The can and bottle redemption center on Central Avenue in Salamanca is expected to reopen under new ownership within the month after being closed since February.

SALAMANCA — After several weeks of closure, the Central Beer and Redemption center on Central Avenue is expected to open soon under new ownership.

John Hedlund, owner of the Save-a-Lot franchise in Salamanca, said he is hoping to open the business within the next month after seeing the need in the community.

Shortly after redemption center closed in February, Hedlund said Save-a-Lot began being bombarded with people wanting to return their cans and bottles there.

“Our Save-a-Lot concept, even though we will and do accept them, we are not positioned to do an exceptional job with that,” he explained.

As far as providing great customer service and having a large enough place to accept and store them, Hedlund said a proper redemption center would be better than the set up at Save-a-Lot.

He said he later contacted the Salamanca-Seneca Chamber of Commerce and since then has been in talks with the previous owners about taking over the business.

While the place to return cans and bottles is expected to be the main draw for the business, Hedlund said they’re hoping to offer more in the rest of the building. He said the former setup was like a C-class store akin to a beer warehouse, whereas he’s hoping to have an A-class store with more available for customers.

“We’re aiming to be more of a convenience store than a beer store,” he said. “Beer, pop, chips, snacks and some prepared sandwiches to go. … We’ll have the lottery in place and all that stuff.”

The former Central Beer and Redemption originally opened April 1, 2011, under the ownership of Helen Procacci, of Olean. Local businessman Don Hill later purchased the redemption center in 2015.

Before opening the store, which is planned for the beginning of May, Hedlund said he hopes to redo some aspects of the building as well as bring in new shelving and beverage cases. He said they’re also hoping to build a new countertop for the redemption area.

“Nothing major, just a little bit of cosmetics,” he added. “Our goal would be to try to open up before the Regatta weekend.”

Going forward, Hedlund said he’d like to see the business become more community oriented, offering ways for local groups and organizations to fundraise through the redemption center.

“People can drop them off and tell us what organization they’d like their bottles or cans to be credited to,” he explained. “We would count them and then give that person a receipt that they can take back to the organization.”

In addition to the local community, Hedlund said redemption centers are becoming a necessity in every community in a time of greater focus on recycling and more environmental regulations.

“It’s a place where everybody can get their items, whether they be cans, bottles and whatever else comes down the pipe as far as keeping a clean climate and protecting our future,” he said.

(Contact managing editor Kellen Quigley at kquigleysp@gmail.com)