Stamford Fairway Market facing possible layoffs, shutdown
STAMFORD — Fairway Market could lay off approximately 100 Stamford-based employees and shut down its stores in the city’s South End and in four New York locations within the next month, if buyers are not found, the bankrupt grocery chain has told state officials.
Outlined in a letter to the state Department of Labor, the plan reiterates previous warnings that the company has made about the future of the supermarket at 699 Canal St., and adjoining wine store at 689 Canal St., since it filed in January for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
If buyers do not emerge, any job cuts and shutdowns in Stamford and at stores in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Douglaston section of Queens, N.Y.; Plainview, N.Y.; and Westbury, N.Y., would be scheduled between June 5 and June 19, according to the letter.
“Any ‘plant closing’ or ‘mass layoff’ that occurs at these stores are currently expected to be permanent, as are all employment losses at these stores,” Charles Farfaglia, Fairway’s senior vice president of human resources, said in the letter.
In January, Fairway had first warned of possible job losses and a potential shutdown if buyers did not materialize for the sole supermarket in the South End and its other locations.
A message left for Westport-based United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 371, which represents the Stamford workers, was not immediately returned.
During the past few months, Stamford city officials have been preparing for the supermarket to possibly shut down, according to Thomas Madden, the city’s economic development director.
“However, a new vendor could assume the store here in Stamford,” Madden said. “We have brought several companies to the property owner as potential options, but I cannot discuss any further details.”
Stamford-based Building and Land Technology, the property’s owner, declined to comment on Fairway’s situation.
BLT is also the developer of the mixed-use Harbor Point section of the South End that encompasses the Fairway site.
In late March, Fairway Market announced winning bids for seven of its establishments.
Village Supermarket acquired for approximately $76 million four Manhattan stores and Fairway's production and distribution center in the Bronx, N.Y. Seven Seas Georgetowne bought for about $5 million a store in the Georgetown section of Brooklyn, N.Y., while Amazon paid $1.5 million for the leases of the stores in Paramus, N.J., and Woodland Park, N.J.
Fairway subsequently announced that the Paramus store would close permanently on May 15. The company “continues to anticipate that a ‘plant closing’ or ‘mass layoff’ will occur at the Woodland Park store and that the entire store will be closed,” Farfaglia said in the letter to the labor department.
Amazon, the owner of Whole Foods Market, did not immediately respond to a message Tuesday asking whether it would consider buying the Stamford Fairway.
The Stamford Fairway has operated since its November 2010 debut in a then-new building. It represents Fairway’s sole location in Connecticut.
If Fairway closes, “that location will find an occupant, in my opinion,” said Wayne Pesce, president of the Connecticut Food Association. “As to who might go in and occupy that location is anybody’s guess. Fairway is a CFA member in good standing, and I hope that it’s replaced by another (grocery store).”
The nearest full-service grocer is the Super Grade A ShopRite one mile east, at 200 Shippan Ave.
This bankruptcy comprises Fairway’s second in the past four years, after previously filing in 2016. The initial bankruptcy came three years after the company’s initial public offering and reflected a company that was struggling with debt and increasing competition from other grocery chains.
Fairway Market was founded in 1933, originally operating as a fruit-and-vegetable stand on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
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