Where buffalo once roamed, a convenience store

by susan on May 26, 2009

A wooden nickel from Willow Brook Farms. (Photo courtesy of Gwen Krawski Kosak)

A wooden nickel from Willow Brook Farms. (Photo courtesy of Gwen Krawski Kosak)

It hasn’t been the Buffalo Farm for a long, long time. Still, I swear I smell the penny candy every time I walk into what is now the Country Gourmet, formerly Capasso Farms, formerly Willow Brook Farms (aka, the Buffalo Farm).

The property has undergone a number of incarnations since buffalo roamed in the pasture across the street, and the latest of those incarnations is about to begin.

The current Country Gourmet will soon become Southboro Vineyard and Market, to be operated by Shohdy Ziada who owns Turnpike Liquors on Route 9.

While there won’t be a vineyard (or buffalo) on the property, there will be wine. And beer. The Board of Selectmen last week approved the transfer of the liquor license for the site. All that’s left is approval by the state liquor board.

The new business was described to selectmen as a “convenience store” that will sell beer and wine. Hard alcohol will not be sold there. Scott Ruben, an attorney for Ziada, said they would spruce up the place to make it look similar to Turnpike Liquors.

While he ultimately approved the liquor license transfer, selectman Bill Boland expressed concern that the property would become more of a liquor store than a market. “I see that as a significant change for the neighborhood,” he said.

But Ruben said liquor has been sold on the premises sine the 1980’s, and that the shop would still have a deli and other services. “Customers will decide where we should ultimately be,” he said.

Ziada hasn’t finalized the hours of operation, but selectmen approved the the store to be open from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm, Monday through Saturday, and 8:00 am to 8:00 pm on Sundays. Sale of liquor can start only after 10:00 am (12:00 pm on Sundays), and must end by 8:00 pm on all days.

1 Bill Carr May 30, 2009 at 9:24 PM

I am a volunteer worker at the Country Gourmet. While I am not privy to the private business details, I can attest to character and work ethic of the current owner Bob Ciccerelli.

I know all of these changes would not have been necessary if the residents of Southborough would shop here. The MacMansions in our town will continue to decline in at a record pace in value if our town continues to lose our character.

I love local produce in the summertime, rolling fields of corn and tomatoes and the few farm stands that uphold this local character. This is why I volunteered. These are the values that built our town and made it special. Maybe you dont sit on a board or have political clout, but let’s support the last best hope for a piece of traditional New England in our town. Stop by at least once a week and spend $20 bucks. If the community supports local character, the old New England spirit and hard work we can expect the owner to put all of this into building what is great about summer in New England. Don’t stop and you may gain another another gated community and you can drive another 10-20 miles for fresh corn and tomatoes and only if thier landord didn’t get permission from the town to build another gated MacMansion Community on the farm.

Save our legacy and tradition, support our local farmers.

Bill

2 Karen May 31, 2009 at 4:25 PM

Just a memory now….I can vivdly remember the buffalo farm from my childhood in the late 50’s early 60’s. Mr. St.Maurice,the owner, was a character that you don’t often see anymore. The uniqueness of that place was what kept us coming back…even as a child I knew it was special. We would go there for penny candy (when it was just a penny) and homemade bread and cider in the fall.The place had the unmistakeable smell of “oldness”..the woodsmoke coming from the old stone fireplace and the timeworn wooden walls blending together.

3 esteban July 5, 2009 at 1:11 PM

French endive, filet mignon, SHARP Canadian white cheddar(I always get a sample) goose, venison mincemeat and the largest herd of buffalo east of the Mississippi. Buffalo Bill St Maurice with his straw skimmer and bow tie. Better days for sure.

4 Marty July 6, 2009 at 11:42 AM

I completely agree with Bill Carr’s comments re the character of the current owner Bob Ciccerelli. He’s a great guy.

BUT, he’s a lousy businessman and that’s why his business is slowly dying. The store has a well deserved reputation for rotting produce. Just walk in the door and you can smell it. This is due to Bob’s business decision to be all things to all people. Just take a look at all the plants outside his store that are dying!

He’s a great guy but he had to sell the liquor license AND GIVE 80% of the floor space to the liquor store just to pay off the back rent.

Within one year, Bob will be gone and this will be a full time liquor store.

The Sherry’s (landlords) do not farm the land anymore. They use a guy who provides a service to farm just enough to keep the property tax at the far rate. Nothing illegal about that. (The Sherry’s are wonderful people!) What I mean by all my rambling is that pretty soon, we’ll see a liquor store and the farm land will be developed. I think that area is zoned for commercial.

Bill Carr made a great comment about supporting local businesses. Just take a look at the deli 1/2 mile north of the Country Gourmet on Framingham Rd. (I forget the name.) There have been lots of delis there that have failed. The current owners do a great job and they get a lot of local customers.

5 Kris July 8, 2009 at 3:53 PM

I am a lifelong Southborough resident and fondly remember the Buffalo Store and farm. I shopped at Capasso’s for years and I was excited when Country Goumet opened. I shopped there all the time in the beggining. The owner is super nice but I quickly noticed his food was not fresh. The plants were all dead, the milk was past it best buy date and the bread was moldy. While I really try hard to support local business it can not be at the expense of basic good business practicies.

He had a great chance to succeed but it just was not a good fit. He seemed in over his head. I will again try to support the new owner until there is reason not to. I think the residents of Southborough love to support each other and crave good places to buy fresh food…

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