The future of downtown's Midtown Plaza on Miner Street is looking bleaker these days.
The Rite-Aid pharmacy store, a plaza fixture for decades, plans to build a new store next to the SeaComm Federal Credit Union on East Main Street, based on a zoning request submitted to the village board.
At the end of this month the Partridge Cafe, a popular breakfast, lunch and coffee spot, plans to close its doors after four years in business, according to a sign on the door.
Owners Mark K. Reardon and his wife, Patsy, said last week they decided to retire because they're financially just breaking even and business will slow down soon when college students are gone for the summer.
They said Garry Cohen, who owns most of the plaza, including their building, is unwilling to renegotiate his lease price and other costs have risen, including employee wages and insurance.
"There were a lot of factors, but the biggest issue is rent," Mr. Reardon said. "The only expense I had realistic control over was rent and he (Mr. Cohen) was not inclined to lower the rent."
Mr. Cohen, a New York City businessman, said he did not want to discuss his rental agreement with the Reardons.
"It's a little more complicated than that and I don't want to discuss it," he said.
Mr. Cohen has been unable to find a tenant for the former Jubilee grocery store since it closed in 2000, which leaves the plaza's large anchor space vacant as well as several other spaces. Mr. Cohen has owned most of the plaza spaces since 1980 as well as the plaza's entire parking lot.
The Reardons also operate the Trailways bus terminal from a portion of their cafe, a service that is used regularly by college students, members of the Amish community and others.
After the cafe closes, Trailways plans to move its terminal next door into a building at 21 Miner St. that houses Gamer Craze, a business owned by Mr. Reardon's son, Aaron M. Reardon.
"We don't know the exact date yet, but we will be moving next door," said Allison L. Galuska, Trailways traffic manager.
Only other two businesses remaining in the once-thriving plaza - Green's Furniture, owned by Vern Green, and Gamer Craze, owned by Aaron Reardon. The Freihofer outlet bread store moved to Court Street earlier this year.
Those businesses occupy the only two spots in the plaza that are not owned by Mr. Cohen, who also owns the plaza's entire parking lot.
Mrs. Reardon said the couple had considered moving their cafe into a portion of their son's building that formerly housed the Spicy Iguana Restaurant, but feel it will be too expensive to renovate the space for their needs.
Mr. Cohen said he's confident that another tenant will be interested in renting the Partridge space as a cafe.
"I think someone will take it over. My expectation is it will continue to be a cafe," he said.
A subdivision and rezoning request from Rite Aid is scheduled to be discussed by the village planning board 7 p.m. May 31 for a parcel of land on East Main Street. where Rite Aid plans to build a new store.
Gary Stickles, manager of the Canton Rite Aid, could not comment on whether the existing store in the plaza will shut down if a new store opens in Canton. The subdivision and rezoning must be reviewed by both the village and county planning boards. A public hearing is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. June 20. .
Mr. Cohen said it's his understanding that if Rite Aid builds a new store, the plaza store will close.
Calls to Rite Aid officials were not returned.
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