Green Acre Farms
Owner: Shri Persaud
Cooperative: Key Food and Retail Grocers Group
Location: 1160 Utica Ave, East Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY
Photographed: May 2019
Today we're taking a quick look inside this warehouse-style Caribbean supermarket on Utica Avenue, a major and (for what it's worth) very unpleasant to walk on thoroughfare through East Flatbush. Unlike Flatbush, Nostrand, or Church Avenues, Utica is primarily designed for drivers, while the others also have pedestrian-centered businesses lining both sides (and, therefore, few parking lots and so on).
There are a few things that puzzle me about this approximately 8,000 square foot store. The first was taped to the front door -- a standard no photography sign which went on to elaborate that "all requests for photography must be made in writing to Key Food Stores Co-Operative, Inc., 1200 South Avenue, Staten Island, NY." Quite odd given that this store is not a Key Food affiliate and, according to my research, never has been. Persaud's other locations, including the Food Universe in Fresh Meadows along with a Food Universe at 2424 Flatbush Ave and a Key Food each on Ralph Ave and Rockaway Pkwy, are all Key Food affiliated.
Instead, this store sells the Parade storebrand, distributed in NYC metro by General Trading of Carlstadt, NJ. It's likely that this store operates in conjunction with General Trading's retail cooperative branch, Retail Grocers Group, which also runs Fine Fare.
Inside, the store is rather on the dingy side. It's clearly been Green Acre Farms for a long time, and I don't believe it was another supermarket before that.
I also find the combination of warehouse/value store with general supermarket very odd, especially in such a small space. For a more successful business model of the Caribbean warehouse store, I'd point to Farm Country Supermarkets, which we toured in East New York (that store, by the way, is now Key Food affiliated).
Meanwhile, dairy and meat are in a walk-in refrigerator room, which is maybe a third of the entire store.
I do appreciate that this supermarket is an important resource for the neighborhood, but there's some huge room to improve.
A rather disorganized butcher area at the back of the refrigerator room.
That's about all for our look inside this store. We're going to continue to head north on Utica Avenue to complete the eastern part of our circuit, so stay tuned!