Photos last night by Steven
Updated Jan. 18: It doesn't appear that the market will reopen. See this post.
The landlord has taken legal possession of 165 First Ave. just north of 10th Street — which had been home to Commodities for 30 years.
The gate was down at the health-food market last evening during usual business hours, and a legal notice from the Marshal was affixed to the storefront.
However, recently, there had been rumors that the market would be closing, fueled partly by a retail listing for the space. ("Excellent opportunity for boutique retail in high foot traffic area.")
New owners took over the business in January 2019 and changed the name to Commodities Health Foods from Commodities Natural Market, ending rumors that Commodities 1.0 would close for good.
Michael Hughes opened Commodities here in 1993. Hughes and his wife Audra opened an outpost in Vermont in 2015. Leading up to that Vermont debut, Michael's brother Ed took over the East Village shop.
Sigh...looks another end to another era. I remember when they opened, and being fiercely loyal to Pete's Spice I considered them to be trendies, just there to cash in, and I shunned them. But over the years I became a customer, especially for their bulk organic herbs and spices. And I am sad that they are probably closing.
I shopped there but the new owner raised the price of Abraham's hummus from $2.99 to $3.99. Hello Whole Foods, formerly known as Whole Paycheck.
The new owners were nothing but wonderful people. They actually ran the place better than the original ownership.
We were regular (daily) shoppers at commodities for years and years until the management/ ownership change. No idea if the owners are wonderful people or not but the prices went up in erratic ways and even before the pandemic they were often understocked at least of the things we bought there and seemed disinterested in discussing it. Wish them luck in their next endeavor of course. Best, JG
This is such a shame, but is not unexpected. With the rotting produce and the freezer that turned into a giant block of ice, the store has been circling the drain ever since the new owners took over. As a long time customer, it’s a real bummer.
Prices are up everywhere. It's unavoidable.
They were always so rude in there, I never went back. This was before the new owners, who I heard were very nice, but my past negative experiences kept me from trying the new incarnation.
I liked them a lot from the beginning. In the 90's I worked in Tribeca near the original Commodities on Hudson Street and was thrilled when they opened this branch near home. For some reason, they always carried just a few things that I could never find anywhere else - under both the prior owners and the new owners, and their bulk selection has always been more extensive than most other stores. I think it's been a little more erratic under the new owners, but they always seemed earnest and eager to please and succeed.
Oh so sad. Always went to the ‘Mod when I lived in the EV Loved how it smelled I got food and make-up/skincare stuff there.
Prices are insane there. Very noticeably more expensive that East Village Organic. Even Whole Foods is cheaper.
Too bad if they do close. A lot of empty retail space at/near this corner…
$1 raise? Still cheaper than WF
Duals Spice (aka Duals Natural) on 91 First Avenue has an INCREDIBLE selection of spices and flours at a fraction of what you'd pay at Whole Paycheck -- herbs and peppers and teas too
The Vacancy creep from 14th toward St. Marks is getting worse every month. 1st Ave is becoming a ghost town. If Commodities does go that block will be pretty dark. Tarrlucci, the ramen place, the Deli across the street.... these spots are going to take years to fill. I don't think there are even smoke shops popping up anymore to fill the voids. I guess the best we can hope for is big capital will put some more blank streets in as place holders.
Agree with comments about vacancies. It’s hard to see what could go here in the current state of retail. I also occasionally shopped here for things I couldn’t find elsewhere. Or just the convenience, because WF isn’t that close and not fast to get in and out. I like the health food store across 1st Ave. Also a plug for 4th St Food Co-op for bulk. But Commodities was more extensive than both.
When they took over Commodiries, the new owners immediately fired the BEST and most dedicated workers, those who made Commodities special and who were known to loyal customers. Those who remained were treated like shit, hovered over by the new manager/owner, watching them as if they were potential thieves.
Workers there told The SHADOW that they deployed surveillance cameras and listening devices throughout the store to monitor employees and customers. Very CREEPY.
Under the previous owner family, they were packed with customers. Under the new owners, Commodities was DESERTED. I almost NEVER saw a customer in there.
Fortunately, just a few blocks away, we have East Village Organic (EVO), on First Avenue, between 7th + St. Marx. One day, the Commodities creeps saw an EVO worker shopping in Commodities and kicked him out!
Prana, Pete's Spices, now Commodities. Have to agree the newer management did not maintain the store like the previous owners but the bulk section was good. Cannot take East Village Organic seriously it is so expensive. Thankful we still have the Fourth Street Coop, a nonprofit with a great bulk section. Their produce is often better than the farmer's markets because it has not been stored in a storage truck parked around Union Square for that weeks market.
I used to shop here often 10/15 years ago. But have avoided it for years. There prices became far too high. Far better options in the city. Lifethyme on 6th Ave. for one.
At Key Food on Avenue A, Abrahams Hummus jumped from $2.99 to $4.49. I buy it there all the time and was shocked by the dramatic price rise.
I dont think they were absconding with your money due to Abrahams hummus. Most likely it was raised by the distributor and they had to increase the price.
East Village Organics is pricey no doubt but they are typically super nice, always seem to have what we need and they aren't Whole Foods.
sad to see them go, but did prefer to use my purchasing power to support EVO. Tried to explain to the owner that his bad mouthing the competition does not make me want to shop in his store. clueless.
I'm really sad to see them go; fortunately there's still EVO, but I preferred to go to Commodities first. Also, it was better to have two natural-foods stores within walking distance of each other.
Hilarious people complaining about whole foods. They still sell eggs for as low as 3.50, 4.50 for organic farm fresh eggs, while key food charges 7+ dollars for non organic key food fresh meadow or whatever eggs.
Last big health food store in the 14th street area. the one on 15th & 3rd closed, then the one on 26th & 3rd. Landlords are being SUBSIDIZED by TAX CREDITS WE PAY for to close down all these retail shops. It is much more profitable, and easier, to leave them empty. Speak out neighbors, your city is being sold out from under your feet daily.
any update on this story? saw the gate up and ppl inside today.
haters complaining about the price of hummus, what decade are you in? this place has been a neighborhood staple, feels like some mean and back stabbing comments happening here. maybe you're one of the predatory landlords ruining this stretch of 1st ave with ultra high rents.
Bulk section was great + teas,spices,etc, just loaded up on rolled oats a week or so ago. They remodeled the back too. Just sad!
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