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Goodbye Roosevelt Island Gristedes, Hello Foodtown


Foodtown Takes Over Gristedes

Transfer Final February, 2020

Roosevelt Island’s Gristedes “megastore” makes way for Foodtown in 2020. Rumored since summer, the change is underway and becomes official in February. Expect a ribbon-cutting event soon.

By David Stone

Gristedes long troubled relationship with Roosevelt Island ends in 2020 as Foodtown assumes control of prime retail space at the nexus of local transportation. Turning over the locks and keys is tentative for early February.

Although improved in recent years, Gristedes never escaped early failures after replacing Sloans in the mid 1990s. One resident recalled, “It smelled like bad meat when you walked in the door.”

Loyalists committed to Gristedes as our local store believed a golden opportunity was missed, and the steady traffic of Fresh Direct trucks on Main Street proved it.

Free public transit stopped right in front of the store, but riders hauling heaving bags from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods stayed in their seats.

Disgust over spoiled meats, filth and high prices may fade as the store is rebranded.

The high prices?

Gristedes big blue sign is gone. Below the scar, Foodtown promises, “COMING SOON!”

They never improved, but an employee says, “When Foodtown has a sale, it’s crazy.”

Roosevelt Islanders look forward to that.

Check out a current Foodtown Manhattan store circular here.

While the firm date for the change from Gristedes to Foodtown is a month away, the transition is visible inside.

A rumored transition becomes real…

Rumors about the transition to Foodtown trickled through the community for months. But in his strange presentation to RIOC’s board in September, Hudson president David Kramer never mentioned it.

Hudson oversees Main Street Retail and once called Gristedes an “anchor store.” But today, it’s just one more omission in the mix.

Needless to say, neither Hudson nor RIOC made any community outreach about the move.

Same old, same old, but hopes are high that Foodtown can break the mold.

Roosevelt Island Gristedes Makes Way for Foodtown: The Good News

When news of the conversion surfaced, one longtime resident worried about the employees, especially as the holidays approached.

But according to multiple sources inside the organization, all keep their jobs. No layoffs or RIFs.

Some shelves remain empty Foodtown rotates in new stock.
Starting a last round of Gristedes checkouts with a Foodtown welcome.
Foodtown welcomes the beginnings of a final round to Gristedes shoppers.

Reported by David Stone


  1. Good riddance to bad rubbish! I never understood how Gristedes won the bid to be on the island anyway. It was so painful to trade in an arm and a leg for convenience. I remember paying $20 for a small packet of cherries at that Gristedes store. Goodbye Gristedes. You will NOT be missed! – RI resident

    • You are not alone in your sentiment. The change is already underway and becomes permanent next week. I’ll be publishing something about the opening soon.
      For the record, I want to let you know that Gristedes did not win a bid to be here, right across the street from you. Originally, the site was a much smaller Sloans, a chain that Gristedes took over, back in the ’90s, inheriting the Roosevelt Island location, among others. Later, they expanded, more than doubling the size, and then, they redid the whole space, maybe 10 years ago. Each time, the community got excited and looked for better. There were improvements but never quite enough to convince enough residents to make the store popular. What’s coming in February is a complete makeover, including a new brand with Foodtown and a new pricing structure and greater variety in goods. I think this might do it and make things much better for all of us who live here and call it home.

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