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Business News

From left, Leg. Tom Muratore; partners Nick Haviaras, Peter Dilis, Corey Catechis, Gus Catechis and George Dilis of MVC Properties; and Councilman Kevin LaValle. Photo by Heidi Sutton

By Heidi Sutton

Local officials, members of the Centereach Civic Association, Middle Country Chamber of Commerce, family and friends were on hand to celebrate the grand opening ribbon cutting of MVC Properties’ latest venture − New Village Plaza in Centereach − on Nov. 2.

Above, Gus Catechis, center, accepts Certificates of Congratulations from Councilman LaValle on behalf of the Town of Brookhaven and Legislature Muratore on behalf of Suffolk County. Photo by Heidi Sutton

Located at 1707-1759 Middle Country Road across from McDonald’s, the shopping center will have over 75,000 square feet of space when the project is completed over two phases. Tenants include an Arby’s, Wingstop, an AT&T store, Swolehouse, Brownstones Coffee and Pacfe Nail & Spa. Cabo Fresh, Voodoo Crab and ProHealth are soon to follow. 

Gus Catechis of MVC Properties thanked the community, Councilman Kevin LaValle, Legislator Tom Muratore and Diane Caudullo of the Centereach Civic Association before cutting the ribbon. “I just want you to know how grateful I am for all the support you gave me from the very beginning and to everyone who made this a reality,” he said.

“This special project has been a long time coming. We took something that was a blight in our area and Gus put the time in, put the money in, really giving back to the community to build this great shopping center that we have here with great brand names. It’s really going to be something we are proud of here in Centereach,” said Councilman LaValle, adding “This grand opening shows once again that Brookhaven is open for business.”

“I am always happy to support new businesses in our community, and an entire shopping center is a home run for the local economy,” said Leg. Muratore. “Congratulations to the owners, MVC Properties. We are happy to welcome them to our business community.”

Wild Flours Bake Shop, 11 New St. in Huntington, recently announced they are closing on Nov. 9. The shop is known for its gluten-free products, many of them made without dairy products or refined sugars. Owners Carolyn Arcario and Mary Mucci made the announcement on Oct. 5. “After 10 years, Wild Flours will be baking our last cakes. Our lease is winding down and we will not be renewing. We have truly enjoyed baking for you and your families,” reads a post on the bakery’s Facebook page. 

Photo from MapQuest

Furn-A-Kit, a staple in Holbrook for almost 30 years, closed its doors earlier this week. The store, which described itself as “the Nation’s Largest Ready to Assemble Furniture Supercenter” opened at 719 Broadway Ave. in 1991. The announcement was made on the store’s website and social media pages. 

“After serving the Long Island community for more than 28 years, Furn-A-Kit will be closing its doors for good. We’re moving on to new endeavors and thank the tens of thousands of customers who have trusted us enough to make us part of their home.”

Photo from Melt Shop

Melt Shop, known as the “pioneer of the Melted Sandwich Movement,” recently opened in the food court at Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove. A soft opening was held on Sept. 7.

Founded in New York City in 2011, the restaurant’s menu includes grilled cheeses, chicken melts, burger melts, chicken tenders, salads, shakes and drinks. This is the brand’s 10th store in New York and 17th nationwide.

“Our brand has created a loyal following within our home state, and we’re excited to keep the momentum going,” Spencer Rubin, founder and CEO of Melt Shop, stated in a press release. “Our melted sandwiches have become a staple in the communities we serve and we can’t wait to expand Melt Shop’s unique culinary experience to Lake Grove.” For more information, call 631-236-9120.

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Just five years after it opened, the Lake Ronkonkoma Goodwill store is no more. An employee confirmed by phone that the thrift store closed on Sept. 7. The 15,197 square-foot space, located in the Lake Shore Shopping Plaza at 585 Portion Road, will be occupied by a Planet Fitness in late 2019 or early 2020.

“The closing of the Lake Ronkonkoma store is a difficult but necessary decision from a business perspective, to ensure the long-term viability of our organization,” said Goodwill spokesperson Jose Medellin in a recent press release. “The decision to close this store is part of Vision 2020, our 3-year strategic plan, which we implemented to restructure our retail portfolio. After 24 months, this store continues to experience a significant operating deficit.”

Employees will be placed in other employment opportunities within the company, according to Medellin. “Our retail and human resources teams have been working with each employee from the store to relocate those who wish to continue working at a different Goodwill store,” Medellin said.

“Goodwill NYNJ is a nonprofit organization with multiple career opportunities. In addition to our retail division, we provide workforce development services, programs for individuals with developmental disabilities and behavioral health services. This has allowed many of our employees to explore jobs in a different area at our social enterprise,” he added.

Goodwill opened the Lake Ronkonkoma location in 2014 inside the space vacated by Sears Hardware. The only remaining Goodwill in Suffolk County is in East Northport.

Photo by Heidi Sutton

RIBBON CUTTING

The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting for The East End Shirt Company, 3 Mill Creek Road, Port Jefferson in celebration of its 40th anniversary on Aug. 16. Family, friends, staff, customers and chamber members were present for the momentous occasion.

GPJCC First VP Stuart Vincent presented owner Mary Joy Pipe with a plaque in honor of “East End Shirt Company’s outstanding contributions and commitment to the Incorporated Village of Port Jefferson and the business community.”

On behalf of the Village of Port Jefferson and Mayor Margot Garant, Trustee Kathianne Snaden presented Pipe with a proclamation that described her as a loyal, dedicated, hardworking merchant partner who has been a member of the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce for many years as well as an active participant of the Port Jefferson Retailers Association and is always serving the greater good of the community.

“We are very proud to have you as part of our village and here’s to 40 more,” said Snaden. The celebration continued on Aug. 17 with a block party along Mill Creek Road featuring games, music, face painting and a car show by the Long Island Volkswagen Club.

For more information, call 631-473-2093 or visit www.eastendco.com.

Philly Pretzel Factory officially opened in Smithtown on Aug. 7. The 1,500-square-foot store located at 314 Maple Ave., Smithtown in the Maple Commons Shopping Center, is owned and operated by Kenneth Anderson and Roy Arguelles, who plan to open another Philly Pretzel Factory location in East Northport early next year. This is the fifth Long Island location and the first location in Suffolk County for the franchise. For more information, call 631-800-8200.

King Kullen at 153 Ronkonkoma Ave., Lake Ronkonkoma is slated to close — months after Stop & Shop purchased the Long Island-based supermarket chain. When reached by phone, an employee confirmed that Thursday, Aug. 22, was the store’s last day. The announcement comes  exactly two months after the Mount Sinai location shuttered its doors.

“These stores were underperforming and the decision was made to close rather than renew leases that were coming due,” spokesperson Lloyd Singer said. All current employees are expected to be reassigned so no layoffs are anticipated.

Stop & Shop acquired 32 King Kullen locations across Long Island and five Wild by Nature stores in January. Remaining Suffolk County locations include Bay Shore, Blue Point, Center Moriches, Cutchogue, Eastport, Huntington, Hampton Bays, Huntington Station, Lindenhurst, Manorville, Middle Island, North Patchogue, St. James and Wading River.

Selden Pharmacy, 1224B Middle Country Road, Selden closed its doors on July 30 after 40 years in business. In a letter sent out to his customers, owner George Akruwala said, “As much as I would love to continue this business, I have made the very difficult decision to retire, and spend more time with my children and grandchildren. It has been our great pleasure to serve this wonderful community. We wish you continued health and happiness.” All prescriptions have been transferred to Rite Aid, 229 Independence Plaza, Selden.

Jill Santiago

Suffolk County Community College announced Aug. 6 that alumna Jill L. Santiago of Middle Island has been named executive director of the Center for Social Justice and Human Understanding: Featuring the Holocaust Collection.

A graduate of Suffolk County Community College, with a bachelor’s in sociology from Stony Brook University and a master’s in history from Queens College, Santiago launched her career at the Center for Social Justice and Human Understanding as a student volunteer more than a decade ago. During that time she has been involved in the development of educational programming and expansion of community outreach to significantly grow programs on and off Suffolk’s three campuses. Santiago also teaches courses at Suffolk about the Holocaust and Western civilization.

The center, whose mission is to educate the community about historical events and to promote cultural understanding and respect for human dignity, now reaches more than 8,000 participants each academic year.

The center is located at Suffolk County Community College’s Ammerman Campus in Selden, in the Huntington Library, 533 College Road, Selden. Hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. when classes are in session. For more information, call 631-451-4117.