ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Stewart’s store at the corner of Manning Boulevard and Central Avenue is closing on Thursday, November 16. Stewart’s Shops Corp. made the announcement on Tuesday, citing an increase in public safety concerns at that location.
“We pride ourselves on being part of the fabric of the communities we serve, and we worked closely with Albany Police and the City of Albany officials in an attempt to resolve concerns at our Manning Boulevard shop,” said Gary Dake, President of Stewart’s Shops. “The safety of our partners and loyal customers remains an issue at this location.”
NEWS10 James De La Fuente spoke with local customers, who expressed their disappointment about the unsafe environment. “I come here a lot to get my coffee,” said Richard Sanford. “It’s a shame they are going to close the doors because of violence. We all have to stick together to stop the violence.”
Pastors on Patrol have been called to the location by neighbors and even store managers. “The complaints we get and have seen are mostly from students from local schools,” said Bishop Avery Comithier. “It has caused patrons not to want to go there. It has caused a loss of products from the store. I’m told by managers that they can’t continue so it doesn’t surprise me.”
David Galin, Chief of Staff to Mayor Kathy Sheehan, released the following statement about the closing: “The City of Albany and the Albany Police Department have worked closely with Stewart’s Shops for several years in an effort to address the concerns raised at this location. While it is unfortunate that the store will close, it is important to note Stewart’s confirmed they are not seeing this type of activity at the other stores across the City of Albany, including Henry Johnson Blvd., New Scotland Ave., Northern Blvd., and Western Ave. We are encouraged that Stewart’s remains committed to expanding their presence in the City of Albany and look forward to working with them to do so.”
According to Stewart’s representatives, the public safety concerns include robberies, theft, and verbal and physical assaults at that particular store. Employees have been offered positions at other Stewart’s locations.