Panos Fresh Market in downtown Waukesha to close
Owners cite a lack of parking as main reason for shutting down
It's hard to miss the capitalized letters as you enter downtown Waukesha.
That's the sign in the front window of Panos Fresh Market, 200 W. Main St. Panos will close its doors on Sunday.
Panos' owner Diane Assimakopoulos will not re-open another store. Instead, she and her staff will focus its attention on its other store at 426 W. Sunset Drive.
A lack of parking in downtown Waukesha has hurt business and was the main reason for closing, Assimakopoulos said.
Assimakopoulos said the market, which has been in downtown since 2003, began suffering financially when the parking lot that customers utilized next to the building was taken away by Bryce Styza, who owns properties in downtown, including the nearby Main Street Plaza Apartments.
Assimakopoulos said Panos had shared the parking lot with Styza but about a year and a half ago he decided to block it off just for those in the Main Street Plaza Apartments. Assimakopoulos said her store had helped maintain the parking lot.
"We tried to approach him, but instead he asked us to buy it from him for $1 million," Assimakopoulos said. "He didn't want to compromise. The one side doesn't need an entire parking lot. It's empty, so it's hurt us.
"(Having) only street parking wasn't going well. And when we asked the city for allowing a loading zone, we didn't get the OK."
Styza had no comment on Assimakopoulos' statements.
Assimakopoulos said her market had a regular customer base and is confident they'll begin shopping at the Panos on Sunset. But she worries about the seniors who walked over from the Avalon Square (apartments), 222 Park Place.
"I feel bad for the people across the street at the assistant living center, because I know they're upset about it," she said.
Assimakopoulos' husband, Panos, owner of the store, said the couple will work out an agreement for a small price tag to deliver groceries from its Sunset store for interested customers who live at Avalon.
Panos said he owns the Main Street store and is planning on leasing it.
Diane also said besides the parking issue, she feels Woodman's has taken away customers.
But she appreciates those who have shopped at the market the last decade.
"We want to thank our loyal customers over the years," Assimakopoulos said.
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