It still isn’t open, and people are wondering why.
The Royal Farms convenience store at the corner of Route 70 and Route 88 in Brick was approved for construction in the fall of 2018, with the work beginning in the spring of 2020. Within a year, the store looked to be just about completed and the company was advertising job opportunities. But many local residents have told Shorebeat they simply never heard back from the company after applying for jobs – and even amidst the current labor shortage, skepticism began to grow as the doors remained closed.
Royal Farms would not comment on the status of the store for this story, but it is unlikely the store will be opening any time soon, according to officials and public records. While residents hungry for the chain’s much-anticipated fried chicken could place some of the blame on the labor market and supply chain crisis, the company has now put its own opening on hold as it seeks permits to change crosswalks and street ends surrounding the building.
Officials now say the reason for the long delay in opening – which is likely to grow even longer – is a permit from the New Jersey Department of Transportation that has not yet been approved. Royal Farms is effectively surrounded by roadways under state jurisdiction – the two state highways as well as the small service roads that run between several neighboring businesses and the nearby jug-handle.
“Royal Farms filed a DOT application in December, so the anticipation is that it’s going to take them about nine months to go through that,” said Mayor John Ducey. “They cannot open until the DOT reviews it.”
The application calls for moving the locations of crosswalks around the store and making various improvements to street ends. The proposal would include upgrades to make the entire area around the store more accessible to those with disabilities, and curbs will be required to be modified with new cuts with traction surfacing (commonly red in color).
The work will mainly affect the area of Olden Street, which runs behind the store and connects routes 88 and 70 and also feeds the U-turn at its terminus with Route 70.
While the timing of the DOT permit application suggests the company may suggest the company has delayed its opening for the time being, the modifications to crosswalks are not compulsory.
“They can always simply withdraw that application,” said Ducey.
Meanwhile, while the company’s job website still lists some positions available in Brick, the location was removed from the front of the Royal Farms recruiting page as a soon-to-be-open store. It is still listed, however, in the company’s list of future stores.