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Eastek: No immediate plans for Sparkle site

The former Sparkle market on state Route 45 just north of Lisbon. (Photo by Kevin Howell)

LISBON — The new owner of the former Sparkle market just north of town is weighing his options before deciding what to do with the building and property.

“I didn’t buy it with the intention of putting anything (specific) in there,” said Thomas E. Eastek Jr. of Leetonia. “We just saw it as a good business opportunity.”

Eastek and his brother formed Center Development Commerce LLC last month to serve as owners of the 24,000-square-foot former supermarket and 3.8 acres of land that goes with it. They purchased the store and property at auction in November for $363,000.

He described the property as “300 feet of wonderful frontage and exposure, and we would like to capitalize on that.”

Eastek plans to develop it based on the tenants they are able to attract and envisions perhaps renovating the building into a shopping plaza for four to six businesses, including a combination bakery/delicatessen. He has contacted some potential tenants and begun discussions with a design company to determine what would be the best course of action.

One thing Eastek does not see going into the building is another supermarket. He pointed out there is a Save A Lot supermarket less than two miles away in downtown Lisbon, and across the street or next door is a Dollar General, Discount Drug Mart and Family Dollar, all of which sell groceries.

“Nothing against them, but I’m sure if you look at the numbers they all take away” business from a supermarket, he said of the competitors.

When asked about the early rumor that Rulli Brothers were interested in the building as a supermarket, Eastek said he spoke to Mike Rulli “but I didn’t get the impression they were all that interested.”

Eastek is an entrepreneur who owns and manages residential rental properties and storage units in and around Salem. He also owned and operated a trucking company, which was sold two years ago.

When asked if storage units were a possibility, Eastek did not believe there was a market for that in the Lisbon area, but if he decided otherwise it would only take up a portion of the property.

The supermarket was owned by the Hillyer Family Trust, which started out as an IGA Foodliner in 1968. The store closed Oct. 31 after being operated as a Sparkle market by the Furrie and Vitullo families for the past 31 years.

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