Most of Olive Market’s loyal customers who visited the grocery store last Friday evening did not know it would be their final time there.
They entered to find two-for-one deals storewide and a notebook at the register, where they could add their email to a list for updates on the business’ next chapter.
After nearly 26 years at a shopping center on Willis Avenue in Roslyn, Friday was its final day there, making Olive Market the last of the center’s independent businesses to vacate as new owners raise the rent and prepare for renovations. CVS and Starbucks remain, and two new tenants, a boutique fitness center and a fast-casual eatery, will move in this year, said Louis Silverman, who bought the property in 2018 with Adam Mann.
Olive Market Co-owner Jack Chin said he has been on the lookout for a new space in the area but has not found one yet.
“They all want to try to help to find us another location to go into,” he said of his customers. “I’ve really looked.”
He had stayed longer than neighbors Sotto Luna and Joven Cleaners in hopes of negotiating the lease.
Chin began working at the store 15 years ago with his father and said he has enjoyed becoming familiar with the customers. They come for the fresh produce and seek out the store as a place to purchase gifts and flowers, he said.
“What you don’t want to do in the kitchen, the vegetables you don’t want to cut up, we’ll do it right here for you that day, so you’ll get it in your kitchen fresh as if you just cut it yourself,” Chin said.
Though many were unaware of the closing, Ross L. (who declined to provide his last name) entered Olive Market clutching his chest.
“I’m going to miss you guys so much,” he said pointing at the smiling faces behind the cash register.
Ross grew up in Roslyn and now lives here with his wife, for whom he buys fruit and flowers at Olive Market every Friday, he said. He comes up to three times a week and has been a customer since he was a child, he said.
“My sister texted me about it over the weekend, how sad she was, and I’m really going to miss it,” Ross said.
The previous owners of the shopping center did not require most tenants to have leases and allowed the building to deteriorate, Silverman said. He purchased it with a plan to improve it, he said.
Renovations started on the vacant left side of the center. A new CVS sign was recently unveiled.
Sotto Luna and Joven Cleaners both found new locations before they closed. Joven Cleaners is now at 178 I.U. Willets Road and Sotta Luna is heading down the street to a stand-alone building at 875 Willis Ave.
“I’m definitely trying to stay nearby, but it’s not like you get spaces like this that are available around here,” Chin said. “It’s going to be hard finding a good spot.”
The store had to empty out, so he put everything on sale for half price.
“It’s sad but, you know, [we’re] taking it in stride,” Chin said. “I figure close one book, open another book.”