CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – Croton Trustee Greg Schmidt chided fellow village board members after the general manager of Zeytinia’s told the board his business was down by as much as 25 percent after the indoor farmers market moved into the Van Wyck Shopping Center.
“It is far too late to address the parking,” Schmidt said of the Croton shopping center’s parking lot. “This man, this business, is losing money if you have the audacity to tell him he can lose $50,000 to $60,000 in the next 10 weeks.”
Erdal Kilic, Zeytinia’s general manager, said parking has been a problem in the shopping center since the grocery store opened eight years ago, but he had never been to a board meeting because he doesn’t like to complain.
“Two weeks ago I heard the village farmers market is coming, I couldn’t believe my ears,” Kilic said. Community Markets opened an indoor farmers market in the former Blockbuster location two weeks ago after a contentious 3-2 vote by the village board to issue the required special permit.
Kilic said other business owners had expressed parking woes to him as well, and that he gave pictures of the parking situation on Saturday mornings to Village Manager Abraham Zambrano.
Trustee Ian Murtaugh, however, said he spent about an hour at the shopping center during the mid-morning rush the last two Saturdays, and hadn’t seen the same problems Kilic described. Schmidt responded by calling Murtaugh’s comments an “audacity for you there to argue with him,” adding that Community Markets manager Miriam Haas, “was just looking to be in the busiest place in Croton and you let her come in there.”
Trustee Ann Gallelli said the board could look closer at the parking issue during an upcoming work session. Schmidt, however, said the damage had already been done and the board could only rectify the situation by acting as valets in the parking lot, or paving the land opposite the Van Wyck Shopping Center to create more parking.
Haas, responding to the criticism, said, "People are shopping to buy and then get out, and we have people who come in to say they’re going to Zeytinia’s, and I know our vendors eat pizza madly. People go shopping where they want to buy the products."
Village Manager Abraham Zambrano said Zeytinia's does have a non-competition agreement in the Van Wyck One Shopping Center, but the Blockbuster location where the winter farmers market is located has a different owner and the non-competition clause of Zeytinia's lease does not apply.