Updated on Wednesday, August 17 at 3:47pm: Market Fresh Supermarket reopened on Wednesday, August 17. Read our article concerning the updates to the store.
The sudden shuttering of Windsor Terrace’s staple supermarket, Market Fresh (282 Prospect Park West between Windsor Place and Prospect Avenue), is just one recent event in a rash of supermarket closings in Brooklyn, highlighting the growing concern of area residents.
Although a “closed for renovation” sign was posted at Market Fresh, city records show there have been no recent renovation permits filed with the Department of Buildings, according to DNAinfo. Residents noted that in the past months, the store stopped selling fresh meat and fresh produce, which declined to predominantly canned and packaged foods the week before, when the sign went up.
Fairway recently emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but several other grocery stores weren’t so lucky. Pathmark at 1-37 12th Street in Gowanus was known as “one of the few stores left in the neighborhood that carried staples at reasonable prices, instead of the small gourmet stores that are frequently found in the area,” as one resident said. This Pathmark was one of last year’s casualties, and is now home to Cameo Metal Products, a company that makes packaging components for the cosmetics and fragrance industries.
While several reasonably priced local supermarkets went out of business in the past two years, independent shops have also been affected. South Slope’s Eagle Provisions at 628 5th Avenue (corner of 18th Street), a Polish sausage and beer super-store that boasted stocking over 2,500 craft beers, closed in the Summer of 2015.
In the case of Key Food at 120 5th Avenue (and Sterling Place), the issue involves the loss of significant square footage to house a proper supermarket.
When Avery Hall Investments went into contract for the property in 2015, their spokesperson Ethan Geto announced that he hopes the firm “will build a residential and commercial development that will include some affordable housing.” The proposed space allotted for the market would be 7,500 square-feet. The current size of Key Food is 36,000 square-feet.
Geto further stated that “the project would not require a zoning change and wouldn’t trigger the city’s public land use review process.” This makes real estate development significantly easier for Avery Hall.
A&P, who owned Pathmark, filed for bankruptcy in July of 2015. The bankruptcy papers stated that A&P would separate all of its 296 A&P, Food Basics, Food Emporium, Pathmark, Super Fresh, Waldbaum’s and Best Cellars locations into three “tiers,” from the most profitable to the least.
Tier III stores consisted of the “dud” stores – 25 stores (mostly in New Jersey) that “have negative profitability and negative lease value” are destined to a similar fate as the Gowanus Pathmark. However, since this restructuring, several of the Brooklyn stores not slated for closure have similarly been sold off.
Some area residents believe it is the increase of commercial rents, as well as the rise of large residential developments that make the Brooklyn supermarket trade a difficult one to navigate.
“I use a cane, and it’s hard to get to several stores to get my supplies, instead of the one store that’s been in our neighborhood for decades,” long-time Brooklyn resident Martha Savingi says. “Let’s hope the grocery store business turns around.” That attitude has been echoing across many area residents left stranded from purchasing generic staples at reasonable rates.