Owner: Mun Kwan Cha
Cooperative: Retail Grocers Group
Location: 3008 Church Ave, East Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY
Photographed: May 2019
Just a block west of Country Coco is the 4,000 square foot MK Marketplace. It's a very similar store in many ways. In fact, the stores used to share an owner. MK was the Master Food Supermarket from its opening in 1998 until about 2015, when it rebranded to MK Supermarket. Inc 2017, a new corporate entity was formed called MK Market Place Inc. While I can't locate an individual's name for the MK entity, I'm willing to bet ownership has not changed and that Mun Kwan (MK) Cha is still running this store.
So here's the thing about supermarkets. They're a hard business to be in. The profit margins are so low that especially independent owners have no wiggle room whatsoever. And the reality is, dense urban locations (regardless of income level of the neighborhood, by the way) tend to have very high shoplifting rates. This has led a lot of stores to be very tough. MK Marketplace seems to be extra tough -- maybe too tough. Security cameras and display screens are visible in every aisle, with printouts of security camera shots and shoplifters taped to the shelves with captions like "Stole ice cream, June 2016" right where the product they shoplifted was. That, to me, seems over-the-top. Just have a bag check counter at the front of the store like so many other urban supermarkets do. Maybe this store is just too high-volume for something like that, as it was extremely busy at the time of my visit.
That said, like so many other stores in this neighborhood, there's a wide selection of Caribbean products, though this store does have a smaller produce selection than some others we've seen.
In fact, I'm nearly certain that the shelving we see here was designed for produce, not dry grocery.
Single serve beverages in a new case towards the back of the store. Notice the combination of regular items and more specialty products, such as the ginger beer in glass bottles (see bottom left, above.)
Dairy in the first aisle, with frozen on the back wall and grocery on the far side wall.
You can see a few of the shoplifter pictures taped to the freezer cases on the left. I've seen similar things before, but always in one specific place (like the security counter or customer service, not at the location of the product). Other question - how do you shoplift ice cream without it melting? Never mind.
Well, MK doesn't use shelf tags; instead, they price each item. Meaning those price tags end up all over the floor.
Front end. You can zoom in to see more pictures of shoplifters on the registers and the red part of the wall...aaaaaand the security display screen on the front windows turned off. Nice. I have to say, if I lived in this neighborhood, I don't think I'd shop here. I'd probably head a block west to Country Coco or a block and a half east to the Shop Fair that we're going to see tomorrow. Both were more welcoming. Anyway, this store has vanished from Google Maps, so while I couldn't tell you for sure, it's possible that it's permanently closed.