Business cools when the power hits the fan

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:23

MILFORD - “If Pike County Light and Power raises electric rates by 125 percent, I’ll have to close,” said Joe Fretta. Fretta stood in the midst of the sights and smells of fresh Italian food products hanging from ceiling racks and displayed in colorful refrigerated cases in his store at 223 Broad Street. Fretta spoke at a Public Utilities Commission meeting recently at Delaware Valley High School about his concern over rising electric rates. He said Fretta’s might close if rates go as high they say. “It costs $1,200 a month for air conditioning. If that goes up by 125 percent I won’t be able to afford it. I also have 15 compressors for refrigerated food cases. Can you imagine what that will cost?” exclaimed Fretta with a look of worry showing in his face. Fretta said that the only way he can cut costs would be to reduce his work force and cut back on personal service to customers. Raising prices is not the answer for him. “Today people are having a hard enough time stretching their dollars. When I was a teenager all the moms stayed at home to take care of the family. Today every home is a two-person working household,” Fretta said. Fretta recounted to the Courier that his grandfather, Ralph, and his two brothers opened the first Italian pork store in America back in 1906. Since then there have been several Fretta’s stores around New York City with the last one closing back in 1993. The Frettas opened their Milford store in 1998, just down the street from where it is now. Then in 2002 they moved to the present location. Joe and his wife Denice are the fourth generation of Frettas to operate the family business. In the early 1920s, Fretta’s operated the first Italian Sausage and Peppers stand at the world famous San Genaro Festival in Little Italy. It sold products manufactured in the store at Mott and Hester Streets to thousands of New Yorkers and tourists that go there every year. Fretta said the biggest event that took place was their move from New York City to Milford. Joe and Denice wanted a nice place to raise their kids and Milford satisfied that need. They decided to take a chance, open a store and do what he knew best, make and sell the finest meats and delicacies. As they say, the rest is history. Fretta’s has appeared on the pages of New York Magazine as well as being featured on the once popular TV show, the “Frugal Gourmet.” As he spoke, Fretta’s was filling up with hungry customers wanting to purchase his specialty food products to take home. Fretta said there is a plan to purchase the “electric grid” that serves our area and only raise prices by six to eight percent. “I hope that will be the answer,” he said. The Public Utilities Commission was scheduled to complete an investigation and issue a report on the Pike Power rate hike at the end of March.