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‘Fresh’ sounds! Grocery store to add live music

Andrew Goldin (with fruit) and Zack Krantz (conga) will be making beautiful music together when Goldin’s Fresh Fanatic grocery store in Clinton Hill starts hosting live performances in September.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Brooklyn’s next big venue just might be in the produce aisle of a Clinton Hill supermarket.

Starting in mid-September, Fresh Fanatic owner Andrew Goldin plans to introduce live music to the grocery shopping experience at his market on Park Place near the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

“We figured that we wanted our shoppers to stay excited every time that they come into the store, and there’s really no better way to enjoy yourself than live music,” said Goldin, who will set up the stage on the store’s elevated cash register area every day from 5–9 pm.

That’s an early closing time for a hip music venue, but Kevin Avanzato, general manager of Union Hall, thinks that Goldin is on to something.

“It’s inevitable that we, as New Yorkers, stretch the idea of the ‘music venue,’ ” said Avanzato. “People love live music and will go to see live music whether on the ‘CBS Morning Show’ plaza, or at the corner store.”

Phil Cohen will be a regular.

“I’ve busked in the streets, so I’m sort of used to the idea of playing music and having people just walk by,” said Cohen, who has an acoustic-alternative thing going on. “You’re not playing a show for the people — you’re playing a show for the ambience, to make it a more personal shopping experience.”

The rest of the musical community though, doesn’t necessarily share the same take on the idea.

“Music at the grocery store is generally something I tune out — I’m not going to the grocery to listen to or discover new music; I’m going to buy beer and pita,” said Alex Wernquest, guitarist for local blues rock band The Big Hat. “From a musician’s standpoint, I would feel a little awkward or self conscious, like I was stepping on somebody’s private time.”

The idea came about after a live reggae performance in April was a local hit.

“We got a good reaction and people were into it — so we thought, ‘Why not?’ ” said Goldin.

Goldin is currently applying for a beer and wine license, so that customers will be able to relax, have a beer and listen to some music before getting on with the daily grind. He plans to start off featuring friends who are in local bands, and eventually branch out.

“Grocery shopping shouldn’t be a chore,” said Goldin. “The music is going to be there to enhance the experience.”

Fresh Fanatic [275 Park Ave. at Washington Avenue in Clinton Hill, (888) 373-7404]

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