Brighton Beachers have been waiting since Hurricane Sandy for Key Food to finally reopen — but the store’s staff say it will be at least another month before the neighborhood will have a local grocery again.
Elderly residents of the storm-slammed seaside community complain that they’ve had to travel great distances for food since Sandy shuttered the supermarket on Neptune Avenue near the corner of W. Fifth Street.
Longtime Trump Village resident Etta Dorf said the Key Food was the only local source for kosher items since the closure of the MET Food on Brighton Beach Avenue in September, and she now has to schlep all the way to Kosher Palace on Avenue U on public transportation to stock her fridge — or pay for delivery, which requires a $45 order.
“There’s no more kosher butchers around here, and I can’t carry that much on the bus,” said Dorf. “We’re all wondering when we’re going to have our grocery store back.”
Fellow senior citizen Miriam Wurzel has become dependent on her daughter delivering her food from Scarsdale every two weeks — a major inconvenience for both of them.
“It’s very difficult, and I hate to bother her,” said Wurzel. “But when you’re old, you live on Social Security and it’s hard for you to get around.”
Helen Commodore, who uses a walker, said she’s been forced to choose between expensive and unpalatable food from nearby Russian markets and unhealthy items like donuts that she can get at stores like CVS and Walgreens.
“I don’t eat Russian food. I eat normal American food,” said Commodore.
“I’m managing, but it’s not easy. I’m not eating that healthy now.”
Key Food manager Kathleen Woods said she felt bad about the five-month closure, but explained that the store had to buy all new cold cases after the storm — on top of battling mold and gutting and rewiring their location.
“I understand their pain. We have a lot of senior customers, and this has been tough for them, but we had to deal with a lot of setbacks,” said Woods.
Woods said she is now waiting for the building to be reconnected with the grid — it is now running on generator juice, which cannot power large refrigerators — which she expects to happen by the end of May.
She said that customers can look forward to a bigger and better Key Food, since the store has converted its storage area into retail floor space and will be adding more international items.