FOOD EMPORIUM TO CLOSE NOVEMBER 23; SHELVES ALREADY GETTING BARE

FE1

Employees have been telling customers that that the Food Emporium on 90th street and Broadway will close for good on November 23. The store is no longer handing out discount circulars and the shelves are starting to look bare, several shoppers told us: “the warehouse is now limiting the stuff they send them,” one wrote.

“I spoke to several other employees who haven’t heard anything about plans for the space. They said no severance or transfer jobs had been provided,” wrote another tipster.

A Food Emporium spokesperson had no additional details to add. Food Emporium’s parent company, A&P, went bankrupt, and sold off its stores a few weeks ago. Some locations went to other supermarket companies, but others were sold to real estate entities whose plans are still unclear.

The 90th street location was sold to an entity called AF Norwich LLC. AF Norwich is not listed in business databases for either New York or Connecticut (we checked Connecticut because Norwich is a city in Connecticut). It’s not yet clear what will become of the space.

Once there was an historic theater on that site, by the way. Learn more about it here.

Photo by Reynold.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 51 comments | permalink
    1. mlm says:

      This is a real loss to me. I liked the store, it was pretty clean and the staff
      were always polite and friendly. Prices? Who can tell? Some things were okay, some not, but it served its purpose.

      Now Gristede’s is my only supermarket choice, and that is a less than desirable option, except that is closer to my apartment.

      • Mr. Ban says:

        To say that Gristedes is “less than desirable” is extremely generous. I’ve been to funerals that are less depressing.

        • Doug Garr says:

          The Gristedes on 86th St. is the worst run supermarket I’ve ever been in.

          • Meg D says:

            Running a close second to that is the one on 96. Thank goodness for West Side Market and Amazon!

            • $6Mil says:

              Ugh. I would vote for the Morton Williams on Columbus/58th. The checkers never make eye contact or even acknowledge your presence, let alone thank you for patronizing the store and providing them a job..

      • stuart says:

        Does anyone remember the Daitch Shopwell that was on the east side Broadway between 77 and 78 Streets? Now that was a supermarket…

    2. DP says:

      Those shelves have been looking bare for months.

    3. Sean says:

      Time to get with online shopping.

    4. Erica says:

      Wouldn’t the building above who owns the store front know who they leased the space to?

    5. NY10024 says:

      They posted a sign that they will be closing at 9 pm starting this week. The sign also said they were closing at 7 one day this week (I think Thursday) to start posting discounts. It’s going to be pretty bleak in there (more than it already is) after a few more days.

    6. MJ says:

      The Trader Joe’s on W. 72nd is always so overcrowded, would be great to see another one go in this space to serve those further uptown.

      • Joe says:

        Don’t hold your breath waiting.

        The 72nd St. TJ’s is serviced by at least four, often five, 18-wheelers SEVEN DAYS EACH WEEK.

        The city and the MTA moved the bus stop back from the corner at B’way so the huge trucks can pull up and unload right at the huge freight door in that building. Several crew members go out each time, one operating a fork lift, and unload pallet after pallet of goodies — it’s like watching a ballet! (I watch as I wait for the slow 5 bus back home.)

        The ideal uptown UWS place for a TJ’s would have been the HUGE retail space in the Ariel West (which sat empty for a few years until a useless Urban Outfitters took 2/3 of the frontage with a Sleepy’s eventually taking the other 1/3 — snooze).

        Four to five 18-wheelers delivering to any one location on Broadway, especially where the narrowed lanes are (inspired by Helen Rosenthal) would be a nightmare.

        I also think that no matter where else a TJ’s opened on the UWS, it too would soon be mobbed. Smart shoppers recognize that TJ’s has (for the most part) the lowest prices, unique items found nowhere else, and the absolutely most helpful store workers in the city!

        • MJ says:

          If they load in overnight, I don’t think it’ll be that bad. Besides, even if this new location is mobbed, it’ll still alleviate the strain on 72nd. All those great qualities you listed is why the demand is so high, so I say bring on another TJ’s!

        • MJ says:

          Why is there no law that says you must make sure there are enough supermarkets and stores to serve all these new tenants in the never ending condo developments?

    7. Ellie says:

      This is a real loss for me and the whole neighborhood. Barzini’s is on the next block but I don’t consider that a good option. This neighborhood is really under served as far as good shopping!!! Would love to see a Trader Joe’s in that spot. I know it will be awful if it’s another bank or Duane Reade!!!

    8. Bruce Bernstein says:

      I’m not sure why everyone hates Gristedes on W 96th so much. while i supplement it with WestSide Market and the street fruit stands, especially for fresh fruits and vegetables, i use it every day.

      it’s a myth that the prices are so high, especially if you look for the bargains. i have done comparison shopping. i had a hard time seeing a difference between the Associated on Amsterdam, supposedly much lower, and Gristedes.

      the staff is for the most part friendly. sure, there are a few grumps. but most of them are great.

      it is not crowded like West Side Market and the aisles are broader.

      WSM has more variety but you can also get burned on price, as at Gristedes, if you are not careful.

    9. Maddy says:

      Is there any way a petition can be posted for Aldi’s to open on the UWS? Anyone who has schlepped over to their E. 117th location knows what a great addition they would be on this side of town.

      • Joe says:

        I used to see their ads in the weekly flyer bags that sometimes are left on doorsteps. But I had no idea where it was located.

        Probably no way to make a round trip on the M116 bus.

    10. Tom D says:

      Both Food Emporium and Gristedes are a bad joke with high prices and poor quality and generally poor staff. I would much prefer to pay a little more at Whole Foods or deal with the madness at Trader Joe. If you ever lived anywhere other than NYC, you would probably feel the same

      • neighbor says:

        Never lived anywhere but NYC and still am insulted by the stinky fraud that is Gristedes. Food Emp is gone, thank god. One more bad remnant to go.

      • lis says:

        The Food Emporium on 68th Street was a pretty mellow store, a large space for NYC. Definitely miss it.
        The 90th Street store much smaller but still OK.

        When visiting friends and families in the suburbs, it is always lots of fun to go to Wegman’s, Publix, Stop and Shop, etc.

        But IMO, the West Side Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are pretty torturous experiences – the crowds and “competitive” shopping atmosphere feel like the subway albeit not dark and dirty.

    11. Young Sally says:

      I stopped in last night and it was SAD. They are doing an inventory this week and then the hours will be more limited. I feel really bad for the staff. A lot of the long-timers left in July (Miss Gina where are you??) and it’s mostly been newer/younger people since.

      I will be searching for a place to buy the Milkbones my dogs prefer (yes…I know they are junky…but my guys like them)….and I will just have to use either Duane Reade or web-shopping for those things one can’t get at Westside or Barzini’s.

    12. UWS'er says:

      This is such a loss for the area. The 86th street Gristedes is dingy and dirty. I think Key Food on Amsterdam is better but still not great. The Gristedes on 96th seems better.

      How is it possible that the UWS cannot sustain a decent store in this area? Maybe we will get lucky and a better store will take over the site. Of course it could just be another big box store like Best Buy which the ‘hood does not need. Or maybe a mega Duane Reade/walgreen/Rite Aid. Yuck!

    13. neighbor says:

      Gristedes is just as awful as its owner, the Mr. Mayor-wannabe Catsimasidis. An abomination that should not have place on the UWS in 2015 (both the store and the owner.) How do they stay afloat is beyond me. Hopefully some forensic accounting will shine the light on it one of these days.
      How about getting a petition going for boycotting the Gristedes in all its glory? And when we get rid of it, the empty space law will kick in and something good happen.

      • Joe says:

        It seems a given that every time other food stores are discussed on this blog, a large chorus bashes the Gristede’s chain.

        A couple of years ago, I would have eagerly joined in. My total disdain for fat slob John Catsimatidis should be well know to those who’ve read my rants on this blog about his role in the Ariel East/West condo travesty 10 years ago.

        And certainly the crumbling Gristede’s (originally a Red Apple) that stood where the Ariel West is now was a dump. Nasty cashiers who’d rather spit at customers, managers who’d back them up by kicking you in your cojones. They’d raise prices far above MSRP and stack the items at aisle ends like a “sale.” Food was improperly handled — eggs used to sit in the aisle for days on end unrefrigerated.

        Now…

        For the last few years, I’ve been going occasionally to the Gristede’s, both on 96th (West of B’way, in the basement), and the store relocated from 100th, which is now between 103rd/104th Sts. on the East side of Broadway.

        I go there because I’m on a very strict monthly food budget, and they carry several things I can’t find elsewhere: canned fruit with no sugar, and completely salt-free potato chips. And the prices — while very high for most everything else in the store — are actually reasonable for those items.

        I don’t find either store dirty, and they’re not very crowded (I guess because most of my neighbors don’t shop there).

        More importantly, the workers and managers I’ve run into in both of these stores try to be friendly and helpful. Fat John must have been asleep at the wheel when they were hired.

        To top it off, on Tuesdays, seniors get a 10% discount with NO minimum. And often, I don’t have to ask for it (Eeuuwww — does that mean I look my age?). And the cashier simply hits a key to discount the total.

        The cheapest “general purpose” market in these parts, the Associated (at 97th/Amsterdam) offers a measly 5% on Wednesdays with a $20 minimum. And you have to aggressively demand it; only then do they respond, scratching their heads for five minutes and figuring out the discount with pencil and paper.

        What a contrast. Why is Gristede’s, the store we all love to hate, so much better on this perk?

    14. drg says:

      I am completely bereft!!
      Where will I go with my bag’o’coins, now that the coinstar machine will be gone!!
      I loved Food Emporium for that… the groceries not so much. Never actually bought a thing in there, just used the coins for Amazon credit.. no fee!!

    15. robert says:

      I have to laugh at some of the comments here.
      While I realize that the A&P supermarkets were not mom and pops.
      Its interesting to see how many people admit to using amazon and other internet sources for their food and other sundries.
      Yet time and again folks bemoan the loss of mom and pop shops on the UWS.
      It was not the coming of these big supermarkets that put the mom and pops out of biz, it was UWS people using the internet grocers like fresh direct.

    16. Glen says:

      The real stumbling block to a good supermarket are the landlords and their off the charts commercial rent. Supermarkets run on relatively tight profit margins, there is a lot of spoilage and food can only be marked up so much before no one will pay for it. (Again, how the W86 Gristedes stays in business is beyond me).

      I understand the new tenant in the FE space is a women’s gym. Those have great profit margins as lots of people sign up and pay, but very few actually go.

      • Mary Jones says:

        Where did you hear that it is going to be a women’s gym? On a previous thread someone said Anytime Fitness which is not just for women. I wonder where he got his information.

        • Glen says:

          I though “Anytime Fitness” was a ladies’ gym (like Lucille Roberts), but now I see it’s for men and women.

      • Young Sally says:

        Well if that turns out to be true, I can only think its tenure will be short what with Equinox and the attached Soul Cycle a block or two away…regardless of one’s opinion of either gym.

    17. drg says:

      The “high” rent is a stumbling block, but not the owner’s “fault”, they are in the real estate business, not the grocery store subsidy business.
      In addition to the rent, though, the nature of a city store sends the prices high. Delivery costs to the store are high. The square footage is low, so large packages of goods cant be stocked, and the smaller ones are significantly less cost effective for consumers. The cost of paper goods in the suburbs is much much less, with the larger packaged quantities… hence many Manhattanites will drive to NJ or LI to stock up.
      It is unfortunate that the costs of these things are higher in urban areas, especially low income areas, further making it difficult to afford living here.

    18. Scott says:

      Wegmans please come to NYC. Let’s drive the bodega ghetto grocers out of town once & for all.

      • Claire says:

        I hope you’re kidding, those bodegas are some of the most loyal stores around. They care and truly know the name of every customer and I hope they stick around for another 100 years. Ghetto is a derogatory slur used to put down others not deemed up to ones level, it seems you could learn a thing or two from the local “ghetto” bodega owner sir.

        • Scott says:

          Nice status signalling, Claire. That sound you hear is me slow clapping you.

          I guess no one ever told you that those friendly old bodegas prey on the poor by price gouging them. They also sell old/expired food that’s disgusting, endangering everyone’s health.

          Now please continue, social justice warrior.

    19. Bonnie Rapaport says:

      The area is crowded with families.. More and more buildings are going up.. Everyone needs to shop… But where???? More supermarkets .. Not less.. Are badly needed.. Gristides is old fashioned.. Small.. Dirty..
      Perhaps another whole foods would fill a gap!!!

    20. Bob says:

      i miss the food emporium on w68th. sure it was totally over priced BUT it was easy to get in and out.

      damn that lowe’s.

      • Cato says:

        The fact that Lowe’s moved into the space vacated months earlier when Food Emporium closed does not mean that Lowe’s caused Food Emporium to move.

        I agree that it’s too bad that Food Emporium closed, but don’t “damn” Lowe’s for renting the vacant space.

    21. Joe says:

      Hasn’t this Food Emporium been “closing” for a long time now?

      Too much. Let it die already. Reminds of nightly headlines years back: “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still alive.”

    22. Sean says:

      Isn’t there a super market in one of those new buildings over near Trump Land. How’s that doing? The UWS today is exactly the UWS that we got voting in the beloved Michael Bloomberg. Look at all the flower plantings that we got! We ran with De Blasio too. He seems more interested in what takes place away from the city. You have to juggle both here. Scott Stringer is waiting in the wings. All of Manhattan has been given over to the developers and the tourists. Now this is happening in the outer boroughs as well. And it is happening in major European cities too. Corporations are people now and multi-national. If you are rich it is a good thing. The solution to these mundane daily problems is to think beyond a mid 20th Century business model. Things are not going to go back. These stores close because they cannot be supported by the economy. The way we live has changed too. So what do you do? You look forward to a way out of the darkness. I bet there is a grocer’s app for your smartphone. Remember the milkman used to come to the backdoor when Mom was home. The first supermarket was in Queens. Times change.

    23. P.Dale says:

      The loss of this grocery store is a big blow to our neighborhood. And, though there are others within blocks,
      traveling to them will put an extra burden on our senior and disabled neighbors.
      I have noticed that other FE stores around town have been
      replaced by the grocery chain, Morton Wiliams.
      With the closing of the Jennifer Convertible store across the
      street from FE, there is a lot of commercial space now empty on both sides of Broadway (89-90 St.) What about a Trader Joe’s? What about a Whole Foods? Why not both?

    24. Sean says:

      Why not another Fairway? It is after all the store that the UWS loves. And you have Zabars if you don’t mind scores of tourists. Isn’t Fairway where a real UWSider shops?

    25. C.T. Day says:

      Does anyone else use the farmer’s markets for fresh produce, or is that just me?

    26. Brian says:

      Unfortunately, both Fairway and Gristedes are likely to end up out of business in the very near future. Too much competition from amazon, TJ’s and WFM. (See this week’s NYT article on Fairway’s financial mess).