ASSOCIATED SUPERMARKET CLOSING SUDDENLY AFTER JUST TWO YEARS; LIQUIDATION DISCOUNTS

Associated Supermarket, a big glassy market in the Columbus Square development on 99th Street and Amsterdam Avenue that opened just a couple of years ago, appears to be closing soon. The store is already being cleared out, with many items being sold at discount prices, from 10% to 50% off. An employee told us that the store could close as soon as next week. Associated itself has offered no comment on why they are closing.

Readers who have written in to us about the closing expressed sadness. It was known as a good all-around market with lots of Kosher items in stock and decent prices.

“What a shame, this was one of better markets in area,” wrote Ed.

“Pity – they were the largest and cheapest in the area.  But there were hardly ever any customers there. Now that Westside Market is about to open (between 98th and 99th on Broadway), I guess that will prove too much competition for them,” wrote Gail.

“As far as I’m concerned it’s a loss for the neighborhood, although who knows what will replace it,” wrote Elizabeth, who described the store as “the great relatively new one on the west side of the Columbus Square development that’s mostly underground and is nice, clean and has lots of space and very friendly staff.”

The bigger question, however, may be why the store was ever opened in the first place. A sparkling new Whole Foods also opened at about the same time about two blocks away, and Associated itself has a market on 97th Street. One yelper summed it up well:

“This place just makes me ask a lot of questions.

Why would this chain decide to open a supermarket a half a block away from one of their own? There’s a good sized Whole Foods one avenue away too.

Why have a hot bar at this place when the selection never really varies?

Do I really want to go to a supermarket for the fried rice/mashed potatoes/fried chicken?

Why are there 7 cashiers from the school of surly? There’s NEVER a line here long enough to justify that many people behind registers.

Why do the deli guys come out from behind the counter to try to sell me on the food? Deli guys make commissions now?”

Why indeed.

Thanks to Gail for the photo, and Gail, Elizabeth and Ed for the tips.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 17 comments | permalink
    1. BILL says:

      THE ASSOCIATED ON 97TH ST,I WOULD NEVER BUY MEAT THERE,ITS BROWN & RANCID AND THE CHICKEN LOOKS TIRED.AT LEAST THIS STORE THE MEATS WERE FRESH LOOKING.

    2. Greg says:

      I’ve only lived in the neighborhood for three weeks, but this place seemed to me the best bang for your buck. Whole Foods is great, but expensive. Gristedes is the worst place in the world and so wildly overpriced that it’s almost comical. Food there is twice the price that it is anywhere else. It actually makes me angry. The Associated on 97th is all right, but always packed and very claustrophobic. The cashier at the closing Associated told me that it was closing because the rent was upped by 50%.

      Does anyone know when the new West Side Market opens? I love the one on 77th and am very excited about the new one.

      • Lena says:

        The workers at the new West Side Market said April 29th. LOVE WSM, but still sad about the Associated closing.

        • Greg says:

          Thanks for the info! I’m definitely looking forward to the West Side Market. I shopped exclusively at the one on 77th when I lived down there six years ago. Went to Fairway ONCE the whole year I was there.

          I found the Associated just last week and thought, “Sweet! A large grocery store that’s affordable!” I feel totally dejected that it’s going.

          I will go anywhere, even multiple places, before I shop at Gristedes. I’ve hated this place since I lived in Brooklyn Heights and it was one of two grocery stores in the area. Where do they get the gumption to charge me a full $2 more for a thing of oatmeal than anywhere else!?!? Ridiculous!

    3. The new Associated is closing – – and the working stiffs of the Upper West Side lose once again! But stating that Whole Foods and West Side Market are the probable cause is like saying Tiffany is giving Home Goods a run for its money. Whereas the influx of upper income residents have created a demographic for a more high-end, and expensive, source of produce (“Whole Paycheck” as a nickname didn’t happen for nothing), the long-established, traditional working class population of this particular part of the UWS – people who must take careful stock of their shopping budgets – needs a place to buy foodstuffs as well.
      The new Associated was a twinkle in my eye, for sure. I delighted in taking out of town friends there to show off a gleaming, new, AFFORDABLE supermarket in an urban environment. And they were impressed! Better prices than in their suburban stores! Plus a bit of comparison shopping showed that, on average, the new Associated’s prices were 65 cents lower PER ITEM than the exorbitant Gristede’s on 103rd and Broadway. And has anyone else noticed how the prices at the West Side Market on 110th have SKYROCKETED in the recent past?
      Oh well – – I guess the non-six-figure earners in the neighborhood will have to go back to the seedy, grungy Associated on 97th – as long as THAT’S still around. I guess it’s punishment for just being regular fellows and not bank executives.

    4. elaine says:

      west side market?????another overpriced yuppie entity

    5. rosie says:

      i am so devastated by this closing. so affordable and with good shopping experience (unlike 97th). but for some reason it was there were never a lot of people in there and i cant understand why. west side market is generally overpriced but their produce is actually reasonable. also, ppl working in the store said its opening today.

    6. Riverside says:

      I must concur with most of the commenters’ statements: The Associated at 99th Street was generally great, with a good mix of high end and standard grocery store items. Will be very sad to lose an affordable option in the neighborhood. The cashiers were super kind and very nice, particularly the lady who appeared to be the manager/lead cashier.

      As for retail in the area, the situation is SO frustrating. What is going on? As soon as we gain one great new store, it seems we lose one or two others. West Side Market comes and we lose Associated AND Gourmet Garage AND Golden Boy Market. 18-Hour Walgreens in and 24-Hour Duane Reade AND RiteAid out. Urban Outfitters in, and the little indy coffee shop and Starbucks out. How about some net gain for the neighborhood?

      What’s next, we lose Lenny’s Bagels and The Health Nuts?

    7. Michaela says:

      I asked some of the cashiers what was up, having grown close to them 3 times a week for over a year. Was told that the new owners jacked the rent from 45K to 75K per month and that the store was bleeding money from then on. Also was told that everyone in the store is being laid off and that paychecks are late… we are going to seriously miss this store – was my very favorite for food choices and $$ so far. Heard that Michael’s is having similar rent issues, too, hopefully not to follow suit…

    8. Greg says:

      I honestly don’t find the West Side Market to be THAT overpriced. The one on 77th and Broadway is MUCH cheaper than any Gristedes anywhere.

      WSM is definitely a yuppy store, but it’s cheaper than Whole Foods; and they have a great selection of gourmet food. Who doesn’t love binging on all the cheese samples?!?! I’ll be thrilled when the new one opens.

      The reason that I detest Gristedes is that it’s a regular grocery store that’s way overpriced. WSM and Whole Foods have all the yuppy staples (E.g. pre-made food, vegetarian stuff, natural healthcare products, etc.) that can justify being somewhat or even exorbitantly overpriced. What does Gristedes have that justifies charging so much? It’s not any different from Associated! $30 worth of groceries at Associated is $50-$60 at Gristedes.

      The Associated at 97th has a decent stock, but shopping there is a nightmare. The aisles are way too narrow and it’s always packed. Very claustrophobic. I hate to sound nasty or prejudiced, but going there is like shopping at a retirement home, too. The customers are 60+ and shuffle around, stop in the middle of an aisle with three people behind them and stare endlessly at their grocery list and seem to be completely oblivious to all external stimuli. It’s worth going to for the prices, but I always leave the store in an irritable mood.

      I will miss the Associated on 97th. Does anyone know what’s going in there? It’s a huge space.

    9. Bernie says:

      IT was a good place for wifiers, had a high speed line for your own computers and had 10 computers that customers who shopped there could use.
      perhaps the problem not cited in your wrap up was: the super part of the market was in the basement.Thus, all that was visible from the street were the computers and the food buffet and tables. IT had a balcony with tables, as well. the cooked food was hearty at best. from the street, it looked like a cafe. just a hunch.NEXT, how about a micro movie complex in that spot? any body?? want to run with this ball? get in touch with me. bring investors.

    10. Bernie says:

      another problem: The super market part was in the basement. from the street it looked like a Internet-deli-restaurant.it had lovely marble tables, onthe first floor and in a blacony/ Inthe windows computers for customers, wifi for laptop users, a food buffet steam table, hearty food.
      What would really go well in that location? any ideas?

    11. Edac2 says:

      I’ll miss the “Mega” Associated, too, quirks and all. It was a great hangout where I met a lot of people and took friends. They had free wifi that was a LOT faster than the free wifi in Whole Foods, lots of electric outlets and tables, and bathrooms. They even had two banks of FREE computers by the windows. As for quirks, the biggest was their weird checkout counters. And when they first opened they blasted this awful shrill classical music from some strange web channel in Canada. Too bad they couldn’t have closed the smelly 97th street store and kept the new 99th street store open. As for Gristedes, all I can say is their days are numbered now that Westside Market has opened a block and a half away. I mean, how can you charge $8.50 for a box of Cracklin’ Oatbran in a crummy, rundown place like theirs when WSM charges $2 less (still overpriced, by the way; it’s $3.50 at Target) in a much nicer space? And WSM is open 24 hours. Hell, the Gritedes that used to be on 100th Street and Broadway had rats running around in the ceiling!

    12. Dan says:

      You want reasons why this place closed down. Here are several:

      1. Competition. Open a 24 hour Associated two blocks away from the original store. With the health food store two blocks away, Whole Foods two blocks away, and Gristedes over on 96th what did they expect?

      2. The products. The food here was either brand name at regular prices or bad quality. Why would anyone spend money on that when they can get fresh food at Whole Foods? It may be more expensive, but this is food were talking about not pencil sharpeners.

      3. Service. Forget about service with a smile. You wouldn’t get it here. They don’t talk to or even acknowledge you. Could care less if spend money there or not. They acted like they were doing you a favor if you wanted a bakery item.

      4. The stupid computer/table set ups. Why oh why did they even have this in front. With people leaving strollers there or people on the computers treating this place like a low rent Starbucks (minus the coffee). This is a supermarket not a hangout. Sometimes you could barely get through the front door. Not because of so many people, but because people would have their crap by the tables. The only good table set up was upstairs.

      The use of electricity. With all the lighting and casino like signage in the windows and as you go down the escalator, and the free computers; I’m surprised they made enough money to pay the electric bill.

      I’ve lived in this area for 15 years. Sorry to see people lose their jobs; but this was a disaster waiting to happen.

    13. Kimberly says:

      The store always seemed a redundancy- and from the outside it never made me want to go in. I much prefer Barzini’s on 90th and Broadway and Whole Foods for fresh meat and produce, as well as Schatzie the butcher (when they are occasionally open!), and Gristedes on West 96th and Broadway for basics like milk and juice and taco shells. What I really truly miss is Gourmet Garage for their breads! It would be nice to have some place in the 90- 97th street West End- Amsterdam area that sold fresh bread. Since Gourmet Garage is gone, we have to go out of our way for that. I also miss their delicious soups (even better than Whole Foods!), and prepared foods, especially their beet and goat cheese salad. Their staff was also always extremely friendly> A real loss!

    14. mathhattan says:

      It seems a lot places seem to be closing on the upper westside gap gourmet garage.I thought TJ maxx would have closed before this place this is a residental area people want food more then clothes.

    15. Josefina says:

      I wonder what is going on, Associated Supermarket at West Merrick Road, Valley Stream is closing this week also….. the economy is bad…. the rent goin up and the consumers are going to miss the supermarket… I hope the situation change soon, Buena Suerte!