On Friday, Key Food officially opened up their new 11,000-square-foot location at 66-56 Grand Avenue.
The store boasts a produce department with organic fruits and vegetables, a deli department with a full-line of Boars Head products, and prepared foods. Other offerings include catering services, fresh meat and seafood.
Key Food will provide senior citizens a 5 percent discount on Wednesdays, while police officers, firefighters, EMS workers and veterans will get a 10 percent discount daily.
Co-owner Nick Dola, who used to work at the other Key Food location down the block as a manager, said it’s a “very good feeling” to open his own.
“Hopefully everything that the community needs, we hope to supply them at reasonable prices and keep everyone happy,” he said. “We’ll try to please them and work with them.”
Josephine Vaccaro, a customer who stopped by during the grand opening, said she lives in the area and likes that there’s another option to buy groceries.
“It’s just a more comfortable experience,” she said. “This one is a lot bigger than the other stores where you go inside and there’s so many people that it’s hard to move your cart around.”
Councilman Robert Holden said Maspeth residents especially love a shopping area with parking, which has become a big issue. The new Key Food will replace a former eyesore in the community.
“The previous owner did not keep this property up,” he said. “There was graffiti and we’re happy that you guys are taking over because you’ve done a great job over there.”
Key Food is the latest addition to a changing Grand Avenue, which has recently welcomed new stores like Starbucks, Carvel and soon, the Italian eatery Patrizia’s.
Kiara Polanco, a sophomore at Maspeth High School, said she walks down Grand Avenue three or four times a week. A former student at IS 73, Polanco said she’s seen firsthand the changes along the commercial corridor.
“I think it’s a good idea to have a lot more options for people,” she said. “Some people just don’t like some stuff or have dietary restrictions. It just gives them more options.”
A Grand Avenue resident who lives near the new Starbucks said the changes will make the avenue more modern and up to date.
“I love the changes, I think they’ve been worth it, definitely,” he said. “I think it’s good for Maspeth in general.
“Maspeth, nobody knows where it is. You say you’re from Maspeth, nobody really knows,” he added. “Maybe now people will come by.”
Assemblyman Brian Barnwell said the new Key Food, Patrizia’s and other stores are good for small businesses and the community. He hopes it will translate to more foot traffic and more business.
“It means they’re spending more money,” he said. “Keep it in the community, let the small businesses continue to thrive.”
He noted that Patrizia’s will take the spot of the shuttered McDonalds, which he described as a more “transient” type of restaurant. Patrizia’s, on the other hand, is a family-style restaurant.
“Patrizia’s is almost like a night out on the town,” Barnwell said. “Maybe you’ll shop at the local businesses, you have an ice cream parlor right down the block.
“I’m happy with the entities now coming in,” he added. “It will definitely attract more people to the neighborhood.”
(Jen Khedaroo contributed reporting to this article.)