Green Way Markets
Owner: Robin Estevez
Opened: February 2021
Cooperative: Allegiance Retail Services
Location: 112 N Maple Ave, Ridgewood, NJ
Photographed: February 2021
When Kings Food Markets' parent company went bankrupt in late 2020, 19 of the 25 stores were purchased by ACME Markets. Five stores were closed entirely (Maplewood, Bernardsville, Warren, Hoboken South, and Gillette), and one store was briefly closed but purchased by Estevez Markets, an Allegiance member who owns several Foodtown stores, including the ones we saw in Hastings-on-Hudson and Yonkers. That's this one in Ridgewood, and you can see my pre-closing tour here. Instead of converting the store to the more mainstream Foodtown banner, like Old Tappan, Estevez used the higher-end Green Way Markets banner first introduced in Cross River, NY, in 2019. Green Way is also the name of the natural and organic storebrand purchased by Allegiance from A&P. Estevez has only one other New Jersey store, the Foodtown of New Brunswick, which we'll be touring in a while.
I visited less than a week after Green Way had officially opened to the public, and they had closed for only three days before opening to the public, like the A&P stores ACME acquired. So similarly, there was little time for anything other than restocking the store and removing the Kings name. As we can see in the first picture, a sign had not yet been installed on the building (nor had one been installed at the street, although the existing Kings sign was covered). Inside, the store looks just like Kings, with a few differences...
The grand aisle was looking a bit less dingy, it seemed, but there hasn't been any real renovation yet. (The owners have said they expect that to come by the summer.) The produce department had been reset but was substantially the same -- except the pricing, of course. In fact, Green Way actually had many price tags around the store advertising their new lower prices, a major change from the notoriously high-priced Kings.
Beautiful cheese department remains, although it seems to have been cut back slightly in favor of more organic produce in the front of the island (I don't have a picture of that, though). The cheese island is on the left side of the grand aisle, with produce and liquor on the right side. Seafood and meat line the back wall, with dairy in the second-to-last aisle, frozen foods in the last aisle, and deli/bakery in the front left corner.
Estevez had yet to officially obtain its liquor license, so the department was being stocked but not available for purchase just yet.
Seafood at the back of the grand aisle. Notice that the promotional signs for Kings at the back of the counter have been replaced entirely, instead of just applying a Green Way sticker over the Kings logo.
A look across the back wall, which as we can see has a much lower ceiling than the rest of the store. Also notice the Green Way branding for the natural meat products. All in all, the branding is very good at this store since it integrates with the storebrand. The circular advertises Foodtown brand products as well, although I didn't see any on the shelves yet. I did notice Best Yet orange juice, but that was the only non-Green Way brand I saw around the store.
Now heading into the grocery aisles, we find them looking very much like Kings, although I believe the product mix has changed slightly...
It's very obvious that the bones of this store are quite old, so Green Way may need to do a fair amount of structural remodeling. If the Cross River store is any indication, though, the renovation will be quite extensive.
They certainly cleaned the store nicely before moving in.
Notice the coronavirus-related signage, such as the one-way aisle markers, are left over from Kings. I suppose it's not worth replacing them.
Let's check out the updated pricing in cat food...
As we can see here, there's a big focus on the lower prices throughout the store. (By the way, they are not allowed to say "Kings price $19.99," so they have to say just "Previously".) And as for the price itself... this is certainly a lower price than Kings', but it's not exactly a bargain-basement price. ACME sells this box for $17.99 but it's frequently on sale for $15.99, and ShopRite's regular price is $16.99 and frequently on sale for a few dollars off. That seems to be the pricing strategy across the board -- lower than Kings, but not very cheap. It's a solid strategy for a high-end store like Green Way.
Looking across the back wall towards seafood behind the liquor department, to the right above.
Aisle 5 is dairy, and aisle 6 is frozen. Both of these aisles are shorter to accommodate the deli-bakery in the front corner.
Some very interesting selections in frozen, by the way. I had a good time wandering around the store overall and picking up some products I'd never seen before.
Bakery on the front wall, with deli and sushi on the side wall. I'm not entirely sure why Kings didn't put the cheese island here somewhere instead of over in produce, but the reality is the store is only 15,000 square feet, so it's not all that far to walk!
A closeup of the deli-sushi counters reveals that the setup is nearly identical to Kings, and even that many if not all of the display trays and utensils are left over from Kings. Looks very good though! Now for the front-end...
The front-end looks a lot like a Kings, with the logo removed from the few places it had been. I am excited to get back to this store post-renovation, and will be sure to post plenty of pictures once I do! For now, though, I'm glad I preserved this in-between state before the renovation begins. Now before we officially wrap up Bergen and Passaic Counties, check out our other updates today: