ETHNIC FOODS A STAPLE AT NYC PATHMARK

SPRINGFIELD GARDENS, N.Y. -- Pathmark Stores' new 60,000-square-foot unit here in an underserved area of southeast Queens has an extended line of ethnic products, including the largest allocation of West Indian-Caribbean products -- 36 feet -- of any store in the company.Actually 11 years in the planning, the new store was greeted with enthusiasm by members of the community. The neighborhood is about

SPRINGFIELD GARDENS, N.Y. -- Pathmark Stores' new 60,000-square-foot unit here in an underserved area of southeast Queens has an extended line of ethnic products, including the largest allocation of West Indian-Caribbean products -- 36 feet -- of any store in the company.

Actually 11 years in the planning, the new store was greeted with enthusiasm by members of the community. The neighborhood is about 70% African-American, 15% Hispanic, 5% Irish and 2% Italian, with a median household income of $45,000, according to Rich Savner, a spokesman for the chain, based in Carteret, N.J.

"We are ecstatic," said Etta Henry, who said she has lived in the neighborhood for 37 years, driving to Franklin Square about ten miles away to do her grocery shopping. This unit is Pathmark's fifth store in Queens, and its 21st store in New York City.

The store's grocery department carries a wide variety of national brand goods, as well as the Pathmark private label, including its "Big Deal" line. Among the "Big Deals" of club-pack size Pathmark brand products during the store's opening last month were Pathmark Hot Cocoa Mix, 30 envelopes for $2.99; 8-ounce bottles of Pathmark bottled spring water in a pack of 12 for $1.79; and three one-gallon bottles of water for $2.37.

Grand opening specials included half-gallons of Breyer's ice cream for $1.99 with no limit; Bounty paper towels, an eight-pack for $4.99 with a limit of one; Pathmark soda at 88 cents for a 3-liter bottle; and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, three boxes for $1.99.

There were buy-one, get-one offers on cleaning products such as furniture polish and vacuum cleaner bags, with the store brand all-purpose cleaner, bleach and wool wash at buy-one, get-two specials. The promotion, which included some national brands like Behold and Good Sense, was labeled a "Spring Cleaning Explosion."

"It looks like it's going to be a winner," manager Sal Carnizza said of the new store, which he said has 48,000 square feet of selling space.

Pathmark president and CEO, Jim Donald, said in a prepared statement that he expects the store to be "a standout operation," and that "we are particularly pleased that approximately 80% of our store's 350 associates reside in southeast Queens."

Pathmark, laboring under $1.5 billion in debt and rejected last December by Ahold as a potential purchaser, projects an upbeat mood with this new store. "It's been in the pipeline for a long time, so financing is not an issue," said Savner. He told SN "we're confident we'll end up back on our feet, whatever avenue we take."