Editor’s Note: The Suffield Observer staff wants to thank the Devanneys for their tremendous support of our community over the past 20 years.
Highland Park Market became Suffield Village Market on August 24, when the sale to the new owner Shih Ming Chou was finalized. Mr. Chou (pronounced “chow”) comes to our town after the sale of his most recent store, Higganum Village Market in Higganum, Conn. With new ownership, people will begin to see changes in the store. The speed by which they occur will be impacted by pandemic-related issues, including labor force challenges and supply chain disruptions.
Customers can expect to see an increase in the variety and availability of organic and natural foods. Mr. Chou has plans to gradually add 6,000 to 8,000 products. Relationships with current and local suppliers will continue with new ones being formed to grow the store’s offerings. Supporting local suppliers’ rates highly in Mr. Chou’s vendor selections. His first focus will be dairy products and he will continue with additional areas progressively. Aside from signage to reflect the new name, no structural alterations are planned. An increase in Saturday open hours is also under consideration and may be implemented in the future.
Among the many things that will remain the same is the in-store customer experience. Don’t expect to see any self-checkouts: As previously done, employees will finish the purchase by scanning, bagging and providing assistance with bags to the vehicle. Services such as catering and grocery delivery continue. The bakery, full-service delicatessen, and freshly prepared food will also continue to be available.
Beyond the store, Mr. Chou intends to be actively involved in the community through local hiring, activity sponsorship, etc. Highland Park Market was the first employer for many young people, and he intends to continue that practice, providing good foundational skills for their future employment.
The store’s website aims to be up and running by early September. Instacart, an online ordering platform, is being added to enable shopping directly from a customer’s computer or mobile device. Suffield Village Market plans to have a social media presence in coming months. However, it is currently a work in progress.
Highland Park Market opened in 2001 and was the first supermarket in town since the A&P closed in 1995. After 20 years in Suffield, the Devanney family made the difficult decision to sell the store. Their plan is to use proceeds from the sale to remodel another of their stores- they have locations in Manchester, Glastonbury and Farmington. They have enjoyed their time in Suffield and admire the great pride residents take in their community. The Devanneys are moving on, knowing the store is in good hands with Mr. Chou, who will maintain the highest level of quality that Suffield has come to expect. Mr. Chou is looking forward to welcoming and acquainting himself with the store’s clientele.