NORWOOD — Financial issues and a lack of needed patronage have been marked as the major contributions to the closing of a long-time village market.
Richard J. Gilchrist IV, one of the owners of Perry’s Market, told the Times Friday morning that they have to close the doors in order to “ethically be able to honor our creditors, vendors and people on payroll ...”
Mr. Gilchrist announced the store’s closing through the store’s Facebook page Wednesday.
Located at 58 Spring St., on the corner of Spruce Street in the village, Mr. Gilchrist took ownership of the store with his wife, Carina B., in August 2016 following the death of its previous owner, Susan G. Perry, who had owned the store with her husband Lawrence since 1978, operating it under the name Perry’s Big M.
The Gilchrists partnered with their friend Benjamin E. Hull and his wife, Liana R., last October.
Mr. Gilchrist described this time as “raw and difficult.”
“It is with great sadness that I had to close Perry’s Market. My heart hurts for the staff who will lose their jobs. Any employer in the north country would be crazy not to snatch them up immediately,” Mr. Gilchrist said. “They are loyal, diligent and full of good character. To ethically be able to honor our creditors, vendors, and people on payroll we had to close the store rather than waiting to see how it went for another few months.”
He said based on the statistics, over the last five years, things were not going to improve but rather continue to decline.
In a post on the store’s Facebook page the owners stated that they “just couldn’t keep it going at the way sales were. We were so hopeful we could. But at the end of the day ... It’s a very tough market. Even our wholesaler was putting the squeeze on us — adding expenses to everything and raising prices. It’s a tough time with places like Aldi and Dollar General every couple of miles.”
Mr. Gilchrist told the Times Friday that they had hoped a new renovation, new product lines and a new layout might impact that downward trend and that for the sake of the staff, it was worth trying.
“At the end of the day, my hope is that maybe someone might make a real go at it,” he said. “I am as passionate as ever for the local economy, and maybe someday I’ll get another chance to impact it for the better.”
While expressing gratitude and appreciation to the Norwood community for their support, he said the sales were not there and that Mrs. Perry’s daughter, Jen Perry, made a Facebook post that best explained their situation.
In the post, Ms. Perry wrote that, in short, her parents struggled most of the year trying to pay vendors and pulled through mostly because of the business the store received in the summer months, something that both she and Mr. Gilchrist agreed was not sustainable.
They also pointed to big box stores, like Dollar General, down the road from Perry’s, and Walmart, in Potsdam, that people choose over shopping local.
“Without the community support, a grocery store cannot survive,” Ms. Perry wrote. “My parents would be upset their legacy failed, but it was fairly long before the new owners took over. Their hearts are broken; they did what they could.”
Mr. Gilchrist and his partners were working on a possible second business venture, but he said that would have to be placed on hold until they can sort out the situation with Perry’s Market, having used all their remaining resources to remodel.
“We are considering a few courses of action. One thing that was very important to me is to make sure we are acting honorably to our staff who are on payroll, our vendors and also our bank,” Mr. Gilchrist said. “We hope for another chance to create jobs in Norwood. We are passionate about that.”