The following, a Yated Ne’eman exclusive report, is republished here with permission:
ShopRite of Lakewood, one of the most successful ShopRite branches in the country, may be forced to move if a significant rent increase by the owners of the ShopRite Plaza shopping center is insisted upon, the Yated has learned.
One source told the Yated this week that the owners of the shopping plaza have requested a 35% increase in rent, an exorbitant sum that the owners of the ShopRite store will likely not be willing to pay.
“ShopRite has served as the anchor of that shopping plaza,” a local storeowner told the Yated. “Before ShopRite moved there, numerous stores opened and closed in quick succession. The importance of the ShopRite store to the plaza cannot be underestimated and the owners of the shopping plaza, notwithstanding their desire for more rent, should realize that.”
The ShopRite shopping plaza is home to a number of popular establishments, including J-II Pizza, Judaica Plaza, Steak-Out, The Children’s Place, Snow White Cleaners and others.
When asked by the Yated for his thoughts regarding this story, PG Waxman of Waxman Realty said that although he is not involved with the plaza, it is his understanding that ShopRite has been looking at various sites in Howell Township, but at this point plans to stay in Lakewood. “It would be a tremendous loss for the community if they were to move, in particular since, as mentioned, they are the anchor for the plaza.”
Before ShopRite moved to the plaza, located at the corner of Route 9 South and West Kennedy Blvd., the shopping center had been home to stores such as Kings, Shelby’s, Pantry Pride and Foodtown, but none of them lasted there very long.
“There were numerous vacancies until ShopRite came,” a local real estate agent said.
In September 1992, ShopRite, which was then located in the current Shloimy’s Kosher World location, next to what was then Jamesway, moved to the plaza, changing the face of the shopping center and bringing it vitality. The ShopRite store took over the lease of A&P, which lasted little more than three months there.
In a conversation with the Yated, Rabbi Moshe Chomsky, who heads the popular Kosher Experience section in Lakewood’s ShopRite, related that, in 1984, the Lakewood store was the first of any national chain to open a kosher department.
Over the years, Rabbi Chomsky and The Kosher Experience provided food to numerous yeshivos at very reasonable prices and the ShopRite Dollars certificates sold years ago were instrumental in raising much needed funds for the establishment of the Lakewood mikvah.
Times have changed, but the popularity of the store has continually increased.
“Of the 240 some odd ShopRite stores in the United States,” Rabbi Chomsky told the Yated, “the Lakewood ShopRite sells more Coca Cola that any one of them. There are a number of other items, including diapers and cereal,” shared Rabbi Chomsky, “that sell in greater quantity in Lakewood than at any other branch in the country, due to the growth of the frum community.”
It is hoped that the situation will be settled in a manner that will be beneficial for the greater community.