Supermarkets Continue to Disappear: Bloomberg Subsidizes FreshDirect

We have been pointing out that the city’s outrageous subsidy of FreshDirect runs counter to the much ballyhooed policy of supporting local supermarkets-stores that have been disappearing at an alarming rate. It makes no sense to throw $127 million at a company that will put neighborhood stores at risk.

NYAGS “Fresh Direct: Stop the Handout” October 9, 2012

Now comes this story from the Wall Street Journal:

“The closing of Windsor Terrace’s only supermarket last summer took many by surprise—including some who were never Key Food loyalists.

“I don’t think we realized we were going to miss it until it closed,” said Kaye Ea, who lives across the street from the shuttered store. “It wasn’t the greatest grocery store around, but it was the most convenient.”

Wall Street Journal

Making this situation worse is that no other supermarket can afford the high rent-so in comes yet another drug store:

“But what has riled up many residents in the Brooklyn neighborhood is that the new store planned for the supermarket site—a Walgreens pharmacy that is expected to open in 2013—doesn’t plug the hole caused by the loss of the Key Food. Windsor Terrace is home to a couple of mom-and-pop-style pharmacies but there aren’t any other large food markets.

Without the Key Food, “It’s been difficult, but especially so for older people who have had a hard time shopping at the bodegas,” said Leonora Stein, owner of Babbo’s Books, whose mother lives in the area and whose store prominently displays a “Boycott Walgreens” sign. “It’s more expensive, they don’t have everything and depending on where you live, even getting to bodegas is harder.

The supermarket, on Prospect Avenue near 11th Avenue, closed in June because the owner of the Key Food outlet decided to retire and then leased the space to Walgreens. “Other supermarkets would have loved the location but they can’t afford rents,” according to Brooklyn borough President Marty Markowitz…”

This is the crisis that the city’s “Fresh” program was designed to address-but as another local marker bites the dust the city is handing bags full of cash to an online grocer. Go figure:

“While some of the younger families tend to patronize other nearby shopping options outside the neighborhood, the closure of the Key Food has created harships for Windsor Terrace’s significant elderly population, said Mr. Markowitz, who lives in the area and was a Key Food customer.

“Younger people increasingly use Fresh Direct, but there’s a huge market of people who are older in Windsor Terrace,” he said. “I am 67 and there are loads of people near my age that only have the option to shop locally.”

There it is in a nutshell. The city neighborhood supermarkets are in crisis and a clueless-and irresponsible-mayor is subsidizing a company that aids the disappearance of these markets. The end of his term can’t come soon enough.


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