• 06.22.22

    Newsday: Holiday Farms grocery store replacing outgoing King Kullen

By Tory N. Parrish

A Holiday Farms grocery store will replace a 48-year-old King Kullen supermarket in Franklin Square because the new store will be better suited for the shopping habits in the area, the landlord said Tuesday.

The King Kullen store, which is a 20,000-square-foot anchor at 206 New Hyde Park Road in Franklin Plaza, will close in July, the grocer announced last week.

King Kullen was always a good tenant in Franklin Plaza but it’s time “to try something new,” said Wilbur F. Breslin, chief executive officer and chairman of the board at Breslin Realty Development Corp., the Garden City-based real estate firm that developed Franklin Plaza in 1974.

“Their lease was up and I felt it was time to make a change. … Whether they would have left on their own, I do not know. But I told them in advance that we had made a deal with Holiday Farms,” he said.

The change in grocers will improve foot traffic at the shopping center, which will benefit the other tenants on the property, said Robert Delavale, vice president and director of leasing at Breslin Realty.

“It was basically to benefit the shopping center and to realign it to better fit the current demographics,” said Delavale, who added that today’s shoppers want to see new products and more specialty items.

Last week, Hauppauge-based King Kullen Grocery Co. Inc. announced that it would be closing two of its supermarkets — the Franklin Square store will close July 14 and the Glen Cove store will close July 28 — because the leases are expiring. The closings will leave King Kullen, which is the largest family-owned grocery chain left on Long Island, with 27 King Kullen supermarkets and five Wild by Nature natural food stores, all on Long Island.

King Kullen declined Newsday’s request for comment Tuesday.

New beginnings

The new Holiday Farms store will open in Franklin Plaza around Aug. 8, said owner David Mandell, 54, a third-generation grocer.

He has seven existing grocery stores — four Holiday Farms stores in Roslyn, Glen Head, Woodbury and Queens; two Key Food stores in Queens; and a Locust Valley Market.

The Holiday Farms in Franklin Plaza will be a full-service supermarket but its deli and produce sections will be larger than King Kullen’s, Mandell said.

Holiday Farms specializes more in hard-to-find items, organic products and gluten-free food, he said.

The Franklin Plaza supermarket will be the first of Mandell’s stores to pilot self-service checkout, he said.

The store will employ about 40 workers, who will be part of a union, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 1500 in Westbury, he said.

Mandell had planned to remodel the Franklin Plaza space before Holiday Farms opens but supply chain issues are delaying the delivery of equipment, he said.

“But because we can’t get the equipment right away, we’re going to … [open] and then remodel as we get stuff,” he said.

Also, the entire shopping center will be getting a new facade, construction of which will start in about 60 days and last four or five months, Breslin said.

‘The rest came later’

Besides King Kullen, other tenants in the 45,055-ssquare-foot Franklin Plaza include Rite Aid, Baskin Robbins, Olivetto Pizzeria and Greek Xpress.

Franklin Plaza was the first shopping center that Breslin developed and the first shopping center on Long Island that had free on-site parking, as opposed to metered parking owned by a municipality, Breslin said.

When Breslin began developing the shopping center in the 1970s, he tried to court local grocers to sign on as tenants but was met with resistance, he said. After about six months, he was able to sign King Kullen as an anchor.

“In those days, all I had was King Kullen and the rest came later,” Breslin said.

Franklin Plaza also was unique because it was on a north-south artery, as opposed to an east-west artery, such as Hempstead Turnpike, Union Turnpike or Hillside Avenue, he said.

“And it proved that north-south was not only as good, it was better because there was less congestion,” Breslin said.

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