Several of the smaller retailers at Washington Square Shopping Center say business is down considerably since Fresh & Greens closed on Dec. 29. They say the loss of the anchor store has made the traditionally slow January and February even slower.
“It’s especially slow with Fresh & Greens gone, and you really feel it on the weekends,” said a retailer who asked to remain anonymous.
Some retailers have become more anxious after learning that ACME, located at the rival Kent Plaza Shopping Center, announced it will expand its floor space by 40 percent. Heightening their concerns was an announcement that the landlord at Kent Plaza, Cordish Companies, had committed $1 million to modernize the 50-year-old complex.
“We’re going to get killed by this, their parking lot is always full with [grocery] shoppers who buy from the smaller stores as well,” the retailer said. “We’ve got to get a grocery store back.”
But is there pressure on Washington Square’s landlord, Dennis Silicato, to get a new grocer? Fresh & Greens will continue to pay rent until 2016 under the terms of the lease and retailers are asking what is Silicato’s incentive to fill the space anytime soon.
Chestertown Mayor Chris Cerino said he has spoken with Silicato, who assured him that a real effort was underway to find a new grocer.
“He understands it’s in his best interest to fill that space as soon as he can,” Cerino said.
Silicato did not answer a request for comment by the deadline of this story.