JACKSON HEIGHTS — The shuttered Trade Fair supermarket on 37th Avenue is set to re-open Wednesday without much of a makeover — and any of the dozens of original workers who were forced out of their jobs before Christmas, according to the owner.
After Mike Haque sparked outrage in the community by closing the store and leaving its 50 union staffers in the lurch, he said that that he was planning to hire back some of the former staff. But he told DNAinfo this week that he brought in his own crew instead.
"I have my own workers. I don't have any of the union workers at this time," Haque said on Monday.
The reopening of of the store, on 37th Avenue and 75th Street, which is set for 8 a.m. on Wednesday under the new name Global Supermarket, took union workers by surprise.
In December, Haque told DNAinfo New York he'd re-hire some of Trade Fair's 50 fired workers in addition to bringing in employees from his other stores.
"I'm planning to hire some workers from here, and some from my other stores," he said at the time.
The unions who represented the staffers, Local 342 and Local 338, are planning a rally in front of the store on Wednesday at noon, and say they'll be joined by elected officials as well as local residents.
A representative from Local 338, Joe Fontano, said the unions originally had encouraging conversations with Haque about hiring back some of the old workers, with the option of letting new workers join the union.
But then those talks abruptly stopped, and the organizations didn't find out until Monday afternoon that the store, which they had been told would reopen in mid-February, was going to open earlier, according to Fontano.
"Talks went along well for about two and a half weeks, but then he stopped communicating with us," he said.
Haque, who bought the store before it was abruptly shuttered in December, said at the time that he planned to reopen the location as a Key Food. He owns four Key Food chains in the city, including one in Manhattan and three in Brooklyn.
Haque said Monday that Global Supermarket is "not affiliated with Key Food."
A small Global Supermarket sign was being installed Tuesday afternoon ahead of the opening, and while Haque planned to fix the store's cases and shelves, and change the checkout system, he said the recent bad weather stalled his plans.
He said he was "trying to change the cases, but unfortunately due to the weather conditions, it wasn't able to happen."
He and another owner, Jaynal Abdin, have had official plans to take over the store since at least mid-November, when they filed an application for a license to sell beer and wine at the store on, according to state documents.
The store's sale was finalized on Dec. 11, Haque said.