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Attorneys and business advocates Brad Gerstman and David Schwartz have formed the New York Association of Grocery Stores (NYAGS), with the stated goal of “[stopping] the assault against grocery stores as well as the food service industry all over New York by [Mayor Michael Bloomberg] and other government officials.” According to the association’s founders: “NYAGS will play a substantial role in being the lead advocacy group in redefining how the city treats our retail establishments throughout [New York City, promoting] unity and financial stability to small business.”
Schwartz and Gerstman cited such “over-reaching and unnecessary regulatory measures” as Bloomberg’s recently proposed municipal ban on the selling of 16-ounce or larger sugary beverages at delis, restaurants and movie theaters as instrumental in the formation of NYAGS, which the former prosecutors vowed would “unite the fight” against the controversial proposal.
Gristedes supermarkets owner John Catsimatidis has voiced his support for the fledgling organization. “We need NYAGS at this moment in time in our history, because brick-and-mortar convenience stores, grocery stores and supermarkets are being destroyed because of anti-business government policies that have strangled the retail industry,” said Catsimatidis.
NYAGS also has the backing of the Bodega Association, the Latino Restaurant Association and the Korean American Small Business Center, the group representing the city’s 2,500 greengrocers. “The [proposed sugary beverage] ban is not only counterproductive to the promotion of health, but it fails to consider other health initiatives from this administration, such as the menu labeling requirements,” noted the Bodega Association’s Ramon Murphy. “The impact of these regulations on the health of the city’s food stores and restaurants has been extremely detrimental.”