, Derry, New Hampshire

December 12, 2013

Restaurant wholesaler still eyes Londonderry

By Julie Huss

---- — LONDONDERRY — A national restaurant wholesale business still hopes to find a new home here.

Restaurant Depot, with outlets in 27 states, is still eyeing a property off Route 102 in the hopes it may be able to open a facility there.

Representatives of the company returned to the Planning Board Dec. 4 with a revised plan.

The company, based in College Point, N.Y., originally proposed a 58,000-square-foot building for a cash-and-carry food service supply business off Route 102 near the Crossroads Mall and behind the busy Dunkin' Donuts intersection.

The Planning Board heard early details on the plan Oct. 9, but the size of the building exceeded the town's limits in that established performance overlay zone.

Now, the company is back for another try.

"We felt it was worth coming back to address some of the issues expressed at the last meeting," said Gordon Leedy, a director of land development representing the applicant. "We know the size of the building is an issue, but Restaurant Depot is still interested. This is a good location for us."

The company is a wholesale/retail distributor of food supplies, Leedy said. Customers, mostly smaller restaurant and food service owners, would come to buy food and other restaurant supplies.

The company would be open seven days a week and would employ up to 40 people.

It would be the first Restaurant Depot in New Hampshire.

After the last meeting, Leedy said, major configurations were made to the plan including exterior facade and color changes, updated landscaping, and how the building would be situated on the property.

The building's size remains the same, he said. "We need that 58,000 square feet to make the business work."

It's not only the size that concerned the board, it's the amount of traffic in that area near Dunkin' Donuts and Mohawk Drive. There is no traffic light at that intersection.

A traffic study will be done as the plan moves on.

"When we get the traffic report, that would dictate what would need to be done out there," town planner John Vogl said.

Restaurant Depot's chief operating office Larry Cohen said traffic and safety are always concerns.

"We don't want a situation where there are accidents," he said.

Planner Cynthia May said she liked the changes.

"This is a good use for this location," she said. "It looks less temporary, it looks like it belongs there."

Town Manager Kevin Smith said the the plan is still in the conceptual stages, but he would welcome Restaurant Depot to town.

"They are a very reputable company," he said.

Planning Board Chairman Art Rugg said residents will have a chance to speak if the plan moves forward.

"The plan has come a long way," Rugg said. "But we should talk to abutters and also have their input."

Cohen said he is willing to try to make the plan work.

"I'm not sure we can solve the problem," he said, "but we want to come up with a creative solution. Hopefully, we can come up with some because we'd like to be here. Londonderry is appealing to us."