Mayor Mark Lauretti said the closing of Beechwood Market in Huntington Center after more than a half century in business is symbolic of the many challenges facing small businesses in this economy.
“It’s a sign of the times,” Lauretti said of the neighborhood food market that had opened in Shelton in the late 1950s. “The small businessman struggles because of the economy and government polices,” he said.
Beechwood recently closed its doors. The store had been run by the Scanlon family for almost three decades.
Lauretti said he knew Bob Scanlon and his wife Priscilla well, who had operated the store for many years. They are now deceased, he said. The store had been run by their son Kevin for the past decade or so.
“It’s always disappointing when a family business moves on,” Lauretti said.
Bill Purcell, Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce president, said he had worked with the Beechwood Market owners to provide support in recent years.
“We’d spent a lot of time working with them the past few months,” Purcell said.
‘Everyone walks through the door’
Lauretti described Beechwood Market as being a Shelton business institution. “Through the years, in a town like Shelton, everyone walks through the door of a place like that,” he said.
Purcell agreed with that description. “It’s a loss of an institution,” he said. “It’s been a family business for over 50 years, and was an essential part of the Huntington Green area.”
What comes next?
Lauretti said is uncertain what will replace Beechwood Market in the Huntington Shopping Plaza. “I leave that to the local entrepreneurs,” he said.
The site is considered a desirable retail location, being across the street from the Huntington Green in one of Shelton’s more affluent residential neighborhoods. The property is owned by a group of local real estate investors, Lauretti said.
There have been rumors that another food establishment could fill the space, perhaps a natural foods market or more upscale market.
“It’s a centerpiece in that retail area,” Lauretti said. “We’d like to see something attractive go in there that would enhance the situation.”
About Beechwood Market
Beechwood Market was located at 40 Huntington St. The store was a longtime mainstay in the Shelton business community, with many local residents having fond memories of making shopping trips to the small supermarket.
Beechwood originally was located in Bridgeport, one of many neighborhood food markets that once were in that large city, according to previous articles. It was established in 1923 and then moved to Shelton in the late 1950s.
During its many years in Huntington Center, residents would visit the store to purchase everything from fresh meat to produce, and dairy products to baked goods. It was a particularly convenient place for people living nearby to pick up staples, such as milk, bread and orange juice.
The store’s interior had been redesigned a few years ago, giving the market more of a country feel, according to previous reports.