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C-Town Changes Captivate Clients, Old and Young

By Meredith Hoffman | September 28, 2012 6:31am

WILLIAMSBURG — The facelift was thrilling enough to pull 88-year-old Rose Gannuscio out for a worthwhile trip. 

"I came here and said, 'You have to see this!'" Gannuscio's personal assistant Jasmine Bashir beamed in the meat aisle of Graham Avenue's revamped C-Town. 

"It's beautiful," praised Gannuscio of the change after her 55 years in the neighborhood. 

Williamsburg C-Town has remodeled and remade its image, impressing longtime locals and drawing new neighbors who load up on fresh veggies.

C-Town's changes — which residents say began earlier this summer and have been packing the store with clients — include wider aisles and a more robust selection of necessary groceries, said shopper Marie Caccavale. 

"I'd have to go to Grand Street to get my vegetables," said Caccavale, 62, of the Key Food several blocks away. "Now I buy everything here. It's cheaper than the produce places nearby and it's convenient.

"I guess new people in the neighborhood are looking for healthier food," Caccavale, who's lived a few blocks from C-Town the past 19 years, added.

A long line of fresh produce includes organic salad greens, locally grown apples — and recent apple sauce and juice tastings with Five Acre Farms — an extensive array of tomato varieties and berries that are often half the price of the neighboring market.

Sustainably-raised fresh fish and meats — "I buy salmon here now!" one customer rejoiced — specialty Greek and Icelandic yogurts, organic health cereals and gourmet cheeses from goat to brie can be found, too.

Meanwhile, Chips Ahoy, beef jerky, Heineken and peanuts can all still be had on the same corner shelf.

One happy shopper tweeted about the "Man Aisle," which C-Town then posted on its tumblr page.

The place can get packed, though, particularly in the evening after people get off from work.

The store has even become a place where casting calls are publicized. One aspiring television producer recently placed an ad in the store: "Casting Real Hipsters...We want you for our reality show!" C-Town, of course, boasted about the posting on its tumblr.

Meanwhile, Sean Grey, 38, who caught the pre-evening rush as he shopped in the store Tuesday, said the upgrade was a welcome change for his neighborhood grocer.  

"Before it was nasty," said Grey, an architect who has lived one block from C-Town for the last two years, of the produce. "I'm sure they have a feeling [that] more people are coming here, and more people means more money, which is more money to spend on making it better."

But Amanda Greenberg, 24, said the Park Slope C-Town won the grocery store contest.

"I used to live in Park Slope, and the C-Town there was nicer," she said.

Still, she conceded of the Graham Avenue renovation: "It looks better and it feels more spacious. They're probably catering to people who live here now."