Health-Food War Brews in Ditmas Park

The problem is that the public has been going down the street to Natural Frontier.Photo: Melissa Hom
There’s a war going down in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, and the winner, so far, is the neighborhood. For years, the Flatbush Food Coop has pretty much had the run of the area, and neighbors, even those who were members, often grumbled at their prices. But earlier this year, the Natural Frontier market opened down the block, garnering kudos for their extremely competitive prices. Now Flatbush Food has fought back, taking over the just-vacated Associated Supermarket across Cortelyou Road. Not that they want you to think of it that way.

“[Natural Frontier] is a much smaller store than what we’re moving into,” says Coop general manager Barry Smith. “I don’t think we’re overly worried about the competition. I don’t know what was in their mind when they decided to open there. Our focus is not on them, our focus is on our future.” Frontier manager Suraj Shrespa’s response? “We have better prices, we’re cleaner, and we have more stuff.” We asked Sander Hicks of Vox Pop, neighbor to both stores, what he thought. “The Coop’s response to competition was bitter,” he explains. “I was happy when they stopped whining and got aggressive.” Okay, kids — keep it clean!