As previously reported, the founder of the popular produce store Sal’s Fruit Tree of Copiague is opening a new venture called Sal’s Farmers Market right near Southside Hospital.

And on Tuesday, the market — located in the former Group Optical Center space at 331 East Main Street — began construction.

“I can’t believe it’s been a year and a half (since taking over the property),” said owner Sal Messina. “I put the curbs in and I will be working on the building this week.”

Sal’s Farmers Market measures around 3,000 square feet, according to Messina, and it will feature fresh fruits, vegetables, juices and dairy products.

He’s now eyeing a mid-summer opening.

Messina learned the produce trade under the watchful eyes of his father and grandfather in Manhattan.

He later went on to own and operate the 30,000-square-foot Sal’s Fruit Tree in Copiague for 41 years before selling it in 2011.

Messina says his next venture will be a smaller version of the Fruit Tree concept.

Messina has big plans and has already purchased the land north of the building for additional parking.

“You do what you know best and you give it your all and you make it,” said Messina.

He will be running his newest location with his wife, Angela, and daughters Francesca and Arianna, and will be hiring about 35 employees.

“We are going to do it big here,” said Messina.


Sal’s Farmers Market in the works near downtown Bay Shore

Photo by Scott Warman on Unsplash

Editor’s note: Some changes have been made to better reflect the story.