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TOUR: Key Food Supermarkets - Howard Beach, NY

The Almontes own two supermarkets in Howard Beach, a former Waldbaum's that's now a Food Emporium in the northern part of the neighborhood, and a Key Food that was previously a Duane Reade in the southern part of the neighborhood.
At about 10,000 square feet, this is the far smaller location, and it's also slightly older, having opened in 2014.
The store is oriented to face the parking lot in the back. Deli/bakery line the inside of this back wall, with produce on the facing aisle and checkouts along the left side wall. Meat lines the right side wall, with dairy and frozen in the last aisle, which is the front wall of the store (nearest to Crossbay Blvd). As we'll see, they've had to work with a rather awkward space, leading to some strange corners and wonky ceiling heights.
Like many urban stores, this Key Food takes advantage of the outdoor space they have facing the parking lot. In this case, it's enclosed and heated -- good news for the bitterly cold day I visited.
Produce lines the left side of the first aisle with deli on the right side.
The back aisle of the store, which technically runs along the side wall, is somewhat cramped and has a very low ceiling. I believe there is a second floor over this section of the store.
Looking towards the entrance from the back aisle.
The aisle markers and shelving have been modified to fit the lower ceiling.
Here we see the front wall of the store, to our right. In the front corner there's more frozen and dairy, along with customer service. (I wasn't actually planning to go to this store the night I ended up here; I just needed to pick up milk before going home and this was conveniently on my way home.)
You can tell this store is slightly older than The Food Emporium, but it's certainly in very nice shape and it's a good store to begin with.
Not a huge store, at just five aisles (plus produce/deli).
And that wraps up Howard Beach! We have two stores right over the border into Brooklyn, in the East New York section, before we move on. And aside from one lonely store way up north in Ridgewood, this is the last of my Queens stores! I'm adding the Ridgewood one to the group in Bushwick, which is the Brooklyn neighborhood immediately next to Ridgewood, Queens. Get ready for a lot of Brooklyn!

Key Food Supermarkets

163-30 Crossbay Blvd, Howard Beach, Queens, NY
Photographed December 2018


  1. That's a switch!

    We've had (and have) former supermarkets that have become drug stores (one current one was a Finast years ago, then an independent market into the 1990's before becoming Fays, Eckerd, Rite Aid and now Walgreens through various mergers/buyouts), but now seeing the opposite here with a drug store becoming a supermarket.

    1. For sure -- that's the opposite of what usually happens! But I think in New York City, the 15,000ish-square-foot pharmacy locations make for great supermarkets. The Key Food in Maspeth ( is another example that's coming to me right now, plus I have another former Walgreens turned Market Fresh on Staten Island coming up.

  2. Makes sense, given that many supermarkets (as we've seen in your postings) are in that smaller size category anyway and with the difficulty of finding any large empty spaces in these more city areas the markets will take whatever is available.

    Not quite so much with supermarkets, but you find the same thing in the state of VT - they have rules that require reuse of existing buildings when it is possible, which have led to (just in one town) a Home Depot that fills both a former supermarket and a former discount store - basically twice as wide and half as deep as a regular store, and a Walmart that began as a 55,000 sq. ft. store in a former 5&10 building - neither of which those chains would have normally done had the option for a more "standard" store been available.

    1. Precisely, space is at a premium in most parts of New York City so if there's a space that size that opens up, it'll be filled quickly.

      Very interesting about VT -- I haven't heard about that previously, but it makes sense!


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