Cleveland grocer may open store in downtown Dayton

City officials pitch former Greyhound site

City of Dayton officials and downtown supporters met with owners of Cleveland-based grocery store chain Constantino’s Market Wednesday and Thursday to pitch the idea of opening a location in downtown Dayton, perhaps in the former Greyhound bus terminal at South Jefferson and East Fifth streets.

“I’d characterize this as a preliminary dialogue,” said Shelley Dickstein, Dayton’s assistant city manager for strategic development. But in the decade that city officials have talked with grocers about locating in downtown Dayton, “We haven’t had anyone come here to visit and take a hard look at things, so this is a little further down the path than previous efforts. We are cautiously optimistic.”

Anna Mavromichalis, co-owner and general manager of Constantino’s Market, said Thursday that she and her father, company president Costas Mavromichalis, need to gather more information about the scope and demographics of the potential market in downtown Dayton, and come up with cost estimates for construction and renovation, before making any decisions. If Constantino’s owners do go ahead with the project, construction would take two to three years, she said.

Constantino’s Market operates two full-size groceries of about 15,000 square feet in Cleveland — “similar in size to what we would be looking at in Dayton,” Mavromichalis said — and a third, smaller location. The larger stores offer a variety of prepared foods, including sushi, a salad bar, bakery and deli in addition to selling grocery items, she said.

Sandy Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership, said the owners of Constantino’s Market have a track record of success in Cleveland and “understand the urban model” of grocery stores.

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Downtown Dayton has Stop-N-Save Foods at 36 W. Third St., which opened 15 years ago and which sells groceries. But adding another grocery store is part of a long-term plan for downtown, Gudorf said.

Steve Seboldt, chairman of the Downtown Dayton Priority Board, attended a reception for the Constantino’s owners and said the downtown store idea “has a lot of potential.” A Constantino’s Market could become a destination shopping spot and attract customers from outside downtown, Seboldt said.

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