Main Street in Farmingdale is currently blighted by several boarded-up businesses, but of the departed merchants, none are quite as glaring as the Waldbaums formerly located at 450 Main Street.
Closed in April, 2011 after parent The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company had declared bankruptcy and announced the liquidation of 32 of its Tri-State area stores, the former Waldbaums has remained a silent, empty husk; it’s once bustling parking lot now continuously empty.
“It’s an eyesore,” said Melissa Goulden, who was walking through the lot to the greeting card store at the far end of the shopping center. “I used to come here to do my shopping all the time, since I live local and don’t drive. Now it’s just sitting there taking up space, and it looks horrible.”
As for what kind of business she would like to take its place, Goulden’s choice was as immediate as it was obvious.
“Another supermarket, of course,” she said. “Then I wouldn’t have to hitch rides to Stop and Shop.”
Cal Ruffalo has a relative who lives in the nearby Hardscrabble Seniors home on Main Street who used to walk to Waldbaums for their weekly food shopping trip when it was open.
“Now they have to rely on rides from myself and my sister to get any shopping done,” he said. “It’s a shame...Waldbaums was ideally situated for a great many members of the community. The fact that it closed down was a pretty big blow to a lot of people, especially the seniors.”
Ruffalo’s vision of an ideal replacement business for the large, vacant property was, again, predictable.
“It’s the perfect location for a Stop and Shop, or some other supermarket,” he said. “Plus, the increased traffic from such a place would almost certainly help boost local business as well.”
As for possible plans for the former Waldbaums property, calls put into the building’s landlord were not returned as of press time.