LONG ISLAND CITY — A long-awaited Food Bazaar supermarket opened in Long Island City on Thursday, the first grocery store to take advantage of a newly expanded program that helps food and beverage businesses open their doors sooner.
The new 50,000-square-foot market opened at 42-02 Northern Blvd., the site of a former Pathmark that closed its doors in 2012, to the disappointment of local residents.
"Now it is a great beautiful supermarket again," City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said at a ribbon-cutting for the new store on Thursday.
The renovated space includes a 5,500 square-foot-produce section, as well as bakery, deli and fresh seafood sections — complete with live lobsters, crabs and tilapia.
The market also boasts five aisles devoted to international foods, with products from Greece, Poland, Peru, Korea, Japan and Ecuador, among other nations.
"Providing value, variety and quality under one roof is what we offer," Spencer An, president and CEO of Bogopa Service Corporation and Food Bazaar Supermarkets. The store will also be adding a food court soon, he said.
The Long Island City Food Bazaar is the first location to open under the city's newly expanded NYC Business Acceleration program, which was started in 2010 to assist new restaurants in opening and is now serving supermarkets and grocery stores.
The program works with qualifying businesses to streamline the opening process by helping to schedule and coordinate the many inspections and reviews required by the city.
"We realized that there were a lot of challenges that businesses faced in dealing with the regulatory process," executive director Robinson Hernandez said at Thursday's ribbon-cutting.
"it wasn’t easy to open a business in the city of New York because there were a number of different agencies involved, and you had to deal individually with these different agencies."
The Business Acceleration team brings resources from several different city agencies together in one place, and has on average helped new businesses open two and half months earlier than they would have otherwise. The program helped Food Bazaar open 77 days sooner, he said.
"We're excited that we were able to get this place open right before the holidays," he said.
The new grocery store is also the first to open in Queens under the city's Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) Program, which provides zoning and financial incentives to help bring supermarkets to underserved neighborhoods.