This weekend, Barnegat Township will lose its only supermarket, Genuardi's on West Bay Avenue, and a smaller Wawa convenience store, which is also located on West Bay Avenue.
"Can you believe it is closing," one resident was overheard saying to another in the parking lot of the Genuardi's store earlier this week.
Despite the fact that Genuardi employees were informed of the closure in October, many township residents are upset at seeing their town's only supermarket close.
At the recent Township Committee meeting, several residents expressed dismay at the closure, and wondered how the closure would affect other businesses located in the same area as Genuardi's.
"Having no food store in this town is a travesty," said Barnegat resident Larry Cataldo.
Joseph Provdo, who works at Marchiono's Pizza and Pasta, which is located a few stores away from Genuardi's, said Genuardi's has been scaling back operations since the closure was announced. He noted that even though the shelves are basically empty at Genuardi's this week, the pizza place still was doing a good business.
"We have the best pizza around, so I am not as worried," Provdo said. Regardless, he said, several business owners have expressed an interest in looking at their rental agreements to see if they would need to pay as much toward rent, since the anchor of the property will now be vacant.
At the recent Township Committee meeting, several committee members discussed the rental issue. Committeman Martin Lisella said "once an anchor store leaves, the rest of the tenants should have a reduction."
Safeway, Inc., the supermarket chain's parent company,
The Barnegat location, open since 1999, was among those stores which was up for sale; it was not part of the Giant deal.
In a statement released to the press earlier this year, Steve Neibergall, President of Safeway's Eastern Division, said the company was planning on focusing resources in those "operating areas where we have a stronger presence."
Wawa, meanwhile, opened a larger convenience store in Barnegat, and a manager at the smaller store that is closing told Patch that most of the employees would be relocated to either the larger location or the Pebble Beach location.