Wednesday, May 24, 2017

[Updated] Morton Williams will take over the Associated space on 14th Street


[EVG file photo]

It appears that Blackstone, Stuy Town's new ownership, will keep an affordable grocery store on 14th Street between Avenue A and First Avenue — it just won't be an Associated, though.

Town & Village reports that a Morton Williams will be taking over the space.

While no one at Blackstone would confirm the news, employees at the Associated, which has been here the past 25 years, received letters informing them that Morton Williams is coming here later this year.

Per T&V:

According to one employee, the letter says workers, who are unionized, will get to keep their jobs for at least three months and at that point will be evaluated.

"They have a big company and room to grow," the worker said the letter from Morton Williams informed them.

The family-run Morton Williams, which started in 1946, has 15 locations in the city, including two not far from Stuy Town — one on Park Avenue South and 22nd Street and another on 23rd Street in the East Midtown Plaza.

This marks the third of four grocery stores that principal owner Joseph Falzon and his team will have had to vacate. The Associated at 255 W. 14th St. between Seventh Avenue and Eighth Avenue closed last May after landlord Pan Am Equities reportedly increased the rent by $168,000 — a month. Their Met Foods on Third Avenue between 16th Street and 17th Street closed in April 2015. They also run the Associated on Avenue C at Eighth Street, though Falzon said that store "is very low volume."

Falzon wanted a lease renewal on 14th Street in order to renovate the store. However, Stuy Town management wasn't offering a lease, which is up toward the end of 2017. Associated is currently paying $60,000 a month here, per T&V.

Said Falzon: "I'm very sorry we couldn’t reach a deal and we want to thank our customers for supporting us all these years. Everything’s coming to an end. Rents in New York right now are not very favorable to small business owners."

Updated 5/31

Morton Williams will reportedly not sign a lease now with the arrival of a Trader Joe's across the street.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: Associated owners not having any luck shopping for a lease renewal on East 14th Street (34 comments)

Petition drive underway to help save the Stuy Town Associated on East 14th Street

Report: New Stuy Town owner pledges to keep a grocery story on East 14th Street, but it may not be Associated

27 comments:

afbp said...

�� some GREAT people and a lot of AWFUL ones.......

KT said...

This didn't have to happen. City Council is to blame for this good business being pushed out (and every other business for that matter) we elected this admin to take us in another direction from Bloomie and Quinn and we got BdB and MMV continuing their agenda ie stopping real progressive legislation that would regulate landlords the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA). Fauxgressives like BdB and MMV are single handedly blocking this bill from receiving a hearing and vote even though the bill is sponsored by the majority of City Council. Sept 12 is the primaries, vote this bum out.

Trixie said...

Shit, that sucks. I hope the people who want to keep working there will be able to keep their jobs.

Anonymous said...

Morton Williams is affordable? Serious question; I was under the impression that they're not. Not as pricey as a Gristedes, but surely more expensive than a KeyFood or Associated.

Anonymous said...

Years ago when Morton Williams took over the Associated on 23rd Street they jacked up prices and are now one of the most expensive places in the area to buy groceries. One of the reasons they can do this is because Associated used to compete with an A&P across 23rd street, and when A&P closed down. Associated took over the lease and refused to rent to another supermarket, allowing them to raise prices. For years the former A&P was a cheap discount store, and today it is a condo building with a CVS. So don't feel too sorry for Associated. It was their greed that led to fewer supermarkets and higher prices for everyone in the neighborhood. Now the same thing is happening to them.

Trixie said...

Let's get in the wayback machine and see what was there before the Associated because I'm not sure. Was it the Hallmark store, before they crossed the street and took the store by the post office?

Anonymous said...

The grocery business is one where razor-thin margins are the norm, so lack of a nearby competitor allows relatively easy price raises. I noticed this in the drug store too: Walgreen's cheerfully admits that the price for an item may not be the same at, say, the Stuyvesant location as it is at Union Square.

On a related note, Duane Reade has closed multiple locations: 23rd and Third, another several blocks north on Third Avenue, and a Walgreen's on Third north of that. These may be attributed to the strategic plan of the parent company, Walgreens Boots Alliance, which announced it in 2015. Now then: how much does the ridiculous cost of real estate influence their strategy?

More good news from the free market, y'all!

Trixie said...

I just took a quick glance at the MW weekly flyer, and the sale prices don't seem crazy high. I usually shop the Associated flyer almost exclusively, always something good on sale in the produce department every week, and coffee, etc. I like the Associated, and it's come a long way baby, their produce department used to be pathetic!

Anonymous said...

Morton Williams marks up products outrageously. Fancy Feast cat food which is 99 cents at Key Foods, is $1.59 for the identical can at Morton Williams. At its East 23 Street store, the Bon Ami powdered cleanser label printed "1.19" had a Morton Williams price tag of $1.59 on the top.

Our neighborhood should protest to our elected officials about ousting Associated. I doubt that the Associated employees will be offered positions at Morton Williams.

Once Morton Williams opens, shop at Key Foods on Avenue A at East 4 Street. Prices there are far more competitive.

Donnie Moder said...

I've been to the Morton Williams at 9th Ave and W. 58th St, it a really nice store but just as expensive as Gristedes, maybe more so in some cases.

Anonymous said...

Morton Williams might be the worst chain in New York (oops I forgot about Gristedes) just wait and see how they will charge an additional 50 cents on for-sale items that the other Chains have on-sale. Whereas Key Food and Associated (14th St) would offer items at .99 the MW folks will now charge 1.29 or 1.50..Ecch this is a terrible and predictable move by Stuy management. Yeah, they are real friends of Stuy Tenants.

Anonymous said...

During Hurricane Sandy blackout I ventured up into Lightsville to the Morton Williams store on 2nd ave in the 50s. There, I got badly sticker shocked, and I usually shop at Whole Foods. Appalled at the quality of the merchandise too. I returned home to the darkness below 40th st disappointed, with only a couple of sad pieces of fruit to show for my journey.

Ms. Smarty Pants said...

It was always a grocery store. The Hallmark store was a few doors down. The back part of the current MW, where the dairy department is located, was at one time a Russian restaurant with an entrance on Second Avenue.

Anonymous said...

This is outrageous and unacceptable. Already called two council members and plan on writing the mayor. VOTE DAN OUT! Enough already with all the closed storefronts. This is the end for me in terms of putting up and shutting up. It's time to really get organized. If Stuy Town needs a fancier place to shop, they should put up their own exclusive market within the gates of its overpriced community shit zone. OTHER PEOPLE OF THE EAST VILLAGE SHOP AT ASSOCIATED. Why should it be re-made because BLACKSTONE WANTS MORE MONEY? AND A WHOLE LOT MORE — DOUBLE, IN FACT.
SHAME
SHAME
SHAME ON YOUR CONTINUED GREED!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Why can't they just shop at any of the other "prettier" and more expensive markets, OF WHICH THERE IS NO SHORTAGE: WESTSIDE, KEY FOOD, FOOD EMPORIUM, WHOLE FOODS all within walking distance.
POOR PEOPLE (likely including those in Stuy Town) DO NOT WANT THIS MORTON WILLIAMS
BOYCOTT MORTON WILLIAMS. THEY'LL NEVER MAKE THE RENT!!!!

Anonymous said...

@Trixie Don't be fooled by the Morton Williams flyers, some of those prices may look good but the regular prices and selection are not, They recently reorganized the 23rd St store and combined their natural food items -- which used to be on their own aisle -- and mixed them in with the regular items, eliminating many SKUs of the lower priced regular items. Now the prices are even higher. They also don't offer larger many value sized items, like peanut butter.so you are basically buying bodega sizes at bodega prices. They sometimes charge $4.99 for a head of broccoli and $2 for scallions, double what you pay other places, And you can forget about buying avocados. Now people in the area are marching up to Fairway in Kips Bay or to Trader Joe's on 3rd Avenue, or down to Key Foods instead of shopping local since those chains are much cheaper. That's no good for seniors or people with disabilities. This is what's about to happen at Stuy Town. If you thought the lines at 14th St Trader Joe's were long now, just wait until Morton Williams takes over.

Anonymous said...

Of course the prices will be higher to match the new lease, don't expect anything else.

Trixie said...

What about C-Town on 12th and C? They're produce is pretty sad, but they have the best selection of jello in the city. I was looking for a friend for a "no solid foods" thing, and was amazed by all the jello at C-Town.

Gojira said...

Trixie, the large card store was in the west half of Associated, what is now the section with the salad bar, deli, and fruits and veggies. That was not affiliated with the Hallmark store across the street, which had a completely different owner, a nice Korean guy named Lee. There also used to be a giant card store on 14th between Irving Place and 4th Ave. Now, aside from the crap at Duane Reade, CVS, etc., I don't even know where to buy a nice card in the neighborhood.

Morton Williams has been a pricey destination shopping locale since at least the early 1990s. And since they will have no competition nearby, they'll be able to hold us hostage and mark up prices as high as they would like. Family-owned does not necessarily mean neighborhood-friendly.

KeyFood4Eva said...

KEY FOOD 4 EVA!!!

Anonymous said...

Good riddance! Been unfortunately going there solely for the convenience of its location. Terrible, terrible, terrible service, the absolute worst. Everything that we buy expires the next day. Morton Williams may be a little more pricey, but supplemented with TraderJoes and Key Foods it will be welcomed with open arms.

Pinch said...

"Terrible, terrible, terrible service, the absolute worst." I've been going there for years and that's never been my experience. I think it's great that they employ a good number of teenagers, too.

John said...

The new Target at 14/A is going to sell some groceries. I have no idea what the selection and pricing will be like.

JB said...

Was this store actually cheap for produce, meat, bread etc? In my experience, every associated, Morton Williams, key food etc charges the same or higher prices than Whole Foods for fresh stuff, so I just bite the bullet and go to Whole Foods. Packaged and processed foods can be cheaper, but if you want fresh food it's rotten bell peppers for 7 bucks a pound at the met.

Trixie said...

@JB Very good prices on produce, weekly sales, always something on sale, fruit, vegetables, herbs, etc.

Anonymous said...

I have been going to that Associated for the 17 years I've lived in the EV (sidenote: JFC, where does the time go?) and I never experience serious rudeness on behalf of the staff. I don't know, maybe I just don't require much help or expect retail workers to be super-cheerful 24/7, but when I have asked questions, the folks who work there answer me; when I was double-charged one time for an item, the manager refunded me the next day without question; when I stack baskets or gang carts while waiting in line, the workers who collect baskets and carts thank me and call me things like "sweetie" or "mami." (I'm super-fidgety and happy to help—what is with people who don't stack baskets properly?)

I can remember exactly twice that Associated peeps were (sort of) rude to me: One time, on some holiday, I showed up right after they closed, and a staff person standing outside the door told me they had closed at 9. "Oh," I said, "I called and the person who answered said you were open till 10." Nope, she said, so I shrugged and headed to Gracefully. Then behind me, I overheard this same woman say to another staffer, "She tried to say we were open until 10! I love when people lie like that." HEY! I did not lie, that's what someone on the phone told me! Rude.

And then another time a beer I was attempting to buy wasn't scanning, and I started to tell the manager where it was located (not in the fridge section) so he could check the price, and he cut me off all like "I KNOW WHERE IT IS!" And I was like jeez, sorry! But he might have thought I was drunk (I was a bit tipsy) and drunk people *can* get annoying fast, so whatever. No big deal.

Thank you for listening to these mundane tales, but seriously I think Associated people are very nice, and yes I also like that they hire teenagers, and a lot of these young folks are very stylish and they've never been anything but nice to me, so if you think the Associated staff is largely rude maybe you're a little rude yourself.

Scuba Diva said...

At 8:55 PM, Anonymous said:

And then another time a beer I was attempting to buy wasn't scanning, and I started to tell the manager where it was located (not in the fridge section) so he could check the price, and he cut me off all like "I KNOW WHERE IT IS!" And I was like jeez, sorry! But he might have thought I was drunk (I was a bit tipsy) and drunk people *can* get annoying fast, so whatever. No big deal.

Managers of all stripes need sensitivity training; you may have been a little bit lit, but there are those of us who get accused of being drunk all the time when we're not. I mean, totally not: I've been abstinent for almost 30 years and it never gets better. Very depressing.

Giovanni said...

Good news! Trader Joe's is moving in across the street to the new building where the Post Office used to be. So now we can all wait on long lines for our packages in the exact same place all over again.