Supermarket chain proposes first store in Syracuse area; can it compete with Wegmans?

October 4, 2019

By Elizabeth Doran | edoran@syracuse.com | Syracuse.com

FAYETTEVILLE, N.Y. – No, it’s not a Whole Foods moving into Fayetteville as some Central New Yorkers were wishing, but the proposed grocery store is a brand-name supermarket well-known by many in New England and eastern New York.

Hannaford grocery store is being proposed in a development on the former O’Brien & Gere manufacturing building at 547 E. Genesee St. in Fayetteville, according to a source.

The proposal submitted to the village calls for a 53,000-square-foot grocery store, along with a memory care facility and a smaller retail/medical building. The proposal did not identify the grocery store.

Developer Devin Dal Pos would not reveal the supermarket’s identity, but Syracuse.com | The Post-Standard has learned from a source that it is Hannaford.

The Scarborough, Maine-based supermarket chain operates more than 190 stores in New England and eastern New York.

Hannaford’s stores in New York state are largely east of the Syracuse-area: New Hartford, Clinton, Utica, Herkimer and in the Albany area. The chain also has a store in the Watertown area.

Hannaford officials did not respond to messages seeking comment on the proposal to move into the Syracuse area.

The chain is looking to move further into New York – and has likely been waiting for an opportunity to move into a market dominated by Wegmans, said Burt Flickinger III, managing director of Strategic Resource Group, a consumer industry business consulting firm. So a foray into the Syracuse market makes sense, he said.

“Hannaford has had tremendous success in the Albany area and the Capital region against Price Chopper,” Flickinger said. Price Chopper is a Schenectady-based grocery chain with 130 stores.

Hannaford has a large distribution center near Albany, which gives it tremendous capacity to get product to the Syracuse area, Flickinger said.

Fayetteville would be a gateway store, Flickinger said. He said he expects the chain to look to open in other areas such as Baldwinsville and Skaneateles and then move south near Cortland and Ithaca.

Hannaford tends to locate its stores in areas where there are a lot of families, children and pets, and also in financially stable suburbs, Flickinger said.

How would Hannaford fare against Wegmans, a Rochester-based chain that has a cult-like following among many shoppers?

Flickinger said he believes the chain can effectively compete against Wegmans – even though the closest Wegmans would be only three miles away in DeWitt.

Hannaford’s store would be smaller – 53,000-square-feet compared to the 152,000-square-foot Wegmans in DeWitt.

Hannaford emphasizes regional and national brands more than Wegmans, and also is known for its fresh foods, Flickinger said.

Moving into the Syracuse market will likely affect Tops and Price Chopper more than Wegmans, the consultant said. Within less than 10 miles, Tops has stores in Fayetteville, Manlius, DeWitt and Chittenango. Price Chopper’s closest store is in Syracuse.

Originally founded in Portland, Maine in 1883, Hannaford is now part of the Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize group. The group also owns Stop & Shop, Food Lion and Giant.