Expanding His Horizons
When asked about the long-awaited opening of MGM Springfield last August, Peter Rosskothen, whose various businesses compete against the resort casino on a number of levels, said, among other things, that he was “excited about the excitement” permeating the city’s downtown.
And he hinted broadly that he might soon be part of it.
In a few more months, he will be, opening the second location of his Delaney’s Market concept in a soon-to-be-vacated coffee shop at 1365 Main St., just a few hundred feet from the casino. He plans to open more of these facilities, which offer a variety of prepared meals to go, in Wilbraham and Westfield sometime in 2019, but for now, his time and energies are focused on getting the doors open in Springfield.
Indeed, the serial entrepreneur, owner of the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House, the Delaney House restaurant, the adjacent D. Hotel & Suites, and more, believes his concept, launched in Longmeadow 18 months ago, is the right product at the right time, and that downtown Springfield is the next right place.
“I wanted to be part of what was happening in downtown Springfield,” he told BusinessWest. “I believe this concept will work at that location. I think there is a need for this, and it will be a nice addition to the landscape there.”
Rosskothen said he’s long been thinking about expansion into Springfield — and other locations — and narrowed his search to 1365 Main St. late last summer, just as the casino was opening its doors.
That location is within a few hundred feet of several office towers, he noted, adding that the thousands of people working in those buildings fall within the broad constituency he’s targeting with this concept.
“I wanted to be part of what was happening in downtown Springfield.”
Specifically, he’s focused on busy people — and that’s just about everyone these days — both young and old who want to eat healthy, restaurant-quality food (but not at restaurant prices), but are challenged to find the time and inclination to prepare it themselves.
But he expects that those working in Springfield will become just part of his customer base. Indeed, like other close observers, he senses that the already-sizable population of people living in the downtown area will be growing in the years to come as the city becomes a more popular settling place.
“We’re going to be where people work, but also where some people live and where more people will be living in the years to come,” he noted. “There’s a lot happening in Springfield; the pieces are coming together. There is more to do, and soon there will be more places to live. And as more people come to live here, there will be more support businesses and more things to do. We’re starting to see it.”
As for the Delaney’s Market concept, Rosskothen said he did a good amount of due diligence before opening the location in Longmeadow. That research, and his own instincts, told him it was a business model with merit, one that would meet a sizable need that was not being met.
Roughly 18 months after opening, the facility is selling about 150-200 meals a day on average, verifying that need for such a service, he went on.
“The Longmeadow store is doing quite well — I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t,” he told BusinessWest. “But we had to teach a lot of people the concept — you have to explain to people that we have freshly prepared meals for takeout, and we have about 80 different choices.”
The success of the Longmeadow location may mitigate the need for a similar learning process at the downtown site, he went on, adding that he will be aggressive in efforts to get the word out about Delaney’s Market and all that goes into the concept.
That includes patrons being able to pick up a bottle of wine or some microbrews as they make their dinner selection, doing some one-stop shopping.
And he believes this same model will succeed in downtown Springfield as well, and he’s adding another wrinkle — delivery, which he believes will be a popular option for those working in nearby office towers or living downtown.
Indeed, delivery is a becoming a trend among restaurants, and there are new ventures such as Uber delivers that bring meals right to one’s home or office, said Rosskothen, adding that those initiatives, and his, are simply response to what consumers are demanding.
As for expansion beyond Longmeadow, Rosskothen said he expects to move forward with locations in Westfield and Wilbraham and have four sites operating by the end of 2019.
For now, though, he is focused on Springfield — and not just being excited about the excitement, but being a big part of it.
— George O’Brien