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Storm Hurts FreshDirect Holiday

NEW YORK  — Online grocer FreshDirect here said Hurricane Sandy damaged many of its delivery trucks, reducing its capacity to make deliveries in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“We’re hoping to get more trucks after Thanksgiving so that we can get back to normal and deliver everywhere again,” the company said in an online message last week.

The company also posted messages apologizing to customers that its available delivery time slots were filling up well before the holiday.

Local reports said “dozens” of FreshDirect trucks were damaged. In addition, the company suspended all deliveries for several days before, during and after the Oct. 28 storm because of power outages that knocked its servers offline — they are housed in downtown Manhattan — and because its employees were unable to get to the company’s warehouse in Queens as subways and buses were not running.

Ninety percent of the company’s workers rely on public transportation to get to work, Jason Ackerman, FreshDirect’s  chief executive officer, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

FreshDirect officials could not be reached for comment last week.

The company reportedly moved many of its trucks to a location in the Bronx where it is seeking to build a new, larger warehouse, exacerbating local objections to the company’s plans.

Read more: City Board Approves FreshDirect Financing

In a rally earlier this month, some local politicians and others protested the fact that FreshDirect could receive $127 million in tax breaks from the state and the city to assist in its relocation efforts.

John Catsimatidis, CEO of Gristedes, called the incentives “an unfair advantage” for FreshDirect in a statement read by an aide at the rally, according to a report in the

The move is also opposed by the newly formed New York Association of Grocery Stores.

“Grocers and bodega owners join in opposition to this outrageous misuse of public funds that would give FreshDirect an unfair competitive advantage leading to the closure of vital bricks and mortar stores, and the jobs that they provide, in the South Bronx and throughout New York City,” NYAGS said on its website.

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