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Democrat Photo by Dan Hust

IT'S A CELEBRATION!: Residents and officials hurrah the ribbon cutting marking the official opening of the new G-Mart (IGA) supermarket in Wurtsboro Tuesday. In the front row from right to left are Town of Mamakating Clerk Jean Dougherty, Supervisor Mary Barbuti, co-owner Barbara Gutekunst (with fist raised), co-owner Charles Gutekunst and Sullivan County Dairy Princess Christine Weissmann.

New Market Opens in Wurtsboro

By Dan Hust
WURTSBORO — March 31, 2000 -- Wurtsboro and Town of Mamakating residents celebrated the opening of a new IGA supermarket in Wurtsboro Tuesday with a tremendous amount of community spirit and pride.
Indeed, the togetherness of the event set many to thinking back to the early and mid-20th century, when five such grocery stores existed in Wurtsboro alone, and the town was a bustling place for tourists and residents.
“We had A&P, Victory . . . Fulton and Holmes goes back to the [Delaware and Hudson] canal days,” remarked a jubilant James Handford. “My grandparents and parents shopped in those stores.”
Handford has lived all his 53 years in Wurtsboro, and since the last surviving supermarket, Fulton and Holmes, closed in 1958, he and fellow residents have been eager to see another one spring up – even if it’s taken 42 years.
“This is great! It’s such a boon to the area,” he said as he surveyed the 15,000-square-foot store – which employs over 50 local people. “Usually, I go to Middletown or Rock Hill [to get groceries].”
“I think it’s wonderful,” agreed 82-year-old Lyman Holmes, whose predecessors ran Fulton and Holmes and were some of the first European inhabitants of the area. “I think the prices and selection [at the IGA] are competitive.”
Such competitive prices are a pledge from store co-owner Charles Gutekunst, and with the large response he said the store’s received in the week it’s quietly been open, that should continue.
In a way, shoppers have the four-year-old legislature to thank for the market – specifically, the former legislator of District 2, which covers every township between Tusten and Mamakating and includes the Village of Wurtsboro.
“Three years ago, Bob Lander came to me and said, ‘There’s a need for a grocery store in Wurtsboro,’” recalled Gutekunst. “We did some research and found that there was a need.”
So Gutekunst and family, who operate the IGA in Eldred (also part of District 2), began planning not only another IGA, but a whole new mall off Route 209 near Route 17’s Exit 113 (Wurtsboro/Ellenville).
Entitled “Wurtsboro Center,” the dream was to have it be a community center, especially since it would be located right next door to the town hall.
Now – thanks to services provided by architect Michael Chojnicki, contractor Bury Builders, Wasson Engineering and financing from the First National Bank of Jeffersonville – the L-shaped mall is a reality, featuring the IGA (with bakery, deli, meat department, and a full selection of grocery items), the soon-to-open Wurtsboro branch of the Jeff bank, and a yet-to-be-named (and opened) national-chain drugstore.
And if there’s a demand, Gutekunst said he and his family might add 10-15 more stores in the complex.
Mamakating Supervisor Mary Barbuti thinks there will be.
“This is a new beginning for the town. The whole township is excited about it,” she said. “I see Wurtsboro and Mamakating growing rapidly in the future. We have some exciting projects coming up!”

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