Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Roosevelt Island Gristedes May Become Red Apple Supermarket Says Owner John Catsimatidis

Crains NY Business reported yesterday on possible New York City Mayoral candidate, billionaire oil man, real estate developer and Gristedes supermarket owner John Catsimatidis:

... In his supermarket business, Mr. Catsimatidis is trying to get his timing back. Gristedes' $250 million in revenues represents only about 5% of Red Apple Group's sales, yet it is the business he's known for, and where he made his first million at age 25.

In the past decade, those traditional supermarkets have been hit with competition from Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Fresh Direct and other progressive grocers, which, he says, have a competitive advantage because they are nonunion.

Gristedes is struggling to break even and continues to shrink. “It's obvious we shouldn't be in this business anymore,” he said. “I do it for my employees, not for myself.”

To compete with the new consumer favorites, last month he resurrected the supermarket brand that launched his career in the grocery business. The last Red Apple disappeared from the city landscape about 20 years ago, but now The Andrea apartment building has one. Red Apple is known for its no-frills and low-cost merchandise.

Bringing back Red Apple is a smart strategic move, according to supermarket consultant Burt Flickinger. “It's one of the great names in the supermarket business and will still connect with consumers as standing for value at a time when prices are higher in New York City,” Mr. Flickinger said.

Mr. Catsimatidis said he plans to open more Red Apples in New York and is considering replacing some of his faltering Gristedes stores with the brand. Gristedes operates only in Manhattan...
Click here for the entire Crains article.

I asked Mr. Catsimatidis:
An article in today's Crains NY Business indicated that you are considering replacing some Gristedes stores with a resurrected Red Apple Brand supermarket.

Does that rebranding apply to the Roosevelt Island Gristedes and are there any other changes being planned for the Roosevelt Island Gristedes?
Mr. Catsimatidis replied:
Its Being considered changing it to a Red Apple
As referenced in the Crains article, the new Red Apple supermarket opened late October in Fort Greene Brooklyn according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Image Of Brooklyn Red Apple Opening From Brownstoner (Mr. Catsimatidis with scissors)

At the October 20 Main Street Retail Town Hall Meeting, Hudson Related Master Leaseholder Principal David Kramer expressed his agreement with many Roosevelt Island residents who expressed dissatisfaction with the Roosevelt Island Gristedes and promised to insure that Gristedes complies with the terms of their lease.

You Tube Video of Main Street Retail Town Hall Meeting

An earlier post which Mr. Catsimatidis responded to elicited these comments from readers on the Roosevelt Island Gristedes. From Westviewer
... We'll never get rid of Gristede's, even though that would be the one thing more than any other that would immediately improve living here.  Does anyone shop there except out of dire necessity?
Plenty of people, actually. I think Gristedes has become a lot better over the last 2-3 years.
Barton Fink:
the store has improved and has any and everything one needs. I wish those that are basing their comments on 4 years ago would shut up. Slander is slander.
Westviewer again:
It is a little better in some areas; worse in others, but still inadequate. 
Barton Fink again:
Gristides the store has never been an issue, it was the management that ran it into the ground 3 and 4 years ago..anyone who has gone in as of the last year, would see all the shelves have been cleared and restocked and everything has been cleaned and up to date. Threre is a new manager and I wish everyone would stop badmouthing the only big nice store we have on the island...before the hurricane, I think everyone was glad it was here. 
... do you think you could clean up the Gristedes on RI? Maybe remove all of the dust covering the beer, too. Also, do you think you could stop charging 13 bucks for a 6pack of Sam Adams? I mean really, that is pretty bad gouging.
and finally Westviewer:
It's not the service -- its the quality and prices.   For example -- what happened to Murray's chicken?   Too good for Gristede's?   Why is  Kerrygold Irish butter $2.79 a half-pound at Trader Joe's and $3.89 at Gristede's?  I'm sure TJ's isn't losing any money on it. 
During a conversation I had with Mr. Catsimatidis, he strongly advised anyone who has complaints with the service at Roosevelt Island Gristedes to report them to this email address.
Give it a try and see what happens.


Westviewer said...

Does he think that changing the name will make us like it better?

residential said...

He's probably doing it for tax issues, not to give us a better grocery store! If he changes the name then maybe H-R can get us out of his lease and get a decent grocer in here. So far I have yet to see anything good about it.

mjmnyc said...

I'm willing to give him a chance to give us a new grocery store with better prices--I don't need Whole Foods or Trader Joes!

RIresident said...

I don't expect the Wholefoods look, lower the prices! NOW! THIEVES!

RIresident said...

15-18 years! OMG! LOWER THE PRICES!