New Cassel, NY – Marking another critical milestone in New Cassel’s ongoing revitalization, North Hempstead’s Community Development Agency (CDA) last week joined with elected officials, and community leaders to officially open the doors to a business the community has wanted but never had in its entire history: a full-service supermarket.
With the grand opening of the Ideal Food Basket Supermarket at 735 Prospect Ave. on October 4, residents now have access to a wide array of foods including dairy, prime cut meats, delicatessen products, and a wide selection of fresh produce. It also brought something else to the hamlet: jobs.
The 9,300 square foot full service grocery store, part of the America’s Food Basket chain with 30 locations in the Northeast, began operation Sept. 23. So far 15 residents from the community have landed jobs at the newly-opened market, company representatives said.
“This has been a long journey,” said longtime resident, North Hempstead Town Councilwoman Viviana Russell, whose district includes New Cassel. “For too long, New Cassel has lacked some basic necessities. Now thanks to our residents, the leadership of former Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman’s administration and the support of partners in the federal, State and County governments, we are now well on our way to getting retail services many communities take for granted.”
Russell pointed to a list of must-haves the community prioritized during visioning sessions close to a decade ago that have now become a reality. They include the one-year-old Town of North Hempstead “Yes We Can” Community Center, a pharmacy and family dentistry, dozens of units of affordable housing, and a total reconstruction of Prospect Avenue, making it into a walkable Main Street retail corridor.
County Legislator Robert Troiano, a New Cassel native and former North Hempstead Town Councilman, said the market was a long time coming but it was worth the wait.
“So many residents in this community had difficulty getting to supermarkets on the outskirts of the community,” he said. “Now they have access to high quality food products within walking distance.”
The CDA, North Hempstead’s community development and revitalization arm, which played an integral role in the massive ongoing New Cassel’s redevelopment initiative, is working to bring in a bank, another amenity the community has been without for decades. The agency provided grants and loans to help acquire the property for the construction of the new supermarket.
Lamont Bailey, the CDA’s chair, called the occasion “a great day. Not only does the community finally have access to a full service grocery store on their door steps but they also have in this store a business which has created jobs—15 all told so far—to residents.”
Molly Yearty, a single mother of three who has lived in New Cassel for more than 30 years, said the opening of the new supermarket has been a blessing for her and her family and the community at large.
“It’s a wonderful thing to have a grocery store in the heart of the community,” said Yearty, who works as a cashier at the new supermarket and had been unemployed for two years. “It’s fantastic. Not only am I happy to be working again but I can walk to work.”
Bishop Lionel Harvey, president of the United New Cassel Community Revitalization Corporation, (UNCCRC), was instrumental in establishing the partnerships with the Town and the County to help make the $80 million New Cassel revitalization possible.
“This vision couldn’t have happened without the community pulling together,” Harvey said. “Seeing the transformation of this community, we have to continue to keep hope alive.”
Other officials attending the event include State Assemblyman Chuck Lavine, and County Legislators Judi Bosworth and Wayne Wink.
From left, County Legislator Judi Bosworth, Town Councilwoman Viviana Russell, Chairman of the UNCCRC Bishop Lionel Harvey, County Legislator Robert Troiano, CDA Board Member Howard Weitzman, and Ideal Food Basket owners Amable Paulino and Roman Batista.
Councilwoman Viviana Russell and Ideal Food Basket store owners Amable Paulino and Roman Batista cut the ceremonial ribbon (center). Other officials, from left, County Legislator Robert Troiano, Bishop Lionel Harvey, County Legislator Wayne Wink, CDA Chair Lamont Bailey, County Legislator Judi Bosworth, CEO of Ideal Food Basket Dan Cabassa, Assemblyman Chuck Lavine, CDA Board Executive Director Dermot Kelly, CDA Board member Howard Weitzman and Acting Supervisor Chris Senior.