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Business News

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.

Above, Maria Palmar cuts the ribbon to her new venture. Photo from PJCC

The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting for Maria Palmar Properties at 202 East Main St. in the village on July 11. Chamber members, partners, colleagues and friends including chamber president Joy Pipe and Port Jefferson village trustee Bruce D’Abramo, joined in with the celebration.  

A licensed broker in New York for 19 years and in the state of Florida for 30, Maria Palmar represents residential, mixed-use office, retail, professional-use apartment rentals and land property management. In the past years she has successfully placed over 50 retailers in the Port Jefferson area and other local communities.  

For more information, call 631-774-2264 or visit www.palmarproperties.com.

Photo courtesy of Suffolk Federal

Suffolk Federal presented a total of $30,000 in college scholarships ($5,000 each) to six local high school seniors who will be attending Suffolk County Community College on June 6.

“Supporting our younger generation to become productive community members by providing financial assistance as they undertake their college experience is an important focus for Suffolk Federal,” said Ralph D. Spencer Jr., president & CEO of Suffolk Federal. 

“We are happy to know that the scholarships awarded will help to alleviate some of the student’s financial burden, so they can focus on their future educational and career goals.”

From the $30,000, four of the scholarship award recipients received $5,000 each as part of the Suffolk Federal Scholarship.  In addition, one student, Amber Leon, received an additional $5,000 scholarship provided by the LT Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation, which was matched by Suffolk Federal for a total of $10,000. 

Also, William Clifford received $5,000 as part of the Michael E. Reilly Foundation Memorial Scholarship for Excellence in Fire Science and Emergency Medical Technology, which is awarded to a student enrolled in a Fire Protection Technology program at Suffolk County Community College.

Recipients were judged based upon their academic achievements, extracurricular and community activities as well as the quality of written essays.

Scholarship recipients, pictured in the front row from left include Gabrielle Cerney of Manorville, Nicole Migliano of Selden, Amber Leon of Ridge, William Clifford of Ronkonkoma, Jaime Cusmano of Centereach and Samantha Varone of Centereach. 

This year’s scholarships are being provided as a result of a new partnership between Suffolk Federal and the Suffolk County Community College Foundation.

Above, the Centereach store off Middle Country Road. Photo by Heidi Sutton

The retail industry has suffered another blow as Dressbarn’s parent company, Ascena Retail Group Inc., announced it was shutting down and closing all 650 stores, including 17 on Long Island, by the end of the year. The announcement was made on May 20. The women’s clothing chain employs about 6,800 people.

“This decision was difficult, but necessary, as the Dressbarn chain has not been operating at an acceptable level of profitability in today’s retail environment,” said Chief Financial Officer of Dressbarn Steven Taylor in a statement.

“During the wind down process, we will continue to provide our customers with the same great experience both in-store and online, offering them even better deals and value. We will work to assist our associates through the transition and maintain existing relationships with our vendors, suppliers and other key stakeholders through this process,” he said.

Ascena has said it wants to focus on its other brands, such as Ann Taylor, Loft and Lane Bryant.

Suffolk County has nine Dressbarn stores including Centereach, Port Jefferson Station, Hauppauge, East Northport, Huntington Station and Riverhead.

According to the chain’s website, the company was founded in 1962 by Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe, who recognized the need of women who were entering the workforce for a convenient one-stop shop where they could find fashion at a value. The single store in Stamford, Connecticut grew to a nationwide chain.