Community Leaders Hopeful That Red Apple Owner Will Keep Promises

10/21/2011
Paul Leonard
Fort Greene-Clinton Hill Patch

The supermarket for which Fort Greene Houses residents have been waiting years may now be only more than a week away.

Red Apple Supermarket, located at The Andrea building on Myrtle Avenue, has been given a tentative opening date of Oct. 31, according to a source at the Gristedes organization, which owns the store.

While the imminent arrival of Red Apple is good news for residents tired of walking or taking car service trips to the Associated Supermarket at Atlantic Terminal, stakeholders involved in the process still wonder if real estate developer and Gristedes owner John Castimatidis will keep all of his promises to the community.

Chief on that list of demands is affordability.

"The success or failure of the store is going to come down to people's pocketbooks," said Lucas Shapiro, a senior advisor for Families United for Racial Equality."

Shapiro said FUREE would be sending out a crew of volunteers to conduct an "apples-to-apples" survey comparing prices at Red Apple with comparable outlets before the store opens.

But groups like FUREE and Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project still hoped to hear back from Red Apple directly on issues like affordability before the market made its debut.

The community's wish list in regards to Red Apple was compiled during a contentious public meeting held last April and submitted to company representatives at a sit-down organized by Councilwoman Letitia James, D-Brooklyn, in June.

So far, the grocery chain has not submitted a written response.

The requests cover a wide range of issues, including accessibility for impaired residents, senior discount days and, of course, jobs for unemployed local workers.

According to the source at Gristedes, issues of accessibility for the handicapped and senior citizens was a priority in coming up with the floor plan for the supermarket—which is situated below grade at the nine-floor condo building.

As for jobs, Red Apple began the hiring process for 55 local workers earlier this month, with plans to bring on 15 more. The positions boast union wages and benefits through UFCW Local 1500.

"So far, Red Apple has been proactive in regards to hiring from the community, which we hope will be a model for other developments to follow," Shapiro said.

Red Apple replaces a nearby Associated Supermarket that was closed by Castimatidis in the summer of 2006 to make way for a planned apartment building.