A new, smaller Key Food will open in the Prospect Avenue space where a beloved Key Food closed last summer, marking a huge win for Windsor Terrace activists who threatened to boycott the incoming drugstore tenant if their grocery needs went unmet.
The pharmacy chain Walgreens announced it will share a section of the former Key Food space at the corner of 11th Avenue with a grocery outpost following months of petitions, rallies, and meetings by angry neighbors who raged against the prospect of living in a supermarket-less “food desert.”
“Never underestimate Windsor Terrace,” said Ryan Lynch, whose group “Green Beans Not Walgreens” gathered nearly 5,000 signatures in a petition against Walgreens. “This is a big victory for our community and a testament to everyone who worked on this.”
Neighbors are treating the compromise as a major victory, considering their widely circulated petition noted that Walgreens officials rejected a request in June to “work with the property owner to reach an agreement that would expand the building and allow both a Walgreens and a full-service supermarket on the site.”
The nation’s largest pharmacy chain admitted that community pressure made the difference.
“This would not have happened if you guys didn’t voice your concerns,” said Walgreens representative Hien Nguyen.
The building will be modified to fit the Key Food annex, with Walgreens occupying two-thirds of the site, a store spokesman said.
The Key Foods, though slightly smaller than its predecessor, will offer glass-encased produce section, a deli and prepared foods section, a butcher, and a seafood counter as well as the standard array of dry goods, frozen foods, beverages, and snacks.
Both outlets will open in July or August, and according to planners each will give special consideration to former employees of the old Key Foods for hiring.
Politicians who organized multiple town hall meetings in the convenience-store-vs.-grocery-store battle cheered the news, as well.
“Congratulations to the people of Windsor Terrace for making their voices heard,” said Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope).
Borough President and Windsor Terrace resident Marty Markowitz said Walgreens’ concession is an example of what makes this nation great.
“In America, it’s possible, if people organize against a major corporation, things can happen!” he told the energized crowd.Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg