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Save-A-Lot store planned for Canton; flea market looks for new building

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CANTON - The new year is expected to bring a second grocery store to the village of Canton.

Jeffrey L. Proulx said Monday he is finalizing a lease deal to open a new 16,000 square-foot Save-A-Lot store in the University Plaza, Route 11.

“As soon as I get my financing in place, the deal should be done,” Mr. Proulx said. “I’m cautiously optimistic.”

He is hoping the store will open in May with roughly 20 employees, including a store manager and four department managers.

Mr. Proulx operates Save-A-Lot stores in Potsdam, Gouverneur, Ogdensburg, Tupper Lake, Bath and Hornell. His corporate office is on Park Street.

The new Canton Save-A-Lot would be housed in space now occupied by the Canton Classy Collectibles & More, a flea market that’s scheduled to close Dec. 31.

The new Save-A-Lot store would be opposite Price Chopper, which has operated without competition in Canton since opening in 2010.

The community has been without a second grocery store since Jubilee in the Mid-Town Plaza closed in 2000. Mr. Proulx operated that store before closing it and starting a chain of north country Save-A-Lot stores.

Mr. Proulx, a Canton native, said he’s been approached numerous times by people encouraging him to open a grocery store in Canton.

“I’ve been approached by people ever since the Jubilee closed. There has always been that feedback,” he said.

The Potsdam store has been paid off and the timing seems right to open a store in Canton, Mr. Proulx said.

Although the new store won’t be downtown, he said the University Plaza offers a large parking lot and is easily accessible to motorists coming from various directions.

Canton Economic Development Director Linda M. McQuinn said the news is a positive step for Canton’s economy because it may bring new shoppers to the community and keep some local residents from shopping elsewhere.

“This is good news for Canton,” Mrs. McQuinn said. “I think bringing Save-A-Lot to Canton is exciting news.”

The University Plaza’s new owner, David C. Muraco, Dewitt, said he plans to start interior renovation work the first week of January. He already has a signed lease agreement with Dollar Tree, a discount retailer, that plans to open an 8,600 square-foot store.

Mr. Muraco said the Freihofer discount bread store was expected to move to the University Plaza, but instead renewed its lease with owner Garry L. Cohen to remain at Mid-Town Plaza.

Meanwhile, the operators of Canton Classy Collectibles, are continuing their search for a new building to house their flea market.

Susette M. Kelly, a flea market operator, said she and her husband, Dennis W. are waiting to get an estimate on how much it would cost to renovate the vacant Jubilee grocery store in the Midtown Plaza. Owned by Mr. Cohen, the store has been empty for more than a decade and needs electrical work and other upgrades.

“It’s all up in the air. We’re waiting on estimates,” Mrs. Kelly said.

The flea market will be open to customers through Saturday. Vendors are supposed to be out of the building by Dec. 31. Many of the vendors are running clearance sales.

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