Weston’s only grocery store underwent a drastic change this week.
After operating in Weston Center for 25 years, the local Omni Foods supermarket closed its doors earlier this month, making way for Roche Bros. Inc. to install a specialty grocery store in its place. The new store, dubbed Brothers Marketplace, opened Sunday.
Omni Foods owner Jack Der Avedisian said his company did not close the supermarket for economic reasons, but because “it was time for us to move on. It was an opportunity to turn the business to this other company,” he said. “I hope they will serve the people well.”
The new Roche Bros. operation’s 11,100-square-foot space on Central Street is smaller than the regional chain’s other locations. Company officials signed the Weston lease just over a week after finding out about Omni Foods leaving the space vacant, representatives said.
“It was very quick,” said Aimee Morgida, the Wellesley-based company’s operations director.
Some Omni employees were offered positions at the new market, Roche Bros. representatives said.
Morgida said Brothers Marketplace will work with area farmers, vendors, and entrepreneurs to to provide locally sourced products for Weston residents.
‘I hope they will serve the people well.’
“It’s focused on a partnership of people and community,” she said. “For example, we have a brownie person that we met at a farmers market who makes the absolute best brownies I’ve ever tasted. So I think it will be a win-win — a win for us to have great products,’’ she said, and a win for local vendors “that allows them to grow business.”
The market will also offer a European-style cheese section, as well as a fresh sushi station, for which residents have been clamoring, Morgida said.
“We want to go back to the small, everyday shop where people know your name, or your kids’ birthdays,” Morgida said. “That’s the kind of environment Omni started to create, and we want to bring it further.”
One benefit that Omni Foods had over Brothers Marketplace was a license to sell beer and wine.
Town Meeting petitioned the state Legislature for a wine retail license to issue to Omni Foods in 2008, and for a beer license last year, said Town Manager Donna S. VanderClock.
“To allow them to sell beer and wine didn’t do enough for them, unfortunately,” she said. “It’s always sad when a business closes, and I think they’ve been good supporters of the town.”
The Brothers Marketplace cannot sell beer and wine because the parent company has reached the maximum number of alcohol licenses the state allows an individual or business to hold, said Dena Zigun, marketing director at Roche Brothers.
Zigun said the company still hopes to be able to offer alcohol in Weston, though the when and how has yet to be determined.
“We’re hoping either the state will allow us to have more’’ licenses, she said, “or we’ll make different arrangements and move them around.”
VanderClock said the town would happily work with the grocery store in its effort to obtain a retail sales license.
“We would reissue a license to Roche Brothers if and when they apply,” she said.
After a second Brothers Marketplace opens in Medfield in July, the company hopes to turn its attention to redesigning the Weston space, which will be left largely as-is for the next few months, Morgida said.
“We’re planning to come back and remodel it while we’re open,” she said.
Roche Bros. also plans to open a grocery store in the former Filene’s Basement in Boston’s Downtown Crossing by next year, Morgida said.
Meanwhile, Der Avedisian said he will continue to operate Crushed Grapes & More, a specialty wine and liquor store in Lexington, after handing over the Weston location’s keys to Roche Bros.
“We have had a wonderful experience for the 25 years we’ve been in Weston,” he said. “But it’s time for us to step aside, and let this company take good care of the store and all of the natives.”