The Fight Over Fairway

A new $75 million offer from a Brooklyn-based bidder — and Amazon enters the picture

19 Mar 2020 | 02:26

Fairway Market has plenty of suitors.

Last week, the Brooklyn-based Bogopa Enterprises Inc. — which operates Food Bazaar supermarkets — made an offer of $75 million for Fairway’s five Manhattan locations, store in Pelham Manor, and its distribution center in the Bronx, as reported by Supermarket News.

The offer tops the $70 million stalking-horse bid made by Village Super Market for the Fairway properties (which did not include the Pelham Manor store) in late January.

“We would like to extend gratitude to our employees, vendors, distributors and customers for their continued support, dedication and loyalty during this process,” Fairway Market CEO Abel Porter said in a statement. “Fairway’s store performance has generated significant interest in our stores. We look forward to a robust auction.”

Additionally, Fairway said that it was evaluating competitive offers for various other stores, which may include a bid from tech-giant Amazon. The New York Post reported Thursday that Amazon is focused on four stores, including the Red Hook location in Brooklyn, two stores in New Jersey and the store in Pelham. It would not be the company’s first foray into the grocery business. In 2017, Amazon purchased Whole Foods for $13.4 billion.

Currently, Fairway operates five stores in Manhattan (the Upper West Side flagship, Upper East Side, Harlem, Chelsea and Kips Bay), two in Brooklyn, (Georgetown and Red Hook) and one in Queens (Douglaston), two on Long Island (Westbury and Plainview), one in Pelham Manor, two in New Jersey (Paramus and Woodland Park) and one in Connecticut (Stamford).

The fight over Fairway comes weeks after it looked as though the beloved New York grocer would be closing its doors for good after years of financial struggles. After rumors of liquidation surfaced, Fairway announced that it instead would be filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Fairway has struggled since the Glickberg family, who had owned and operated the chain since it opened as a produce stand in 1933, sold their stake to a private equity firm in 2007.

Since then, the company has seen losses as it has expanded outside on New York City and out to Connecticut and New Jersey. In 2016, it filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the first time, and was eventually brought out of it by another investment firm.

All of Fairway’s bidders operate grocery stores in the New York region. The Sumas family owns and operates Village Super Market, a family run grocery chain that operates 30 ShopRite stores in New Jersey and one location in the Bronx. In 2019, Village purchased three Gourmet Garage stores in Manhattan and has maintained them.

Bogopa operates 26 Food Bazaar supermarkets, including 17 Food Bazaar stores in New York City. Six are located in Brooklyn, five in the Bronx and six in Queens. The other New York stores are located in Westchester County and Long Island.

“Fairway’s store performance has generated significant interest in our stores. We look forward to a robust auction.” Fairway Market CEO Abel Porter