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Calabrese Market offers family-friendly stop

Date: 7/10/2015

WEST SPRINGFIELD – The Calabrese family is not new to its Park Street building, owning it for a number of years, but it has taken another step to create a neighborhood friendly stop. Calabrese Market opened its doors on June 17.

After the previous convenience store closed its doors, Tony and Gina Calabrese took on the project of creating the quick-stop, family style market they felt West Springfield needed. They gutted the store, put in new floors and counters, and extended the windows all in the hopes of creating a neighborhood store that reinvigorates its historic elements, Tony said.

“Literally every single person that walks in is saying, ‘Wow, it looks so different in here.’ They think it looks bigger,” Tony said.

Though Calabrese Market is already open to the public, the family needs to take a few more steps with the town before it can fall completely into place. The overall goal is to have a deli with premade meals available for people to pick up and take home. As of now, Calabrese Market is zoned as a convenience store, so until the zoning is changed, the deli will have to wait.

The deli aspect is what Gina said she is most looking forward to.

 “I’m dying to do this stuff. Just give me a slicer and a stove, and I’m good to go. I’m going out of my mind,” she said with a laugh.

“We have been buying premade sandwiches, and they’re good, but people want to see the slicer. They want it like a deli downtown,” Tony said. “This place is a dying breed.”

Rather than stay closed until the zoning change is approved, the Calabrese family decided to move forward with the opening. Calabrese Market offers staple grocery items, coffee and lottery.

In addition to providing a family atmosphere, Tony and Gina said they are trying to preserver the historic nature of the building for the sake of the community.

“It’s all about community,” Tony said. “We tried to bring our building back. It was built in 1925. We’re just trying to revive it, to keep it where it was [historically].”

Tony said this works well for West Springfield, as Calabrese Market is located near historic attractions such as the Josiah Day House. Gina said their opening will also remind the town that Park Street is a crucial first impression for outsiders.

“I feel like the town for a little bit forgot about Park Street, and for me, it’s the entryway to West Springfield – Park Street and Memorial Avenue,” she said. “They kind of took care of the sidewalks and beautifying Elm Street but they’re forgetting about these two areas … We want it to be a very family-friendly area.”

The Tony and Gina have taken steps to create this “family-friendly area” based on what they would like to see in town for their own family.

“It’s just a local place to stop and get a coffee, a paper and to chat. Once we do get the market going, I think it will be great for people coming home from work,” Gina said. “Being a mom, I wanted something like this in town all the time.”

For more information about Calabrese Market, call 455-1196 or visit at 54 Park Street.