Express News Staff
INDIAN LAKE - There is no doubt that Indian Lakers would love to see a supermarket come to town, a real supermarket with fresh meats and vegetables.
This interest led Dan Kelleher, the Adirondack Park Agency's special assistant for economic affairs, to do a study for the Indian Lake Planning Committee on the possibilities of attracting a supermarket. When the committee met Wednesday, March 13, Kelleher summarized the study's results.
Kelleher determined that a Big M or an IGA would be the most likely grocery chains to locate in the former Indian Lake Market. He said that conclusion is based upon these grocers having stores in communities similar to Indian Lake in terms of population and number of seasonal homes.
Kelleher said eight grocers are currently operating in the Adirondack Park: Price Chopper, Hannaford and ALDI, each with one store; Save A Lot and Big M with two stores each; Mac's Market and IGA with three stores each; and Grand Union with 10 stores.
Kelleher believes, based upon population data and trends, both year-round and seasonal, that Big M Supermarkets is the best bet for opening a store in Indian Lake. The company currently operates two franchises in the park, in Eagle Bay and Speculator.
The second most probable grocer to locate in Indian Lake is IGA. The company currently operates three stores in the park, in Star Lake, Old Forge and Tupper Lake.
"IGA and Big M represent the most viable candidates to establish a grocery store in Indian Lake," Kelleher said. "Their success in operating in similar locations, as well as the potential transportation and managerial synergies with existing locations, provide the beginning arguing points for such a venture.
"There are still hurdles for Indian Lake to overcome, specifically the community's comparatively small population and its population trend downward.
"But the analysis of this paper, coupled with the need of the community, indicates it would be a worthwhile undertaking to discuss with Big M and IGA about opening an Indian Lake location."
Nancy Strader wondered if the buying habits established since Indian Lake Market closed its doors in January 2010 would be to hard to break, making it difficult to support a new supermarket.
Tracy Eldridge said, "We should focus on supporting and promoting what we have and maybe help [Adirondack One Stop] with their expansion]."
Hamilton County Economic Development Director Ann Melious suggested the county Industrial Development Agency would be willing to consider low-interest loans and tax breaks to help One Stop expand.
"We should do everything we can to help One Stop grow," Hamilton County Workforce Investment Board Chairman Bill Murphy said.
Planning Committee Chairwoman Sally Stanton suggested the committee invite Adirondack One Stop owners Bob and Sandy Scanlon to its April meeting to see if there is anything that can be done to help them with their plans to expand the size of the store by about 900 square feet so they can offer more dairy and produce.
When town Supervisor Brian Wells arrived he told the committee someone has expressed some interest in opening a supermarket here. "He has made contact with the owner of the building, but I have nothing beyond that to report," Wells said.
Only time will tell if this nibble will result in a bite.
Indian Lake Market closed its doors in January 2010. It opened for business in October 2005, after the former Tops Markets closed its doors in August 2005. Tops purchased the store from long-time operator Grand Union in 2001.
The building is owned by Pumerlaeu Real Estate, Burlington, Vt.