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Associated Supermarket Taking Over Homegrown Inwood Store Chain

By Carla Zanoni | July 8, 2011 6:25pm | Updated on July 8, 2011 10:09pm

INWOOD — Associated Supermarket is taking over two storefronts formerly occupied by a homegrown Inwood grocery store after the local chain couldn't stay afloat, the new owner said.

The former La Antillana grocery at 5069 Broadway, between 215th and 216th streets, is already draped in a banner for Associated Supermarket.

The changeover is expected to become official by the end of the month, new owner Jessie Lanfranco said. Clerks at La Antillana have already started using grocery bags with the Associated brand on them.

La Antillana’s second store at 72 Nagle Avenue will also become an Associated Supermarket, Lanfranco said.

La Antillana's owner, Jose Grullon, said last summer that he was attempting to adapt the store to the changing neighborhood and planned to change the name from La Antillana to Market Fresh.

But the store name change never became official and neighborhood residents were frustrated by the store’s slowness in changing its merchandise to reflect the needs of the community. He could not be reached on Wednesday.

"This is a changing neighborhood and we plan to serve it," said Lanfranco, who also owns Associated franchises in Brooklyn and Schenectady.

Lanfranco said she hopes to meet the needs of the diverse community in the neighborhood from the start, while keeping an eye on the changing demographic.

The new store will soon have a website where customers can order their groceries and have them delivered.

"People work hard and are busy," she said, adding that the store currently accepts phone orders. "This will help them a lot."

Lanfranco also said the website will invite customers to make suggestions on which items should be stocked in the store.

"This is a small space, so we know we need to stock the right things," she said, adding that customers can provide suggestions in the store now.

Customers said they saw La Antillana trying to keep up with the times, but that it was too little too late.

"They definitely started offering more organic food and produce, and that was great, but by the time they did it most of the neighbors had already given up," said customer Marc Levin, 36.