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Key Food Sees Urban Market as Prototype

NEW YORK — Key Food Stores Cooperative’s newest banner — a hybrid gourmet and conventional supermarket known as Urban Market — opened its doors in the hip Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg Friday.

“We have very high expectations at Key Food. We want to be everything to everybody. But you can’t do that with only one banner and only one concept,” Gino Palummo, vice president of business development and chief customer officer of the Staten Island-based cooperative, told SN at an opening event Friday.


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The 16,000-square-foot store, located just south of the Williamsburg Bridge along Williamsburg’s fast-developing waterfront, is co-owned by Colin Xie and Jason Chung, partners in Key Food and Food Dynasty stores in Queens. Xie told SN Friday that he developed to concept to appeal to the hip and stylish residents of the area’s newly built and developing condos, as well as to existing residents of the South Williamsburg area who have been underserved by grocery stores until now.

Stylishly designed in black and white, and featuring industrial touches evoking a loft apartment, Urban Market combines gourmet offerings and fancy prepared foods with a convenient full-shop experience and Key Food’s sharp pricing, Xie explained. “This is a hybrid store. People come into a store like this and think, I can’t find paper towels here. But they will here,” Xie said.

The $2.5 million store received financing from the New York Healthy Food and Healthy Communities Fund, which supports fresh food initiatives in underserved neighborhoods.

Read more: New York's Key Food Focuses on Growth

The store is the 150th store in the Key Food cooperative — up from 100 three years ago, Palummo noted.

He said the company could replicate the concept at additional locations.

“You hold your breath every time you do something different, because you never know how things will turn out. But they’ve done a great job putting this store together and we see this as a prototype. There’s Park Slope. There’s places in Manhattan, there’s places in Queens — throughout the five boroughs — where a store like this could work.”

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