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Wegmans Markets is reconsidering plans to demolish its Sheridan Drive store in Amherst and build a bigger supermarket at the site, after hearing a number of customers complain about the proposal.

The project is on hold, for now, while the Rochester-based food company explores alternatives, Wegmans officials confirmed.

A decision is expected in January.

"We're revisiting our decision to close the Sheridan Drive store," said Ann McCarthy, consumer affairs manager for Wegmans.

"We continue to hear that the closing will be a hardship for our customers, so we're continuing to explore other options with the town," McCarthy said.

That's good news to many Wegmans customers.

Since August, when the supermarket chain unveiled plans for the new store, Wegmans officials have heard complaints from customers worried about being without the Sheridan Drive grocery store for almost a year while the project is under construction.

There isn't enough room to construct a new store at the 10-acre site without first knocking down the existing building.

Wegmans had hoped by February to start razing the 90,000-square-foot store at 5275 Sheridan, one of the chain's first locations in the Buffalo market.

Wegmans then planned to build a 113,500-square-foot store -- similar to the Wegmans on Alberta Drive in Amherst -- with its trademark brick bread-oven, sandwich shop, coffee bar and WKids child-care center.

The new store was scheduled to open next year in late November.

Senior citizens who live near the supermarket and depend on it for food and medicine, in particular, were upset about the store closing.

One possibility being considered is simply keeping the store open and remodeling the building, Amherst's Assistant Building Commissioner F. Robert Danni said.

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