‘Closed up’: Sudden closure of Norwalk’s Mickey Mart surprise to mayor

Station closes Wednesday
Cary Ashby
Aug 1, 2013


“Closed up.”

That’s what a handmade sign on the door says at the Mickey Mart at the intersection of League Street and Whittlesey Avenue in Norwalk.

The sudden closure of the gas station and convenience store has come as a surprise to city officials.

Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan said he “absolutely” is as surprised about the news as anybody else. He doesn’t know when the decision was made to close.

“Mickey Mart never contacted us. Marathon never contacted us. I just did a little research (after I heard),” the mayor said.

Since Wednesday, yellow tape has blocked drivers from accessing the parking lot from both League Street and Whittlesey Avenue. Plastic yellow “sorry — out of service” sheets covered each of the gas pump handles Wednesday afternoon. The gas pumps are now gone.

Inside the convenience store Wednesday, Mickey Mart employees packed up various items. A vendor asked a worker about who was going to take certain display stands and merchandise.

By mid-afternoon Thursday, a Mickey Mart van with a trailer was holding large fixtures wrapped in plastic. The inside of the store was virtually empty.

Corporate officials at the site said “our lease was up” and said they were taking the fixtures to a warehouse, but referred further questions to owner Dan Coles. A Mickey Mart spokeswoman said Coles would be out of the office for several days.

Norwalk Economic Development Corp. Director Ellen Heinz and the mayor said they don’t know anything about the lease expiring. As of Thursday, Heinz was in the process of getting some information and still was making calls about the situation.

“I’ve heard there will be changes there, but I don’t have all the details. Some of the things are still unfolding,” she said.

Duncan said the city wants to help Mickey Mart relocate to a new location in Norwalk.

“That’s our strategy,” the mayor added.

“I think they’ve been there at least 15 years or so. … We really want to work with them to find a place in Norwalk if possible,” Duncan said.

Property manager Greg Bleile didn’t return a call for comment Thursday. He is the co-owner of the ACE Hardware in the same shopping center, Midtown Plaza, where Mickey Mart is located.



why would they tell the mayor when they didnt tell the people that worked there.theydidnt call the peole that worked there, the one girl went there at 12 and found out that they closed. da.


Why tell the mayor, he's not involved with anything regarding the city anyway


Anything wrong with the gas holding tanks?
When will Mickey Mart employees be given their final wages?

hit the road jack

Nothing should be wrong with the tanks but they will have to be removed in less than 365 days from store closing(state law) and Norwalk has too many gas stations and besides Coles owns the BP out across from K Mart and who knows how many others in the area,hell,I heard 2 or 3 weeks ago it was gonna close,no big deal.
Anyone ever wonder why their aren't many BP stations in the area?


Here's how I heard it went down, Gardner's lease was coming up and they told the owners that if they did not get the Mickey Mart space they were moving the grocery store. I know this to be true, but I can't say how without the permission of the person that told me. Basically, they are the largest tenant and their wishes were granted. When did Mickey Mart find out, that I do not know.


Knowing Bleile, I can believe this statement!


this is absolutely not true.


I heard it directly from one the three parties involved, it is exactly true.


Closing the gas station to accommodate the grocery store makes no sense- unless the store owners want to take over the gas station. I have never seen the the parking lot there to full capacity. The Mayor surprised? Well imagine that.


I don't know what Gardner's are going to do with the gas station, but I know they are going to be paying rent/lease for it, so it's a win/win for the owners, they get the rent for the Mickey Mart spot (from Gardner's) and they keep their biggest tenant. I do feel sorry for the employees that lost their jobs.


Maybe they are competing with the IGA. Sell gas and groceries.

Fibber Mcgee

The research the mayor did ...., to find out where it was actually located,
when he was told Mickey Mart closed.

yogi bear

I heard it is going to be Applebees restaurant......Ooops, wrong mayor!

yogi bear

duplicate post, sorry

David Deerest.

Gardner's wanted a bigger parking lot. Plain and simple. It's not Rocket Science, people...and it's not a big deal, either. Just making you smokers get out of your cars now when you buy ciggs.


Re: "Gardner's wanted a bigger parking lot."

And expense of the removal of the tanks, the razing and hauling away of the building, the paving and striping is going to be paid for by whom?

More like "rocket surgery" - lota questions, few (if intelligent) answers.

So what are THE answers Mayor Duncan? "I dunno," doesn't make the cut.

Bigger question: For WHAT exactly are city taxpayers annually payin' Ms. Heinz $50k plus benefits?


Here is a job opportunity for you Winnie. Do something in your community. Run for an office in Norwalk.


Maybe Gardners wants to use the fuel tanks for themselves? Add another service for their customers.


I was just in the process of typing that. They probably want to compete with IGA and offer fuel services also. Good. Open up the parking lot so you can drive all the way through. People that are losing their jobs just might want to put in resumes at gardners if the owners aren't moving them to other gas stations in the area.

Cliff Cannon

@ R-E-L & Upwhatwhere7 : Got to agree. That corner is just way to much of a gold mine to turn into a simple parking lot. And here's hoping some of those very cool people who worked there,get in at the new place.


companies close up due to profit/loss margins period. Why bother telling employees ahead of time and run the risk of theft, damage, giveaways. It was not like the employees there were anything more than people who just had a part-time job to satisfy human services, and qualify for earned income tax credit. Heck maybe that is why they decided to end the business.. lack of qualified/reliable employees. Not saying..just saying


Re: "lack of qualified/reliable employees."

Good post.

BIGGEST problem these days:

Everything looks good EXCEPT, they can't pass a drug test.


So truckin' just because they were "no more than people who just had part time jobs" that makes them any less important than others? Maybe it was a second job.Maybe it kept food on the table or paid their utilities. Some of them employees have been there a long time which makes them qualified and reliable. Is trucking fulfilling a human service?

hit the road jack

Truck drivers are considered "non skilled labor",not that I agree but thats what they are considered by the govt.

Cliff Cannon

@ hit the road jack : Speaking with nearly 40 years experience in trucking. I must say,the government certainly has a point about some truck drivers being " non skilled labor " .

For how many times have we all thanked God for being narrowly missed by one of the misfits, who some how managed to get a job behind a wheel ?

As Wilt Chamberlin noted " nobody roots for goliath " So who do we remember more, the moron with the bad attitude , who can't drive or the pro who quietly does their job ? Oh well,such is life.


Totally feel a HUMAN SERVICE.. non skilled or not. very rewarding both financially and servicing (wow 30 yrs ago who would have thought a non-skilled trucker makes more $ than most skilled college educated) and one's outside the realm of transportation have NO idea what would happen with just 1- 24hr delay by the trucking industry..Just 1 day could mean the store is out of your snacks, etc. and whether or not there for years, If was there for years? you would think they would try and get out and better themselves rather than sit and complain "boo hoo can't make no money" (like i hear from most low wage earners) or it was because they could get a wage which with a couple kids and unwed (like were) it would give them cash and just under the level so they could still get everything the gov has to offer, by taxing the skilled and so called "non" skilled taxpayer.
But seriously any such business as a store closes doors instantly for fears of retaliation on the employees part.

hit the road jack

Don't go and make the trucking industry sound so rosey,most owner operators sound just like yourself,then when your alone the real truth comes out,your just as broke as you were 3 years ago and don't make it sound so good to some of the easily persuaded ones who read this crap you spew,the 2 or 3 week wanna be truck driver schools don't get it and the median strip is no place to wake up upside down in one of these things,i've seen enough of them although they mighht not be any worse than the foreigners driving them now.


But see.. I like it.. I like it ALOT! I have always made enough to feed my children, go on trips, support self, etc. Always working for the amount i need to make, never how much a boss wants me to make. (freedom) But never about money...I LIKE IT! and when you really like your job, it's not really work! and when you like your job you will actually do it, so you really don't have to worry about money because it will come, because you will actually show up and do it. and what does school training to drive, have any bearing on one's self to stop when fatigued? Is that the school's fault??? Granite learning to drive is not that hard. Holding a steering wheel not that hard, and as Cliff pointed out thru time there will be some close calls. Name a job after a few weeks training, some time with a trainer on the road, lot's of patience, little luck, one can be bringing home enough cash to get there family off welfare, and in a few years moving to the suburbs, making 50+ a yr? Oh but ya, i forgot.. IT WOULD INCLUDE constant DRUG testing.. kicks that idea for many huh?


Is that what you would do it you were an employee there?

Now The Rest of...

Mayor Duncan did run on a jobs, jobs, jobs platform, what we didn't know was he meant lose of jobs, jobs, jobs.