Schmidt’s Market, a Southampton staple for decades, records final grocery sales

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In a corner of the counter at Schmidt’s Market in Southampton on Thursday sat a handful of strewn items – a potted plant, half a dozen pumpkin donuts and a bottle of Ketel One – all sitting untouched as customers headed to the beloved grocer’s register one last time.

These items weren’t for sale, but rather gifts from guests who remembered all the times the Schmidt family was there for them over four decades of business.

City Judge Barbara Wilson spoke of a 95-year-old friend who relies on Schmidt for her groceries, which owner Dennis Schmidt delivers to her weekly at no extra charge.

“She doesn’t know what she’s going to do next week,” Wilson said, wiping away tears.

For residents of Southampton and neighboring hamlets, Schmidt’s has been a lifeline for the 33 years it has occupied the building on North Sea Road, a quarter mile south of the busy 27A corridor. In 1980, Schmidt started the business as a produce market in Hampton Bays before moving into the space which will close for Good Friday. Over the years it has evolved to sell hot meals at a better price than the corner gourmet market and butcher’s items.

In January, the McLaren family – owners of the building for generations – informed Schmidt and his son, Dan, who helps run the business, that they intended to sell. The Schmidts, tenants since 1989, had the property appraised and made several offers before the end of negotiations. In the summer, a sales sign was placed in front. The asking price: $8.75 million.

“It was the best location,” Schmidt said on the eve of the closing, as customers swarmed the store to say goodbye and pick up marked-down grocery items.

Any remaining food items will be donated to the Shinnecock Indian Reservation and a food pantry in Sag Harbor.

The shutdown has been particularly difficult for Dan Schmidt, whose earliest memories include riding around a local orchard on a golf cart, picking fresh fruit. At the age of 9, he was at the cash register.

“Here we are after [33 years] and out the door,” said young Schmidt, 43, whose brothers, Dennis and Zach, also help out at the market, which employs about 30 locals during the peak summer season. ” It is very moving. It’s a dead man.

Dennis Schmidt, now 69 and ready to retire, said he hopes Dan can bring the market back to life in the near future in a new location. The family rebuilt the business after a kitchen fire in 2016.

On Thursday, Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren said he had sent a letter to the landlord asking for an extension to the lease following public outcry over the market closure. Marcia McLaren Collum, CEO of the company that owns the property, could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

“It’s a tight-knit community and everyone knows the amount of hard work [the Schmidt] family put in this place,” said customer Paul Fallo, of Hampton Bays. “The fact that they have it removed is unfortunate.”

Another customer, Dave Krantz, also from Hampton Bays, said the market’s closure was more than a loss for the family who ran it.

“They’re taking something very dear to our community,” Krantz said. “A real loss”

In a corner of the counter at Schmidt’s Market in Southampton on Thursday sat a handful of strewn items – a potted plant, half a dozen pumpkin donuts and a bottle of Ketel One – all sitting untouched as customers headed to the beloved grocer’s register one last time.

These items weren’t for sale, but rather gifts from guests who remembered all the times the Schmidt family was there for them over four decades of business.

City Judge Barbara Wilson spoke of a 95-year-old friend who relies on Schmidt for her groceries, which owner Dennis Schmidt delivers to her weekly at no extra charge.

“She doesn’t know what she’s going to do next week,” Wilson said, wiping away tears.

For residents of Southampton and neighboring hamlets, Schmidt’s has been a lifeline for the 33 years it has occupied the building on North Sea Road, a quarter mile south of the busy 27A corridor. In 1980, Schmidt started the business as a produce market in Hampton Bays before moving into the space which will close for Good Friday. Over the years it has evolved to sell hot meals at a better price than the corner gourmet market and butcher’s items.

In January, the McLaren family – owners of the building for generations – informed Schmidt and his son, Dan, who helps run the business, that they intended to sell. The Schmidts, tenants since 1989, had the property appraised and made several offers before the end of negotiations. In the summer, a sales sign was placed in front. The asking price: $8.75 million.

“It was the best location,” Schmidt said on the eve of the closing, as customers swarmed the store to say goodbye and pick up marked-down grocery items.

Any remaining food items will be donated to the Shinnecock Indian Reservation and a food pantry in Sag Harbor.

The shutdown has been particularly difficult for Dan Schmidt, whose earliest memories include riding around a local orchard on a golf cart, picking fresh fruit. At the age of 9, he was at the cash register.

“Here we are after [33 years] and out the door,” said young Schmidt, 43, whose brothers, Dennis and Zach, also help out at the market, which employs about 30 locals during the peak summer season. ” It is very moving. It’s a dead man.

Dennis Schmidt, now 69 and ready to retire, said he hopes Dan can bring the market back to life in the near future in a new location. The family rebuilt the business after a kitchen fire in 2016.

On Thursday, Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren said he had sent a letter to the landlord asking for an extension to the lease following public outcry over the market closure. Marcia McLaren Collum, CEO of the company that owns the property, could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

“It’s a tight-knit community and everyone knows the amount of hard work [the Schmidt] family put in this place,” said customer Paul Fallo, of Hampton Bays. “The fact that they have it removed is unfortunate.”

Another customer, Dave Krantz, also from Hampton Bays, said the market’s closure was more than a loss for the family who ran it.

“They’re taking something very dear to our community,” Krantz said. “A real loss”

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