Why Amazon didn’t acquire NYC Fairway stores while scooping up 2 in NJ
The Fairway name will live on in New York City even as it loses its New Jersey locations to tech giant Amazon.
The iconic Big Apple grocer on Wednesday said it wrapped up a bankruptcy auction that included the sale of two New Jersey leases to Amazon for $1.5 million. Amazon’s plans for the stores, located in Paramus and Woodland Park, were listed as “confidential” in court documents, but the purchases come as the Seattle company that owns Whole Foods has been expanding its supermarket operations.
The Jeff Bezos-owned company submitted bids for four Fairway stores, including one in Westchester and one in Brooklyn, as The Post has previously reported. It’s unclear why half its bids fell through, but some sources speculate it might have had to do with Local 1500, which represents some 3,000 Fairway Market workers and fought hard against non-union bids.
“The union had a lot of influence,” said one source close to the situation. “They wanted to save as many jobs as they could.”
What’s clear is that Amazon won’t be using the Jersey stores under the Fairway name — a right that was purchased by Village Supermarket, which operates ShopRite stores.
Village paid $76 million for four of Fairway’s Manhattan stores, including its flagship Upper West Side store, as well as Fairway’s production and distribution center. It also acquired its Pelham store in Westchester.
The Fairway location in Georgetown, Brooklyn, was acquired by Key Food.
As many as seven of Fairway’s 14 stores did not receive bids, including stores in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, the Douglaston store in Queens and the Redhook store in Brooklyn, as well as stores in Westbury, NY; Plainview, NY; and Stamford, Conn., according to multiple sources.
As for Fairway’s Harlem store, court documents show Village only purchased the parking lot there for $100,000.
Fairway on Wednesday said it will continue to operate all of its stores, including those not sold in the auction, for the “foreseeable future to accommodate the current public need for our products” — a reference to coronavirus panic buying.
“We are pleased with the outcome of the auction and are grateful for our dedicated and hardworking employees, suppliers and distributors during this process,” Fairway Chief Executive Abel Porter said in a statement.
Sources tell The Post that the chain intends to keep all of its stores, including the ones that didn’t get bids, open until at least August as skyrocketing coronavirus cases boost demand for basic goods.
“Business is certainly better than it was and it might provide a livable situation in the short run,” a source close to the bankruptcy said.
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