At a recent Floral Park board meeting, the board of trustees heard the application of Sureshbhai Patel, who is looking to open a convenience store at 47 Covert Ave., which was known to many as the former Yoga & Pilates store.
“The store will be a convenience store and will be kind of unique to Covert Avenue,” said New Hyde Park architect Kevin Garvin. “I can’t think of one that’s really the same to what he’s proposing unless you go to another town…He did explain to me that he will not be selling vaping materials or Juuls. We feel that it could make that strip a little nicer to have an actual business in it and not a vacant store. He has shown that he is looking to put the money into the store by putting a new storefront in.”
However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing from the beginning for Patel when village trustee and Hillcrest representative Lynn Pombonyo brought up an incident that happened in August 2018 with Patel and his contractors.
“You had been told by our building inspector earlier in the day to cease the demolition,” said Pombonyo. “Yet, when I got there you still demolished the store. It took the Floral Park Police to get it to stop. What I want to know is why did you continue?”
Patel said that it was a misunderstanding between the contractors, stating that it was his first time doing something like this.
“I didn’t have any idea,” said Patel. “I took the responsibility and fixed it.”
Patel plans to have his proposed convenience store open every day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. except on Sundays, closing at 5 p.m. With approximately two employees working in the store, Patel plans to sell candy, various grocery items, alcohol, cigarettes and lottery tickets, and will have a delivery service as well. Patel also informed the board that he does not yet have a liquor license.
When asked by trustee Frank Chiara about his delivery service, Patel responded that an employee on an electric bike will make deliveries to residents starting from noon to 8 p.m.
“People can go online and order the food,” said Patel. “They do things like that in Manhattan.”
Also inside Patel’s proposed store, a table with five chairs for the QuickDraw lottery would be placed. The game plays every four minutes where players can watch the game on a big screen television.
When it came for public comment, many residents voiced their disapproval of Patel’s store and had concerns about the sale of alcohol, tobacco, gambling and parking.
“This guy is selling liquor and gambling on Covert Avenue?” asked resident Anthony Difrancesca, who lives on Marshall Avenue. “There’s nothing this gentleman is going to sell that’s not for sale already. You got high school kids walking up and down the street. A store like this is going to draw them like flies. It just doesn’t seem right that you can have this type of business.”
Resident Rob Guglielmo questioned the board about how this new business would affect parking in the area.
“Five chairs and a table? How is that going to impact parking? Where are they going to put their cars? Second of all, alcohol? This man you mentioned, they had a problem in the beginning with this. They began work without the proper permits. I don’t know if that speaks for itself right there. How do we know this is going to be a legit place?”
“These five chairs and a table you really don’t need in the store,” said resident Sam Sirignano. “You can sell lotto tickets without selling that one game where you have to sit and watch the screen. Raindew sells them [tickets], the liquor store across the street sells them and they do very well.”
After seeing pushback from many residents in the village, Patel told the board that he would get rid of the tables, the five chairs and the QuickDraw machine.
Mayor Dominick Longobardi closed the public hearing to reserve the board’s decision.