Stewart’s Shops in New Paltz will possibly become part of a project to expand its corporate chain by rebuilding and adding new locations, a process that is set to begin next year.
Stewart’s was founded in 1945 by the Dake family and its shops are primarily located within areas involving upstate New York and southwestern Vermont.
While the local Stewart’s involvement with expansion has not officially been approved, according to Alana Sawchuk, planning and zoning secretary for the Village of New Paltz. The application for this was submitted in August and is currently being considered by the New Paltz Planning Board.
The advantages of relocating Stewart’s would reportedly include more food and gas pumps, as well as greater recognition of the shop. However environmental factors, such as increased water usage, falls into an area of concern and is currently under environmental review, according to Sawchuk
If approved, Stewart’s would be relocated from 98 N. Chestnut St. to 76 N. Chestnut St., closer to an area that reportedly experiences heavy traffic, due to the location of other businesses and other busy streets. Currently, Kwik Mart, another convenience store gas station, sits on a 1.7 acre lot at this location, but not many people go there, Sawchuk said.
Stewart’s is conducting a traffic study, according to Sawchuk, to discover a better understanding of the traffic consequences and details of this new location.
This is described as a long process, in that the zoning board must first approve it, followed by the planning board in accordance with the state. Both discussions will include public hearings, with the one for the zoning board being held on Dec. 11.
Stewart’s would become part of the upwards $50 million project to replace 17 shops and add five new ones, according to Erica Komoroske, spokesperson for Stewart’s Shops. In 2018, 10 replacement shops and two new locations were created. This heavy construction began in 2013, according to Komoroske, who hopes that Stewart’s will become similar to a diner for community members.
The expansion of these shops turns them into an estimated 3,600 square feet from about 2500, which allows for more coolers, seating and gas pumps. Next year will mark the busiest construction year in the history of Stewart’s, according to Komoroske, due to all the anticipated construction. The aim is for the shops to be completed by the late fall season, so that the paving can be completed before winter weather begins.
“I think people are excited. Whenever we create new shops or add a new building, the town just rallies behind us, because they know that it is going to mean better amenities for the community [and] better services,” Komoroske said. “The consensus is always positive. The shops look a lot nicer, they’re not outdated and they’re just able to grow with the community.”
Stewart’s also typically donates $1,000 towards a charity within each community in which it settles. These funds are received by Stewart’s as an organization ($2.5 million) and two foundations through the Dake family, which in total gives $7.5 million to these local charities.
“I think that would be a really good idea, definitely have more locations for students to hangout, maybe study over there,” said third-year history education major Audrey Jones. “If people don’t want to go grocery shopping, they could just go to a gas station and get what they need, maybe get some gas. You kill two birds with one stone.”