Marlboro Food Emporium build-out resumes: owner

By Dave Schatz

Marlboro - Earlier this summer, on July 19, NJ Retail News caught up with Joe Doleh, the man responsible for bringing a long awaited supermarket back to the site of the former A&P in the Marlboro Shopping Center, but has unfortunately faced recent construction delays

Asked at that time for an update, Doleh, who owns the Food Emporium, said he was: “Waiting on the roof to be completed and closed before we can start working inside,” adding all was good, though it would likely take as long as six more months to finally open.

On August 7, Doleh said the roof should be “finished in two weeks and we’ll be starting on the interior next Monday.”

NJRN fired back: Any idea when you’ll open and do you expect any other delays?

“I don’t have a date for completion yet; I need to check with the subcontractors. I should have a better idea when they start working,” responded Doleh. “Hoping not to expect any obstacles.”

NJRN caught up with Doleh again on August 25:

Q: Can you provide an update on the Food Emporium build-out?

A: The permit was issued (on August 24) and we started working today.

Q: Which permit?

A: For interior renovations.

Q: Are you concerned about competing with Whole Foods, given yesterday’s news (August 24) that the newly acquired company ( purchased it for $13.7 billion recently and will operate it as a subsidiary) will, in sort of an opening move on August 28, begin reducing prices on certain items, though certainly not all? (The two companies said they'd lower prices on 
“a selection of best-selling grocery staples" at all Whole Foods stores.) 

A: Not at all. We can still beat prices and give our customers the service that they can’t.

Q: You must have felt certain about the Food Emporium Banner. Did you consider calling the store a Key Foods Marketplace? Why the Food Emporium banner?

A: Food Emporium is a much more known name than Key Food in this area.

Q: So you felt very strongly it should be a Food Emporium?

A: The name is just a banner. It’s what the customer sees and feels inside the store that matters. I had a store in Queens that I had changed its banner from Met Food to Key Food and most customers didn’t even realize that.

Q: When do you expect to open in Marlboro?

A: I don’t have a date yet, (but) the General Contractor will give me one by next week hopefully.

As of 9:45 am, on August 25, it did not appear that crews were working inside the store. However, the parking lot is being resurfaced and that work has surely started. Several trucks were parked in the supermarket’s parking lot overnight, though no workers were seen outside repaving. 

 By noon time on August 25, NJRN had heard back from Doleh regarding the roof. 

“The roof (will be) done this week,” he said. “By today.” 

Earlier this year NJRN captured some video footage of the build-out and shopping center here (captions are below).

Video captions:

The first Food Emporium in Monmouth County, NJ is on the way…

This is what the transformation of the former A&P in Marlboro, NJ to a Food Emporium, looked like at the end of February, 2017.

It’ll be Monmouth County’s first Food Emporium. And just over a year ago, the Garden States first Food Emporium launched in Garwood, NJ, replacing a shuttered Pathmark.

But here in Marlboro, after filing for bankruptcy protection, the A&P closed in 2015 creating a vacant space in the Marlboro Shopping Center.

The strip center is fully occupied and home to about 15 businesses including a Dunkin’ Donuts, Carvel Ice Cream franchise, Mathnasium franchise, a Max Fitness Center, plus several stores and restaurants including a single-unit better Burger joint called Burger Bros.

The original A&P sign, still intact, is close to Route 520, near a Wells Fargo Branch in the Marlboro Shopping Center at County Route 520 and Route79.

The building has been completely gutted, and construction crews were busy working on the Food Emporium build-out daily (until the township issued a Stop Work Order, pictured above).

The Mayor originally said Key Foods Cooperative Inc., which now owns the Food Emporium banner, hoped to open by this summer. (That proved to be a tall order, of course.)

Construction official, Joeseph LaBruzza, of Marlboro Township, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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