SOLD: Emmanuel’s Marketplace changed hands June 7 - BlueStone Press
July 16, 2019
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SOLD: Emmanuel’s Marketplace changed hands June 7

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 Rumors have been swirling for several years that Emmanuel’s was in the market for a buyer. There have been several names tossed into the hat of the gossip mill, most of the “big box” variety. Most recently, many locals – and employees – feared that the rumored front-running buyer, the behemoth chain Hannaford, would emerge the winner. The rumors have come and gone. Over the past weeks, however, talk of the store selling began to get more serious and more credible. On Monday, May 3, it was confirmed that yes, Emmanuel’s Marketplace is scheduled to be officially sold on Friday, June 7. In a surprise twist, the new owners are not of the mega-corporation variety but rather standing members of the community: Albert Rodriguez and Lisa Berrios, owners of My Town Marketplace in Rosendale and Highland Falls, respectively.
When pushed as to why he chose to sell now, Emmanuel Gerondaras says it was a matter of the right deal with the right people.
“I’ve never had the store ‘for sale’ per se. I’ve just been open to opportunities. I’m in my 60s now. It’s time. I love the four seasons, but I do not like the extent of our winters. By mid-October until mid-May there are no leaves on the trees. I want more sunshine! The idea, of course, is to move south. I think the people who are buying the store, they are younger, they’ll have more energy. It isn’t a super box store coming here. It’s a family, and the plan is that the concept will be the same.” 
Crucial to the deal, elaborates Gerondaras, was the retention of employees.
“We were very close with Hannaford a few years ago. But on the 11th hour they requested something I couldn’t have done,” Gerondaras said. “They wanted me to essentially let all of my employees go. They would close the store for a month and renovate and then pick and choose the employees they wanted. That’s fine and dandy, but the truth is that all my managers were with me for a long time and they would not be rehired. So when we got to that last paragraph we said thank you, but no thank you. With Key Food, who also presented a good, fair deal, it was the same thing.”
The current deal with Rodriguez and Berrios, which includes the pet store, Pet-Agree, began to loosely take shape about a year ago, however, Gerondaras is quick to point out that it wasn’t until three months ago that everything came together and started to move quickly.
“They (Rodriguez and Lisa Berrios ) will keep everyone in the store,” says Gerondaras. “There will be no massive layoff or bringing in their own people. That was really important to me, to keep the personnel that we already have.” 
Gerondaras, whose mother and father hail from Greece, was born in Morocco. After Morocco gained independence from the French, Gerondaras’ father boarded a boat headed to Australia in search of new opportunities. Enroute, the boat stopped for three days in Newark, New Jersey, where Gerondaras’ uncle happened to live and own a pizzeria. His father, who hadn’t seen his brother in years, visited, helped out in the pizzeria, and decided to stay. A year later, in 1967, Gerondaras and his mother joined his father, who had lined up a job with a childhood friend in Rosendale, New York, at the Rosendale Food Center. Within four years, Gerondaras’ father bought a deli in Saugerties and moved the family into the apartment over it. Gerondaras recalls arriving home from school as a child and having to immediately complete his chores in the deli before he was permitted to go outside and play.
“I remember thinking I will never to be in the food business! I promised myself growing up – I’m not going to do the same thing!”
With visions of anything BUT the food industry, Gerondaras went off to college and studied business. However, in 1979 jobs for those with bachelor’s degrees in business were few and far between. And so, after a year and a half at Montgomery Ward, with reluctant but surprising passion for food tugging at him, he was on the hunt for an opportunity with more growth.
As many locals know, Gerondaras took partnership in the then Stone Ridge Market (at the age of 23!), which eventually went on to include a market in Port Ewen. After 10 years, the partnership dissolved and Gerondaras kept the Port Ewen store, which he would go on to sell years later just prior to opening Emmanuel’s Marketplace in 1997.
Along the way, he’d meet his wife on a blind date and go on to have two children (his daughter is a registered nurse and stay-at-home mom to two, and his son is a barber at the ultra-hip Union Shave in Saugerties).
In the 2016 Visit Vortex, Gerondaras is quoted as saying, “I knew the most important things were to make it clean, friendly and local, with the freshest products and superior customer service.” Emmanuel’s Marketplace did just that and found early success catering to the local crowd while meeting the needs of weekenders. Gerondaras says that on weekends and during the summer the store takes on a “different personality,” and he’s always enjoyed the challenge of meeting both sets of needs with the highest standards.
While there have been up and downs throughout the years, his commitment to the guiding principles he started out with haven’t waivered. Walking through the store, Gerondaras has a hawk eye, noticing when the trash hasn’t been swept from the curb, greeting customers, and stopping to right small wrongs on shelves. He is confident that customers can look forward to more of the same from Rodriguez and Berrios.
“For as little as I know of them from this transition period, they are good people,” he said. “They realize who we are  – we are very active with the school system, with the not-for-profits. I know Albert and Lisa will take care of them just as good as I have taken care of them, if not better.”
In terms of transition, Gerondaras says that on the evening of Thursday, June 6, inventory will be completed for the closing, which is scheduled for the next day. Not much will change to the outside eye – the store name is staying, but when customers walk in on Saturday morning to buy half and half for their weekend coffee, Emmanuel’s Marketplace will be under new ownership. The soon-to-be new owner Rodriguez, replying to an email with more detailed questions, said “Nothing is going to change for now. All the good things are staying the same and employees are staying also. Once things settle I will gladly get you everything you need!”
Gerondaras has understandably mixed emotions about the sale. “It’s truly bitter and sweet. I’ve been fortunate to have a good group of such loyal customers. We all have stories, and their stores have enriched my life. We have a lot of good people here. It’s a great area, the locals are great people, and I’m going to miss them. I’m going to miss my employees. I really want to thank all the customers, I’m really thankful that they came and patronized us instead of going to Kingston. I just want to say thank you, an incredible thank you.”

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