The city of Little Falls will be without a grocery store for eight months, starting shortly before Christmas, but Mayor Robert Peters said the city will make sure its senior citizens can shop for groceries.
Big M, located in Shoppers Square on East Main Street in Little Falls, will close its doors Dec. 22. Price Chopper will be coming in as part of a multi-million dollar renovation project at Shoppers Square, but that project is expected to take until the end of next summer.
In the meantime, the city and the Little Falls City School District will be working together to make sure local senior citizens can do their grocery shopping.
“It’s all set up,” said Peters. “I had a meeting with (Little Falls School Superintendent) Lou Patrei today. I met with him and William Dodge, a board member.”
The plan calls for a school bus to pick up senior citizens 55 and older Tuesdays and Thursdays and take them to Hannaford in Herkimer. Pickup time will be 9:45 a.m. at Valley View Courts. From there, the bus will go to Rockton Plaza to pick up seniors there and then on to Hannaford.
“We had other stores interested in helping out,” Peters said, “but the school bus goes to BOCES in Herkimer and that’s the store that’s closest to BOCES.” If the school has a snow day on a Tuesday or Thursday, the bus will not run that day.
He said this arrangement will continue until the new 30,000 square foot Price Chopper opens.
Peters said the city firefighters union is making a donation to pay for this transportation.
He said volunteers may be needed to help senior citizens who don’t live at the pickup sites to get home with their groceries. At this point, he doesn’t know how many people will take advantage of the transportation being offered, but said volunteers could check with the city on a day-by-day basis to see if their assistance is needed.
The Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency board agreed to provide tax incentives to TRB Associates, the owners of Shoppers Square, to help them to go forward with their renovation project.
Work on the project is expected to begin as early as mid-January. Peters said there are about six businesses in Shoppers Square and most are expected to relocate under CVS on the Albany Street side during the construction. Alkie’s Vacuum Service Center is planning to relocate to Herkimer in mid-December.
Peters said the employees of Big M — some 24 people — can seek positions in the new Price Chopper when it opens.