Times are tough for New York’s — and especially Manhattan’s — neighborhood grocers. Even local chains like Gristedes and Fairway, the rare grocery store that managed to develop a following, have struggled mightily. Both Fairway and its more bite-size competitor Garden of Eden filed for bankruptcy last year. While Fairway opened a new store in January, Garden of Eden has announced that after 21 years, it will close its Chelsea store once the shelves are cleared.
The store’s manager tells DNAinfo it’s slated to close “imminently,” attributes the closure to “a lot of competition,” and says, “We have customers, but people don’t buy a lot.” The lack of business isn’t a surprise, considering that in its bankruptcy filing the company explained it experienced “a historic lack of patronage.” The situation is difficult enough for Manhattan grocers that in February two city politicians announced they would introduce a bill aimed at saving affordable supermarkets by exempting them from the city’s commercial-rent tax.