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Russian beer. Korean specialty
foods. Organic and gluten-free choices. The Gristedes at 71 South End Ave. in Battery Park City expanded its selections and renovated its space last year and now reports an uptick in business.
Bob Capano, the manager and spokesperson for the grocery store chain, said last year’s renovations completed late last year included new ceilings, a larger deli department and moved the deli counter to provide more space.
It also has a brand new separate cold beer room, Capano said in a phone interview, “that allowed us to greatly expand our beer selection in the store.”
The grocery store is now carrying imported beers, such as German beer and the Russian beer Nevskoye, he said.
“We can’t keep it on the shelves,” he said. “It’s really selling well.”
Capano said customers requested more organic and gluten-free items as well as an expanded selection of international foods. The store carries more organic fruits, vegetables, yogurts and frozen food items, he said, and also carries a line of Korean specialty foods.
“Again, it’s something that’s flying off the shelves,” said Capano.
The store’s quality has been a frequent source of complaint from Battery Park City residents for decades but Capano said the improvements get positive feedback from customers who are “thrilled.”
“We definitely have seen an increase in sales since the renovation,” said Capano, who has been the manager since April, 2014.
Tens of thousands of dollars were spent on the renovation of the Battery Park City location as Gristedes makes a citywide push to become the “destination of choice” for New Yorkers, according to Capano and a press release.
Owner John Catsimatidis, former mayoral candidate and billionaire, has spent “millions of dollars in renovations” for 15 of its total 31 stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn over the past few years and will be doing renovations for the remaining stores, according to the chain.
Capano has been the company since 2009, albeit he took a leave of absence at one point, and his background is in politics. He worked for two members of Congress, the Brooklyn borough president and ran for office himself a couple of times in Brooklyn.
He said politics and retail have the same goal: to serve the customer.
“At the end of the day, you can put as much money into renovations as you want but if you don’t have positive customer relations and give the customers what they want, it’s really all for naught,” said Capano.
— DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC