Brooklyn Heights Key Food Owner on Rising Food Prices

The NY Daily News has a story today about rising food prices in Brooklyn. Featured in the piece is Key Food owner Ivan Arguello:

NY Daily News: Rising Food Prices…: “It’s a nationwide phenomenon,” said Ephraim Leibtag, a retail food price expert for the U.S. Agriculture Department, of the food price increases.
“New York is more expensive to buy food all the time, regardless of what’s going on,” Leibtag said, citing high rental prices and transportation costs as reasons.
“The question is, are the stores ripping customers off, or are they passing on the higher costs?”

Definitely the latter, said Ivan Arguello, owner of a Key Food Supermarket in Brooklyn Heights.
“We have an increase in price, but we’re making the same percentages,” insisted Arguello.

“There have been a lot of surcharges with trucks. They had done it in the past, but even more now because the price of gas is going up.”

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  • SS

    people would not mind paying the slightly higher prices if the quality was there. but when u sell expired product, rarely ring up sale prices at the register (every time im in there i have to correct them and then wait 5 min while they go and check, as they look at me like im crazy), and find a way to not have the store smell like pesticide.

    key food is a lousy shopping experience for lousy product. at least at a bodega, they are usually friendlier.

  • Cranky

    I’m with you on that Sloppy. Key Food on Montague has the rudest staff. I’ve found they give the MTA token clerks a run for their money in general obnoxiousness….just nasty, rude, surly. I avoid that store. How they ever got jobs dealing with the public is beyond me.

  • anon

    minimum wage jobs dont discriminate against rude disinfranchised teenagers and underachievers.

  • AliG

    “There have been a lot of surcharges with trucks. They had done it in the past, but even more now because the price of gas is going up.” Then park the truck and turn of the engine while unloading produce/products, YOU MORONS. That would save some gas. Not to mention, it will be such a nice change to the incessant beeping at 4am… What a friggin idiot.

  • Cranky

    They’re not minimum wage anon. They’re union and probably make more than you do.

  • netards

    Amazing, the comments above are so full of bs and hate, what is the problem with keyfood?
    first off I shop regularly at the montague st key food and while it’s not the most amazing supermarket it’s fine, the produce are decent (actually they have surprisingly good cheeses although a pretty small selection). I also shop at sahadi’s (love it) and garden (hmm), but keyfood is a decent general store and i’m glad to have them in the area.
    I’ve always found the staff to be courteous, nothing more or less than I would expect in a supermarket.
    finally on prices, i’ve definitely noticed the increases too, and not too happy about it, but that’s been happening all over town, and to be expected if gas prices go up it does cost more to transport produce from wherever it is grown/manufactured (not all in brooklyn I think) and that’s going to be reflected in all prices.

  • The Internets

    I once got turkey at the deli counter and as he was weighing it I saw that he had sliced pieces of plastic (from the turkey wrapper) into the turkey. So I said “I think there are pieces of plastic in the turkey” thinking he would be like “oh yeah, sorry about that” and proceed to remove the pieces of plastic. Instead he said “yeah, there are lots of pieces in there”, slapped on the sticker and handed me the package.

    Its not the paying for the added weight that bothers me, its the whole consuming inedible poison part that I’m partial too. And the fact that he thought it was fully ok to serve it that way!!!

    Maybe if he stopped rapping for two seconds he would have taken it out.

    key food sucks…

  • anon

    Cranky,probably not, I makeover 100$ an hour, and shop in Cobble Hill, where the markets are better. I imagine the rudeness alot of the time is created by being treated crappily by the customers.

  • cjp

    Just wanted to agree with Sloppy and Cranky (and based on some of Sloppy’s previous posts I’m surprised I do agree…) about the quality of service at Key Food. It is atrocious, the one exception being Muhammed the manager who is friendly and courteous.

    But whether it’s returning my cans and bottles, trying to get help finding items in the store or trying to cash in on an advertised sale Key Food is often a hassle.

    I’ve sometime handed a cashier a perfectly valid manufacturer’s coupon which they will then hand back to me in complete silence, with no explanation for whatever the issue is. So I return it to them with the same stoic silence and keep up the game until the cashier actually speaks and gives a reason for the rejection. (In the most recent case they didn’t understand the buy 10 cans of cat food, get two free concept. What was particularly troubling is that this was a Key Food issued coupon…)

    Just this morning I waited on a line to check out while another cashier was tidying up her station with no mention to any of the waiting customers that her lane was indeed open for business… we all wrongly assumed she was busy doing non cash register duties.)

    I don’t have any serious issues with Key Food’s products or prices. It’s the horrendous customer service that would have me shopping elsewhere in a heartbeat if an alternative existed! The old Dag’s, not that I miss them either mind you, did seem to have people that didn’t seem put out by actually doing their jobs.

  • ed

    Pleeeeze! I’m a major key food (montague) shopper and find the store one of the best for its size. It’s clean, there are few expired perishibles, most (m-o-s-t) of the staff is fine and Mohammed is absolutely the best. I shop sales and hardly ever have a problem (regarding key food coupons, shoppers who use their key food discount cards find that the discounts are applied automatically) — PLUS: most items are actually labelled with a price (unlike at other supermarkets) and there are minimal restrictions on sale quantities. Compare this store with the key food on atlantic avenue and let’s hear your report. Also, overall, prices are reasonable (generally better than at fairway, for instance).

  • bornhere

    I”m reasonably okay with Key Food. I’m not thrilled that delivery went up to $4.00, which means having stuff delivered can cost about $10 once the tip is added; but I also know that those dollars won’t put me out on the street. I have come across expired items there (and at Garden of Eden, which I think is even a bit more dicey when it comes to that sort of thing), but I think they’re more an “overlooked thing” and not part of some nefarious or deliberate practice. I do look carefully at produce and meats that I buy, but I do that anywhere.
    I think I actually like most of the check-out crew; they seem friendly and responsive, and I don’t have any reason to spar with them. And the delivery guys are very nice. No one there is as capable as Claudia (at the risk of enraging people for talking about a blast from the past), but Mohammed seems to be a good manager, has a sense of humor, and always seems to care about what’s going on. Key Food is what it is — not the best, certainly not the worst, and unless something better comes along, it’s the go-to supermarket in the area.

  • barbara

    I am surprised to see such mean-spirited, nasty comments about the Key Food on Montague St. I have been shopping there for 27 years, and in all that time, I might have found 2 minor errors during checkout.
    Plus, they do their best to maintain a clean, up-to-date facility in such cramped quarters.
    I would also like to mention that Mohammed is one of my most favorite people—–a very unusual store manager.
    One day I left my wallet at the checkout counter ( and didn’t even know it). Mohammed personally delivered it to my house that evening ( with all the money & credit card intact.).
    Do you think that would have happened at any other supermarket?
    If you want upscale food shopping, go to Garden of Eden and spend double the amount——Key Food is not Whole Foods either——but it serves my needs very well.

  • gen

    I am simply amazed at the comments that Key food is “decent” and blah blah. I keep hoping one of the larger chains will buy them out and kick the standards up a notch. I never buy produce there as I prefer fresh produce. The meat stinks literally which is why I also stopped purchasing meat there. 95% of the frozen food all have freezer burn and I HATE that.

    I shop in the financial district and take the food home, or go to pathmark on atlantic.