Tag Archives: A&P

A Special Report

Groceries.

Max Loeb of White Plains, with his bag of groceries from Trader Joe’s in Hartsdale. Photo by Tania Savayan/lohud.

A&P’s bankruptcy made it clear. lohud’s readers are passionate about buying food. The closure of a major chain like A&P affected our community — and groceries, without doubt, are a cultural touchstone here in the Lower Hudson Valley.

 Indeed, the landscape of food shopping here is a complex one. There are major chains like Stop&Shop, local chains such as DeCicco’s, big-box discount stores, ethnic markets large and small, and corner stores.

With this project, lohud’s team set out to explain and demystify the industry, design, past, present and future of how we feed our families.

People are passionate about groceries in the Lower Hudson Valley. Video by Tania Savayan/lohud

Find a simple guide to “Groceries.” stories below.

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A Special Report

From the editor

People are passionate about groceries. Photo by Tania Savayan/lohud

What to do about the grocery buzz? That was the question on the table this fall as lohud editors and reporters gathered to discuss the coverage of A&P’s bankruptcy and its aftermath. Stories on the chain’s disruptive exit from the market consistently topped the digital metrics we use to track performance on lohud.

Clearly, our community was gripped by the story. Not only was traffic up significantly on our website and on our mobile products, but the A&P saga also was selling newspapers, generating letters to the editor and social media chatter, and bringing in tips from sources.

Only minutes into our discussion we began trading stories about where we shop, how we shop, when we shop, what we buy, what we love and what we wish were different about the local grocery experience. Based on our own energy and strong opinions, we suspected there was more to tell than a good business story.

We sent reporters Hoa Nguyen and Peter D. Kramer and photographer Tania Savayan into the community to listen. For two months, they followed the story, interviewing more than 100 people: shoppers and supermarket analysts, store owners and deli guys. “Groceries.” is a special report on the shifting supermarket landscape in the wake of the A&P bankruptcy, a deep dive into the emotions, strategies and opinions our neighbors associate with that trip to the market.
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Business, Landscape

A grocery landscape evolves

Newlyweds Taylor and Anthony Aloi of Nanuet shop at the Fairway Market there. Photo by Peter Carr/lohud.

A&P’s bankruptcy resulted in tectonic shifts in the supermarket industry

The supermarket industry is already being drawn and quartered, and when A&P went defunct earlier this year competitors bickered and bargained over the properties left behind by one of the nation’s oldest supermarket chains.

Fueled in part by the sale, at unheard-of low rents, of some of the nation’s most sought-after A&P stores, the grocery landscape in the Lower Hudson Valley looks different only a few months later.

“The supermarket scene has never been so turned over,” said Martin Deitch, a White Plains-based commercial real estate broker who has been in the business for nearly 40 years. “You have the biggest turnover in retailers that I’ve ever seen.”

The local transformation comes just as the grocery industry nationwide is in the midst of a seismic shift in how people shop, what they buy, who competes for the business and even the definition of a supermarket.

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Business, Landscape

New retailers battle for A&P space

Kerry Coyne of Mount Kisco and her one-year-old-son, Isaac, at the new Stop & Shop in Mount Kisco. The store was formerly an A&P. Photo by Tania Savayan/lohud

A&P’s bankruptcy triggered a feeding frenzy over every coveted square foot, the likes of which supermarkets had not seen since the financial crisis of 2008.

Supermarket competitors and real estate professionals, who last had the opportunity to expand into new locations seven years ago, were more than eager to review lease terms for some of the A&P locations.

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Demographics, Venues

When a market is too far away

Jose Guillen, 25, stocks the shelves at C-Town Supermarket in Tarrytown. Photo by Tania Savayan/lohud

Some areas are considered ‘supermarket deserts,’ but how far you live from a grocery store does not always correspond to how healthy you eat

Haverstraw is a “supermarket desert” in the eyes of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but Rockland County nutritionist Michelle Kleinman sees the village more as a food swamp teeming with unhealthy temptations.

“There’s an overabundance of high-energy food,” Kleinman said. “Corner stores advertise beer, soda, high-energy and high-calorie snacks. You have to look and search for the healthier items.”

The village is one of several so-called supermarket deserts in the Lower Hudson Valley, low-income neighborhoods where most residents live a mile or more from the nearest supermarket. Using grocery industry and Census data from 2010, the USDA also identified Spring Valley, Monsey, Patterson and parts of Yorktown as supermarket deserts.

Jose Guillen, 25, has worked at C-Town Supermarket in Tarrytown for three years. Photo by Tania Savyan/lohud.

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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.

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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.

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