May 20, 2010
Cincy Home Center begins offering groceries
Store stocks staples after the sudden closure of the Cincinnatus Marketplace last month
CINCINNATUS — Since the Cincinnatus Marketplace closed without warning in April, Gloria Hickson has been limited with options on where to buy food.
Hickson, a town of German native, has traveled 25 miles to Cortland to buy ingredients for her meals, a trip that is extremely inconvenient, she said.
Other than the local Sunoco gas station or driving to Cortland, she and other Cincinnatus-area residents have not had much of a choice on where to shop locally for food.
That changed on May 10 with the opening of a grocery section in Cincinnatus Home Center, which sells lawn, lumber and floral products.
“I want people to get their basic needs,” home center owner Bill Cobb said.
About six shelves in the home center are lined with various groceries: baby products, skin care products, cereal, nuts, juice, granola, bread, utensils, peanut butter, seasoning, rice, tortillas, chow mein noodles, condiments and paper products, such as paper towels and paper plates.
Cobb said that in April, after the Cincinnatus Marketplace closed, he was approached by community members, including government officials and residents, to sell groceries in his shop.
Cobb agreed, and contacted Olean Wholesale, a co-op that distributes ShurFine grocery products. Cobb had the proper certification and license to run the store, because he sold floral products, he said.
The advertising for the grocery store has been mostly word of mouth, and Cobb hopes the community likes it, he said.
“It’s very good,” Hickson said as she shopped for milk.
Hickson said the store was set up better than the Cincinnatus Marketplace and had a better selection.
Cobb, who owns and oversees the whole store, asked his daughter Kristin, who previously worked in Syracuse as a consumer data analyst, to supervise the grocery section.
The Cincinnatus Home Center has 13 employees, and is not hiring at the moment.
“I think it’s going to be a new experience that will take some getting used to,” Kristin Cobb said.
The market plans to put frozen food in the grocery store on Friday. The market will also offer a selection of meats. Cobb said a full service deli and bakery aren’t in the plans for the store but he would consider it, depending on the success of the current format.
Customers can give their opinions on what the market should carry.
The Cincinnatus Home Center is 1,200 square feet. Cobb said he will consider expanding the home center if more space is required for the grocery section.
“I think the community is supportive of it,” Cobb said of the grocery section.
He also said his brother Don Cobb, who has experience in grocery retail with Bimbo Foods, was integral to the success of the market. Don Cobb helped Bill Cobb determine where to place the food in the store and what to sell. The prices of the grocery items were predetermined by ShurFine.
The Cincinnatus Home Center does not sell tobacco or alcohol products.
The hours of the grocery section the Cincinnatus Home Center are from 7:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. Saturday; and from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Sunday. The grocery store closing hours are later than the home center’s closing hours.
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