Area residents are anxious to know what, if any, progress is being made in leasing the vacancies at the Ralph’s Corner Shopping Center.
Adjusting to new shopping locales and longer drives to pick up groceries, even for a quick stop to buy a gallon of milk, have worn thin on shoppers.
Ralph’s Corner Shopping Center began when Ralph’s Supermarket moved from its old location on Main Street, which is presently occupied by the Main Street Diner.
Ralph’s was an independent market with a local, loyal hometown following. The market was bought out by the Clemens Market chain, and later became a Super Fresh.
At the present time, the center is anchored by , and . Closures include Super Fresh, Marilou Hallmark Store, and the dollar store. The Univest Bank has moved across the street, and CVS has moved into its own standalone store, leaving those buildings and spaces unoccupied, as well.
Some local residents feel that the center is dying and needs some fresh ideas and stores that can bring back its vitality.
manager Rhonda Foy noted that she understood that management was trying to fill the vacancies.
“I would like to see a big name like Staples. Any established business that does well would be good for the center,” she said. “But, business has been fine.”
Martha from was behind the desk preparing for a busy day.
“This is the busiest time of the year because of the prom season,” she said. “The store hasn’t been affected by the empty stores.”
She hoped that a retail establishment would move in that would generate more business for the center.
Glen Marvin, the leasing agent from Metro Commercial, remarked that he is actively marketing the location.
“I have had some interest in the vacancies, and am considering breaking up the supermarket for smaller spaces. It would be unlikely that a supermarket would move in. It would be tough with the new ShopRite coming in, but that would be the owner’s first choice,” he said.
Marvin had nothing to report concerning the smaller store vacancies, and said that money may have to be spent on the center to get it more marketable. He was not able to divulge what may be going in or who may be interested.
In the meantime, the businesses that remain appear to be doing fine, even with the vacancies, but the future and the long-term health of the center could hinge on whether the vacancies are filled in a reasonable amount of time.