October 22, 2021

Shopping at Greek Peak

Company’s ministore at Hope Lake helps residents

Todd R. McAdam/managing editor

Mitch Bush, left, of Cortland, pays Greek Peak banquet chef Sean O’Brien for prepared prime rib burritos Hope Lake Lodge is selling in an impromptu grocery. The resort had basic staples, including toilet paper, some meats and vegetables, and decided to offer them for sale to help reduce the population load on other stores.

They had toilet paper, casually displayed in the wholesale box the rolls were delivered in. They had hot dogs and lettuce and corn starch and other foods, too.

But Mitch Bush of Cortland settled on the prime rib burritos, with white beans and rice. Six of them.

“My freezer’s full,” he told Drew Broderick, vice president of sales and marketing at Greek Peak Ski Resort. “I’ll get ’em for my sons.”

The store opened in late March at Hope Lake Lodge, using the resort’s supply chain to bring a few basic staples to Virgil. The idea isn’t to make money, said Drew Broderick — the prices are just a bit over cost.

“That’s not what this is about,” said Broderick, vice president of marketing and sales for the company. It’s to help people who might be uncomfortable, or unwise, to go to a more crowded establishment. The store, in the lodge’s lobby, allows only six patrons at a time.

Greek Peak President Wesley Kryger said people sign in when they come, have access to hand sanitizer and the store practices social distancing.

The selection is what would expect of a restaurant: large packs of hot dogs, salmon fillets, beef filet, burgers, lettuce of a couple of types, tomatoes. The packages tend to be larger than typical retail, as befits a restaurant.

And the prepared foods are simpler, too.

“We targeted comfort food because that’s what people want right now,” Broderick said. Think macaroni and cheese, salisbury steak, stir fries, spaghetti and meatballs.

But it also offers the essentials, Kryger said, noting it was one of the main reasons the store was opened.

He said they had customers asking for such supplies right around the time stores began running out of items like toilet paper. The company wasn’t using all of its stock and was able to continue ordering from its distributor, so it decided to give back to the community.

“We view it as a good community service,” he said. “I think it prevents them from having to go into Cortland and go to Tops or Walmart. The more we can limit those trips and practice that social distancing, the more it helps.”

Which was just fine with Bush. He stopped in because he was bored and looking to go somewhere where he could keep his distance, he said. “And I really don’t want to cook.”

Virgil Deputy Supervisor Jereme Stiles has been to the store three or four times already, picking up bread, eggs and a few other small items.

“I think it’s a great asset they’ve been able to bring to the community,” he said. “You’re not going to get your full shopping list up there but you’re able to get essentials.”