HELL'S KITCHEN — After decades on the corner of West 41st Street and Ninth Avenue, Stile's Farmers Market will close at the end of the month, customers were shocked to learn on Monday.
The market, not much more than a large shack across from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, was beloved by locals for selling fresh fruits, veggies, coffee and other basics at an affordable price.
According to owner Steve Stile, the longtime grocer was forced out after the building was sold.
"My family's so sick you cannot imagine," he said. "We tried everything in our power to stay there."
Stile's landlord could not be reached for comment. City records did not have information about the sale of the building.
The family-run market at 569 Ninth Ave. will remain open so locals can pick up food for Christmas, with a plan to shut down the location for good on Dec. 29, Stile said.
The stores's other location in the neighborhood, at 352 W. 52nd St., will remain open.
Stile's Farmers Market began in 1987, when Steve Stile's father, Joseph, set up an umbrella, a cigar box and a table full of produce at the spot. It's since grown into one of the neighborhood's most popular markets.
On Monday, a large sign at the entrance to the store told customers that it would soon close.
Eleanor Payge, 59, came to Stile's for vegetables for more than a decade and didn't know where she would get produce once it closed.
"Everything's shutting down in this neighborhood," she said. "This was one of the last good, cheap places."
The store's longtime neighbor, the Big Apple Meat Market, was forced to leave its longtime location and move down the street in January. The building was purchased by the Friedman Group and the Landis Group, which plan to redevelop the land into a hotel.
Stile said that despite the setback, he hoped to find another location in the neighborhood and reopen the market. He's already looked at a spot on West 37th Street and Ninth Avenue, but he said that nothing has been finalized yet.
"We're heartbroken, very heartbroken," he said. "But I want to keep serving our people. I feel bad for our customers, I really do."