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TOUR: Caribbean Supermarket - Mount Vernon, NY

Caribbean Supermarket
Owner: Jong Hwang
Opened: 1997
Cooperative: none
 223 W 1st St, Mount Vernon, NY
Photographed: December 8, 2023
Mount Vernon is one of the cities in far southern Westchester County like Yonkers, and actually here we're so far south in Westchester County that we're only about two and a half blocks from the Bronx. This Caribbean Supermarket is around 5,000 square feet but built around a building of about 3900 square feet, with the rest being in this somewhat tentlike expansion in the front.
There are two aisles of produce in that expansion area, then three more aisles in the main supermarket, with dairy in the front one (they run side to side) and meat and seafood at the back. The registers are on the left side of the store. Despite what it looks like in my exterior picture, there is actually a sign that says Caribbean Supermarket that faces the street. There also used to be a second location in Mount Vernon, at 333 S Fulton Ave, that's now a Dollar Tree (boo). That store was about twice the size of this one.
This store even earned itself an extensive profile in the New York Times back in 1997 shortly after it opened.
This is the first aisle of the main supermarket building, with produce outside to the left of the dairy cases above.
I don't know what this space was before Caribbean Supermarket set up shop here, or if it was a grocer previously.
The butcher and fish counters are at the back. As is traditional in many NYC-area seafood markets, the fish is set up as a self-service department, with bowls and tongs. You pick whatever fish you want and put it in a bowl, then bring it to the fishmonger who will prepare it however you like (the fish is mostly sold whole) and package and price it.
It's almost certain that the produce, seafood, meat, and Caribbean groceries in this store come from the South Bronx, where in Hunts Point massive wholesale markets supply fish (the New Fulton Fish Market), meat (the Hunts Point Cooperative Market), and produce (the Hunts Point Produce Market), along with any number of other food importers, distributors, and wholesalers in the neighborhoods surrounding the massive market complex. A fishmonger I talked to who runs a market in Melrose in the Bronx said he goes to New Fulton every morning at 4:00 am, but a fishmonger I talked to in Mott Haven said that was much too late and that he goes at 3.
We have a few more stores to check out in Mount Vernon, so we're gonna be pushing straight through the weekend. Tomorrow we're checking out a similar market a few blocks east right here on The Independent Edition!