Wholesale ahead! BJ’s opens in Bensonhurst

Three acres and a view: As part of a deal with the city, BJ’s built a waterfront esplanade that is about the size of three football fields and offers views of Coney Island, the Verrazanno-Narrows Bridge, and bucolic Staten Island.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Big-box buying comes to Bensonhurst.

BJ’s Wholesale Club opened its Bensonhurst store quietly on Sept. 13. The grand opening will come a week later, but Brooklynites eager to buy provisions by the pallet took to the Shore Parkway store in droves ahead of the formal ribbon cutting.

“It was packed,” said shopper Jamarl Thompson of Coney Island, who hit the opening afternoon and came back for seconds on Sept. 15. “There were 26 registers and every one was open. It was very efficient.”

The 1752 Shore Parkway location is the third BJ’s to open in Brooklyn — the other two are in Canarsie and East New York — and for many shoppers, location is everything.

“We tried the one on Erskine [in Gateway Center], but that was too far,” said Danielle Gargiulo of Bensonhurst.

The mega-store, which is the size of about 300 bodegas combined, is known for selling bulk food items such as 20-pound bags of rice and packages of 50 frozen waffles. The bulk-buying club also caters to local Jews, boasting a kosher bakery and more kosher items than any other BJ’s, said manager Bernard Garrison.

Aside from food, shoppers can also get clothing, housewares, and electronics at the massive warehouse store.

Big boxes, big store: The sprawling store has a footprint the size of 300 bodegas.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

And a dedicated 500-spot parking garage means less jockeying for a space, shoppers said.

“I’m so happy about the parking,” said Gargiulo, who lives within walking distance but uses her car to ferry her food back home.

Construction kicked off in December 2012, but delays held up the store’s opening, which was originally slated for July, a company spokeswoman said.

The store employs 250 workers — 210 of whom live in Brooklyn.

The wholesale giant also created a public esplanade size of three football fields overlooking Gravesend Bay and offering views of Coney Island, the Verrazanno-Narrows Bridge, and bucolic Staten Island. The green space was part of an agreement with the city to secure approval of the project, and it’s a first for the wholesale giant, Garrison said.

“This is unique to any other BJ’s,” he said. “And you don’t have to shop here to enjoy it.”

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeg‌er@cn‌gloca‌l.com or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
Happy customers: Jonelle Gittens and Jamarl Thompson stock up on the essentials on Sept. 15. It was Thompson’s second trip since the store opened two days earlier.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

More from Around New York