UNION SQUARE — The Union Square Food Emporium closed Monday to make way for a Key Food supermarket that will take its place this week, according to workers.
Grocery store employees turned away customers at the East 15th Street location Monday afternoon as some would-be customers muttered in confusion about signs on the door promising to reopen on Tuesday.
Up until the abrupt closure, there were no warning signs that the store was set to shutter or change hands, according to customers.
One customer said Food Emporium's closure would be a boon for the pricier and more specialized competitors in the area, even if a Key Food was coming to take its place.
“I guess it bodes well for Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s,” said Minnie Mankita.
Another shopper, who declined to give his name but said he had been shopping there for 20 years, said he hoped the Key Food might open with better prices than the now-shuttered market at 10 Union Square East.
“It can only be a good thing, because Key Food is not an expensive store,” he said.
One employee turning away customers, who also declined to give his name, said it was not yet clear yet if the workers at the grocery would be able to keep their jobs when the store reopened as Key Food.
A&P, the parent company of Food Emporium, filed for bankruptcy this summer and began auctioning off its brand-name supermarkets, which also include Pathmark and Waldbaums.
Representatives of Key Food and A&P did not immediately respond to requests for comment.