Parting is such sweet sorrow for a longstanding community staple.
Monday was the last day of business for a Waldbaum’s supermarket located on Whitestone’s 10th Avenue for more than 30 years.
The future of Waldbaum’s grocery stores across New York City and Long Island were called into question when A&P—a supermarket chain that operated Waldbaum’s, PathMark, A&P, Food Basics and Food Emporium—announced it was filing for federal Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July.
It was the second time in five years that the struggling company had filed for bankruptcy after reportedly losing $300 million between February 2014 and February 2015, according to The Wall Street Journal.
While many of the previous Waldbaum’s locations will still function as grocery stores after being bought out by other large chains such as Key Food or Stop & Shop, no such plans have yet been announced for the Whitestone location.
Empty shelves lent a ghostly air to the store in its last few weeks of business as consumers took advantage of deep store discounts meant to clear out the last of the stock.
Jim Prongay, a store manager at the Whitestone location for almost two years, said that the initial news of the store’s closing was a huge shock to workers. The staff has not heard any credible news on what will become of the supermarket, although there is a rumor that owners of the Whitestone franchise location, The Feil Organization, may divide the space to be leased out into smaller parcels.
Many of the store’s employees still haven’t found work beyond their last shifts at the supermarket, and Prongay himself is still unsure of where he will go after Waldbaum’s is shuttered for good.
“Most of our concern was for the employees that are here, and the biggest concern was that the store wasn’t going to be sold to another supermarket like the other stores. And sadly, they’re closing the store down and everybody’s going to be let go,” Prongay said.
“We’re all sad to leave, and you know, we’ll miss the place,” he added.
Representatives from The Feil Organization were unable to be reached as of press time.