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BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- In a sign that the once largely industrial Red Hook neighborhood here may be undergoing a renaissance, a new 52,000-square-foot Fairway supermarket featuring a wide range of organic and specialty foods, opened this week in a pre-Civil War building that used to be a coffee warehouse, according to published reports. The waterfront location is the now four-store New York-based Fairway's first in Brooklyn, as well as the chain's largest.
Although the opening was somewhat marred by a power outage and a fainting fit suffered by one of the 200 new, mostly locally hired employees, many of the shoppers who visited the new store were favorably impressed.
"Well, it means jobs, it means a lot of these people will be exposed to foods…that they've probably never seen before, and I think it's got to be positive for the community," shopper Seymour Weiss told NY1. "Hopefully it'll spur more building in the area." Other shoppers were doubtful that they would travel all the way to Red Hook, which is isolated from the rest of the borough by the Gowanus Expressway and has few roads in and out and no subway access, for their food purchases.
Fairway is betting, however, that Brooklynites will flock to the store because of its high-end food at low prices. "They're going to be coming from Prospect Heights, and Park Slope, and Carroll Gardens," company spokeswoman Susan Graziano told the New York Sun. "There are lots of neighborhoods around there with families and cars that are within 15 or 20 minutes of Red Hook. There's nothing in Brooklyn like it."
According to the chain's owners, 90 percent of shoppers will come to the store by car. To accommodate them, the store features a 300-car parking lot, but the retailer has also arranged with New York Water Taxi to provide weekends-only ferry service from lower Manhattan. The service costs $5. Fairway is additionally offering free delivery through June 16 on purchases of over $100 to anywhere in the city, and $5 delivery thereafter.
The retailer shortly plans to open an outdoor cafe along a waterfront esplanade in back of the store.
In another indication of Red Hook's revitalization, an Ikea is slated to open nearby in the next two years.