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Market's Doors Remain Shut

By Michael A. Mohammed, Crimson Staff Writer

Would-be shoppers peered through the windows of the Broadway Market yesterday, only to find the shelves barren and the lights extinguished in one of the Square’s few supermarkets.

But a month after a major ceiling collapse closed the market, located near the corner of Prescott Street and Broadway, repairs have yet to begin, and co-owner John Lichter estimates that the store will not reopen until April.

“The old plaster ceiling came down, and it took down the hung ceiling, the water pipes, the electrical system, the water sprinklers,” he said.

According to Lichter, the collapse, which occurred at 7:30 in the morning on Dec. 29, brought down a 25-foot section of the ceiling. The market was open for business but no customers were in the store and no one was hurt.

“My daughter was in the store, and it collapsed just as she walked out from under it...I went up and the ceiling was down, water gushing. It was not a pretty sight,” he said.

Since its renovation eight years ago, the Broadway Market—which has served the Square’s grocery needs since 1929—has been a cooperative venture between Ring Bros. Produce, New England Meat and Lichter, who each handle a portion of the business.

But the business deal has complicated efforts to repair the ceiling, because each of the partners uses a different insurance company—delaying the start of repairs.

“Hopefully, insurance will keep us whole. It’ll take us a while to get our volume back...We’re hoping to open it before [the students] go away for the summer,” Lichter said.

But with convenient supermarkets already conspicuously absent from the Square cityscape, in the interim students looking for an alternative to dining hall fare will be forced to choose between University Market and smaller convenience “[Broadway] is the only place in the area that’s convenient for gourmet stuff and produce. I went there for stuff like Brie, special cheeses, drinks, and limes...they were really the only option,” said Pennypacker resident David F. Hill ’06.

When asked what he will eat now that the market is closed, Hill was not optimistic.

“Potato chips, I guess,” he said.

—Staff writer Michael A. Mohammed can be reached at mohammed@fas.harvard.edu.

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