Brighton Beach residents finally have a discount grocery store within walking distance, in an area that has been a supermarket desert since the Met Foods shuttered five years ago.
On Tuesday afternoon, building owners, politicians, and customers were thrilled as crowds packed into Big Bazaar supermarket at the corner of Brighton Beach Avenue and Ocean Parkway, a development we announced last October.
The 18,000 square foot supermarket, which sits under the Q train staircase, will stock American, Russian, Kosher, and other ethnic items and undercut even the old Met Food prices, said co-owner Ajay Sarin. In addition to groceries, the store boasts colorful aisles with cleaning and beauty products as well as household items.
The store aims to fill a gaping hole in the neighborhood’s grocery market, which is flooded by high-end Russian stores like Taste of Russia, Gourmanoff, and Brighton Bazaar — places that locals say don’t offer staples at regular prices.
“The Russian stores don’t carry everything,” said real estate broker Igor Libo, who connected the Sarin with the building owners. “We have gourmet, now we needed necessities. This is the missing piece of the puzzle.”
The Met Foods, open for 30 years at 100 Brighton Beach Ave, shuttered in 2012, leaving a lack of affordable and generic grocery stores within walking distance and a vacant building. But the neighborhood-conscious owners were waiting to land another moderately priced grocer, said Suzette Bonsignore, whose family has owned the building since the 1940s.
“We could have built high-rises, we had developers clamoring to get in,” said Suzette. “But people were crying out for a grocery store. And the most important thing to us is this neighborhood.”
Big Bazaar was scheduled to open ten months ago but got slammed by previous building violations, said Sarin, who operates several other grocery stores in the city. But now that it’s open, the business brought 25 new jobs to a diverse sampling of local residents, said City Councilmember Chaim Deutsch, who worked to ensure a stock of Kosher food a the store.
“This is a good neighborhood, people live a long life here,” said proprietor Louise Bonsignore, who is chipper at 91 years old. “I remember when bungalows lined the block.”
“We’re very happy to work with such lovely people and excited about this new adventure,” said Suzette, who was moved to tears of relief and joy at the storefront, flanked by balloons and a DJ for Tuesday’s grand opening.
Visit Big Bazaar Supermarket at 100 Brighton Beach Avenue at the corner of Ocean Parkway, open 9am to 9pm 7 days a week or call them at 347-702-9278.