Charleroi officials hope supermarket loss is temporary

February 13, 2014
The closing of the Charleroi Save-A-Lot, pictured above, will leave the borough without a grocery store. - Photo by Christine Kossol

Charleroi will lose its only grocery store next month, but local officials said Thursday they’re confident another will move in to fill the void.

Vince Vaccaro, owner of the Save-A-Lot at 110 McKean Ave., announced his retirement earlier this week, after having operated a supermarket at the site since the mid-1980s.

Charleroi Mayor John Mollenauer remained optimistic another operator would come in to the space with a food store.

“I hate to see them go, they’re a wonderful family,” Mollenauer said Thursday of the Vaccaro family.

While acknowledging that losing the town’s only supermarket “is a critical thing for local people,” Mollenauer said the vacant store “should be another opportunity for someone” adding that his administration and the Mon Valley Chamber of Commerce would do whatever was necessary to assist a new owner or operator who might be interested in bringing a store to the town.

“There’s a void, there’s no question,” he said.

The Save-A-Lot was left as the sole supermarket venue after Sparkle Market left its 29,000-square-foot space at 100 Chamber Plaza a couple of years ago.

The other closest stores to Charleroi include a Giant Eagle in Belle Vernon, Duritza’s in North Belle Vernon; a Foodland in Monessen; and a Giant Eagle between Charleroi and Monongahela.

Debbie Keefer, executive director of the Mon Valley Chamber of Commerce, echoed Mollenauer’s optimism that the Save-A-Lot space won’t stay vacant for long.

“We look at it as another opportunity” to bring a grocery store to the borough, Keefer said.

“We have a lot of resources; we’ll make sure we have an environment that supports it.”

Michael Bradwell has been business editor for the Observer-Reporter since 1995, and was named editor of The Energy Report in 2012. He joined the newspaper in 1990 as a general assignment reporter in the Greene County bureau and has also worked as a copy editor. A 1974 graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a degree in English, he began his career at the Bedford (Pa.) Gazette. Prior to joining the O-R, he served as public relations director for Old Bedford Village, account executive at two Pittsburgh public relations agencies and copywriter for the country’s largest wholesaler of mutual funds.

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