On Monday Chestnut Market officially opened their doors with a Grand Opening ribbon cutting ceremony that took place at their new location at 1417 Route 9W, just north of the Marlboro Hamlet. The convenience market also sells gasoline and diesel and has a Dunkin’ [formerly Dunkin’ Donuts] under its roof.
Dunkin’ is open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. and the gas/convenience store is open 24/7.
Owner Mickey Jamal said, “This is our new flagship, our new model, a quick service convenience store, plus gas and diesel,” he said. “We try to fit into communities and we have a very good design, marketing and construction team and settled on this format.”
Jamal started his company, Chestnut Petroleum, in 1981 when he purchased a small gas station in New Paltz and within a few years he added a convenience store, followed by purchasing additional stores, first in Poughkeepsie and Gardiner and then south in Westchester County and into New Jersey and Connecticut.
Jamal said constructing the Marlboro store had a few challenges, chiefly excavating the rock on the site.
“It took much longer than expected and the same with contractors and being hit with covid-19.” he said. “We had to stop construction for a little while but eventually we got it done. It took about a year and a half.”
The old Dickie’s Diner was located on the site but it had been closed for more than a decade. Jamal smiled, pointing out that people say the property has now gone from Dickie’s to Mickey’s.
Jamal said they chose the squirrel logo, “because they gather stuff and we feel when the customers come in, all their food needs are here.”
Supervisor Al Lanzetta credits the late Assemblyman Frank Skartados for securing a $250,000 member item that was used to bring a low pressure sewer line up to the site. He also noted that the late Senator William Larkin secured additional funding that brought the sewer line farther north to Porco Energy.
“I can remember like it was yesterday when Mickey asked me to set up a meeting with Frank and we sat in his office and Frank said what do you need, what can we do for you?” Lanzetta said, recalling that after some discussion, “Frank turned to me and said Al what do you think, would $250,000 do it and I said absolutely.”
Lanzetta shepherded the project along, holding countless meetings with Jamal, the Department of Transportation, the Building Department and with Town Board members.
“It was hands-on all the time, and with [NYS Sen] Skoufis, Assemblyman [Jonathan] Jacobson and County Executive Pat Ryan; I invited everybody and practically arranged this whole thing.”
Lanzetta said Chestnut Market, “turned out great and people really enjoy it. I like what they did inside, especially the Marlboro Dukes logo; the convenience store and Dunkin are marvelous. I worked very hard to do this.”
Marlboro Building Inspector Tom Corcoran kept a close eye on the project, “from the footings to the final. It took awhile, there were many obstacles along the way. The project’s Achilles heel was the large amount of rock on the site.”
“He was able to jack hammer most of it out but where 10 feet with a back hoe would take you 10 minutes, it would take him a day and a half,” he said.
Corcoran also pointed out that some time was lost because of a change in contractors for Dunkin’.
“He really did hustle so they were able to open together,” he said. “It’s a glorious day that you can build something new and this innovative in today’s society and make it really look good.”
Corcoran worked closely with Chestnut’s Paul Jean and Joe Wohlfahrt. The two were the clerks of the works on this project, “from the ground up, said Wohlfahrt, “everything from the tanks to the building. I feel great, I’m happy it’s open and I can move on to the next project; all we do is gas stations.”
Jean said the rock made scheduling difficult.
“So on a day to day basis to know what is going to happen and to make sure all the parties involved, whether the excavator or the mason, can keep working on schedule, so that make it to where we are now,” he said. “Thank God we made it.”
Jean also thanked Corcoran, “very much because we’ve been working in other towns and it’s hard sometimes to even talk to the town or the Building Inspector, but here in Marlborough we were blessed to have Tom and the people in office, they were very approachable and it’s very helpful.”
Corcoran returned the compliment.
“These guys were aces to work with. When you have somebody on site that is knowledgeable about what’s going on with the project, it makes it easier on me,” he said. “I’m not coming in and making 100 corrections a day. I come in, the project is done right, the inspections have been done right. It’s easy to work with guys who make it easy on me.”
Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan was on hand for the opening.
“This is a big, big day for Marlboro and to know that Chestnut is one of our largest employers in the county, even more so in the midst of the pandemic these businesses remained open and they did it safely and they were critical resources for our residents,” he said. “I’m really excited to see the investment and I’m a big fan of Dunkin’ personally.”
Ryan said Jamal transformed an eyesore, “and made something beautiful and created jobs; it’s a great place.”
B.J. Mikkelsen, of Meet Me in Marlborough, said Chestnut Market will employ a lot of people. He said his agri-tourism association, “is in the business of getting tourism in here; that is the kind of businesses we want to increase.”