Dash’s Market will keep its Hertel Avenue location open even as it opens a giant new location in the former Budwey’s store less than a mile and a half away on Kenmore Avenue.
“Our plan right now is to keep the Hertel location open so we can determine whether there is enough demand to support both facilities,” said Mark Mahoney, director of operations at Dash’s Markets. “We were probably 90 percent sure we were going to close it. Now, that’s not the case at all.”
Dash’s released an open letter to residents on Facebook on Thursday, addressing concerns about the Hertel Avenue store’s closure that have swirled on blogs and social media.
Owner Joe Dash assured customers he will keep the Hertel store open “while we assess the viability of operating two stores in the same marketing area.”
Dash has said customers have requested upgrades to the Hertel Avenue store on par with his other stores in Clarence and East Amherst, but the store’s small footprint stymied those efforts over the years. So when Frank Budwey announced he would sell his area grocery stores, Dash negotiated to buy the Budwey’s store on Kenmore Avenue in North Buffalo. Dash plans to convert that location over the next several months into an Anglo-Italian market with extensive renovations.
Several residents have implied on the Internet that Dash is preventing the Lexington Co-op from buying or leasing the Hertel Avenue space, but Tim Bartlett, the co-op’s general manager, has said he has never pursued that location.
The Hertel-North Buffalo Business Association has posted on its website and on several social media pages that Dash’s has refused to lease or sell the Hertel location to a competing grocer if it does close. That led some residents to schedule a protest at the Kenmore Avenue location Monday, and left others talking about boycotting the Kenmore Avenue store.
Residents said that even though the new store is not very far away and is still located in North Buffalo, it’s not as accessible to elderly or disabled customers in the current neighborhood.
“I like its proximity,” said Lukia Costello of Greenfield Street, “and I like seeing business in the neighborhood. There are a lot of people here in the Parkside area.”
“I walk to it all the time,” said Maria Russin, who also lives on Greenfield Street. “I’m disappointed because we can’t walk to Budwey’s. When I heard they’re not going to allow another grocery store to move into that space, I don’t understand that at all. It’s very anti-community. If that happens, I’m not going to any Dash’s anymore.”
Andrew Friend, who organized the protest, said, “We just want Joe Dash to realize how important it is to have a market at 1770 Hertel Ave.”
Dash said that not selling to a competitor is a common business practice, but that he would cross that bridge if he comes to it. “It’s a moot point because we’re staying open,” Dash said.