The notable thing about this new supermarket isn't the what -- it's the where

ideal food basket menands map

From a map created last year -- those green circles represent 1-mile radii around supermarkets.

Word started circulating this week that an Ideal Food Basket supermarket is set to open on Broadway in Menands sometime in the next month. It'll be the first location for the Long Island-based chain, which already has stores downstate, as well as in Connecticut and Massachusetts. [Biz Review]

We'd never heard of Ideal Food Basket, and after some poking around -- and admittedly without stepping into one -- we get the impression it's a pretty average "neighborhood" style supermarket, maybe with slant toward being a discount market. The thing that did stand out, though: Where it's decided to set up here.

The Ideal Food Basket is going in to the former Save-A-Lot space at 100 Broadway in Menands. That spot is notable because it's located near areas in North Albany and Arbor Hill that are designated as "food deserts" by the federal government. What's that mean? Well, in the simplest sense, it means there isn't a supermarket within a 1-mile (or half-mile) radius of those neighborhoods (the whole definition is a bit more involved). A map we created last year about Capital Region supermarket geographic distribution might make it clearer.

The chain's parent organization has apparently decided to focus in part on opening stores in such areas. Said the company's CEO to the Times Union: "We get into areas where most organizations don't go into ... We go into underserved areas. We hire only from the neighborhood." Just this past month it opened a store in Nassau County on Long Island that was hailed as bringing a supermarket to an area with a "critical food-access issue." [TU] [Newsday]

For all the booming that's happened on the local supermarket scene in the last few years, the development has almost entirely focused on high-end products (Fresh Market, Whole Foods) and/or areas that already had other supermarket choices (ShopRite). It's interesting to see a company looking at areas not currently served as a business opportunity.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Where the supermarkets are -- and aren't
+ The big box gets smaller
+ Soapbox: Oh, Whole Foods, why Colonie Center?

Find It

Ideal Food Basket
100 Broadway
Menands, NY 12204

Comments

I welcome them to the area, and I'm happy to see that vacant space occupied. But I thought CEO's comments about opening in an "underserved area" were a little odd, considering that there's a Price Chopper less than a mile up Broadway.

Also, while they're opening near food deserts, some of the wealthiest people in the area live just up the hill.

Good for them! What a nice, socially conscious corporate mission. I hope they do well there.

They went there partially because they are practically giving space away in that plaza.

@Chris: From a supermarket access perspective -- and, you know, if I could just have my way -- I think it would have been better for a new store to open in North Albany, maybe in the warehouse area. That location would provide a lot closer access to those underserved areas, and depending on the spot, it could have also maybe served the growing downtown Albany residential population.

But I suspect, as Parma suggests, that old Save-A-Lot spot was just really cheap and didn't need much renovation. Also, the zoning stuff is all worked out there, which I'm guessing would not be the case in North Albany. (And it's true there's a Price Chopper not too far from there -- but it's 1.5 miles north. And competition's not a bad thing.)

If anything, I'm just glad to see a company willing to think about opening urban supermarkets.

@Amy: I bet it's more about seeing a business opportunity than an act of social consciousness. But nothing wrong with that. A supermarket will only be sustainable if the company can make money running it.

I live in the dead zone over by SUNY, and all this time I thought it was my imagination.. but its true.

If you check out the company's website (http://afbasket.com), it appears that they specialize in meeting the needs of consumers who want "international foods." All or most of the company's principals are Hispanic. They have a store in Liberty (Sullivan Co.) too.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

Morning Blend

Sentencing in murder of Troy official Joseph Vandenburgh -- convicted of fatally stabbing Troy city offical Bill Chamberlain near his home in North Greenbush --... (more)

The return of the blue snowflakes

The Albany Pine Bush is an unusual example of an inland pine barrens, and it's one of the few homes to an unusual inhabitant: The... (more)

New York State Bike Summit

The first New York State Bike Summit will be at the Hearst Media Center* September 15. Blurbage: This Summit will provide a forum for advocates,... (more)

Walking Myrtle Ave, end to end

One of the best ways to get to know a city is to walk it. That's true for cities in which you've just arrived --... (more)

Here's how New York State's new paid family leave program will work

New York State's new paid family leave program will allow people to start taking leave January 1. And this week the Cuomo admin released a... (more)

Recent Comments

Whenever I drive into the Warehouse District, things get eerily quiet. If I get out of my car, I can't see anyone else around, and I get the sense that Nipper is watching me... sometimes I feel like I can just barely see his tail wagging out of the corner of my eye. That's crazy, right? I always get an urge to pick up a tree branch and throw it... but there aren't any trees. When I feel the first playful bite on the back of my leg, that's when it's time to get back in the car and drive. #nipperisalive

The return of the blue snowflakes

...has 1 comment, most recently from Melissa

Walking Myrtle Ave, end to end

...has 19 comments, most recently from Eric Luper

Drawing: Murder Mystery Night at Takk House

...has 38 comments, most recently from Mary

"This may seem like an obsession, but it is not. This is the residue of an obsession."

...has 1 comment, most recently from acw

Troy Summer Square starts this week

...has 1 comment, most recently from S