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Met loss! B’Hill Met Foods closure sparks shopper agita

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A mid-range Boerum Hill grocery store’s planned August closure spells the end of affordable shopping in the neighborhood, according to residents who are demanding the building’s new owners allow the shop to stay.

A group of developers bought the Met Foods on Smith Street between Baltic and Warren streets for $18.5 million in May, according to reports, and an employee stated the shuttering advertised on signs outside is scheduled to happen by the end of August. Whatever the investors have planned for the site won’t provide the same community service as the chain store, which is among the last workaday supermarkets in the area, according to a neighbor who penned a petition calling to stop the closure.

“Every time something closes in the neighborhood people say ‘Oh, gentrifica­tion,’ but I’m sick of hearing that — as if the community can’t do anything about it,” said Annie Schoening. “I want to send a message to developers and to the community that this isn’t outside the realm of our control.”

The store’s departure will leave the high-end Union Market on Court Street and Whole Foods Market in Gowanus, as well as the store-brand-only Trader Joe’s on Atlantic Avenue, as the area’s big grocers, with a C-Town on Bond Street being the only comparably priced food store within five blocks of the closing Met Foods. Another Met Foods and a Key Food sit seven and nine blocks away, respectively.

One longtime shopper said the closing will be a big hassle for everyone living nearby.

“This could really be devastating,” said Louis Garcia, who said has frequented the store for a decade and was carrying out a load of groceries on Monday.

Garcia said that the big chains are threatening the stores depended on by lower-earning residents of the neighborhood where the median household income is $71,999, according to census data.

“Stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are taking away business, but they’re not economically viable for a lot of people,” he said

Met Foods and the group of developers did not respond to requests for comment.

Thirty-eight people had signed the petition to save the store as of Wednesday morning.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at nhurowitz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
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Reasonable discourse

Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Although the single-story retail sprawl design is a terrible blight on Brooklyn, what that Met Food provides to the area is indispensable. Carroll Gardens is a food desert now since the loss of that crappy Key Food, and this is going to make it worse. I'm gonna miss their cheap 500ml Asahi cans too.
July 30, 2014, 7:59 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I sympathize with people who love their groceries, but 26 signatures just don't carry as much weight as $18.5 million.

The median household income there is about 40% higher than the median of New York. There is nowhere in north Brooklyn that wealthy. http://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?useExisting=1&layers=da76de09076b4959ad005e1dc2c48049
July 30, 2014, 8:28 am
dubious says:
“...this isn’t outside the realm of our control.” So true. For $20M you can have full control over the site.
July 30, 2014, 10:07 am
Ben from Cobble Hill says:
It was only a matter of time. This one-story, dated building sits on a large lot in an area zoned for 3-4 story mixed use buildings. Someone was going to pull the trigger eventually. Next up: Key Food on Atlantic, a similar one-story, dated structure in an area zoned for 3-4 stories.

It's true that this part of Carroll Gardens will now be a little food-"deserty," but it's not like the Met was helping its cause: new shoppers in the area aren't exactly attracted to a place with awful selection and barbed wire across the parapet.
July 30, 2014, 10:08 am
Todd from Boerum Hill says:
This place is not an "affordable" grocery store anyway. It's a DUMP and more expensive than Brooklyn Fare! Good riddance.
July 30, 2014, 11:06 am
Adam from Carroll Gardens says:
Carroll Gardens a food desert? I can think of 3 butchers, 2 fish places, 5 bakeries, 2 fruit and veg markets, and 3 drug stores all within a few blocks (and that's not counting Union Market). And those are not all fancy pants places (i.e. K&Y Fruit and Veg on Court street is fantastic and priced very fairly) Isn't the charm of this neighborhood that it doesn't need a mega-mart? We'll be just fine.
July 30, 2014, 11:54 am
PeteNY from Carroll Gardens says:
Oh C'mon! That store is awful. There are better deals and better quality to be had at all the places Adam lists, plus summer green markets. I'm rarely in agreement when a local store closes, but those 26 people who signed are just creatures of habit. Do yourselves a favor and get out a bit.
July 30, 2014, 12:48 pm
Meh from Carroll Gardens says:
I will order from Fresh Direct more frequently. That and the rumored reopening of Mastellones will help offset the loss of Met Food.
July 30, 2014, 12:48 pm
Donald from Gowanus says:
Since I live a block and half away and have been in the neighborhood for over 20 years, I've had a long time to think about what the loss of this store really means. It comes down to only a handful of things: inexpensive regular sandwich bread, some national brands that the other stores don't carry "on sale" cold cuts and a place that takes manufacturer's coupons. Met Food didn't keep up with the times or the changes in the neighborhood and I will not miss their attitude or their insistence that you shouldn't be able to buy just one cucumber. I hope that the building that replaces this does something interesting with the ground floor space.
July 30, 2014, 1:28 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I shop here:

http://31.media.tumblr.com/a317203067a5da2f6bbb40a604c18e2b/tumblr_n8hq5bW7Xk1tx66fto1_500 .gif
July 30, 2014, 9:21 pm
Joe Hill from Gowanus says:
Q: how much does Union Market pay its Mexican and Ecuadoran slaves? And THEN charges premium price for mediocre goods and services? "Funny" how things work out like that.
July 30, 2014, 11:21 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I wonder where the other Mike from Williamsburg shops. I shop at C-Town, Key Food, and Associated mainly. I also like Western Beef, and I go to Food Bazaar for sea creatures.
July 31, 2014, 11:04 am
T from Brooklyn Heights says:
I think that what a lot of the folks commenting are missing is that: 1) yes, the new people in the neighborhood would prefer Whole Food; BUT 2) the residents that have been living with MET have clearly been quite happy with it.

The problem with giant stores like Whole Foods is they do not cater to ethnic palates. Stores like MET take the demographic of their neighborhood into consideration - curry, spices, certain meats. Whole Foods -- not so much.

I know that some of you are thrilled about the day when everyone in the neighborhood will look JUST like you. But, until then let's keep other people in mind.
July 31, 2014, 4:05 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
What? Union Market is non union?

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill today, alive as you and me!
July 31, 2014, 6:18 pm
Howard from Cobble Hill says:
This was the last Bastion of affordable food in the area and now we find ourselves squarely in the middle of a food desert. There is nowhere for hundreds of people to find affordable and varied produce selection within a few blocks walk. The nearest affordable food is at Trader Joes which is already overwhelmed. Ask everyone who lives on a budget or in public housing if they'll be stopping by Paisanos, Stinky and Union Market for their weekly grocery shop.

As for the new space: We DONT need another high end artisanal food shop, we DONT need some chintzy clothes or accessory shop, we DONT need another bar or restaurant and we definitely DONT want high rise Condos. What we need is affordable grocery shopping, though I somehow doubt that's what the developers have in mind.
Aug. 2, 2014, 3:09 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Howard - don't you see an opportunity for yourself as a grocer????
Aug. 2, 2014, 3:26 pm
ej from Cobble Hill says:
I live across the street from Met, and although it is more affordable for simple items, it could use a remodel! The interior and exterior are so dated, it's time for change. I'm just hoping overpriced condos don't go up in it's place! This area is so over priced already. It would be great if the word "affordable" still meant something in this hood.
Aug. 5, 2014, 7:50 pm

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