BY LUIS GRONDA
Howard Beach residents calling for another supermarket in the neighborhood have finally gotten their wish.
The new Key Food location at 163-20 Cross Bay Blvd in Howard Beach opened its door last Friday to much joy and celebration. The supermarket replaces the Duane Reade store that was there before Superstorm Sandy and gives Waldbaum’s a competitor in the area.
Hundreds of residents lined up to do their shopping at the new store at the opening.
The store’s owner, Frank Almonte, said they pledge to deliver the highest quality service to the Howard Beach community.
“This is overwhelming; I’ll be honest with you. I’m very happy to see all these fine community leaders support our cause,” he said. “Clearly, today, the fruits of our labor are clearly obvious here.”
The new supermarket drew mostly positive reviews from its new customers. The majority opinion was that it’s a welcomed addition to the neighborhood and provides a competitor to the two nearby Waldbaum’s locations in Howard Beach and Lindenwood.
“It’s a good thing. Waldbaum’s needs a little taste of competition,” said George Polimeni, who has lived in Howard Beach for 10 years. “Maybe we’ll see better prices now.”
Frank Valvo, an 83-year-old Howard Beach resident, called the store opening a “necessity” and said he is more likely to walk to the Key Food, located three blocks away from his house, instead of taking the bus to the Howard Beach Waldbaum’s located at 156-01 Cross Bay Blvd.
Angela Batista, a 42-year resident of Howard Beach, echoed Valvo’s sentiment, saying she would do her shopping at another Key Food location on Lefferts Boulevard, but will now do that closer to home.
The building had been vacant since Sandy hit southern Queens and Rockaway almost two years ago. Although the majority of businesses eventually reopened, Duane Reade never returned to the Howard Beach location, leaving uncertainty for the then-vacant building.
Eventually, the Almonte family opened the Key Food in a process that took about one year to get to the ribbon cutting due to delays of construction during renovation.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @luisgronda.