POTSDAM — Stewart’s Shops intends to open a new store at 124 Market St. — where Foxy Roxy’s, the diner, currently sits.
Despite reports to the contrary, owner Roxanne Smith emphasized that she has not yet accepted an offer of sale.
“We were assured by Stewart’s that the properties were at least under contract for sale,” Village Administrator Gregory O. Thompson said.
He said that Stewart’s plans to purchase three properties, including Foxy Roxy’s, North Country Oil Change at 120 Market St., and a residential property at 130 Market St. to construct its second gas station and convenience store in the village. The other shop is at 26 Maple St.
Mr. Thompson said the project could be delayed if the properties are not under contract for purchase, and Stewart’s may have to reapply for planning approval.
He said Stewart’s has already come before the village Planning Board with plans to put the new store at the Market Street location.
Village Code Enforcement Officer Lisa Newby said the Stewart’s plan is being reviewed by St. Lawrence County planners for approval. If approved at the county level, she said, the plan will return to the village Dec. 2 for a site plan review.
Ms. Newby said Stewart’s wants to purchase the three properties and demolish them to make room for the 3,900-square-foot store.
“Our Planning Board would have to have signed purchase agreements in order for this to proceed, and Stewart’s had produced a preliminary signed purchase agreement, so we were under the assumption it was already sold,” Ms. Newby said.
Erica Komoroske, director of public affairs for Stewart’s Shops, said the company has a purchase agreement good through 2022.
“We are in fact under contract with Foxy Roxy’s to purchase the property,” Ms. Komoroske said. “We will be proceeding to seek the approvals necessary to build, but she did sign the contract.”
Ms. Smith said an offer has been made, “but it has not yet been accepted.”
“We have not yet sold to them,” she said.
She said she agreed to give Stewart’s time to line up agreements they need from every organization to proceed with a potential purchase, but that nothing is settled yet.
“If at that time they want to buy it, we can handle it from there,” Ms. Smith said. “It’s ongoing. They have to go through so many things to get approval, and it’s not there yet.”
She added that selling to Stewart’s Shops is not ideal for her or her business.
“The ideal scenario would be for somebody to buy the restaurant so our staff can keep working,” she said.
Reports speculating that her staff would simply open a new breakfast nook or find jobs elsewhere were condemned by Ms. Smith, who said some of her employees were angry about that, and that nobody had interviewed her or her staff about it.
“The sale has not gone through yet, so don’t listen to every rumor you hear,” she said.