Fairway to Heaven: Grocer files for bankruptcy, putting Brooklyn stores in Jeopardy

The fate of Fairway Market’s Red Hook and Georgetown branches hangs in the balance as the grocery chain filed for bankruptcy on Jan. 23.
File photo by Max Jaeger

They’re ready to check out. 

After denying reports that it would file for chapter 7 bankruptcy on Wednesday, Fairway Market filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday, as the company struggles to find a buyer for its Kings County supermarkets. 

Fairway put its 14 supermarkets up for sale in September to address debts totaling $174 million, but the grocer has only managed to sell its five Manhattan markets to ShopRite owner Village Super Market for $70 million, according to Chief Executive Office Abel Porter

That leaves Fairway’s Red Hook and Georgetown supermarkets — along with seven other stores located throughout Queens, Long Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, and upstate New York — swinging in the wind, and a spokeswoman for Fairway could only promise that the stores would stay open until bankruptcy proceedings conclude. 

A group of the company’s lenders have also agreed to provide up to $25 million to help reorganize Fairway Market, according to a company press release.

Fairway previously filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2016, but reemerged under its current ownership by investment firms Brigade Capital Management and Goldman Sachs Group — while also closing one of its stores on Long Island.

The chain, which began in 1933 as a Manhattan fruit and vegetable stand, opened its first Brooklyn store inside a 19th-century storage warehouse on Red Hook’s Van Brunt Street in 2006 — which it had to shut down temporarily after the ancient waterfront building took a beating during Superstorm Sandy in 2012, before reopening the following year.

The company later opened its second Brooklyn location at the Ralph Avenue strip mall in 2017.