Fairway reopens and Red Hook rejoices
Fairway Market's Red Hook location reopened Friday, four months after Superstorm Sandy shuttered the supermarket. The storm cost Fairway about $14 million in ruined inventory, damaged property and lost wages to employees at the closed location, which generates about a seventh of the company's $550 million in sales. But on Friday, Umbrian olive oil and free range chicken returned to Red Hook. So did the shoppers. They plowed their pushcarts through the store's double doors. They bumped. They jostled. They grumbled. It was just like the old days. The reopening not only meant the return of hordes of hungry Brooklynites, but shoppers for sweets at Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies, trees at the Chelsea Garden Center Red Hook, and hand blown glass at artist studios on the waterfront. On hand at the reopening ceremony were Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sen. Charles Schumer and the current Miss America Mallory Hagan, who is a Brooklyn resident. Mr. Schumer praised Fairway for keeping each of its 350 Red Hook employees working at other locations during the store's rebuilding process. "Red Hook is a team and the team is getting back its captain," Mr. Schumer said. The Dodgers Sym-Phony, a brass and percussion band made up of white-haired men in old-school baseball jerseys, provided the entertainment at the store's waterfront cafe. Former Chief Executive Howard Glickberg thanked the mayor and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz for their post-storm help, joking that he chose to sit between them over sitting next to Miss America. Mr. Glickberg also presented the mayor with an airbrushed portrait, done by the artist who painted the murals in the store. After the storm, the store had to dispose its refrigerators and equipment in the 150-year-old warehouse the store occupies, Fairway president Bill Sanford said. They took the opportunity to make some changes to the store's layout based on what they have observed about customer flow since opening in 2006. The company is also looking into changes, like setting up removable barriers along the waterfront, to better fortify it against truculent seas. "We're trying to do something on the (rear) side of the building to prevent future storm surges," Mr. Sanford said.
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