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TOUR: Sunny Ridge Supermarket - Bethlehem, CT

Sunny Ridge Supermarket
Owner: Steven Meehan Jr.
Open: 1966-2023
Cooperative: none
 82 Main St S, Bethlehem, CT
Photographed: July 9, 2021
We've seen (and will continue to see) quite a few very well-run independent stores that seem to be doing very well in Connecticut. Unfortunately, some are definitely less successful. We're here at the Sunny Ridge Supermarket in Bethlehem, CT, about 30 miles southwest of Hartford and 10 miles northwest of Waterbury, which closed shortly after I visited. The supermarket was about 8000 square feet and also had a small gas station attached until around 2010. The store finally went under in the first half of 2023, and we can see it vacant in an August 2023 street view. When I visited in the summer of 2021, the store was definitely struggling but I didn't think it was about to close.
You entered around the middle of the storefront, then turn right to enter produce in the front right corner of the store. Dairy lined the first aisle, with frozen foods at the back. That made up the right-side room, then there was a second room to the left (which I assume was the original store that was later expanded) with the registers in the front, a few short aisles with nonfoods and HABA, and deli/meat on the back wall. There were more frozen foods on the far left side of the store.
As we can see, the store's interior was quite old and didn't exactly have the same charm as some of the others we've been seeing. It wasn't a completely decrepit interior, but it definitely wasn't quite as well-maintained as some others like what we saw in Washington and Sherman.
The grocery selection was very straightforward with really only the basics and not a lot of other choices. The store was not a member of any cooperative but sold the Hy-Top products from Bozzuto's. You can see a few examples on the shelves in the picture below. Hy-Top, which comes from the IL-based Federated Group, has mostly been replaced with Life Every Day and Life Goods.
Pet foods and laundry detergent in this section, not with the other nonfoods in the left side of the store.
You can see the store was not particularly well stocked when I visited, but they definitely weren't preparing to close just yet because the store was open for close to two more years.
Here as we move into the left side room, though, there's a little more sign of the store winding down. The deli had been greatly reduced and what looks like it may have been a butcher or more of a kitchen for take-out foods seems to have been mostly removed.
The meats were all in that refrigerator to the left of the deli counter, so it was a small meat department. It may have originally been larger, I don't know what the history of the store was like. The Sunny Ridge Supermarket opened in 1966, and it looks like it was expanded in the late 1970s. I also think they were the first tenant here.
Here's a look at the HABA department opposite the deli. It's actually an impressive selection and much more than your average convenience store or small supermarket. The registers were opposite that, featuring a very empty magazine rack...
Okay, so maybe there were signs that the store's closure was impending. Up next we're heading towards Waterbury for a store with a twist: it's an IGA, but it's actually part of a much larger company. Tour that one on The Market Report on Monday!