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BJ's Wholesale Club is planning to roll out two locations in the Brooklyn, N.Y. neighborhoods of Bensonhurst and Canarsie -- and labor unions and local food retailers are none too happy about it, according to a local press report.
"BJ's wants to put in two stores, but it doesn't answer the needs of the community -- they need a supermarket," UFCW Local 1500 organizing director Pat Purcell told the New York Daily News.
With supermarkets closing throughout the city, some areas of Brooklyn have become "food deserts" serviced mainly by smaller operators, who fear being driven out of business by the large warehouse club chain, the union representative said.
BJ's reportedly said the clubs will help the local economy, however. "There's a service that we can give to the community: bringing jobs, brand names, and low prices to the area," company spokeswoman Stephanie Lacroix was quoted as saying. According to Lacroix, BJ's has already signed a lease for the Bensonhurst location, the site of a former bus depot at 1824 Shore Parkway, near Caesar's Bay shopping center.
The second proposed location, for which no lease has been signed, is an old Key Food warehouse in the Brooklyn Terminal Market on Foster Ave. and Avenue D in Canarsie.
The Daily News reported no set time frame for opening the locations. BJ's officials were unavailable for comments on the report.
Both big-box locations would require a special permit, but so far the City Planning Department hasn't received an application for either, a department spokeswoman told the newspaper.
The borough of Brooklyn is already home to a BJ's in Starrett City, as well as a Costco in Sunset Park.