Excited Community Welcomes Key Food

Excited Community Welcomes Key Food

Hundreds of spectators flocked to the much-anticipated Grand Opening of the Howard Beach Key Food.  Photo by Michael Cusenza

Hundreds of spectators flocked to the much-anticipated Grand Opening of the Howard Beach Key Food.                                Photo by Michael Cusenza

As a palpable buzz filled the thick late-summer air on Friday, eager shoppers, elected officials and community leaders packed the sun-splashed sidewalks of Cross Bay Boulevard to help welcome a new Key Food supermarket to Howard Beach.

The store, located on the old Duane Reade pharmacy site between 163rd and 164th avenues, incurred tremendous damage from Superstorm Sandy, which ultimately delayed its grand opening.

“This is very deeply overwhelming, I’ll be honest with you,” said owner Frank Almonte after helping to cut the ceremonial ribbon. “It’s been a true challenge; we’ve been here for more than a year, post-Sandy. Today, the fruits of our labor are obvious.”

Until Friday morning, the grocery-shopping options for residents of Howard Beach and Lindenwood were basically limited to a Waldbaum’s on 156th Avenue and Cross Bay Boulevard and another Waldbaum’s at 83rd Street and 153rd Avenue. Civic leaders said the emergence of Key Food, and the benefits of commercial competition that will follow, cannot be downplayed.

“It’s definitely a welcome addition,” said Karyn Petersen, district manager of Community Board 10. “I think it’s a wonderful, beautiful state-of-the-art supermarket,” added Margaret Finnerty, president of the Richmond Hill South Civic Association.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said the new supermarket undoubtedly will have an effect on the rest of the county. “We have an amazing borough in Queens,” she said. “We need economic development here. I have a message for all other businesses: Come here, spend your money here.”

Among the exclusive items area shoppers can spend their money on at the new Key Food are the signature dishes of nearby Russo’s On The Bay catering hall. “We’re proud to be a part of this,” said owner Frank Russo, Jr.

After thanking Russo for his family’s support, Almonte concluded the opening ceremony with a guarantee.

“This community is going to receive quality merchandise, competitive pricing and best-in-class service.”


By Michael Cusenza



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