As the closing nears, shelves are emptying.

After 30 years in business, Brighton Beach’s Met Foods supermarket is closing its doors in just two more weeks, leaving neighborhood seniors distressed about future food-shopping endeavors.

The supermarket, located at at 100-120 Brighton Beach Avenue, is being replaced by a modern two-story office and retail complex. Rather than housing a different convenience store, the new complex will be open to a variety of vendors that will be able to sublet office-sized space, with retail on the ground floor.

But Brighton Beach locals are unenthusiastic about the change. Many Met Foods customers are worried about the inconvenience that this close will cause on the elderly population residing in the community.

A For Rent sign already marks the building, informing prospective tenants about the impending commercial development.

Marian Rosenfarb is one of these unhappy customers. She has been shopping at this Met Foods location for 27 years. In that time, she’s developed a collection of memories, even recalling that she went into labor once, right by the vegetable aisle. Today, she has a comfortable kinship with much of the staff, some of whom have been working here since the store’s opening decades ago.

“They all recognize you,” Rosenfarb said, complementing the employees that she said always made her feel welcome in their store. “They say hi. They’ve seen you coming here for years. It is a very well-rounded store.”

Her daughter, Alyce Grossfield, agreed. She remembers a time when the supermarket used to have saw-dust sprinkled across its floor.

“It’s one of the last old-fashioned groceries in the area,” Grossfield said.

Key Food (red marker) is nearly a mile away from Met Foods (blue marker). (Source: Google Maps)

According to Rosenfarb and Grossfield, other Brighton Beach supermarkets are “far and expensive”. The closest supermarket that is comparable to this Met Foods is Key Food, located on Neptune Avenue, and almost one mile away.  The nearest Met Foods location is near Kings Highway, in Midwood, approximately five miles away.

Victor Ramirez, a manager at this Met Foods for more than 20 years, said he was worried about the elderly community being able to comfortably go food shopping once the store shuts down.

“I don’t know how these people are going to travel to get food,” Ramirez said. “It’s going to be a collapse to the neighborhood.”

He included that even public transportation will not be convenient for customers, as many frequent shoppers cannot carry their goods on their own.

“We knew all the customers, and always tried to do what we could to make shopping easier for them,” he said. Ramirez referenced many times when he would carry cases of spring water directly to the door of many elderly customers’ homes. “Other supermarkets don’t do that. There’s nothing like us here.”

Another manager, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that the high rent was the reason behind the close. When the landlord doubled the price, Met Foods just couldn’t afford to stay in business.

“The lease went up to $100 per square foot,” the manager said. “Nobody can beat the landlord.”

Lenora Saltz, another everyday shopper, was shocked to learn about the upcoming close. “They can’t do this to us,” she said. “We are elderly people.”

Now in her early eighties, Saltz recalls shopping at Met Foods for decades. She even remembers a time when she didn’t have enough money to cover her entire transaction.

“They were so nice to me,” Saltz said. “They told me, ‘Don’t worry. Pay us back whenever you can.’ They’re wonderful people. This is really going to hurt the neighborhood.”

But as October arrives, Met Foods will shut its doors forever, leaving customers without a local convenience store well-suited for the community.

“It’s very sad,” Grossfield added. “This [store] was for everybody.”

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  • Microshock

    Doesn’t Keyfood do deliveries? 

    This is unfortunate but there is still plenty of markets in Brighton Beach to supplement them.

  • KB

    There are much fewer grocery stores than there used to be. Too many people driving I guess, people don’t see a need for a grocery store every few blocks anymore. Not everyone drives though, especially seniors, and it is awful to try and drag groceries on the bus, even when you are young and healthy (a chore I used to loathe when I briefly lived in Borough Park). Pathmark on Nostrand has sat empty for a long, long time now, and it really affects the everyday lives of the people in the area who now have a much longer trip to buy groceries. The local politicians should be working to get more supermarkets in the area instead of the nonsense they usually busy themselves with. Supermarkets may not be the most glamourous cause, but they would help the local residents tremendously. 

    • LadyLucky17

      The reason for fewer grocery stores is that the landlords are either commanding rents that the grocery stores can’t pay or the landlords are selling the space to a developer. Met Foods didn’t lose money or lose customers… the landlord didn’t renew their lease and instead sold the property to a developer.

      Remember KB, we are in the City that Bloomberg made…. its all about big business; the needs of the community are of no importance.

  • nolastname

    I rented a place in Brighton for the summer in 1977, wasn’t there a supermarket there for years before that? Maybe it was something else before it was a Met. There are so many elderly in Brighton…it just doesn’t seem right. There will be plenty of Access-a-Rides to the supermarkets.
    I was downtown yesterday and saw the Key Food that has been in the news for a possible Walmart or something. There is no supermarket anywhere near the old Key Food. What are they doing to us? Forcing big BOX stores down our throats? 
    I don’t like control and this seems to be where it’s going.

    • Subway Stinker

      I was waiting for someone to blame Walmart, and nonelastname did not disappoint. Here we are in Brooklyn and have lost the Pathamrk on Nostrand Avn, and the Key food in Windsor Terrace and now the Met in Brighton, all without any help from Walmart. The Anti Walmart forces would love to blame Walmart but Hey, there is no Walmart here in Brooklyn. Yeah, its a big bad plot. Gimme a break. Supermarkets in NYC dont make money because of space limits and hight costs; nothing to do with box stores.

      • Steve W.

        I’d like to note also that like it or not, Wal-Mart just announced that they are giving up on their efforts to open a branch in Brooklyn.

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

           They aren’t giving up. They are just switching to another strategy. Most likely involving numerous smaller stores.

      • LennyM

        Walmart is not a grocery store, even if they have grocery. They make their money on selling high volumes of poorly constructed products at low margins. A walmart would not replace or fill the void of Pathmark, Met Foods, or Keyfood or any privately owned grocery store but instead would contribute to sprawl and small business job losses in various markets. If you want a company that uses its large buying power to keep prices low, look towards companies such as shop-rite which are co-op owned stores and share profits. I’ve once before suggested starting a co-op here in Sheepshead Bay but that’s not my area of expertise. Don’t look towards walmart to come to your rescue when the community itself can be that answer.

        • http://kibblesbits.wordpress.com/ Ann

          Walmart isn’t a grocery store? Since when?

          • LadyLucky17

             Walmart has a grocery department in some stores, but they only offer it to entice people to come to their stores. They hope that while shopping for grocery items, you’ll also be enticed to buy “poorly constructed products” Walmart’s better known for. Walmart (and Target) know offer prescription drugs for $5 because of the same reason.

      • nolastname

        It’s nolastname. Happy to not let you down. 
        I just picked Walmart out of a hat. I could have said Target.
        My point is why the hell is Angus beef available in a predominantly dry goods store. 
        Another reason stores go out of business is the cost for security and theft.

    • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

      There was a Waldbaums on Brighton 11th, I think it was brighton 11th, that block that’s slightly diagonal. It was almost on Neptune Avenue. Not sure this is the one you’re thinking of, but I worked there in 1973-4. in the produce department. At the boss’s request, I threw grapes at the bad customers. Hey, a job’s a job….

         I also worked in Met Foods, then known as Speedway, in 1976.

         It’s unfortunate for us who don’t drive, that these supermarkets are closing. I can’t believe that such a populated area as Coney-Brighton-S. Bay, has supermarkets closing.

      • nolastname

        The store I am talking about was right off Ocean Parkway. It is a shame that the supermarkets are being priced out. I am suspecting the Waldbaums on Ocean Ave. might give up in time. 

  • NoWalmartLover

    We lost the Keyfood on Ave. U between E.18th and E.19th years ago.  Now there are a number of Chinese supermarkets, that are highly overpriced.  They don’t speak or understand English in there.  Plus, the smells coming out of them are awful.  I am sure people who live in that area will agree with me on this.
    We do have some bodega’s here, but their groceries are overpriced too.  
    I think its terrible that Pathmark was shut down, even though I didn’t frequent it too
    often.  People need a decent supermarket within walking distance and there just aren’t any here.

    PS not to worry, there will be no Walmart in Brooklyn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • USER

    Like Grossfield added. “This [store] was for everybody.” And that it was. Oh but not to worry your poor little brains. We will have a bank.  Lets see we have Valley, Chase, citibank, Apple East side, Bank of america. We have that much money here. A must… Liquor store. Pharmacy. Fruit and vegetable store. Must keep up with the rest of the blocks on Brighton. Did I miss anything.

  • EndofDaze

    Oy! This means the Stop & Shop on Avenue Y is going to get even more crowded! Where’s the decent competition? Where’s Trader Joe’s?! Please! In fact, how about a Wegman’s? Or, a Nugget, as they have in Northern California?! Too upscale?! Hey, we’re becoming tonier! Just look at the improvements on Neck Road! There have even been sightings, of English speaking Yuppies on Ocean Avenue south, and Neck Road east!

    • LadyLucky17

      You wont’ see a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods down here because the average household income is too low.

      It’s hard for a supermarket to set up shop because the profit margins are low to begin with and its becoming more costly to do business in the city. Only business flush with cash can afford to do business here, and those businesses are usually the national chain stores.

      • Nyckat

        yet we have Cherry Hill ,Force of Nature, and the other little bitty juice and health food store on Brighton Beach and all are costlier than Trader Joes or Whole Foods- and they all do a brisk business! We do have money here- and we have people that like to eat right, sadly we deal with what is local or take the trec out of the nabe to shop..wish we would get one or the other here- trader joes would be a very welcome sight

  • dfsdf

    Everyone’s switching to FreshDirect!

  • TRUMPCINEMA11224NEPTUNE

    Freshdirect is way too expensive.  What’s amazing is that a neighborhood with so many large buildings, has so few supermarkets.  In that vicinity is Trump Village, Warbasse, Brightwater Towers, and a little further away – Luna Park.  Between the Luna Park Shopping Center, the Trump Village Shopping Center, Warbasse’s small shopping area, and Brighton Beach Avenue, there’s only a small Key Food in the Warbasse shopping center.  The Trump Village Shopping Center has a decent sized Waldbaum’s, but they closed years ago.  

  • Arnie the K

    The closing of this supermarket creates a tremendous problem for the infirm and elderly residents of this neighborhood. They have no place to shop for groceries. I will now have to haul groceries to my 93-year old mother from afar.  Many seniors have no one  to do this for them.

  • Pat Singer

    I can appreciate how they feel.  A few decades ago we had a Waldbaums on
    Brighton 11th Street.  I would go there with my little ones fill my wagon up like the leaning tower of Pisa taped around with masting tape to walk home a block away.
    Now it’s either shlep to Shop n Stop or Waldbaums on Ocean Avenue.  Many of the smaller food stores on Brighton Beach Avenue have wonderful appetizers already
    prepared, but they do not carry the can foods that and other items that I am use to having.  We keep building and building, condos when we really need a handy shopping center.  They are building once again at the end of Brighton 11th, but you can count on it being commercial, but not a shopping center.  As for traffic, I hope they have
    a parking or traffic plan at Met and for the site to be developed on Brighton 11th St.

  • LadyLucky17

    Did Met Foods already close? I went there at 5pm today and the store was shuttered.

  • Nyckat

    I actually found Met foods to be more expensive than most of the smaller local markets on Brighton Beach- it was always dirty and had poor customer service (girl on the phone the entire time she checked me out). There are many smaller stores in the nabe that carry everyday supplies, yes, most speak only Russian- but the food and especially meat quality is better than met- and pricer were usually lower. So for me no great loss. I use soap.com to order cleaning supplies, wag.com for pet items- delivered the next day easy to just walk Brighton daily for meat, eggs and staples..