The massive Food Emporium on the northeast corner of 68th street and Broadway is planning to close in early May. It’s a sudden end for a store that has been a stable presence in the neighborhood for well over a decade.
The supermarket is big and clean, with plentiful aisles of produce, sushi, baked goods and more. But it doesn’t generate a lot of love or loyalty like Fairway, Zabar’s, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. People also regularly complain about the high prices. That said, it has the order and consistency of a suburban market, which can be hard to find in the elbow-to-elbow world of Upper West Side food shopping.
Employees told us the decision was made at the corporate level, and that the store will close on May 4. It’s been around since at least the 1990’s. The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., which owns the Food Emporium markets, has been attempting to sell the division. “A&P has tried for at least six months to sell its 17-store Food Emporium chain. Several companies have expressed interest in the 16 Manhattan Food Emporiums and their prime locations, but A&P has not yet named a buyer,” the Bergen Record reported in February.
“The stores are not well managed,” supermarket consultant Burt Flickinger told Crain’s last year, referring to Food Emporium stores. “Customer counts have dropped dramatically over the last 10 years. CVS, for one, is walking all over Food Emporium, offering items such as yogurt, eggs, milk, soup, cereal, condiments at much lower prices.”
No word yet on what will move in to replace it.
One thing is for certain: the Lincoln Square neighborhood is changing faster than almost any other part of New York City. If someone last saw Lincoln Square in 2000 and returns in 2015, it will be almost entirely unrecognizable.
Now check out an awesome Food Emporium ad from 1988 (hat-tip Gothamist):