Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Two Green Grocers On The Same Court Street Block. Will Both Survive?

Above, K&Y Produce Market at 291 Court Street
and the newly opened 
Big Apple Produce Market on the same block at 303 Court Street
Both are across the Union Market store on Court Street
Who remembers Rainbow Produce on Court Street at Union Street here in Carroll Gardens? How about Frances and her two sons, who operated a small produce store on Court Street between First and Second Place? How about Jim and Andy further down on Court Street in Cobble Hill, which closed just recently?
For a few years, it seemed as though Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill were losing all their family-run produce stores, leaving many longing for a simple fruit and vegetable stand in the neighborhood.

In recent years, a few gourmet places like Union Market and Gourmet Fresh opened up. We now also have the Greenmarket on Carroll Street, which takes place every Sunday. And, of course, there is Park Natural, the organic food store. However, the produce prices at some of these places is just a bit too expensive for many in the neighborhood.

Luckily, K&Y Fruit And Vegetable opened just a few years ago at 291 Court Street near Douglass Street. This no-frills store, which is apparently owned by the same people who run Atlantic Fruit and Vegetables  on Atlantic Avenue, consistently offers great in-season produce at reasonable prices.
It's been wonderful having them in the neighborhood.

But K&Y is now facing some very stiff competition from newcomer Big Apple Gourmet,  a produce store/ deli which opened  in the former Mastellone's storefront on the same block just two weeks ago.. Big Apple Gourmet is owned by Billy Solmaz,  who also runs Pacific Green, a popular Cobble Hill store at 151 Court Street.  Solmaz will be forced to close Pacific Green because a J. Crew is taking over the space.

It's great that Pacific Green/ Big Apple Gourmet has found a new home.  The new corner location certainly offers a lot of sidewalk area to display and stock produce.
The question is only: can two produce stores exist just a few doors apart from each other, on the same block (and across the street from Union Market?).

Have you shopped in both?  Have you compared pricing and quality?
Will all these stores be negatively affected once Whole Foods opens in Gowanus?  What do you think?


Anonymous said...

What do you mean priced out of Cobble Hill. The new store is still in Cobble Hill which goes to Degraw St. As a neighborhood blogger, you of all people should know where neighborhoods begin and end. And if you want to be very technical, which most people are not, the east side of Court St from Atlantic Ave to Degraw St, is not in Cobble Hill. To your point idea of having three produce stories on one block of Court St is great. More choices, better quality and maybe lower prices

Katia said...

You are right of course and I will change the post. I suppose that side of Court Street would be considered by many as Boerum Hill.

Anonymous said...

Rainbow, Frances, and Jim & Andy all survived for several decades despite being a few blocks of each other. Union Market, K&Y, and Big Apple may be a bit too close to each other for comfort, but considering how many boutiques and restaurants have replaced food stores in our neighborhood in the last 10 years alone, I welcome them all. They don't all necessarily carry the same seasonal produce at the same time, so I will continue to shop at K&Y and Big Apple when either one has what I'm looking for at good prices (similar to Pacific Green's fresh artichokes, cremini mushrooms, Italian chestnuts for the upcoming holidays, and the like). Personally, I think most of Union Market's prices are obscene, but the option is there for those who want it. I think there's room for everyone, and I was thrilled to read last month that Pacific Green was opening an outpost in the Mastellone space. I hope all of them will flourish.

Anonymous said...

I was so disappointed to see the new Big Apple in that space. I don't understand why small businesses try to put other small businesses out of business. The trade will split, neither will survive and we will be stuck with Union Market's $10 limes (or whatever).

Anonymous said...

Hahah. 10 dollar limes. They all go to the Bronx Terminal market, buy the same fruits etc and come back with their own prices. I love K and Y. They will survive. I usually shop in Chinatown anyway for no frills real shopping. Union Market and Big Apple will serve that huge luxury population on Union street and Court. And those with cars who are afraid of small, wonderful food stalls will drive to Whole Foods or. Fairway, anyway. I agree, this area has seen a lack of fruits and vegetables so I welcome them all, but, That doesn't mean I'll shop at them all. I miss rainbow, too.

Zachary said...

Neighborhood "lines" are almost always approximate, since neighborhoods have no official designation. To some, Boerum Hill extends all the way to Court Street. To others (such as CB6), only to Smith, and still others, such as the Brooklyn neighborhoods map on Wikipedia, CH and CG go all the way to Hoyt.

Anonymous said...

i also do most of my shopping in the lower east side's chinatown (asian butchering is different) but for poultry, i like to buy hormone free but not necessarily organic, which chinatown does not offer. union market carries exorbitantly priced chickens under the brand "smart." the prices are so high, it's ridiculous. i usually end up taking the subway to second avenue whole foods just to get poultry as good food, which was my go to place for chickens, has closed shop.

K&Y, on the other hand, has great prices and quality.

what the area needs is a small grocer which would carry ready to cook meals (e.g. trussed whole chicken already stuffed ) that you simply have to pop in the oven. this is something most grocers in london, such as waitrose, offer and i think the idea would really click with the neighborhood's demographic.

Anonymous said...

Whole Foods, or as I call it, Toxic Foods. I wouldn't buy a vegetable sitting on a Superfund site if my life depended on it.

Anonymous said...

Every neighborhood should have an abundance of vegetable/fruit markets! This is just wonderful since this is the kind of food we all should be eating. So glad for this and not competing fast-food joints.

C.B. Family since before At. Agnes said...

The nabe is growing. There's more $$ to go around to multiple shops.
So, there's nothing wrong with having some small biz compete with each other.
Even produce prices at MET have gone down a little. Union Market may see the light - Charge specialty prices for items NOT found in your average Produce Market and competitve prices on NY apples & plain-old green limes.

If you want the EVERY-DAY produce places to survive & do well (even Union Market) maybe we should stop shopping at Carroll & Smith every Sunday. This state subsidized 4-wheeled rip-off is taking business away from your local grocer.