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The 45,000-square-foot World Class Market Big Y Foods Inc. plans to open in Holyoke, Mass., isn’t just the latest example of the New England regional retailer’s expanding reach, but also the fulfillment of a dream. Holyoke is where it all began for the family-owned company.
First settled in 1745, the city of roughly 40,000 is “where our grandparents came to work in the local paper mills and bakeries,” explained Charles L. D’Amour, president and CEO of Springfield, Mass.-based Big Y. “Our founders, Paul and Gerry D’ Amour, were educated in Holyoke schools and were both living there when they began their dream of starting their own business across the river in Willimansett 75 years ago. We couldn’t be more excited to realize our own dream of having a store in Holyoke!”
The proposed store will be located at the former Atlas-Copco site on the northeast side of the intersection of Homestead Avenue and Lower Westfield Road. O’Connell Development Group of Holyoke is developing the site with Big Y. Representing an investment of about $12 million in the community, the project will provide construction opportunities for local contractors during the building process, which is expected to begin in 2012.
The Holyoke Big Y will employ between 150 and 175 people. As a Class Market, it will boast such amenities and features as prepared meals, including freshly made pizzas, rotisserie chicken dinners, and fresh cooked-to-order fish and chips; a wide variety of specialty foods, among them organic and gluten-free selections; a full-service butcher shop; fresh seafood; and an extensive produce department offering more than 500 items, including organics and locally sourced fruits and vegetables.
In November, Big Y opened four Connecticut World Class Markets in former A&P locations in West Hartford, Branford, Old Lyme, and Mystic. The company is currently building World Class Markets in Lee, Mass., and Meriden, Conn., with one in Franklin, Mass., slated to start construction later this year. Big Y has also revealed plans to develop a World Class Market in the Foxfield Plaza in Foxborough, Mass.
One of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England, Big Y operates 61 stores throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts, with more than 10,000 employees.