Stewart’s lands Tower Shops location in Perth

PERTH – Stewart’s Shops will take over the Tower Shops building, on the corner of Route 30 and County Highway 107.

Gary Dake, Stewart’s Shops president, said as part of the deal for the location, the company will trade properties with Mark Murphy, owner of Tower Shops. Stewart’s will take the current Tower Shop’s location, while the Stewart’s and former NBT Bank across the street will go to Murphy, Dake said. He said Murphy can put the location to use in a “non-competing capacity.”

Dake declined to say how much money was involved in the deal.

Currently, Stewart’s Shops operates a 2,000-square-foot store with two self-serve gas dispensers on Route 30, next door to Tower Shops. The property where the existing store is located is about 0.58 acres in size. Stewart’s recently purchased the adjacent property to the north of the site that was previously used by NBT Bank.

Stewart’s had planned to demolish its existing store, gas dispensers and the former bank building to construct a new store.

Dake said he spoke with Murphy, who suggested they could trade properties.

“After a bit of back-and-forth over a long period of time, we have a contract and we are going to be abandoning the plans to rebuild on our existing site,” Dake said.

Dake said Stewart’s will open up a new store inside the Tower Shops by June.

Tower Shops features a Sunoco gas station, convenience store and a Tim Hortons cafe and bake shop.

Dake said Stewart’s will take over the Sunoco gas contract.

Modifications will need to be made at Tower Shops, Dake said.

“Mark did a great job building that building, but it is different than what we are accustomed to. A lot of [the modifications] will be stuff you don’t see, like walk-in coolers and walk-in freezers,” Dake said.

Tower Shops will close May 14, he said, with crews going in to modify the interior.

The current Stewart’s, located next door, will stay open during the changes, before crews will move to the new Stewart’s in June.

According to Michelle Fitzpatrick, an employee of Tower Shops, 10 people work for the store. Fitzpatrick said she was told the employees could apply to work in Stewart’s. Fitzpatrick did not know the fate of Tim Hortons’ employees, who directed comments to Murphy.

Murphy could not be reached for comment.

Walter Kowalczyk, a town councilman, said he believes the move is a smart one by Stewart’s, because Tower Shops does a lot of business due to its location.

“That is the stop before the light; [customers] sneak right in there,” Kowalczyk said.