The Stop & Shop is Provincetown’s agora. Yes, it would be more satisfying to anoint Town Hall or MacMillan Wharf with that distinction. But this supermarket is the center of town. If you spend enough time in its aisles, just about everyone you’d want to see (and one or two you didn’t) will pass by. The structure is nearly an acre in extent; 43,479 square feet. The entire permanent town population could fit in all at once. The property is owned by Charles “Chuck” Silva, a powerful and influential businessman, and his wife, Helen. The A&P opened in the 1980s, became a Grand Union Family Market in 2003 and a Stop & Shop in 2008. Seamen’s Bank has long been part of the complex. Its small branch had the unwanted distinction in 2001 of being the setting of the only bank robbery in Seamen’s history.
More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.