Grocery list! Walgreens opponents release list of demands

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Windsor Terrace residents have released a list of demands for a Walgreens that’s set to replace the neighborhood’s only supermarket — and they say they’ll boycott the drugstore if it doesn’t meet their requirements.

At the top of the check-off list: 10,000 square feet dedicated to grocery store space — complete with organic and free range fare, “fresh-baked goods,” and departments for meat, dairy, and produce.

Neighbors say they penned the list after the pharmacy, which is replacing a Key Food at Prospect and 11th avenues, failed to be clear about what type of food it would offer and how much space it would dedicate to groceries.

“If Walgreens refuses to be specific about how they will meet our needs, the community will,” said Windsor Terrace resident Ryan Lynch.

Lynch and other neighbors held meetings, circulated e-mails and conducted research before drafting the list of demands — which comes after months of protests from residents who say replacing the supermarket with a drug store will create a “food desert” unless Walgreens provides a fresh fare, or adjusts its lease to make room for a grocer.

Their demands now outline neighbors’ definition of “a supermarket,” noting that a “wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables,” a section for household goods, and a deli department are essential.

Walgreens last week promised to sell some fruit, veggies, and frozen meat, but declined to cite specifics or note how much space will be dedicated to food — a guarantee that neighbors called “vague.”

A company spokesman wasn’t much more specific when The Brooklyn Paper forwarded him the list of demands and asked for comment on Thursday.

“We are currently considering various options to meet the community’s needs,” said spokesman Robert Elfinger. “We look forward to talking with community officials when we have more specifics in place.”

But neighbors say there’s still plenty more for the company to cross off the list if it wants support from the hundreds shoppers who plan to boycott the drug store unless Walgreens caves to their demands.

“We’ve requested more meetings with Walgreens,” Lynch said. “This list [isn’t] radical.”

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.

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Reader Feedback

Dan Cooper from Bay Ridge says:
Anybody who thinks Walgreens will deliver on any promises about produce or dry goods should visit the Bay Ridge store on 3rd Ave and 95th which replaced a Key Food. What there is, and there's barely any, is awful. I recently saw that the only eggs on sale were marked to expire the next day. Much of the dry goods is the house brand Nice. Prices for the dry goods are higher than at any supermarket chain. They do not have a Walgreens Card or anything like that allowing you to get discounts on groceries or pharmaceuticals. Rite Aid offers far more with regard to value and for food they won't offer an alternative to a market, including a small retail market.
Sept. 4, 2012, 5:53 am
Bob Marvin from Prospect Lefferts Gardens says:
I doupt that Walgreens will meet the community's demands, BUT if they were far-sighted enough to do so it might well result in one of their highest grossing stores.

FWIW we frequently drove around the park to shop at the Key Food on Prospect Avenue and would do the same for Wallgreens IF they got it right.
Sept. 4, 2012, 9:03 am
Shopper from Slope says:
This whole controversy is nuts. Brooklyn has so many great places to shop that having a grocery store in this space really isn't essential. Within several miles of Windsor Terrace there's a Fairway, a huge Pathmark, three Key Foods and a whole strip of great specialty stores on 7th Avenue and on Court Street. Most people, especially families, in Windsor Terrace have cars. So why not just drive to a place that you desire. Is a Walgreen's ideal? No. But one of the reasons lots of companies don't want to open anywhere in NYC is because they have to deal with these kind of shenanigans. I mean, a list of "demands" for a store?
Sept. 4, 2012, 9:45 am
Typical Brooklyners from Kensington says:
Why does everyone in Brooklyn feel so entitled to have everything their way? Yes Key Food was the only convenient option in the neighborhood but these people chose to live there despite that fact and no one was guaranteed that it would last forever. Please, give me a break. If these people have this much time to raise a stink regarding a perfectly legal real estate transaction I'm sure they have time to hop in their cars or on a bus to get groceries elsewhere.

When will this madness end? Brooklyn is really becoming a place of insufferable inhabitants.
Sept. 4, 2012, 10:55 am
Leonora from Windsor Terrace says:
The people who are the most upset about this are the people who needed the Key Food the most: long term, older residents of Windsor Terrace. Yes, some people have cars but actually the buses don't really go to any of these other supermarkets. I have no idea how to get to Fairway without a car. The CTown on 9th Street is accessible if you can walk all the way to 7th avenue to take the bus or to Prospect Park West to take the train and then you still have to walk a lot. Same goes for the Food Town on Church Ave.

As residents and workers of Windsor Terrace, we have a right to demand the kind of neighborhood we want, one that includes a supermarket. Why should the corporations automatically get their way when we're the ones who will be most affected by this? Just because something is legal does not mean it's right. And it is our right as citizens to try to change things we don't like.
Sept. 4, 2012, 12:38 pm
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Pardon me, but might I suggest ordering groceries online? Now, I'm no "whiz" on the computer, but even I am able to place an order. My wife, Ruth, guided me through the steps the first few times and we have mastered this, and are very happy with the results. I don't want to start any kind of trouble, and I do understand that (to be sure) a lot of people who live in this neighborhood, or "hood" as some of us refer it to just can't afford a computer. In this case, you probably can only afford the kinds of groceries that Wallgreens will probably provide. Also, these foods can be found at any corner deli-canned goods, mac and cheese, pasta-to name a few. Pardon the interuption. Of course, this is just my opinion. Though, my wife Ruth does also agree.
Sept. 4, 2012, 1:10 pm
spoiled? from boro park says:
The whole notion that this corporation and others are "getting their way" is utter nonsense. Walgreen's is well within it's "right" to sell whatever they want there since they are paying for the space. If you don't like it you have the "right" to shop elsewhere. If Walgreen's fails, then you were right. Pressuring Walgreen's to be something it's not --- a supermarket -- is just bad thinking. Walgreen's doesn't sell a wide variety of food, doesn't have the vendors and sourcing to do so and just isn't in the food business. Would you ask the neighborhood bakery to sell meat? Of course not. And you wouldn't want them to. So why do you want a place that fills prescriptions and sells suntan lotion to also sell you good food. Shop elsewhere, folks.
Sept. 4, 2012, 2:26 pm
dave from ps says:
John, who in the Windsor Terrace "hood" can't afford a computer? But I do agree you can use Fresh Direct.
Sept. 4, 2012, 2:33 pm
Crawford from Windsor Terrace says:
Who are these idiots protesting the new Walgreens? They don't represent Windsor Terrace, that's for sure.

That old grocery store was crap. High prices, poor service, and they didn't make money. Now we have a new business. If you don't want to support the new business, fine, shop somewhere else. There are plenty of other options for groceries. Try Freshdirect, or one of the other neighborhood food outlets.

But I don't see the point of protesting Walgreens. Just don't shop there if you have some irrational hatred of drugstore chains.
Sept. 4, 2012, 2:56 pm
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Dave from ps,
My son, Herman, has been moving lawns all summer and has almost saved up enough money to pay for his very own. Now Herman is a very bright child and sometimes refers to neighborhoods as "hoods". I was just trying to show that I can also be "hip" or "cool" by including slang into my part of this discussion. Personally, I don't know anyone who doesn't have a computer. I'm sure there are people in this very neighborhood who don't, though.
Sept. 4, 2012, 3 pm
anywho says:
Next time call Wal-Mart. Stop whining!
Sept. 5, 2012, 8:43 am
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
...but I do suspect that these are the same people that do their shopping in the corner stores and bodega's of the neighborhood (or "hood").
Sept. 5, 2012, 10:26 am
Sue from Kensington says:
Nice to know everyone's an expert on what someone else's neighborhood should want.
Sept. 5, 2012, 7:27 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
There are huge stores like Fairway and CostCo, but you have to have a car to shop there and bring the goods back. Don't pretend you can shop for a family of four and cart those bags back on the bus or subway. Plus, having a supermarket within walking distance is a necessity for people who don't own cars.

FreshDirect is a fine option when you're talking about a delivery here or there, but supplying a whole neighborhood? FreshDirect would have to dramatically expand its fleet of delivery vans to deliver groceries to each and every resident of Windsor Terrace, and then those self-same vans would be clogging the streets all day long and drivers in the neighborhood would be screaming bloody murder.

But forcing Walgreens to stock groceries is a bit like demanding Home Depot carry lingerie. It's not in their business model and the results would be...undesirable. Plus, since we're talking about private property you can't exactly force the owner to rent the space not to the party willing to pay the most, but to the party that others in the neighborhood want you to. How would you feel if your neighbors tried to tell you what kind of furniture you can have in your house?

It sounds like a business opportunity for a grocery store chain to get a lock on a safe, economically stable neighborhood and also an opportunity for the local elected officials and community leaders to step up and reach out to the chains.
Sept. 6, 2012, 8:24 am
johnnyboy from windsor terrace says:
A few weeks ago the community was worried that the two pharmacies on PPW would be affected by Walgreens, well I guess that concern have fallen by the wayside as long as they can get their veggies.
In case you all didn't know it there is a fruit stand on 16th st and PPW just over an avenue away.
By the way I do see seniors at Bartel Pritchard Sq. every Wed. purchasing veggies from the weekly so called Farmers Market, why are they not supporting a local store that sells the same product? u
I guess it's the thrill of saying I went to the Farmers Market today.

Support you local stores, unless you enjoy seeing more gated store fronts.
Sept. 7, 2012, 1:31 pm
Marc from Windsor Terrace says:
We are upset because our half-decent supermarket is being replaced by a Walgreens that the community could not and does not want to support. just because Walgreens business model is to rent every supermarket space they can as they compete with Rite Aid and CVS to sell everything but groceries. The community is asking that Walgreens sublet to or co-locate with a supermarket, something the community needs. The Key Food met a dire need in the community: selling basic groceries at decent prices--about the same as Foodtown and C-Town and much cheaper than local delis and bodegas--for the many in this community who do not have car and do not have the luxury to shop at Fairway, Shop Rite, Pathmark, or Shop & Stop. Sure, it wasn't fancy and expensive like D'Agostino or Fairway and it did not have the variety of a suburban supermarket, but it met out basic needs. Now, there isn't a real supermarket within a mile of the Key Food location and Windsor Terrace is food desert for anyone without a car, particularly senior.

Had the owner of the Key Food been up-front with the community about his plans to retire and rent out the store, we would have been happy to work with him to find a supermarket operator that could match Walgreens rent offer. Instead, after over 30 years of making money from us, he chose to exclude us and his loyal workers, so we all pay, the workers with unemployment, the residents with reduced property values and great and time-consuming hardship getting basic groceries.
Sept. 8, 2012, 8:23 pm
ol time brroklyn from slope says:
walgrens can open a store whereever they damn well please if it is going to be profitablr. if you dont like it dont shop there - and most will shop there. the owner of keyfood was in no way under any obligation to be 'up front' with the community. just how are your property values lowered - please do tell. i love white whine - grow up - this is capitalism not barney and friends. mazel tov
Sept. 9, 2012, 1:03 pm
RightOn from Terrance says:
ol time - ditto!
Why would you want to buy fruits, meats, veggies, etc at a place that shelves drugs? Plus if you're going to make such unreasonable demands of Walgreens to carry a list of 'your' items to sell, are you going to foot a part of their rent? If all those people wanted so much to have grocery store, why didn't you use that time to get donations and such and take some money from your pockets to open a food co-op such like one in Park Slope? Get over it, I for one will be shopping at Walgreens and going to a real supermarket to get my groceries!
Sept. 11, 2012, 10:22 am
Sue from Kensington says:
Stupidest argument ever: if you want a grocery store/restaurant/cafe/coffee shop/whatever, you should open one yourself. Yeah, because everyone who wants something to eat or drink is suited to running a business.
Sept. 12, 2012, 12:33 am
RightOn from Terrance says:
"Stupidest"? Well, that says it all :)
Sept. 12, 2012, 10:56 am
Andrew from Windsor says:
Grocery profits are razor thin at best, pharmaceutical profits are huge... you do the math...
Sept. 17, 2012, 2:49 pm
locavore from windsor terrace says:
If the residents of Windsor Terrace want a new supermarket, their best bet is, well, it's actually too late to make the best bet.

But, the best bet would have been to throw their own money on top of the highest bid made by another supermarket operator to make the supermarket bid match the Walgreens bid.

Key Food has been closed for a couple of months. Has anyone died of starvation in the new food desert of Windsor Terrace?
Sept. 21, 2012, 7:41 am
Kog from Windsor Terrace says:
There has been a supermarket at 11th Ave & Prospect for more than 60 years. Yes, it wasn't the cheapest, but most families from the neighborhood found themselves shopping in there at least once a week. If you have a car, you might change things up by checking out Fairway or loading up at Costco, but last minute convenience & the comfort of a reliable store for basics was what made Key Food special for me. And, I knew half of the employees by name (if not more), and usually socialized at every visit, because it was all my neighbors shopping there too. That's the kind of thing you won't see when you are forced to travel further for your groceries or order on-line. No we won't starve for food, but our neighborhood has been hit another blow to our "community". I don't need another Walgreen selling crap I don't need - Rite Aid & CVS are already filling that niche nicely
Nov. 24, 2012, 10:23 pm
Julie from Park Slope says:
I would love to see a Trader Joe's there. Keep dreaming..
Dec. 8, 2012, 12:08 am

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