Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Gristedes Owner John Catsimatidis Promises Improvement At Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket - Will It Happen?

Roosevelt Island Gristedes Image From Roosevelt Island 360

Gristedes is the only supermarket on Roosevelt Island. It has been the subject of contstant complaints by residents over a long period of time including outdated grocery items on the shelf, exorbitant prices, dirty aisles and pigeons walking around the store among others. Readers of this 2007 post asking whether the increased competition from the new Roosevelt Island Duane Reade would improve the quality of service at Gristedes commented:
  • Gristedes has always been a major disappointment long before I moved to Roosevelt Island. Their stores are by far the most disgusting, confusing and over priced grocery stores in NYC.
  • The only time I set foot into our Gristedes is when I really need something that I don't have at home or ran out of.
  • Does Gristede's deliberately try to stock the worst possible produce that it can get? There's a reason why Fresh Direct chose Roosevelt Island as its pilot. If that store didn't get a fantastic break on the rent, it would have been out of business long ago.
Fast forward to as recently as last week and the complaints continue. For example, a newly arrived Roosevelt Island resident reports:
...We use Fresh Direct, too, which is amazing, but it's just a drag when you just need to buy milk or orange juice at Gristedes and have to worry that it's been left out of refrigeration too long and spoiled. Definitely bought things there before that had gone bad and needed to be thrown away. Here's hoping it gets better!...
Well, things may be changing at the Roosevelt Island Gristedes.

RIOC President Steve Shane reported in his 1/11/10 Message (Item 10):
Gristedes: We met on site with John Catsimatidis, the owner, and his staff to discuss operations of the store. Gristedes has a new buying arrangement with Shoprite, both allegedly improving quality and reducing shelf price. We discussed a marketing plan by web site or otherwise as there is no easy medium for communicating to the specific buying public on the Island. Does everyone know that seniors get a 10% discount on Tuesdays? Revitalizing Gristedes would be good for everyone.
Followed by Mr. Shane's 1/25 Message (Item 8):
Gristedes: We met on site with John Catsimatidis, the owner, and his staff to discuss operations of the store. An open letter to Island residents is published in this edition of the WIRE. If they come through with their promises, should be a benefit for everyone.
And during an exchange of email messages between Gristedes representative Walter D'Agostino and myself, Mr. D'Agostino sends the following message to Roosevelt Island community:
Gristedes is very proud to have served and to continue to serve the residents of and visitors to Roosevelt Island for over 20 years.
Gristedes takes its' role in the lives of the Roosevelt Island residents very seriously and makes every effort to ensure them successful shopping experience.
If for any reason Gristedes does not live up to its' responsibility I would welcome the opportunity to take actions to correct the situation.
I am in the store on a regular basis or if it is more convenient please feel free to contact me via e-mail (wdagostino@gristedes.com) or on my cell.(917 567 8237)
1. Gristedes has partnered with ShopRite and will be increasing the quantity and variety of ShopRite items carried in the store.
2. Gristedes offers free delivery to Island residents.$
3. Gristedes offers two Senior Discount days, Tuesday and Wednesday. 10% discount to all Seniors.
4. Gristedes has expanded the Organic and Natural offering in all departments.
5. Gristedes has upgraded prepared foods and Grab 'n Go. 6. Gristedes accepts phone orders 212-371-2680.
7. Gristedes is open everyday from 7 AM to Midnight
8. Every item in the store is being removed from the shelves and checked for quality and proper dates. This will be accomplished by the end of February.
Let's see what happens and hope that the Roosevelt Island Gristedes does improve. After all, they did install a $1 a night Blockbuster DVD rental kiosk.

On another Roosevelt Island Gristedes topic, a reader of this recent post on the Grog Wine Shop asks:
The comment, above, about the rent and the long lease, makes me wonder about the deal Gristede's has.
According to RIOC's Proposed Fiscal Year 2010-11 budget ( Page 11), the Roosevelt Island Gristedes is located at 685 Main Street. It occupies 25,172 square feet and is paying an annual rent of $7 a square foot on a lease that terminates in 2032. For the 2011 budget year, Gristedes is paying an annual rent of $180,000 and is projected to pay 202,000 for the years 2012 -2016.


Anonymous said...

Wow. The rent is only $180k/yr. How does Gristedes justify the prices it is charging?

Milk, for example, is almost as expensive as Whole Foods milk. Just walk across the bridge to Costco and you can get a gallon for almost half what Gristedes charges.

A jar of Nutella (the small one) is $6 or so. Two big jars ($10 each at Gristedes) can be had for $9 at Costco. A bag of Pirate Booties is like $5 compared to $2 something at Whole Foods.

Baby articles are extremely overpriced and the store is using its quasi monopoly. $15 for the small package of Pampers.

The roast chicken in the deli is like $8 and barely edible. Much cheaper to be had (and tastier) pretty much anywhere else. I remember how it used to be $4 or so and over night they just doubled the price.

The list goes on and on.

This store is pure profit for the chain. I will not believe anything they've been promising lately until I see it. Free delivery on the island? Did anybody try it recently?

I must say that the cashier did improve and are more pleasant to deal with and that's a step in the right direction. Gristedes (no matter which store in NYC you go to) has always been one of the "dumpier" grocery stores but since it is pretty much the only option on the island management should do the one decent thing and improve it.

RI'er said...

According to NY1, Gistedes on RI has some of the highest rates of violations city wide supermarket with over pricing ... see link below and make sure to click on the "DCA Inspected Supermarkets with Violations file"



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