Key Food keeps quiet on Howard Beach site

Key Food keeps quiet on Howard Beach site

Crews install new glass to the building's front side facing Cross Bay Boulevard.  Photo by Phil Corso

Crews install new glass to the building’s front side facing Cross Bay Boulevard. Photo by Phil Corso

Key Food is giving a new meaning to “coming soon.”

It was 11 months ago when the former Duane Reade building at 163-20 Cross Bay Blvd. first sported a Key Food sign with the caption, “Coming Soon” in bold lettering. And with that 12th month quickly approaching, the popular supermarket chain has remained mum as to when “soon” will in fact arrive.

A representative for Key Food hung up on two separate occasions when being asked for an anticipated opening date in Howard Beach. The store also ignored multiple email requests for comment. Earlier this year, a spokeswoman for the chain, told The Forum there was no set opening date, only adding the company was “making strides towards opening.”

State Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park) was told back in February that Key Food should finally land by April 2014. That was almost four months ago. No other information has been released in relation to a revised opening date.

A spokeswoman for state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) also said he and his staff were in the dark as to when Key Food would open its doors.

“No update, no formal opening determined,” the spokeswoman said.

Key Food was supposed to replace the Duane Reade there after it closed down in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. The chain also recently opened another location in Ozone Park at 102-02 101st Ave.

 More construction is underway at the pending Howard Beach Key Food this week.  Photo by Phil Corso

More construction is underway at the pending Howard Beach Key Food this week. Photo by Phil Corso

The only evidence of progress the people of Howard Beach were given to date came this week, when construction crews were spotted buzzing with activity in and around the building on Cross Bay Boulevard. Crews were installing new glass windows on the building’s front side facing the boulevard while other teams were inside, grinding away at what appeared to be the vague shape of a supermarket to be.

Behind the building, construction equipment and scraps were laid out in the back parking lot. When asked about any potential finish date, workers at the site told The Forum they were unsure.

“Do Not Enter – Occupied” was scrawled onto a piece of cardboard in black magic marker and put in one of the side doors of the building in an attempt to keep passersby out of the building in transition.

Residents in Howard Beach have been wishing and hoping for a Key Food opening for many months now, using the word “competition” as the crux of their anticipation. Back in February, Goldfeder said Howard Beach would benefit from another supermarket on the boulevard because without it, residents have only one brand option: either the Waldbaum’s at Cross Bay Boulevard and 156th Avenue or another in Lindenwood.

A faction of people even went so far as to create a special Facebook page dedicated to their dissatisfaction with the Howard Beach Waldbaum’s, appropriately titling the page, “Howard Beach Waldbaum’s Sucks.”

The page’s most recent post came July 1 and showed a picture of big red buckets catching the remnants of a roof leak in the store’s chips and snacks aisle.

“I don’t understand how they just don’t care how bad this store is,” Michelle Iasparo said on the page.

Waldbaum’s did not return requests for comment.

Founded in Brooklyn in 1937, Key Food Stores Co-operative Inc. includes more than 145 independently owned and operated grocery stores that rake in about $1.4 billion in annual sales. In addition to Key Food and Key Fresh & Natural, the stores operate under the Key Food Marketplace, Food Dynasty, Food World, Holiday Farms, Locust Valley, and Milford Farms brands in all five boroughs, Long Island, upstate New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.


By Phil Corso


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