Smithtown staple Panico's Community Market to close

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SMITHTOWN -

Panico's Community Market, a staple in Smithtown, is closing after 36 years.

The Italian food store is known for giving back to the community. Owner Donato Panico started the charity "Heros 4 Our Heroes" to feed first responders. He started it the day after the 9/11 attacks, providing food trucks at Ground Zero.

"It is the ... toughest decision I've had to make in my life," Donato says of closing. "But in order for my family to thrive and spend more quality time with them, it's the right decision. We've had 36 years of a great community and wonderful customers, and it's just time to move on and get our charity organization going a little stronger."

Panico's donated 3,000 sandwiches to first responders last Sept. 11. Donato's next undertaking will be to help rebuild the Northport VA and to pursue Heros 4 Our Heroes full-time.

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