Chris, John, and Joe DeCicco at the Millwood DeCicco & Sons location

DeCicco & Sons grocery store opens in Millwood

The community has been waiting for a new store in the former A&P space for months.

Chris, John, and Joe DeCicco at the Millwood DeCicco & Sons location

Akiko Matsuda
(The article was updated since its original publication Dec. 28.)

MILLWOOD – A new DeCicco & Sons supermarket opened Dec. 30 in the space formerly occupied by A&P at the Millwood Shopping Center.

The community has been eagerly waiting for a new grocery store in the location for months.

“I’m very, very, very excited. I peeked through the windows and it looks clean,” said Patti Murphy, 49, of Millwood on Wednesday at the strip mall’s parking lot. “I live right across the street. I love DeCicco and go to their Armonk store because I don’t have a grocery store close by.”

The store on Saw Mill River Road at Routes 100 and 133 officially opened for business at 7:30 a.m. Dec. 30. At 3 p.m., elected officials will gather to mark the occasion.

The newly-renovated 20,000-square-foot store at 230 Saw Mill Road will feature top-quality produce, meats, seafood, cheeses, a delicatessen, baked goods and other gourmet grocery items along with a selection of craft beer, a bar and dining area, according to the DeCicco & Sons company.

Town wants store

The decision to open a store in Millwood was prompted by requests from a variety of community members, according to officials with the family-owned supermarket chain.

“They came to us,” John DeCicco Sr. said. “The whole town, the town supervisor, they wanted us over here.”

Dodd Farber of Armonk, who owns a liquor store next to the former A&P location at the Millwood strip mall, said he visited DeCicco’s Armonk store earlier this year and petitioned DeCicco to bring a new supermarket to Millwood.

“I said, ‘You should come to Millwood. Millwood would be perfect for you guys,'” recalled Farber, who has been managing Dodd’s Liquor City for more than four decades. “I said, ‘The area wants something like this.'”

The DeCiccos later visited Millwood and realized that the hamlet’s demography matched the company’s target audience, which includes foodies who appreciate top-quality groceries and attentive service offered in a beautiful environment, company officials said.

The DeCiccos started the $6-million gut-renovation project in September. The work was done in a little less than four months, which is “unheard-of” considering its magnitude, said DeCicco, who thanked New Castle town officials who worked hand in hand with the company to move the process along smoothly.

“It was important that we maintained a supermarket in the Millwood Plaza,” said New Castle town Supervisor Rob Greenstein in a statement. “We got it done, and we hit the jackpot with DeCicco & Sons.”

‘Green’ supermarket

In addition to its Italian-influenced grocery selections, the Millwood store uses cutting-edge technologies that make the store eco-friendly, said Joe DeCicco Jr.

“The most innovative thing here probably is designing the store completely ‘green’ in mind,” he said. “You are going to see the latest technologies in all of our (refrigeration) cases that have zero harmful emissions to the atmosphere.”

The advanced refrigeration system will minimize the store’s environmental impacts, including ozone. The heat generated from the refrigeration process will be transformed into reusable energy to power machines to chill water and to provide heat and hot water, according to the company.

The advanced refrigeration system is already in use at the company’s Larchmont store, which received a platinum-level certification under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill program. The initiative aims to reduce refrigerant emissions and decrease the impact on the ozone layer and climate change. As of November, 52 platinum-level certificates have been issued, including nine in New York state, according to EPA.

The company is aiming to receive the same platinum-level certification for the Millwood store, John DeCicco Sr. said.

The store’s energy-efficient LED lighting will save energy, and rooftop solar panels — to be installed in the near future — will partially power the store. Following New Castle’s town ordinance, the store will limit the use of plastic bags, he added.

Evolving business

The grocery retailing landscape in the region has been rapidly changing in the wake of the A&P bankruptcy in July 2015. A&P, the first traditional supermarket operator in the nation with 156 years of history, sold off many of its stores across the region to competitors. Acme took over 71 A&P stores, including 21 in Westchester and Connecticut.

Meanwhile, Balducci’s, the upscale gourmet grocery, will open in the former D’Agostino’s location in the Rye Ridge Shopping Center in Rye Brook in January, according to a company spokeswoman.

In Harrison, grocery chain Wegmans is pitching a megastore on Corporate Park Drive off Westchester Avenue. The proposed plans call for a standalone 125,000-square-foot store and an 8,000-square-foot “complementary retail outparcel.”

The evolving DeCicco family business was born in 1972 when the DeCicco brothers — Frank Sr., John Sr. and Joe Sr. — started selling groceries out of a small storefront in the Bronx. The business steadily grew over the years and has become a thriving regional grocery chain.

Including the Millwood store, there are 13 grocery stores that bear the “DeCicco” name, although they are owned by two different companies: The DeCicco & Sons company — which is run by John Sr., Joe Sr. and their sons — has stores in Larchmont, Brewster, Armonk, Harrison, Ardsley and Pelham in addition to Millwood. The DeCicco & Sons company also is in the process of opening a store in Somers.

Stores under the DeCicco Family Markets company, which is run by Frank Sr. and his family, are located in New City, Scarsdale, Cornwall, Katonah, Cross River and Jefferson Valley.

Even though the business grew, the traditions cultivated in the family business, such as its “cashier receipt give-back” program, remain the same, John DeCicco Sr. said. The program donates 1 percent of pre-tax sales to educational programs in the host community. The donations are calculated based on the store receipts collected throughout the school year.

Policies such as the give-back program allow the company to build a strong bond with the community, John DeCicco Sr. said. People become loyal to the store because of the donations, and the company thrives as a result, he said.

“It’s win-win for both of us,” he said.