Fairway reopens to cheers, dancing, and large crowds

March 1, 2013 Heather Chin
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Welcome back, Fairway!

Hundreds of shoppers and neighbors from across Brooklyn and New York City came to Fairway Market’s Red Hook store at 480 Van Brunt Street this morning to celebrate the store’s grand reopening — a much-anticipated event that brought together city officials, singing and dancing schoolchildren, and Miss America 2013.

“Red Hook has always been defined by its place on our waterfront — during good times and bad — but it’s also been defined by incredible toughness and resiliency,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, then adding that “the reopening of Fairway is a big step forward in Red Hook’s recovery.”

Ever since Hurricane Sandy brought upwards of five feet of water into the stores, homes, and basements of local residents and businessowners, the community and small businesses of Red Hook — separated from the rest of Brooklyn by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway — has been without its primary source of fresh and varied produce, which also serves as a community touchstone.

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“Fairway’s absence in Red Hook left Brooklynites with an emptiness in their daily routines — and their refrigerators,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “I can personally attest that no week was quite the same without my wife and I taking our ritual trip to Fairway.”

Added Monica Byrne, chef at the local Home/Made Wine Bar and co-founder/advisory board member of community rebuilding group ReStore Red Hook, “Fairway’s impact on the community cannot be overstated… I am personally delighted [as well as] thrilled for the customers Fairway will bring to [local small businesses].”

Another oft-repeated point of praise was the fact that despite losing $2.1 million in destroyed merchandise and $3.4 million worth of damaged property, on top of the added costs of renovating and rebuilding the store, the grocery chain not only donated tons of food, water, supplies and even Thanksgiving meals to local families that were without power after the storm, but they also continued to pay the store’s 200+ workers and provided shuttle buses for them to temporary jobs at other Fairway stores throughout the city.

According to Fairway’s latest IPO filing, reviewed in an article at Crain’s New York Business, the company saw around $14 million in damaged property and payroll costs, in addition to the four months of lost revenue.

But as Fairway’s vice chairman of development, Howie Glickberg, said, it was a no-brainer. The store was in Red Hook for six years, saw great foot traffic, and was part of the community, so despite the fact that they had no lights, and five feet of water inside, other people weren’t as lucky. “I said, enough! We’re going to take care of our customers and rebuild… better than ever,” said Glickberg, who is the grandson of Fairway’s founder. “Today, we see the fruits of all our labor.”

Fairway is open with regular store hours, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Visit www.fairwaymarket.com for details and specials.

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