 people, who will man the store seven days a week from 6:30 a.m. to midnight. Asked about the decision-making process surrounding closing-time – and the implications of being open for the late-night crowd – Rivera said that the former store’s customers indicated their desire for the shop to stay open past their previous closing time of 10 p.m.
Since its temporary closure in the early months of summer, significant work needed to be performed to join the two spaces. Walls were breached, and steps were created to accommodate the elevation changes between the two parcels. In addition, extensive work was done to support the mechanical infrastructure.
The price tag for the project, Rivera says, is “a lot.”
The leaded glass that decorates the building façade will now be featured prominently.
“We did everything we could to save them,” said Rivera.
Striving to be a neighborhood asset
Asked about reasons for expansion, Rivera credited the community for supporting the market, and he felt he could do much better, “for them and for us.”
“They embraced us, and we appreciate it, so we used the opportunity to make the market the best that we could,” he said. “We wanted to become an amenity to the community.”
This sentiment was echoed by Jane Lipton, executive director of the Manayunk Development Corporation, who affirmed that the market will be an asset for both the community and the Main St. business district.
“It’s really, really, nice,” said Lipton, praising the quality of the market’s renovations and the enhanced services the shop will provide.
“Any business that adds to the quality of life – the livability of a neighborhood – is a wonderful thing,” she said.