THE COURIER/Photo by Kirsten E. Paulson

BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

The Met Food market in Flushing will be closing its doors after Sunday, July 26, to make way for a new development.

After more than 30 years of operation, the independently owned neighborhood grocery store, located at 41-62 Bowne St., is shutting down following a decision by owners Abel and Ahmed Saleh to sell the property.

In an interview, store manager Ziyad Saleh said the property has been purchased by a number of investors who plan to raze the building and existing foundation, which cannot support more than two stories. The property’s new owners plan to build a new foundation for a new, taller building.

However, that’s just about the only thing that’s certain about the future of the site. Rumors and speculation abound about what’s coming to the neighborhood next; many suspect the new structure will be an apartment building or condominium, while others believe it will become a new grocery store stocked with items to attract customers from the neighborhood’s expanding Asian population.

The latter speculation might have some grain of truth to it. In the same interview, Saleh mentioned that he had heard that the investors who purchased the property have discussed the possibility of putting another brand-name supermarket on the ground level of the building once construction has been completed.

“Nobody knows [what it will be] yet. It’s still early,” Saleh said.

Reactions to news of the store’s closure have been mixed, and range from acceptance and resignation to shock and sadness. Numerous shoppers, particularly the elderly and those with physical disabilities, expressed concerns and worries about how they would be able to do their monthly shopping after the store closes.

This particular Met Food was the only store in the area that offered home deliveries on purchases of $25 or more, making it an ideal place to shop for people unable to drive or carry heavy bags.

Several patrons interviewed at the store said that they had been shopping there for more than 20 years. For them, the store’s closing is the end of an era.

“It’s gonna be missed,” Saleh said, echoing the same sentiment expressed by customers.

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