Stop & Shop plans to move into the supermarket space occupied for decades by Market Basket in Shawsheen Plaza on North Main Street, confirming a rumor that has circulated for years.
The move is expected in two years, when Market Basket's lease expires.
Stop & Shop made the announcement late Monday, Feb. 23, in response to numerous inquiries from the Townsman. Stop & Shop is headquartered in Quincy and questions about the company coming to Andover were directed to its real estate office in New York.
"Stop & Shop holds the master lease to the shopping center. Market Basket is a tenant; their lease expires in 2011. We intend to open a Stop & Shop supermarket and we look forward to serving the Andover community," read an e-mail statement from the supermarket's real estate division that was provided by a New York public relations firm.
Town Manager Buzz Stapcynski has known about the move for about two months, he said. A facilities spokesman from Stop & Shop called him with the news.
"I'm happy and sad about it," he said. "I'm sad because the DeMoulas (Market Basket owner) family has a long connection to town. But Stop & Shop is a good company and we welcome them."
"I'll miss the prices," said Stapczynski, picking up a Market Basket motto: "You get more for your dollar."
State Rep. Barry Finegold (D-Andover) also said feelings among shoppers are bound to be bittersweet.
"Market Basket is an easy supermarket to get to know, like I know the potato chips are in aisle six and the deli line is always long," said Finegold who handles the weekly grocery shopping for his family on Saturday morning. "Of course, it's great to have a new business in town, but it will be sad to see Market Basket go. Many local folks are upset."