Category Archives: Culture

Business, Culture

Ethnic markets find their niche

Yitty Deutsch of Monsey bags onions at Evergreen Kosher market in Monsey. Photo by Tania Savayan/lohud

Ethnic supermarkets are gaining loyal customers, shoppers in search of quality food, and a wider variety

Operators of the Evergreen Kosher supermarket could sense an opportunity in Monsey a few years ago as they prepared to open in a space previously occupied by Pathmark.

The fact that the market would sell kosher food wasn’t particularly unique. There were other kosher markets nearby. But the stores seemed outdated and weren’t keeping up with the demands of the modern kosher shopper, said A.J. Jordan, Evergeen’s chief marketing officer.

“With the Jewish community growing, I don’t know if it was effectively servicing the community,” he said.

So Evergreen, which has a motto of “Shop Happy,” set out to be different. It not only offered a wide variety of products and amenities, such as a bake shop, personalized butcher and an extra-large section of prepared and ready-to-cook foods, it did so inside a sleek, 30,000-square-foot, modern store.

Continue reading

Business, Culture

After A&P: You are where you shop

Two-year-old Alexandra Chang holds on to blueberry waffles, her favorite breakfast choice, as her babysitter Taeko Reilly of Chappaqua, shops for bread at DeCicco & Sons in Armonk. Photo by Tania Savayan/lohud

These changes are more than real-estate transactions. They highlight the relationship shoppers have with their supermarkets

Chestnut Ridge’s Cathy Murphy thought she was in her supermarket, but she was wrong.

“I knew something was happening with A&P, but I didn’t even realize when I walked in that it was a different store,” she said. “Then I saw they didn’t have the self-checkout and I was like, ‘What is going on?’”

What was going on was that Murphy’s A&P, just across the New Jersey line in Woodcliff Lake, had become an Acme supermarket last month without her noticing. And Acme doesn’t use self-checkout aisles.

Gone was her A&P’s growing selection of organic food to which Murphy had become accustomed, in aisles she had navigated for nearly a decade. Things weren’t where they used to be.

What is going on across the Lower Hudson Valley is a dizzying and seismic shift in the local supermarket landscape, as dozens of bankrupt A&P stores have changed hands seemingly overnight to become Key Foods or Acmes or, in at least one high-profile case in Yonkers, a grocery-selling CVS.

These changes are more than real-estate transactions. They bring to light the primal and personal relationship shoppers have with their supermarkets.

Continue reading

Business, Culture

Cult followings


Wegmans’ floral department in Rochester. Photo by Jamie Germano/Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Rabid fans of Trader Joe’s and Wegmans flock to their favorite stores

Mention their name in the right company and you’ll trigger wistful, faraway looks or breathless salivation: Wegmans and Trader Joe’s.

“I love Wegmans!” says Karen Parish of Pound Ridge. “My daughter goes to Cornell and she’s bringing me something back from Wegmans when she comes back from school. They have a stir-fry sauce that is unbelievable! I told her to bring me back three bottles. I called her and said, ‘Don’t forget to go to Wegmans!’”

When Parish heard the A&P in Mount Kisco was closing, she hoped it would become a Wegmans. (Turns out, it was sold to the highest bidder, Stop&Shop, for $25 million, the most lucrative sale in the bankrupty liquidation.)

“Their food is unbelievable, so fresh. I sometimes shop at Fairway in Stamford because I live on the border. But it’s no Wegmans.”

Meanwhile, Trader Joe’s inspires people to drive long distances to stock up on supplies of frozen and packaged goods.

While Wegmans stores are huge and Trader Joe’s are deliberately smaller, both supermarket chains have avid, some might say rabid, fan bases who crave a store in their neighborhood.

Continue reading

Culture, Demographics

How chicken inspired an industry

Roasting rotisserie chicken. Photo by Peter Carr/lohud

Rotisserie sales will top $3.5 billion this year

As you stroll your supermarket’s prepared-food section, where you’ll find dozens of hot offerings ready to take home, tip your hat to the humble rotisserie chicken — and Blockbuster Video.

Rotisserie chicken was relatively big in the 1950s and into the ’60s in mom-and-pop delis and with home chefs, said Tom Super of the National Chicken Council.

“Consumers were reluctant to pay $2 plus for a cooked bird when they could buy a 29-cent-a-pound chicken for less than a dollar and spin it on a mechanism on their backyard grill or even in their kitchen ovens,” he said. “But fried chicken from KFC and others pushed rotisserie off the menu.”

Continue reading

Culture

Food fetish favorites

A shopper looks over the items in the bakery section at DeCicco’s Family Market in New City. Photo by Tania Savayan/lohud.

We’ve all got that special product for which we will take a special trip to a specific store.

I took to Facebook and asked for yours. Turns out, lots of people have a food fetish.

Continue reading