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Do we need another Stop & Shop?

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

Here's a question to you: just how many big supermarkets do we need?

Stop & Shop is proposing a big new store near the intersection of Allen and Cooley Streets in the corner where Springfield meets East Longmeadow and Hampden.


Stop & Shop has a perfectly acceptable store on North Main Street in East Longmeadow, just over the border from Springfield. It has a behemoth store on Boston Road. These two locations are just a few miles and minutes from one another and seem to be active, popular markets.

Residents of this part of Springfield are not too happy that the company has started the process to build a new market there. They are concerned about traffic and sprawl.

Now, sometimes a new market is a blessing to a neighborhood. The market Big Y will install in its former Sixteen Acres location on Wilbraham Road was a cause for celebration by that neighborhood. They especially liked that the format of new market will emphasize fresh local produce and have a focus on restaurant-quality take-out food. Big Y officials described it as a market you could go in and quickly find what you need.

That market fills an empty space at an otherwise successful strip mall. It was a space that worried neighborhood residents who knew that illegal dumping was taking place behind it.

The new Stop & Shop will undoubtedly provide new jobs and more money in taxes. However, I don't think residents near it are being comforted by those facts.

Too often in the city of Springfield when a business comes in and waves a bunch of artist's renderings and pie charts in front of officials they follow them like cats after an open can of sardines.

Springfield is land-poor when it comes to new businesses and economic development issues. Every situation must be viewed critically not just for short-term goals but for long-term impact.

And neighborhood wishes should be considered. In the past I've seen too many residents protest a bar, a car wash or a used car lot and not receive the consideration they deserve.

Put a new Stop & Shop mammoth store there and traffic will be a nightmare. Will Stop & Shop be willing to pay for considerable improvements for that intersection? The city doesn't have the money and, frankly, I don't think it should shoulder the load if a private company wants to build a project.

East Longmeadow is gearing up for a serious fight to prevent a Lowe's to be built behind its Stop & Shop. That plan, if it comes to fruition, will make life on North Main Street a living hell. Traffic will be horrendous and Lowe's will have a negative effect on the businesses in the area.

I hope city officials would listen to the residents and think twice about a development that would negatively impact a neighborhood.

These are my opinions alone. Send your comments to or to 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA, 01028.