The Neighborhood Pride grocery store project got a boost this morning when the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency approved a $100,000 loan. Mayor Svante Myrick announced the news, saying he hoped the loan would "help the Petitos bring a grocery back to the north side."
The former P&C location on Hancock Street, soon to be a Neighborhood Pride grocery store. 14850 Photo.The store is the brainchild of John Petito, whose family owns the Hancock Street building that formerly housed one of three P&C Foods supermarkets in the Ithaca area. Tops Friendly Markets closed that store soon after acquiring the P&C chain in 2010, and has since closed the P&C at Cayuga Mall, which was directly across Triphammer Road from another Tops location. The remaining P&C in town was reborn as a P&C Fresh supermarket.
The Petitos have faced several stumbling blocks in their plan to renovate and reopen a neighborhood grocery store in the building built by Tony Petito about 40 years ago. At first, they hoped to find a grocery store chain willing to move in, but when they were unable to find a match, they decided to open their own store. The parking lot and building facade have been repeatedly vandalized since the business closed, and a local bank pulled funding after expressing interest in the project.
Mayor Myrick says, "The Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency loans city funds and federal funds to private enterprises that create jobs and improve our community." The mayor, who famously forgoes driving in favor of walking or taking mass transit whenever possible, thinks a grocery store in walking distance to area residents is vital.
Myrick isn't worried about the City's investment. "Our Agency has an impressive track record when it comes to choosing enterprises that repay their loans in full," he says.
The Petito family plans to stock the store and open for business within a few months.