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Nov 20, 2006 01:34 PM

New Food Emporium (Bridgemarket) competing with Citarella-type stores?

Went to Food Emporium on Friday to check out the new store (Bridgemarket - 59th Street). They promoted this big re-opening in the area with handing out free NY Posts outside the store the last week. Totally different than the usual grocery store offerings they have, with a coffeeshop type area upstairs to boot. Chocolate counter, smoothies sold in the store, etc. Anyone else been there? Do you think it'll fare well or people won't give up their specialty stores?

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  1. It was awful. We have been shopping there for years and were looking forward to the reopening. It was the one grocery store that wasn't cramped.

    It is like a business school project gone bad. There is minimal selection of any basics. No diapers for my daughter. No orange juice in any size other than 1/2 gallon and they only had one brand. Practically no soda or cereal. I couldn't get any of the day to day basics that I need, meaning that I had to go to another store. But they have a huge coffee bar. Also, it is not as if there are that many products which you couldn't get at any other Food Emporium. I don't think that there were more than a couple of new high end stuff and no new fresh products.

    Given the massive space, they decided to make the produce section so narrow that you can barely push a single cart though. The layout of the rest of the store makes no sense, as there is tons of empty space in some places and none in others.

    I could go on and on, but this is going to be a huge failure. People who want to shop at Grace's, Eli's or Citarella are still going to shop there.

    2 Replies
    1. re: The Big Man

      I also find the prices at Food Emporium are often higher than those at Citarella, even for the most mundane items. I always regret it when I stop into FE to pick something up on the fly.

      1. re: The Big Man

        I agree Big Man. On Sunday, I went in for a quart of skim plus milk, Iams dry cat food, almond paste, 2% Fage greek yogurt, whole wheat hot dog rolls and Polly-O part skim ricotta. Of which, they had nothing that was on my list!!!

        The once fabulous baking section has been competely diminished, they ran out of cat food and yogurt, they don't sell WW hot dog rolls anymore.

        Food Emporium is a GROCERY store...too bad they don't have basic grocery items anymore.

        If a want a sandwich I will go tp Dominicks across the street...if I want sushi I will definitely not get it here.

        What a waste of space. Anyplace that offers you a map when you walk in should know they are in trouble from day 1.

      2. From what I've heard, the jury is still out on products that were in the store. I'm guessing that the selection might change here and there (like taking up an entire shelf for hundreds of cans of teas when, like you said, cereal was limited).

        Re: produce - if I remember correctly the previous aisles were also about a single cart wide (one long aisle on the side followed by 3 aisles perpendicular to it). This was a different layout but still seemed like they have the same amount of produce, no?

        I saw new mushrooms - about 7 different kinds, that I had never seen before, fleur de sal, oils, all that international stuff in the middle - still seemed to me like there were lots of new products but not catering to the 'family'.

        Did they used to have diapers and took them away? I guess it depends on what your day to day list is whether or not people will like it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: chowNYC

          chowNYC -- The old produce section was much, much easier to get around. In the aisles across, you could easily fit two carts. The old produce section had more products, although they could have added some things which I don't normally use.

          There used to be an excellent infant-toddler section -- lots of different foods and products with a number of choices. Now, they only had a few food choices of a single brand. There used to be all sorts of diapers, formulas, etc. Now there was only one size in one brand of diapers and I don't see where they can expand the selection.

          I guess that they believe that people will use this location as a gourmet choice in addition to either a more traditional market or Fresh Direct. But there isn't that much in terms of merchandise to differentiate it from a typical FE. I was pretty upset -- this used to be the one full service supermarket on the East Side where you weren't packed like a sardine.

          1. re: The Big Man

            Seeing as I don't have kids (but hopefully in the near future), that sucks that they took away the infant-toddler section. At the end of the day I'm a somewhat lazy Upper East Side gal and it's still the closest big store to me, so I'll wind up going there. I'm sure once I start to notice products that I want that aren't available, I might change my tune!

        2. Interesting article, seemingly written from a Food Emporium press release, about the Bridgemarket store and their plans for the future.

          My local FE underwent a makeover about two years ago. Despite the addition of a few items of upscale produce, the place is a disaster. As TBM says, no room to maneuver, very difficult to find what you're looking for--although my local branch does seems to carry the basics. But those basics--and everything else for that matter--are at significantly higher prices than any other store in my neighborhood. Seems to me as though the whole *new concept* is just an excuse for raising already high prices. I simply don't understand why people shop there.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JoanN

            I have a theory that people assume it is cheaper, because it looks more like a "regular" grocery store rather than a gourmet/upscale store like Citarella, Grace's etc.

          2. I agree with the dismay. I used to go there VERY often. It was a little pricier on some things, but others were the cheapest in the neighborhood. And the selection was great. I was looking forward to the renovation.
            Now it's just useless. I could not find Coke in cans, I asked about it and they said "we do not carry sodas in cans, but you can order them online" !?!?! A six pack online.
            Everything in large size is gone, water, paper towels.
            They have more choices in soy sauces than is cereals.
            They lost me as a customer, and I really hope they loose a lot more.
            And what's with the new black pinstripes uniform. I think they want to give an image of a "boutique" with a little concierge in the front. I think they forget that people go to the supermarket to buy stuff. Not because they like to go to it.

            1. Ditto to the dismay. A disaster and no signage