Fairway plans to close its stores, including the flagship on Broadway and 74th Street, the New York Post reported. Fairway is getting ready to file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy protection, which entails stopping all operations, the newspaper reported.
Other chains have been looking at the store, and Shoprite is particularly interested, the report said.
Fairway’s corporate headquarters did not immediately respond to a request for comment. An employee at the 74th Street store said, “we’re not allowed to speak about it, sorry,” and hung up after we asked to talk to a manager.
Update, 9:40 a.m.: Fairway’s owners told NBC that the report is false.
“Such statements are categorically untrue and disappointing. Fairway has been engaged in a strategic process and expects to soon announce a value-maximizing transaction that will provide for the ongoing operations of stores,” the statement continued. “Our lenders remain extremely supportive of our efforts. All 14 stores remain open for business, offering a complete range of high quality, specialty food products, and we look forward to seeing our customers and employees.”
Ian Joskowitz, chief operating officer of the Westside Market chain, had this to say about the closing:
“It’s sad when any NY institution closes, but it was inevitable when the venture capitalists started calling the shots instead of seasoned supermarket professionals, like Howie Glickberg, Steve Jenkins and Peter Romano. It’s unfortunate.”
This is a developing story and we’ll have more later.
Trader Joe should move in to the Fairway store.
Trader Joe’s dosen’t have a 10th of what Fairway does. No comparison.
I couldn’t agree more!
We have Trader Joe’s but it doesn’t have everything Fairway has. So many people losing their jobs too.
Can we finally let go of the myth that private equity/hedge fund/finance know what they are doing? This is a disgrace.
Sadly they know exactly what they are doing. They make money on the front and the back end and they get to take the cash up front while they load the company up with debt and get paid to manage it. The banks make their cut upfront too. They all win and the neighborhood loses.
Right. Because it can’t be due to high rent, high employee wages/benefits, and trying to meet customer demand for lower prices.
You’re right it’s not. Unless you have blinders on and don’t see Fresh Direct and Amazon Fresh trucks every block unloading, I guess you can blame high rent and living wages.
It’s because private equity leveraged the company to expand with large stores in suburban places that aren’t profitable for a company like Fairway.
The site is worth much more than the stores value to the creditors. Block (they will buy out Citeralas with a deal that they can come back to the new building) and build on the whole block by 2021 2022
Gotta wonder when this idea came into someone’s head? The 51% private equity share has swapped hands a few times. Somewhere along the way the idea of driving the store into the ground to get at the real estate assets had to be a consideration.
I fear robert may be right…what a nightmare.
If West Side Market were looking to go back to the mid West 70’s now is the golden opportunity.
I do not understand the fascination with West Side Market. Over priced, sales on expired items, mediocre prepared food. Convenient, yes. Quality, no.
I agree. The most valuable thing about West Side Market is that it provided a shopping option other than Fairway for groceries and items such as Diet Coke which Trader Joe’s does not offer. And that matters.
oh no. this is heart breaking.
Can we blame it on the landlord/s?
Does anyone know if they are opening a GoFundMe page?
The landlords are not to blame in this particular case. Revisit their decisions dating back to 2007 for what happened to this storied institution.
why on earth would anyone in their right mind contribute to a GoFundMe page for a grocery store, or any other business for that matter. they are not a charity. they don’t care if you can’t afford their goods. your donations would be much better off with a worthy charity.
It’s the end of an era.
The end of an era—the only era worth mentioning. From here on out, we’ll increasingly be a city devoid of grocery stores, reliant on Fresh Direct & the like. Within a few years, groceries will be very hard to come by—it’ll be restaurants or bust.
I recently (gulp!) moved from the UWS to Queens, & when I’m back in the city I load up on as much Fairway stuff as I can carry. I miss Manhattan desperately, but I increasingly wonder if I left the the UWS just before its death. I literally grieve these closings, & what they mean for this city.
Highly unlikely. Restaurants around are dying / recycling too often, and are largely…bleh. Often, after the novelty of a new opening wears out, it’s a subpar experience at a high price. Understandable, given the rising cost of operations, but not a real day-to-day option.
There are many reasons Fairway is expected to file for bankruptcy and close all its stores including that private equity built too many stores and built up too much debt.
BUT…. much blame goes to NYC for allowing Fresh Direct to illegally compete. The NY Post says Fairway pays $6M in rent just for its flagship store. Compare that to just $1.78M Fresh Direct paid in 2018 for 28 THOUSAND tickets. Fresh Direct is illegally using our streets as distribution centers, often blocking lanes of traffic, and saving millions. And NYC has allowed this to happen, letting Fresh Direct trucks remain double parked all day, and giving discounts on tickets so they paid an average of just $63 / ticket, a small cost of doing business.
Thanks in part to continuing to allow this abuse, New York City is losing an essential neighborhood business that has been serving NYC and especially the UWS since 1933.
Politicians who care about local businesses and empty storefronts need to stand up to this blatant abuse by Fresh Direct.
Note: Fresh Direct is different from UPS/FedEx, in that the delivery companies make deliveries and move on, whereas Fresh Direct parks their trucks for 8 hours in the same location while they make scheduled deliveries, using our streets as distribution centers.
Fresh direct is for sale also because they are not doing so good also
Thank you so much for this informative comment.
Thank you for this reminder of how NYC again and again leaps to support short sighted private enterprise and development that depreciates quality of life and destroys the character of neighborhoods. No more supermarkets, cluttered sidewalks, congested streets.
I fail to understand why people prefer delivery of bruised fruit and vegetables thrown in bags by rushed, underpaid “fulfillment staff” over the pleasure of choosing food from beautiful piles at markets, preferably run by the people who grow the food.
Then you’ll never understand how people prioritize the limited time they have and don’t put as high value on the type of shopping experience you obviously attach great importance to. There is nothing inherently satisfying about choosing fruits and vegetables, waiting in line, and then shlepping them home. One can make much more productive use of their time.
The 1980s called… they want their mentality back.
And don’t forget Amazon using our sidewalks more and more. Even more than Fresh Direct. So sad what’s going on in our communities.
At no time of the day can one walk by Fairway and not find the sidewalk and curb lane filled with Fairway’s products, vehicles, garbage, etc. And you’re complaining about Fresh Direct using our sidewalks?
Amazon doesn’t use our sidewalks. Delivery companies make that decision.
Fresh Direct is a menace. Running their motors and their refrigerators for the entire time they park. Once all the shops all gone the monopoly will do its worst and prices will soar!
Fresh Direct doesn’t compete on a level playing field as Mr. Robbins points out. I wonder where their donations go?
Let’s just hope they don’t sell the site to a developer for a 50-story condo.
This is heartbreaking news. I can’t imagine the UWS without this store. And they’ve done so much recently – adding mobile checkout, the remodel of the upstairs and addition of cooking classes, etc. So much possibility. 😭😭😭😭 Hoping for a miracle.
The name Fairway still has a big following and a lot of value. My guess is that a supermarket chain will acquire Fairway and keep the supermarket as is.
And no, Fairway’s demise can’t be blamed on private equity firms or landlords. It’s the result of fierce competition, poor management and over expansion.
1. Fairway isn’t a supermarket. That’s the whole basis of its charm.
2. Yes, poor management and over expansion instituted by private equity.
All of those decisions were made by the private equity firm that bought a 51% share of the company a few years back.
Correct. The equity people financed the buyout and expansion with junk bonds.
They got an opinion letter strongly advising against it (I saw it) but they went ahead anyway. And the result was inevitable.
Private equity investors yet again load up a target company with excessive debt as part of an over-agressive expansion strategy that wasn’t feasible. The result is a destruction of brand value, jobs and neighborhood convenience. Much to answer for. Such a pity.
I am no huge fan of private equity in general. But for the most part, if there is a good business which has just been drowned in debt then there is more value in a restructuring than a liquidation. The equity investors get wiped out and the creditors become the new owners. Liquidations are usually the fault of a bad business model not too much debt.
Uptown Fairway was a game changer for those of us north of 96th for many many years – before Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Garden of Eden, Fresh Direct and all the other on line order options. What an incredible treat for a Manhattanite to be able to take a ten minute car trip, park and stock up on all manner of delicious food. It was a family excursion. My 30 year old son can’t remember a time before uptown Fairway. Will miss it terribly.
I go to the 125th store whenever there is spare time on a rental car. The cold room is bliss!
With the closing of Gristedes on West 86th Street and now the impending loss of ALL Fairways, we on the UWS may be looking at a grocery desert similar to those in highly disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Or is this grocer’s departure part of the larger phenomenon of stores closing all along Broadway in our neighborhood?
We in this part of town have not gotten a cogent explanation why up to half of the stores along Broadway roughly from 59th to 116th Street have closed.
They were finally starting to get their act together. The store was cleaner then it had been in years. They opened up some areas so there was more room. This is very distressing.
A case history of how to ruin a good grocery store. They were doomed as soon as they sold out. Part of me is sad, the other part of me is they deserve it.
This really hurts. There’s part of me trying to be pragmatic here. Recognizing that we still have other good supermarket options in the neighborhood and that in time this will be another neighborhood memory of the better days.
But Fairway was special. It was a big draw for me when I originally moved to the neighborhood and it has been a fundamental part of the life my family and I built here.
It’s particularly distressing to know that this demise is due to hedge fund tactics that gambled with, and then lost, a NY institution.
I’m hopeful that ShopRite or some other qualified operated come in as a savior, but worry this is just another change to the neighborhood that I fell in love with.
Wall Street did this, and the greed of the owners. They had a perfectly good business, tight margins but great brand and locations. Hedge funders took them public with the promise of big expansion that never happened. The stock was pump and dump. Bankers walked away with the cream.
John, I get that PE ownership may have contributed to the store’s current state, but doubt it’s the only reason. Everyone loves to hate Wall St, but without the revenues it pumps into the city, things would be much worse.
West Side Market please please take the space.
It’s current owners fault. Bad food, unknown inappropriate hot bar (never did demographic homework)RUDE employees no customer service and on and on. Had they bothered to check out the UWS they would have realized their mistakes. And then we have the high prices. So adios Fairway. We need a full service supermarket without the bad attitude. Westside market or how about Morton Williams or anyone else ….btw, anyone remember how great their rice pudding used to be before this takeover?
I am literally crying. Since moving to UWS 20+ years ago, I measured every prospective apartment by its distance from Fairway.
I’ve been in the neighborhood nearly 40 years, since college, and yes, I’m horrified. First place I ever shopped for groceries, and we still go there all the time.
Crossing fingers for a savior.
I also moved to UWS 20 years ago and relished in my proximity to Fairway, back when Mitchell London made its unapologetic robust Caesar’s dressing for a huge salad that cost $3.50.
While the produce routinely flaunted its excellent quality; also offered at a fair price.
The exceptional Fairway operation, run by seasoned grocers, was lamentably derailed years ago.
I did the same thing when we bought, except I was measuring around West Side market. I’m still upset about West Side Market. Without Fairway I’m now out of options. Zabar’s and Citarella are great – but not for full everyday needs. This is a nightmare.
I’m really sorry to see that this full size grocery store is closing but not at all sorry to see the surly, grouchy, nasty check out clerks go – this was a pervasive part of shopping at Fairway and was chain wide so I have to think it was the lack of customer service training that resulted in a group of employees with a complete lack of regard for their employer’s customers – so bye bye checkers!
Now, where are we supposed to shop? – the bodegas, Trader Joes??? Can someone provide answers?
I’ve always been deliberately pleasant to the Fairway checkers and, in nearly 40 years, have never had a truly bad experience. A few stressed-out women who appreciate being appreciated – that’s it. You just have to see them as people.
true too, for me. a little banter goes a long way.
You can forget about “Six Corners Marketplace”. I passed by yesterday and went inside. An absolute zero.
What is Six Corners Marketplace?
A new market coming to 106th: https://www.westsiderag.com/2020/01/05/a-new-market-coming-to-broadway-changes-its-too-familiar-name
Why? What did you see to make you think that?
I suggest you visit for yourself.
Great news. Messy and dirty . Rotten fish and awful prepared foods .Maybe we can get a Whole Foods mini store or a real supermarket.
I’ve been going to Fairway several times a week since moving here in 1974. It’s like a little part of me. Not happy.
This is a damn shame
The location is perfect for this type of grocery store. I hope Westside Market or ShopRite operates a similar store in the location.
If they do, I will certainly continue to do all my grocery shopping there! I spend a few hundred each month on groceries for my family.
Fairway was a madhouse but it was my madhouse! Remember when Ed Koch and his pal pols used to shop there and go to the restaurant? Like UWSsss, I also had to move to another borough, in my case because I could no longer afford the maintenance fees on my UPW co-op. But I came back to the nabe all the time to enjoy it and to shop at Fairway. I especially loved the second floor. Farewell, my lovely.
This is really sad. I shopped there and Westside Market for many years. It is one of the great things about the neighborhood. I also feel bad for the employees losing their jobs. Do we know how many they employ at that location?
From the Fairway twitter account:
They are not closing the stores!
Yes, indeed, the bankers who own Fairway deny, deny, deny that they are closing the stores.
And everybody knows that bankers always tell customers the full, complete truth, right??
I wish that were true, but I don’t believe it. That seems to be something they would put out in the hopes its suppliers would continue to ship product. If I were a dairy or wholesaler I would not be shipping to Fairway now unless it was an all cash transaction (which they will probably not be able to do). Further, if Fairway owns the building and it goes into Chapter 7, the US Trustee WILL sell the property and we can look forward to another antiseptic apartment building with a row of empty storefronts at ground level.
What a terrible, and thoughtless thing to do a neighborhood and it’s people. There are no grocery stores. At least at Fairway you could go in and shop and pick up regular items. Trader Joes, etc are limited in their variety. I feel so bad for the elderly in the area that depended on Fairway. I hope the local Politicians don’t allow a highrise on that spot and certainly I hope at least 74th street store can be saved. If not at least another grocery store to provide for the people in the area. So sad.
my fave store in Manhattan and when all other supermarkets are empty, you can go into Broadways store anytime day or night and its packed with shoppers….so glad there was an update reported saying closing was FALSE!
Don’t forget David Sneddon, one of the original owners. Very sad indeed.
The family-run institution that operated on the UWS for all those years is no more. What we have now is a supermarket that is a shell of its former self, run not by grocery experts but by venture capitalists. Thanks Private Equity! Oh and thanks for ruining The Food Emporium, A&P, Toys R Us, Lord & Taylor, Fortunoff, FAO Schwartz, Linens N Things and so many others.
Isn’t Lord and Taylor still alive and well?
Lord & Taylor NYC flagship store closed over a year ago
All these stores you listed went out of business because of online shopping, not private equity firms.
That is a lie. You obviously work for a venture capital or private equity firm.
You must be new here
When “fund managers” buy going concerns the cash is stripped, the debt builds up but the banks and the “fund managers” make a killing while neighborhoods are devastated. I’m sick of it! Where are the regulators?
The regulators of what? Whether a business owner decides to sell to a buyer that offers them what they perceive as a good deal?
Welcome to the real world.
The real world doesn’t exist on the West Side rag
“Fairway has been engaged in a strategic process and expects to soon announce a value-maximizing transaction that will provide for the ongoing operations of stores,…”
LOLOL. Any moment now the private equity vultures are going to figure out how to not run the formerly successful business into the ground. It’s all in the next deal.
I agree with Sherman comments 100%
What are the names of the rich money guys who did this to Fairways? Wouldn’t it be great to march and protest outside of their work addresses so they can share the repercussions of their actions? I doubt that they care if this neighborhood institution closes as their well-aerobicised wives probably haven’t stepped foot in a dirty ol’ supermarket in years.
What a pathetic and childish response.
Fairway should open/move a new store at 67th and Broadway, where Food Emporium and then Loews used to be. Trader Joe’s has a major congestion problem, long lines winding around the store. I use all the area stores because there is stuff you can’t find in one or the other. For those who like to cook from scratch, there is no Fairway facsimile.
That neighborhood would never put up with the way Fairway operates. People like to bash Fresh Direct for distributing from the street but the working areas around their trucks are far more contained that the sprawl in front of Fairway. What other businesses in the city would get away with using the streets as a warehouse all day? They would be ticketed many times daily.
This has been debunked by Fairway
I couldn’t agree with Ian Joskowitz more. We have seen all too often. VC’s come in, open too many locations and then close.
It is another hit to the Upper West Side economy and I am sad not only for residents, but for the many employees of Fairway. I truly hope a positive solution will be reached.
The flagship Fairway was a nightmare to shop in, and the times I had been there the patrons and the staff were rude. However, the 125th street location nearer me is a fabulous store with reasonable prices on certain items. I truly hope that location remains.
yesterday i went into the store to exchange a jar of fairway brand spices for a different one (my error…). the price on the one i wanted was 10 cents more…the original purchase was part of a larger order paid with a credit card. the customer service person required me to use my card to make the 10 cent adjustment…instead of just letting me pay the dime…or perhaps offering an even exchange…instead of taking 30 seconds, the transaction took about 5 minutes. i have been shopping at fairway for about 50 years…i just walked out annoyed…a “neighborhood” business should have customer service person who can be given some discretion. there’s a truism in business that, while a customer who has never had a problem may be satisfied, a customer who has had a problem that was resolved well will be loyal for life.
If the report is true, will Whole Foods & TJ’s jack up their prices? That would be the obvious move. I won’t mention Gristede’s because at $7.89 for a half gallon of milk, they’ve already maxed out their pricing opportunities.
Tjs has the same prices at all of their stores nationwide. Part of the reason it’s so popular.
I would like to see the vulture capitalists who bled Fairway dry forced to subsist on 7-11 groceries for the rest of their days.
The Red Hook community is on total back to having to go out of the community to shop… or get specially items…we recently lost our Santander Bank, Laundromat, 99c Store…now we’re at a certain age where we have to travel to receive services were put in place all these yrs!!! My husband and I are founders of the Bank, Lions Club, served on CB6 for yearssssssss and now the younger folk don’t care to really good the community…I have no more words
How can people in the neighborhood help to keep Fairway flourishing? I order from them via Instacart since that avoids the crowds, and it’s been working beautifully. Hope others will patronize them more consistently from now on, in person or online.
Fairway on 74th is always crowded and busy. It doesn’t seem like they lack customers.
Follow the money…
I don’t understand why Venture Capitalists think they are merchants. They are not.
They destroyed Gracious Home, now this.
Maybe an opportunity for Westside Markets?
I predicted Fairway’s eventual downfall when it went public a few years ago. I read their registration statement [S-1] with the SEC. Their sales/sqft were declining then, and about 1/3 of total assets were “Goodwill”. The Glickbergs and their venture capitalist partners pulled around $100m out of going public. The lease on their 74th store expired last year, with rent rising to “highest and best use”, according to the S-1.
As for Steve Jenkins, he should just stick to cheese.
Trader’s Joe is killing everyone around them,
why? Lower prices, fast service, ready packed food for busy people and good customer service.
I’m not a fan of them but they nailed it.
Fairway was an amazing store until it was bought by investors and the prices went crazy.Greed? yes.
The building will be probably torn down and high rise will pop up.
Feel sorry for the employees but not the employers.
I will not miss it at all.