Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Commodities is under new ownership on 1st Avenue



Tipsters galore have shared the news that Commodities Natural Market at 165 First Ave. has a new owner, as the sign posted on the front door notes...



EVG correspondent Steven met the new owner, Ashok Patel ...



Patel said that the store's current healthy focus will remain, though its name will change to Commodities Health Foods in the near future.

Michael Hughes opened Commodities here between 10th Street and 11th Street in 1993. Hughes and his wife Audra opened an outpost in Vermont in 2015 (there are now two there). Leading up to that Vermont debut, Michael's brother Ed took over the East Village shop.

In any event, the arrival of new ownership will likely put to rest those persistent rumors that circulated last fall about the store closing, based in part on the under-stocked shelves... apparently patrons asked this question of the staff enough to lead to these signs at checkout ...


[Photo from last fall via Steven]

Meanwhile, no word on what the new owner has in mind for those wily sparrows that flew in a few months ago when the front doors were open for a delivery...



Employees have tried to shoo them out, but it hasn't worked.

H/T Linn, Bill, Daniel and dwg!

19 comments:

sophocles said...

I was recently on line at Commodities, and noticed a couple of new managerial faces behind the counter. The normally surly cashier was pleasantly telling customers to have a nice day, thanks for shopping, myself included. I new something was up.

The first order of business for the new owners should be to improve customer service, which has been noticeably indifferent to downright unfriendly for some time. There is another cashier, who NEVER says a word to me though she has seen me at the store dozens of times. The guys who put out the produce never smile. Contrast Commodities with East Village Organic, where the staff is generally friendly and act as if they care about the customers. Ultimately, I am looking for the best produce when I shop, so I still comparison shop between the two stores.

I have shopped at Commodities for many years, but they have done little to nothing to maintain my loyalty. In my opinion they will really have to step up their game to survive.

noble neolani said...

I think the biggest problem this place has been in the past few years has been the at the counters which is the last impression a customer has with a business. The cashiers don't seem to have any people skills such as: eye contact, or at least the ability to fake they are happy to serve you. I expect this from a coop where people are fulfilling their required hours that month but not a here. Is this just me? I worked in stores for several years when I was younger so I know the public can be unpredictable but most customers are pleasant and being pleasant yourself makes the day go by all the faster.

Anonymous said...

RIP Prana's

Anonymous said...

To be honest, I stopped shopping here years ago because the employees were so rude. Hoping new management will make a difference.

I've been going to EV Organic across the street were the owner andcashiers are always friendly. It makes all the difference.

abfus said...

I thought New Yorkers were known to appreciate gruff service ... guess the East Village really is dead.

Trixie said...

Well, I was dubious about the place when it first opened, and because of my great loyalty to Pete's Spice I didn't shop there for quite a few years, until Pete's was gone; did they put Pete's out of business?! but with time I came to accept them and indeed embrace them as part of the neighborhood. I've never had any problem with customer service, and I hope the store will live on and thrive. I'd be kind of lost without access to the bulk spices I get there. The quality and prices are great and that's my favorite department.

cmarrtyy said...

I've been going to Commodities since it opened. I'm not so fragile that I need approval from the help. I go for the product. Great place.

Anonymous said...

I have also noticed how sour and unfriendly the employees can be. I still shop at the store, but I mostly go to the organic place on the other side of First Avenue because the people who work there are friendly and we always have nice interactions. I don't know if the original owner of Commodities was bad at hiring or if maybe the employees weren't happy with their work conditions but it is an issue. If the new owners can rectify it, I will go back to shopping at Commodities more often!

Anonymous said...

Quality and good customer service are essential.

Anonymous said...

To the poster at 12:29: I am another old timer and long time customer of the store, and I don't think people who complain about the customer service are "fragile." God, that's such a Trump term but let's not get into your politics whatever they may be. Personally, I don't need someone to engage in a 20 minute conversation with me at the cash register. An efficient, polite transaction is all that is required to keep customers happy. I am glad people are pointing the problem out so the new owner can address it.

Anonymous said...

I still shop there occasionally, but will never forget the time I took my mother, at that point in her late 70s, into the store to get her some groceries; when we got to the register and I asked the cashier to please apply the senior discount Mom was entitled to, she accused me of trying to scam the place by using my mom's ID to buy myself food, and it was only after Mom informed the cashier that everything in the basket was for her, not me, that she rang it up. I went back by myself a few days later and got the same cashier, and she expressed surprise that I was there paying full price. I debated throwing my purchases in her face and walking out, but I just said "My mother told you that food was for her, and it was. This is for me, I'm not a senior, so I'm paying full price." Still pissed about it, and this was years ago.

Anonymous said...

Service with a smile is general rule of thumb in business no matter the location, city or state. Doesn't matter if the customer appreciates it or not or what their level of fragility may be.

Anonymous said...

Commodities has a bigger selection than EV Organics. The one problem with Commodities is that it frequently runs out of products and does not always restock them in a timely way. Last year they were out of arugala for three or four weeks; now they don't have Abraham's hummous. Union Market on Houston always has it.

Anonymous said...

Good riddance! Too much attitude and inflated prices. I continued to shop there because they were the only store that carried a particular gluten-free cereal that I've eaten for years. However, I always left the store with a bad feeling and chose to take my other marketing dollars elsewhere. In fact, after receiving poor service yet again about a year ago, I reminded the staff that they have competition with other stores and, that given their higher prices and customer unfriendly policies (store-credit only for returns with receipts, for example) and service, I wondered how they could stay in business and predicted that they would not likely be so for much longer.

Best of luck to Mr. Patel! Suggestion: More gluten-free items! : )

Anonymous said...

all of the above whining and moaning is precisely why the vibrant cantankerous unfiltered old ny is dying. go to whole foods you babies or better yet beat it, back to kansas, jersey, los angeles and take your fake cheerful pestcide behavior with you.

Anonymous said...

Been shopping there for many years and never noticed any bad service. I hope the new management continues to stock the goods we need.

Anonymous said...

Cantankerous, old school NY style is fine when I am getting a deal and also actually makes eye contact once and a while and answers questions with more than a grunt. Cantankerous, old school help was also usually older and in establishments that did not charge top dollar and had prices clearly marked, not some ageist 20 something with huge attitude.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 8:53 AM from Jan. 30, I'm the one who wrote about the presumptuous cashier at 12:50 PM. FYI I'm a native New Yorker who has lived in the East Village since the 1970s, and being a curmudgeon myself, I don't have a problem with cantankerous NY attitude. I do, however, have a problem with young, obviously non-native snot-noses who think they're somehow superior to me because they're still in their 20s. That's not, nor has it ever been, a NY thing.

Anonymous said...

This is my local grocery store that I couldn't live without. I haven't noticed any real attitudes in my years of shopping there, despite the long lines. I'm so happy it lives another day!

If Mr. Patel is reading: more vegan and gluten free everything! We keep coming back to you because you stock a bigger variety than across the street. More Miyoko's, Follow Your Heart, JUST, Earth Balance, Beyond Meat, Lightlife, Upton's Naturals, etc. Products good for the environment and sustainably sourced. We really appreciate this store. Welcome to the neighborhood!