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.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.

Search

Recently on All Over Albany

Checking out the new Rensselaer esplanade

We got a chance Friday afternoon to hop over the river and check out the new esplanade along the riverfront in Rensselaer. There are some... (more)

99 properties

The city of Troy is selling 99 foreclosed properties, so Luke Stoddard Nathan mapped them, pedaled past them, and highlighted a handful that look intriguing.... (more)

There will be a film shoot in Albany next week -- and a bunch of road closures and detours

A film production crew will be in Albany next week and its work will be prompting various road closures and detours Monday through Saturday each... (more)

Morning Blend

Kaloyeros guilty + A federal jury found Alain Kaloyeros and three development company executives guilty of wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy related to the... (more)

A few more bits about the present and future of the Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail

The second segment of Albany County's Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail is now paved -- as noted earlier this week -- meaning there's now 9 miles of... (more)

Recent Comments

The US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) in Albany takes that type of thing. I did an internship there and it's a really great organization and the refugees who receive the items are super grateful.

Checking out the new Rensselaer esplanade

...has 1 comment, most recently from Neighborhood Curmudgeon

There will be a film shoot in Albany next week -- and a bunch of road closures and detours

...has 3 comments, most recently from Greg

How a strawberry grown from a "wasteland" in Albany helped spread a national strawberry craze

...has 8 comments, most recently from Justin Devendorf

A few more bits about the present and future of the Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail

...has 3 comments, most recently from VO1

Morning Blend for Jul 13

...has 1 comment, most recently from -B