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Latina's closing Orchard Park store today

The Latina's Market in Orchard Park will close its doors at 2 p.m. today.

Chuck Marazzo, president of the Latina Niagara Importing Co., said a sale was pending on the property.

"We sold our Clarence store to Dash's, and we had an opportunity to negotiate a sale on this one and we're going to take that opportunity," said Marazzo. "It's pending. We're in negotiations."

Marazzo said he couldn't identify the potential buyer of the 50,000-square-foot store.

The store has 10 full-time employees and 35 part-timers, Marazzo said. He said Latina's plans to place as many workers as possible at its other stores. Stores on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo and in Batavia are expected to remain open.

"I'm extremely disappointed and frustrated but not surprised," Orchard Park Supervisor Mary Travers Murphy said. "The store never caught on with a large enough contingent of Orchard Park residents to be successful."

Travers Murphy said she had been in constant dialogue with Benderson Development over the past month discussing the future of the property.

"We've made it very clear to Benderson we don't want another empty building sitting in that plaza," she said. "We've been letting them know we want to try to woo another grocer."

"It will certainly be a loss to the village, and to [Orchard Park]. They present an alternative to shopping in a large grocery store," said Nancy Conley, the executive director of the Orchard Park Chamber of Commerce.

Marazzo said the store was particularly hard hit by the October storm, which resulted in the store losing almost all of its perishable goods.

"That really hurt us a lot. We're still working with the insurance companies on that," he said. "That really took a chunk out of us." Marazzo said the employees would keep their benefits through the end of the month and then would have be able to keep their insurance, although they'd have to pay for it.

The Orchard Park Latina's was opened in the fall of 2005. The North Buffalo Street location had been the site of Jubilee and Super Duper markets.

Marazzo said the decision to close was simply business, saying Latina's had good relations with the Town of Orchard Park.

"We had a lot of people rooting for us," he said. "It was just a business decision. We'd like to thank all the customers for their loyalty, but we felt it was something we had to do."

e-mail: eploetz@buffnews.com

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