Some of what was old is new in Old Greenwich.
And that couldn't have been more evident Friday morning at the Kings Food Market—the new kid on the block of Arcadia Road where Porricelli's Food Mart held court for 63 years.
In just 10 days, crews cleaned, painted, installed new equipment and displays, reorganized and restocked the 16,000 square foot supermarket, according to Kings CEO Judy Spires. Kings assumed ownership of the business from the Porricelli family—which retained ownership of the real estate—on Sept. 17 and on Sept. 28 held a formal grand opening that drew hundreds of residents and local officials.
"We call it our 10-day miracle," said store manager Scott Kurtz. "We probably could've used three weeks but we pretty much worked around the clock." Spires said, "It's pretty much unheard of in the industry." The store layout pretty much remains the same but offers a greater variety of foodstuffs, household items and prepared foods including soup, salad, olive and hot food bars.
Those efforts were embraced by residents of the Old Greenwich neighborhood, many of whom were concerned whether the familiar faces of the store staff would be welcoming them back.
"I think it's great. Obviously, Porricelli's was very beloved in the neighborhood. I love that Kings has kept the layout yet brought in new, fresh products," said Kim Scopelliti, an Old Greenwich resident who patronized Porricelli's for the 17 years she's lived in the neighborhood. "It's also great to see a lot of Porricelli's employees are here," said Scopelliti as she sampled a seasonal hors d'oeuvre of organic goat cheese with pumpkin atop cinnamon graham crackers.
Squires said the Old Greenwich store "is in an unbelievable neighborhood" that afforded the Parsippinany, NJ-based grocery chain the opportunity "to expand our brand into the Constitution state. We are interested in being the intimate, high-end shopping experience." Squires said her firm is looking to expand further into Connecticut and is looking at other Fairfield County sites which she declined to identify. The Old Greenwich store is the 25th for the chain.
"When we looked at this store we were very, very interested in keeping the staff. A majority stayed. We were very, very impressed with the team we saw and how they interacted with the customers," Squires said.
"This is an awesome opportunity. This is what folks in the community needed and they've made commitments to the community," said David Rafferty, president of the Old Greenwich Association.
Interaction with the community is another hallmark of Kings and to that end the store has partnered with the Greenwich food bank Neighbor to Neighbor. A portion of the opening day sales were donated to the agency and for the next two weeks, food donation bins will be in the store to help replenish Neighbor to Neighbor's pantry for needy residents.
The grand opening culminated with the Board of Selectmen of First Selectman Peter Tesei and Selectmen Drew Marzullo and Dave Theis helping to cut the ceremonial ribbon ... a six-foot long ribbon of fresh pasta that was clipped with oversized scissors held by Kurtz.