Small Businesses Could See Boost During Stop & Shop Strike

Some small businesses say they are having customers coming in looking for products they would usually find at Stop & Shop

With the Stop & Shop workers’ strike about to enter the weekend, normal customers will be looking elsewhere to do their grocery shopping.

At the location on Dixwell Avenue in Hamden, employees on the picket line could be heard shouting at customers, “Go to Shop Rite.”

NBC Connecticut found that small locally owned businesses may also see a boost during the strike as negotiations between the union and Stop & Shop management have stalled.

“Business picks up any way this time of year,” said Anita Marcati, owner of Garden and Floral House on Whitney Avenue in Hamden.

On Friday morning, she said she got a call from a customer looking for a last minute order of centerpiece arrangements for a baby show on Saturday.

“They asked in a pinch if we could do it for them, and we were able to accommodate them so I’m very happy for that and that’s when I learned about the strike,” Marcati said.

The timing of the strike is a week before Easter weekend and the Passover holiday.

Stop & Shop Stores usually offer a larger selection of kosher for Passover food.

“That would be where I typically get my big thing of matzoh and my additives that I need that you don’t openly find at a local supermarket,” Lisa Somer from Wilton said. “They don’t always carry the kosher stuff for Passover.”

At Thyme and Season in Hamden, supervisor Matthew Colson said it has been a bit busier than normal since the Stop & Shop workers walked off the job Thursday afternoon.

“Definitely ordering a little bit extra since we’re going have higher demand for everything,” Colson said.

It’s not known how long the 31,000 southern New England Stop & Shop employees are willing to strike, but a union representative said they are “taking a big risk” because they’re not getting paid.

“I think it’s definitely going to be a big blow to Stop & Shop and it’s going to be a little bit better for the small businesses this week,” Colson said.

Marcati said she’d welcome new customers coming to her store to fill floral orders.

“We’d love to have more business for people that typically go to a grocery store,” she said. “Support your small local flower shops, very important.”

It’s also a busy grocery shopping week for parents like Maria Frigo from North Haven.

“My kids are on spring break next week so they’re going to eat me out of house and home so we just stocked up on everything,” she said on her way out of the Aldi across the street from Hamden’s Stop & Shop.

NBC Connecticut asked Frigo if she would ever cross the picket line.

“Probably not,” Frigo said. “I really feel like the people that work at Stop & Shop have been there for a number of years. I know at least in these two local ones the faces are always familiar and I know they’re fighting for health benefits and that’s important for everybody so I stand with the employees.”

A Stop & Shop spokesperson told NBC Connecticut “this morning the company made several suggestions to the federal mediators to encourage further bargaining.”

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