Update: Owners Of Sunset Park’s Fei Long Market Claim They DID NOT Bid On Waldbaums


Update [January 21, 1:33pm]: We’ve obtained court documents from Bill Wunner of Coupons in the News indicating that a bid indeed has been made by Fei Long Market. The contact person and email listed on the paperwork matches the person who emailed us last night. The reason for this discrepancy is unclear, but we will keep digging and keep y’all posted.

Update [8:19pm]: We received an email from someone claiming to represent Fei Long Market who told us that the company, in fact, did NOT put a bid on the New Utrecht Avenue Waldbaums. We obtained this information from a report in Coupons in the News. We will follow up with A&P to find out whether or not there was a bid placed on the store.

The building that once housed Bensonhurst’s beloved Waldbaums supermarket may have a buyer.

The operators of Sunset Park’s Fei Long Market have put a $10 million bid on the shuttered New Utrecht Avenue location, reports Coupons in the News.

As a result of its parent company A&P’s recent bankruptcy filing, Waldbaums closed for good in November, leaving the store’s 70 employees without jobs.

Many protested Waldbaums’ closure, including former employees who claimed they were “kept in the dark” about the bidding process, and politicians who called the food store a “critical anchor in Bensonhurst.”

Rumors initially swirled that that the 37-year-old Bensonhurst supermarket would be sold to Key Food but the dealings fell through, and that a second investor had expressed interest in the property. Then Sam Obeid, owner of Key Food on Bath Avenue, has also expressed interest in the location, but currently the Sunset Park supermarket is the only party in the running.

If another investor makes an offer on the property, the building will go to auction on January 26. Otherwise, the store will be sold to the folks at Fei Long.

Fei Long is a massive Asian market, which looks a bit like a shopping mall. On weekends, it is particularly packed, as people flock to the food court for traditional Chinese staples like hand pulled noodles, spit-roasted meats, clay pot rice dishes, and dumplings.

Considering the language and culture gap, it seems unlikely that Fei Long will be able to rehire all of Waldbaums’ former employees, but at least the somewhat underdeveloped corner of Bensonhurst won’t be left without a full-service supermarket. As demographics in Bensonhurst continue to shift, and the local Chinese community continues to flourish, so will the demand for regional Asian dishes and ingredients.

We will keep you posted on further developments!

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  • http://www.elliman.com/real-estate-agent/luke-constantino/9606 Luke Constantino

    Hi Rachel, great story! I’ve lived in the neighborhood all my life and noticed the past few years how run down Waldbaums looked. Times… They are a changing. I have a client who is very interested in this property. Would you have any information on how to contact the seller? Thank you.

  • Will Y

    I expected Fei Long to have put in a bid as it was posted on two credible sources. I had also spoken to their workers on 8th ave and they said they were in discussion almost like their trying to hide something. I do not get why they have to be so secretive as the rumors had been floating around since last year.

  • Georgia

    Stop & Shop should open there that neighborhood needs a supermarket on that end of Bensonhurst. This is my opinion

  • Linda

    “but at least the somewhat underdeveloped corner of Bensonhurst won’t be left without a full-service supermarket.” Are you kidding me???? We don’t need another Asian market in Bensonhurst. Want to know why people are moving out of the area? This is one of the reasons. I have chosen to stay because I am 61 years old, born and raised here and still love the area but boy it is hard sometimes to justify staying. I am sorry to say this but an Asian market is not a “full -service supermarket”. I am not Asian and I like to be able to read the labels on the food I buy. Can’t do that at an Asian market! I also like for a cashier to make eye contact and say thank you as he/she hands me my receipt. Won’t get that at an Asian market. I have been to many in the neighborhood so I know that non-Asian customers are treated very differently than Asian customers. A full service supermarket includes everyone, from the inventory they stock to the people they hire to the way they treat the customers. Lets hope this store goes to a Key Food or a Stop & Shop so that everyone can shop there without ethnic restrictions.

    • Sean F

      Really, Linda? So Waldbaums, as a “full service supermarket” the way you define it, carried a full line of Asian groceries and brands? Translation guides for the products in Chinese (and Korean, and Russian, and Urdu, and even Italian)? Fresh seafood and meat cut to order? Hired Asian employees in a neighborhood full of Asians? Sorry, but your definition of a “full service supermarket” is just biased toward white people, and means this community has never had a full-service supermarket, as you define it.

      I am not Asian, and I shop in the Asian markets in the neighborhood all the time. The staff are invariably friendly. The cashiers always smile and say “thank you” to me.(It helps to say “thank you” to them (xiè xie (she-she with a short “e” sound) in Mandarin). But, as I’ve noted in other threads about customer service, it must be something unique about me. Perhaps the fact that I go into every store with my own smile and greeting, and speak politely to every employee I deal with (several years working at Toys R Us through Christmas has given me a very sympathetic view toward shop workers and cashiers). I shop without bias, or a disgusted look on my face for having to deal with “those people”. The term “good, friendly customer service” always starts with “good, friendly customer”.

      • Evan1407

        OK, goodie two shoes, that’s enough BS out of you. The grocery stores in Bensonhurst don’t ALL need to be Asian. There are already enough of them. I live on Bay Parkway and 67th Street. There are FOUR Asian supermarkets within 100 feet of my building. It would be nice to have a store where I can buy bread, cold cuts, canned tomatoes for sauce, cheese, etc. No matter how bright your smile, you won’t find any of those things around here.

        • Sean F

          I never said they all have to be Asian. I agree that it would be nice to have other ethnic food in walking distance. The neighborhood, unfortunately, can’t support it any longer because the other ethnicities have moved away. None of that has any bearing on Linda’s biased definition of “full service supermarket”.

          • Linda

            I’m not even sure what you are talking about, my biased definition of a “full service supermarket”? What does that even mean? I would say the majority of this country would agree with me that a supermarket in the United States would be one whose labels are in English and carries the brands Americans want to buy. Can I buy Nabisco, Pepperidge Farm, Haagen Dasz, just as an example, in an Asian Market? No!!! And thats my point. I am American and I am entitled to shop in an American supermarket. You have also made some unfair assumptions about how I approach the staff at an Asian market. I don’t really need to defend myself to you, so I won’t, but just let me say I am friendly and pleasant but most times there is no interaction. So please don’t judge my demeanor and insinuate I am responsible for the atmosphere many non- asians experience. All I am saying is we have many Asian markets in the neighborhood which is fine and expected because of the population, but we don’t need another. An American market is what those of us left here need. And thanks Evan for understanding what I was saying.

          • Sean F

            Actually, the majority of this country would probably agree that Spanish the most common language in America. There are more Spanish speakers here than English speakers.

            However, you still show bias. The U.S. has no official language, and being unable to speak English does mean that someone is not an American. That’s what I mean about bias.

            You are certainly entitled to shop in any supermarket you like. I’m just saying that your definition of “full service supermarket” is flawed because it demands that English be the defacto language. A true “full service supermarket” would employ people who speak several languages, and can therefore offer full service to everyone in the community. That would actually be the most American way of running a business – inclusive in a melting pot manner.

            I haven’t made any assumptions about how you approach anyone in any store. I don’t know you, and I said nothing derogatory about you. If you’ve read the many discussions here about the stores in our area, you would be familiar with the fact that many people come here to complain about poor service in Asian stores in Bensonhurst, or by African American employees at the stores in Gateway Center, and that I’ve testified on many occasions that I’ve never encountered any such rude behavior in those same stores. I said nothing about how you personally interact with store staff. I merely commented that I continue to be the only person around here who doesn’t have those issues, and listed the factors that I believe enable me to interact with those store employees successfully and happily. I intended no reflection on you personally.

          • Evan1407

            Why don’t you sit on a pair of chopsticks!

          • Sean F

            It is feasible because I’m smart enough to lay them flat on the chair first. :)

          • Evan1407

            Sean knows he is wrong, Linda. He just won’t admit it and it would kill him if he didn’t have the last word. He’s what you call an Internet troll.

          • Sean F

            Wrong again, Evan. Trolls posts lies and insult others. I have done neither.

        • susan

          Net Cost on 65th has a decent selection of those items

        • J

          lol are you serious? There’s a food universe on avenue o and w8st which is an avenue away so gtfohwtbs. I normally drive to pathmark (now stop&shop) or keyfood on bath to do my grocery shopping or wherever is cheaper, this is coming from an asian who would prefer not to shop at asian supermarkets cause i find it too hectic. Also don’t know why so many asian supermarkets opened up in that area. The reason why you don’t get smiles and all that butterfly shit you “need” is cause they want to keep the lines moving as fast as possible, do you see how many people shop there? But yea if you say thank you I’m sure they’ll reciprocate, this goes for ALL the supermarkets, especially if it’s very busy.

          • Evan1407

            Apparently you have never been to the Food Universe on Avenue O and West 7th (not 8th) street. It’s an overpriced, dirty crap hole that never has the items on sale that they are supposed to have. Also, you are delusional if you think a “thank you” will get you better service at an Asian market in this area. The reason so many people shop at those markets is that the neighborhood is overrun by your kind which is also kind of pathetic.

  • Will Y

    How about you learn to adapt and stop with your nonsense rants. The neighborhood is obviously changing. If you don’t like it move because your neighbors are. There is always Ben Bay for sale sign on every block these days. Waulbaum’s parking lot is practically empty even on its busiest days. Now compare that to Fei Long which is always packed. Its a conscious money decision why they are now here.

    • Linda

      Not sure how this turned into you insulting me and being so aggressive but I am done here. I said nothing offensive and will not stoop to your level. I will conclude with , I hope Waldbaums does not become an Asian Market. That’s it!

      • Lauren

        I completely agree with you Linda. I have lived in this neighborhood for 35 years and it had changed so much. I would like to know what I’m buying. In the end, this is still America, not China. We shouldn’t have to move. For years this neighborhood was Italian and Chinese and we all got along just fine. But lately you can’t find anything Italian around. Or American. Nothing in English. The balance is gone.

        Yes, a lot of people are up and moving, and maybe I’ll be next. But I shouldn’t have to feel pushed out.

        • Sean F

          “Nothing in English”? The neighborhood is overrun with large American branded stores – Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Baskin Robbins, CVS, Walgreen’s, RiteAid, Key Food, Marshall’s; just to get started on the list. That’s not counting the myriad non-Asian businesses all up-and-down 86th Street, Bay Parkway and 18th Avenue – bakeries, pizzerias, etc. In fact, this site recently ran a story titled “Bensonhurst & Bay Ridge Among Nabes With Most Chain Stores In Brooklyn: Report”.

          No Italian (or Russian or other Caucasian) has ever been pushed out of Bensonhurst. They chose to go because they can’t get along with neighbors of other races and ethnicities. Such people leaving the neighborhood is a case of “don’t let the door…” We don’t need bigots in Bensonhurst. We need people of good will, who have an interest in learning about new cultures, trying new cuisines, and welcoming new people to our community.

          The Asians have brought great prosperity to Bensonhurst. If you’ve been here for 35 years, then you lived here during the same period I’ve been living here. You’ll remember when 86th Street was nothing but a strip of derelict, gated, graffitied storefronts, instead of the bustling commercial strip it is now. Sure, maybe Jahn’s is no longer, and the Oriental Theater (LOL!) is gone, but they gave up the ghost long before the Asians came here.

          The property value on my house tanked in the late 90s and early 2000s. In the past few years, it has nearly tripled since the Asians started moving into the neighborhood. I just got my latest valuation, and it’s up another 20% this year. The Asians have been nothing but good for this neighborhood.

          Stay and be part of the neighborhood growth, or leave and contribute to it anyway. But only you decide if you leave or stay. no one is pushing you.

          • BachelorsButtons

            Oh, please already. How many of these dopey articles elicit the same drivel. Look, long ago, Bensonhurst was a White community, then it became Jewish, then it became Italian, and now it’s become Chinese. All along, there have been other groups of people, but those named groups have shaped the area’s culture over the years. People have always moved and for many, MANY different reasons: family, employment, weather/climate, want of a bigger home or more space, caving into the aggressive real estate market and inflated home prices, not feeling that the area holds anything for them any more, etc. Plenty of people moved when the neighborhood was more homogeneous, make no mistake about that! There is no one reason why people move, and no one is ever pushed out; not here and not anywhere in Brooklyn (unless you’re a low-income renter who is pushed out due to gentrification, but that’s another story). In the end, it seems that all the posts here can be summed up like this: Italians like their stores, Chinese like their stores, and White people like Starbucks (or insert lame chain store name, like, uh, Waldbaum’s!). Italian markets have everything labeled in Italian; Chinese in Chinese; and American stores in English. Not for you, then open up your own store! The message has come in loud and clear: everyone wants to have some sense of the familiar, but do all these boards have to get filled up with the same debate over and over again? There’s a place for everyone, really, life is only as hard as you make it.

          • Sean F

            It looks as though we are in complete agreement, BachelorsButtons.

  • Outwiththeold

    Cool… What would be even better would be the whole area gets gentrified, bring in the Whole Foods, Trader Joe, Starbucks, Chipotle, Shack Shack and etc… Then I can charge 3000 a month for a one bedroom apartment.