Gotta Appreciate Our Key Food, As Windsor Heights Store Supplanted By Walgreen’s

The closing of a supermarket is always an unexpected phenomenon, particularly when they provide the neighborhood with one of its core services. In Brooklyn Heights, Montague Street’s Key Food has been around for decades… Can you imagine the neighborhood without it? (Gristede’s: uh, personal opinion, yes).

On June 30, the Key Food on Prospect Avenue in Windsor Terrace is closing its doors—to be replaced by pharmacy mega-chain Walgreens—and Marty Markowitz is not happy about it. According to the Windsor Terrace-Kensington Patch, a deal was finalized last week following the retirement of the grocery’s 80-year-old majority owner. Some 50 employees are now out of a job.

The Key Food closing is so dramatic for the region that Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is weighing in: He calls it “a terrible blow to local residents left with few to no options for one-stop shopping access to quality, affordable food. It’s extremely difficult to compete with major drug store chains and banks that are over-populating neighborhoods.” See his full statement below.

The closing of Key Food on Prospect Avenue in Windsor Terrace strikes a terrible blow to local residents who are left with few to no options for one-stop shopping access to quality, affordable food. While I’m a firm believer in free enterprise, the unfortunate reality is that when it comes to buying, renting or leasing these locations, it’s extremely difficult to compete with major drug store chains and banks that, one could argue, are over-populating neighborhoods that are under-populated with full service supermarkets.

My office has long advocated for food justice and better access to supermarkets and fresh, nutritious foods in our most underserved neighborhoods, and this is a troubling reminder of why that fight has to continue. In fact, efforts will be made to convince Walgreens to provide a green grocer/fresh fruits and vegetables sub-tenancy or green market stall in Windsor Terrace as it has done in Bay Ridge and at other locations across the country to complement the limited food selection at their stores.

I have spoken with the president of Key Food Stores Co-op, Inc. and it’s my expectation they will make every effort to determine if another suitable site can be found to serve the residents affected by the loss of the Windsor Terrace supermarket.

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  • Gerry

    The Montague Key Food is a dump. The manager who died the big guy he was great and the cashier named Ruth who had her own sign “Ruth – Open” and decorations all over her register she was wonderful she died after her shift one day that was the old Key Food the new managment is bad the store stinks.

    I loved the Dagastino on Hicks Street at Love Lane that place was great.

  • Mr. Crusty

    “any other business in that space would be better”

    Really? With all due respect, that is just a ridiculous statement. I think most of us could imagine businesses in that space that would not be better.

  • ColumbiaHeightster

    Yes, Mr. Crusty, I do not believe that literally ANY business would be better in that space. For example, KF would probably be better for BH than say, a meth clinic, a jazzercise studio, a gently used undergarment store, or a beeper and fax machine supply store, to name a few.

    Thanks for picking up on the fact that I was speaking in hyperbole.

  • PromGal

    I second your vote for the Korean market near Sahadis. Much better than other options.
    I don’t like Trader Joe- think it is a marketing gimmick for mostly sub-standard packaged food.
    I highly recommend Staubitz butcher on Court Street. They will do almost anything for you, large order or small, and they do deliver. I also recommend Fish Tales. The fish and seafood is impeccably fresh, and the guys there will do anything as well, given enough notice. They will even shell your shrimp for you.
    As for Fairway: if you don’t have a car, get together with a couple of friends/neighbors and take car service. It’s a lovely way to sound an afternoon or evening- having lunch or dinner at the Fairway Café with that spectacular view is well worth the price of admission… FREE!

  • Bob Sacamano

    I could care less about the Key Food in Windsor Heights. I live in Brooklyn Heights. That being said, I don’t know why both Key Foods are not as good as they could be with regard to cleanliness, service and selection. I always find myself making multiple super market trips because I can’t find everything I need in one store.

  • AmyinBH

    Any time a supermarket closes leaving the nearby residents without an option for fresh meats and produce it is tragic. I lived in Windsor Terrace many years ago. The Key Food was not top notch, but it did provided the basics. And, I remember the produce and meat sections were ok. I don’t remember there being any other supermarkets nearby or any green grocers. It was the only option.

    Why isn’t another supermarket chain trying to take the place of Key Food?

    I feel sorry for the people who are unable or will find it difficult to get to a more distant supermarket.

  • ruben

    I still miss D’Agostino’s on Henry, and could not fathom the online hatred for the place after it closed. They had a great inventory and everything was fresh.

    I’m surprised that a market like Whole Foods would not be interested in the WT Key Food. It’s a great location, far easier to open than their Superfund choice.

  • Ellie

    Key Foods in Montague is a place I avoid. If we do happen to pop in, my hubby and I play a game. We greet the teller, thank him/her profusely, wish him/her a good day…..and never ever get a response. Once I asked what I had to pay and the teller pointed to the total on the screen without saying a word.

  • noah quinones

    recently moved from sunny side queens to 15th street , i shop the keyfood on prospect ave and also the c-town on 9st and i find that i get better meat and produce there and mostly every organic and natural items ,they deliver and take phone orders and you get ur order with-in a few hours,,, Hello Brooklyn….hope my 2 little ones get used to the neighborhood…

  • eric

    I live down here in Windsor Terrace (Not Windsor Heights). Our cashiers were nice enough. Yeah some of them could smile more, but come on, these jobs suck. I wouldn’t smile either. I find the produce section so appalling that I started shopping at Fairway – but I have a car. I eat mostly produce and don’t buy a lot of boxed or canned stuff. I recently decided I don’t want to have a car anymore so I’m giving it away and biking more. So Fairway is now out. I started using fresh direct a while back so I think that is the route I will go for now. Seniors will have a bus to Fairway once a week, which is good for them considering the options available to them, which are none. I talked to the bodega owner close to me and he talked about putting in a hot foods section, whatever that means.

    These bodega owners have absolutely no clue what they are doing around here. There is such a demand for a green market that is convenient, they would be fools not to do it. If I could buy my produce 2 blocks away at a clean establishment, I’d be there every day. Hey how about CSA shares?