By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
It had been nearly a year since Bill Alcaro stepped foot inside Rumson Market Place, the East River Road business he owned for 22 years until back surgery forced him to sell it.
When he left, it still had old refrigerators and creaky wood floors. It was, as borough resident Terry Schaefer Severance put it, “a classic old Rumson neighborhood market.”
On Thursday, when Alcaro walked in for a cup of coffee, he saw the old neighborhood market revitalized new refrigerators, new floors and all.
“Place looks great,” he said. “It’s beautiful.”
Questions loomed what would happen to the market after Alcaro sold it, but they’re answered now: the Rumson Market is back in business, with an updated look but the same small-town feel.
“We’re so thrilled they kept it” as a grocery and butcher shop, Schaefer Severance said.
The possibility was there, of course, to go in a completely different direction, co-owner Jerry St-Cyr said.
His business partner Craig Cummings had bought the building from Alcaro, and brought St-Cyr on board to gut and renovate the place. The two weren’t sure what they were going to do with the space until somebody offered to rent it and use it as a store and market.
“Then Craig and I said, wait a minute. Why don’t we do that?” St-Cyr said.
So they set out to replicate what Rumson Market had already established in the neighborhood. They hired Alcaro’s old butcher, Nick LoVarco, and started ordering the products the market was known for: prime meats and gourmet food. They put in all new refrigerators, laid down shiny new wood floors and set up a section for high-end oils and sauces.
“The place needed to be remodeled,” Alcaro said. “You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
It took about nine months, but the market is ready to go now, and the community has responded.
A handful of locals came in Thursday and said they were both surprised and impressed at the new look of the store. Schaefer Severance said she was worried what might have come of the renovation, but was thoroughly pleased with what she found when she passed through the doorway.
“It just had a wonderful feel in here,” she said. “It still does. Just updated.”
The market will hold a grand opening from 6 to 9p Saturday.