Western Brooklyn

Pols & Brooklyn Chamber Band Together To Demand Answers About Waldbaums Closure

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Elected officials are speaking out about the impending shuttering of Walbaums — a casualty of A&P’s recent bankruptcy filing — insisting that the building remain a full-service supermarket for the neighborhood.

The food store, which has stood at 8121 New Utrecht Avenue for 37 years, is slated to close for good on Thursday, November 19, and expected to return to auction after two failed sale transactions.

A & P has been tightlipped about the negotiations with the press as well as Waldbaums’ 70 employees, who tell us they were not granted notice of the closure far enough in advance to seek other employment.

One store manager, Marie, who asked us not to use her last name, said lack of communication from the supermarket’s parent company prevented Waldbaums’ workers from applying for positions at the Stop & Shop that opened at the location of Pathmark on Cropsey Avenue last month.

“We were kept in the dark the whole time. We thought we were bought, but after Key Food backed out, they never told us anything,” she said. “They made our hands tied. We couldn’t get a job because we didn’t know if someone else was coming.”

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Waldbaums’ empty aisles, Photo by Rachel Silberstein/Bensonhurst Bean

In response, Councilman Vincent Gentile, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and other elected officials are organizing rally in the parking lot of Waldbaums (8121 New Utrecht Avenue) on Thursday, at 2pm, to demand answers, and call for Waldbaums to be replaced by another supermarket.

“The Waldbaums has been a reliable and convenient mainstay in the community for almost 40 years. There is currently no deal in place for a new supermarket,” said Gentile. “This is a great disservice to Waldbaums’ loyal employees and Bensonhurst community members, with Thanksgiving fast approaching.”

Brooklyn Chamber’s Carlo Scissura noted that Waldbaums is the only full-service supermarket in the area that has a parking lot, calling the store a “critical anchor for Bensonhurst.”

“I have been shopping there forever, as have many of my friends and relatives in the neighborhood,” said Scissura, “Not only does it need to remain a supermarket, but whoever gets it should do some upgrades to the property.”

Councilman Mark Treyger, who will also be at Thursday’s protest, criticized A&P for lack of transparency with the store’s employees and the community.

“This is exactly why we really have to step in. Everything that we’re dealing with is rumors and chatter and hearsay,” said Treyger. “The bottom line is our job in government is not to deal with rumors and chatter. It’s to make sure residents have access to fresh produce and support working families who have been working there for many, many years.”

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15 COMMENTS

  1. There needs to be another Supermarket put in this spot. The only places to shop are Chinese markets and KeyFood. Where is the variety? I am going to miss Waldbaums.

  2. What other variety do you need? If you’re in the suburbs, you’ll have the big chain stores that sell exactly the same things. Here, you have cheap produce and seafood from the Chinese markets. You have keyfood for your American foods. There’s two meats supreme locations right on 86st. There’s numerous small Mexican shops that sell their ethnic products. There’s a few Russian markets. There’s even a farmers market on Sundays not far from the closed waldbaums. There’s also a food dynasty 3 avenues away from the closed waldbaums. How is that not variety or are you just selective on what you consider variety? Look at the demographic that live in the area and you’ll see how the stores change with them. There used to be a waldbaums where Best Buy is today. There used to be an associated supermarket between 23rd and 24th ave.

  3. It’s a good thing that Waldbaums is closing. I hate that fucking store. The white workers there are fucking racist.

  4. I’m glad I’m not the only one who also thinks this. They were racist and rude as hell for no reason at all, no matter what time of the day I went.

  5. That’s actually exactly why I’ve never stepped foot in there. I would go to Keyfood instead of Waldbaums. You either experience it yourself or you hear it from friends and family. Even on the yelp reviews, they have stories about the racist employees there. They probably aren’t racist though but just hate their dead end jobs. They take it out on customers because their jobs were terrible. Good riddance.

  6. Werd. I haven’t been there in over 8 years after the register person referred to my sister and her husband as “those chinks.” Ignorance was very abundant there. So uh.. yea, good riddance.

  7. It’s a decent Shop Rite at Avenue I, but it is oddly shaped because of the property, so the aisles are strange. The manager told my wife that they’ve been in negotiations for years to buy the property on the other side of the parking lot, so they could build a superstore like the one at Gateway, but the other property owner won’t sell.

  8. Haven’t step foot in that store for over 10 years. Witnessed workers yelling at the Asian shoppers that didn’t speak English. Hope the new owners will hire more bi-lingual speaking workers. Best of luck to the existing workers in finding new employment.

  9. I’ve never been to the one at Gateway, is it really that much bigger? I know the Target there is like a super Target.

  10. Significantly larger. They have a huge prepared foods section, including a hot and cold buffet. The aisles are long. The shelves always full and organized. The produce, meats and bakery sections are much larger than Ave I. The staff is super pleasant. Great people. Lots of smiles. Helpful as anything. If it wasn’t for the traffic on the Belt, we’d probably make it our exclusive supermarket.

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