Saturday, April 29, 2017

Breaking News!

Key Food in Peekskill Closes Suddenly . . .

Image still from YouTube.

April 26, 2017 marked the end of the road for the Key Food Marketplace in Peekskill, NY, which had its grand opening April 7, 2016, meaning it was fully up and running for one year and 19 days. The store, after closing, still had its Grand Opening banners up. That's always sad.

You can see in the picture above the store never even got a real sign, just an oversized banner. It also didn't take over the entire footprint of the A&P it replaced; you can see the vacant part in the windows above.

It's unclear what exactly caused this store to close so abruptly, leaving all the products on the shelves and most employees and customers clueless.

. . . To Be Replaced by Peekskill Green Grocers

Peekskill Green Grocers is an independent supermarket owned and operated by Zayed "Junior" Dabashi, who also owns Key Food stores in Beacon, NY; Mahopac, NY; and Milford, PA - all of which are former Grand Unions, by the way. We visited the Beacon location in May 2016.

I'm not sure at this point whether Peekskill Green Grocers will operate under Key Food or independently. I also don't know exactly what its focus will be; it might me more of a greengrocer as the name suggests, or it could be higher-end. I don't really know.

Certain posters on Facebook have not been exactly kind to that Key Food, and have shown similar responses to the prospect of a new independent. The truth is, it's too early to tell. Key Food Beacon was very clean, well-organized, and well-maintained, and the produce looked good. The selection was surprisingly good for a small independent. Personally I like Dabashi's stores, but I'm sure many don't.

His location in Mahopac, NY will be closing soon to be replaced by a Stop & Shop (just what we need, a cookie-cutter chain in place of a family-owned business). It's not closing because of a lack of business, just that the landlord didn't renew the lease. It seems to me that they will simply pick up their operation in Mahopac and move it to Peekskill, which would make sense.

UPDATE 5/5/17:

Peekskill Green Grocers Opens Today!



Garwood Superfresh Probably Not Reopening

https://www.flickr.com/photos/142408586@N05/albums/72157669146123493
https://www.flickr.com/photos/142408586@N05/albums/72157669146123493
While Superfresh Garwood claimed on its Facebook page that it would re-open soon after renovations, I personally don't think that will happen. Supporting my speculation is this document on the real estate company's website, which lists the 52,000 square foot space as being available. (I specifically remember it listing The Food Emporium as an anchor tenant in the past.) We'll have to see how that goes. Its listing also is gone from the Key Food website, and its website (superfreshgarwood.com) simply redirects to the Key Food store locator. Click on the images above to tour the Superfresh / Food Emporium.

Fine Fare Belleville to be Replaced by Bell Farm Supermarket

https://www.flickr.com/photos/142408586@N05/albums/72157670964533796
Another independent, this one in Belleville, NJ will replace a former Fine Fare that replaced a former Food Basics. Bell Farm Supermarket appears to be owned by Kevin Kim, who also owned the Garwood Superfresh. Click on the image above to tour the Fine Fare.

Supermarkets Plus IGA Coming Soon in Elizabeth

https://www.flickr.com/photos/142408586@N05/albums/72157671355174463
This 25,000 square foot store is opening this spring in a new-build complex located on a former abandoned industrial site in a lower-income neighborhood of Elizabeth. It's just blocks from CitiGrocer, which is slightly larger, and also a new-build store, that opened September 2015.

Supermarkets Plus is almost ready to open and according to an article about the group that owns it, will include a pharmacy and a hardware department. At this point it looks almost ready to open!

This store was originally planned to be a Key Food, then a Foodtown. The store's owner, Supermarkets Plus LLC (supermarketsplus.com) decided to go with IGA for this store, which seems a slightly strange choice to me.

Click on the image above to see more photos.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Key Food - Port Chester, NY


Welcome to Port Chester, NY!  For anyone not familiar with this city, it's actually pronounced PORT chester, not port CHESter as you might think (same inflection as Westchester).

Before we tour this store - I drove by this store (on the highway) earlier today, and it looked like it might be closed, and I thought the sign was missing from the street. I could be wrong, though. These Key Food stores seem to be dropping like flies - Superfresh Garwood is closed for renovations (supposedly), and I heard Key Food in Peekskill, NY is closing this week. It's an old A&P Sav-A-Center. Does anyone know if this store is still open?

Now on to the Key Food of Port Chester. It was built in 1982 as a Pathmark. Thanks to the real estate company's outdated website, we can learn that it comes in at just under 60,000 square feet and is situated in a small strip mall on four acres. Apparently this store was run by an outfit called the St. Anthony Supermarket Corp., a Supermarkets General/Pathmark affiliate. I know other Pathmarks were run instead by Pathmark Stores Inc. or Supermarkets General Corp., so I don't know where St. Anthony comes in here. Many independent stores use the formula [ADDRESS] Meat & Produce Corp., for instance, 241 Walker Meat & Produce Corp. for a store at 241 Walker St.

Key Food - or more specifically, Anthony Peña, who also owns Key Food stores in Bridgeport and Norwalk, CT under the co-branding Key Food/CityMarket - has done no substantive renovations in this location. It's a practically original Path to Savings store with some slight modifications.

They're still using the Pathmark carts too, and there were surprisingly few carts around (look at that lineup outside the Pathmark here!).
No spray paint here!

This shot was a lucky coincidence with the seagulls to the right so clear. You can see easily here how little Key Food did. What you can't see here is a sign just to the right of this part of the facade that says Pharmacy Dept. This store has no pharmacy.

Like many Pathmark Super Centers, the produce aisle is in the middle of the store. The area to the right would have been all HABA with pharmacy in the front; meat/seafood/deli along the back wall; and bakery in the far corner along the front wall. Key Food has no seafood or pharmacy.

Easily this store's best feature is its produce department. It was large, well-stocked, well-priced, and fresh-looking. The baskets are a nice touch to warm up the impersonal Pathmark cases!

The HABA area to the right of the entrance has become a badly-stocked junk area. The case in the front with the snow shovels, water, and Vita Malt is a Pathmark floral display. The old pharmacy would have been straight ahead. Notice the area to the far left, where the ceiling is lower and darker. This is a closed-off area that probably would have been more HABA.

Key Food is obviously in way over their head in this location. The greeting cards are a good space filler, but the beer in the meat cases is pathetic.

We're in the last aisle here looking towards the closed-off area. Notice the understocked shelves with nothing in particular on them.

The last open aisle. I guess if nothing else, the store was very clean. The empty pharmacy shelving can be seen straight ahead. There is no evidence that there are plans to reopen the pharmacy.

Looking along the back wall of the store. There is a deli counter on the right, and junk shelving visible where the seafood would have been. There were a few guys working on a hole in the floor near where seafood was, attesting to the facility's bad condition - and also making it IMPOSSIBLE to get any pictures in that area. It didn't help that I could count the number of other customers in the store on my fingers, but there were probably as many or more employees.

The international aisles, however, were great, as one would expect. But zoom in and you'll see the sparsely stocked deli case.

Roughly half of the freezer cases were completely empty. A few additional cases were stocked with dozens of facings of the same product. That's not a good sign. The only hopeful explanation I can come up with is that they're replacing the cases - notice the different types of cases. In this photo, the black ones look much newer, but in person, they actually look about the same age. You can see, though, much of the case to the left with empty shelves.

Dairy is fully stocked and in the last aisle. Here we're looking to the front of the store, towards the bakery. Notice this is the first customer we've seen in the entire tour. (There will be four more in the picture of the front-end, and one in the bakery picture.) That's about all there were in the store.

The bakery was decent, but I couldn't tell if they bake in-store. Of course, though, the muffins have to be under the donut sign. Just past bakery is the one place Key Food actually changed Pathmark's layout. They are adding a hot food/café area.

The tile backsplash is new, and while it's nice, it doesn't match the rest of the store at all. There are lots of hot food cases, and one closed case that might be used for more bakery goods. Then this large empty area is most likely where they'll put chairs and tables.

You can see the hot food area in the distance above.

Obviously this store's best features are its produce department and its international selection. Otherwise the store seems to be stuck in a transitional period which it likely will never escape from. It has great potential but to really bring it up to its potential would require a lot of time, effort, and $$$$ that these operators just don't have. It's really a shame. It doesn't help that there's a Compare Foods in downtown Port Chester and a Whole Foods within walking distance of this store, which cover the two ends of the spectrum.

Oh yes, and one other strange thing about this store - it didn't have its own circular. I've seen stores with no circular before, but never one that used the circular for a different location - at the front entrance was a stack of circulars for the store at 717 West Ave in Norwalk, CT. Come on, get your act together!

If this store were to close, I'd love to see a Food Bazaar move in here. They have the resources to realize this store's potential and it's the perfect neighborhood for them. It's heavily ethnic and generally lower-income, yet with higher-income residents surrounding it and the impending redevelopment of Port Chester, it could be an ideal location for them.

Key Food Supermarket

130 Midland Ave, Port Chester, NY 10573
Open Mon-Sat 7AM-9PM, Sun 7:30AM-9PM
http://www.keyfood.com


My Rating:

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Seabra Foods - Union, NJ

Welcome to another Seabra Foods, this one owned by the "A" branch, as opposed to the "A&J" side. This store opened as an A&P in the 1950s I believe, and the Kenilworth store was built in the mid-1990s as a replacement for this location. However, there is a large number of seniors who live near this store, and could not easily get to the Kenilworth location. A&P kept this location open alongside Kenilworth until 2006, when the Union A&P closed.

Around 2007, Foodtown opened in the former A&P space, after little to no renovation if I remember correctly. They promptly closed and were replaced by Food King, which put up a "King" in place of the "town" already on the sign. Food King lasted only slightly longer than Foodtown, and soon after, A Seabra moved in, as well as into a former Foodtown in Roselle and a former Food King/Foodtown/Grand Union in Springfield. Both of those stores have closed by now, but the Union location remains open, at least for the time being.

I should mention that this used to be my local supermarket (along with the Acme on Magie and the A&P in Kenilworth). It sure was never this nice when it was an A&P!

Let's head inside . . .
You walk into a large produce department with a tiny liquor selection to your left (there is more in the grocery aisles). Seafood and meat are along the back wall; an island to your right has deli, bakery, cafe, and salad/olive/soup/hot food.

Despite the sign visible in the upper left-hand corner here, there is no floral department.

Very small beer selection in the front corner.

The signage is really nice and reminiscent of the decor of SRS (ShopRite Supermarkets) from a few years ago, like this example in Clark, NJ. It might have been the same design firm.

On the other side of that produce case, we see bakery/cafe to the right, cheese and cold cuts to the left, seafood straight ahead, and deli facing the back wall.

A tiny coffee/cafe area with a few stools is even squeezed into this pretty small store!

 Hot foods looking towards deli and the back of the store.

Olive/salad bar towards the back.

The store was empty the night I was here, so I couldn't get a really good picture of the seafood counter without the employee noticing me.

The meat department continues along the back wall of the store.

There is an alcove in the back past the meat department where the dairy cases are, along with bread and a few other shelves in the middle.


The grocery aisles all have new shelving, which is very nice.

In addition to White Rose, this location had a substantial selection of Super A products. It's going to be interesting to see if they make the switch to Avenue A as the Associated Group does, or if they will continue to use just White Rose.
And then there's always that stray wrong storebrand:

The last few aisles are international, liquor, and frozen foods.
 

In the front corner opposite the entrance, there is an area that would have been liquor originally but has been converted to health and beauty. This store does not have a pharmacy.

 Notice the one lonely neon beer sign by the corner. (That sign and most of the other liquor remnants here are gone by now.)

Looking along the front-end with registers to the left and bakery to the right.

That about completes our tour. I have to put in a word about this store's bakery - it's great. The products are either baked in-store, or are brought in from Teixera's Bakery in Newark or one other, whose name I'm forgetting now. If you visit this store you absolutely have to try something from the bakery!

Heading back outside . . . 

A Seabra Foods is a very nice store here in Union, but it's also very small. The other downside - it's REALLY expensive! I like this store a lot but some things are CRAZY overpriced! So I would not recommend a big shopping here, but getting certain items (produce, bakery, ethnic foods) that they specialize in is a great idea.

A Seabra Foods

150 Galloping Hill Rd, Union, NJ 07083
Open Daily 7AM-9PM
http://www.aseabrafoods.com (not yet available)

My Rating: