There will soon be another vacant store on Riverhead’s Route 58, as Aid Auto Stores will be going out of business and closing all its locations, company officials announced Thursday.
The Shirley-based chain, which has been in existence since 1966, has five locations, Riverhead, Shirley, Rocky Point, Ronkonkoma and Medford.
Aid Auto president Anthony Pirrera said a combination of a down economy, cultural and economic changes in the auto industry and “intense amount of competition” from national chains all led to the company’s demise.
“Nowadays, people lease cars, so they don’t have the investment they used to in a car,” Mr. Pirrera. “And you can pay $12,000 for a car and get a 100,000 mile warranty.”
Aid Auto has had a store in Riverhead for at least 20 years, Mr. Pirrera said. Before it was in its current location, which once housed Newmark and Lewis and before that Harrows, it was located in a different storefront in the same shopping center.
The company once had 17 or 18 stores on Long Island, he said.
He said the Riverhead store would likely remain open for another six or seven weeks.
He also thanked the company’s “loyal customers for their many years of patronage.”
The stores will have “going out of business” sales beginning today, July 5, and items will be sold at prices ranging from 10 to 30 percent off, according to a statement the company released Thursday.
“Discounts will be given on all products such as car washes, waxes, cleaning products, seat covers, floor mats, motor oil and a large selection of hard parts. All store fixtures such as wall units, shelving and lighting are also available for sale,” it states.
The Riverhead store is in the same shopping center where a Off Tracking Betting location closed last year and remains vacant.
An Aid Auto worker in Riverhead said staffers were told last week the store was closing.
“It’s been slowing down business-wise, so we all kind of figured that something was going to happen,” said the employee, who has worked at the store for the past three years.
The man, who did not want to give his name, said the store will close down in late August.
He’ll be looking for a new job in the meantime.
“Hopefully I can find something,” he said. “I guess I gotta start over now.”
With Paul Squire