Mihir Patel Gives Lake Residents an In-Town Alternative

Most residents would agree that the closing of Pathmark and then Fresh Imperium left a serious grocery void in Lake Hopatcong. The Jefferson Market is looking to fill that void with an addition to its current space and a variety of new offerings. Mihir Patel, aka Junior, has plans to include additional grocery items. “This will not compete with Shoprite, but residents will be able to come to us for last-minute groceries,” Patel said.

“This has always been my dream,” Patel told The Jefferson Chronicle. Patel worked at the Jefferson Market for thirteen years before purchasing the business, building, and adjacent lot in 2017. 

The new L-shaped structure will utilize the vacant lot behind the current market. It will start about 30 feet from the road where the outer perimeter of the existing parking lot is now. 

Patel plans on keeping the current market open during construction of the new building; however, the original 1700-sq. ft. building will eventually be demolished. Parking modifications are planned during the construction phase. 

The new construction will include two floors and a partial basement and consist of approximately 4100 sq. ft. The top level will be used for storage, and the basement will consist of a garage. The site will include 17 parking spaces for customers, an additional four parking spaces in the back, and a few in the garage. Patel estimates that his current 11 door coolers will increase to about 30, as well as between six and eight door freezers. It will include limited fresh produce. Patel believes that his current staff may slightly increase.

The original site plan which is undergoing changes to the facade. (Graphic courtesy of The Nadler Group)
The original site plan which is undergoing changes to the facade. (Graphic courtesy of The Nadler Group)

Aesthetically Pleasing Building

The planning board approved the site plan on September 10; however, changes to the façade are already in the works. The planning board requested that the building have architectural characteristics more in keeping with the neighborhood. Patel stated he is happy to make those aesthetic changes. 

Because Espanong Road is a county road, county officials are currently conducting a traffic study. Construction of the new building is slated to begin in March 2020 and estimated to last three months. 

Patel started working on this concept in May 2018 and is anxious to see the completed project. “I just want something to help our residents,” he said.

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