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Patrons Mourn Marie's, Changing of MacKenzie's Pharmacy

But First Selectman Tim Herbst and the landlord, Peter DiNardo, say there are plans for Trumbull Center.

Patrons of Marie's Sandwich Shop and MacKenzie's Pharmacy say they'll miss the "Mom & Pop" feel of Trumbull Center.

The two oldest businesses in Trumbull Center, Marie's closed Monday and MacKenzie's is becoming a CVS starting March 18 (after shutting down March 16 and 17). Marie's was about 50 years old and MacKenzie's more than 80 years old.

According to MacKenzie's Website, "[Owners] Pat and Kathy and the staff of MacKenzie's Pharmacy will remain at the new CVS/pharmacy to continue to serve the community, now with the extensive resources of CVS/pharmacy. We want to thank the people of Trumbull for allowing us the privilege to serve them for so many years."

Trumbull Patch users and Facebook commenters said while CVS might be more convenient, they prefer the personalized feel of family businesses.

Said a user named Joan, "This is a huge loss for Trumbull. Even with the same staff, it's hard to imagine that the new pharmacy, under the CVS umbrella, will have the freedom to provide us with the level of personalized service we had with MacKenzie's. MacKenzie's Pharmacy was a town treasure."

Added Andrew Blum, "The Walmartization of America has finally hit Trumbull. MacKenzie's was a great Pharmacy. CVS is fine retailer but there was something about that mom&pop store."

Tom Gallo, a daily patron, said a combination of reduced businesses and increased costs are hurting independent businesspeople in Trumbull Center.

"End of an era for sure to see our breakfast place go by the wayside joining the other small businesses in Trumbull Ctr. Good to see so many memories of Marie's but unfortunate that too many did not go there in recent years or maybe their doors would still be open.

"Aside from the no-class act landlords forcing small businesses out to make way for chain outlets, a contributing factor was that not enough residents supported Maries in recent times and that was a shame. I'm proud to call myself a regular daily customer so I will miss them as part of my routine," he said.

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Other commenters criticized the parking arrangement in Trumbull Center and blamed the closing of Trumbull Center businesses on the economy. 

Plans for Trumbull Center's Future

Peter DiNardo, one of a group of owners of the shopping center, could not be reached for comment Tuesday but has said in a letter that the center is important and is being renovated.

"We recognize that many people in Town care about Trumbull Center, and the same feelings that have made the Center so important to the Town and popular for several decades also come with a responsibility for us, as owners.  Please know that we take the concerns and even the criticism to heart, and we will continue to work towards improving Trumbull Center," he said.

He noted that some areas cannot be rented out while they are being renovated but said new tenants would be announced this year.

In another letter, First Selectman Tim Herbst said renovation of Trumbull Center is advancing in phases.

He said he is confident because the owners are investing "millions" in improving the shopping center.

Herbst said he will miss Marie's but is glad the owners of MacKenzie's will stay in the plaza. He said he hears from other municipal leaders that independent businesses in other towns are also closing their doors because of the economy.

"As part of a broader discussion, I hope our elected leaders in Hartford will look at the small businesses that are struggling across our state as proof positive that higher taxes, new taxes and more regulation does not spur economic development or small business creation - - especially during an economic downturn.  That being said, we need to look to what we are doing here in Trumbull and find ways to build upon all that has been accomplished to date," the first selectman added.

Julia Maher March 13, 2013 at 12:09 PM
"...higher taxes, new taxes and more regulation does not spurn economic development or small business creation..." I believe the correct word is "spur", not "spurn".
Aaron Leo (Editor) March 13, 2013 at 02:49 PM
Good catch! Thanks, Julia!
Tom Gallo March 14, 2013 at 12:21 AM
Did I hear that the renovation of Trumbull Center is advancing in phases? Maybe but when its the bottom of the barrel one can only go up from there. It is an utter complete mess with vacant storefronts abounding- I bleed Trumbull as a lifelong resident and never have seen the needs and wants of so many small businesses fall on the owners deaf ears. Ask Kathy from the former Maries or the Nail salon owner or Porrecelli's management- It is a travesty- Today the world got a new Pope so how about tomorrow we get new owners of that once thriving Center.
Louis McKay March 14, 2013 at 12:51 AM
What is a true farce is the FS telling us things are in progress. He must think we are idiots to believe that.I know all I have see is business after business leave. The whole strip where DD use to be is empty! Not to mention the entire BRAND NEW strip near Home Depot is empty and has been for a few years. But its ok, a steakhouse is opening there soon. Our town offers nothing in terms of commerce. We as citizens continuously go to adjacent towns for many needs. Really our town has ONE grocery store?? Not only that, it only has ONE place that serves breakfast now that being Old Towne. We don't even have a bakery! Don't keep drinking the Herbst Kool-Aid Trumbullites; you are much smarter than that. This FS needs to step up and stop with no information letters and state some real information not some political bs
Chris M March 14, 2013 at 12:49 PM
These businesses are closing because the residents of Trumbull aren't patronizing them. People are blaming the FS and DiNardo but that makes no sense. We have no one to blame but ourselves if the mom and pop are closing. If Trumbull residents want to maintain that "small town" feel, then they need to patronize their local shop owners. Unfortunately, Trumbull is not immune to the stagnant economy and the regulation/tax increases that are coming from Hartford.
Joan March 14, 2013 at 01:53 PM
I agree. It's not just the economy. Trumbullites are going outside the town's borders to shop because we have fewer and fewer alternatives here.
Pete March 15, 2013 at 01:13 AM
Trumbull Center is in this situation after years of poor planning, self serving ness, and overly restrictive zoning halting vision, progress, and evolution. Only now is it scrambling to modernize, but it can't make up for all the wasted time. Most other suburban communities, Shelton, Fairfield and Milford to name a few, have evolved in the last 10 years and weathered a stagnant economy and higher taxes. As far as our 1st Selectman, he presided over the Planning and Zoning Commission for several years and during his first campaign used images of Trumbull Center to criticize the economic leadership of his opponent Ray Baldwin. Now, accordingly, people like Gail Jarvis, conveniently let him off the hook by blaming the federal and state government. If it was entirely attributable to outside forces, then Hawley Lane on both the Trumbull and Stratford sides would not have revitalized and sustained itself in the last 10 or so years. Residents are conditioned to go elsewhere to spend their money despite the inconveniences. It is going to take a massive change and cooperation to reverse people's buying, spending and dining habits. We are quickly becoming a community by default, not of choice!
Chris M March 15, 2013 at 12:38 PM
Hawley Lane is anchored by box stores (Target, Kohl's, Home Goods, Best Buy). And those types of businesses are fitting in that location because they lie on the town's border. Would you actually want box stores in Trumbull Center? If we want to keep the charm of Trumbull Center, we as Trumbull residents need to patronize our local mom and pop stores. I personally don't want to see Trumbull Center resembling Bridgeport Ave in Shelton or Boston Post Road in Milford.
Pam Georgas March 15, 2013 at 01:41 PM
There are some chain stores, that feel less 'big box', but still serve as anchors I would like to an arts and craft store like Michaels. How many parents have to drive up to Milford for school craft materials?
Ted March 15, 2013 at 02:10 PM
This is not a "Trumbull" problem it's a national one. If you think years of increases in "mandated" programs, handouts to citizens who receive government assistance and rises in every day costs don't hurt your wrong. We have $4 and over gas for years, taxes, water, sewer bills all going up. How do you think this trickles down to the small business owner. They have to absorb all these bills at home and then at their business. When it comes down to it, we all use these "local" business' when it's convenient, we go to the likes of Costco for the majority and fill in at the local store etc... but we need the "big stores" to sustain our tax base. It's a different world and not a happy one.
Jennifer Hochberg March 15, 2013 at 03:13 PM
I've been following the discussion here on Trumbull Patch, and firstly, I suggest that Trumbull take a cue from Fairfield---example: when the Fairfield Store in downtown back in the 1990s after 75 years in business, Downtown Fairfield turned into a ghost town. However, with the addition of Borders (now Ffld U Bookstore) & other stores, and now more restaurants, downtown Fairfield is bustling again! And yes there are still locally-owned businesses in the mix, which is so important to keep that balance of "mom and pop" & "big box/chain" establishments. Rent & other costs are factors to keep in mind when a business exists, especially a smaller one. It's not easy during these uncertain economic times. On another note, remember that in Trumbull Center there's still a family-owned business (started in Bridgeport back in 1916, moved up to Trumbull in 1974); I do suggest that those who are concerned about bringing business in Trumbull Center to contact the town's Economic Development office (Fairfield has something similar). I feel that the more folks they hear from, they'll listen. It's a process that will take time, but I encourage everyone to speak up on this.
trumbulite09 March 15, 2013 at 05:27 PM
It's time to realize we don't live in "Mom & Pop" times. 80 years ago or even 30 years ago, local shops were great, everyone knew each other and you could shop between 9-5 because Mom didn't work. Those days are gone. Don't blame people for not patronizing an establishment when the it is inconvienent and costs more. MacKenzies was open form 8:30a - 6:00. If you even just work a 9-5 job how can you send your prescriptions there? With that said not all chain stores lose the small town appeal. I shop at Big Y at Hawley lane. The butcher knows me, the bagger knows me, and several times without asking a nice kid helps me take my groceries to the car. Good old town feel with prices that I can afford. Time to change Trumbull and change is not bad.
JR March 15, 2013 at 05:36 PM
Chris M - You think the new CVS will be non-big box. It will be less than charming.
DS March 16, 2013 at 01:12 PM
First off, MacKenenzie's is old and outdated. When large pharmacy chains come in to a market like this, they pay big $$ for the "script". They are actually purchasing the customer info based on prescriptions and they over pay the owners for that info. Very common practice for Target, CVS etc..
CommonSense March 16, 2013 at 06:16 PM
Pete.......... I have blogged under articles on this Patch Site. .........."conveniently let him (TH) off the hook by blaming the federal and state government." What are you referring to? I didn't blame anybody so how can I let him off the hook? I always thought Trumbull Center didn't have its own identity. It was a patchwork of strip-mall-stores....seperated by a non-friendly-pedestrian-walk-way Parking Lot. Do you think that this situation of non-descript buildings and stores 'Just Happened'? The Trumbull Center is privately owned...I have commented on this under many articles to this very issue. The ECONOMY is letting us know that everyone is feeling the effects. As to why Trumbull Center looks 'that way' for all these years -- and through so many rise and fall economic times--Well, you have to ask the owners. Or shop somewhere else. I find it interesting that we always like to Blame somebody for something. Is this the new normal---or is this human nature? Our government (at all levels) does this with such ease and candor , that of course, the people it leads picks up their 'mantra'.
Jan March 18, 2013 at 08:02 PM
Trumbull is the way it has always been, a residential town, a suburb. That's what the townspeople always wanted and still like about it. No one wanted fast food places throughout town with drive-thru windows like neighborinng Bpt, Monroe, and Shelton. Trumbull is still that way because not much has changed. I grew up in town and now live in another town. If I had a choice, I'd choose Trumbull. So, you have to drive elsewhere to do what you need to do. You have the beautiful parks and pools, recreation areas that my current town does not. Be careful what you wish for if you start wanting development and change. Sure, no one likes to see empty storefronts, but that's just economics. Every town is suffering. I think your First Selectman has done an excellent job.
Jan March 18, 2013 at 08:03 PM
When coming back to Trumbull I do indeed miss Frances' Bakery. That one hurt.
Nadine Zimmer March 19, 2013 at 01:07 AM
I have fond memories of McKenzie's. jean True worked there forever and she knew everything that was going on. Nothing slid pass that woman. Will miss this institution and think about Ms. True often.

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