Tag Archives: key food

Urban Market opens in Long Island City


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Supermarket chain Key Food will open its first Long Island City “Urban Market” on Friday, the company posted on Facebook and its website.

The new 8,000-square-foot supermarket will be located at 50-01 2nd St. near the waterfront.

There will be a grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony at noon on Friday, and Borough President Melinda Katz will be in attendance, according to Key Food.

Hours for the new supermarket will be 7 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.

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Fresh Meadows two-story mall to open soon


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Work on a two-story mall in Fresh Meadows on 164th Street is weeks away from completion, according to the owner J&H Management Corp.

About four years ago, former Councilman James Gennaro assisted in changing the zoning of the lot to commercial to clear the way for the shopping center. 

J&H, which filed to demolish the auto repair shop on the lot in 2012, started construction last year and was expecting the shopping center to be completed in the spring. The more than 13,000 square-foot retail mall will have 13 tenants and 38 parking spots. 

“It’s about bringing retail in to an area which it really needs it, and bringing parking to Queens,” said Joel Fischer, president of J&H Management Corp.  

The new mall will share the block with a pizzeria near the 69th Avenue, and is close to a Key Food supermarket on the next block.

Some shops are already confirmed as tenants, but the owner wants to hold off on announcing them at this time.

 

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Cross Bay Key Food set to open at end of summer


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE QUEENS COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

Howard Beach is finally ready to open its second largest supermarket.

Key Food, located on 164th Avenue and Cross Bay Boulevard, is set to open at the “end of the summer,” according to a spokeswoman for the Key Food Corporation. It has been a long awaited opening for the building that has been out of commission since Hurricane Sandy.

There were rumors throughout the neighborhood that the store was not going to open at all. The announcement that Key Food was coming to the boulevard came more than a year ago and many theorized the store wasn’t big enough for refrigeration of its products. But with signs going up this week and workers filing in and out of the site, the opening appears imminent.

The shop will be branded as a Key Food “Fresh” location, which will compete with Waldbaum’s, the only other supermarket on the boulevard.

 

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Tractor-trailer fatally hits man in Forest Hills Key Food parking lot


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo


A 67-year-old man was killed in Forest Hills Wednesday morning after a tractor-trailer struck him as it was backing up in a Key Food parking lot, police said.

The victim, identified as Elliot Mintzer of Forest Hills, was walking in the back parking lot of the supermarket, on 64th Road near Yellowstone Boulevard, about 9:15 a.m. when he was struck by the trailer’s rear tires, cops said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver, who was making deliveries at the time, remained at the scene, according to officials.

Police said the investigation is ongoing.

 

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Global lime shortage squeezes Queens bars, restaurants


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Sophia Rosenbaum

SOPHIA ROSENBAUM

Brother, can you spare a lime?

Frequent customers at El Rey Del Taco truck may be confused when they open the Styrofoam container with their tacos to find a wedge of lemon, instead of lime, in their trays.

Limes are too expensive for the taco truck to afford right now, as a global lime shortage is affecting restaurants and bars throughout Queens. Most of the limes used in the U.S. come from Mexico, where heavy rains and an infectious tree disease affecting the lime crop have forced lime prices to quadruple over the past few months.

“Unfortunately, Mexico received some heavy rains that destroyed a large amount of the lime crop, so with limited supplies, we are seeing lime prices skyrocket,” said Lindsey Pope, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Agriculture.

At local supermarkets like Key Food and Trade Fair, three limes cost $3. Three months ago, customers could buy a dozen limes for the same price. In the past few months, prices for 10-pound cases of limes have gone from about $30 to about $120.

While the taco truck can get away with replacing limes with lemons, some businesses are not afforded that option.

“We do a lot of custom cocktails, so not using fresh juice just isn’t an option for us,” said Vincent Vee, the beer and event manager at Station House in Forest Hills.

Vee said it’s common for prices of fresh fruit to fluctuate, especially when natural disasters like droughts affect Mexico, but that this lime shortage has been especially long.

“[The prices are] staying up a little longer than normal this time,” he said. “We’re hoping they come down soon.”

Like other restaurants and bars, Station House is limiting its lime garnishes and ensuring that its employees use the limes in the most efficient way possible.

Limes are an integral part of many Mexican dishes. Fresh lime juice makes up a third of most traditional margarita recipes.

Mojave, a Mexican restaurant in Astoria, is trying to limit its use of limes to the bare minimum.

“We’re just trying to compensate,” said Maya Stephanov, a bartender at Mojave.

Stephanov said that limes are a staple at almost every bar in the city, as a slice of lime is often paired with vodka cranberries, gin and tonics and other specialty drinks.

 

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Flushing Key Food may close its doors


| RubenMuniz@queenscourier.com

As some doors stay open, others close.

The Key Food on Parsons and Willets Point boulevards may be closing, just weeks after another Key Food store was saved by its patrons’ protests.

According to employees, the supermarket, located at 25-03 Parsons Boulevard in Flushing (in the Lindenview Shopping Center) may be closing soon, and residents and employees alike are not happy.

“There have been a lot of rumors [about the closing]. We know the lease is up, that’s for sure,” said a Key Food employee who wished to remain anonymous.

Workers say they were notified by management, and were told that many would be transferred, while others would be laid off.

“They don’t care where they send us,” said the employee. “It doesn’t matter to them how long or how far we will have to travel.”

A spokesperson for Dan’s Supreme Supermarkets, Inc., which runs about a dozen supermarkets under the Key Food banner in New York City and on Long Island, would not confirm the closure and declined comment.

Jason Seltzer, a local resident and patron of the supermarket, was disappointed by the rumors.

“It’s a shame,” said Seltzer. “Seniors are going to have to travel farther for groceries.”

Debra Markell, a Whitestone resident and long- time patron of Key Food, was concerned that the community will become underserved as a result of the closure.

“I don’t understand; this community really needs a supermarket,” said Markell. She said the possible closure was kept very quiet. “No elected officials knew about it.”

Citing the trend of drug stores replacing supermarkets in Queens, Markell added, “This is detrimental to the community. We don’t need a CVS.”

It was just a few weeks ago that the Key Food on 164th Street and 69th Avenue was granted a new lease, after it had been set to be replaced by a CVS.

The deal was heavily influenced by local residents who protested the plan to close their local supermarket.

 

The good, the better and the bad in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE GOOD . . .

Queens came out in force on Memorial Day to pay tribute to those heroes who have fought – and continue to fight – for the freedoms we enjoy.

As Mayor Michael Bloomberg pointed out, freedom is not, in fact, free, and the men and women in uniform – from our Armed Services to the NYPD and FDNY – fight every day to preserve and protect our liberties.

So it is with great pride that we say “thank you,” and are glad to have seen the patriotic displays this Memorial Day.

But let us also remember the other 364 days in the year in which to be grateful for our veterans.

 

THE BETTER . . .

Score one for the community coming together.

It was a long-fought and hard-won battle, but a Flushing Key Food will NOT be replaced by yet another pharmacy.

We say congratulations because, by coming together, the community was able to affect change.

Residents opposed the change, especially since the area has several pharmacies, including one across the street from the supermarket, but the store owner felt pressured to leave the property.

Rallies ensued, and the owner, politicians and even the locals sent a clear message – “keep our Key Food.”

We’re glad to say their message has been received.

 

THE BAD . . .

Seniors deserve respect.

The Friendship Center of the Jamaica Service Program for Older Adults (JSPOA) is just one of many facing cuts as part of the city’s budget for the 2013 Fiscal Year, which, if not restored, will phase out programs for members — many of whom are mentally and physically weak.

But aside from the visible benefits to seniors, these centers also serve as a “home away from home” for many.

Programs offered help to keep members active and healthy. Often, the meals provided are the only source of nutrition for these people.

And the benefits seniors receive through socializing at the centers are immeasurable. Most would otherwise face very lonely days.

So we implore the mayor – look beyond the numbers to the HUMAN aspect.

Look at the REAL costs of these dollar-saving measures, and, as one senior aptly pointed out, “[Don’t forget you’re] going to be old one day.”

 

Flushing Key Food gets new lease


| RubenMuniz@queenscourier.com

Key Food

Their pleas did not fall on deaf ears.

Several months ago Flushing residents protested the possible replacement of their local Key Food supermarket by a drug store.

On Monday, May 22, they got their wish: a nine-year lease agreement was reached by the Key Food on 164th Street and 69th Avenue and its landlord, Vita Realty.

There was much controversy in February in the neighborhood over the possible replacement of the supermarket with a CVS. Many residents opposed the change. The area has several pharmacies, including one across the street from the supermarket.

The previous lease on the market would have expired in four years, but store owner David Mandell felt pressured to leave the property.

“A woman called me offering me $400,000 to leave,” Mandell said. He added later that another local owner was willing to throw in an additional $100,000 to the offer.

Resistance to the new CVS came mainly with the welfare of elderly residents in mind.

“Where are the old people going to shop,” asked Pat Medbedeff, a local resident. “There’s Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS – how many drug stores do you need?”

Now, it seems the neighborhood has a new lease on life.

“I commend both parties for being able to come to an arrangement that is beneficial not only for them, but for this neighborhood,” said Assemblymember Michael Simanowitz. “If not for the active nature of this community, there is no doubt Key Food would have been lost when its lease expired in a few years.”

Residents and employees alike were delighted to hear the good news.

“[The new lease] means a great deal to me,” said Paul Piagneri, a Key Food employee. “It means I get to serve the neighborhood like I have been for the last eight years.”

Tom Henderson, who has been living in the area for almost 40 years, was glad to hear that seniors would not be inconvenienced by a change in businesses.

“The welfare of seniors has got to be a main concern,” said Henderson.

 

Rally to keep Key Food in Flushing


| dbeltran@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by David Beltran

Some Flushing residents have one thing to say to a local landlord: keep our Key Food.

At a rally on Wednesday, February 8, they joined elected officials, including Senator Toby Stavisky, Councilmember James Gennaro and Assemblymembers Michael Simanowitz and Rory Lancman, along with Key Food owner David Mandell to protest plans of replacing the supermarket with a CVS pharmacy.

Lancman, who lives in the area, said this is the supermarket that he and locals go to and replacing with it with a CVS would be an enormous inconvenience.

“I won’t be going to shop at CVS,” said Lancman. “All of our Rite Aid and Eckerd needs are satisfied. The landlord needs to think about what the community needs.”

Mandell and his brother have owned the store at 164-05 69th Avenue since 2004. The current lease with landlord Vita Realty ends in four years, but according to Mandell, the landlord is putting pressure on him to leave soon.

“This morning a woman called me offering $400,000 to leave,” said Mandell. He added that another local owner was willing to throw in an additional $100,000 to the offer.

Mandell, though, said that he wants to stay in the neighborhood and is willing to pay more rent and even remodel the store. However, he added that banks love CVS because it’s a publicly-traded company and having a CVS increases the land value from around $8 million to $10 million.

Residents at the rally expressed concern about changing to a CVS pharmacy, pointing out the number of drug stores already in the area, including a neighborhood pharmacy across the street from Key Food.

“Where are the old people going to shop?” said Pat Medbedeff, a local resident. “There’s Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS — how many drug stores do you need?”

Alex Jacob, who has lived in the area for 60 years, said replacing Key Food with a CVS would inconvenience senior citizens by making them have to walk farther.

“I have nothing to buy at CVS,” said Jacob. “I pack up my cart and buy at least $150 worth of food here once a week. It’s definitely a thorn in our side.”

“There’s a place for big box companies,” said Simanowitz. “This is not the place.”

Gennaro too had a message for the landlord.

“Landlord beware,” he said. “You’ve got to understand what this community is about. They want this supermarket.”

Attempts to reach the landlord were unsuccessful as of press time.