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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

About that C-Town for South Avenue

This C-Town in New Rochelle, NY, displays window treatments that bother some.

Plainfielders at the Council's reorganization meeting heard Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs announce that a new 'major supermarket' -- C-Town -- was expected to open on South Avenue in April (see here).

The store is slated for the vacant Drug Fair location, which is a portion of the old Foodtown market, shut down after the chain was bought by the Dutch food giant Royal Ahold and merged into the Stop & Shop brand.

While the focus for years has been an effort to bring a major supermarket to the WEST END, to anchor the proposed Marino's redevelopment site across from the Drake House on West Front Street, Robinson-Briggs omitted any mention of the
WEST END in her announcement.

C-Town, said to be the 5th largest food retailer in the NY metro area, is little known in central New Jersey, with only three area locations (South Bound Brook, New Brunswick and Rahway).

Map shows three area C-Town locations

The C-Town brand is a cooperative, with each store independently owned and operated. Much of the packaged goods is marketed under the 'Krasdale' label. The use of the 'house brands' -- often manufactured and packaged by the big brand-name companies under contract -- allows price reductions to the customer (up to 40% of the price of brand-name products can be acccounted for in marketing costs).

As with any independently owned stores, however, the quality of the customer experience is dependent on the owner of the local outlet.

C-Town has been much in the New York City news recently when it was discovered that some workers' only compensation for years was tips (see here), leading to a $331,000 penalty against the C-Town in Elmhurst, Queens.

If a C-Town opens in the South Avenue location as the Mayor announced, Plainfielders have a right to expect a well-operated, clean and efficient store which treats its employees and customers with respect, and fits in well with its South Avenue retail neighbors.

In any event, shoppers vote with their feet and through word of mouth.

That is what has turned the once-quiet Aldi's discount supermarket on Park Avenue just over the South Plainfield line into such a popular store that one can hardly find a parking space on the weekend.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

The sad thing is that Aldi passed on locating in the west end of Plainfield a few years ago and they predominantly go to economically challenged communities. Lets hope that C-Town will do well and pays attention to customer needs per the article. The available Drug Fair building space is too small to capture a bigger chain operation. You would have to have the whole thing to even come close to attracting a major operator.

Anonymous said...

Aldi's is dirty and carries very little in the way of healthy foods. It screams "ghetto" .... Why are we accepting another food store that is no better? There really is no hope for this town if this is the best we can do. This simply reinforces our image as a crime ridden urban ghetto .

Dan said...

@ 8:11 -- Yes, I think the total building is around 24,000 square feet, which Royal Ahold said was too small a footprint for 'today's' full-service markets, which run to 40,000 square feet on the LOW side.

This notwithstanding the South Avenue Foodtown was still a moneymaker when they closed it, and the cramped A&P down the street in Fanwood still packs them in, tho newer A&Ps are much larger.

Dan said...

@ 8:12 -- I'm surprised you think Aldi's is dirty. It is certainly not conventional the way it is shelved, but it is a German-owned business, and Germans don't stand for dirty.

Also, let's not forget that Aldi's owns Trader Joe's -- which also has unconventional merchandising -- and no one complains that Trader Joe's is 'dirty', and plenty of folks are seen lugging their inexpensive wines by the carton-full out to the parking lot.

I have seen more than one mink coat shopping in Aldi's....

As for C-Town -- if it comes at all -- we will have to see what happens.

Anonymous said...

To the clean freak at 8:12, I have been shopping at Aldi since it opened. The store is very clean. Even cleaner than some Pathmarks Ive been to. I am white and do not think it screams "ghetto" in any way. They have something for everyone, even name brands on occasion. The off brands are very good. The cereals are a fraction of the price and look and taste like the real deal. Ive been to Ctown in New Brunswick and it is a pig sty. I walked out without buying anything. The down side to Ctown here is that they rely on a carless shopper, no taxi money, no bus, a have to walk to the store client; so they have no other option but to shop there. Because of that, it would be a better fit for the Marino tract, but that is years away, if ever. Its a shame, because the idea is to serve the residents of Plfd, but to also attract people from the surrounding communities. Ctown will not do that. Ctwon is "ghetto". I will await to be "surprised".

Sobae said...

Plainfield already has two viable markets on the east end: the A & P, one quarter mile into Fanwood (certainly no farther out of Plainfield than Aldi is and what possible relevance other than tax revenue does it have that it's not in Plainfield), and the always busy and super convenient Times Market. My wife shops there almost daily, and she's both as cheap and as clean freak as they get. (Luv u honey.)

Speaking of taxes: does anyone (Dan? Bernice? councilpersons?) know if the city gave C-Town a tax incentive to locate in town? Or were we just too cheap a date to pass up? The answer is depressing either way.

active citizen said...

Don't plan on C-Town bringing good deals to Plainfield. In Jersey City they are so overpriced that Twin City wins out over them. Their service and the cleanliness of the stores I've seen is also in question. I hope the mayor doesn't put all her eggs in this basket. I'm sure it may smell a bit rotten. She needs to do a lot more, as does her city development team. It's better than nothing, but it took over four years.

Anonymous said...

how many of you remember C-Town in North on Route 22, which is now CVS
They close down for not being clean, selling out-date-products as the other person said.

active citizen said...

By the way. I shop at the Aldi on Park Ave. in South Plainfield once or twice a week and it is not dirty and has many healthy products.

By the way. Plainfield didn't accept Aldi, South Plainfield did and it seems that Aldi is doing quite fine, thank you.

Rob said...

The store will the cheesy no respect for the community look that most all stores in Plainfield have in common. The windows will be completely plastered with excessive signing that no one will read because you won't be able to see the forest for the trees. It will not add to the look of the community as a whole much less the Netherwood area of Plainfield. AND.. it will all be allowed and done with the blessing of an ENTIRELY inattentive city hall -- MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL included. of the few times I will throw a barb toward the city council as well on the matter of how businesses look in our city. The city council could spur the zoning changes that are needed to spur businesses to clean up their act. The Mayor will not -- AND that is NO surprise to anyone who has witnessed the ineffective leadership ( dare I use that word?) of her administration. We, the city council included, claim they want our city to look good -- ZONE IT. Simply put. Sign and exterior zoning standards can clean up a lot of the visual mess that is retail in Plainfield. Unfortunately, I will only bemoan the low-quality, cleanliness and bad service that I have known ALL C-Towns to be. The crappy, over the board, offensive signing...Sorry folks..that store would fit in right next to Twin City, your average business on Park or Front Street.
The city of Plainfield looks like a toliet because the city administration -- ALL OF THEM, let it be that way.
Go to Manchester Vermont..they measure the square footage of your window space and inform you to the inch how much signage you are allowed to have and what type of signage. Plainfield could use a few years of a ball busting zoning blitz to clean it up. The "let's pretend it doesn't look like crap" method obviously hasn't worked.
Let's welcome C-Town..fits right in with the rest of the garbage..

Rob said...

AND: Aldi's is clean, crowded ( in a good way ) and other than needing an extra person here and there on the weekends to check people out a rather pleasant shopping experience. Look how nice it would never see a company that takes so much pride in the way their business looks or runs in a city like Plainfield.

Yep I Said It! said...

I think 8:12 is referring to what use to be where ALDI is now. I can't remember the name but that place was outright DISGUSTING. I remember walking in and just from the smell alone -I walked out!

Yep I Said It! said...

Sharon a Mayoral Mistake -LIES!!!

The former Drug Fair hasn't even been gutted out. This is already February. Plainfield can't possibly believe construction and stocking of shelves will take place in two months!!!

Dan - are you sure she said April 2010???!!!

Anonymous said...

I am very disappointed in hearing that a C-Town is moving into Plainfield, especially on South Ave. As someone mentioned earlier, it may be appropriate for the downtown area in the plaza where Twin City is located but it is DEFINITELY not appropriate for South Ave.(BTW, while I'm not a regular shopper at Twin City, I don't like the area and the prices are higher than the larger retail chains, it is always clean and well stocked when I do go. Not to mention, their fish and meat markets always have a very good selection.) C-TOWN is G-H-E-T-T-O! I have only seen the stores in ghetto areas and I have never had any incentive to go into any of them...and I have no intention of shopping at this one.

Anonymous said...

What I think is extraordinarily sad is that the mayor thinks this is a good thing. She probably shops at C-Town and believes that it is a good move for Plainfield.

What is happening is that Plainfield is starting to demand a higher socio economic atmosphere, and I am sorry to say, that the mayor cannot provide that to us because she does not understand it. Good enough is as high as she goes. And not just the mayor, but many of her colleagues. They don't know any better.

Not until we get educated, and worldly people running this city will we get higher socio economic industry.

Anonymous said...

"What is happening is that Plainfield is starting to demand a higher socio economic atmosphere..."
No, some people are elitist racist classist snobs who think that Plainfield should change to suit them because the moved here to buy a big fancy house for 25% of what they would pay in Westfield!
PLEASE I can not emphasize enough! GO AWAY!!! Move to Westfield or Scotch Plains or somewhere that you can live among your kind. Leave the rest of us regular Plainfielders alone! If you hate it so much, if you think it's a ghetto, if you think the mayor is so stupid and the voters are so stupid,WHY DO YOU STILL LIVE HERE?????

Rob said...

To anonymous at 11:13PM: What I find totally amazing is that you think wanting a decent clean place to buy groceries is snobby and elitist..
That my friend is something you should really take a moment to reflect about and ask yourself how little in life you think you deserve...
And Plainfield is GHETTO. GHETTO FOR BLACKS, GHETTO FOR WHITES, GHETTO FOR LATINOS, GHETTO FOR is quite simply -- GHETTO..why ...because ignorant people like you cling to half wits like Mayor Jerry and his cheshire cat Assistant Mayor Sharon and buy their BS line that this is the best this city can be. Without a goal or a dream to improve things or yourself it truly is a sad life. Take your sad life and move to Camden please..they need more people like you to live there.

Anonymous said...

To February 5, 2010 11:13 PM:

Would you please define what a "regular Plainfielder" is in your posting about "elitist racist classist snobs"?

Anonymous said...

I'm ready to gentrify Plainfield. Get all the garbage out. Get all the fake hoodlum teens out. I don't need to see some douchebag kid with their fake gang grafitti on the walls of the Netherwood train station every week.

Let's just work on gentrifying Plainfield and getting out all the trash.