BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. -- Following the “tricky” demolition of the existing structure and the construction of a new one, Stewart’s Shops will open a convenience store in Ballston Spa, N.Y., on May 18. What makes this a milestone is that the new building is “just inches” away from the old building, Stewart’s Shops’ first retail location, which opened in 1945.
This location is the company’s namesake. The Dake family began making Dake's Delicious Ice Cream in 1921 at the family farm in Greenfield, N.Y. Brothers Percy and Charles Dake purchased a dairy and ice-cream plant in Ballston Spa from Donald Stewart in 1945, and kept the name.
The small store at the front of the dairy plant became the first Stewart’s Ice Cream Shop. The ice-cream shop evolved into a Stewart’s Soup and Sandwich Shop with booths and waitresses. A fire heavily damaged it in 1984, which lead to its demolition. The company built a new Stewart’s Bread and Butter there the following year, focusing on the sale of groceries such as milk and bread, as well as ice cream.
The new convenience store (click here to see images of the construction process) will increase in size by about 1,500 square feet, with a wider variety of proprietary Easy Food items, including fresh-made pizza and subs. The larger footprint also provides more seating, a beer cave and two bathrooms.
Outside, a larger parking lot will include two more fueling points than the current store—for a total of six—and include diesel. The company said it expects to have that completed by the end of June.
In the video below, Bill Dake, chairman offers a look at Stewart’s Shops through the decades.
In 2016, Stewart's aims "to build as many as 20 new shops" across New York State, about half of them new-to-industry (NTI) stores and half of them raze and rebuilds, the company said in December 2015.
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.-based Stewart's Shops operates more than 330 convenience stores in New York and Vermont and has annual sales of approximately $1.6 billion.