Photo: Victor Cruz, Jr. speaking before the Belmont Board of Selectmen.
Nearly nine months before it opens its doors to residents, the owner of the supermarket anchoring the renovated Macy’s space in Belmont Center is the holder of the town’s final beer and wine license as the Belmont Board of Selectmen awarded the permit to Foodie’s Market.
Victor Cruz, Jr., told the Belmontonian today’s customers anticipate well-run markets to stock beer and wine as a matter of course.
“Like I said to the selectmen, people have become accustomed to expecting it at their local market,” said Cruz, after the board voted unanimously to award the Boston-based independent chain the license.
It was this “new reality” among its customers that brought Cruz to the Selectmen on Monday, July 27, seeking the final of the four beer and wine licenses Town Meeting approved and the legislature OK’d for retail establishments three years ago.
“We feel its critical for us to have since other” markets also sell beer and wine including Star Market on Mt. Auburn Street and Trader Joe’s on Memorial Drive in Cambridge.
Cruz said his family’s fourth operation – to be located in 15,000 sq.-ft. on the lower level of the renovated site of the Macy’s department store at 75 Leonard St. – will be located in the lower portion of the remodeled site.
The beer and wine section will take up four percent of space near the customer service area in the back of the store, “so we can keep a close eye on the site.”
He noted that he will sign a “no craft beer” agreement in the lease in which Foodie’s will not sell the same beverages currently being sold by Craft Beer Celler, the artisanal beer store down the block.
“Our intent is not to hurt anyone, but rather drive business of the center of Belmont rather than away from it,” said Cruz, noting the Cellar’s owners, Kate Baker and Suzanne Schalow, approve of the store coming to the center. Cruz will also speak with Carolyn Kemp, co-owner of Vintages in Belmont.
Diane Malcolmson of Pinehurst Road said it is important for town leaders and residents remember that retail owners such as Kemp “that took a chance on this town five years ago when we needed that alcohol revenue.”
“We just expect you to be a good neighbor and encourage you to speak to all the businesses” in the center, said Malcolmson.