HANNIBAL, NY – Hannibal residents have recently learned of the loss of one of the community’s longest known assets.
The Hannibal Village Market IGA has been Hannibal’s only withstanding full-scale grocery store for the past 50 years and one of few remaining family owned stores locally.
Current owner, Jim Mirabito, has run the store for the last 24 years and recently confirmed that Tops will be taking over the store by the end of summer.
Mirabito and his family have been in service to the Hannibal community through the Village Market for 50 years, but in the grocery business for almost 90 years.
“My grandfather opened a store in 1928 on Erie Street in Fulton. My father opened a small store in Hannibal in 1966. In 1976, he moved to a larger store that eventually burned in 1978. In 1980, he opened where the Rite Aid building now stands and in 1990 he built the Village Market where it is today,” Mirabito explained.
However, the store will soon come to an end as it transitions to a Tops Friendly Market.
Customers have recently seen substantial mark downs on many products throughout the store as everything must be cleared out by the store’s final day in service, August 7 closing officially at 3 p.m.
The news was a heavy blow for many members of the small, prideful Hannibal community as the Village Market was a big asset to many other local businesses and organizations.
One of the many ways the Village Market contributed to the community was through their unique receipt program that benefited nearly 20 local non-profit groups and organizations.
Customers could save their register receipts or deposit them into a bin at the front of the store labeled with the non-profit of their choice. The organizations could then come in and collect all the receipts that were donated in their honor and the Village Market IGA would donate $1 for every $400 worth of purchases.
“I always put mine in the Hannibal music boosters slot,” said one Hannibal resident and frequent IGA shopper, Samantha Bushnell.
Bushnell said she was grateful for the opportunity to help the organization with the receipt program as provided by the Village Market. “This is a small town and every little bit helps for some of these local organizations,” she said.
It was the local touch the store provided that made Bushnell a loyal shopper.
“I think it’s sad to see such an asset to the community being taken over by another big business. That’s what this community loved most about the IGA. The hometown, welcoming feeling every time you walked through the doors and saw other members of the community you’ve grown up with. The support of local farmers was another reason why I loved shopping there. Buying local is important and I hope that doesn’t have an impact on surrounding farms,” she said.
“I always put my receipt in the sports boosters bin,” said another Hannibal resident, Kelly Grover. “Athletics was a big part of high school for me so I liked giving to them. I really appreciated the help the IGA gave all those organizations, I’m sad to see it go.”
Much like other Hannibal residents, Grover liked the home town touch of the store but just as importantly, the quality of the products sold.
But who is going to miss the store more, the devoted customers or the long-time family owner?
“I’m going to miss interacting with the customers every day, helping find solutions for their needs. I’m going to miss the employees, hiring a young 16-year-old and watching them learn not just job skills but life skills, watching them grow as people and move on to bigger and better job opportunities. I’m going to miss coming to work in a 15 inch snowstorm. It’s really all of the above, it’s not just one thing. I’m going to miss it all,” Mirabito said.
Although it could be deemed the end of an era, there’s no saying what the future may hold.
“Do I have any future plans set? No… but am I going to crawl under a rock? No. There’s just nothing concrete yet,” Mirabito said.
One thing for certain, the store will be officially closing as the Hannibal Village Market IGA as of August 7 and will reopen as part of the Tops Friendly Markets chain, although unsure when the opening will be.