Dollar store and mini food market coming to Melba Street plaza

The owner of the Melba Street Plaza says the little neighborhood shopping center is about to get better.

A dollar store will soon be coming to the 21,000-square-foot plaza, which consists of two buildings. Also, the owner of the Beachside Market, which closed recently, has agreed to open on a smaller scale within the complex.

The plaza, which the Waterbury-based Lombard Group owns, has been pretty much filled, despite the economy. The three spots in one building are filled: There’s Kathy’s Cookies, which owner Kathy Klein shares with SuzieCakes Cupcakery; the Crushed Grape, which is a package store that hosts wine and beer tastings and sells a full selection of alcoholic beverages; and the Lucky Laundromat.

The building next door had been occupied by the Beachside Market until recently. The store closed because the economy and Tropical Storm Irene had taken a toll on the business and the owner said he was happy to get out of the lease.

Property owner John Lombard said the complex is “ a unique island unto itself, nestled in a densely populated area.”

That, he said, is why the businesses have been filled lately, that and the fact that there is little competition in that immediate area.

The incoming dollar store, which he said he couldn’t name yet, is a national company, and he thinks it will do well in the spot.

The Beachside Market will move into a 3,000-square-foot shop on the left side of the building, and will offer some of the same favorites it offered in the 10,000-square-foot market, such as meats, vegetables and coldcuts.

“It’s a great idea,” Lombard said. “We have a shop like that in Watertown and every time I go in there it’s packed.”

An open area within the plaza, which now boasts a mural painted by artist Kathy Hamill, will be cleaned up and possibly even set up as an outdoor spot where the market can let people eat sandwiches and drink coffee they’ve purchased at the market.

The entire plaza will get a bit of a facelift with some new touches to the facade, and the exterior of two apartments at the complex will be revamped to go with the more polished look, Lombard said.

The Lombard Group bought the property in 1990 from a bank, and Lombard said it has been the company’s intent to turn it around. Several years ago there were plans to move the old Milford Diner to the site, but that fell though.

“We take distressed properties and turn them around,” Lombard said. “Now is the time.”