Satisfied With Grocery Shopping Options?

Southampton Village is considering zoning amendment that would allow a new store in highway business zone.

The Southampton Village Board is in the highway business zone, but some critics say the pursuit of a new store is misguided, as Southampton has enough shopping options already.

Village Board members, and some members of the public who came out to speak at hearings, say the village needs a new grocery store, providing an alternative to on Jagger Lane, the village's only supermarket. Board members say they frequently hear from constituents — as many as 100 a year — that the Waldbaum's is inadequate.

point out that there are supermarkets about 15 minutes away from village in either direction: in Bridgehampton, and , and in Hampton Bays.

Critics say the village has no need for more grocery shopping options, as residents can choose from Waldbaum's, the nearby supermarkets, and food markets Schmidt's in the village and Avanti just outside the village in Water Mill. They also point out that the legislation would only provide for a store between 10,000 and 20,000 square feet, much smaller than a true supermarket, which would carry household necessities other than food and actually compete with Waldbaum's.

Where do you stand on the issue? Are you satisfied with grocery shopping options where you live? Would you like to see a new grocery store within Southampton Village? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

David D'Agostino January 30, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Ms. Silver, you have made a case for "wanting" a new market, but certainly not for "need".
Brendan J. O'Reilly (Editor) January 30, 2012 at 08:11 PM
David, Since what you said has come up before, I'm curious to know where residents draw the line between "want" and "need."
Ralebird January 30, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Sounds like you have a lot of time on your hands; not everyone does. Multiple jobs, family activities, and other necessities leave little time for shopping. I vote for convenience and competition with the only reservation being that 20,000 square feet is an antiquated size for a full service store.
David D'Agostino January 30, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Quite simple, Brendan; many people want another grocery store because they are unhappy with the current choices or because they want something more convenient to their home. As I see it, we already have plenty of choices, an over-developed CR39 and way too much traffic so there is no "need" for a new grocery store. I have two kids and when they say to me "I need this or that" I always follow up with "you want or you need." The distinction is always clear. It is my opinion that what we need is more open space, less development, and, in the summer when things are crowded, we need to help our local farmstands and markets. I know many disagree.
Janet Silver January 30, 2012 at 09:34 PM
I guess your wife does most of the food shopping for your family, and you make a good living so you can afford to buy designer-priced vegetables at the farmstands. I am a senior who still works part-time because of the wonderful economy we find ourselves living in, and there is very little left for me to purchase in Waldbaum's from about May 15 thru Oct. 15 when I shop in the early mornings, lunch hour, early evening or weekends -- and one can forget about trying to park -- and I certainly don't have the time or gas money to drive to Hampton Bays or Bridgehampton.
Patricia Weiss January 30, 2012 at 09:52 PM
The 2010 Census reports on the village population in order to indicate the number of people who consider the village to be their primary residence. It is not an accurate depiction of how many people are second home owners who are shopping for fresh food for themselves during the summer season, how many are food shopping for weekend guests, etc. So the Census number is not relevant to the total picture of "want" or "need" and it should not be taken as any indication that there are not enough people to support such a new fresh produce market. Such a new business will also create jobs for local people and that is a benefit to the community as a whole.
David D'Agostino January 30, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Janet, My wife and I both work. As I work from home, I often do the grocery shopping. I certainly feel for anyone on a strict budget - my family is and we are certainly not alone, that is why the ten to fifteen minute drive to save at the Stop and Shop is well worth the time and savings. The Fresh Market that they are talking about putting in the village is a "designer-priced" market so does not address your concerns regarding prices. This is an expensive place to live, but a new grocery store will do nothing to ease pricing.
Janet Silver January 30, 2012 at 10:16 PM
David, competition always affects prices. I am familiar with Fresh Market and, yes, they are a high-end grocery. I would much prefer a Trader Joe's!!! And Ms. Weiss, you are so right -- as a 20-year columnist and contributing editor at Dan's Papers, we printed about 250,000 papers per week from May 15 thru Oct. 30. Some went to the North Fork and Manhattan but Southampton, Bridgehampton and East Hampton were our biggest distribution areas. I'd wager the Waldbaum's Southampton store does a bigger volume per square foot in the summer than any of their other locations.
Jerry Can January 31, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Want and need are perfectly compatible in this context. Residents of the Southampton Village area have wanted more affordable food options and a larger market that offers more options. This is a need as well. We have a situation now where the principal supermarket in the area is in bankruptcy. I for one have noticed considerable jump in prices for certain items I purchase. At worse this market could shutter its doors. Then what are the options? Especially for the people who don't drive. How often have we seen a cab picking up or dropping someone off to go shopping. What do we tell them next take a cab to Hampton Bays. And those that walk to the market? Take a hike! The Waldbaums is a good store. But it lacking in choice. And as much as there are good employees there, there are those that think they are doing us a favor for working there. I'm all for supporting the local farms and food stands and shopping there. But in season they could be more competitive in their pricing. The truth is that the Village attacked the project in Tuckahoe to help out storeowners in the Village .i.e. landlords not merchants. Now they exploiting the residents desire for more options to help out another landlord. Up to a certain point its understandable, the property taxes pay bills.
JAWS January 31, 2012 at 12:20 PM
Maybe when Waldbaums shutters its doors the opportunity will be ripe for Trader Joes to finally consider coming to town. The options no one spoke about above is Pea Pod- delivering groceries to you when its convenient for you. Personally I would prefer to buy from farm stands and the local fish and meat markets to keep our neighbors in business.
Diane Sadowski February 04, 2012 at 02:08 PM
I would like at least two new stores. Isn't competition part of capitalism? Competition should lead to a healthier economy. It is survival of the fittest. If the current businesses can't change with the times to accommodate the community, they will have to give up their space. I think the Town is doing a decent job by looking at all new ideas, and involving the community by listening to their concerns. Obviously by the comments- there is not just one concern. Will a new grocery store in SH really destroy the area? Really??????????????????
Mary Beth February 04, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Is there no over-development project that cannot be rationalized in the name of "capitalism"? How about not building something in the name of preservation? Besides, you are missing one of the most important tenets of your capitalist competition theory: need. As there is no rational need beyond the wants of convenience, then there is no competition and prices will not change.
Ralebird February 04, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Why is this automatically "over-development"? No fields are being excavated, no woods cut down, what is proposed is REdevelopment. What is there now is a derelict property - I don't wantor need it preserved. This redevelopment can solve a need (or even just a want) which will certainly provide competition by definition. Most of us live in the reality that our town is a living, breathing, changing place - not a museum. You may be so easily satisfied that the choices available now are sufficient for you, but you don't get to make that decision for those of us who want, or even need, something better.
Mary Beth February 04, 2012 at 05:24 PM
It is over-development because it is unnecessary. Unlike you I have not told anyone else "you don't get to make that decision." It is my opinion and I am entitled to it just as you are entitled to yours.
Peconic Sunset February 04, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Obviously like some well informed people are commenting here. Any opinions on the following question: If the village allowed this, would it be a precedent for neighboring property owners to request similar treatment for their properties?
Mary Beth February 04, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Absolutely yes, peconic. Spot-zoning here, or anywhere else, opens the flood gates for everyone else.
Diane Sadowski February 04, 2012 at 06:32 PM
WOW scarey ! LOL! No definitely not. It does not create a precedent.
Peconic Sunset February 04, 2012 at 10:08 PM
According to the patch article the change would effect 9 parcels of land, not just the one eyed for the market. Zoning is not my expertise so thank you for your input.
Peconic Sunset February 04, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Sorry, I should have provided the source for the above statement. Here it is http://southampton.patch.com/articles/hearing-thursday-on-village-grocery-store-law
Roger Blaugh February 11, 2012 at 09:47 PM
No one person can answer Brendan's question. Mr. D'Agostino does not represent my interests, wants or needs and, therefore, should not attempt to answer for me or for others. He may only offer his own opinion as to what "he" wants or needs. I've stated in previous columns on this subject that virtually every objector to the Tuckahoe Mall with whom I spoke or corresponded "wanted" a second market in the village. However, they were willing to forfeit the "mall" with its 82,000 square feet of unnecessary additional shops in order to "save" village stores from what they deemed as unnecessary competition that would only weaken retail sales in these struggling stores. But their message was loud and clear...they "wanted" a second food market because they felt that one store had a monopoly in our village after the closure of D'Agostino's and the IGA. I lead the opposition to the Tuckahoe Mall and feel capable or sharing the characterization of their comments. There were few exceptions; in fact, I recall only one specifically.
David D'Agostino February 12, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Mr. Blaugh, the question was asked of me and I answered it on my own behalf, not yours, and I acknowledged that I am well aware that there are differing opinions. You say that no one person can answer the question, yet you seem to feel that it is appropriate for you to do so. I was deeply involved in opposition to the Mega Mall and I don't believe that you and I ever met, even though you claim to have "led the opposition". You may only recall having heard one objection to the revised Morrow plan, but I have heard from many people who, like me, feel a grocery store is unnecessary. You are attempting to define the entire opposition through your personal experiences while discounting mine. There is a real difference between the questions of want and need, but spot zoning is the wrong answer to both.
Roger Blaugh February 12, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Mr. D'Agostino, I chose my words very carefully, saying "every objector to the Tuckahoe Mall with whom I spoke or corresponded "wanted" a second market in the village". Those numbers were overwhelmingly (all but one individual) in favor of a second market...period! Spot zoning is not illegal, immoral or inappropriate when the change in zoning provides a "public benefit", as stated by Assemlyman Thiel. If you live in our village, you are likely to want an alternative to the monopoly known as Waldbaum's. If you do not live in our village or shop at Waldbaum's, what is your complaint? The zoning point is moot and the risks being taken are those of the retailer who is making a multi-million dollar commitment to do business here. Not the community, not the property owner or residents of the East End who, I remind you, do not hold the title to this parcel of land. If the store, it's goods or pricing, is not to your liking, don't shop there. We have choices and I'll make mine just like the next guy. Like my neighbors in the village, I want a second market as I have since we lost the IGA a few years ago and, before that, Gristede's. i believe that a second market will keep Waldbaum's on their toes, providing better goods and services. It's free enterprise and competition put to work and I believe it works to the public's benefit. It's just that simple.
Faustina February 12, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Mr. Blaugh didn't "choose his words very carefully" when it come to aggrandizing himself. Since when did he "lead the fight against the Tuckahoe Mall"? This will come as a shock to the Tuckahoe CAC, and the people who carried petitions, attended meetings, sponsored the ads and wrote letters. Mr. Blaugh was hardly involved until the effort had some political capital, and then his "contribution" nearly sabatoged it. Mr. Blaugh castigates Mr. D'agostino's opinion as only "representing his own interests", then offers his own selective opinion as representiative of the community at large. Concerned citizens have been working hard to have input into what constitutes a "community benefit" and what should be traded for it. Mr. Blaugh, a realtor, assumes that everyone agrees with him, or should as fact on his say so, that the supermarket he favors is, ipso facto, a "community benefit" and justifies "spot zoning". Wrong! And for Mr. Blaugh and the others who have weighed in here: there IS a significant distinction between personal "want" and "public need". People "want" many things, but to posit and fulfill a "public need" which draws on the public's assets, there must be agreement as to need, rational justification, and evaluation of the consequences. Whoever identifies the need gains a great deal of political power. The property owner holds the title, subject to zoning restrictions, zoning restrictions are what the community holds, owns -- and must protect.
Roger Blaugh February 12, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Faustina, Not everyone worked the with the CAC. Political capital is hard to come by, but when you have it, it can pay dividends when carefully applied. At no time was the outcome of the Tuckahoe Mall ever in question, in my opinion. The movement against it was wide spread and well organized in a variety of quarters. The net result: No Mall Here!
The Beav February 12, 2012 at 10:40 PM
I agree with Mr. Blaugh and would add that the Glennon's have a right to apply for a change in zoning, as does any other property owner in the Town or Village. When the subject of Waldbaum's comes up, people always say "I wish we had another market". I've never heard anyone say "I'm so glad we just have Waldbaum's". The notion is rediculous. You don't generally get people to say they're "in favor" with something. Only the objectors come out for a howl and a hoot. Well, this one is all for it and I can't wait for a new market to come to our village!
Frog Morton February 12, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Blaugh is politically saavy and used his prowess wisely during the Tuckahoe Mall battle. I know, I sat quietly on the front lines and watched him apply pressure very skillfully, where it was felt and where it was needed. Not everyone carries petitions for the CAC. He's on the right side as an advocate "for the public" and the environment. He always has been. You don't know him, Faustina, nor do you know the battles he's championed here and elsewhere, not all of which make the news. He's a stealth bomber when he needs to be. And his success in running local political campaigns is unsurpassed and he only runs people for office who he believes in, regardless of party affiliation. So lighten up if you don't know the man.
Faustina February 13, 2012 at 04:05 PM
I know the man, Frog, but obviously not intimately enough to try to turn him into a prince via comments such as yours. And what exactly do you mean when you state that: "he only runs people for office who he believes in"? In what capacity does he run people for office?
Frog Morton February 13, 2012 at 05:00 PM
If you 'know the man' then you know his candidates, too: Mayor Epley, Trustees McGann, Yastrzemski, Cannon, Robinson and SH Town Clerk candidate Marla Schwenk. He's been the Village Trustee's campaign manager for the past 7 years. A mixture of Dems, Reps and Indies. He helped bring a little organization to the Democratic Party when they were in disarray (working with Mike and the core organizers) He's a champion for village causes. The most recent is his petition for the Bay Street Theatre where he garnered huge support by local residents and businesspeople for their move to the Parrish building on Jobs Lane. He's the former Chair of the ARB and currently co-chairs the village environmental committee. Stil think you know him?
Faustina February 14, 2012 at 11:00 PM
As I said, I probably don't know him as well as you do, although I think I know who Frog is.
Postman Sharp February 15, 2012 at 12:12 AM
We get more done when we're nice. See if the shoe fits you.


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