Keep Chunky’s in Pelham
December 11, 2015
by Kaela Law
‘Keep Chunky’s in Pelham’ is the name of a new online Facebook forum that saw 365 followers just hours after it was created. That number continues to rise.
The forum’s administrator, Lucy Wilkerson, wanted a place to start a community dialogue centered around the unsettling rumors Chunky’s Cinema Pub might leave Pelham. Wilkerson is assistant cubmaster for Pack 610 and also volunteers her time to the missions committee at the First Congregational Church in Pelham
“Together we can support this thriving business in our community!” Wilkerson writes, “Chunky’s has been one of the most community minded businesses Pelham has ever had. It’s a great employer for teens in school. It has been host to police, fire and school events. It is wonderful to the scouting community in town, and is an amazing employer for young adults with special needs. (Owner) Jim Nagel is approachable and very willing to help out when he can.”
Another notable community volunteer in Pelham shares Wilkerson’s sentiments. Enterprise Branch Manager Karen Fournier says the impact to various community groups in town would be devastating if Chunky’s left.
“Jim Nagel contributes to the Pelham Police Relief Association and the Pelham Good Neighbor Fund,” explained Fournier. “For the golf tournament, he supplies lunch for free and still donates raffle baskets. They hand out free movie tickets at Old Home Day. He donates to Pelham Relay for Life. He contributes greatly to the town. It would be a sad thing if we lose Chunky’s.”
Does Chunky’s want to leave Pelham?
With a 20-year business history in the town of Pelham, a generous record for participating in town events, and a significant investment put toward replacing an old septic system with a state-of-the-art one installed in 2012, it stands to reason that Chunky’s is very much interested in sticking around. As a Pelham resident himself, Nagel says, “Chunky’s does not wish to leave Pelham.”
JP Fine, founder and principal of Rubicon Real Estate, LLC, a development and management company based in Wellesley, Mass., which owns the plaza on Route 38, confirmed that Chunky’s lease does expire in 2017.
“We are in the midst of negotiations with (Chunky’s),” said Fine, regarding a lease agreement, “They have not expressed interest in staying at terms that would make sense for the ownership of the property. Nothing has been decided for sure, but I can assure you that we are very much invested in the shopping center, and we would never force them out or have them leave without a better alternative.”
For a town full of cigarette stores, gas stations, and Dunkin’ Donuts or businesses designed for on-the-go travel through Pelham, Chunky’s Cinema Pub provides one of the only attractions to Pelham.
“We are not looking to have vacant space or an empty shopping center,” Fine said, “We are marketing a re-development plan for the shopping center. We are speaking with other tenants who are interested in occupying that building, in place of that existing building.”
Sarah St. John, owner of Pinball Wizard which occupies the same building as Chunky’s, has recently renewed her lease. She has no designs to leave her current space, has a good working relationship with JP Fine as landlord, and has not heard anything about switching locations as the building gets remodeled.
JP Fine is still in negotiations with Chunky’s. A rising number of Pelham residents, as they learn through social media that it may end up leaving town, are offering strong community support in hopes that the two parties can come to an agreement so that Chunky’s can continue providing entertainment here in Pelham.