Hometown joint settles in: Longtime South Hadley resident opens new Delaney’s Market, the 4th in the chain’s readymade meals business

By Mercedes Lingle

For the Gazette

Published: 06-07-2023 5:50 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — Peter Rosskothen was not born in South Hadley, but he still calls it his hometown after being a resident since 1986.

Nearly 40 years later, he has just opened the fourth location of the Delaney’s Market at 459 Granby Road. The store, which is now painted the signature “coral” color of the Delany’s brand, was previously the bright yellow Cycle Stop motorcycle business.

The first Delaney’s Market location opened in 2016 in Longmeadow, and the second and third in 2019, in Wilbraham and Westfield. However, Rosskothen repeatedly stated that he’s excited to open in South Hadley due to his hometown connections.

This location brings with it a 5,000-square-foot kitchen that services the four Delaney’s Market stores. Previously, one of Rosskothen’s other enterprises, The Log Cabin atop Mount Tom in Holyoke, acted as the production center for the Market stores.

The grand opening for the South Hadley location occurred late last month, drawing about 150 people. Since then, the business has been four times busier than what Rosskothen had envisioned. He cited the local community as his primary customer. In fact, Rosskothen said that the kitchen was struggling to keep up with demand, which he admits is a “good problem” to have.

There are currently 30 employees — and Rosskothen says he’s looking to hire more — working at the site, most of whom work in the production area making meals for all four readymade meal locations.

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The store itself consists of a main shopping section with coolers lining nearly every wall full of ready-made meals such as breaded chicken in red sauce, endless pasta dishes and desserts. There are also two round tables devoted to selling outsourced items such as olive oil or crackers. The main shopping area is where consumer interests lie, but the primary attraction of the location for Rosskothen was the downstairs kitchen space.

Rosskothen’s partner and head chef of the Delaney Market stores, Rich Poggi, helped design this space and he now leads food production in it. The importance of food safety is evident in the outfits of the employees and the design of the space. In fact, before entering the kitchen, one must sanitize their shoes. Rosskothen stated that his goal and his “team’s goal is providing a very high-quality experience — a shopping experience and a food experience.”

Being a local to South Hadley is what ultimately prompted Rosskothen to open the new location. As he tells it, Rosskothen was going for a bike ride through town when he passed the future Delaney’s Market and noticed a “For Sale” sign. He claims that he initially thought the building would be too small, but he followed his instincts and biked around to the back of the shop to double-check.

A short time later From there on out, he bought the building and construction began last October. The market’s location on busy Granby Road is ideal, as travelers go past the store on their way to or from Chicopee, Granby and Belchertown.

Across his career, Rosskothen has grounded himself firmly in the food service industry, specifically in western Massachusetts. Besides owning the four Delaney’s Market locations and the Log Cabin, he owns or co-owns enterprises such as the D Hotel and Delaney House off Route 5 in Holyoke.

Rosskothen actually got his start in the business at a home-meal replacement company in 1991. This business was originally called Boston Chicken and is now known as Boston Market. He claims that he “always loved home meal replacement,” so his return to the “is kind of back full circle.”

Importantly, Rosskothen stated that a business for pre-made meals “didn’t really exist in those years.” Now, he says that he finds these types of meals everywhere, but Delaney’s Market still occupies a unique space as they can “produce a fresh meal that’s not frozen.” These meals are available in Delaney’s Market stores and will be available in Big Y as of July.

Though Rosskothen owns upscale restaurants and hotels, the prices one might find in the Delaney House are significantly higher than those found in Delaney’s Market. Rosskothen claimed that there is a “radical difference between our pricing,” within these businesses and that the “general objective,” for a Delaney’s Market store meal cost is “relatively close to the ten dollar price point per meal.”

This lower price is possible because of the high volume of food produced, whereas a meal at a grocery store might be more costly for an individual consumer. When asked about his favorite menu items — because he does eat the meals sold at Delaney’s Market “all the time” — Rosskothen came up with “shepherd’s pie,” and “chicken pot pie.” Though he said that he does not control the menu, and instead leaves this responsibility to Poggi, Rosskothen said that he is very passionate about the food’s quality and taste.

Though Rosskothen says that his every expectation has been exceeded by the local reception of the Delaney’s Market store, he asks that South Hadley residents, especially those who are too busy to cook, stop in.