Schmidt’s Market, a Southampton Village fixture, may open a new outlet to take the place of a long-established market on Shelter Island by Memorial Day weekend, according to owner Dennis Schmidt.
After nearly four decades, Fedi’s Market on North Ferry Road, in the center of the island, closed its doors last weekend. Mr. Schmidt said he is in the process of signing a lease for the 2,000-square-foot store and expects to transform the space into a year-round, full market with a deli counter, a meat department and kitchen.
Fedi’s Market was a Shelter Island institution for years, according to community members, but its owner, Doug Warner, became ill, and his daughters, Jan and Sue Warner, took over. Mr. Schmidt said that the sisters were “just tired of it” and folded the business, and the owner of the building, Dan Calabro, contacted him.
Although there are a good handful of markets in town, the idea of a Schmidt’s filling the void Fedi’s left behind has received a positive response overall.
According to Marie Eiffel, who owns Reddings Market just two miles away, the sisters had a lot of responsibility running the store. “It is a sad story—there’s not a happy ending,” she said. “They had too much on their shoulders and had to let it go.”
Ms. Eiffel, who is originally from France but has lived on Shelter Island for the past seven years, said Fedi’s was much like a convenience store in Paris—always open and stocked with basic necessities.
She said when the store closed on Sunday, the community turned out to say “goodbye.” “It was nice to see the community come out,” she said, her voice breaking. “I think it is sad for the island. [The staff] knew everybody’s habits and everybody’s character.”
She said she is unfamiliar with Schmidt’s but is supportive of a new market.
Shelter Island Town Supervisor Jim Dougherty said it is a shame that Fedi’s has gone, especially since it was the community’s store. “They were such wonderful, generous citizens—after a fire or a storm, they were very generous in donating food and other items,” he said. “They were terrific neighbors, and we’ll miss them terribly.”
Mr. Dougherty said he believes there is a need for a market to open up in that spot. “They’re right next to the center post office, so it’s very convenient to pick up a few items,” he said. “We’re excited and looking forward to Schmidt’s opening.”
Mr. Schmidt said he has had many customers from Shelter Island visit his North Sea Road store—more so after the news began to spread of his impending opening on the island. “We had police officers come over to see what we’re going to be serving,” he said.
Currently, Schmidt’s has two locations, one in Southampton Village and the Schmidt’s Seafood Market in North Sea. Mr. Schmidt said the newest addition was unforeseen, but not out of the blue.
“We weren’t really looking to expand, but when opportunity knocks …” he said. “We had looked at it years before but we walked away from it.”
Now that Mr. Schmidt has opened the door, so to speak, he said he hopes the Shelter Island community will welcome the market.
“I think we have sort of a captive audience,” he said. “We have good products and product lines that we’ll export over there, and, hopefully, they’re going to appreciate and embrace that.”