Stewart’s closing Albany store, citing public safety concerns
Albany will soon lose a Stewart’s Shop.
The store at the corner of Central Avenue and Manning Boulevard will shut down on Thursday.
There has been a surge of theft, robberies and threats of violence in that shop, said the company, making it unsafe for customers and the people who work there.
“I don’t know, I don’t have any other Stewart’s by my work. It’s sad. It really is sad that they got to close a store down,” said Richard Sanford, who works nearby.
But Stewart’s Shops Public Relations Manager Robin Cooper said the store is the company’s most problematic location in Albany.
“I’m not going to say it’s an anomaly, but this has been the one shop where we haven’t been able to come over this,” Cooper said.
NewsChannel 13 requested data showing police responses for the past several years. Albany Police provided data from April 25 to October 25, 2023. It shows police responded to 144 reported calls, including 10 panic alarms, four larcenies and three shoplifters.
“[Albany Police] have a lot on their plate, and they’ve done a great job. This is not the fault of anyone, basically it’s a safety concern. Over the past year and a half to two years, both the number and severity of threats of violence, assaults, and theft, it’s escalated at this location,” Cooper said.
Assemblymember Patricia Fahy (D – Albany) said organized retail crime is a larger, national issue. She, along with Assemblymember John McDonald (D – Cohoes), called on Governor Kathy Hochul to sign a bill creating a task force to address it.
“We are going backwards, especially since COVID, when we have seen a spike in retail theft, certainly a spike in addiction problems. Stealing is in many cases feeding that addiction,” Fahy said.
Stewart’s has no plans to close other stores, according to Cooper.
“We’re continuing to look for opportunities to expand within the City of Albany. We are part of this community and we intend to continue to be that way,” he said.
All employees have been offered work at other Stewart’s Shops, the company said.
Stewart’s other Albany locations are not affected.
The company is directing customers to the Stewart’s Shops at 204 Henry Johnson Boulevard in Albany and 19 Fuller Road in Colonie.