The Pathmark on Nostrand Avenue is going out of business, and Sheepshead Bay residents are going out of their minds.
The supermarket’s closure will leave its shoppers — many of whom are senior citizens who walk their personal carts to and from the store — having to travel at least 15 extra blocks to get to a store comparable to Pathmark in size and selection.
“It’ll be a major inconvenience when it closes,” said Tom Paolillo, an E. 26th Street resident and Pathmark regular. “The other grocery stores are out of the way for me.”
There’s no word on what other businesses could fill the space — thoughBrooklyn-bound Walmart would likely be interested in opening one of the Arkansas-based chain’s smaller, less-controversial supermarkets in Pathmark’s plot, which takes up half the strip mall between Avenue Y and Avenue Z (but many would oppose the retail giant — see sidebar below).
Bankrupt food giant A&P, which bought the Pathmark chain in 2007, is closing 32 “unprofitable” stores in six states — including the 10-year-old supermarket, according to its Feb. 15 bankruptcy filing. The closures still have to be approved by the bankruptcy court, but are expected to go through this spring, according to an A&P press release.
Alice, a manager of Pathmark who declined to give her last name, told the Bay News that she heard the store would close in a couple of months, but did not yet know the exact date.
With the closure, 100 union workers will have to find another place of work, according to union reps.
“We view the loss of just one job in this economy as a catastrophe, so what’s happening here is a total disaster,” said John T. Niccollai, president of Pathmark’s union, UFCW Local 464A, who added that the union will try to transfer as many laid-off Pathmark workers as possible to nearby stores, and workers with the most seniority will get first dibs.
Meanwhile, both Borough President Markowitz and Rep. Anthony Weiner (D–Sheepshead Bay) want a replacement post haste.
“I am interested in working with the property owner and other stakeholders to identify a supermarket retailer to replace Pathmark and provide the residents of Sheepshead Bay and surrounding communities with the access to the fresh food they deserve,” Markowitz said.
Weiner also pledged to recruit a new supermarket.
“Residents of Sheepshead Bay shouldn’t be forced to leave the neighborhood to buy groceries,” Weiner said. “It’s unfortunate that Pathmark is closing, but now it’s all hands on deck to ensure that we bring a new supermarket to Nostrand Avenue.”
But in the meantime, shoppers are on their own.
“This is terrible!” said Nostrand Avenue resident Cliff Bruckenstein. “This neighborhood needs a supermarket.”