Local Treasure - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2045842

Local Treasure

Is there a cash register where the heart of Southampton Village used to be?

If you are among that tiny fraction of our village population who does not know Schmidt’s Market, opposite our gigantic post office [“Schmidt’s Market Will Close After 43 Years in Business,” 27east.com, October 5], then let me introduce you to this Norman Rockwell family.

The Schmidt brothers (and father) are what the American myth of the 1940s and 1950s used to be: They are all local, with families they are raising in our beautiful county. They all work in or for the market, providing our local families with excellent meat, vegetables and staples at affordable prices, and if you can tell these owners from the hired help, I’ll buy you a Schmidt brothers filet mignon for your whole family.

And the Schmidt brothers manage to do this without even adding to our highly publicized traffic problem, because they come to work well before traffic accumulates (Schmidt’s Market is open for made-to-order breakfast at 5 in the morning, while the people who open Citarella at 8 a.m. are still asleep.) And the Schmidt brothers don’t get to go home until traffic on Hill Street has dwindled down to pre-Epley years.

Yet, this hard-working family, whose market is so popular with our village residents because of its fair pricing, and whose smiling and friendly short-order cooks provide man-sized breakfasts for the workers without whom our houses and gardens would fall into disarray — this family, the Schmidt brothers, are being driven out of business because of landlord greed.

Where will I find concord grapes and fresh figs? Not at Shop & Stop. Not at Citarella. Where will I be greeted with a big, friendly smile by the women who run the breakfast and lunch counter in the back, and be able to take home my daily bacon-and-egg sandwich on toasted rye, and a steaming hot cup of coffee with real milk?

Our village mayors and trustees always talk big about wanting more mom-and-pop businesses, more local families providing products and services in our village. Yet a previous administration drove several local businesses, including a local yoga studio, out of their leased spaces in order to make room for Citarella. We found room for Starbucks. We found room for McDonald’s. We found room for Stop & Shop.

Are you telling me we can’t find room, find a way to keep Schmidt’s Market, this local treasure in our village?

Evelyn Konrad

Attorney at law