By Jennifer R Jones | Posted on March 06, 2010 11:30 AM
Buying fresh produce and gourmet food was a challenge in upper Manhattan...until now. A Best Yet Market, part of a Long Island-based chain, opened yesterday on Frederick Douglass Boulevard between 118th and 19th Streets in upper Manhattan. The store, which took approximately $2 million to open, offers such delicacies as fresh produce, olives, cheese and fresh fish to a fresh-food starved neighborhood. Half of the money needed for the opening was loaned from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone. About 140 employees work at the store, which is located two blocks from a subway station, and about half of those are from the immediate neighborhood. The First Bet Yet store originally opened in Brooklyn and sold fruits and vegetables. This evolved into a Long Island supermarket, and then into a chain of about 11 stores across Long Island. Before the new store opened, neighborhood residents would often have to walk or take public transportation 10 or even 20 blocks downtown in order to purchase affordable (or even available) strawberries, melons, salad materials and other garden produce. Organic produce is also available. Reaction from neighborhood residents has been overwhelmingly positive, with customers saying that the need for such a local emporium has existed for a long time. Most of the local food stores in that area tend to focus on staples, not fresh produce. And if that display of lettuce and tomatoes looks so good that customers end up buying more than they can carry? Delivery options are offered from 96th to 125th Streets, between Fifth Avenue and the Hudson River.