The Douglaston Plaza shopping center and the surrounding streets were packed Wednesday morning as shoppers from all over the city flocked to be one of the first to walk through the borough’s newest mega market.
Fairway Supermarkets opened its doors to its new 56,000-square-foot store, at 242-02 61st Ave., and fans of the store’s high-end food products who braved long lines in the rain said it was worth the wait.
The opening was so big that traffic on the eastbound side of Douglaston Parkway was brought to a virtual standstill and the car deluge spilled into the parking lot, where a couple of customers got into fender-benders trying to grab a spot.
“The other stores near me don’t really have good food,” said Michael Burke, 25, of Flushing, while waiting with his 2-year-old son Liam. “I’m going to get some salmon and some milk for him.”
A who’s who of political leaders, including the mayor, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), state Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside), City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz were in attendance and applauded the chain for giving northeast Queens a commercial boost.
The Manhattan-based supermarket, which has locations in Brooklyn, Stamford, Conn., and Long Island, hired more than 450 people and gave the community a new food shopping experience after Waldbaum’s closed a store in the plaza.
“I think it’s an example of what’s going on in the city,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “They’re willing to open, they’re willing to expand and willing to hire.”
Nathan Glickberg created Fairway as a fruit and vegetable stand in 1933 and 21 years later opened the first supermarket store on the Upper West Side. In 1974, his grandson Howie inherited the store and he decided to take his family business to other areas in the city.
The stores grew in popularity due their large selection of items from around the world. The Douglaston store has more than 600 artisanal cheeses, unfiltered cooking oils and a kosher selection as well as produce from locations such as Italy, Australia and Portugal. The store also comes stocked with an eat-in deli complete with freshly baked goods.
“When you walk through the aisles, you will see foodstuffs you’ve never seen before,” Dan Glickberg, Howie’s son and Fairway’s executive vice president, said.
Bertine Fields, a longtime Douglaston resident, said she looked forward to the new store because she was a fan of Fairway’s service at its Manhattan locations.
“The people there were knowledgeable and the prices were great,” she said.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@c
©2011 Community News Group
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