The lone grocery market in Dundee will close soon

By Gwen Chamberlain

The Chronicle-Express

DUNDEE — Doing a poor job of hiding his emotion and disappointment last week, Doug Martini, owner of Martini’s Market in Dundee, confirmed his plans to close the store he and his wife, Jackie have owned since 2009.

Martini says the store will be closing as soon as products are gone, and the building will be sold. “I guess I’ll just retire,” he adds.

When they bought the business 10 years ago, Doug said owning his own store had been his dream.

With the store’s closure, Dundee residents will have to travel out of the village for fresh produce and meats, and that has some concerned.

“I’m sickened by it,” said Caryl Sutterby, a village resident. “The community is not going to be aware of the impact until it’s gone,” she added.

The Martinis have been trying to meet the grocery needs of the Dundee community since buying the store from long-time owners Alan and LewAnn Giles in 2009.

But Doug says the store has not been able to compete with the competition from Walmart, Aldi, Wegmans, and Tops, especially since many Dundee residents work out of town and find shopping elsewhere convenient.

Sutterby, director of Our Town Rocks, the community organization established to preserve and improve the physical, social, and economic health of the Dundee, Barrington, and Starkey communities, says she is concerned that village residents who do not have transportation will not have fresh food options, but she also says she’s never seen a great deal of community support for the small store.

In 2013, the Martinis closed the store for six weeks while major renovations were completed and it re-opened as a Save-A-Lot, which offered discount groceries, but limited customer service and name-brand products. When that type of shopping experience did not win community support, the store reverted to an independent ShurFine in 2018.

The Martinis are just the second family to own the grocery business which was established in 1947, when Douglas Giles borrowed $5,000 from his mother-in-law for a down payment on a grocery store on Main Street.

In 1958 the existing store was built at the corner of Water and Seneca Streets. The store was expanded in 1965, 1982 and 1985, when neighboring property to the north was purchased, and again in 1990.

Before buying the store, Doug Martini had been employed as a meat manager by P&C Markets for 20 years.