Concerned that Trader Joe’s and Target would be perceived by Blackstone as “affordable” grocery options, thereby paving the way for Blackstone to either lease to a more expensive grocery store or plan for another type of commercial facility in the space currently occupied by Associated, the Stuyvesant Town—Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association wrote the following on June 5, 2017, to Rick Hayduk, CEO of Stuytown Property Services:
I’m not sure to what degree you have ever shopped in either Trader Joe’s or Target, but these retailers do not provide the complete grocery experience that an Associated or Morton Williams do. Trader Joe’s is good for shoppers seeking gluten-free, vegan, or organic products. Except for certain fruit and vegetables, their produce is pre-packaged. They do not have fresh meat and fish, are limited in popular items, such as sodas (i.e., you can’t go in there for club soda or seltzer, or other commonly purchased sodas), and you can’t even buy just plain rice. Paper products are in very limited supply. Target is great for sodas, snacks, and canned or packaged items, and has a good supply of paper products, but they are limited as to fresh offerings. Neither of those stores offers a deli or salad bar or hot food to go.
I find strange the fact that Morton Williams pulled out because of the future presence of Trader Joe’s and Target because the customer base is different for all three retailers.
The enthusiasm to maintain our Associated Supermarket is not just about the price point. Many seniors have expressed how friendly the staff are and how the store goes out of its way to provide extra little services for them. When the construction of the new L train entrance at Avenue A commences, seniors and the mobility impaired will have even more of a challenge to access a nearby store. Just crossing to the south side of 14th Street in a construction zone could endanger them. We need a reliable, affordable grocery store on the premises.
Several months ago, the Tenants Association took action in response to our concerned residents and developed a petition to keep Associated. It was signed by hundreds of shoppers and ultimately delivered to Blackstone. We will continue to reach out to you and advocate on behalf of our constituency until the issue has been resolved.
Please share this concern with your peers at Blackstone when you discuss the store’s space with them.
The letter was signed by Susan Steinberg, TA President.