The right-sized independent supermarket is often hard to come by: small enough to be a quick stop for bread and milk, large enough to do an honest-to-goodness supply run; homespun enough to stay affordable, yet sophisticated enough to offer natural, vegan, and imported choices. If you’re lucky enough to have one nearby, then you know how Napanoch-area folks feel about Peters Market: Such a store is a true treasure, and folks in southwestern Ulster County have cherished it since 1972. After the founders bowed out, the store fell on hard times for a bit. But when Catskills native Butch Resnick bought the property in early 2020, hope appeared on the horizon. Resnick, who runs other mid-size markets in Sullivan County, consulted with founder Dick Peters on returning the place to its proper glory.
“We’re going to renovate the store, a complete refurbishment,” Resnick told Chris Rowley of the Shawangunk Journal at the time. “It will look really great and inviting. We’re going to bring back Peters’ famous deli department, and we will have a selection of great grab-and-go foods. Then, there will be a return of gourmet and organic specialties that they did so well.”
“We do great deli and customer service; we really cater to the needs of the community. If someone is looking for a particular brand or product, we make every effort to make it available to them.”
Resnick talked about reestablishing the services of the Keyfood Co-op and re-hiring the local staff. And in another brilliant stroke, he partnered up with a grocery store whiz named Kiko Taveras. When Taveras, a downstater who was raised in Queens and living on Long Island, took the reins and reopened the place on July 1, 2020, locals and in-the-know visitors who shopped there hoped that Peters Market would indeed return to its historically high standards. They have not been disappointed.
“They make delicious sandwiches and paninis,” wrote a Facebook reviewer last October. “Their cookies and cream mousse is yummy if you have a sweet tooth….and don't get me started on the kale, spinach, and goat cheese quinoa salad: it's the freaking best. 10 out of 10 in my book.” For Taveras, running a great grocery store is both a beloved family legacy and a personal dream. “I’ve been in the supermarket business my whole life,” he says. “My dad owned supermarkets and I helped manage, even as a child. At a very young age I knew I wanted to have my own business and continue the tradition.”
“I’ve been in the supermarket business my whole life. My dad owned supermarkets and I helped manage, even as a child. At a very young age I knew I wanted to have my own business and continue the tradition.”
Taveras credits that lifelong hands-on experience with instilling in him the expertise that can take a store from “meh” to marvelous, important knowledge in the era of big-box competition when “meh” really won’t cut it. “We had supermarkets in different cities, so we were always learning about different products and what sells, how to capture the interest of the community,” he says. “Collaborating with different vendors and executives from the supermarket associations to learn about new opportunities is key.”
All that aggregated know-how has gone into making Peters Market what it is and was meant to be: a place where you can find salads with goat cheese and quinoa or a delicious ham-and-Swiss sub, depending on your tastes or mood. Taveras keeps the bar high for service and cleanliness, and he’s loving the community’s response. “The customers visiting Peters Market are great!” he says. “Given the longstanding name of the business, it’s a neighborhood store with a definite identity all its own, family-oriented and friendly.”
If you’re lucky enough to have an independent supermarket nearby, then you know how Napanoch-area folks feel about Peters Market: Such a store is a true treasure, and folks in southwestern Ulster County have cherished it since 1972.
Upholding that identity and listening to his customers is Taveras’s passion. “We have to understand the community’s purchases, brands, and trends, and how to offer promotions they’ll respond to,” he says. “We do great deli and customer service; we really cater to the needs of the community. If someone is looking for a particular brand or product, we make every effort to make it available to them. So many customers have shared about traveling to different areas for certain items. I always encourage them to let me or any employee of the store know what they want. We truly want to provide the best service.”
“It’s been two years now and I love everything about this area,” he says. “The community is great. I love the tranquility. And I love having my family over to venture out and enjoy the trails.”
And he strives to do just that, offering new circular specials every week, keeping a good selection of organic, gluten-free, local, and healthy eats, as well as discounts for seniors and first responders, using his lifelong experience in the trade to keep the Rondout Valley fed. “I really enjoy negotiating with the vendors for product deals,” he says. “It’s important for me to pass those savings and deals to my customers.”
Opening mid-COVID was a challenge, but Taveras and his team took it in stride, stepping up the existing sanitation and making safety a priority. “We began to offer masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers, really making sure our customers felt safe shopping in the store. We increased the offerings of home deliveries and shopping convenience,” he says. “The most challenging piece was dealing with the supply shortages. I felt so bad when we were out of items such as paper goods and cleaning supplies; people were in desperate mode to purchase these items that were in huge demand.”
Right now, in a reverse of the typical weekender routine, he’s in the Catskills five days a week and back on Long Island for two. But he’s loving his new community. “It’s been two years now and I love everything about this area,” he says. “The community is great. I love the tranquility. And I love having my family over to venture out and enjoy the trails.”
7700 State Route 209, Napanoch