David and Robert Cronig, 1976
Photo courtesy of Peter Cronig
The Cronig brothers are expanding again. Robert and David Cronig, who inherited their father’s grocery business in Vineyard Haven’s center in 1956, have enlarged their Main street market twice. And now they are building an even larger market outside of town on State Road.
The new store, they say, will help to alleviate downtown traffic, affording shoppers the convenience of completing their food errands outside of town. Won’t that harm business for their in-town market? The Cronig brothers hope it will relieve some of the pressure on the small Main street store.
“We’ve reached our capacity,” David Cronig said this week. “And a lot of people won’t come into town during the summer.” Robert Cronig adds, “There’s just too much time and pressure being put into this store.”
The new store, which will have a total of 9,000 square feet of storage in the cellar will give the business a new freedom. Again, David Cronig: “We can now take advantage of our buying power with a full storage. It gives us the chance to be very competitive, with our own trailers going to the mainland for goods.”
A total of 7,200 square feet will remain for selling space. The store will be completely self service but, David Cronig adds, “We will offer as much personal service as we do here.”
F. Craig Klocker of Decor Designers in Marblehead, has been given the task of working a continuous interior store design. He has chosen a marine-seaport flavor, Mr. Cronig says, with each department having its own “look.”
Cut-outs of farm animals will be hung above the meat counter, and plans include a liberal supply of potted plants to be hung across the store. An over­sized map of the Island will be placed in the peak of the A-frame structure so customers, can study roads, byways and points of interest.
The Cronigs have also given Mr. Klocker old family negatives which depict the history of the family’s grocery business which began in 1917. The original store, with the Cronig brothers trucks in the 1920s will be shown, as will the now famous shot of Samuel Cronig delivering groceries by horse and wagon.
The Cronigs expect speedy customer service with five check-out counters in the front of the store. Business will be conducted strictly on cash-and-carry, they say, with Vineyard Haven deliveries still maintained in their downtown store.
A full service delicatessen will be added in the new store with fresh cut cold cuts, salads and spreads. David Cronig adds, “We will have more frozen food than we do now, more dairy products, and we will continue to specialize in fancy cheeses.”
There will be no tiles on the floor. A single piece of polyurethane will be stretched across the main floor. The same covering will be used for both the floor and walls of the meat cutting room, allowing store employees “to keep things much cleaner,” Mr. David Cronig said.
The brothers foresee the State Road store becoming their main market, with the Main street market becoming “a convenience store,” as David Cronig termed it. The in-town store will con­tinue to service, he said, “the people close to town and those who wish to charge their groceries.”
The new store will open on or shortly after July 1, Mr. Cronig said. The store will remain open six days each week, with doors opening at eight each
morning and closing at nine each evening.