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Thread: Supermarkets

  1. #31
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Where is Whole Foods based out of?

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby
    Where is Whole Foods based out of?
    Austin, TX.

  3. #33

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    You want a good supermarket, go to Western Beef. They are spread throughout the 5 boros. Good large fruits and vegetables sections, the regular marketfair is normal but the meats, fish, and poultry are unsurpassed in quality and price. Started shopping there a few years ago and if i could help it have tried not to go anywhere else since

  4. #34
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    ^ Everybody's a comedian...

  5. #35
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    NY Times
    March 18, 2006

    A Tiki Room With Aisles of Discounts Makes Its City Debut


    The foodies lined up for the premiere of Trader Joe's, which opened 10 minutes early.

    By ANTHONY RAMIREZ

    New York City — sharp-elbowed metropolis of ambition — was having a nice day yesterday. Trader Joe's, a California-based grocer of antic charm and discount prices, opened its first store in the city, in Union Square, to the giddy excitement of the long-since converted and a few startled novices.

    A store is a store, and Manhattan has plenty of them: specialty foods, discount foods and everything in between, from caviar emporiums to Bangkok grocers. But foodies have been looking forward to Trader Joe's for weeks, and while the crush may soon lessen, the crowd was cheek-by-jowl for opening day. Everyone was happy, for 40 minutes at least.

    Under sunny skies, scores of Trader Joe's fans lined up on East 14th Street an hour before the store's scheduled opening at 9 a.m. They smiled at television camera crews and bounced up and down on the balls of their feet. Some begged for the store to begin business early. It did, by 10 minutes.

    But this being New York, with lines for the cash registers already snaking around the store, an annoyed middle-aged woman bellowed to those in front of her — at 9:30 a.m., to be precise — "So, you going to move or what?"

    And thus the day went, Manhattan impatience mixed with dried hibiscus flowers, a specialty sweet of Trader Joe's. "It's my favorite store in the world," declared Barry Lapidus, 47, a freelance writer in Brooklyn. "I used to take a train and a bus for two and a half hours to the Trader Joe's in Hartsdale" in Westchester County.

    Why?

    "Why?" he exclaimed. "They have the best minestrone soup and egg rolls. The egg rolls are better than you can get in a Chinese restaurant."

    Loni Sherman, a retired food-service manager who lives nearby in Peter Cooper Village, said her friends were planning a Trader Joe's party, at which mass quantities of Trader Joe's products would be consumed at will.

    Steven Arvanites, 40, a Manhattan screenwriter, had never been to a Trader Joe's. "This is like a designer Costco," he said.

    Trader Joe's built its reputation, in part, on Two Buck Chuck, a wine that sells for $1.99 a bottle in most places, but costs more on the East Coast. (The nearby wine shop is still being built and will open soon.)

    Shoppers love the prices. "Daffodils, $1.49; I'm saving a buck," said Dr. Jacqueline Stevens, a physician who lives on the Upper East Side.

    Of course, not everything at Trader Joe's is inexpensive. The organic free-range chicken costs $2.49 a pound, or $12.33 for a whole chicken. Walnut halves, for tossed salads, cost $5.29 a pound.

    The Union Square store is the 253rd of a chain based in Monrovia, Calif., that has spread to 19 states. The original Trader Joe was Joe Coulombe, who started a chain of convenience stores called Pronto Markets in the Los Angeles area.

    By the 1960's, he expanded the stores' offerings and emphasized in-store labels (more than 80 percent of its products are now Trader Joe-related brands) and health foods.

    Mr. Coulombe, who sold the company, introduced a tiki-room theme, with employees wearing Hawaiian shirts and leis. The chain is now owned by the two billionaires who own the Aldi Group, a food conglomerate in Essen, Germany.

    Doug Rauch, Trader Joe's president, said yesterday that the chain had long had its eye on the city. But it was hard to find a spot with high foot traffic that would also not charge ruinously high rent, Mr. Rauch said. Trader Joe's, however, found an agreeable landlord in New York University.

    "We were able to work out a deal with N.Y.U. that made sense for them and made sense for us," Mr. Rauch said. "It's a deal that allows us to have the same prices here that we have everywhere else on the East Coast. We haven't raised our prices a nickel for Manhattan." Trader Joe's plans other stores soon in the city, if it can find equally agreeable landlords.

    John Beckman, a spokesman for N.Y.U., said the university is charging market rent for Palladium Hall, where Trader Joe's 12,000-square-foot store is located. He declined to be more specific. But, he added, "We wanted to add luster to the Union Square neighborhood."

    One thing worrying shoppers yesterday is where Trader Joe's could find friendly clerks in flinty Manhattan.

    Jennifer Swanhart, 32, a Trader Joe's clerk, commutes for an hour from Brewster, N.Y., more than 45 miles away, to work in Union Square. Finding suitable Manhattan employees will not be hard, she said, because "there are nice people everywhere."

    Frank Iacovello, a senior clerk, noted there is a store dress code. "Anybody who likes to wear a Hawaiian shirt is going to be cool," he said.

    Rachel Metz contributed reporting for this article.

  6. #36

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    I wear Hawaiian shirts. Will I be mistaken for a clerk?

  7. #37
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    The last time I saw lines like that was in Russia in the early 90s. It's kind of strange to see this kind of excitement about a small grocery store.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc
    I wear Hawaiian shirts. Will I be mistaken for a clerk?
    Would you rather be mistaken for that or for a tourist?

  9. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrSpice
    The last time I saw lines like that was in Russia in the early 90s.
    Those lines were out of necessity.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrSpice
    It's kind of strange to see this kind of excitement about a small grocery store.
    This line is out of enthusiasm.

  10. #40
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    NY Sun

    Whole Foods Bowery Is Proud of Its Meet Market

    BY ANNIE KARNI - Staff Reporter of the Sun
    July 17, 2007
    URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/58574


    Mulling a rack of beefsteak tomatoes at Whole Foods Bowery, Vanessa Rodriguez, a slender 31-year-old woman with light brown hair hanging to her waist, removed her ear-buds as a young man sidled up to her to inquire if the produce was organic. When he followed up with a request for her phone number, she told him politely that the tomatoes were for dinner with her boyfriend.

    It wasn't the first time she had fended off an approach while grocery shopping at the Whole Foods on Bowery and Houston Street, she said.

    Over samples of aged Gouda and amid aisles of extra-virgin olive oil, New Yorkers shopping at Whole Foods Bowery are turning the grocery into a thriving pick-up scene. The gelato bar, the upstairs café, the chilled, private cheese room, and long checkout lines are where flirting is most rampant in the 71,000-square-foot store that opened last March, Whole Foods employees said.

    "I noticed this man come up to me when I was standing in line," a tall, blonde, 22-year-old student who lives in NoLIta, Marya Spence, said. "He opened the door for me as I was leaving and asked me, ‘Is this the exit for the beautiful girls?' He was maybe 40, so it just wasn't a match."

    While many pick-up lines fall flat, single shoppers said the floodlit aisles provide a "safer" space to start up conversations with strangers than most bars in the neighborhood. Peeking into each other's grocery carts, they said, could also be more revealing of a person's lifestyle choices than an online profile on a social networking or dating Web site.

    "I'm really health conscious," a 28-year-old singer in the band edible red, Collette McLafferty, said. "I want to date health conscious people, and that could be why Whole Foods seems like a good place to meet people."

    After chatting with an attractive man at Whole Foods two nights ago but forgetting his name, Ms. McLafferty, who lives on the Lower East Side, posted a message on Craigslist looking to reconnect with him.

    "He had dark, curly brown hair, blue eyes, he was well built, probably about 5-feet-10," she said. She is waiting for a response to her posting, she said. Ms. McLafferty, who said she has often been approached by shoppers who comment on the tattoo of a dragon around her upper arm, added that flirting was easy at Whole Foods because of low expectations. "When you go out with the intention of meeting someone, you never meet anyone," she said.

    Singles in New York City have a harder time meeting people than in other cities, a doctor and relationship counselor, James Walkup, told The New York Sun. "The stress level here is higher, and people don't take their time to slow down enough to really make connections," Dr. Walkup said.

    New Yorkers with little leisure time are using their time running errands to meet each other, he added.

    "I make eyes at people," a 27-year-old actor who lives near South Street Seaport, Ari Rossen, said. "It's a hip neighborhood, everyone who shops here is young, and there are plenty of things around to talk about."

    Whole Foods Bowery is actively boosting its reputation as a place for singles to meet, a spokeswoman for the store, Rebecca Ulanoff, said. In August, the store is hosting "Check Out," a singles night co-sponsored by the Web site Gothamist.com. The store is also hoping to attract a fashion-forward, eco-friendly crowd tomorrow morning when it sells Anya Hindmarch shopping totes printed with the message: "I'm Not a Plastic Bag."

    "I think it's all a hoot," Ms. Ulanoff said of the store's reputation as pick-up scene. "I've been told that I was pretty when I was walking through the store."

    Still, the café's no-alcohol policy puts a damper on how far any flirtations could go, a 23-year-old actor who lives in the East Village, Jacob Pinion, said.

    Some shoppers say they avoid the pick-up scene. "I definitely notice it, but I've never done it," Nick Dee, 25, who lives in Williamsburg, said. "I've heard, ‘So you like tomatoes, too?' at the salad bar. I think it's actually pretty lame."

  11. #41
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    NY Times
    September 15, 2007

    Gristedes, a Familiar New York Supermarket Brand, Dwindles

    By ANTHONY RAMIREZ
    On a recent afternoon at the Gristedes supermarket on a corner of Greenwich Village, the “Welcome to Your Gristedes” sign listing store hours and services was missing many letters, including the “c” in “service.”

    The seven aisles were not fully stocked, the juice section was half empty. The linoleum floor in front of the brown-and-serve sausages case had a gash the size of a basketball. There was only one customer, a white-haired woman pushing a shopping cart with effort.

    Nathan Rodriguez, the manager of the store, at Hudson and Bank Streets, said sales had been declining “little by little for about a year.” He expressed no surprise that it was one of the stores that management was considering closing.

    “Happens all the time,” said Mr. Rodriguez, 55.

    Indeed, the number of Gristedes stores has dropped from 78 a decade ago to 39 today (35 stores are in Manhattan), as a once familiar New York City name continues to recede. Most recently, the Gristedes at Central Park West and 62nd Street shut.

    Lawrence Sarf, the president of F & D Reports, a retail consulting company in Great Neck, N.Y., that follows the supermarket business, said in an interview that Gristedes would probably eventually shrink to 25 stores.

    Yet John Catsimatidis, chairman of Gristedes Supermarkets Inc., has a surprising message: he has no intention of leaving the supermarket business. The reason is oil.

    Mr. Catsimatidis is also the sole owner and chief executive of the Red Apple Group, of which Gristedes is a part. It has interests in real estate, aviation and United Refining, a petroleum facility in Warren, Pa., that provides gasoline for nearly 400 gas stations and, as Mr. Catsimatidis puts it, meets “petroleum needs for between Buffalo and Pittsburgh.” Of the privately owned Red Apple’s $3.7 billion in annual revenue, only $250 million, or less than 7 percent, comes from Gristedes, which is all of its supermarket business.

    “If Gristedes had to live on its own,” Mr. Catsimatidis said, “it would be very hard. But Red Apple Group is a very strong entity.”

    Mr. Catsimatidis, 59, got his start in business when, at 22, he bought his first Red Apple supermarket, at 87th Street and Broadway, with money he borrowed from his father. By 1986, his company was big enough to buy 36 Gristedes Brothers Supermarkets, making it the largest chain in the city, with 75 stores.

    “The problem in New York City is you’re going to be left with no supermarkets” because of the rise in basic costs, like rent, he said.

    Gourmet stores can simply charge more, he said, but traditional markets get excoriated for price increases. “Shopping at Whole Foods goes hand in hand with paying $7,000 rent for a two-bedroom apartment.”

    D’Agostino, Morton Williams Associated Markets, Food City Markets, C-Town, Pioneer and Food Emporium have all trimmed stores, and A.&P. left altogether.

    Competition is keen. Gourmet stores like Balducci’s, Citarella, Fairway and Whole Foods steal away well-heeled customers, and new stores like Trader Joe’s attract specialty shoppers. Even drug stores and delicatessens carry supermarket products like cereal and paper towels. And online grocery services, like Fresh Direct, have peeled away yet more shoppers.

    Rising rents, especially in the most prosperous neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, cut already thin profits at traditional supermarkets. Mr. Sarf, the retail consultant, said the monthly rent at a supermarket in Gramercy Park recently quadrupled, to $120 a square foot from $30.

    Supermarket profits 10 years ago, before the real-estate boom, were high, Mr. Catsimatidis said, exceeding 10 cents on the dollar. Now, profits are down to 3 or 4 cents on the dollar.

    “People complain supermarkets are too expensive,” Mr. Catsimatidis said. “You have to laugh. We’re not making the bottom line, and people complain we’re too expensive.”

    The ideal size for a city supermarket like Gristedes, he said, is 9,000 to 12,000 square feet, big enough to have wide selection but not so big as to have a crippling rent bill. (Gristedes stores range from about 4,000 to about 20,000 square feet.)

    The recently shuttered Central Park West store was 3,200 square feet, too small in Mr. Catsimatidis’s view.

    When it closed on Aug. 3, several New York Times readers posted critical comments on the City Room blog (nytimes.com/cityroom). A reader using the name Amy wrote on Aug. 6: “All Gristedes are overpriced and disgusting. Does anyone really care that they’re closing?”

    Asked to respond, Mr. Catsimatidis said: “Do we give up the location or do we charge more for the product? Sometimes you give up the location.”

    As for the Gristedes store at Hudson and Bank Streets, Howard Buck, a retired real estate investor who said he has shopped there for decades, said he would miss the store.

    “If this closes, it’ll be another restaurant,” Mr. Buck said, theatrically rolling his eyes. “That’s exactly what this neighborhood needs.”

    Mary Reinholz contributed reporting.

  12. #42

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    ^That Gristedes has been a dump for many, many years -- even before it became a Gristedes. Since a pretty decent D'Ags is a short block away, I'm surprised that it has managed to linger even this long.

  13. #43

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    This is just the invisible hand of the free market doing its job. That location can't support a grocery store given competition in the area and fresh direct so it should close. From the sounds of it, the store is probably losing a lot of money so clealy inefficient from all perspectives.

    And I don't think anyone in that neighborhood will complain as it is kind of an eye sore since its such a dump and there are good alternatives nearby.

  14. #44

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    What the hell's with this Trader's Joe? I see people riding the subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn carrying these bags, it can't be that good

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by undertoes View Post
    What the hell's with this Trader's Joe? I see people riding the subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn carrying these bags, it can't be that good
    TJ's is a discount, specialty foods store. They have a big following because of the quality of what they sell and the prices they sell at. It's a store for foodies who are price conscious.

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