Met Fresh Supermarket is officially open for business in Whitestone and residents are excited.
Dozens of shoppers flooded the grand opening of the supermarket chain — the first location in Queens — early Friday morning after eagerly waiting in line with carts in hand ready to shop special deals.
“It’s a special day today for everyone in this neighborhood,” said Joe, a lifelong Whitestone resident and community activist. “The opening of this supermarket gives relief to people, especially the elderly, who have been unable to shop at this location after Strawberry Farms was destroyed in a fire.”
Met Fresh Supermarket is located at the reconstructed former site of 24-11 150th St., which was previously occupied by Strawberry Farms Supermarket for over 30 years in the neighborhood.
The food market was destroyed after a three-alarm fire started on the ground floor destroying M&M Dry Cleaners and Laundromat, where more than 100 firefighters had worked overnight to extinguish the flames.
With three Met Fresh Supermarket locations in Brooklyn, the family-owned business is looking forward to becoming a part of the Whitestone neighborhood.
Danny Hamdan, owner and operator, said he grew up working in supermarkets with family members in Bay Ridge.
“I’ve seen the trends shift in the last eight years from mainstream traditional snacks to trending ‘good-for-you’ and ‘better-for-you’ snack selection from manufactures and requests from consumers,” said Hamdan. “I am carrying more healthy snacks and low-sodium chips in my store.”
Known for its walk-in beer cave, Met Fresh Supermarket encompasses a huge produce section, a butcher with a meat department, a seafood department with fresh fish, and an American grocery supermarket with a circular, along with imports and speciality foods.
Through the year of preparation to open the store in Whitestone, Hamdan learned that there were many demographics in the area that he needed to serve, as the number of Greek and Italian residents make up 60 percent of the population.
“Seeing the shift in market and consumer preferences, ASG [Associated Supermarket Group] set the store to carry traditional mainstream product assortment through the 28K authorized items available through its wholesale partner, C&S in addition to the 10K specialty and organic selection through ASG’s suppliers, Kehe and UNFI,” said Michelle Mendoza, Director of Marketing at ASG, which serves independently owned supermarkets in the New York tri-state area and other cities along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.
According to Mendoza, the store is merchandised to meet the large increase in organic and natural snack products.
“We sell a healthy and delicious store made guacamole that does very well for us and we have a natural peanut butter machine that also is a success,” said Mendoza.
Additionally, the full-service supermarket also has a free delivery service for its customers.
“We’re a family business. We’re here to support the families. This store is their pantry; whatever they need, we’re here for them,” said Omar Hamdan. “The quality here in the past wasn’t good and we’re going to be giving a better quality for a cheaper price for the community. You’ll always get decent quality here.”