Featured, Local News

Mac’s to reopen with new owner

By Katy Savage

After community members sounded off concerns about losing their only grocery store in Rochester, Mac’s Market has a new owner and is slated to reopen this month.

John Sikandar is taking over the store on May 19 and plans to open it under its new name — Village Grocery — on May 24. 

Sikander and his family, who own four Mobil convenience stores in New York state, bought Mac’s just as Rochester residents rallied to find a solution to losing their grocery store. More than 100 residents attended community discussions about the future of the building. 

Sikandar heard the store was for sale and watched a Zoom recording of the discussions to understand what Rochester residents needed. 

“It seemed like it was something that was important to the town,” Sikander said. “Hopefully we can make a store that works for everybody.” 

The owners of Mac’s Market, which has locations in Stowe, Essex Junction and Woodstock,  announced in March that it would close the Rochester location on May 19, leaving residents in Rochester to drive at least 25 miles to the nearest grocery store. 

“I think it’s exactly what the community needed,” said Monica Collins, one of the leaders of the community discussions. “It’s great that he’s not from a big franchise. I think that’s something the community appreciates.” 

Although the grocery store issue was seemingly quickly resolved, Collins wants to continue the momentum surrounding addressing food security in the community and create an offering that doesn’t compete with the new store. 

“I think there was a lot of energy that was wonderful to hear in the meeting,” she said. “Hopefully we can come up with some other food project.” 

Residents at the meetings suggested forming a community garden or a food pantry, expanding the farmer’s market or forming a coop. 

“There are all sorts of ideas that were thrown out,” she said. 

The Mac’s Market building was listed for sale for $550,000. Details of Sikander’s purchase price were not available as of May 15. 

To aid the transition, a group of volunteers came out of the meetings to set up a network where people can help each other get groceries. 

This will be Sikander’s first time owning a grocery store. He plans to retain all the current employees and he’ll place an emphasis on cleanliness, local products and good selection.

“We’re going to try to work at a selection and try to get a wide range of stuff, from organic stuff to inexpensive stuff to everything in the middle,” he said. 

One comment on “Mac’s to reopen with new owner

  1. This is what happens when the owners are MIA. Jennifer and John are entitled Trust funders permanently vacationing in Europe and Florida. Disgusting.

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