Changes at Fairway Raise Fears That New Ownership Is Shifting Policies


File photo by Joeanna Sayler.

By Alex Israel

The Fairway at West 74th Street and Broadway appears to be undergoing some operational transformations, indicating its change of ownership may be complete.

In March, we reported that Village Super Market, the owner of ShopRite and Gourmet Garage, bought Fairway’s flagship location on Broadway. At the time, it seemed like they would maintain the same method of operation. “Like Fairway, Village Super Market is focused on providing fresh and prepared foods and plans to retain the Fairway name and operate the stores in the tradition New Yorkers have come to know and love, ensuring Fairway remains the unique, one-stop shopping experience and ‘The Place To Go Fooding,’” Village Super Market said in a prior statement.

But on Thursday, Several tipsters told WSR that the location is no longer honoring active Fairway sales or coupons or accepting contactless payment through its app. One also said someone was denied the use of their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) card. According to a tipster, the manager—dressed in Fairway branded apparel—said “we are not Fairway anymore.”

“After 25 years shopping there, watching the quality deteriorate and prices go up with each new owner, I am calling it quits,” wrote the tipster. “Too many other options at competitive prices.”

An employee at the 74th Street store did not respond to WSR’s request for comment, and hung up after we asked to talk to a manager. No one could be reached at the corporate office of Village Super Market.

FOOD, NEWS | 61 comments | permalink
    1. nycityny says:

      Too many other options at competitive prices? Really?! Do tell. Aside from Trader Joe’s with the huge lines I can’t think of any other place nearby.

      • Ish Kabibble says:

        Never said “nearby”. Many online options at a fraction of the cost of Fairway.

      • RB says:

        Been ordering Whole Foods on Prime Now at much better prices than Fairway. Anyone who hasn’t been to Whole Foods in the past 5 years clearly still thinks they only sell premium organic food when they actually have a great mix of prices. And then there is Fairway, where many items +20% more expensive than Whole Foods. Questionable quality on the veggies & fruits as well.

    2. robert says:

      You are 100% right, they are Fairway no more. This store is longer affiliated with the other stores, so why would it accept a Fairways flyer from another store. Its like asking them to honor the price in a Trader Joes flyer.
      As for snap they will soon take it. With the change in ownership they need to submit a lot of paperwork to the city state and federal gov That would take time even with them all working, I would expect it to take longer with the C19 issues.
      I would be very surprised if it lasts at all. There is a lot more money in the real-estate parcel being put together. The whole block could be taken down and built on with them as the main anchor tenant. Citeralia has other locations in the city so a tell could be cut with them as well moving the employees moved to other sites.

      • SNY says:

        With Corvid-19 decimating our city for probably another two years, I think developing the Fairway block would never be considered when people are seriously moving out in droves and real estate values will significantly decline. Why continue to live here if the quality of life deteriorates, the cost of living is so much higher, and when every cultural attraction has no chance of successfully reopening until there’s a Covid-19 Vaccine?

      • James says:

        Well said and sums it up perfectly.

    3. Jim Demetrios says:

      Gourmet Garage? Ugh! I will not be going there, ever!

    4. Marie Grace says:

      This is just someone fussing unreasonably. When a new owner takes control they need to obtain state approval to Accept snap and EBT. Village took over this week, it takes a few days to get approval and connection to the state elr tronic system. This article was written without understanding how benefits are processed. They just took over, but i have been to their Village Shoprite on Bruckner Blvd. It has best value and quality of any supermarket in the Bronx and i expect that they want fairway to be excellent value too.

    5. pnl says:

      Who needs Fairway? There are dozens of better alternatives within a mile.

    6. Metromade says:

      Fairway has been great, but they are overrated. I spend my coins at Citarella.

    7. Jamie says:

      I walked 25 blocks down the other day to check in on it and felt the change immediately. The have crappy Pepperidge Farm cookies and Goldfish crackers on the shelves by the bakery that once had specialty items. And the pickles by the olive section were in that fluorescent green liquid that usually comes on shelf stable jars, not the brine it usually is in. Fairway was special. Dean and DeLuca was special. Yeah….will there be anything like that again I wonder? Zabar’s better stick around!!

    8. David Beris says:

      Been trying to add items to my order for tomorrow via Instacart and the website won’t let me as of today. Says there are no search results for bread or cheese. Wonder if the site is done or is this a result of new management.

    9. Lesli Klein says:

      I tried to do an Instacart order last night. Couldn’t find anything I wanted. Did not like the units the items were were sold (I only wanted a single item and had to buy two).instacart directed me to Wegmans. Again did not like how items were presented and did not like the website.
      I finally tried Westside Market. Great website. Great choices. Haven’t placed order yet but will soon.
      Goodbye Fairway.

      • Cwr says:

        Westside Market has been terrific using instacart.
        I get a delivery spot easily and it is usually within a day or two – that has been my go to through the shut down with Covid.
        They don’t always have every product, usually very acceptable substitutes.

      • Danielle Remp says:

        Lesli, I recommend that you try WholeFoods at Columbus Circle. They are very reliable. We make sure to check that you we don’t want substitutes.

    10. Marilyn says:

      Isnt it illegal not to accept SNAP?

    11. Doug says:

      If it’s true that the “new” Fairway does/will not accept EBT, then they should be called out and strongly criticized for it. This would be a particularly terrible, and especially at this time, when so many people are struggling. Reserving further comment until their official policy is revealed, but will be watching them like a hawk!

    12. Jay E. Ellar says:

      I went on Tuesday night and was able to use the phone app to checkout. I hope they don’t discontinue its use. It is one of the best things about going to fairway, other than the amazing selection of coffees they offer. I must say that their customer facing employees have no concept of customer service. They are rude for the most part and don’t show any inclination to be helpful.

      • Puppy says:

        I’ve been shopping at Fairway since 1978 and we old timers joked for years that the cashiers had to pass a rudeness test In order to work there. That attitude is nothing new, it’s part of the culture and has been for decades. And has significantly improved, believe it or not.

    13. SG says:

      Just today I saw that the pickle bar was empty and the checkout person had me sign a physical copy of my receipt. There was no available slot to insert my credit card so I had to hand it to her. It also took her 5 minutes to hand me my bag. Finally, no Fairway whole chicken left. Sad in many ways.

    14. Madame0 says:

      West Side Market came to half way fill the vacuum Fairway left behind, years ago. Time to deal with it.

    15. Mandrake Figgins says:

      As a DAILY shopper at Fairway I offer the following: Today was the first day Fairway was operating under new ownership. Cash was the only option as the former Fairway payment processing system was shut down and the Village Super Market system was not yet up and running. Lots of “new ownership” personnel at the store and inventory was underway. Too soon to read the tea leaves. Let’s chill and see what develops.

    16. Addie says:

      I’ve always stopped in there after a show at the Beacon and when visiting my sister, who lives in the neighborhood. If this is what’s come of Fairway, then
      I guess I won’t bother anymore. Why would you mess up something that’s been SO great for so many years? The old expression, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it holds true for places like this too.

    17. T.. Reynolds says:

      Fairway has been getting worse and worse for years. Every time I walk in the prices have gone up. The employees are chronically rude and unhelpful, and if something is reasonably priced, they stop stocking it (Red Devil hot sauce for example). I only go there in emergencies now, most of the time I shop at Trader Joe’s. Much nicer people, better service, better prices. At Fairway, they seem to think they’re doing you a favor letting you shop there.

    18. Jonathan says:

      is fairway still on Instacart in the 10023 zip code? When trying to place an order it says the “This store isn’t available in your area yet” anyone else have this issue?

    19. Randy Klein says:

      Fairway has always been a store with inconsistent methods of operation, regardless of ownership. Currently the store has raised their prices, and the fresh produce is debatable. It is very sad that the neighborhood has deteriorated into a ‘food desert’. If Fairway isn’t honoring their advertised discounts and is going to be rude to shoppers, they will lose me as a customer. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has made this decision.

      I have lived on the Upper West Side since 1977. I love NYC but it had much more class before the entitled elitists took it over.

    20. Veronica says:

      I’ve been going to Pioneer on Columbus Avenue and 73rd street. The shelves are well stocked and the check out is quick. I love it,

    21. Ethan says:

      ” . . . I am calling it quits,” wrote the tipster. “Too many other options at competitive prices.” Such as???

      • Ish Kabibble says:

        amazon.com/fresh is fantastic.

        • Irena says:

          How do you even get a slot? I’ve tried for over a month. NEVER an opening. It was good but not now. No availability

          And I am an Amazon Prime member, which means nothing now with delivery.

    22. Larry says:

      Sorry to hear all this. Fairway has been deteriorating for years. I’ve stopped shopping there during this crisis, because they don’t take as much care as TJ or Zabar’s. For example, Zabar’s has packaged the olives, taking them out of the barrels. Fairway still has them in barrels. Citaraella is so much better for meat and fish; Zabar’s for bread, coffee, cheese, and prepared foods. I do like the breakfast options at the Fairway Cafe, though.

      So Trader Joe, Zabar’s, and Citarella (and occasionally the Jubilee Market) are good shopping options for me. I hate Gourmet Garage.

      Btw I wouldn’t worry about the land parcel in the current climate.

    23. Kathleen says:

      When I first moved into NYC and went to Fairway I swore I would never return. But I did and it has become “my store” for years. I’ve loved their selections of organic food, not just produce, but all sorts of grocery items. I can get everything I need there and really hope the new owners continue providing eco-friendly products, natural and organic shampoos, lotions, etc., things like raw honey, Ezekiel bread, so much more. Trader Joe’s is very limited and much of their produce is wrapped in plastic which I don’t personally care for. And as for the lines at TJ’s, they move very quickly because they have a lot of truly friendly cashiers. I do hope ‘Fairway’ gets the entitlements situation up and running asap for those who need it. As far as prices going up in recent years, where have they not?!

    24. Gena says:

      West Side Market’s online ordering website is improving daily, and now both email & phone calls are answered. I use the 98th Street WSM, and an order that I put in today at 7:30 a.m. is scheduled to be delivered by noon. From personal experience, I recommend their meat and chicken, as well as their fresh produce. Also improving – Instacart at Zabar’s.

      And about Fairway – I am always astonished when commenters say that staff is rude. I’ve always been treated nicely at Fairway – especially by the very sweet staff at the prepared foods counter.

    25. tnic says:

      Hahaha welcome to the UWS. It appears they really are operating in the tradition New Yorkers have come to know and love. We LOVE to complain! This may actually work out.

      Fairway’s been down so long this new chapter looks like up to me. Let’s give them a chance.

    26. Brenda says:

      I’ve never understood when people waxed poetic about Fairway (or any other grocery store for that matter).
      The 74th street store is very difficult to navigate, is chaotic, has limited selections and is quite expensive. I switched to Pea Pod last year and whatever I’ve paid in service charge I’ve made up for (& then some) in lower prices. I’m not thrilled about adding to my carbon footprint, but reducing my stress and expense is also important.

      • Deb says:

        We gave up on Peapod when they showed up late (i.e. an hour or more) multiple times with no notification, substituted store brand for national brand items (would you want Stop and Shop white bread instead of Wonder Bread, for example – and how could they run out of bread?), and many other injustices.

    27. EM says:

      On Instacart last night, it looks like Fairway has raised their prices 25-50%. Yikes!

    28. MV says:

      Was just there and the self-checkout with the app is still working. The only difference is there is only one mobile checkout code downstairs.

      • Sue says:

        Self checkout no longer an option.

        Several shoppers abandoned their carts as the lines were very long.

        I knew I had a problem when my Fairway app displayed : “It looks like you’re using a new store, pls re-enter credit card”. A customer service rep walked by and said “No more mobile checkout)

        Amazing that they would discontinue contactless checkout during a Pandemic. (a result of new ownership taking effect)

        • Jeffy says:

          I got this message while shopping there last night.

          I re-entered the credit card number and it worked.

      • UWSer says:

        Remember, Fairway is opened 24/7.
        Get there SUPER EARLY…say 7AM. You’ll be able to navigate the near empty aisles and easily check out the 2nd floor Organic and specialty items level. So avoid the crowds and stress! Arrive early!!
        Also, don’t hesitate to speak to on-duty Manager if you have a question.
        It’s a SHAME that Trader Joe’s and Zabar’s can’t be more competitive and extend their hours by opening at daybreak – thus avoiding the line (at TJ) or poor social distancing chaos (at Zabar’s).

    29. Park says:

      The mobile checkout app is the only thing that has made Fairway tolerable, and has been especially useful now to get in and out quickly without one more person touching my stuff. Will have to reconsider my next trip to Fairway if the mobile checkout app is no more. BTW, the mobile checkout app is what all grocery stores should offer instead of the terrible self-checkout kiosks.

    30. Big Earl says:

      Sounds like a nightmare. Come over and shop at the Pioneer. Few times I was forced to shop at the Fairway I noticed three things:
      1. Their produce was not as good as Pioneer
      2. Meats were over priced and not as good as the Pioneer
      3. Prices were always higher at Fairway

    31. harvey levinson says:

      My wife was in the store yesterday and said everyone was nasty It looks like no one is interested in working there We have to assume that they just do not care so we have decided to never use the store again and hope others see the changes

      • mh says:

        Same. I was there yesterday and was shocked by the nastiness of employees. Three of them blocked an aisle I was trying to pass through, just hanging out, and I stopped. Finally one said “Are we in your way?” and I said “Kind of, yes”. They snickered and didn’t move an inch. Are you kidding me?? Waiting on line to get in the damn place and then employees (and many customers) flouting social distancing as if it was a joke?

    32. Jonathan says:

      Hello,

      There have been reports that Fairway on 74h st. and Broadway was going to remain open and continue as Fairway despite being purchased. As many, including myself, have been using Instacart to get our groceries during the pandemic this has been a huge relief. However, it seems Fairway’s new owners have decided to stop Instacart service and I am being told shoppers now need to come to the store. I understand things change after buyouts, but it seems this change may have been more prudent once the lockdown was lifted? If you are able to look into this it would be greatly appreciated.

    33. Brian says:

      Update: On Friday, May 8 the app worked just fine at the UWS Fairway. Any stored credit card information in your app will need to be re-entered before the purchase can be completed, though. This is just a one time process necessitated by the company’s change of ownership.

    34. Kenneth says:

      Watch your unit pricing on Instacart. The item prices on a delivery from Zabars yesterday were 22% higher, per item, across the board than both the price sticker on the item and the Zabar’s check-out receipt that was still in the bag. (separate from delivery and the “service fee”)

    35. Dale Brown says:

      Fairway is a major disappointment. Produce has gone downhill. It does not have everything a regular grocery store would have (and never has), everyday products are missing and shelves are empty. Everyday items like milk, butter, English Muffins – not even talking about paper towels, toilet paper, paper napkins, Kleenex are not there. We need a REAL GROCERY STORE.

      The original owners were great and very community minded. I miss West Side Market that was on 76-77th & Broadway. Their 98th store has EVERYTHING. They just don’t deliver outside of a 10 block radius.

      • LM says:

        I live at 79th street and have been getting deliveries from them regularly, no problem.

      • LM says:

        I live at 79th street and have been getting deliveries from WestSide Market regularly, no problem.

    36. Mark Moore says:

      How long will the uptown site stay open?

    37. sg says:

      I go to 74th St frequently but what about the 86th ST east side Fairway ? Has that also changed ownership ?

    38. Larry says:

      I went to Fairway today. The have packaged the olives (I mentioned earlier that they were still in barrels.) However, it was too congested for me, so I left. They are limited number of customers, but there were too many people congregated in that little corridor between the two “rooms.”

      I asked a staff member about the switch and was told that Shoprite took over yesterday (May 7). The staff member said something about keeping the Fairway name. The word “boutique” was used, I have no idea what that means!

      When I left, I went to Jubilee Market and got what I needed. TJ , Citarella, and Zabar’s are still my favorites.

    39. Ole says:

      Finally, the honest truth & nothing but. For decades Fairway was the best selection, quality & price, a remarkable combination. Each ownership transfer pushed increase in price, reduction in quality & options. Gone was the human touch, the handwritten signs giving you a path to some exciting extant product. Fairway was also the way to the Fair, place for foodies to feel and find their way to food bliss. We miss the Fair grounds, the commitment to people and all that nourishes us. Numbers alone can never tell the story of all we hunger for, nor what truly nourishes us. How can treating staff so poorly, ever be the road to great service. Employees are Living Brand Ambassadors. Best as I can tell the FairWay is dead. Will something wonderful rise in its place? Let’s see. For now, I too am done!!

      • Dee Smith says:

        Ole,your comments were beautifully written and expressed! Fairways is my fave store also, let’s hope for the best and that this store will continue to be the go-to UWS grocery store.

    40. HRW says:

      Our Instacart order from fairway which was placed weeks ago was canceled with less than 24 hours notice. They sent an email saying it was directly related to the acquisition and offered a $10 credit. I told them to keep it.

    41. Jason says:

      Horrible store 86 third. Know one knows what there doing . Place is mess. Food expired. Flowers are
      Over priced. Looks like they are closing

    42. SUSAN COHEN says:

      The West SIDE COMMUNITY WILL SUPPORT FAIRWAY AS LONG AS RABBI MARMORSTEIN IS THE KOSHER SUPERVISION HE BEGAN FAIRWAY KOSHER AND KEPT IT ON THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF GOURMET KOSHER EVER SINCE