Pathmark Plans

Rumors are circulating about the fate of the Pathmark of Montclair, and residents are wondering who will take over that space.

Searching for the new Pathmark tenant.

The mystery of who will be the next tenant to take over the space that is presently occupied by the Pathmark still remains up in the air, at least as far as the general public knows.

One thing is for sure, there will be a whole lot of people affected by the closure.  The Pathmark, which is located at Lackawanna Plaza II and serves both the third and fourth wards of Montclair, will not only affect patrons of the Pathmark, but the cab drivers as well. The cab drivers have been dependent of the customers that shop there for many years and they are a little worried about the lost income that will immediately affect them upon the closing of the Pathmark on Nov. 13.

Photo by Bruce Tyler

According to Deputy Town Manager Brian P. Scantlebury, “There is something going in that space. The township will be providing a shuttle that will be making trips to the Shoprite in Bloomfield. They are currently working on that now.” He was not able to provide specifics at this point regarding which days and times the shuttle will operate.

As far as a new store is concerned, Mayor Robert Jackson stated in a March 20 Montclair Times article that he “specifically sought a store that emphasized freshness and grab and go options and is pleasant to patronize.” In a more recent article, Mayor Jackson stated that “the space will not change and its usage and that the location, once transferred, will reopen as a supermarket. It will be bigger and better, but it will be a grocery store.”

Narriddiyn Umar, a vendor that has been selling oils and incense in and around the mall, stated that “people come in wheelchairs and walkers, and they are saying, ‘I don’t know what I am going to do!’ You can see the despair on their faces.”

“I don’t know how I am going to pay the rent,” said Ellen, a part-time cashier. “I need money for my car payment also. I’ve worked for Pathmark for 17 years, and that’s not enough to collect my pension.”

When the A&P filed for bankruptcy protection on July 19, the Patharkark chain, which is a subsidiary of A&P, became a victim of a sinking ship. As the A&P sinks, it is taking everything with it, so to speak. Those stores that were lucky enough to be bought out by other large food chains, such as Acme and Stop & Shop can breathe a sigh of relief.

Photo by Bruce Tyler

According to John T. Niccollai, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 464A, stated in an Aug. 28, article on North that “the  union is working as an instigating force. Their goal is to help as many members of the union to keep as many members as possible to keep their jobs. The union is working to ‘bump’ the most senior members to other stores that are not scheduled to close.”

Pathmark holds a 35 year lease on the location at present, which makes people wonder if someone bought that lease out. A lot of items are still marked as 5, 10 and 20 percent off. As I walked through the store, I took notice of the empty food shelves, but there were no tags posted for the sale of shelves, refrigeration units, butcher equipment and other hard or fixed items in the store, which might be a tall-tail sign that something might be in the works, as far as a new tenant is concerned.  There is a rumor that some of the freezer equipment is going to be used by the new entity that is taking over the space, whoever that might be.

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